Posts for February 25, 2013

Why All This Mystery In the Chef Shuffling at Le Bec Fin and Square Peg?

Abrams out.

As we approach the one year mark of Georges Perrier’s fateful announcement that he was pulling the plug on Le Bec Fin, the once grand dame of Walnut Street’s erstwhile restaurant row is back making headlines with the AP today talking reboots, the challenges of them, and whether those big changes can turn things back around. Oddly enough, what’s not discussed is the recent departure of Chef Walter Abrams, nor is his replacement, former LBF sous Steven Eckerd. In other mysterious chef-shuffling news, Matt Zagorski has left Hickory Lane.

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The Highlights From Anthony Bourdain’s Reddit Ask Me Anything

Wasn't a big fan of Bradley Cooper at first.Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

As promised, Anthony Bourdain hit Reddit today for one of the site's Ask Me Anythings. He's got a lot of projects in the works, so there was plenty to talk about, and to his credit, he took on all Taste-related sell-out questions head-on. To spare you having to deal with Reddit's UI, we've culled the best responses, straight ahead.

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Giddy Up: Side Project Jerky Teams Up With Rival Bros. to Create ‘The Cowboy’

Side Project Jerky's 'The Cowboy'

On the heels of his first chef collaboration, a pairing that succeeded in infusing the flavors of pho into small batch jerky, Marcos Espinoza's (aka Fidel Gastro) Side Project Jerky is going American frontier for his next jerky joint venture, dubbed The Cowboy. And he’s teaming with Jon Adams and Damien Pileggi from Rival Bros Coffee Roasters to do it. The new meaty snackage invokes the tastes of burnt ends, black coffee in a tin cup, and campfires on the open range. With Adams help, Espinoza flavored this batch with guajillo chiles, balsamic vinegar, and a double-strength brew of Rival Bros’ Whistle & Cuss espresso blend.

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Anthony Bourdain: Ask Him Anything

Author, cook, TV host, cartoon character, and gadfly Anthony Bourdain will grace the digital hallways of Reddit later on today, at 3 p.m. EST. Watch this space for the official AMA link, and in the meantime, prepare your most burning questions. [Helen Cho/Twitter, Reddit]

Brogurt, or Greek ‘Yogurt for Men,’ Is a Real Thing

Coming to a bench-press near you.

Face it, right up there with the arrival of asteroids from deep space, we've been seriously due for a smiting of Greek yogurt that will not only build muscle and burn fat, but also give those who ingest it the manly fortitude to walk away from General Zod after he's been imprisoned in an elliptical machine and gets a little pissy. Ooh-rah, people of the world who don't skip breakfast, here's Powerful, which you may have guessed by now is so much "more than a yogurt" that it's brogurt: "In a niche typically dominated by female consumers," its website tells us, "we decided to develop a new Greek yogurt specifically suited to address the unique health and nutrition needs of the most neglected consumers in the category: men." This high-protein, no-fat, all-beast snack — spotted this weekend at Fairway and Brooklyn Fare — is going to dominate your lunchbox, beef up your sperm count, and help you pinpoint your inner abs.. Ladies, be careful out there! This yogurt isn't for you!

Now Open: Ratchada Thai & Laos Cuisine, Serving Laab, Curries and Other Laotian-Thai Hybrids in South Philly

Ratchada Thai & Laos Cuisine

Just as quietly, and mysteriously as popular South Philly BYOB Cafe De Laos closed last fall, Ratchada Thai & Laos Cuisine opened in its place. The new operation, which shares the same address, phone number, and owner as its predecessor, also features a menu that’s surprisingly similar. Laotian dishes like laab salads share billing with Thai dishes like drunken noodles on the extensive menu. There are also plenty of curries, soups, seafood and vegetarian plates, too. Check out the full menu here.

Ratchada Thai & Laos Cuisine, 1117 South 11th Street, (215) 467-1546

Nigella Lawson: ‘The Whole World Is Enslaved by Italian Food’

Nigella Lawson at Allium in The Four Seasons, Chicago.Photo: Sky Full of Bacon

It took a trip to Italy for the 19-year-old Nigella Lawson to discover who she really was: an Italian soul in an (imposingly tall and chic) English body. That, at least, is the premise behind her newest cookbook, Nigellissima (Clarkson Potter, $35), released two weeks ago in the U.S. The cookbook author, who also happens to be one of the judges on The Taste, came to Chicago last week for a quick book tour of the Midwest. And figuring that she'd probably had enough questions about Anthony Bourdain and TV in general, we stuck to talking about the universal love for Italian food, and how going to Italy at an impressionable age literally changed her life and made her the single-named star she is today. You can't hear the rounded, brandy-voiced tones and precise diction with which she answered our questions, but her warm affection for the subject of Italian food and culture comes through even in cold type.

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Tavro Thirteen’s Terence Feury ‘Easily Among the Region’s Best Chefs’; Zeppoli Is the ‘Best Restaurant in South Jersey’

• Craig LaBan says the meals he had at Swedesboro, NJ’s Tavro Thirteen were “very good,” but not what he’s “come to expect” from Terrence Feury, who he adds is “easily among the region's best” chefs. Feury’s seafood dishes make the trek to South Jersey “worth the visit”; swordfish served over squash puree with pumpkin seeds was “meltingly moist,” and seared cod with parsley and potato chips “provided the perfect flake-and-crunch contrast to the funky pairing of soft, potatoey salt cod brandade.” But where those dishes succeed, other don’t. Mackerel cooked inside cardamom leaves lost its “trademark swagger” to steam, and the deboned, and cooked sous-vide chicken wings at the bar were “not worth the fuss.” Though he gave the restaurant just two bells, he ends on a promising note, stating there’s “nothing on this menu that master Feury can't tune up to his usual excellence.” [Inquirer]

• At Zeppoli, James Beard semifinalist and Vetri protege, Joey Baldino, turns out “honest little thrills, impressive execution and a smattering of the exotic,” which Adam Erace assures us makes the place “the best restaurant in South Jersey.” Rabbit “braised in oregano-scented tomato sauce till slipping off the bone,” an “epic” Sicilian antipasto, and “simple spaghetti in garlic, oil and baby eels” are af ew of the dishes he says make it so. [Courier-Post]

Tabasco Chairman and Chief Executive Paul McIlhenny Has Died

He made millions of meals better.Photo: Tabasco

The iconic 145-year-old hot-sauce company lost its chairman and CEO Paul McIlhenny on Saturday to an apparent heart attack, the New York Times reports. McIlhenny, who died in New Orleans, was a sixth-generation descendent of the company's founder, a Civil War-era food tinkerer. He had worked for the company for 45 years and served as its chief executive for the last 13.

Fermented peppers, vinegar, and salt. »

Watch Jennifer Lawrence Crave McDonald’s at the Oscars

The Academy Award winner told MTV that she was so stressed while getting ready for the show that she "forgot" to eat, so she asked one of her handlers to pick her up a Happy Meal from a nearby McDonald's. No word on if she got to eat in time to accept her award, but starvation could explain her big fall. Somewhere, a McDonald's exec is thinking there's actually a possibility she'd star in a commercial.

"You have to remind them about ketchup." »

More Bad News: Horsemeat Found in Ikea’s Swedish Meatballs and Birds Eye Products

Swedish Meatball-gate: The next big hurdle.

Quantities of unregulated horsemeat that infiltrated Europe's food supply and subsequently turned up in a staggering number of grocery-store and food-service products like Burger King's burgers, Findus's prepackaged frozen lasagna dinners, Tesco's hamburgers, have also now been discovered in IKEA's Swedish meatballs and in Bird Eye's chilli con carne and bolognese sauces. Birds Eye's parent company announced on Friday that samples of its chili con carne distributed throughout Europe tested positive for horse DNA, and authorities in Scotland recalled the entire frozen hamburger from primary schools countrywide, both signs that the issue of the tainted food may be far from resolved. Now it's come down to Ikea's beloved Swedish meatballs.

Trying to assauge "potential worries among our customers." »

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