New York ‘Times’ to Wonder How Bloggers Stay AliveWhen we received a voice mail last week from Kim Severson of the New York Times, saying that she wanted to interview us, our natural response was one of delight. Was the topic to be hamburgers or our upcoming book on same? Or perhaps the larger topic of meat? Or perhaps the ongoing efforts of Grub Street? It was with giddy fingers that we dialed Severson’s number only to find out that the lady was writing an article on how fat and unhealthy food bloggers are, and to ask us, in so many words, why we were still alive. Apparently, bloggers aren’t the trenchermen they once were: Off the Broiler’s Jason Perlow recently had some serious health problems, and even Steven “the Fat Guy” Shaw of eGullet has gotten on the austerity program. But, as we told Severson, the day we start eating salad she’s welcome to our place at the table. Grub Street may cost us the vitality of our once-springy carcass, but by God the work will go on!
Steve Plotnicki: Watch Out, Zagats!Our man Steve Plotnicki, the so-called “king of the bloggers,” saw his 100 Best Restaurants of North America & Europe come out today, and while it might not put the Zagats out of the dining-guide business quite yet, we have to say we’re behind the Opinionated About Dining man. Plotnicki’s distinctive approach is to use a weighted system, so that the opinion of someone like himself — a deep-pocketed trencherman who eats out 300 nights a year — counts more than someone who comes into the city only occasionally or whose dining habits are limited entirely to his or her own neighborhood. “The difference between us and Zagat will be obvious to anyone who picks up the book,” says Plotnicki, confidently.
Amateur Gourmet: Real Book, Virtual TourAdam Roberts, the self-styled “Amateur Gourmet,” has been getting so much play lately that he may have to get a new sobriquet. First came his elevation into the Serious Eats family, then an appearance in the New York Times, and his book, The Amateur Gourmet, drops today. Like his counterpart Danyelle Freeman, Roberts is riding the blog gravy train straight to the top. But unlike Freeman, whose new gig at the Daily News is strictly old media, Roberts is promoting his new book with a “virtual book tour” that will bring him to practically every food blog you can think of, and not a few that you can’t think of. “I’m doing a Q&A with Ruhlman, and visiting Orangette, David Leibovitz, Gluten Free Girl, and The Girl Who Ate Everything over the next few weeks,” he tells us. Gluten Free Girl? There will be one real-world reading, at the Park Slope Barnes & Noble on September 24. For the rest of the tour, Roberts is dancing with the one that brung him. We can’t say we would argue with that plan.
Amateur Gourmet [Official Site]
‘Next Food Network Star’ Contestant Accused of Fudging Past; ScottEx-Marine Josh Adam Garcia, one of the standout contestants on The Next Food Network Star, is accused of lying about both his military service and graduating from cooking school. [Marine Corps Times]
Scott Conant has Miami and New York projects on the horizon. And his go-to restaurants in New York are Daniel, Café Boulud, Daisy May’s, Blue Smoke, and Tsushima. [RG]
Some food-world heavy hitters recollect their greatest meat moments, as a follow-up to yesterday’s Times story about the fatty times we live in. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Batali and Bourdain Argue Over Adam Platt, the Egg Thief, and Much More
Marco Pierre White showed up at Borders last night for a book signing with two friends in tow: Mario Batali and Tony Bourdain. We sat down with the latter two for a few minutes before the event and picked their brains. In true style, Mario sent one of the store’s managers out for a bottle of vodka and some tonic at the start, but as the harried fellow didn’t arrive until the end, this discussion was conducted in cold sobriety.
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Phoood Returns to Guide Us Through the Dorito Wilderness
Any number of bloggers can opine on the merits of Soto’s uni, or Morandi’s veal. But we only know of one who can consitently turn out cogent criticism of junk food. Yes, it’s a happy day on Grub Street, because Phoood, one of our all-time favorite blogs, is back up and running.
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Our Chinatown Guide Goes Viral — in a Good Way!Blogger Buddha Drinks Fanta gets around — she has posts on Southeast Asia and Australia as well as the U.S. Which is partly why we’re flattered that her new photo essay, “Tongues and Bungs: BDF Does Chinatown,” was inspired by Zak Pelaccio’s picks in this issue’s Chinatown guide. BDF also drops in on several places Pelaccio didn’t mention, including some especially interesting meat stores. Those of you with vegetarians in the office: These pics are most definitely NSFW.
Tongues and Bungs: BDF Does Chinatown [Buddha Drinks Fanta]
Zak on the Prowl [NYM]
Back of the House
Yau Already Replaced at Gramercy Park; Everybody’s BloggingIan Schrager has already found a star chef to replace Allen Yau at the Gramercy Park Hotel: The Japanese-born nouvelle-Chinese star Yuji Wakiya, who almost came here two years ago to do a restaurant at the Bryant Park Hotel. [NYP]
Related: Restaurant Happenings: Sirio’s New Address? [NYM]
Bruni won’t have to bear the Diner’s Journal load alone anymore; we can now also look forward to the musings of Julia Moskin, Kim Seversen, and other contemplative food writers. [NYT]
Meanwhile, Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert and the Food & Wine staff have launched their own blogs. (The Ripper’s requires a subscription to The Wine Spectator.) [Snack]
Finally, a Restaurant Blog We Can Bear EndorsingFrankly, we’re not always flattered to be part of that great, wide, amateurish group of people known as food bloggers. But some blogs we very much admire — like Augieland, based in our own fair city (though sometimes Augie, as the man called himself when we got in touch, does write from the road, too). It’s easy to say whether you love or hate a restaurant. But on this particular site, there’s always a wealth of physical detail: “The starchy thickness of the tartares made the thin chips useless for scooping them, leaving the three of us to use chopsticks to scoop bits onto the chips,” reads a copiously illustrated review of Japonais. But all that work doesn’t mean no play: Augieland doles out ratings using stars seemingly from another galaxy (A Voce earns 211 lewinskibillion stars) and supplements reviews with random, highly enjoyable rants and wonky features, like this one on the quest to make a perfect baguette.