Ilan Hall to Open Tapas Truck in L.A.; Chefs Keep on BloggingTop Chef champ Ilan Hall’s rumored L.A project is now a restaurant truck that serves tapas and has a foldout bar. [MSNBC]
Related: For Ilan Hall, a Taco Shack of One’s Own
The president of Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., the California beef company responsible for the largest meat recall in American history, acknowledged yesterday the illegal slaughter of sick cows at his plant after a congressional panel forced him to watch the undercover video depicting the abuse. [WSJ]
Chefs’ blogs keep getting better and better, and there are increasingly more and more of them. At what point are they all just going to leave the kitchen and become full-time bloggers? [LAT]
Chef Counters on the Rise; Chefs Put in Their Time on the LineAs chefs and cooks take on more roles of service, they cut out more costs and create a more intimate dining experience, especially at restaurants with counters overlooking the food preparation. [NYT]
Related: Ringside Seats at the Chef’s Counter
Apparently, restaurants’ hanging of red velvet curtains in colder months signals metaphors of birth and womblike spaces for diners. Ew. [NYO]
Chefs like Akhtar Nawab of Elettaria and Josh Eden of Shorty’s.32 both spent years cooking on the line before being able to fly solo. [TONY]
NYC Meat Clubs Accepting New MembersThe first rule of meat club is … it’s okay to talk about meat club. Actually, it’s more than okay. As CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) co-ops spread throughout the city, more and more New Yorkers are getting locally sourced beef, pork, lamb, and poultry directly from small, upstate farms, bypassing vendors, grocers, and even greenmarkets. Recently, a good friend took us with him to the Windsor Terrace home of a local meat-club (his term) distributor. There, he picked up a box filled with eggs, chicken, steak, leg of lamb, and an ivory-white, creamy-pure fresh ham, just waiting to be brined and roasted that night. New meat clubs are developing in neighborhoods all over (Victorian Flatbush just got one, which is good news for us): To find out about your local meat-delivery service, contact Nancy Brown at Lewis Waite Farm, a sylvan paradise that is coordinating the city’s fledgling meat-club movement.
CSA Pastured Meat and Poultry [Official site]
Back of the House
Venerable Meat Purveyor Struck by FireIn a city already starved for first-class steak, there’s going to be a lot less of it to go around, at least for a little while: Master Purveyors in the Bronx, one of the city’s top meat suppliers and a little piece of its history, suffered extensive damage from a fire at its Hunts Point building last night. Masters, as it was called, was a family business that had been supplying the city’s top steakhouses for generations, and it can’t be easily replaced: It’s the meat equivalent to Russ & Daughters burning down, or the Strand being evicted and replaced with a Virgin Megastore. Along with Pat La Frieda, the Piccinini Brothers, and DeBragga and Spitler, Master Purveyors are the last of the city’s great old-guard meat purveyors. Adam Perry Lang of Daisy May and (formerly) Robert’s Steakhouse, one of Masters’ most devoted clients, says, “This is a tragedy, but I know they’ll bounce back. They’re survivors … they’re the real deal and they have so much integrity.” Whether they will bounce back is still unclear. We hope to have more information tomorrow.
Fire Damages Big Market in the Bronx [NYT]
Michael ‘Bao’ Huynh Out at Bun; A Le Cirque DocumentaryMichael “Bao” Huynh has left his post at Bun, saying he couldn’t get along with his partner. Next up: a new noodle shop in Tribeca. [Insatiable Critic]
Burgerphilia: a new term about burger obsessives we won’t be using. [Time]
Related: Daniel Boulud’s Downtown Burger Place Finally Signs the Lease
A Table in Heaven, a documentary that looks at Le Cirque’s move from the Palace Hotel to the Bloomberg building, was screened at the Sundance Film Festival and promises to show Sirio Maccioni’s tendency to exceed the restaurant’s 2 percent cap on free meals. [NYDN]
Back of the House
Bill Buford Takes the Meat Dilemma by the Horns
Bill Buford’s meat-oriented think piece in the current New Yorker, based on his having read three recent books by committed meat men, has as its moral the necessity of knowing, and caring about, the animals you ingest. This has come to be pretty much a dictum of modern foodie culture, but we’re not so sure about it. For one thing, having read the piece through, we still don’t know what Buford’s attitude is toward regular meat. Sure, he likes it when his pork comes from some ancient butcher who raised it in his living room and cut up every part at a big shindig with his fellow French villagers. But does that mean Buford will stop eating commodity meat? Somehow we doubt it.
What’s That You’re Wearing? Roast Beef?Those of you who don’t already reek of booze should take note: CB I Hate Perfume in Williamsburg will unveil, this week, a new fragrance inspired by one of perfumer Christopher Brosius’s favorite drinks — whiskey and ginger ale with a slice of cucumber. It joins CB’s “food series,” which also includes roast beef, bruschetta, pesto, boiled rice, a California roll, cucumber sandwiches, French bread, and tortilla chips. The scents go for $25 to $35 for fifteen milliliters, but don’t try to buy the food ones on the Website. “I want people to come to the gallery,” Brosius says, “to smell them and know what they’re getting into.” So what are they getting into? We asked the perfumer himself.
Greenpoint Man Eats Everything on Four LegsWe are especially attached to edible animals, but we have to hand it to Greenpoint resident Scott Gold, the author of the forthcoming book The Shameless Carnivore. The 30-year-old former literary agent puts us to shame when it comes to the breadth of his appetites. Although his book is filled with dietetic information, ethics, meat lore, cultural anthropology, and the like, the thing that really turns us on is the part where he ate 31 animals in 31 days. “It wasn’t one a day,” Gold assures us. “Some nights it would be three or four. On venison night, I ate whitetail deer, antelope, elk, and caribou. But on the other hand, turtle soup took two days to prepare.”
LaFrieda Saves the Good Stuff for Restaurants
A sharp-eyed Eater reader wondered if our report about Pat LaFrieda breaking into the retail market was inaccurate: “I believe they already supply retail markets. The Jubilee market at Trump Place gets deliveries from there all the time.” The answer? The trucks carry commodity meat, of the kind commonly found in supermarkets, but never the high-end stuff LaFrieda sells to the likes of the little owl, the Spotted Pig, and so on. VP Mark Pastore confirms this, telling us, “We sell them regular commodity items. However Market Table will be the first place to carry our chopped beef, burgers, and heritage meats direct from us to the customer. We do not sell LaFrieda burgers or heritage products to anyone but restaurants at this time.” So there you have it. If you’re going to hijack that LaFrieda meat truck, make sure it’s the one bound for the Shake Shack.
EaterWire: Trump Trumps LaFrieda, Petraske to LIC, More [Eater]
Earlier: Shake Shack Hamburger and Little Owl Pork Chops Can Soon Be Yours [Grub Street]
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.
Meatopia V: Grilled Gore and Guts The response to our Meatopia V contest has been overwhelming. Grub Street is populated by committed carnivores who have filled our meat cooler with brilliant ideas for next year’s edible animal gala. We’ll highlight some of the best throughout the day and announce the winners tomorrow. (Entry deadline is 6 p.m. today.) Here are three of our favorites.
Back of the House
Progressive Purveyor Cornering the Market on Boutique Meat
Like Old MacDonald’s farm, which had a duck duck here and a duck duck there, the web of artisanal-meat sources has been spread pretty wide. There’s no central terminal, no Union Square Greenmarket where the best small-farm beef, pork, and lamb congregates; and the lack of infrastructure has been holding up the works as New York’s best restaurants move from generic commodity meat to the Haute Barnyard versions preferred by chefs. Now, though, Pat LaFrieda, the city’s most progressive wholesale meat supplier, is quickly becoming the source of “boutique” meats.