Posts for February 26, 2013

Shocker: Lawsuit Accuses Budweiser of Watering Down Its Beer

We still love you, blue beer.

Listless teenage boys and Jennifer Lawrence alike will be dismayed to learn that lawsuits have been filed by plaintiffs in three states accusing beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev of watering its brews down before passing them on to an unwitting drinking public. “AB’s customers are overcharged for watered-down beer and AB is unjustly enriched by the additional volume it can sell,” reads part of one complaint filed by Thomas and Gerald Greenberg in federal court in Philadelphia. While it's currently unclear just how multiple plaintiffs came to the conclusion that Budweiser is mislabeling its beer, Bloomberg reports two more lawsuits are imminent, in Colorado and Ohio; meanwhile, the beer company, which currently controls 39 percent of the beer market in the United States, steadfastly denies such preposterous claims, adding that it routinely deploys technology that measures "alcohol content in malt beverages to within hundredths of one percent." The plaintiffs are seeking an amount in excess of $5 million in compensation and damages, apparently, because weaker beer ruined their lives. Or something. First it was America's bourbon watering it down, now it's the King of Beers? Does this mean we can expect some horrible news from Bartles & Jaymes about their wine coolers tomorrow? [Bloomberg, Earlier, Related]

New Study: Democrats Love Bagels, GOP Loves Olive Garden’s ‘Ethnic Food’

A sad new Public Policy Polling survey of registered voters reveals that a vast swath of the country is very sheltered when it comes to authentic spaghetti. It seems that 43 percent of Republicans agree with the following statement: "Olive Garden is a quality source of authentic ethnic food." Democrats don't know good pasta, either; 41 percent of them think the exact same thing.

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Abandon All Hope: In-N-Out Burger Has No Big Expansion Plans

Staying out of reach.

Hold on to your Shake Shacks and Five Guys, everybody, because In-N-Out is not coming your way anytime soon. In a rare interview with Orange County Register, secretive company scion Lynsi Torres makes it plainer than a Bible verse on a paper cup when she says, "We're definitely not franchising, and we're not going to sell." The 30-year-old heiress, who spends her free time and family fortune on a passion for drag-racing, explains that the company has purposefully plodded slow out of the gate to maintain their famously never frozen food, daily baked buns, and hand-sliced fries. To keep its focus on freshness, every new In-N-Out has to stay close to the company's distribution centers in Dallas and Baldwin Park, the main reason In-N-Out has only expanded to five states in 65 years.

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North Bowl Heads South For a Second Location

Whoa, what’s this? The folks behind North Bowl are expanding southward? That’s what Passyunk Post’s saying. The idea was first floated way back in November 2011, but now there’s confirmation that NorthBowl’s peeps have their sights set on opening another entertainment complex with bowling alley, restaurant, bar, arcade games and more on the site of the former Thomas Colace Co. produce distributor near Front Street and Oregon Avenue. The opening is slated for fall. [P'unk Post]

Gordon Ramsay Has Really, Truly Relinquished the Spotted Pig Trademark

Sending out good vibes all over.

The British chef angered many last November when it was learned he had moved to trademark the Spotted Pig name in the U.K., leading everyone and their mother to speculate that he was trying to prevent April Bloomfield, Ken Friedman, and one-time rivalMario Batali from opening a branch of their successful New York restaurant across the pond. Ramsay stood down, and while he's been saying for months he'd surrender the trademark, it looks like it's only now official, reports Eater. Unfortunately, there's news today of another pressing legal matter involving the chef: Ramsay, it turns out, also owns the trademark to the name "Brain Freeze," and may in fact be opening a restaurant under that name. "No freakin' way," said some 7-year-old kid in Dade County, responding to the news that papers had been filed last January. "I had that idea when I was 5." [Eater, Earlier, Earlier]

City Tap House Tapping Pliny the Younger on Saturday

Pliny to the people!

Attention beer nerds: Get your camping gear in order and whatever else you need to make standing in line for hours more bearable, because the first barrel of cult favorite Pliny the Younger’s going on tap this Saturday at City Tap House. The barkeeps there will begin pouring Russian River’s seldom seen, seasonal triple I.P.A. at 5 p.m. sharp. To get a sip of the precious, and most coveted potion, you’ll need one of the Tap House’s Willy Wonka-style golden tickets, which they will begin doling out promptly at 4 p.m. Eight ounce pours of the stuff will be available for $10 only for the lucky folks who score tickets. It’s all first come, first served, and the Pliny will run out.

Will the Sequester Really Halt Meat Production?

At least the cows would be happy.Photo: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

Bear with us while we talk food politics for a sec. Even if you aren't thinking much about the sequester — those looming government budget cuts that are set to happen Friday if Congress can't come to some sort of agreement — there is one bit of possible fallout that could affect the food world, big-time: The White House and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have floated the scenario that cutting the USDA's budget (something that would happen as a result of the sequester) would leave the agency with "no choice" but to give food-safety inspectors unpaid leave, which would in turn halt meat inspections, which would in turn mean no fresh meat for anyone. Not good!

Stock up on broccoli. »

Get Ready for a Pollan Family Cookbook

Sage advice.

“Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food," Michael Pollan famously wrote, but what about more immediate family? We're going to find out, it seems, in the Pollan Family Table, which is being written by the food-policy advocate's mother and three sisters. According to Publishers Marketplace (subscription), the forthcoming cookbook will be chockablock with "Pollan family stories, recipes, cooking techniques, and pantry wisdom for healthy, harmonious meals for every family." While the sagacious, best-selling author — who once told Grub Street all about noshing at Barney Greengrass and ricotta on twelve-grain toast at his mother's apartment — won't be dispensing tips for using sage here himself, he is writing the foreword. Look for the Scribner book in the fall of 2014. [Publishers Marketplace, Earlier]

Southwark Rolls Out the Welcome Mat For Peter Serpico

Peter Serpico a the James Beard Awards 2009Photo: Patrick McMullan

If you buy into that whole Philly inferiority complex, perhaps you too were a bit miffed by Peter Serpico’s recent Q+A with Bon Appetit’s Matt Duckor. And if so, that’s truly a shame. Do you honestly believe that the former top lieutenant of David Chang’s empire would move here, and risk the entire next chapter of his career if he really thought we were all a bunch of mouth-breather, cheesesteak-eating rubes? One person who clearly was not offended by all this talk of Philly being family-oriented, and home to big-box restaurants is Southwark chef Nick Macri. In fact, he’s rolling out the welcome mat for Serpico next week with a special dinner at the restaurant. But he emphasizes that it is not a collaboration.

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Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar Crashing Cherry Hill’s Burger Blowout

Zinburger's burger

As if Cherry Hill’s chain-burger game wasn’t already in play on what can only be described as an awfully crowded field, upscale wine and hamburger concept Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar announced today that it’s about to push its way into the scrum. According to a rep for the Livingston, N.J. -based Briad Group, which has a franchising agreement for the Zinburger brand for 23 states east of the Mississippi, plans are afoot to open a location at Towne Plaza at Garden State Park (923 Haddonfield Rd.) on March 5. With Zinburgers already flipping patties in Clifton and Paramus, Cherry Hill will be Briad’s third location in the Garden State. Though the name is perhaps the worst for a fast-cas, junk food concept — at least since Zavino launched here back in 2009 — hold those eye-rolls for just a second.

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Nobu and Geoffrey Zakarian Are Cruising

Bingo, anyone?

Is partnering with a cruise line the next step to building a celebrity chef empire? Aboard the uppity Crystal Symphony in July, Nobu Matsuhisa will lead cooking demonstrations, host special Omakase dinners, and schmooze with passengers. A pretty sweet deal, considering he's sailing around Italy. Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian already had plans for a partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line, and now he's sweetening the deal by opening a second restaurant on a Miami-based Norwegian boat. Like Matsuhisa, he'll hop onboard to do cooking demonstrations and hold babies for photographs. Since these cruise lines are two of the most luxurious ones, hopefully these guys will avoid feces and four-hour waits for food. [USAT, Earlier, Miami Herald, Earlier]

20 Examples of Counterfeit Meats That Are Way Grosser Than Horse

One of these things is not like the other. Bring on the ammonium hydroxide!Photo: Corbis

For many, Mondays are meatless. Read on here, and you'll probably end up adding Tuesdays through Sundays. While the horse meat scandal continues to expand in Europe and more and more schools and retailers and restaurants who could have sworn they were serving beef find out that they weren't, it's become clear that once added to a food system, counterfeit meat can really have legs, in addition to what are purportedly shanks and trotters. So keep a close eye on your rump roast: Here are some of the worse mystery-meat substitutions from the last few years.

Unfortunate cats, hamburger helpers, and other sad steaks. »

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