Bourdain Gives NYC Restaurant Picks (Again)Fodor’s goes to the Tony Bourdain well today for the latest in their “Top Chef Travels” feature, and though it’s all probably stuff you’ve heard him enthuse about before (Barney Greengrass, Ssäm Bar, Del Posto), we did enjoy his curmudgeonly take on the city’s live-music scene: “I don’t know which is worse: to be packed in a room with a lot of people half your age, in which case you feel like an idiot, or even worse, go see someone you’ve really loved for a long time, like Elvis Costello, and you look around and see all the other original fans and they’re all old and hideous just like you.”
Top Chef Travels — Anthony Bourdain [Fodor’s]
Back of the House
Golden Clog Nominees Announced to Industry’s Amusement, Dismay
Tony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlmann, the scourges of the restaurant business, are at it again. The pair’s facetious awards, the Golden Clogs, will be given away this Friday at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. We speculated last fall about who the possible nominees might be, but Bourdain’s complete list — with commentary — is on Eater. Some of our favorites are below.
Keith McNally Sued; Huckabee Serves Clam Chowder in New HampshireAccording to a new class-action suit being brought against Keith McNally, servers at Pastis and Balthazar were forced to foot the bill for customers who walked out on their checks, in addition to being denied minimum wage. [NYP]
Frank Bruni, like many other critics, believes a restaurant’s chicken dishes speak volumes about its overall quality. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
E-mails sent by Starbucks Corp. managers reveal their efforts to prevent unionizing among their employees, although labor experts say the activity is not illegal. [WSJ]
Bloomberg Delivers Cheesecake; McDonald’s Takes on StarbucksHizzoner showed up to a political summit in Oklahoma with Junior’s cheesecake for all. [NYS]
Jennifer LeRoy sees another 30 years of LeRoy ownership at Tavern on the Green, but she isn’t striking a deal with Donald Trump to keep the place. [Insatiable Critic]
When world adventurer Anthony Bourdain found out that Food Network would be re-airing episodes of his series A Cook’s Tour, he was sitting by a pool in Hawaii. His reaction? “This was like being unexpectedly groped and publicly slipped the tongue by the ugliest girl at the prom.” [Anthony Bourdain’s Blog/Travel Channel]
Tony Bourdain’s Kitchen Is Just Like Yours; New York Chefs Cook for 50 CentSelf-styled badass chef Tony Bourdain plays 20 Questions, revealing that he lives with his wife and daughter on the Upper East Side these days — “proximity to Baby Gap is a priority” — and has a kitchen that is “small and functional and very crowded with baby food, cat food, a few essentials.” [Chicago Tribune]
Frank Bruni takes a moment to sort through the piles of food-related tomes that landed on his desk this year, finding his favorites to be David Kamp’s The Food Snob’s Dictionary and the recently released Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Related: David Kamp Adds Two More Entries to the Food Snob’s Dictionary
A recent NYU grad is suing Times Square club Arena for $2 million over a June incident in which he was overcharged by $1,000, beat up by the bouncer, and arrested for not buying enough alcohol. [NYP]
Win a Date With Thomas Keller; Year-end Lists AboundMix up your holiday charitable giving by entering a raffle for a coffee date with Per Se’s Thomas Keller or Ferran Adrià of Spain’s El Bulli. [NYT]
Related: Ferran Adrià, Molecular Gastronomist—Who, Me? [NYM]
On his No Reservations holiday special, Anthony Bourdain spoke with a veterinarian who explained that foie gras production is not the demonic act it has been portrayed as by animal-rights groups, so eat up! [Eat for Victory/VV]
If Amy Sacco didn’t convince you of the growing synergy between restaurants and real estate, consider that Centovini has just struck a deal with luxe condo Soho Mews that offers not only delivery to the building but also the option to have executive chef Patti Jackson provide in-home cooking. [NYP]
Back of the House
Best This, Best That … We Say, ‘Who Cares?’
The year-end rush to give out awards has started in earnest, and two totally meaningless such contests present themselves to us today. On Endless Simmer, the nominations are in for Eater of the Year and include Tony Bourdain, Padma Lakshmi, some locavores, and Joey Chestnut. Are you kidding? Why even ask the question? If Joey Chestnut, having vanquished Kobayashi and established himself as the greatest competitive eater in the world, doesn’t get this award, why bother giving it? The man deserves it just for eating 103 Krystal burgers in eight minutes earlier this year.
Grant Achatz Getting Better; Bourdain Spreads Blood and Holiday CheerGrant Achatz writes Ruhlman that the tumor on the great chef’s tongue has been diminished by about 75 percent, thanks to aggressive chemo. [Ruhlman].
In his upcoming No Reservations holiday special, Tony Bourdain cooks a Thanksgiving dinner with L.A. rockers Queens of the Stone Age and spends “a fair amount of time spraying stage blood onto [his] niece and nephew’s face.” [The Grinder/Chow]
Rickshaw Dumpling has officially opened. [Eater]
Pastis Atop Zagat Nightlife Ratings; City Trans-Fat Seminar FlopsPastis sits atop Zagat’s just-released nightlife rankings, with Buddha Bar, Balthazar, and Spice Market following close behind. [NYDN]
The city invited 33,000 restaurant and food-supply workers to attend their trans-fat seminar, and only 20 showed up. Half of them were city employees. [NYP]
Maybe Tony Bourdain doesn’t hate The Next Food Network Star as much as he makes out. Today brings another suspiciously obsessive-sounding post by the acerbic chef-author. [Ruhlman]
Restaurants Sue to Keep Calorie Info Out of Sight; Online Reservations DominateThe New York State Restaurant Association sues the city to stop having to reveal calorie information. [Nation’s Restaurant News]
The days of making, and keeping, reservations off-line are over: OpenTable has come to dominate the restaurant business. [NYT]
In a Times op-ed, the Zagats plead for real regional Chinese cooking to come and save us from egg foo yong. It would be a revelation, they say — “Imagine … what it would be like to discover for the first time Memphis-style barbecue, New York deli food, soul food and Creole, Tex-Mex, Southwestern, California and Hawaiian cuisines all at once.” [NYT]
Paul Liebrandt Back in Play; Rat Chief Vows to Exterminate the BrutesThe city’s rat-patrol chief vows that “the rats will not win.” [NYT]
In Vogue, Jeffrey Steingarten reveals that New York’s top unemployed chef, Paul Liebrandt, is doing a restaurant with Drew Nieporent. Snack asserts it’s Montrachet. [Snack]
Amusing slam of Bruni’s Robert’s Steakhouse review from conservative mainstay National Review. Need we say more? [National Review Online]
Bourdain Talks Smack About Chodorow, Others; The Joys of Rotting MeatThe joys of rotting meat, as explained by Robert’s Steakhouse chef Adam Perry Lang. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Tony Bourdain was captured on video at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival talking shit about Food Network personalities to a crowd. [Snack]
… And late yesterday, laid into Chodorow using Bruni’s Robert’s Steakhouse review as a pretext: “One might ask if it’s ever a good idea anyway to spend 40,000 bucks reminding the public that the New York Times think you suck.”
KFC–Taco Bell Inspector Suspended; Whole Foods Ain’t What It Used toCity suspends the rookie health inspector that passed KFC–Taco Bell, promises to teach its inspectors how to recognize rodent infestation. [NYP]
Whole Foods has gotten bigger but not better, losing focus on food quality and its moral mission. [NYT]
Here’s a pretty detailed retelling of the Chodorow saga, sympathetic to the restaurateur, but also giving the critics their say. Drew Nieporent speaks on behalf of the hapless restaurant owners. [NYS]
Related: We Ask Jeffrey Chodorow If He’s Been Feeling Well Lately
The Gobbler Responds to Mr. Chodorow’s Broadside [Grub Street]
In Defense of Rachael Ray and the Food NetworkAnthony Bourdain’s smackdown of the Food Network stars on Michael Ruhlman’s blog — in which the chef calls Sandra Lee “pure evil” and Paula Deen and drag queen Divine lookalikes, among other things — caused quite a stir the other day. Readers cheered Tony, and jumped on the Food Network with both feet. “But will the Food Network listen? Not likely,” Ruhlman lamented in a follow-up post. To him, the reason is obvious: Americans (other than his readers) are sheeple, shuffling Philistines who celebrate Rocco DiSpirito and Rocco Siffredi alike. “America is a mediocrity factory, and the Food Network is no different from any other business trafficking in cheap goods,” Ruhlman sighs. As opposed to trafficking in cheap shots — that’s Ruhlman’s specialty.
Mario Batali Is a Kobe Human, and Other Great Lines From His RoastMario Batali looked bigger than life last night, as he sat in a carved wooden throne taking punches from speaker after speaker at his celebrity roast at Capitale. The event, which benefited the Food Bank of New York, was simultaneously tame and vulgar: Every imaginable anatomical insult was made, but there was barely a mention of Super Mario’s actual partying practices, which are legendary in restaurant circles. Rachael Ray and Rocco DiSpirito, neither of whom were present, took far worse abuse.
Still, the roasters, who ranged from Sarah Silverman and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog to Anthony Bourdain, got the merry pasta mogul pretty good.
Mario Batali Ripe for the Roasting
On November 7, Mario Batali will be “roasted, battered, and fried” at a celebrity roast at Capitale for charity (the Food Bank of New York). Will it be affectionate and reserved, with only a few broadsides about the chef’s legendary appetite? Or will they really let him have it? It’s hard to tell from the lineup, which mixes Batali buddies like Tony Bourdain and Stanley Tucci with celebrity roast specialists like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Sarah Silverman, and Artie Lange. But given some of the roastee’s recent antics, he could be in for a rough time. The big man can take it, we hope. For tickets, call 212-249-6188.