Posts for May 7, 2012

Pepsi Really, Really Wants to Be Cool Again

We discussed last week how Pepsi, embarrassed by having fallen to No. 3 in market share below Diet Coke, was launching a big new global ad campaign featuring Nicki Minaj, a Betsey Johnson cameo, and a back-from-the-dead Michael Jackson in an effort to get soda drinkers' attention again. "While we might not be the leading cola, we have always behaved like we were," the company's new chief creative officer, Brad Jakeman, tells Ad Age, insisting that the new strategy is unlike the many that have come before it. "This brand does not need to be reinvented. It needs to be reignited."

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Amis Celebrates Bibou’s Birthday

For tonight’s installment of Amis’ monthly Industry Night festivities, chef Brad Spence is hosting Pierre Calmels and the crew from Bibou in honor of the BYOB’s third birthday. Spence has porchetta, assorted pickles and some other surprises in store, and Calmels is bringing his French specialties. There’s also going to be an ice cream cake. As per usual, the food is free, the drinks are cheap, but you’ll need a recent pay stub from a restaurant to get in and say “bon anniversaire.”

Ring-a-Ding-Ding: LaBan Gives La Calaca Feliz Three Bells; Amada at Revel Is ‘Beautiful and Sexy’

• In a glowing three-bell review, Craig LaBan suggests that at La Calaca Feliz, the second restaurant he’s launched since parting ways with his mentor, Jose Garces, Tim Spinner is pushing forward the “evolution of contemporary Mexican cooking in this town,” possibly even more so than the Iron Chef’s Mexican outpost in University City. He writes that the “superb” fillet of grilled black bass is “one of my favorite fish entrees anywhere,” and that the “hearty nachos” are “a masterwork of tortilla architecture.” A special pig ear terrine “was the ultimate Mexican pig part picnic.” [Inquirer]

• Of Le Pain Quotidien, Adam Erace writes, the menu “dances between sweet and savory, but carbs are a happy constant.” The vegan carrot cake “turned out to be more moist than those of us who like our desserts with cream and eggs might expect,” and an open-face curried chicken salad tartine was “a light and ladylike version of the classic teatime snack served balanced by a harissa-cranberry chutney.” An arugula salad was “awkwardly assembled,” and the tabbouleh “needed salt.” [Courier-Post]

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New Report: Yogurt Gives Mice Big Balls, Lots of Swagger

Such a lustrous coat!

Is your hair limp? Are your testicles small? Don't despair! Yogurt might help. Researchers at MIT, following up on a Harvard study (that, it's worth mentioning, was not funded by Dannon), wanted to figure out yogurt's effects on obesity. Instead, they accidentally discovered that the stuff gave rodent subjects some serious swagger.

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Domino’s Launches Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

Greasy pizza for all.

It would seem like giving up pizza is just part of the deal when one goes gluten-free — and that such a junky sacrifice would actually feel healthy and rewarding. But not anymore! Domino's introduces a gluten-free pizza crust today, proving that just because you're on a health-conscious diet, you can still eat like a stoned dumbass. This raises the question: Which sounds grosser — hot-dog-stuffed crusts from Pizza Hut, or gluten-free crusts from Domino's? [USAT]

Fergie Onboard For New Live Arts and Fringe Space on the Riverfront

High Pressure Fire Service buildingPhoto: Live Arts Festival/Philly Fringe

It looks like Fergus “Fergie” Carey is one of the parties onboard for transforming the defunct High Pressure Fire Service building on Columbus Boulevard near Race Street into a permanent, year ’round home for Live Arts Festival/Philly Fringe. Foobooz reports that Carey, who is affiliated with Fergie's Pub, Monk’s, Grace Tavern, Belgian Cafe and other venerable enterprises around town, is listed as one of officers on the building’s liquor licenses applications. And his name attached to the project means that in addition to housing a live performance space, several studios and ticket office for Live Arts and Fringe, booze and food will be in the big picture, too. There’s no time-frame to speak of, but with it joining the forthcoming Morgan’s Pier project from Avram Hornick and company, there’s certainly signs new life creeping back onto the riverfront. [Foobooz]

Earlier: Renovations Underway at Morgan’s Pier

What You Missed at Yesterday’s Burger Brawl

A couple of the contestants at this year's Burger BrawlPhoto: Collin Keefe

Capital Grille and Bobby’s Burger Palace are the new reigning champions of hamburgers in these parts. That's what the second annual Burger Brawl, the fundraiser organized by Rouge and 500 Degrees owners Rob and Maggie Wasserman for Meredith Elementary School, determined yesterday. More than 24 local restaurants and chefs — Dandelion, Ela, Barbuzzo, Butcher and Singer, and Jen Carroll among them — entered their best burgers into the bout. And every entry was cooked on-site on a charcoal grill. Despite some participants’ complaints about chain restaurants being included in this year’s competition, Capital Grille’s entry proved to be the judge’s favorite, and BBP’s took the People’s Choice Award. All told, more than 600 burger-eating folks turned out for the cook-off, and the Wassermans raised more $65,000 for Meredith Elementary.

Tiger Woods Once Paid $100K for a Ming Tsai Charity Dinner

Dinner will cost you.

With the recent news that a bidder offered $200,000 for a twenty-person charity dinner cooked by Eric Ripert (not to mention Edvard Munch's The Scream fetching an astronomical $120 million at auction last week), we had the subject on our mind at this weekend's Lucky Rice Grand Feast, held at the Mandarin Oriental. So, when we bumped into some of the chefs in attendance — Susur Lee, Gramercy Tavern's Michael Anthony, and Ming Tsai — we asked them, flat-out, what's the most money somebody's ever paid to eat one of your dinners?

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Hot-Dog Hooker Sucks It Up in Jail

The Long Island mom who moonlights as a hot-dog-pushing hooker, and was already busted for the same slut-truck years back, has been caught again and is now rotting in jail. Kinda blows. [NYP]

In Solidarity With California Chefs, Matyson Serves a Foie Gras Tasting Menu

MatysonPhoto: Matyson

Opposition to California’s plans to ban foie gras has grown far beyond the Golden State’s borders. This week that fight hits close to home. Matyson's chef Ben Puchowitz is taking the matter up and standing in solidarity with West Coast chefs with his weekly tasting menu. It’s focus this week is on foie gras. “We are offering this menu in protest of the upcoming Foie Gras Ban in California,” Puchowitz wrote in an email to Grub. “Foie Gras is one of the most incredible delicacies in the world and should be celebrated, not shunned.” Keep reading to see the tasting menu’s five, very foie dishes.

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Congrats to the James Beard Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Winners of 2012

A handful of hardworking writers and journalists are (hopefully) trading in morning meetings for mimosas today after winning James Beard awards on Friday. Among them are Amanda Hesser for Food52; Gabrielle Hamilton for Blood, Bones & Butter; and Alan Richman for, among other reviews, his famous/infamous takedown of M. Wells ("Diner for Schmucks"). Congrats to all the deserving winners! Check out the full list here!

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    “Pizza is alright”

    The food is alright... there honestly is no "atmosphere" since it consists of just an oven, two small tables and a television.

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    “Everything a restaurant should be!”

    Others talk the talk, Derek has always walked the walk.

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