Posts for February 8, 2013

Anthony Bourdain’s Going to Be on Archer, Too

Kevin Gillespie isn't the only food-world luminary getting the Archer treatment. The Taste co-host Anthony Bourdain, it turns out, will play "Bastard Chef" on an upcoming episode, and here's the screencap to prove it. "I hung around the Archer parking lot until they gave me some work," he wrote on Facebook earlier this month. [Helen Cho/Twitter, Earlier]

Sacré Bleu! Le Bec Fin and Walter Abrams Part Ways

Jennifer Smith and Walter AbramsPhoto: Collin Keefe

Walter Abrams, the French Laundry-trained chef who climbed aboard the then not-so-good ship Le Bec Fin last summer when Nicolas Fanucci bought the ailing restaurant from founder Georges Perrier, has left the Walnut Street building. Foobooz broke the story earlier this afternoon. They report that both Fanucci and a spokesperson for the restaurant have confirmed the chef’s ouster. It comes as a bit of shock, since Abrams’ tasting menus at the storied restaurant have brought mostly favorable reviews. An official statement is reportedly coming next week, along with the name of a sous chef who will fill his shoes. Abrams fiancee, Jennifer Smith, who was signed on as executive pastry chef, is out, too. [Foobooz]

Where to Ring In the Year of the Snake This Weekend

New Year's parade in ChinatownPhoto: uwishunu

New Year’s resolutions already blown? Don’t sweat it. With the Lunar New Year (a.k.a Chinese New Year) celebrations kicking off this weekend, here’s your chance to reboot those commitments, promises of reformed habits and lifestyle changes. Most of the action is happening in Chinatown, where many restaurants will be celebrating with dumplings, noodles, rice cakes and other traditional edible symbols of luck and good fortune. Provided that Nemo doesn’t burry us in snow, the Chinatown Flower Market at 10th and Vine streets will kick things off with candy and sweets, children's crafts, flowers and lanterns on Saturday at 10 a.m.

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Kevin Gillespie Was on Archer Last Night

Funner than a Quickfire Challenge.

Former Top Chef competitor Kevin Gillespie made a guest appearance in an episode of Archer last night called "Midnight Ron," which was otherwise chock-full of obscure pop-culture references. The Atlanta-based chef played a truck-driving "transvestite rapist," naturally. Vulture got the lowdown from executive producer Matt Thompson. [Vulture]

Watch an Opera Flash Mob Take Over a British Restaurant

On Sunday, a flash-mob opera troupe burst into Surrey's very staid-looking Bel & The Dragon restaurant, interrupting diners to break into a rousing rendition of "Dance of the Cachucha" and other favorites from The Pirates of Penzance. The Godalming Operatic Society reports that customers were "pleasantly surprised." Watch the video for yourself (things get started around the 26-second mark), and send good wishes to the poor little boy who looks like he wants to crawl under the table. Earbuds recommended.

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New Jersey Issues Its First Distillation License Since Prohibition

Craft distilling? What exit?

Dirty Jerz has 45 licensed wineries, 11 craft breweries, and 14 brewpubs. And now for the first time since Prohibition, it has a licensed, commercial distillery, too. This week the Garden State’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control gave the state’s nascent craft liquor industry a huge boost when it issued Jersey Artisan Distilling a license to produce sweet, precious booze. According toe New Jersey Newsroom, co-owners Brant Braue and Krista Haley plan to begin production immediately, and that they hope to have a traditional, colonial-era rum — apparently Jersey was a hotbed for the stuff — on the market by April. Fruit-infused spirits made with fresh, locally-sourced produce (naturally), Jersey sweet-corn bourbon, and whiskey will begin hitting liquor store shelves sometime in 2015. [NJNR]

Medium Rare to Sizzle on Sansom Street With Affordably Priced Steak Frites

Medium Rare

If we can glean anything from the prolonged “plumbing issues” at Union Trust and the demise of short-lived indie-steakhouse, Reserve, it’s that high steaks dining ’round these parts is losing some of its luster. Naturally, a place like D.C.’s Medium Rare, which specializes in steak frites priced for mere mortals (less than $20), could conceivably carve out a nice little niche for itself with the meat-eating set here. And that’s exactly what’s about to happen on the 1600 block of Sansom Street. Foobooz reports that Medium Rare co-founder, and Philly native Mark Bucher plans to put a local outpost of his restaurant in The Sansom, the apartment complex that’s coming together across the street from Federal Donuts’ Center City location. The opening is expected to come some time in the fall. [Foobooz]

Earlier: Bad Pipes Are the Least of Union Trust’s Troubles

David Ansill and Bar Ferdinand Are a ‘Remarkable Pairing’; Seared Foie at Matyson Is ‘So Good’ It Could Make a Seven-Year-Old’s Head Explode

• Brian Freedman says that Chef David Ansill and Bar Ferdinand are “a remarkable pairing,” and the succession of tapas that make up his tasting menus “handily encapsulates so much of the joy of Spanish dining.” A “two-bite delivery system for umami” that comes in the form of a hard-cooked egg with meaty white anchovies, he adds, “was one of the wholly unexpected stars” of the tasting. The chef’s homemade demi-glace adds a “Curtis Mayfield sense of soul” to the oxtail in pearl-onion agrodolce, and the diced trotter served with a dish that’s affectionately called Three Little Pigs, “melted on the tongue like swine-butter.” [PW]

• Though not necessarily the city’s toughest critic, he’s most likely the youngest, and in his latest update on Tasty Sausages: A Food Blog, seven-year-old Jett brushes aside his fear of lobster to tackle the tasting menu at Matyson. He “really didn’t like” the ahi tuna with uni, winter citrus and Szechwan peppercorn, because he “really only likes tuna that comes on sandwiches. You know…the cooked kind.” Seared foie gras with banana bread, hazelnut, duck skin and coffee maple was “so good” that his “head exploded,” and “might have been better” than the foie griddle cakes at Meme. Pumpkin seed soup with lobster, barley, squash and mint confirmed that his “taste buds for lobster still haven’t changed.” However the veal sweat breads with curried lobster, cauliflower, almonds and leeks proved “salty and sweet and really good.” [Tasty Sausages]

Oops! Frozen 'Beef' Lasagna Dinners Found to Contain Up to 100% Horsemeat in the U.K.

WHOA!Photo: Gabriela Herman

Following the news that six U.K. retailers were selling burgers that contained varying amounts of horse, then the revalation that Burger King's patty supply contained "very small trace levels" of equine DNA, it's now being reported that the U.K.-based food manufacturer Findus has been selling frozen lasagna dinners that purport to be beef but may actually be up to 100 percent ground horse chuck.

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Grubstreet Sweeps

Recent reader reviews on MenuPages

  • Bryn Mawr Pizza See the menu

    “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.

  • Derek's See the menu

    “Everything a restaurant should be!”

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

  • Lion King See the menu

    “My other spot”

    When it comes to the generals...(chicken that is) they'll make you sign up for recruitment


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