San Diego Owner Fined for Hiring Undocumented Workers; Brian Malarkey Opening Gingham on New Year’s Eve

• The owner of our favorite San Diego brunch spot, The French Gourmet, is being fined over $395,000 and getting five years probation for hiring undocumented workers, while his manager is being fined $2,500. [LAT]

• This holiday season, more and more food retailers are shipping everything from bacon to live lobsters all over the country, and it is causing a few logistical challenges. [WSJ]

• Did you know Chinese cheese is a thing? It’s from the Yunnan province and it’s called rubing, with a firm, silky texture like tofu. [Food Republic]

Top Chef-testant Brian Malarkey is opening his next San Diego restaurant, Gingham, on New Year’s Eve. [La Mesa Patch]

• Those disposable aluminum pans that seem so handy for roasting birds can tip or rip very easily, causing serious grease burns. Beware! [NPR]

• Writers from The L.A. Times’ Food Section offer up their favorite tamale spots. [LAT]

• So-called “upscale” fast food chains like Chipotle and Panera are kicking the behind of chains like Wendy’s, Subway, and Taco Bell. [LAT]

• Countries like the U.S. and U.K. that have less stringent regulations on business tend to have higher obesity rates, while more regulated nations such as Norway and Japan have thin populations. Do we really think there’s such a thing as “Big Food” in Scandanavia? [HuffPo]

• The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is putting out the call for both volunteers and food donations. [KABC]

• And the end-of-year trend lists don’t stop: Over at Nation’s Restaurant News, Bret Thorn says we’ll all be munching on bananas foster and pistachios in 2012. [NRN]

San Diego Owner Fined for Hiring Undocumented Workers; Brian Malarkey Opening