Posts for October 31, 2013

Mahaloween at Fort Defiance; Sweet Melissa Patisserie Closes

Forcella’s Giulio Adriana is opening a new pizza shop, A Slice of Naples, at 334 Bowery today. Open until 4 a.m. daily, it'll serve traditional Neapolitan pies and Italian bottled beers. [Grub Street]

• Tonight, Fort Defiance is hosting Mahaloween, with autumnal tiki drinks, spicy grilled duck hearts, pineapple jack-o-lanterns, and spooky music. [Grub Street]

Sweet Melissa Patisserie closed unexpectedly this week, and it looks unlikely that it will reopen. [Here’s Park Slope]

• Michael Navarrete, formerly of Boston’s Sorellina, and Regal Beagle in Brookline, Massachusetts, will take over as executive chef at Café Luxembourg. [Grub Street]

Read more »

Watch Key & Peele’s Epic, Hilarious Ode to Continental Breakfast

Here's one of the best bits from the Key & Peele Halloween episode, a depiction of one man's love affair with the free continental breakfast that comes with his hotel stay. His absolute admiration for mini-muffins, Greek yogurt, doughnut holes from Turkey, and bananas from, um, Spain borders on mania. And then there's the yogurt.

"I'll have what I'm having!" »

Gross Things Lurk in Your Spice Cabinet

Remember that report suggesting salmonella may have stowed away in your cinnamon sticks? The FDA has now released its full report on imported spices, revealing that 7 percent are contaminated with the illness-causing bacteria, and not only that, 12 percent tested positive for "filth" — insect pieces, rodent hair, and other general nastiness. Apparently spices from India and Mexico are the most risky, and the news gets worse.

Staples, rubber bands, unidentifiable fur. »

Coked-Out Pumpkins Found in Montreal

She don't lie, she don't lie, she don't lie.

The Canada Border Services Agency announced that it recovered what is believed to be two kilograms of cocaine that had been hidden inside three pumpkins a passenger was trying to take on a flight departing from Montreal's Trudeau International Airport. Authorities say they initially grew suspicious after they opened the bag for inspection and saw that the pumpkins were carved in the frightening likenesses of Pablo Escobar, Manuel Noriega, and "Freeway" Ricky Ross. [CTV News]

Grub Street’s Restaurant Power Rankings: Sushi, Skál, and Wallflower’s Debut

Photo: iStockphoto

New York is full of many, many amazing places to eat, but week in and week out, a small number of spots generate the city's buzz, whether because they're new or newly praised — or simply because an older spot got the city's attention. To see how it shakes out this week, check out Grub Street's Restaurant Power Rankings.

Read more »

Convicted Mobster’s Indiegogo Campaign Was a Big Success

The ex-mobster with lofty culinary ambitions had no trouble hitting his crowd-funding goals, so now he gets to expand his mafia-themed restaurant. Angelo Lutz — a.k.a. the Kitchen Consigliere, a.k.a. Luzzi, a.k.a. Big Ange — reopened his New Jersey Italian restaurant last week in a space three times the size of his first location, complete with sconces shaped like nine-millimeter handguns and a "Joey's Pork Chops" special in honor of South Jersey mob boss "Skinny Joey" Merlino. Awwwww. He raised nearly $35,000 on Indiegogo, and thousands more from investors, he tells the Washington Post, and the restaurant expansion is just the beginning. He's gunning for Kitchen Consigliere franchises in other cities, and his own Mob Wives–meets–Top Chef reality show, of course. That, and he hopes to start a foundation to help other ex-cons become entrepreneurs. [WaPo, Earlier]

Nightingale 9 Will Now Serve You Pho and Bánh Mì for Breakfast

Put an egg in it.

Robert Newton and Kerry Diamond have been gradually adding more reasons to check out Nightingale 9. Back around the restaurant's February opening, it was all about the dinner menu's fusion of Vietnamese flavors with homegrown ingredients like Hudson Valley duck and soy sauce made in Kentucky. Beginning in May it was lunch, including a lineup of six Vietnamese sandwiches stuffed with things like pâté made from Virginia country ham. Now, starting tomorrow, the Carroll Gardens restaurant will serve breakfast, and the menu looks pretty great.

Vietnamese coffee in an AeroPress. »

Here’s Biscuit Porn From New York’s First 24-Hour Biscuit Restaurant

The Snuggah Boo, with plums, prunes, port, goat cheese, and black-pepper butter.Photo: Melissa Hom

Empire Biscuit opened yesterday in the East Village, serving Southern-style biscuits 24 hours a day with 24 different butter and spread options. The menu includes a Muffaletta biscuit sandwich, vegetarian biscuits and gravy, and toppings like foie gras butter, pumpkin-pie spread, and oxtail-and-brown-sugar jelly. Take a look at a few of the dishes and the menu, straight ahead.

Fried chicken! »

Sriracha Factory Can Stay Open, Judge Rules

Overruled!Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

That's right, the hot-sauce factory stays in the picture, even though neighbors have been complaining about a persistent burning sensation in the air around Huy Fong's 650,000-square-foot factory. "If it doesn't smell, we can't sell," Sriracha-sauce creator David Tran apparently said before the ruling. That's right: The guy who built a hot-sauce empire from scratch got up in front of a judge in Los Angeles County Superior Court, channeled his best Johnnie Cochran, and said, "If it doesn't smell, we can't sell," before adding, "If the city shuts us down, the price of Sriracha will jump a lot." Now, everybody can get back to making sexy Sriracha costumes. [Buzzfeed, Earlier, Earlier]

Buffalo Trace Is Short 100,000 Bourbon Barrels

It can't be staved off any longer.Photo: Courtesy of Buffalo Trace

It seems as if things are getting pretty intense around the Frankfort, Kentucky–based Buffalo Trace Distillery. First it was the bad news that someone had pilfered 65 cases of ultra-rare Pappy Van Winkle twenty-year-old bourbon whiskey (along with a few bottles of thirteen-year-old rye), and now there's word that demand for Buffalo Trace has outweighed supply by, oh, say, 100,000 barrels. We were warned about this earlier, and apparently, the distillery has now run out of space to barrel-age and store its liquor.

"Warehouse X" to the rescue. »

Not Kewl: Teen Found Guilty of Stealing Guy Fieri’s Lamborghini


Nineteen-year-old Max Wade faces up to 30 years in prison for commercial burglary, auto theft, attempted murder, and firing a gun into an occupied vehicle. The troubled teen stole Guy Fieri's $200,000 yellow Lamborghini from a dealership in March 2011 to impress a girl, hid the car in a storage locker, tried to kill the girl and her boyfriend in a drive-by shooting, and then convinced his friend to try to bust him out of jail. With sledgehammers. Needless to say, Wade didn't get the girl or the car and reportedly had to be "tethered" to a chair that was bolted to the floor during the trial, but at least he did get a rap song written in his honor. [Earlier, KlewTV]

Order Status: Mission Chinese Food’s Delivery, Reviewed

Danny Bowien probably won't deliver your food himself.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev / Bowien: Melissa Hom

Earlier this week, Mission Chinese Food made what was basically the biggest announcement in the history of New York City food delivery: Danny Bowien's menu could now be dispatched to any Manhattan location below 59th Street. (The actual delivery is handled by a start-up called Caviar, which can also deliver food from spots like Katz's and Maharlika; Han Dynasty is on the way.) That is very good news for New York's kung-pao-pastrami fans — but that delivery zone is huge. Could Mission and Caviar really maintain quality control? Grub wanted to know, so we recruited a half dozen folks around town to order whatever they wanted and report back on their experiences. Here's what we discovered.

"We were starving by the time the food arrived..." »

Chef Responds to Bourdain Over ‘Irresponsible’ Seal-Hunt Industry

Best seal ever.

After Anthony Bourdain called out chefs on Twitter earlier this week for supporting the Protect Seals campaign, which seeks a moratorium on seal slaughter with a boycott against Canadian seafood, Virginia-based chef Cathal Armstrong spoke out against "irresponsible people out there that are not following the regulations" within the industry. Armstrong tells CBC News that it's "a difficult choice" to support a boycott of Canadian seafood, which will have clear effects on the families who depend on the industry, but says that Bourdain's rant won't put an end to the campaign. Armstrong insists that the need to put pressure on the commercial seal industry outweighs any potential ramifications: "To think of a baby seal being clubbed to death simply for its pelt and then anything else being wasted is sinful." [CBC, Earlier]

Waitress Fired for Degrading Vegan Diner

Chili does taste better with meat.

After Laura Stevens ordered meat-and-dairy-free chili at Glasgow’s Squid & Whale, she received a receipt printed with the words vegan pussy. Stevens brushed it off, but when she noticed that the server complained about her on the restaurant's Facebook page — "Thanks to everyone that took part in chili cook-off (except the woman who wouldn't try our chili because it had lamb in it" — she complained. The restaurant fired the carnivorous waitress, of course, calling her a "rogue member of staff." Can you imagine what the server has to say about raw-food enthusiasts and gluten-free dieters? Someone commission this crazy lady to write a Paleo cookbook, please. [Daily Record]

Here’s an Unfortunate Meeting Between a $300,000 Ferrari and a Produce Truck

Hopefully no matsutake mushrooms were harmed.Photo: Jackson Lee / Splash News

Earlier this week, someone's $300,000 metallic gray Ferrari FF met up with a Baldor Specialty Foods truck in the worst possible way on the streets of Manhattan. It's not immediately clear whether the sports car ran into the truck or if the truck backed into the Ferrari, but the ironic thing is that the produce guy was most likely out to deliver a batch of white truffles or high-end porcinis to some nearby restaurant when the collision happened.

The close-up looks a lot worse. »

Turns Out the Words Sexy and Corn Aren’t the Best Match

"I thought it would do well because I was in Nebraska at the time and there was corn everywhere. I thought that girls would buy a lot and wear them together and go as a corn field." — Evan Horstman, one of the Yandy costume designers behind "sexy pizza" and "sexy watermelon," hasn't given up on sexy corn. [Time]

Verve Opening Pop-up Coffee Shop in Williamsburg

Order the One-and-One: a single macchiato and single espresso placed together on a shared saucer.

Starting next week, the Santa Cruz–based company will operate a three-month-long pop-up shop at 33 Grand Street. Verve will share a space with Rudy's Barbershop and Portland-based clothing store Poler — a perfect fit, considering Verve takes style very seriously (the coffee company has an in-house designer who makes skate decks and graphic tees). Owners Ryan O'Donovan and Colby Barr have tricked out the space with a full coffee bar, full espresso machine, and Chemex pour-over coffeemakers. Hopefully, this means that a permanent New York café is imminent. [VV]

Watch Chicago Restaurant Real Kitchen Dress Up As Alinea for Halloween

It's not the easiest thing to transition straight from tray-baked chicken Parmesan to black-truffle explosion, but Chicago "mini-café" Real Kitchen makes a valiant go of it. The restaurant isn't really turning into Alinea to-go today, but is handing out free cupcakes. Next and Alinea partner Nick Kokonas thinks it's "genius", and we're pretty sure even Grant Achatz finds this spoof of Alinea's modernist plate presentations pretty hilarious, especially the dehydrated and reconstituted "chicken explosion." Laugh, cry, and marvel at the custom-made coat-hanger serving pieces, straight ahead.

"I thought you wanted to be a chef?" »

Top Chef NOLA Recap: What’s So Spooky About Arancini?

You can tell Lea Michele was not feeling the costume thing.Photo: David Moir/Bravo

Halloween is here, you guys! Think about it: In just over 24 hours, it’ll all be over. You’ll be cleaning egg off your front door and stealing fun-size Snickers from your children, while the friends you’re most concerned about will take the spooky puns out of their Twitter names. I can hardly wait! And the lion’s share of this week's Top Chef is devoted to America’s Most Irritating Holiday. They’ve even enlisted the help of one of our most terrifying celebrities! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

"Are you enjoying the journey?” »

Kitchen Horror Stories: 10 True Tales of Blood and Gore

Better get a Band-Aid.Photo: Shutterstock

It's Halloween, and that means today's full of all spooks and frights you'd typically expect, which is to say no actual scares. But do you know what's truly terrifying? Life in a professional kitchen, where everyday accidents can result in lost fingers and forever-scarred faces. That's why, every year around this time, Grub Street asks chefs across the country for their own kitchen horror stories, all of which are far creepier than anything you'll see today. Check out ten real and gruesome accounts of cooking-related carnage, straight ahead.

"We both just stared at it before the blood started gushing out." »

Clown Assaults Taco Bell Customers

A couple were in the queue at a Battle Ground, Washington, Taco Bell when they briefly exchanged words with two men in a blue pickup truck. Minutes later, they had picked up their food and were circling through the parking lot when one of the blue truck's occupants, who happened to be dressed like a clown, approached the driver and punched him. The victim was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for skull fractures, and the clown was arrested, which is more proof that bozos don't mix well with chain restaurants. [KPTV via Consumerist, Earlier]

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