Posts for February 22, 2012

Wolfgang Puck Preps for the Oscars During the Week, Cooks for Muhammed Ali’s Birthday on the Weekend

Puck shows off the 3-D dessert he'll serve at this year's Oscars.Photo: Lesley Balla

Even by his own, crazy successful standards, Wolfgang Puck is having a red-hot winter: He's got a brand-new restaurant at the Hotel Bel-Air, he's set to receive a James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award, and he's of course getting ready to reprise his role as the caterer for the Oscars Governor's Ball this Sunday. "It's more like an ensemble of dishes, like tapas. So everyone can eat as much as, and whatever, they want," Puck says of the menu he's planning. And even he says he's watching his weight in advance of the big day: "I have a tailor-made fancy cooking jacket for the Oscars," he jokes. "If I gain three pounds, I won't get into it." But even with all that going on, Puck still managed to find time to hang out with Lenny Kravitz in Vegas, hit the Santa Monica farmers' market, and cater Muhammed Ali's 70th birthday party. Read all about how the world's foremost celebrity chef lives in this week's L.A. Diet.

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General Lafayette Still Closed, But Now On the Market

General Lafayette Inn

It’s been long, sad year and a half since we last heard of any word of the old General Lafayette Inn. The historic Lafayette Hill restaurant, brewery and inn closed after a bank deal fell through back in the fall of 2010. It's been dark since. But there’s a glimmer of hope. The Insider reports it’s now back on the market — that’s the restaurant, all the brewing equipment and the outlying properties. The asking price is $1.35 million. Here’s hoping it finds a buyer. [Insider]

Earlier: General Lafayette Inn Is Closed

Tony Luke and Jen Carroll: He Says She’s Just a Friend

Jen Carroll

They must've been smoking the good stuff over at Philebrity yesterday when they ran with a post about a supposed love connection between Jen Carroll and Tony Luke. Citing a lengthy email exchange with an unnamed source, the grandfather of all local blogs passed along that Carroll and Luke were a thing, and were ready to go public with it. It’s not such a stretch, really. No doubt the Prince of Roast Pork is looking pretty svelte and handsome these days, after shedding more than a hundred pounds.

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Sloshed: Will a Dash of Bitters Do Anything at All?

A dash here, a dash there....Photo: Melissa Hom

Bartenders' recent fascination with bitters — the mysterious potions sold in little apothecary bottles — has created a market for all sorts of variations. There are citrus bitters, maple bitters, cherry bitters, celery bitters, bitters aged in whiskey barrels, chocolate bitters, etc., etc. There are a lot, is what I'm saying. But do bitters — often added in doses so small that they verge on homeopathic — actually impart a discernible difference? I sat down and drank a lot of booze to figure it out.

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Mike ‘Slo Mo’ Brenner and the Kolkata Slide Guitar Project Rocks Tashan

Mike "Slo Mo" Brenner playing his 22-string chaturangui.Photo: Courtesy Mike Brenner

Since returning to Philly from a Kickstarter-funded three week jaunt in Calcutta, India where he studied under and recorded with master musician Debashish Bhattacharya, Mike “Slo Mo” Brenner has put his dobro-hip-hop act with Mic Wrecka and company on hold while focusing on his newfound obsession, the 22-string Indian lap guitar called the chaturangui. Backed by tabla player Jason Rinker and cellist Alfred James, Brenner’s formed Kolkata Slide Guitar Project, which has been blowing the minds of guests at Tashan with an intoxicating mix of traditional ragas and Indian-spiced covers of familiar numbers since the beginning of February. Tonight and next Wednesday, the Project serves up its exotic jams at the modern Indian restaurant with two separate sets, starting at 8 p.m.

Related: GQ: Tashan Is ‘Irresistible’

Watch Alec Baldwin Discuss Diabetes and Foods Worth Dying for With David Letterman

When Alec Baldwin visited David Letterman last night, the host pitilessly probed the diabetes-saddled actor about all the sugary treats he's had to resist since his diagnosis last May. (It's probably safe to assume Paula Deen won't be showing up on The Late Show anytime soon.) Baldwin's no-no list includes candy bars, pies, and even, sadly, grapes; not too many carrots either! But what's the one thing that Alec Baldwin would die for? Individually wrapped butterscotch candies from the British Callard & Bowser company, which he used to eat as a kid. Thankfully for the actor's insulin levels, the company is no longer around. Watch the whole thing, straight ahead.

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Say So Long to Little Bar

Something strange is afoot at Little Bar, the little bar and sometimes live music venue that replaced Vesuvio in Bella Vista last year. Amid tensions between owner Michael D'Addesi and the talent booker PVP, tales of customer shakedowns, staff walkouts and accusations of creepy behavior of the sexual and inappropriate variety have enveloped the corner haunt in a whole bunch of shadiness. And just as all this nastiness comes to a head, Meal Ticket’s A.D. Amorosi chimes in with word that D'Addesi is getting out of the nightlife racket altogether and reportedly moving on to attend law school. Right now the bar is closed, all its gigs have been rebooked elsewhere and there’s no information about who will step up to take it over. [Meal Ticket]

Carl’s Jr. Recruits Kate Upton for Its Latest Ad

Someone at Carl's Jr. must have been listening last week when Kate Upton told us that she craves fries every once in a while. The chain has recruited the Sports Illustrated cover girl for the latest ad in its hot-women-eating-burgers campaign (remember that spot with Padma?) There's no actual ad yet — it will premiere Sunday, presumably during the Oscars — but there is a behind-the-scenes promo vid with a convertible, cleavage, and hair blowing in the wind. Oh, and plenty of burger-related money shots.

To the video... »

Get Lunch For Free Today at Reading Terminal Market

Contrary to that old yarn about there being no such thing as a free lunch, gratis grub will be on offer at Reading Terminal Market today. More than 30 of the market’s merchants are participating in the giveaway. All you have to do is, download LevelUp, a Philly-based smartphone app that allows you to pay your tab from your phone, and purchase your lunch with it. LevelUp in turn will pony up as much as $10 toward your meal. The offer’s good from 11 a.m to 4 p.m.

Padma Lakshmi on the Occupational Hazards of ‘Top Chef’

She's judging you right this second ...Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

It may seem like a dream job but Padma Lakshmi insists that hosting Top Chef is not for the weak. Last night at the launch party for Gail Simmons's new book, hosted by Beauty & Essex (where Andy Cohen also told us that Martha Stewart will soon be making an appearance on Watch What Happens Live), we caught up with the Bravo host, who dished about life after nine seasons as a TV star, coping in the judge's chair, and her favorite show not named Top Chef.

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Emus and Alpacas Bring Tourists to the Farm; Mild Winter Temps Could Mess With Maple Syrup Producers’ Flow

• Emus, alpacas and Scottish highland cattle are just a few of the attractions one Camden County farmer employs to make his farm an agritourist attraction. [Newsworks]

• Alex Rodriguez reportedly follows a special high-protein diet that has him bringing his own food to restaurants. We bet chefs just loooove him. [Off the Bench/NBC Sports]

• Though many people so believe in raw milk's health benefits that they'll flout state laws to drink it, the unpasteurized product causes illness at a rate thirteen times higher than its pasteurized counterpart. [Your Life/USAT]

• Still or sparkling? Chatty or hands-off? Waiters all over are increasingly trained to read body language and provide the style of service they think a table would prefer. [WSJ]

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