Trans-Fat-Free Labels: Not Just for Potato-Chip BagsIt’s good to see Café Martinique, the restaurant at the midtown Radisson, so eagerly embracing the trans-fat ban even before it officially begins on March 1. And should you want to walk in and toast to your health, there’s domestic swill with which to do it! Thank heavens it’s Coors Light. — Daniel Maurer
The End of Krispy Kreme, Coffee, and Pizza? There’s Always Denny’sThe Board of Health’s unanimous decision to ban trans fats from New York — on the anniversary of Prohibition repeal, no less — has, predictably, inspired a major and ongoing backlash.
Libertarian organization Consumer Freedom responded with full-page ads in USA Today and the Post, warning that pizza, coffee, and corned-beef sandwiches might be next. [Center for Consumer Freedom]
Even the Times has gotten in on the “we miss trans fats already” action, reporting on how hard it is to cook without them. “I can tell you in advance, the Crisco will make a flakier crust.” [NYT]
Krispy Kreme, the entity that serves trans fat in circular form, probably can’t get with the program in time. [Winston-Salem Journal]
But Denny’s can. [Business Wire]
Finally, restaurants wonder how the law will be enforced. [Dominican Today]
The Die Is Cast: Trans-Fats Banned in NYCWell, now they’ve done it: The City’s Board of Health has unanimously agreed to ban trans fats from New York City restaurants. Starting July 1, 2007, eateries won’t be able to fry with the stuff. They will, however, have another year to make all their foods 100 percent trans-fat free. That means there’s precious little time to enjoy delicious trans-fat-fried doughnuts and steak fries, and only a year more before we have to give up flaky empanadas and other goodies with the trans fat built right in. (The board also passed the less-publicized rule requiring chain restaurants to print their calorie information directly on the menus, assuring that New Yorkers will at least feel a pang of regret when they order a Burger King “Triple Stacker.”)
Trans Fat Ban Unanimously Approved [Crain’s New York Business]
Earlier: Trans-Fat Haters Winning Hearts and Minds
Biscuit Battles ChipShop: Are White Castles Better Fried or Smoked?
Trans-Fat Ban: The Restaurants at Risk
Biscuit Battles ChipShop, Part Three: Are White Castles Better Fried or Smoked?At the conclusion of the first and second stages of the battle between Josh Cohen of Park Slope barbecue joint Biscuit and ChipShop’s fry guy Chris Sell, the latter had moved ahead: Both chefs disgusted judges Ben Schmerler and Gabrielle Langholtz more or less equally when they alternately smoked and fried sushi (“Sushi is owed an explanation and apology by both of these methods,” said Judge Gabrielle), and ChipShop figuratively battered Biscuit in the cod challenge. The question going into the final two rounds: Which method of cookery would prevail on rice pudding and (brace yourselves, cravers) White Castle sliders?
Biscuit Battles ChipShop, Part Two: Is Sushi Better Fried or Smoked?Yesterday, when we left the battle between new Park Slope barbecue joint Biscuit and batter-happy neighbor ChipShop to determine whether our off-the-menu requests tasted better smoked or fried, the competition was neck and neck: ChipShop’s owner Chris Sell impressed judge Gabrielle Langholtz of Edible Brooklyn with his fried PB&J — “My brain stem is like, ‘Gorge on the fat while you can’” — but Biscuit’s owner Josh Cohen bounced back when onetime Iron Chef judge Ben Schmerler lauded his smoked ribs as “savory and primal.” Who, then, will take the next two rounds?
Biscuit Battles ChipShop: Is PB&J Better Fried or Smoked?Next time you decide that peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich could use something extra, know this: Not only will Park Slope’s ChipShop deep-fry anything so long you make the request in advance (and suggest something that won’t compromise the oil) — it’s how fried macaroni and cheese wound up on the menu — but Fifth Avenue’s new barbecue joint Biscuit recently announced that they’ll “smoke anything!” (They charge $2 per pound and also require advance notice.) To help you decide whether that PB&J should be fried or smoked, we had ChipShop owner Chris Sell and Biscuit owner Josh Cohen prepare the sandwich both ways and invited a couple of local food obsessives — Gabrielle Langholtz, chief editor of Edible Brooklyn, and Ben Schmerler, formerly a senior editor of the Zagat Survey and a onetime judge on Iron Chef — to evaluate the results. And since this was clearly an exercise in excess, we didn’t just leave it at peanut butter and jelly. Today, we present the first two rounds of this epic battle, with the remaining challenges (including White Castles, sushi, and rice pudding) to come tomorrow and Wednesday.
Trans-Fat Haters Winning Hearts and MindsIn the fight against trans fats, bad publicity might just do for New York what a protracted legal battle could not. The city’s move to ban the deadly oils, which was rolling forward like a hungry man heading toward a bodega for chiccarones, seems to have been stopped in its tracks, or at least slowed, according this Crain’s story referenced in yesterday’s Morning Line. Part of the reason might be the prospect of a long and costly war with Ronald’s army, which we outlined earlier. But even without being regulated, companies are tripping over each other to abandon the good stuff. KFC took the hint weeks ago. Taco Bell just saw the light, and earlier this week, the Girl Scouts got on board the zero-trans-fats train. At this rate, they might not have to pass the law at all. Except for McDonald’s, of course.
McDonald’s Kicking Mad Over Possible Trans-Fat Ban
We hope the city’s coffers are full, because this time they may have picked a fight with the wrong enemy. McDonald’s, never a fan of regulation in any form, has hired a high-powered attorney, former deputy mayor Randy Mastro, to block the NYC Health Department from banning delicious trans fats, and the fast-food industry will no doubt be watching closely. The crux of the matter seems to be the question of whether government officials (i.e., city health commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden) can decide such matters by fiat or whether such a ban requires the assent of the legislature. No need to ask us which side we’re on; we’re still mourning the loss of beef tallow from McDonald’s cooking oil in 1990.
McDonald’s Readies for NYC Trans Fat Fight [Crain’s New York Business]
Who Will Speak for the Plantains?This week’s clamorous public hearing over the nearly inevitable trans-fat ban was not the one-sided affair the mayor’s allies may have expected. Sure, there was a parade of experts saying that the trans-fat ban was the best thing that could happen to New York bloodstreams. And, as expected, a number of restaurant-industry types appeared to contest the ban, our health be damned. But one made a point close to our own hearts (so to speak). Luis Nunez, representing the 4,000 members of the Latino Restaurant Association, spoke out for the flavor of trans-fatty Latin foods. The city claims that all food will taste the same made without the good stuff, but Nunez wasn’t having any of it. “That’s what they’re saying,” he told Newsday. “Now show me the proof of studies they’ve done when it comes to ethnic food.” As we noted when the ban first appeared, it’s not the uptown swells who are going to miss the trans fats; it’s those of us who live on plantains, coco bread, and rellenos de papas. We hear you, Mr. Nunez. We hear you.
Chewing the Fat Over Ban [Newsday]
How Is a Trans Fat Like Rat Poo? (Answer: Not Much) [Daily Intelligencer]
Trans-Fat Ban: The Restaurants at Risk [Grub Street]
Trans-Fat Ban: The Restaurants at RiskWhere would we be without trans fats? The joys of margarine and shortening know no end in New York. Few restaurants care to admit to using it. But going by our taste buds and instinct for human nature, we’ve got ten educated guesses at great local restaurants with foods containing the magical substance. None of these dishes would be the same with replacement fat: It would be better to stop serving them entirely. But a ban poses more risk to the business of some restaurants than others, of course. A RUB without the deep-fried Oreos would still be the city’s best barbecue, but if the Arepa Lady had to spray Pam on her griddle, even her cult might disband.