Posts for February 12, 2013

‘Bitter Barista’ Loses His Job After Wittily Complaining About Customers Online

Cup this, jerks!

Because we greatly value and love giving book deals to service industry employees who secretly jot down all the stupid, pushy, and embarrassing things customers say and then publish them online later, a former barista in Seattle who keeps a blog called Bitter Barista has been fired, Sprudge reports, but will no doubt soon publish a book filled with all sorts of fun observations. After he was outed as the sardonic blogger, the Seattle Times reports, Matt Watson tried to explain to his boss that Bitter Barista — "thoughts from behind the counter (and other reasons why I hate you)" tagline and all — was satire, but to no avail. Now he's determined to keep going, so get ready for more insights like, "Every time someone orders an extra-hot-no-foam latte, an angel rapes a puppy." Also, to be on the safe side, you may want to check that you're ordering your coffee the right way. [Sprudge, Seattle Times, Related]

Robert Parker Protégé Antonio Galloni Leaves The Wine Advocate to Launch New Web Venture

Galloni

Wine geeks, take note: A major changing of the guard is at hand. Antonio Galloni, who has been a critic for Robert Parker's extremely influential magazine The Wine Advocate since 2006, is busting out on his own next month with a new web-based publication, AntonioGalloni.com, aimed at younger wine consumers.

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Lesbian Couple Accepts Duff Goldman’s Wedding Cake; Meanwhile, Business Thrives at Homophobic Baker’s Shop

Equal cake for all.

After Sweet Cakes by Melissa owner Aaron Klein refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman stepped in and offered to bake and deliver one for free. Even though Laurel Bowman and her fiancée had already enlisted another baker in Portland, they said yes, of course — you can never have too much cake. But this story doesn't have a cookie-cutter, happy ending: As the state attorney general's office decides whether Klein violated the Oregon Equality Act, business is booming at Sweet Cakes. Klein is standing by his decision to discriminate, and people are supporting him; he recently sold out of cupcakes. If this leaves you feeling ill (and makes you hate cupcakes), know that you can take action: Bowman and her fiancée are asking anyone who's moved by their story to donate to Pride Northwest on their behalf. Now, that's a good wedding gift. [Earlier, Oregonian, HuffPo]

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Bon Appétit Says These 20 Restaurants Are the Country’s Most Influential

Le Bernardin: Still going strong.Photo: Danny Kim

For its March issue, Bon Appétit proffers a nifty and interactive feature on the top twenty restaurants that are at this moment doing significant things for food in America — you'll notice by calling them "important," the magazine avoids the pitfalls of adjectives like "best" or "trendiest" and pretty much opens up a new way of looking at restaurant culture altogether. "Restaurants," writes editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport, "more than movies or music or literature — are this generation's arbiters of taste." So how tasteful is the list? Let's take a look.

Oysters! Chinese food! »

Food Network’s Marc Summers Warns of the Hazards Posed By Philly’s Taxicabs

It’s been six months since Marc Summers had his face rearranged courtesy of a credit card machine his head collided with when the taxicab he was riding in hydroplaned and lost control. Now the former Double Dare host, and Food Network producer is speaking out about the dangers posed by cabs, and what may be the illegal placement of their payment system’s keypads and card swipes. In an interview with CBS Philly, Summers says he was stupid for not wearing a seat-belt when the accident occurred, but believes until cab companies find a safer place to mount their point-of-sale hardware, more riders are at risk of injury.

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Yet Another Heart Attack Grill Customer Dies

The Quadruple Bypass Burger.Photo: Heart Attack Grill

John Alleman, a 52-year-old unofficial spokesman for Las Vegas's death-happy Heart Attack Grill, has died after suffering — yup — a heart attack. Alleman reportedly ate at the restaurant nearly every day, despite owner "Doctor Jon" Basso's warnings that Triple Bypass Burgers really weren't everyday food. This follows two similar incidents last year. How long before someone takes action here?

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Sophia’s Reformulates Concept and Menu Plans

Chris LeePhoto: Patrick McMullan

When former Striped Bass chef, and formidable force in branding, Chris Lee, jumped aboard South Philly’s Salt & Pepper last December, he told us plans included running it as a pop-up, shutting down for renovations, and then in the spring, bloom anew as Sophia’s. Now there’s a whole new plan afoot. Renovations be damned, Lee, partner Joe Massara, and chef de cuisine Oris Jeffers have finalized a menu, and are now officially sailing their East Passyunk Ave. ship under the Sophia’s flag. The space will continue to receive a light sprucing up during off hours, but as of now there’s no closing on the horizon. Looks like there’s some slight changes to the menu programming too.

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Justin Warner’s Dinner Tab at Masa Triggered Credit Card Company Alarms

Ouch.

The country's most expensive restaurant is so pricey that it sends up red flags in credit card company software, apparently: After the Brooklyn-based Food Network star Justin Warner had a meal with his girlfriend at high-, high-end sushi restaurant Masa and paid the bill, he got a text from Chase checking in to confirm the $1284.73 tab was legit. Which, in a way, could be a really good marketing strategy for the restaurant. [Justin Warner/Twitter via Price Hike, Earlier]

Coroner Says Woman’s Massive Coca-Cola Habit Played a Part in Her Death

Stick to the small size.

Three years ago, Natasha Harris, a 30-year-old mother of eight in New Zealand, died of a heart attack. But a coroner says Harris, who allegedly swilled up to ten liters of Coca-Cola per day — "twice the recommended safe limit of caffeine and more than 11 times the recommended sugar intake" — did herself in with soda, reports the BBC. She drank so much, in fact, that her teeth had rotted from decay and she'd go into intense withdrawal symptoms when deprived of her chosen beverage.

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Marc Vetri Says Don’t Shortchange School Lunches

“Math and science classes aren’t cancelled because they are too expensive, or time has run out. Why should lunch be any different? Our lunchrooms need to be regarded as being just as important as a classroom, as a teachable time for us to make meaningful strides toward a healthier tomorrow.” — Marc Vetri talking about how this country's schools cheat students with insufficient funding for lunch programs. [phillyBurbs]

The Blame Game: Europe’s Horse Crisis Is Giving a Viable Food Source a Bad Name

Trigger was a friend, a star, and probably some French person's eventual dinner.Photo: Bettmann/Corbis

Who knew something as innocuous as frozen lasagna would ever set off a huge international food scandal? After European officials discovered that lots of meat labeled as "beef" was actually "horse" (or possibly donkey), people are, you know, pissed off. Rightfully so, but the problem here is that horsemeat is getting an even worse reputation than it already had, when it's the world's broken food maufacturing systems that are the real problem.

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Ambiguous Project Pulling Bryan Sikora Away From A. Kitchen

Bryan Sikora

You can add a. kitchen's Bryan Sikora to the growing list of local, influential chefs who are moving on. David Fields, who owns a. kitchen, told staffers there yesterday that Sikora was planning on leaving the restaurant in the months ahead, the Insider reports. The news follows emails sent here, and seemingly every other food media concern in town yesterday from a cryptic tipster with inside knowledge of the Buccini/Pollin Group sending out renderings of a very Talula’s-like bakery and cafe project in Wilmington, Delaware to contractors for bid. According to the email, the forthcoming business will be called La Fia, and Sikora will take the helm of it in months to come. Right now he’s keeping quiet about what’s pulling him away from a. kitchen, but Fields is saying that it’s an opportunity that’s closer to his home in the western burbs. [Insider]

Earlier: Sacré Bleu! Le Bec Fin and Walter Abrams Part Ways
George Sabatino Leaving Stateside

Bloomberg Declares Mission Sort of Accomplished in War on Salt

Reduced sodium!Photo: iStockPhoto, Creative Commons

The mayor who puts salt on Saltine crackers and allegedly chows down on popcorn so sprinkled with sodium that it hurts his guests is nonetheless pleased with a New York City–led initiative that's resulted in several companies reducing the sodium contents of their products. Kraft, Unilever, Heinz, Butterball, Goya, Starbucks, and ConAgra are among the manufacturers who are making the dinner table less salty.

Who's cutting down. »

Now Open: Buttercream Cafe & Bakery, Baking Cupcakes and Other Treats in Pennsport

Buttercream Cafe & Bakery

In case you had any lingering doubts about the almighty cupcake’s staying power, consider this: Buttercream Cupcake, Kate Carrara’s trailblazing food truck is the latest from Philly’s mobile munch set to settle down with a fixed, bricks and mortar location. The new Buttercream Cafe & Bakery opened its doors late last week (opening festivities went down over the weekend) at 2015 East Moyamensing Avenue in the space that once housed the short-lived BYOB Nicholas. There Carrara is making cupcakes, and expanding her output to include pies, cakes, and more baked goods. Once the shop is firing on all cylinders, Carrara will begin hitting the streets with the truck again.

Buttercream Cafe & Bakery, 2015 East Moyamensing Avenue, (215) 462-3331

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