Posts for February 15, 2013

Fitler Dining Room Going Live Next Week; Cod Sperm on Special at Izumi

It looks like Fitler Dining Room, Pub & Kitchen owners Dan Clark and Ed Hackett’s re-imagining of the old Mémé space near 22nd and Spruce streets, is just about ready to open its doors. Grub’s hearing the debut is coming on Thursday, February 21. We’ll know more about the details and menu next week. [Grub Street]

John Brandt-Lee this week dropped the word pasta from his Downingtown restaurant. The marquee now reads Avalon Bistro. And with the slight adjustment to the name comes sweeping changes. Brandt-Lee gave the place a complete makeover that includes a new 14-seat communal table alongside the newly opened up kitchen, and private dining rooms upstairs that can accommodate parties of 10 or 12. A new menu features a broader selection of small plates, new pasta dishes, and heartier entrees. A “Chef’s Tour” option includes two small plates, one main course and a dessert for $40 per person. [Grub Street]

No doubt South Philly’s East Passyunk Ave. has shaped up as a nice little restaurant row of late. And on Tuesday, February 19, newly launched Dishcrawl Philly is going to lead a most fattening tour of the strip, with stops planned at four of the neighborhood’s restaurants. The hitch? The restaurants remian secret until 48 hours ahead of the tour. Right now there are roughly 17 tickets left. The cost $45 a piece. You can order them here. [Grub Street]

Izumi is serving up, ahem, cod sperm this weekend. Don’t laugh (or try not to gag), it’s a winter delicacy that goes by the more palatable name milt in most parts, and shirako in Japan. Chef Corey Baver is preparing it by blanching it, torching it, and plating it with ginger yuzu beurre blanc. [Meal Ticket]

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Are Making People Insane

HOT NOW.

"If Edinburgh is overweight today," says Tam Fry, the spokesperson of a U.K.-based anti-obesity group, "then it will certainly be obese by tomorrow." Fry is referring to the chaos in Edinburgh, where Krispy Kreme opened its first Scottish outlet last week with numerous promotions and freebies that have caused three days of mile-long lines and a general accumulation of cruller fiends. London resident Ben Esterson camped out in the cold outside the store to make sure he was the first customer. He is now entitled to two dozen free doughnuts per month for one year. "I was first in line for the Wales Krispy Kreme store too," Esterson tells the Daily Mail, "so when I heard they were opening in Scotland I couldn't not be first here as well." Fair enough.

Kruller and punishment. »

School Food Fight Ends With Police Spraying Mace

Ouch.

Food fights aren't supposed to involve chemical spray and trips to the emergency room. But after a fifteen-minute, 200- to 300-person food fight at South High School in Minneapolis turned into a violent brawl, police had to intervene. According to a sergeant, students were throwing "anything they could get their hands on," sending four people to the hospital with minor injuries. So far, no arrests have been made, but the cops are reviewing surveillance video. These kids should probably dye their hair and start donning disguises; the charges can be extensive. School officials maintain that the cops sprayed above the crowd, but students are complaining about the effects: Mace doesn't taste as good as pie to the face. [Earlier, AP]

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‘New Sh-t’ Comes to Light at Emmanuelle

Emmanuelle's Baberaham LincolnPhoto: Chip Colson

Since Katie Loeb’s departure from Tommy Up’s Emmanuelle, it’s looking like Phoebe Esmon and fiancee Christian Gaal have stepped up as the grand poobahs at the Piazza’s dimly lit cocktail bar. And this week the two introduced their first wholesale change to the joint’s drink offerings. As you might expect, it’s broken into two categories: “History of the World Part Two,” which covers classic cocktail basics; and “New Shit Has Come to Light,” a list of originals. In addition to the new cocktails, the bar is also pushing bespoke cocktails, drinks mixed to order based upon patrons’ tastes and preferences, no matter how exact or vague, new snacks, like nuts, pickled vegetables, cheese and charcuterie, and non-alcoholic beverages, affectionately referred to as Temperance. Keep reading to take a look at the new drinks.

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Watch 13,000 Boxes of Girl Scout Cookies Get Crushed by Heavy Machinery

Look away, lovers of Samoas and Tagalongs: 13,200 boxes of unexpired, "perfectly fine" Girl Scout cookies were crushed by a tractor in Redlands last spring and then sent to a landfill. A CBS investigation finds the Southern California region's scout council pinning the blame for all this waste on ABC Bakery, which supplies the troops with their product and destroyed the cookies when a local troop bought more than they could offload. The devastation-by-tractor is basically how the unsold extras get disposed of around these parts, a policy set to change now that food banks and churches are catching wind of the practice. "We would have gladly accepted the cookies and they would probably disappear as fast as any product we have in here," says a Westside Food Bank rep. Indeed, the deliberate waste makes good old destruction pretty hard to stomach. Nonetheless, take a look as oh-so-many Thin Mints meet the big metal death machine in this video.

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Suddenly There’s a Proliferation of Pizzerias on Our Horizon

Atsa Amore!

So, it looks like pizza is going to continue trending for the foreseeable future. News of new pizzerias have been washing over the city like a succession of San Marzano tomato sauce waves ever since Marc Vetri dropped word of his forthcoming pizza parlor last week. Since then it’s come to our attention that Tria owner Jon Myerow is getting in on the pie action with Tria Taproom, which Foobooz reports will soon begin tossing pizzas and pouring beers in the space that last housed Rum Bar. No sooner did that news arrive that we began hearing rumblings of Pizza Bar, a tiny pizzeria that’s come to life inside the Piazza’s Kings Oak.

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Here Are 17 of the Internet’s Best Food-Themed Harlem Shake Videos

While there actually is a hamburger joint called Harlem Shake opening up — in Harlem, naturally — any day now, there's also this viral video phenomenon to contend with, which combines a sort of third cousin to the uptown dance and a Bauuer song, that was released last year. Everyone and their mother has been uploading their own Harlem Shake videos in the last few weeks, recorded in offices, parking lots, dorm rooms, and elevators, so it was only a matter of time before a few restaurants got into the act. Check out a whole MenuPages-worthy multiverse of tabletop dancers and demented dishwashers, just ahead.

Spider-Man, Abusive Santas, drunk Gumby. »

The Startling True Life Story Behind Chef Curtis Duffy of Grace

Curtis Duffy's Grace in Chicago has earned, in two months of being open, national acclaim as one of America's most ambitious restaurants, Duffy's eyes set on every prize to be had. What few have known, and only rarely came out in the press about Duffy, was that his ambition and drive as a chef — which led him from a Colorado country club to Charlie Trotter's, Alinea, and two Michelin stars at Avenues before opening his own restaurant — was rooted in a troubled childhood, which climaxed horrifically with the murder-suicide of his parents in 1994, when Duffy was 19.

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Horsemeat News Keeps Getting Worse

Horsemeat was in cottage pies delivered to 47 schools.

Throughout this scandal, food-manufacturing companies have protested that hidden horsemeat is an issue of mislabeling, not food safety. News broke today that adulterated meat ended up in school meals, hospital food, and restaurant dishes in Britain, which is particularly alarming because yesterday, public authorities announced that small amounts of the meat contained a powerful equine painkiller. The phenylbutazone drug is potentially harmful to humans, but the chances of getting sick are low: Out of 206 horse carcasses, eight tested positive for phenylbutazone, and only six of those carcasses were exported to France (French meat wholesaler Spanghero is the current culprit). Horsemeat isn't typically harmful; the issue here is that these horses weren't sourced responsibly and raised to become part of the food chain. [AP, NYT, Earlier]

Start Lining Up: Pliny the Younger Is Headed This Way

Kegs could be arriving as soon as today!

We have some good news, and some bad to share about this year’s supply of cult craft brew Pliny the Younger, which sends the ordinarily mellow beer-nerd set into a tizzy while lining up and standing outside of bars for hours just to get a taste when it makes its fleeting appearance on local tap lists each year. First the bad: Russian River Brewing Company, the California-based brewery who’s responsible for the heinously-hopped triple I.P.A. made less of the stuff this year. Due to a change in the recipe, the yield was considerably smaller than in years past. “It wasn’t hoppy enough for my husband (Vinnie Cilurzo),” Russian River co-owner Natalie Cilurzo told Grub Street. “So we added a few more hops, but when you do that, you get less liquid.”

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Introducing the Marc Jacobs-Designed Diet Coke Cans

Women wore houndstooth bikini bottoms with striped pants underneath in the aughts? Really?Photo: Coca-Cola

Recently appointed Diet Coke creative director Marc Jacobs designed these limited-edition cans of Coca-Cola Light in honor of the company's anniversary in Europe, and, surprisingly, he illustrated someone other than himself. Each can celebrates a recent fashion decade (the eighties, nineties, and aughts), and is inspired by Broadway and Radio City Music Hall, where Diet Coke made its debut in 1982. In all likelihood, the corresponding ad campaigns will showcase Jacobs's abs, or at least a topless model. [Earlier, NYDN, Cut]

Bruce Willis Recalls His Days As a (Flair?) Bartender

On a promotional tour for his new Die Hard movie — the title of which could have been so much better — Bruce Willis hit Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. One topic of conversation: Willis's days as a New York bartender. Per Fallon, people would actually travel to see Willis, who apparently dabbled in some flair. Willis won't confirm or deny — he'll only say that the secret to being a well-liked bartender is just giving drinks away (especially if the customer is John Goodman). Watch the clip, straight ahead.

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