Sam Sifton Named Food Editor at New York Times

He's back in a New York (Times Food Section) groove.

Food writer, former restaurant critic, and noted Thanksgiving expert Sam Sifton has been appointed to food editor at the New York Times, a move he notes on Twitter makes him the first to hold the role since the Craig Claiborne era. Sifton currently presides over the recently-launched NYT Cooking section, a multimedia-heavy approach to home meals and entertaining, and in addition to renaming the paper's "Dining" section to the more straightforward "Food," there are other changes ahead: Current section editor Susan Edgerley will be the new deputy editor, and the combined new app-and-print section will "provide a central location for all Times readers’ cooking and dining needs." The full memo (via Capital) sent out by executive editor Dean Baquet is straight ahead.

"The section front for Dining will be rebranded as Food ... " »

President Obama Continues His Tour of America’s Best Barbecue Joints

That's a very large drink.Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Hot on the heels of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, President Obama stopped by the equally revered Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City last night to hang out with some folks and eat some 'cue. The president didn't cut the line this time — as he did at Franklin — and instead just walked up to the window to order some ribs, a Bud Light, water, and fries. POTUS was also in the mood for some cole slaw, but the restaurant was out. "You didn't save any for me?" the most powerful man in the world reportedly asked when informed of the outage. "Come on, man, I thought you were going to hook me up."

Barbecue selfies with Obama. »

The Other Critics: Reviews of Russ & Daughters Cafe, Dover, and The Gorbals

Two stars.

This week, the Underground Gourmet's Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld explored the "peaceful coexistence of old and new" in Ridgewood's foodscape. Elsewhere in the city, Pete Wells loved Russ & Daughters Cafe, Ryan Sutton decided Dover's tasting menu was not worth its price tag, and Robert Sietsema found The Gorbals faltering with "almost there" dishes. Read it all, straight ahead.

"... like edible smog." »


Toby’s Public House Eyes Second Brooklyn Location

Toby's in Manhattan.

Looks like Columbia Street is about to get an outpost of Toby's Public House, the well-loved South Slope bar and wood-fired pizzeria that also has a Kenmare Street location. The restaurant's reps appeared on the agenda for a community board meeting held earlier this week to score a liquor license in the former Caselnova space, which was more recently home to panini café La Bottega. In addition to Pok Pok, which will soon occupy three storefronts total along the South Brooklyn block, Columbia Street is now home to the just-opened, Instagram-ready bar and restaurant Orchard, and is about to get its own hot-dog-centric bar. [Related]


Perla’s New Burger; Little Muenster’s LES Outpost to Close

• Starting today, Perla has a new burger, offered from 5:30 to 7 p.m. — or until it runs out. The $15 burger is a custom Pat LaFrieda blend of Razza Piemontese beef topped with Taleggio, Cheddar crisps, escarole, and roasted tomato on housemade tigelle bread. It's served with with tater tots all'Amatriciana, crispy chickpeas, and Pecorino Romano. [Grub Street]

• On August 2, Little Muenster's Lower East Side location at 100 Stanton Street will shutter its doors just shy of being open three years. [Bowery Boogie]

Shake Shack will open its second Chicago location at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel sometime in 2015. Its first Chicago outpost is set to debut in late 2014. [Grub Street]

Meadowsweet launches Sunday brunch this week, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu includes huevos rancheros, doughnuts with jam, Reuben sandwiches, and more. Full menu here. [Grub Street]

Read more »

This Ice-Cream Sandwich Just Will Not Melt

Last week we heard about the intrepid Cincinnati-area mom who was alarmed to find out her son's ice-cream sandwich hadn't melted even after it was accidentally left out in the 80-degree sun for 12 hours, and then again when she replicated the results with a second Walmart-brand bar. The retailer responded by saying its sandwiches don't readily render into puddles of sticky goo because they in fact contain less cream and butterfat, but that the treats are totally FDA-approved and besides, the dairy-deficient factor also keeps the price point down. Here, one of the guys from some place called Kickin' Country 100.5 Sioux Falls taps into his inner investigative journalist by leaving his own Walmart ice-cream sandwich out for more than an hour. Watch as a control scoop of another kind of ice cream next to it turns into a puddle, then as the guy feeds the melted stuff to his dog.

"... there's a little bit of meltage going on here ..." »

Momofuku Noodle Bar Will Serve Throwback Menu to Celebrate 10-Year Anniversary

Ten years of pork buns, ramen, and more.

"I hope not," David Chang told Grub Street recently, when asked if he was planning anything special to celebrate Momofuku's ten-year anniversary, adding, "I really don't want to." Well, apparently the chef has reconsidered, and the restaurant will embark on all kinds of festivities starting August 18. (It's fun news, especially considering Chang's broader impact on cooking in New York and beyond.) Plans include the release of commemorative merchandise; a limited-edition "peaches 'n' cream" cookie at Milk Bar; and, from August 18 to 24, there's going to be a "throwback menu featuring dishes selected from our archives over the past decade" served at Momofuku Noodle Bar. A Momofuku rep tells Grub Street the menu details are still being finalized, but we're guessing it may involve at least one iteration of pork buns. (Hopefully some fried chicken with Old Bay, too.) [Momofuku LP, Related]

Wendy’s Decides It’s Time to Get Out of Russia

Cold War season for Frosties.Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Wendy's announced yesterday it will close the handful of locations it currently operates in Russia, less than a week after a watchdog group essentially declared war on McDonald's burgers and Filets-O-Fish and called for the fast-food company to shut down. Four Wendy's have already closed, and the remainder will follow in a matter of weeks. The company cites problems with its Russian franchisee Wenrus, which "has not expressed interest in growing Wendy's business in Russia, nor have they shown the resources to successfully operate the existing restaurants on a long-term basis," according to a spokesperson who adds that the decision "had nothing to do with politics." Wendy's came to Russia in 2010 with big plans to establish 180 locations; it ultimately opened eight. [Bloomberg, Related]

Dogfish Head Makes Chocolate-Lobster Beer — and It’s Great

Now just add some cocoa ...Photo: Keri Oberly/Aurora Open/Corbis

The thing about Choc Lobster beer is that it sounds like a joke. But since 2012, Dogfish Head has brewed this creation each summer with whole lobsters from Maine and a healthy dose of cocoa powder. According to the official description, basil tea is in the brew, too. It sounds ... strange. In truth, it is sort of strange, but Grub Street recently tried some, and it turns out it's not nearly as odd as the name, or ingredients, would make you think. In fact, it's really good.

Read more »

Pastis Will Likely Be Forced to Relocate

Keith McNally's French restaurant was originally slated to reopen in 2015.Photo: Shanna Ravindra

Industry types have been saying as much for months now, and today a representative of Keith McNally tells Fork in the Road that his famed brasserie Pastis won't likely reopen at its old Ninth Avenue address in 2015, as originally planned. "At the moment, it doesn't look like Pastis will go back into that building," a spokesperson for the restaurateur says.

Is Pastis headed downtown? »


Former Cooks Sue Barclays Center Over Alleged Discrimination and Racial Slurs

The Calvin Klein Courtside Club.

Five Barclays food-service workers have filed a lawsuit claiming that employees at the venue's restaurants inflicted discrimination, name-calling, and other abuse, including banishing them at posh venues like the Calvin Klein Courtside Club and the Jay Z-owned 40/40 Club "to ensure that they remain out of the sight of customers." Anthony Peterkin, a cook who's blind in one eye, says two managers gave him names like "Cyclops" and "one-eyed guy," while Erick Silverman, who has both cerebral palsy and a disorder called rhinophyma, claims in the $5 million suit that a manager mocked his hand tremors and insulted him in other, even more tasteless ways.

It gets worse. »

New ChickaLicious Location Will Serve As Prototype for Nationwide Expansion

Dough'Ssants for miles and miles.

Chika Tillman and Don Tillman say their forthcoming West Village ChikaLicious Dessert Club will open in the old Café Henri on October 1. It will be open seven days a week and have separate bakery sections and a sitdown bar, and the format will serve as the "prototype" for the "national rollout of ChikaLicious," says Don Tillman. With international stores already in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Seoul, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Jakarta, and Tokyo, Tillman says, "We started small, and now it is time to let it fly." The home of the Cronut-esque "Dough'Ssant" and Speculoos cinnamon-butter buns is also planning a Williamsburg location, set to open November 1, 2015, in an as-yet-unidentified boutique hotel. [Bedford + Bowery, Related]

Pi Bakerie Brings Astoria-Worthy Baklava and Spanakopita to Soho

The baklava and koulouri and pretty much everything else is "totally made by hand on premises."Photo: Rob Patronite

Brooklyn-born Regina Katopodis has been a co-owner of Astoria's excellent Artopolis Bakery for 11 years, but she's always wanted to return to Manhattan, where she ran several food stores during the '80s, to open a pastry shop. "It was my dream," she says. "I love the energy." Now, with the opening of Pi Bakerie, a lovely, lofty, sky-lit space that's part counter-service café, part production facility, her dream has come to fruition (hard by the circle of hell known as Holland Tunnel traffic though it may be). The Underground Gourmet, whose headquarters is within traffic-dodging distance of the place, is pretty happy about it too.

Bagel-like kouloúria with cream cheese and salmon ... »

Here’s the Handsome Cover for Lucky Peach’s ‘Seashore’ Issue

It's a real coast-to-coast thing.Photo: Lucky Peach

Following its "Street Food" and "All You Can Eat" theme issues, the food magazine next tackles "The Seashore" and follows Robert Sietsema out to Long Island, where he eats a mess of clams; Anthony Bourdain reminiscences about time on the beach; sea squirts make an appearance; and there are separate looks at California abalone and Indonesian farmed shrimp. There's also a 16-page detachable comic book that promises to make for some late summer beach reading. The new Lucky Peach is out August 19; check out all the details here. [Official site, Related]

McDonald’s Japan Unveils Tofu McNuggets

Fewer calories; also, 100 percent chicken-free.

Because of ongoing nastiness related to the expired meat scandal, McDonald's stores in Japan have mostly stopped serving chicken altogether, and to get customers through the doors, it's now offering four-piece packs of what it calls Tofu Shinjo Nuggets, vegetable-studded patties concocted from a mix of soybeans, onions, carrots, and shinjo, a sort of starch–fish paste concoction. The nuggets are produced in Japanese factories and come with a subtle ginger-flavored dipping sauce. "Because it isn't meat, it tastes a bit different. It's a bit softer," a spokesperson says. The Shinjo Nuggets were in the works, the company adds, long before allegations that a major fast-food supplier mixed expired meat with fresher meat, plus other unsavory things. This presumably just sped things up a bit. [WSJ, Related]

Berg’n Beer Hall Opens August 27

Asia Dog's crunchy-crispy fried-chicken sandwich.Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

After a few delays, the immense brick-walled space helmed by the Brooklyn Flea guys in a former Crown Heights garage will open on August 27. Mighty Quinn's, Pizza Moto Slice Shop, Asia Dog, and Ramen Burger make up the roster of food vendors and will serve everything from clams-casino pizza to ramen churros to kimchi macaroni and cheese. Berg'n is also home to a 40-foot antique bar that will dispense local brews as well as pints of Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, and there will be Dough doughnuts and Brooklyn-­roasted Parlor coffee in the mornings. [Related]


Culturefix Closes; Bistango Expands

Bodega Negra Café now hosts Taco Tuesdays: buy one set of tacos, get the second set free all day and night. [Grub Street]

Culturefix on the Lower East Side closed last night. [Bedford + Bowery]

Bistango will open at a third location on August 6 at the Kimberly Hotel, at 145 East 50th Street. [Grub Street]

Bacchanal will begin offering Sunday dinner service starting this weekend, August 3. [Grub Street]

Cheeburger Cheeburger Shutters Its Only Brooklyn Location

Cheeburger no more.

A note taped to the front window indicates it's curtains for the lone Brooklyn outpost of Florida-based chain Cheeburger Cheeburger, which opened at Seventh Avenue and Third Street in Park Slope in the pre-Fulton Mall Shake Shack days of 2011, when it was generally thought the borough's neighborhoods could sustain a burger chain on pretty much every corner. More Cheeburger Cheeburgers were promised but never arrived, and, meanwhile, the restaurant "never really developed a following among locals," Here's Park Slope notes. [HPS, Related]

Red Lobster Will Try to Get Fancier by Plating the Same Menu in New Ways

See this? This is what the tilapia with broccoli and rice pilaf looks like at the old Red Lobster, which is ceasing to be as we know it, now that the chain has officially changed hands. Get ready for tilapia plated "more like you'd see at a fine-dining restaurant."

See what they did there? »

Gordon Ramsay Forbids His Daughter to Swear on Her New Cooking Show

Tilly Ramsay.

Twelve-year-old Tilly Ramsay, the youngest of the Kitchen Nightmares chef's four progeny, will join the world of precocious grade-school chefs with a still-unnamed cooking show for CBBC. (That first C stands for Children's.) The newest Ramsay to wield a sauté pan is surely getting pointers from Dad, who seems to need a new hobby anyway, but one thing he absolutely won't teach her is how to craft perfect on-air profanities. He says, "I have told her that they are not clever words but sometimes they just slip out." Good news is the show isn't supposed to air for two more years, plenty of time for young Tilly to compile a master list of profanity-free ways to say "You f--king donkey." [Daily Mail UK]


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