The Most Patriotic Thief Ever Stole a Big Rig Full of High Life

Who doesn't want a few ten thousand of these?

Some brazen thief seized an opportunity at a Florida panhandle truck stop and took an 18-wheeler packed full of Miller High Life, which, if you're wondering, comes to 9,700 four-packs of golden elixir or (for another comparison point, totally at random) probably about half as many Champagne bottlefuls.

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What to Eat at Vic’s, the Five Points Team’s Fresh New Restaurant

Cornetti, broccoli, Calabrian chilies, bread crumbs.Photo: Liz Clayman

Vicki Freeman — the co-owner of Hundred Acres, Cookshop, soon-to-open Rosie's, and now Vic's — has always called the shots. Her chef-husband, Marc Meyer, might have more name recognition, but it was Freeman who first hired him back in 1993, at her first-ever restaurant, VIX Café in Soho. ("I hired a husband — wasn't planning on that," she jokes.) So when it came time to make a decision regarding the fate of Five Points, Freeman took the reins. "I just wanted a change," she says. "Five Points was was doing okay — like, it wasn't hemorrhaging. It was known for brunch. But I felt like we had this amazing piece of real estate, and I live in the neighborhood. I wanted to open a restaurant that I could eat at twice a week." So instead of selling the lease ("all of the restaurant owners that I know wanted to buy it from me"), Freeman decided to reopen an entirely new concept — Vic's — a nod to her first venture.

Burrata pizza. »

A New Study Confirms We’re Entering a ‘Golden Age’ of Bourbon

Raise a glass to the good old stuff.

Whiskey buffs may have seen this one coming, but according to a new industry survey, Kentucky today has essentially three times the number of bourbon distilleries it had two years ago. That's such a surprising figure that the Kentucky Distillers' Association, a group probably up to speed on such matters, says it looked at the data — which got revised mid-study to reflect more new growth — and was "blown away." The report, put out by the University of Louisville, estimates that if one added the money invested in the state's burgeoning bourbon pursuits since 2008 to what's expected by 2019, it could top $1 billion.

"Every day there was a different huge bourbon announcement..." »

Watch As Experts Rave About ‘Organic Food’ That’s Really Just McDonald’s

Here, now, finally, some good news for McDonald's: Lovers of organic food actually enjoy it — as long as they don't know what it is. The people who run the Dutch video series Lifehunters pranked an entire food expo's worth of eaters into thinking Mickey D's McNuggets, muffins, and other "McDonald's classics" were "delicious," worth comparing to fine wine, even, according to one real pro, full of good "structure" and "not too sticky."

Marvel as the praises roll in. »

Grimaldi’s Shanghai Imposter Looks Pretty Horrible

Say what you want about the Brooklyn original, this pie looks fantastic.Photo: m01229/flickr

Yesterday, our own Adam Platt opined that Grimaldi's Brooklyn flagship, known far and wide for its coal-oven pies, would likely still have a line out the door "even if they started selling chunks of charcoal wrapped in cellophane." This may be true, but nobody, we repeat nobody, messes with the original Grimaldi's, except maybe the dozens of franchised locations around the country that invariably serve inferior pizzas. In any case, we're especially peeved to hear about this $25 million lawsuit filed in federal court against an ex-worker who's now gone and opened "Patsy Grimaldis" in Shanghai. It's a shameless knockoff with an identical menu — the impostors even have a bright blue sign that reads, "I'm gonna make you a pizza you can't refuse," echoing the T-shirts worn by servers at the original location. Let's get a good look at the pizza.

Hello ... Kitty? »

Introducing Sea Change, the ‘Uni of Cheese’

"This is more about session cheeses you can eat and pair with other foods."Photo: Hugh Merwin

The flavor gamut of great cheese routinely runs from musty to earthy to salty-caramel to tangy all the way to meaty, but recently famed cheesemonger Anne Saxelby was going through an assortment of new cheese at her Red Hook cave when she was struck by something more unique. As she tasted a ripening paper-wrapped piece of cheese called Sea Change, Saxelby says she was shocked by the clarity of the buttery-sweet-briny flavor: "I tasted it first and thought, Whoa, this is like the uni of cheese," she says. "I'm not even a huge fan, but this is uni I could get behind."

"This has never really been done before." »

Lucasfilm Is Not a Fan of Empire Brewing’s ‘Strikes Bock’ Beer

Some Jedi mind tricks would be handy about now.

Lucasfilm, Disney's arm in control of the Star Wars franchise, has discovered Empire Brewing Co.'s Strikes Bock beer and believes the resemblance is just too strong in this one. The Syracuse-based brewpub, which is in the midst of a Chuck Schumer–approved massive expansion, plans to sell bottles for the first time in stores, so it applied to trademark its maybe too cleverly named German lager.

Its Skywalker Vineyards has the 'Star Wars' theme locked down. »

Starbucks Will Unveil Its Chestnut Praline Latte Next Month

Trust us: There's chestnut praline in there.Photo: Shutterstock

As fall gives way to winter, are you afraid your daily pumpkin spice latte will still feel too autumnal? Maybe it's just a little too ... basic? For those suffering the PSL blues, Starbucks says its newest creation — a chestnut praline latte — will land in stores on November 12. As you might glean from the name, it's a latte with chestnut praline syrup, whipped cream, and praline crumbles, and "the first new holiday handcrafted beverage in five years" to boot, so the company's surely going to be peddling it hard all season, meaning you probably aren't in danger of missing out.

What's it actually taste like? »

Grindhaus Hits the Reset Button With a Brand-New Chef and Steak for 2

Now open for lunch. And steak.Photo: Hugh Merwin

Erin Norris sends word that Aaron Taber is no longer in the kitchen at Grindhaus, her ten-month-old Red Hook restaurant. The chef, whose foie gras and strawberry dish Pete Wells admired so much he ordered two in a row, left last week. "As wonderful as it was, there were a lot of aspects that weren't working," Norris says. "It was not a sustainable business model." In his place is now Carole Greenwood, a New York native and James Beard Award nominee who cooked most recently in Johannesburg. The menu is now more focused on meat and includes a steak for two. "One of things you can't get in Red Hook is a good steak," she says.

"... it's almost going back to the roots of Grindhaus ..." »

See Eric Ripert’s Veggie Take on Peruvian Anticucho

Anticucho, from the native Quechua language of the South American Andes, refers to a traditional food of skewered beef heart cooked over an open flame. It’s still a street-food specialty of Peru, where Le ­Bernardin’s Eric Ripert encountered it in his travels. Back in New York, he used the snack and the sauce that accompanies it as inspiration for a dish at his new casual outpost, Aldo Sohm Wine Bar. But in an effort to diversify the typical wine-bar cheese-and-charcuterie hegemony with an array of lighter, of-the-moment vegetables, ­Ripert and his chef de cuisine, Erik Fricker, jettisoned the beef hearts for bloodred beets, drizzled with Ripert’s anticucho sauce. And to drink? Le Bernardin sommelier and the new bar’s namesake, Aldo Sohm, recommends pairing it with Wachter-Wiesler’s 2012 Blaufränkisch ­Südburgenland, a spicy Austrian red.

“The density and meatiness of beets hold up well to the sauce.” »

10/21/14

Here Are the 2015 Michelin Stars for San Francisco; Benu and Saison Both Get Major Upgrades

San Francisco now has four three-star restaurants, up from two in 2014.Photo: Michelin

The little red guidebook named its brand-new crop of "Bib Gourmand" picks for San Francisco last week, and this afternoon Michelin unveiled the full lineup of starred restaurants running in its 2015 guide. In what is clearly the biggest development of the year, Corey Lee's four-year-old Benu and Joshua Skenes's Saison have each been awarded three stars, where they sit atop the list with the Restaurant at Meadowood and the French Laundry, which have been the only vaunted players at that echelon since 2011. Additionally, Acquerello chef and owner Suzette Gresham joins Dominique Crenn and Emma Bengtsson in New York as one of just three chefs in the United States with two stars. Meanwhile, Mitsunori Kusakabe's namesake restaurant and Maruya are the new one-star additions to the list, which includes restaurants in Cupertino, Palo Alto, Healdsburg, and, of course, Yountville.

To the rankings. »

Restaurant Posts Somber ‘Obituary’ After Upstairs Neighbor Kills the Business

R.I.P.Photo: Illegal Jack's South West Grill/Facebook

Jack Muir found himself moving through the stages of grief after a leaky roof collapsed the ceiling at his Illegal Jacks South West Grill, cutting the popular Edinburgh Tex-Mex spot down a month shy of its fifth birthday. Frustrated and faced with the grief of laying off 14 employees, not to mention the unceremonious end to his haggis burritos, Muir decided to pen an obit that's now been shared almost 800 times (on Facebook, of course). It also barely disguised his anger with the people he blamed for the 17-day saga leading to the demise of his restaurant.

"Eat me ..." »

McDonald’s Figures Out That People Sort of Hate Going to McDonald’s

People lining up to not eat Big Macs.Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Everyone loves Chipotle. People cannot get enough Chipotle. Chipotle is killing it. Throw some humanely raised pork and brown rice in a huge gummy tortilla, top it with the tomato salsa and that other salsa with the corn — always get the one with the corn — spend the extra $2 or whatever on guac, wrap that baby up in some foil, and you're good to go. Walk by any Chipotle at like one o'clock in the afternoon and you will see a line of customers snaking all through the store, reading their iPhones and each waiting to spend $10 on a burrito, or a bowl, or maybe one of the salads with the good dressing. Whenever a new Chipotle opens, the burrito-bowl-craving hordes queue up accordingly. Chipotle can do no wrong. And this is not good news for McDonald's, which today had to let the world know that people just don't like McDonald's all that much anymore.

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A Man Claims His Golden Corral Chili Contained a Snaggletoothed Rat Head

Of all the most disgusting rogue ingredients you can brainstorm finding in a bowl of chili, "severed furry rat head" is highly unlikely to make the list, because who would even think that up? Well, Bob Wilson now will. The Florida man — and until now Golden Corral regular — claims he, his son, and some friends were eating a buffet dinner recently, and this curly-eared rodent head was a thing he had to spit out after digging into his chili. "The first bite I took out of it was a crunch," he says, already crossing over the TMI zone, "and at the time I was like, 'Maybe, you know, sometimes you get a hard bean inside of chili.'" But alas, there were no hard beans inside Wilson's chili. His next stop was the bathroom. Warning: Snaggletoothed rat head photo, straight ahead.

"Wow that is a rat," the manager concluded. »

Burrata Everywhere: 24 Places to Eat Everyone’s Favorite Menu Item

Burrata, roasted delicata squash, and brown butter.Photo: Courtesy of John Dory Oyster Bar

There's one menu item you can almost always count on seeing at a new restaurant: a composed burrata dish. The smooth, rich Italian cheese — a mozzarella shell filled with more soft cream, essentially — is an ingredient that both chefs and diners love to a point that it's omnipresent. It used to be that it was just on every Italian menu, but now restaurants like Xixa, Mission Cantina, and Casa Mono feature it, too. Indeed, burrata is having its bacon moment. But you won't hear Grub complaining — the stuff is amazing. (Even if burrata French toast — a real thing — is right on the cusp of pushing things a bit too far.) And so, here are two dozen notable dishes from around town that make the most of everyone's favorite ingredient.

Burrata grilled-cheese! »

Cappuccino Chips Are, Thankfully, No Longer Happening

Resting in pieces.

The votes have been tallied, and Wasabi Ginger is Frito-Lay's "Do Us a Flavor" winner, not the one that "tasted" like cappuccino. America may never know how close it got to cappuccino-flavored chips in every bodega, but it was time to put it out of its misery. That variety was all but universally reviled online, spawned a series of "We tried so you don't have to" consumer reviews, and ultimately got dissed by coffee writer Oliver Strand as "a punch line."

Cappuccino guy still gets paid. »

L.A.’s Top Round Roast Beef Plans to Open in NYC, and Everywhere Else

Yes, "housemade cheese 'wizz'" is a real thing.Photo: Facebook

Here's some cheery news: Los Angeles restaurant Top Round Roast Beef has signed a franchising agreement to bring its burgeoning empire of medium-rare sandwiches to Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and many other cities. Though its grungy, smog-aged flagship may seem like it's been around forever, Top Round opened in the summer of 2013, and its founders include Anthony Carron, who co-created similarly expanding Neapolitan pie chainlet 800 degrees. But beyond the resolutely healthy-seeming prospects of "kale slaw," the menu looks downright spectacular — bring on the gravy fries and housemade cheese "wizz."

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World Decides Deep-Fried Candy Corn Is One Step Too Far

Seasonally scary.

"What do we do to things we don't need/want/like?" Amy Erickson asks on her blog, Oh, Bite It!. "We fry it ... that's what!" In this case, the creator of deep-fried Pumpkin Spice Lattes and, for rougher days, deep-fried tequila shots has put Brach's famous candy corn inside Pillsbury dough rounds and subjected the whole package to a bath of hot oil. The finished product is dusted with powered sugar, zeppole-style, and allegedly yields "doughy pillows" that are "just a shadow of that seasonal, sad, tooth-buster of a treat."

"Why did the phrase 'deep fried candy corn' just crawl across my timeline?" »

Above the Fray: How Restaurants Become Impervious to Criticism

New York's Grand Central Oyster Bar.Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

I first heard the term "shit line" from a British journalist who’d spent years in the trenches of Fleet Street. He was describing a venerable old gasbag editor of his, a once-reputable gentleman who was now beyond reproach, despite the fact that he drank himself senseless at lunchtime and took lengthy afternoon naps. This was not meant as a putdown. On the contrary, those who ascend above the mythical demarcation are impervious to the random quibbles and criticisms of everyday life. Those below (i.e., most of us) are judged by harsher standards, and doomed to a life of striving and disappointment. But to be above the shit line is to enter the realm of immortality and myth. There are politicians who qualify (but, like Bill Clinton, many tend to be retired from politics — or dead), and actors (Bill Murray, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts), as well as authors, some of whom are geniuses (Philip Roth), and others whose books sell millions of copies no matter what kind of drivel they write. The same goes for restaurants, of course. Anyone who has spent time eating around this great dining city knows that there are plenty of treasured establishments (and one or two chefs) that have achieved an enviable, bulletproof status, whether they deserve it or not.

Peter Luger, we're looking at you. »

10/20/14

Here’s an Entire Japanese New Year’s Feast That Comes in a Pokemon Ball

Pika?

Have no clue what you're doing for New Year's yet? Well, maybe now you at least have dinner figured out: With this precooked 26-dish osechi set for ¥14,580 (about $136, delivery included), you can stuff yourself on crab legs, daikon, and chestnut paste, and still have plenty of leftovers the next day. It's Kenko Sansai's healthier version of the traditional year-end feast, but inside a Poké Ball, and with at least 100 percent more manga than usual.

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