Eric Ripert Defends Escolar; Ed Koch: Bib WearerRadar ran a story on escolar’s tendency to cause leaky bowel movements and mentioned that the fish was served at Le Bernardin. This, in turn, prompted a response from Eric Ripert himself, which prompted the author of the article to respond, “I’m sure Eric Ripert serves his escolar in such a way that it doesn’t make people shit orange oil. He’s good like that.” [Fresh Intelligence/Radar]
Chef Craig Hopson says the ghost of Aaron Burr haunts the kitchen of One if by Land, Two if by Sea and has a tendency to steal batches of brioche. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Related: One if by Land Breaks Out a Bar Menu, and Not a Minute Too Soon
Katrina Markoff, founder of Vosges Haut-Chocolat, likes to pair her company’s bacon-laden chocolate bar with pieces of Gruyère and a glass of Shiraz. [WSJ]
Related: A Bacon Tribute Product We Can Get Behind
Hung to Cook in Midtown Kitchen; Chirico Pleads Not Guilty to ExtortionTop Chef winner Hung Huynh will begin a one-month stint at kosher restaurant Solo on March 2; Justin Smillie, formerly of Barbuto, has replaced Akhtar Nawab at the E.U. [NYT]
Related: Akhtar Nawab to *NOT* Leave E.U., Will Open New Restaurant
If you’re clamoring for a Valentine’s Day tablecloth dinner at White Castle, you still might be able to get one. [Eater]
Master Purveyors will live on: The fire destroyed the offices, but the meat is still safe and sound in the warehouse. [Crain’s NY]
Related: Venerable Meat Purveyor Struck By Fire
A New Food Blog From the ‘Times’; Can Dining Alone Get You a Date?The Times has launched a new food blog called Bitten that’s being written by “Minimalist”-column writer Mark Bittman. What’s in store for readers? “We’re going to look at great food made with everyday ingredients and readily achievable techniques — as The Minimalist has been doing for a decade — not food as something to be admired from afar, but as a part of daily life.” [Bitten/NYT]
Monkey Bar chef Chris Cheung thinks he deserves a little credit for making black miso cod so popular at Nobu. [Gothamist]
Several changes in their dining culture have led the Vietnamese to embark on a “rodent-eating bonanza.” [WSJ]
Get Your Valentine On, With Our HelpYesterday we told you about the ultimate Valentine’s Day dinner — a five-course free-for-all centered on the ingestion of distended duck’s livers. If you can’t make it to that pinnacle of passion, you’re not out of options. We’ve put together a Valentine’s Day guide for the smitten that includes a rundown of restaurants owned by couples, with recipes for their romantic dishes; a patently unironic guide for free-spending sweethearts; our picks for the best chocolatiers, wine stores, and dessert spots; and even a few things not directly related to the ingestion of food.
Duck Liver = Romance at Valentine’s Day Foie Gras Dinner
If you’re anything like us, nothing says “romance” like ingesting eight courses of duck liver. And so there’s probably nowhere you and your Special Friend would rather be than at the D’Artagnan foie gras dinner being held at the Astor Center on Valentine’s Day. PETA public enemy Ariane Daguin, the founder of D’Artagnan and the nation’s most conspicuous pro–foie gras activist, has put together a dinner of foie gras accompanied with different vintages of Chateau Y’quem, the Sauterne wine prescribed by tradition to accompany foie gras everywhere. The dinner will start out with foie gras canapés, followed by foie gras terrine, pan-seared foie with port reduction, then foie-stuffed quail with black truffle shavings and a grape-and-black-truffle sauce, followed by – what else? — foie gras beignets. What libido could be unmoved by such a feast? And isn’t that worth $1,300 a couple? We think the question answers itself.
Perfect Pairings: D’Artagnan Foie Gras & Chateau d’Yquem - A Dinner
with Ariane Daguin [Astor Center]
At the Greenmarket
Introducing the Kobe Beef of Strawberries
We get a dizzying amount of pitches for Valentine’s cocktails and aphrodisiac menus (money back if you don’t end up doing it on the table!), but a call from Evan Obsatz at Butterfield Market actually piqued our interest in things one-of-a-kind. He says that on February 12, pending Customs approval, he’ll be the only local supplier to receive 40 boxes of Amou berries — large, sweet, and juicy strawberries that are carefully cultivated on Japan’s Kyushu Island. It’s Japan’s most expensive strawberry, and it’s currently in short supply, hence a $45 price tag for a box of seven to twelve. But wait — the berries are wrapped in red tissue paper and come with a certificate of origin! That should take the edge off the fact that you’re not giving her a ring.
Restaurants Not Feeling the Love Last Night; Menu Secrets Kept From RiffraffA brutal Valentine’s Day for New York restaurants, battered by cancellations owing to the lousy weather. [WCBS]
Many of the city’s best restaurants have off-the-menu specials: foie gras donuts at Telepan, Daniel Boulud’s lobster ravioli at Le Cirque, and more, all revealed here. [Restaurant Girl]
Chocolate, of all things, turns out to be New York’s No. 1 specialty-food export — if you eat it on the East Coast, chances are it came from here. Food processing is “by far the most stable major manufacturing sector” in the city, and one of the last. [NYT]
Back of the House
Trans Fats Versus Razor Blades; ‘Times’ Inspired by Our RestroomBruni ponders bathrooms, giving a shout-out to Grub Street’s Restroom Report; apparently the Sultan had a pretty nasty encounter with the ones at Gordon Ramsay. [NYT]
Hamptons officials loosen up and consider lifting the music ban in restaurants — if there’s very tight regulation of it. [NYP]
E! wrap-up on the Top Chef finale, including a plate-by-plate account of the competition’s Last Supper, which is more interesting, to us anyway, than whether Ilan got his money and new oven. [E!]
Related: Ilan Won, Yes, But What Does It All Mean?