Posts for February 13, 2013

Spanish Chef Accused of Poisoning Ten of His Fellow Cooks

Don't trust the toque.Photo: iStockphoto

The view may be fantastic at the El Lavaderu restaurant in Gijon, Spain, but an unnamed assistant chef there is allegedly an aspiring murderer. (Not cool, unnamed assistant chef.) Police have arrested the 55-year-old on the suspicion he's been poisoning his colleagues on the line with calcium cyanamide — perhaps even over a lengthy time period. The Telegraph reports that at least one of the poisoned, nauseous cooks figured something was up when the chef's girlfriend, who worked alongside them in the Asturian restaurant, was the only other staff member who did not fall ill. The assistant cook now faces fourteen counts of attempted murder, and is also being investigated in connection with the sudden death of the restaurant's former head chef, who suffered a fatal heart attack in 2011. It gets worse, too: In addition to all that, authorities say the restaurant's former owners were afflicted with strange maladies that resolved after they'd moved on from the premises. [Telegraph UK via Eater]

Alton Brown Says the New Star Wars Needs More Farm-to-Table Food

For its March issue, which hits stands next Tuesday, Wired polled all the notable residents of geekopolis to glean their thoughts on what kinds of topics the next Star Wars movie absolutely needed to cover. Alton Brown says "weird food" is high on his wish list, writing that he's always been fond of Yoda's stew, Aunt Beru's taste in vegetables, and the blue milk Luke's Uncle Owen puts out each night at dinner. So bring on the newfangled Jedi feasts. We're onboard as long as it doesn't involve young padawans hitting up their local takeout joints for cheap and greasy tauntaun soup. That's not sustainable. [Wired]

Not Even Bankruptcy Can Keep Union Trust From Going to Pieces

Union Trust's interior.

Talk about insult to injury: Union Trust — well the building that once housed the too-big-to-fail-but-still-failed steakhouse — is literally going to pieces. You’ll recall that the bankruptcy proceedings last December dealt the restaurant a fatal blow. Though bad plumbing was cited for its abrupt closing, the padlocked doors told a much different story. Now, according to Philly Chit Chat, Union Trust’s historic and most grandiose exterior is raining down chunks of stone and mortar onto Chestnut Street below. And the city is not too keen about it. A bright orange Notice of Violation has been plastered to the shuttered restaurant’s facade. It states that if repairs aren’t made by March 6, the city will move in to completely demo the architectural gem. Here’s hoping someone intervenes to prevent this tragedy. [Philly Chit Chat]

Thumbs Down: Dancer Sues Delilah’s Over Severed Appendage

The rule of thumb does not apply here.

No one ever said that stripping is easy, or for that matter a way to make a living that’s free from danger. And nothing demonstrates this better than a lawsuit filed last week by a woman who lost a thumb during rehearsals in the run-up to the ninth annual Delilah's Diamond G-String Competition last summer. The plaintiff, who the Daily News reports is seeking $50,000 in damages, had her thumb severed while practicing her routine for the competition because the metal aerial apparatus that she incorporated into her act had a sharp edge. Her lawyers claims the club and the apparatus’s maker were negligent in failing to properly test the equipment, and warn dancers of dangers it posed. [DN]

Four Loko Gets a Makeover

This can is now vintage.

The Federal Trade Commission and Phusion Projects finally reached a settlement on Four Loko. The frat-boy favorite is going to sport a new label, which will solve all the problems it causes. If the malt beverage exceeds two servings of alcohol, it's required to have an "alcohol facts panel" on the back. Study up before you chug! The FTC says that a 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko is the equivalent of four to five beers, but someone smart decided not to put that on the can. Information on how to get drunk quickly and cheaply is like catnip for teenagers, whom this drink has left hospitalized.

Phusion's still complaining. »

Revel Appears to Be Circling the Wagons Ahead of Bankruptcy Proceedings

Revel CasinoPhoto: Revel Casino

Speaking of casinos and Jose Garces: The sad situation at Atlantic City’s Revel appears to be growing increasingly dire. Wall Street Journal reports that the ailing mega-casino that was built to kickstart a non-gaming renaissance for the seaside gambling resort, has begun circling the wagons, hiring restructuring lawyers and bankers in a series of moves that can only mean one thing: Bankruptcy proceedings are inevitable. It’s currently in the hole to the tune of $1.2 billion, has been bailed out by investors several times since it opened, and only brought in $8 million in gambling revenue in January. Bringing law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and investment bank Moelis & Co. into the picture is seen as an attempt to restructure debt, and get creditors to sign on with a “prepackaged bankruptcy” plan that will ultimately keep court proceedings to a minimum when it comes time to officially file for Chapter 11 protection. [WSJ]

There Are 500 McDonald’s Employees on That Stranded Carnival Cruise Ship

Long lines for burgers! Spewing toilets! It's the worst McDonald's employee vacation ever.Photo: Courtesy United States Coast Guard

Up to 500 of the 3,143 passengers aboard the disabled Carnival Triumph cruise vessel in the Gulf of Mexico are fast-food "franchisees and executives from the Houston area," CBS Houston reports. The stranded ship is being towed by two tugboats and is expected to reach port in Alabama sometime tomorrow. In the meantime, passengers have been sending reports to family members describing four-hour waits for hamburgers; elsewhere, there's news of overflowing toilets and "water and feces all over the floor," which, taken together, is really grim, but also certainly represents the absolute worst nightmare any McDonald's franchisee would ever expect to have.

We're running out of food. »

Market8 Group Taps Garces For Casino Pitch

Jose Garces

Six potential casino operators went before the state’s Gaming Control Board yesterday, each one making a case for why they should be chosen for the lone casino license that’s up for grabs in Philadelphia. But only one group showed up with Jose Garces in tow. That group, Market8, which bills itself as the “Home Team,” pushed hard on the more-than-just-another-sorry-ass-gaming-hall messaging, touting world class restaurants, nightclubs, and a live music venue would round out its plans for a casino and hotel near Eighth and Market streets. The Inky reports that the Iron Chef is one of the restaurateurs committed to the proposed project.

Read more »

Watch a Funny Scene About Artisanal Popcorn From This Week’s Portlandia

In this week's Portlandia, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein play pushy movie theater concession workers who hawk artisan, rustic food. "The newspaper infuses the food with the grittiness of the paper," is actually one of their claims. They oblige an overwhelmed customer to purchase Italian soda, arugula salad with fresh cheese ("it stinks, and that's good"), sun-dried grapes, and salted ice cream with a very important drizzle of caramel. Sound familiar? The episode airs this Friday, February 15 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on IFC.

"It's like being in Europe a little bit, but here." »

Try It Again, Charlie: Trotter to Auction Restaurant Contents Online

"@collector219 ROFL that you think that copper pot can go 4 $6. Bid higher or GTFO"

The last time an auction prompted this much excitement, Cary Grant was trying to escape from the bad guys in North by Northwest. But Charlie Trotter's efforts to sell off the contents of his legendary, now-closed Chicago restaurant keep stirring up trouble and chaos. First a pallet of rare wine disappeared en route to Christie's from Chicago. Then the original live auction in December turned into a three-ring circus, with Trotter tossing out Chicago Tribune reporter Mark Caro, berating the audience for failing to appreciate the cost of the frames of some of his restaurant's art, and finally pulling the plug on the whole sale. But when the auction kicks off online today, all Trotter will be able to do is tweet his displeasure.

Read more »

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