Surge Pricing Is Coming for Your Meal Deliveries Next

Dinner — now a lesson in supply and demand.Photo: Shutterstock

New food-delivery start-up Sprig has been the talk of Silicon Valley. It's apparently swimming in money and packing serious culinary star power, but the endeavor sure turned heads today by announcing it's rolling out the nefarious system of "dynamic delivery fees." Co-founder and CEO Gagan Biyani tells Fast Company prices "will go lower," too, "depending on the situation," which means, theoretically, "you may even see free delivery," but this is better translated as: When you're hungriest, it's highly likely food's going to cost the most.

A necessary component of growing. »

Is This App-Connected Frying Pan the Future, or Just Another Stupid Gadget?

Finally, cooking with "simple instructions humans can understand."Photo: SmartyPan/Indiegogo

If you heed the words of people who decide this stuff, the next big thing that will no doubt vastly improve your life by fusing tech and cookware is SmartyPan, a battery-powered frying pan that is managed by an app that acts like bumper lanes for bad cooks.

Turn down that temperature. »

Europe’s Most Celebrated Bartender Will Mix Drinks in New York Next Week

He's looking at you, kid.Photo: Courtesy of the Ritz Paris

The grand Hôtel Ritz Paris is closed until the middle of next year, so Colin Peter Field of the famed Bar Hemingway seized the opportunity to go on an extended bartender's sabbatical, of sorts, round the world — he was just in Honolulu, for example, where he infused Maker's Mark with kiawe charcoal smoke. Starting next Monday, Field will be at the the Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges and the bar for a short week of guest shifts. Forbes dubbed him the World's Best Bartender back in 2001, and the title stuck for a reason: In addition to serving "Serendipity," his famous Calvados and Champagne cocktail, Field will pour French 75s made from the original Stork Club recipe, meaning the drink is served in a big tumbler, and more. In lieu of souvenirs, Field is also gifting the establishment with a namesake drink made with tequila añejo and crushed cucumber.

Calvados, salted apples, martinis with olive oil ... »

Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer Agree: Deep-Frying Makes Everything Better

"How permanent are the effects of that?"Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Last night's release event for Lena Dunham's Not That Kind of Girl, held at the Union Square Barnes & Noble, didn't promise to offer much in the way of food-related entertainment. And yet, during the Q&A session, an audience member posed quite the culinary conundrum to Dunham and co-host Amy Schumer: Would you rather eat only mustard for the rest of your life, or deep-fry your vagina? Wait ... what? Okay, so it's an unusual question, and presents a scenario unlikely to ever be encountered in the real world, but nevertheless, the two comediennes had some interesting thoughts on the matter.

"Do they specify what type of mustard, or no?" »

Watch Chris Cosentino’s Truly Excellent Talk on the Perils of the Celebrity-Chef Lifestyle

Last month, Incanto's Chris Cosentino leveled with the crowd at the MAD4 symposium about the hazards of celebrity-TV stardom, and that very frank advice, "Be Careful What You Wish For," has finally been posted online. He warns the younger generation of chefs that, yes, an Iron Chef appearance led to a speedy ascent ("Everybody wants to talk to you — 'Oh, you're really funny,' 'You say a lot of good things,' 'You've got really good sound bites.' I f--king hate that word"), but that then beget contractual obligations and insane eating challenges. He says eventually it broke him down. His stomach in particular: "They said it looked like I swallowed a wolverine that tried to scratch itself out. Trust me, it's not f--king funny, because I spent days on the shitter."

Culinary school students, watch this. »

Dunkin’ Donuts’ Customers Use Twice As Much Wi-Fi As Starbucks’

So many cat videos to watch today.

With reliable Wi-Fi and sometimes even an electrical outlet to spare, Starbucks is basically the go-to "coffice" of telecommuters everywhere. A new study by WeFi of internet use at 45 million hot spots in national coffee chains, however, shows the real laptop lingerers are at Dunkin' Donuts, nursing their Coolattas for twice as long as their counterparts at Starbucks and Tully's, third and second on the list, respectively. More than that, though, the chain's customers turn out to be data hogs.

Read more »

Even Conservatives Support a Wage Hike for Restaurant Workers

Give this worker a few more dollars.

The results of a new Technomic poll seem to indicate that people who are opposed to raising the minimum wage for restaurant workers most likely spend a lot of time being very loud and eating a lot of instant ramen at home: A poll of 1,000 restaurantgoers revealed that "93 percent of self-described liberals, 87 percent of moderates and 70 percent of conservatives" support the idea of getting the lowest-paid members of the fast-food workforce a state-mandated raise. It's unclear what kind of restaurant, ritzy or otherwise, the Technomic pollsters stationed themselves outside in order to talk to people, but 12 percent of those who participated were self-identified business owners, and 90 percent of the subset supported a minimum wage hike and index to inflation.

Read more »

Introducing Emmett’s No-Ketchup-Allowed Chicago Dog

Acting as culinary ambassadors for their native Chicago, brothers Emmett and Dillon Burke unleashed deep-dish pizza on our thin-crust-pie town at their South Village bar, Emmett’s. Now, with the introduction of their hometown hot dog, the Burkes are courting controversy again. Chicago-style dogs were a product of the Depression, when vendors would strew them with a virtual salad of toppings to give the impression of a full meal. Variations abound, but some things are sacred: Above all, ketchup is verboten. Emmett Burke, whose palate was honed at Scooter’s in Lake Bluff, Illinois, takes issue with our local contenders—even Shake Shack’s Shack-cago Dog: “They don’t capture the essence of what a Chicago dog actually is,” he says. “With all due respect to Danny Meyer, he grew up in St. Louis. If Cub fans knew a St. Louis guy was serving Chicago dogs in New York, they would throw a fit.”

Read more »

09/30/14

Trouble on East 65th Street: Why Does Daniel Keep Losing Stars?

Daniel Boulud.Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The biggest news in this year's announcement of New York City's Michelin stars, by far, is the demotion of Daniel Boulud's Daniel from three stars to two — another blow for a restaurant that's weathered its share of bad news recently. Last summer the Times also knocked a star off its rating, and this past spring, Daniel dropped from No. 29 to No. 40 on that global 50 Best Restaurant List. These are still outstanding honors for most restaurants, but a slow, steady slide down three major rankings for the world's finest dining destinations is bad news for a business built on the premise that it offers its guests the very best food and the very best service on a nightly basis (and charges accordingly). That's especially true for a restaurant like Daniel that, as recently as ten years ago, was still considered by many to be the very pinnacle of fine dining in New York City, if not the entire United States.

Read more »

Joël Robuchon Will Open His Comeback Restaurant in Lower Manhattan

Joël is in a New York state of mind, just like that other Joel guy.Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Joël Robuchon tells Florence Fabricant that just like Ace Frehley, he's back in a New York groove. In fact, the highly esteemed French chef will open a much larger and most definitely spiffier version of his L'Atelier, which closed at The Four Seasons in the summer of 2012. This time, though, instead of a midtown address, Robuchon's got a whopping 11,000 square feet to work with, and the new restaurant will be the "jewel in the crown" of Brookfield Place. Yes, that's 11,000 square feet.

Robuchon cubed. »

PepsiCo Wants to Patent Granola Bars Stuffed With Pop Rocks

Snap, crackle, and pop.

Right now in some windowless PepsiCo food lab, scientists are doing crazy and secret things to everybody's favorite exploding candy — enough, at least, to convince the Quaker Oats parent company it's time to go after a patent. Sure, companies file preemptively for all kinds oft-trademarked things, all the time, but a healthy-ish granola bar sold with some sugary, carbonated land mines embedded right in there seems so trashy it's destined to become a reality.

All-natural? »

Here Are the 2015 Michelin Stars for New York City

Who's he waving at?Photo: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

The little red guidebook announced its "Bib Gourmand" picks for New York City last week, and this afternoon Michelin published its collection of starred restaurants for its 2015 guide. Most notably, Daniel Boulud's flagship lost a star — it now has two instead of three — while Brooklyn's River Café, which was decimated by Hurricane Sandy, is now back on the list. The surprises include Patti Jackson's Delaware and Hudson, the sleepy Carroll Gardens restaurant Take Root, and Pok Pok Ny. The full list is straight ahead.

Blanca is now a two-star place. »

Rage Against the Machine Is Now Just Raging Against a Neighborhood Café

Ready to rage.Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images

After rocking a solo performance this weekend in Seattle benefiting 15 Now, a group devoted to promoting a $15 minimum wage citywide for workers, Rage guitarist Tom Morello tried to waltz himself and his entourage into Seattle's 5 Point Cafe. The place was at capacity, however, and had quite the queue backed up outside already, so its doorman, "who's told bigger rock stars than him no," informed Morello they'd just have to wait their turn like everybody else. Upon hearing the news, the guitarist pulled out his phone to vent — where else at 4 a.m.? — on Twitter. Morello slammed the place, of course, but it turns out the restaurant's owner had some fighting words of his own.

"Just lost a ton of respect for you ..." »

New York’s Best New Bakery Is Located in an Office-Building Lobby

The aroma of freshly baked bread wafts through the lobby at 40 Worth.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev

These days it’s possible to eat just about anything anywhere. And if you’re a roving omnivore like the Underground Gourmet, you don’t restrict your calorific intake to a particular setting — certainly not to your own kitchen or the type of restaurant that spoils its guests with actual chairs with backs and tables with legs. You may, in fact, have recently slurped oysters aboard a creaky old schooner docked along the Hudson, grabbed a ramen burger in the gravel-strewn lot of a hipster gastroflea, or maybe ordered a nice lamb-face salad in a Flushing mall basement. But when was the last time you tucked into a first-rate pain au chocolat in a downtown office building hallway? Probably never. Which is why we recommend you buzz over to the new Arcade Bakery in Tribeca. Otherwise your Unusual-Places-in-Which-I-Have-Eaten checklist is in grave peril of becoming obsolete.

The wafting aroma of freshly baked bread was its only advertisement... »

McDonald’s Japan Rolls Out Its Own Black Cheeseburger

No black cheese? Come on.

Maybe McDonald's saw Burger King's black-bunned and shiny black-cheese-topped burger and promptly rushed this anticlimactic thing into production? In any event, as part of a Halloween-themed duo, the "Squid Ink" burger has two patties, fried onions, and plain cheese. There's also a mysterious-looking jet black sauce, and the limited-edition burger is now available at three Tokyo branches.

Oh, no. »

The Not-So-New Guy: Chef Jamie Bissonnette’s Big Year in New York

"New York started off by punching me in the face, but now it's giving me a hug."Photo: Liz Clayman

When chef Jamie Bissonnette won his James Beard award for Best Chef in the Northeast earlier this year, he celebrated by whipping out his flask. It wasn't for him, though. Instead, Bissonnette — the chef and owner of Coppa and Toro in Boston, as well as the year-old Toro outpost in New York — passed it around to friends, family, chefs, total strangers, and whoever was close by. "I always have a flask when I go to events because I'm socially weird," he explains. "I just have it so that I can be the one to supply it."

"New York started off by punching me in the face." »

The 11 Strangest Starbucks Locations on the Planet

Sadly, the Starbucks in the Forbidden City closed down in 2007.Photo: Mr. Tickle/Wikimedia

"There's probably a Starbucks coffeehouse near you," the coffee chain's online store locator says, which turns out to be truer than you may imagine. As part of its generalized world-domination schematic, the green mermaid has infiltrated some of the most remote, highly patrolled, and otherwise deepest corners of society. For a long time, perhaps the oddest Starbucks on Earth could be found within the Forbidden City in Beijing, but that one closed down in 2007. Several more unusual and far-flung coffee counters have opened all over the world since then; here are a few of them.

At the top of a mountain. »

09/29/14

Here’s an 8,000-Calorie Breakfast That Requires a Signed Waiver to Eat

No, seriously, there isn't room for all that.Photo: Bear Grills/Facebook

The fry-up, with its eggs and bread and beans, is a real gut-buster of the British breakfast already, but a north England café called Bear Grills — get it? — has now created one so intense and gimmicky that owner Mark Winder makes intrepid customers sign a waiver absolving the restaurant of damages "arising from any injury received or incurred" through any attempt to finish it.

There's a kids' version. »

Celebrity Chefs Gina and Pat Neely Are Divorcing

They've been married for 20 years.Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

Gina and Pat Neely, the hosts of the Food Network's Down Home With the Neelys and restaurateurs behind Neely's Barbecue Parlor on the Upper East Side, announced Friday that they will divorce after 20 years of marriage. People reports the pair's split in the most celebrity-chef-like way possible, noting that in the past year Gina gravitated toward a "weight-loss challenge" sponsored by George Foreman Grill, while Pat pursued a separate opportunity doing food and cooking videos with Family Dollar.

Read more »

Enrique Olvera’s Anticipated Restaurant Cosme Now Accepts Reservations

Cosme’s hamachi tiradito.

We've been looking forward to Cosme, the first New York restaurant from the Mexico City-based chef Enrique Olvera, for a while, after hearing about plans for "single-origin" tortillas and uni tostadas served with smoked tomatillos. Now here's news that the virtual reservations line has opened up, and the restaurant appears to be taking names for à la carte service from October 28 onward. Bring on the mezcal-and-chile-pepper-spiked clam chowder. [Official site via Eater, Related]

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