Posts for May 17, 2012

FiDi Gets a New French lunch spot; Wine bar opens in Tribeca

• To celebrate the formation of the New York City Brewers Guild, the nine New York founders will host a tasting evening of rare beers from each brewery. For $75, get unlimited pours, a commemorative tasting glass, and food from Eataly's La Birreria and 508 GastroBrewery. [Edible Brooklyn]

• New lunch spot French Cafe Gourmand is (1) in FiDi, (2) not a chain or a branch of a chain, (3) run by real French people. Specials are chalked on a board outside, and sandwiches, pastries, soup, salads, and coffee drinks are among the offerings. [Midtown Lunch]

• A specialty foods company in California actually constructed a six-foot tower out of chocolate. [Curbed]

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Shuffleboard Bar Coming Soon to Gowanus

Forgive us for just now noticing, but today Cobble Hill Blog points our attention to the exciting-sounding shuffleboard bar opening soon in Gowanus. The 17,000-square-foot drinkery and sports center of sorts, dubbed the Royal Palms, is themed after Florida's senior scene — and while that sounds hipster-y, it also sounds awesome. One word, people: Yahtzee. More as we hear it. [Cobble Hill Blog via Gothamist]

Apparently Dunkin’ Donuts Is an Instagram Must-Follow

So vintage.Photo: dunkindonuts/Instagram via Gizmodo

Do you enjoy gazing at photos of mass-produced pastries illuminated with hazy vintage lighting? If so, Dunkin' Donuts' Instagram photo stream is for you! Gizmodo ranks them as a must-follow, alongside luminaries including Newt Gingrich, Mike Tyson, and MC Hammer.

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Is Alice Waters the Milli Vanilli of Chefs?

In response to yesterday's story in which we imagined the rock-star equivalents for a couple dozen famous chefs, one of Grub Street San Francisco's followers, dubbed the Dapper Diner, replied with a zinger about our Alice Waters/Joni Mitchell comparison. "Alice Waters would be Milli Vanilli ... is she really a chef?" Now, this discussion of whether Waters was ever truly a chef so much as a restaurateur has dogged her a lot over the years, and most people are pretty well over it. But this prompted newly minted Twitter addict Jeremiah Tower (who just announced plans to publicly cook in San Francisco for the first time in over a decade) to chime in regarding his old friend Alice.

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Steakhouse Ben Benson’s Will Close on Father’s Day

The end of Benson's.

Ben Benson teared up yesterday as he told the staff that the 30-year-old restaurant Ben Benson's would be closing on June 17, Father's Day. Benson, who is blind, and who also opened Grand Café and Smith & Wollensky, said that the Paramount Group, which owns the building, would not renew his lease. This is especially sad for one regular who got engaged there and has plaques with his children's names along the bar. [WSJ]

David Lebovitz Explains Staying Skinny in Paree

Eat it and enjoy it.

Of the Frenchies: "I frequently get asked about how they miraculously manage to keep the weight off while seemingly enjoying all the rich food in France," says food writer David Lebovitz in his introduction to staying slim while living a life of petit fours and Peppermint Patties. Thus, Lebovitz illustrates his French–influenced eating habits, flavor-to-calorie counts, and sneaking ice cubes into expensive wine à la Jacques P├ępin. [David Lebovitz]

Why Ellen and Portia Are California Rolls

"Sushi is the gay marriage of food." —psychologist and author Jonathan Haidt on flavors and taste buds. [Awl]

Lobster, Barely a Luxury Item Anymore, Keeps Getting Cheaper

Ceci n'est pas un lobster. (It's a langoustine.)

There was a time in American fine dining when lobster was synonymous with luxury, along with filet mignon and waiters wearing white gloves. But now Maine lobster populations have exploded and consequently driven prices down. So the meat from these special sea insects doesn't feel so special anymore. Various higher-end restaurants around the country are turning to langoustines or other fancier-named versions of the crustacean just to impress jaded diners, and that isn't helping the cause of the poor Maine lobstermen who now can barely make ends meet.

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Around the World in 80 Plates Recap: David Rees on Sheepherding and Rural French Bullsh-t

Bonjour, Curtis.Photo: Virginia Sherwood/Bravo

I watched this week’s episode of Around the World in 80 Plates with some friends who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. They run a wine shop in my town (I used to volunteer there) and they know everything about flavors and haute cuisine — but I wasn’t exploiting them for their culinary knowledge; I was exploiting them because they own a television, which I do not.

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Junior Seau’s San Diego Restaurant Closes Its Doors

Seau.Photo: Larry Maurer/Getty Images

Two weeks after the heartrending suicide of former NFL linebacker "Junior" Seau, the All-Pro's eponymous restaurant, Seau's, has closed in his hometown of San Diego. The sports bar and restaurant was a destination for Chargers fans for over sixteen years before trustees of the player's estate decided to shut it down, releasing a statement that claims, "Without Seau's charismatic leadership, it was felt that the future profitability of the restaurant could be in question."

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The Pain-in-the-Ass 'Self-Promoter' That Is Justin Ross Lee

Justin Ross Lee is the latest nightlife dilettante to wreak some hella-havoc on the meatpacking district and other glossy clubs and restaurants of the like. From STK Midtown to the Soho House, to even Pastis, where Lee's been banned, the young, debatably industrious schmuck has become infamous for "harassing doormen, teasing guests and acting out." And don't forget ... cashing in. [NYT]

Cold Tidings for Hot Pot Lovers

The holy grail for spice fiends.

This morning Bowery Boogie brought the sad news that Grand Sichuan on Canal Street had shuttered, which bodes ill even though the restaurant claims it will reopen. We've spent a number of happy evenings there foisting things into a tureen of fiery broth studded with Sichuan peppercorns, red-faced and hopped up, slugging beer, and now the loss leaves a hole in the downtown hot-pot scene. A mental survey of other options nearby led to the discovery that Old Town Hot Pot also seems to have quietly shuttered, supposedly for "renovations," as they're announcing on Yelp. We know sister restaurant Hot Kitchen, in the EV, offers hot pot. Has anybody given it a slurp? And did we miss any?

Alan Richman Defends James Beard Win, Slams ‘Third-Rate Critic’ Ryan Sutton

Richman, enjoying last night's roast.Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Last night, Alan Richman was the center of attention at a GQ roast held in his honor at Le Bernardin. Of course the criticisms lobbed his way during the event were of the "all-in-good-fun" nature, but when we caught up with him, we wondered what he thought of one decidedly less-friendly attack. Specifically, we wanted his take on the knock Bloomberg critic Ryan Sutton directed at Richman after the GQ critic took home this year's Distinguished Restaurant Review Award from the James Beard Foundation. Richman didn't hold back.

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See the Cocktail Menu for Demi Monde, Opening Friday

Demi Monde is at last ready to bow tomorrow night, and to tide you over till then we've gotten our paws on the cocktail list. The lineup looks promising (we'd expect nothing less given that co-owner David Kaplan is a partner in Death & Co. and mixologist Alex Day used to bartend there) — for spring, the drinks lean fizzy and fruity. A number are made with sparkling wine (and say, Calvados, chamomile, chartreuse, plus lemon) or an ingredient simply called "fizz," and others are classified as "house sodas," boozy ones of course. As mentioned, Phillip Kirschen-Clark is doing both a small plates and a chef's tasting menu — the latter begins May 24. Drinks list below.

Right this way for the cocktail menu. »

Anthony Bourdain Is Team Angry Bobby Flay, Feels Ruth Bourdain Has ‘Lost Gas’

"I hate to say it but RuthBourdain has lost gas."Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Last night at GQ's Alan Richman roast at Le Bernardin, Grub Street sat down with master-roaster Anthony Bourdain who, like many of us, feels that imaginary "RuthBourdain" and her five minutes on Twitter may be over, especially with parody "AngryBFlay" (Angry Bobby Flay) on her tail. "I gotta say, AngryBFlay has really come on strong. I put my money on AngryBFlay lately. I hate to say it but RuthBourdain has lost gas ... " His favorite AngryBFlay moment? "Complaining about the holes in cheese as wasted real estate." But to Bourdain, the best part about the existence of a fake Flay is "the anger and the bitterness and the fact that a lot of people believed it was actually Bobby."

Win a Pair of Tickets to This Weekend’s ExtraMooga

Food being the new rock — and chefs the new rock stars — this weekend's ExtraMooga (the food-focused portion of the Great GoogaMooga, of which New York is a sponsor) promises to be extra epic. If you don't have $250, fear not, we're giving away a pair of passes for Saturday or Sunday to one lucky reader. Simply comment below by 6 p.m. tonight and tell us your most epic, debaucherous, unforgettable concertgoing experience. The worst, er, best, story wins. We'll announce the winner tomorrow — now, onto the mud-wrestling tales.

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Marja Vongerichten Hopes You Can Help Find Her Father

Vongerichten.Photo: Melissa Hom

In Sin City for Vegas Uncork’d with husband Jean-Georges, author and TV host Marja Vongerichten recently told Robin "Champagne Wishes" Leach about the ongoing search to find her biological father. As Kimchi Chronicles fans no doubt already know, Vongerichten was born in 1976 in Uijeongbu to a Korean mother and an American father who had been stationed in the region with the Marines. Her father, whose name is William H. Brown, was relocated before she was born; and when she was 3 years old, Vongerichten was put into an orphanage and later adopted by a Washington, D.C., family.

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