Maison Premiere’s Labor Day Party; The Pines Teams Up With Table on Ten

Maison Premiere is hosting its fourth-annual Labor Day Party on Monday, September 1. Doors will open at noon, admission is free, and the event will include an assortment of premium oysters and chilled seafood. The full bar will be available throughout the day, and you can expect live music. [Grub Street]

The Pines is once again joining forces with Table on Ten for a special dinner at the Bloomville restaurant. It's on August 31, and the eight-course meal — with edibles farmed and foraged within 25 miles — costs $75, without pairings. Email info@tableonten.com for reservations.

• One Fifty One (at 151 Rivington Street, between Clinton and Suffolk) is now in soft-open mode. It's the first New York venture from the Honeycut team in L.A. [Grub Street]

The Restaurateur Who Made Servers Pay Diner’s Credit-Card Fees Had a Sudden Change of Heart

It's on the house.

The St. Paul-based Blue Plate restaurant chain is backtracking on its pretty foul plan to deduct 2-ish percent of servers' tips to pay for customers' credit card merchant fees. The proprietors initially buried news of the policy change at the bottom of a memo that otherwise congratulated workers on their "well-deserved raise," and, not coincidentally, the surcharge was timed to Minnesota's recent and controversial minimum wage hike. Now there's been a sudden change of heart. "We have always listened to our guests and our community," said co-owner David Burley. The restaurant group is not only reabsorbing the fees, it's tossing in a raise to non-tipped employees too: $9.69 an hour, $1.69 more than the state's current minimum wage. All told, a costly management lesson, but perhaps a valuable long-term PR strategy. [Star Tribune, Earlier]

Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s Nut Butters Included in Wide-Reaching Recall

Almond butter, too.

A nut-butter producer whose products are shipped out to private-label customers like Kroger, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and more has voluntarily recalled the equivalent of 45 production lots of peanut and almond butter, crunchy and creamy. There have been no confirmed cases of salmonella, but producer nSPIRED Natural Foods, Inc. said in a press release yesterday that four illnesses were reported, and the USDA has identified the "potential risk" of leaving certain batches on the market. The full list of affected nut butters is here. Meanwhile, the FDA says the jars have been shipped to Canada, the U.A.E., Hong Kong, the Dominican Republic, and "across the United States," so anyone unsure of their nut butter's provenance might want to omit to PB from their PB&Js for a while. [FDA]

Here’s the Full List of Competing Cooks on Top Chef’s New Season

Hey here, pilgrim.

Bravo's Top Chef crew was all over Beantown for season 12, and it looks like besides Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons, and Hugh Acheson, Top Chef All Stars champ and noted Fancy Feast connoisseur Richard Blais will join as a recurring judge for the 16 contestants. Expect Fenway Park and Cheers bar cameos, plus guest appearances from actress Emmy Rossum, Jacques Pépin, and Barbara Lynch. The season premieres October 15. Two New Yorkers made the cut; the full release, straight ahead.

Two words: George Wendt »

Yuji Ramen Will Pop Up at Okonomi Beginning Next Week

Wild Alaskan King Salmon and cheese mazemen.Photo: Yuji Ramen/Facebook

Starting next Monday, at Yuji Haraguchi's Williamsburg restaurant Okonomi you'll be able to get a bunch of favorites from Yuji Ramen, like the Wild Alaskan King Salmon and cheesy mazemen you see here, along with plates like local bonito poke that are normally served at the restaurant. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the pop-up is walk-in only. Haraguchi shut both of his noodle counters at Whole Foods down last month, leaving a tsukemen-shaped hole in the city's bustling ramen scene. [Facebook via Eater NY, Related]

You’re Not Imagining It: Starbucks Is Literally Following You

Will there be a Pumpkin Spice Latte jingle?Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks

It's been a big news week for Starbucks: The company revised its erratic scheduling policy, continued its push to serve booze, and, today, announced the introduction of coffee trucks on college campuses. Arizona State University, James Madison University, and Coastal Carolina University will all serve as test sites for mobile trucks, operated by food-service company Aramark. It's only a matter of time before Starbucks trucks start tailing you everywhere you go, tempting you with a siren song of a Pumpkin Spice jingle.

Read more »

Crumbs Bake Shop Chain Closer to Reopening, Possibly Now With Dippin’ Dots

The cupcake empire strikes back.

Entrepreneurial CNBC host Marcus Lemonis can officially add fledgling cupcake impresario to his list of job titles. Yesterday marked the deadline for any upstart to challenge the $6.5 million offer Lemonis and partner Fischer Enterprises put up for the bankrupt Crumbs Bake Shop chain, and exactly zero buttercream-ish suitors emerged from the fray. Some dotted-line signing goes down next week in Jersey, but Lemonis, meanwhile, can continue ironing out what precisely these places will sell. So far, it looks like Crumbs 2.0 could be a dessert menagerie, possibly including stuff in mason jars, mail-ordered sweets, Dippin' Dots, Key lime pie, and some gluten-free options to boot. [NYP, Related]

Here’s Some Jägermeister-Sauced Poutine Served in an Old Bottle

It's a Canadian-German co-production.Photo: Bar Brutus/Instagram

The world already has Jägerbombs, and gut-bombs in the form of meat-laden poutine, so this Jägermeister Poutine seems like the next logical step. The over-the-top but still Paleo-friendly menu at the soon-to-exist Bar Brutus in Montreal includes bacon-wrapped sushi, a cheekily named "salade" made of several bacon strips and a single sprig of mache, the "very first 100% bacon sausage Hot Dog," and lots of bacon-vodka cocktails, because the owner is in possession of Quebec's entire supply. On the positive side of things, anyone who ingests the bacon poutine may benefit from the assortment of digestive-aiding botanicals in the Jägermeister sauce, but if not, there's now a plumb opportunity for a late-night food truck in Montreal that serves zeppoles dusted with crushed up statins instead of powdered sugar. [First We Feast]

NYC Proposes Banning Toys From Unhealthy Fast-Food Kids’ Meals

Princess Leia bobbleheads be damned!

Several other NYC Councilmembers have said as much before him, and now Ben Kallos wants it known he thinks it's ridiculous that "toys are being linked to meals" at fast-food chains, along with discounts and other incentives, especially in light of the city's "very high obesity rate." So tomorrow he's introducing a bill to ban trinkets that accompany them all, or at least all the ones that come with meals exceeding 500 calories or 600 milligrams of sodium, which is most. Kallos also recommends that kids' meals include half a cup of fruit or vegetables, or one serving of whole-grain products. So if this passes, expect a lot fewer cheap toys, and one more collective step toward the McQuinoa. [NYDN]

Judge Temporarily Halts Subway Inn’s Eviction Proceedings

The famous dive bar turned to a crowdfuding campaign earlier this month.Photo: Carmen Lopez

Subway Inn, the 77-year-old Upper East Side dive bar that faces demolition to make way for an incoming block of luxury condominiums, temporarily prevailed in court yesterday when a civil court judge suspended the eviction process and granted the Salinas family a temporary restraining order. In a statement, the dive bar's co-owner Steven Salinas says the development was "just the first step."

"... we are confident that in the end justice prevails ..." »

The Other Critics: Reviews of Delaware and Hudson, Root & Bone, Cherche Midi

Root & Bone is cleaning up.

This week, Pete Wells reviewed a prix fixe tasting menu in Williamsburg, Delaware and Hudson; Ryan Sutton panned Tavern on the Green; a few critics praised the fried chicken and biscuits and Root & Bone; and Cherche Midi received another glowing review. Read it all, straight ahead.

"Best fondue you’ve ever had." »

Watch a Clip From the New Season of Mind of a Chef

The third season of PBS's food show Mind of a Chef, which features the Nordic genius of Magnus Nilsson and the obsessive, genre-busting Edward Lee, premieres in just a few weeks, and here's an outtake that offers some insight into Lee's work. The Louisville-based chef takes a nicely charred stave repurposed from a bourbon barrel, files down the rough edges, and essentially turns it into a serving piece and resinous, smoky flavoring conduit for his paper-thin bison carpaccio.

"We start thinking about this as an ingedient." »

08/19/14

No. 7’s Birthday Party; the Cleveland’s New Large-Format Options

• To celebrate its sixth birthday, No. 7 is bringing on Fung Tu's Jonathan Wu and Brooks Headley for a three-course, $50 family-style supper on Friday, September 5 at 9:30 p.m. Email katherine@no7sub.com for reservations. [Grub Street]

The Cleveland has launched four-course, large-format dining options: a whole leg of lamb set, wild-caught seafood, or a fully vegetarian dinner for $70 a person. [Grub Street]

• On September 4, Eataly will celebrate its birthday with a Greatest Hits Dinner in Birreria. Details here. [Grub Street]

Tiny Indiana Town Despises Oreo for Sending Them Lots of Tiny Cookies

Imagine this wrapped in plastic, then paper, in a box, tied with twine, and so on.

To drum up interest for its new Mini Oreos, the cookie company invented a "Small Town America" campaign and shipped the miniatures to 50 minuscule U.S. towns as some kind of reward for staying humble. But as the hazards of small-town life go, it seems that all 81 residents of Mauckport, Indiana, came to a rapid consensus that it kind of sucked to get a solitary, quarter-size cookie, packaged in a sad plastic wrapper, to share with the household. "This is the talk around town and, to us, this is just a big joke," Debbie White told the Star after documenting hers on Twitter.

Phase two! »

Korean Barbecue Specialist Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong Will Open Manhattan Location This Fall

Coming to 32nd Street.

Coming very soon to 319 Fifth Avenue is Kang Ho Dong Baekjeon, a chain owned by Korean comedian and former wrestler Kang Ho Dong. Stateside, its Jonathan Gold-approved L.A. location and Flushing outpost are connected to the original but are independently operated, and the 150-seat K-Town location will be Baekjeong's American flagship. As such, the owners have brought on chef Deuki Hong, who cooked at Jean Georges and Momofuku, and who is now wrapping on a cookbook co-written with food writer Matt Rodbard, so expect a lot of finesse with that grilled pork jowl. The restaurant will be open until 6 a.m. on weekends, and will eventually tack on lunch hours as well. [Facebook]

Spiking Booze With Straight Viagra Predictably Ends in Entrepreneur’s Arrest

Hard sell.

To "increase liquor sales and make money fast," also to promote other types of growth, the owner of the catchily named Nine Springs Ecological Agriculture Development Co. in Hubei province ordered some internet sildenafil citrate, Viagra's active ingredient, then dissolved it into baijiu, a strong liquor that already delivers a hefty kick in the pants. The entrepreneurial guy even managed to sell more than a thousand bottles until he was arrested six months later. He's now in jail, where he'll no doubt be planning the nitty-gritty of opening his first bar. [China News Agency, Fox Business]

Doctor Who’s Cast Reacts to New York’s Newest Doctor Who-Themed Café

Jenna Coleman and Peter Capaldi at last week's BBC America fan screening in NYC.Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images

Brilliant Scottish actor Peter Capaldi is about to make his debut as the 12th incarnation of the namesake title character in the very long-running British show Doctor Who, which has its season premiere this weekend. Last week when the show's cast and writers were making the rounds, we had a moment to speak with Capaldi and Jenna Coleman, who plays continuing companion Clara Oswald. Grub also got a moment with venerated writer and producer Steven Moffat, and all three seemed absolutely delighted to hear that the show's fandom has now taken root in the Dutchess County town of Beacon in the form of a full-on Doctor Who restaurant, officially making two places in the state that have TARDIS-themed interior decor. At the Pandorica, even the tablecloths are Police Call Box blue.

"Fabulous. That's great. That's brilliant. Wow. That's amazing." »

Bakery That Supplied Crumbs Laid Off 75 Workers After Cupcake-Bubble Bust

Soar like an eagle, s'mores cupcake!

In addition to scores of corporate-side workers and all employees at its now-shuttered retail locations, 75 shift bakers at Melita Bakery in the Bronx lost their jobs after Crumbs abruptly shut down last month. The remnants of the once-mighty cupcake chain are now being retooled into some kind of viable frosting strategy, and while partner Emanuel Darmanin says his bakery, which partnered with Crumbs for 11 years, says he's ready to give it another shot, right now things look grim. Just before the filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation, standing orders for 225,000 cupcakes per week suddenly dropped 100,000, and beyond the workforce cuts, Melita had to renegotiate terms with suppliers. Then there were also the actual crumbs that Crumbs left behind in the form of surplus batter, which had to be converted into something resembling a fleet of zombie cupcakes prior to disposal. "We have to bake them to throw them away," says Darmanin. [WSJ, Related]

Café Owner Told Job Applicant ‘Coffee Culture Is More About White People’

At least the place makes okay-looking foam art.

Nilson Dos Santos, who is black and a Brazilian-born resident of Sydney, Australia, interviewed for a barista job at the inner-city café Forbes and Burton, but was apparently turned away because of his race. Owner Steven Hu, who reportedly moved to the city from Shanghai less than a year ago, was apparently shocked and surprised by Dos Santos's skin color when they sat down to chat on Sunday. "But you're black?" he asked, before adding, "my customers are white. I don't think they'd like to have their coffee made by black people. That's not part of the coffee culture. You're African."

The owner says he was "just being honest." »

Slaughterhouse Owners Allegedly Ordered Employees to Process Meat From Cancer-Stricken Cows

Ribeye sans cancer eye, please.

A federal grand jury has charged Jesse Amaral Jr. and Robert Singleton, owners of the now-defunct Rancho Feeding Corp., plus two employees, with conspiracy and fraud after they pushed diseased cattle past USDA inspectors and then sold them. The indictment alleges employees were instructed to cut the heads off diseased cows while the inspectors were out to lunch, then sneak others through the slaughterhouse by putting healthy heads on the bodies of ones that had telltale "cancer eye," not to mention slice away those otherwise problematic "USDA Condemned" stamps. The California-based company shut down in February after it recalled some 8.7 million pounds of meat, which was used in everything from Hot Pockets to supermarket burger patties. [NYT, Food Safety News, Related]

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