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Boston Mayor Makes Good on Super Bowl Bet; Diet Sodas Linked to Metabolic Syndrome

Remember that little food bet Hizzoner made with Boston’s mayor over who’d win the Super Bowl? Well, pay-up time has come, and our northern neighbors will be donating 100 cups of New England clam chowder, 42 lbs. of coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, twelve dozen Boston cream pies and twelve dozen Parker house rolls, 100 Old Tyme hot dogs and 100 Al Fresco chicken sausages, twenty pizzas, five cases of Brigham’s Boston You’re My Home ice cream, five cases of Cherry on the Top frozen-yogurt bars from Elan, and 100 servings of Stonyfield Farm Organic Yogurt to City Harvest. Happily, no one has to eat it. [Zagat Buzz] Drop that Diet Coke! Researchers have found a correlation between the consumption of diet soda and incidences of metabolic syndrome, a series of unhealthful factors that can lead to diabetes and heart disease. [NYT] More bad news for fish: The FDA confirmed that several outbreaks of ciguatera fish poisoning have taken place across the country due to consumption of fish harvested in the northern Gulf of Mexico. [AP]

DeBragga and Spitler Will Supply Great Steakhouse Meat. Should You Buy It?

Steakhouses are valued for one thing: their meat. There are no chefs, and no one goes there for the décor. So if the meat is available elsewhere, such as DeBragga and Spitler’s new retail operation, why bother with the steakhouse? The beef supplier, one of New York’s most established, was once the source for most of the city’s top steakhouses, and still supplies some of the best, such as Craftsteak and BLT Prime. Now you can buy a steak that is “exactly, absolutely” the same, says DeBragga’s Marc Sarrazin. Other top meat operations, like elite-meat specialist Pat LaFrieda, and small-farm evangelist Heritage Food USA, have made their stuff available to the public as well. So the question is this: Is it worth it?

Adam Perry Lang Seeks to Create the Perfect Beef Animal

In the meat business, sourcing is the ultimate boast: It’s not enough to claim your meat is “prime,” when any meathead worth his cholesterol knows how promiscuously that once-proud term is thrown around. No, today’s steakhouse has to have boutique sources or, even better, their own prize bull, as at Primehouse NY. But no meat man has a more obsessive take on quality than Adam Perry Lang. The Robert's and Daisy May chef tells us that he’s currently in the process of researching what will be his own beef program in Montana. “It’s so important to understand it, to be able to control what’s happening. I want to say that I’m doing everything I can to get it where I want it. I want to raise beef the right way. I want to know I’m doing the right thing.”

FDA to Beef Industry: Send in the Clones

The FDA is expected to declare meat and milk from cloned livestock safe to eat next week. So far, media coverage has been hilarious. Whole Foods has already issued a statement that includes our favorite new phrase: “Whole Foods Market is committed to providing consumers with clone-free products.” And the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, penned this gem: “The meat industry is more bullish on cloned products than the dairy industry.”

Better Get to That Wild Edibles Party Early!

Being lifelong fans of labor strife and (especially) guerrilla street theater, we received this press release with some excitement. We are passing it on without comment, except to ask why this doesn’t happen more often. What could dramatize the struggle of labor versus management better than the preannounced crashing of ritzy parties?

We’ll Take Celebrity Chefs Over Emo Food Memoirs Any Day

Hartford Courant restaurant critic Elissa Altman has a very long and very powerful essay over at the Huffington Post about the state of food writing, and it repeats something we've heard often: Personal, heartfelt memoirs about food should trump the fembots of the Food Network and their ilk. It’s an argument we can well understand, but we disagree.

Padma Lakshmi Now Refusing Food

A juicy item in today's Daily News has Grub Street stoner-goddess Padma Lakshmi acting like quite the diva at Fiamma. According to the report, chef Fabio Trabocchi created several dishes for her perusal, which the lanky Top Chef judge sent back in a huff. Fiamma denies it went down like that, and we admit it’s hard to imagine Padma being roused to scream about anything, but given her willingness to eat the swill served by her Top Chef contestants, a few plates of Trabocchian improvisation doesn’t seem like too much to ask. Tart Words From the ‘Chef’ Host [NYDN] Related: The Salty Wit and Wisdom of Padma Lakshmi

Hell Hath No Fury Like an Irving Mill Flack Scorned

In this week's magazine, the long-shanked Adam Platt takes his appetite to Irving Mill, a new haute barnyard venue that seems to take more than a few pages from Danny Meyer’s book. Platt doesn’t outright dismiss the place for lack of originality, but he’s keenly aware of the joint’s “carefully calculated” vibe, with a menu that’s “worthy and competent without being particularly daring or new.” In the end, he single-stars the Mill, noting that the “stolid cooking and the warm and cozy atmosphere” make up for the uninspired menu. Not a glowing review, but not a total rip, either. You might think only the most feverish members of the Greenmarket cult would find any real offense in Platt’s assessment — that is, until you check out the lively comments section, where something becomes very clear: The flacks hath been offended! To wit, a sampler of telltale phrases:

Martha Stewart Facilitates Batali, Food Network Détente

Mario and Martha
Now that the Food Network isn’t keeping him so busy, Molto Mario has loads of time to cook at his restaurants yuk it up on The Martha Stewart Show. And just why isn’t the Food Network keeping him busy? “Well, the Food Network has made the conscious decision to go a little more mass market than I would say that I appeal to,” said the dark rebel of chefs yesterday, “but I am still on Iron Chef and as a matter of fact, I am the number one Iron Chef! We are in the middle right now of a seventeen-match winning streak.” Hard-hitting Martha got more out of him, too: “There’s a lot of options out there, and the Food Network is a really cool thing — it is just they have decided to choose whatever they want to choose. I’m not mad at them.” How big of Mario! He better ring up Emeril and tell him how to work through the pain.

Gordon Ramsay Gives At Least Two Swearwords About Frank Bruni

Gordon Ramsay
Gordon Ramsay’s latest rant, though enjoyable, suggests to us that the Blustering Briton has a short memory. His latest shot at Frank Bruni’s alleged mistreatment of him — “don't schmarm me and play Mr. Nice Guy on the telephone and then pan me 48 hours later. I lose a lot of respect for you on that front”— comes only two weeks after a macho boast to London’s Independent about how little Bruni mattered to him. “I don’t give two fucks about it,” he said. “Never have, never met the guy, not remotely interested.” And now he’s ready to make canapés for free at his funeral? Come on, Gordo! Admit that Frank Bruni has stung you to the core. We know it’s on your mind. Ramsay In Attack On NY Food Critics [Daily Star] Gordon Ramsay Attacks ‘Unqualified’ Critics [Telegraph] The Real Life Anton Egos: Inside the Vicious World of the Food Critics [Independent] Related: Could Gordon Ramsay's Act Get Any More Tired? Apparently So.

Bourdain Blasts Rachael Ray, and It's Not Yum-O

Bourdain, Ray
According to "Page Six" today, Anthony Bourdain has a serious problem with Rachael Ray endorsing Dunkin’ Donuts. Yes, the man who waxed nostalgic about the “the bitter, delicious taste of heroin in the back of my throat” in last month’s Spin believes Ray is being “evil” and “over the line” in endorsing what he considers “crack for kids.” But should Bourdain really be running his mouth? Never mind that he smoked Marlboros while telling GQ’s Website about his favorite old-man dive bars — he’s also the guy who told Powells.com, “Is there anything better than a maple bacon donut? I don’t think so.” Apparently it’s perfectly okay to endorse doughnuts as long as they have life-giving bacon in them! Related: Rachael’s Dunkin’ Gig “Evil” [NYP] PBR, Strippers, and Kitsch [Style.com] Earlier: Bourdain’s “Spin” Essay Is Pretty Thin Soup

The ‘Wall Street Journal’ Tweaks Food Bloggers, Unjustly

The Wall Street Journal, having discovered the existence of food bloggers, raises the usual question about them over the weekend, namely: Given that chefs know who they are, and frequently feed them for free, how can their posts be trusted? (The article’s other point, about restaurants shilling themselves in online forums, is valid and then some.) But from our point of view, straddling the line between old media and new, we think the bloggers are getting a bad rap.

Riding the Orange Line: Herald Square’s Unforgotten Hash Bar

We're riding the B and V from Coney Island all the way to Forest Hills, jumping off frequently to rave about our favorite restaurants and food stores near the subway. Herald Square, with its discount stores and the horrific Manhattan Mall, is merely an obstacle between you and MSG. But snake your way through the grim and random maze of cut-rate merchandise and defeated-looking office workers, and you’ll find yourself at Keens Steakhouse, one of the city’s last bastions of hash.

Michael White on His Departed Pastry Chef: “He Was a Jerk.”

Restaurant Girl reported pastry chef Tim Butler’s departure from Alto and L’Impero yesterday, not long after chef Michael White found out himself. “He just told me on Friday and only told Restaurant Girl to stick it to me,” White says. The two had sparred over what White calls Butler’s refusal to use Italian ingredients and flavors in his desserts. “I asked him over and over again — use a little hazelnut or some Gianduja chocolate — but he totally refused. Then he told me he wasn’t coming in anymore. I’m the easiest guy to work for in the world! But this guy really was a jerk.” Chef de cuisine Kevin Sippel is also leaving White but had given notice several months ago for family reasons. White expects to name a new pastry chef soon — we’ll let you know when he does. Creative Differences at L’Impero and Alto [Restaurant Girl]

Gordon Ramsay’s Exhausts, Neighbors Still Fuming

Given how much grief Gordon Ramsay has had lately (a seared testicle, lawsuit, etc.), we thought we’d add to it by inquiring after the status of his battle with his New York neighbors. Last year, they were up in arms about the noise and stench Gordon Ramsay at the London brought to them, and this year, they are too. “Imagine your house being inundated with dirty bacon and duck smells,” says resident Karen Sharf. “We cannot sleep and cannot basically breathe in our apartments.”

Fast-Food Biz Wins Fight Against City Hall

Gluttons in denial about their diet will be overjoyed to hear that a federal judge has ruled against Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to make fast-food restaurants post calorie information. (Naturally, the New York State Restaurant Association, a lobby group representing the fast-food interests, isn’t too sad about it either. ) But the reasons for the decision seem surprisingly weak.

Shake Shack Hamburger and Little Owl Pork Chops Can Soon Be Yours

The famous ground-beef mixture from Pat LaFrieda has been the talk of burger circles the last few years — a dizzying time in which the Spotted Pig, Shake Shack, Stand, and half a dozen other contenders have taken the previously humble sandwich to the proverbial next level. The source of all that burger greatness, as Men’s Vogue recently wrote, is LaFrieda, the city’s top source for high-end wholesale meats. Scratch the wholesale part! Soon, and for the first time ever, the burger that launched a thousand blog posts will be available at the retail counter at Market Table, Joey Campanero and Mike Price’s new restaurant in the West Village.

New York's Barbecue Illuminati — Revealed!

BBQ Bretheren
Anyone who happened to read a recent White Trash BBQ post about the upcoming Hudson Valley Ribfest contest was bound to be confused. We love the contest, and have even won one of its categories in the past, but the part that got us was the dark allusion to a conspiracy of harassment: “I’m also worried a bit about the actions of a certain tribe in the barbeque world. Some of them will be at New Paltz. They’ve screwed with me and my friends before, and I don’t put it past them to do it again,” White Trash BBQ wrote.

‘Industry’ Types Baffled by Restaurant Girl

Danyelle Freeman
Blowback continues from Restaurant Girl’s surprise appointment to the vacant Daily Snooze chair, which has somehow managed to make the somnolent paper relevant again, if only for a day. The industry backbiters over at PXThis have their own nasty ideas about Danyelle Freeman's new assignment. The best comments, after the jump.

‘Dog Food!’ ‘Idiots!’ and Other Sweet Nothings From Orhan Yegen

Orhan Yegen
Orhan Yegen is known among the city’s food writers for producing two things: great Turkish food and great quotes. He’s like the Charles Barkley of the restaurant world. And his Orhanisms have seldom been on better display than in a Metromix profile out this week. We could have predicted that Orhan would refer to the cuisines of other countries as “dog food” or dismiss all cooking-school instructors as “idiots.” But what a gift he gave Metromix when he picked on poor old Julia Child: “She was not a cook. She was a baker. Thank god she died.”