Posts for November 16, 2012

Someone’s Getting Fired: Donald Trump Steak House Fails Health Inspection

"It's the greatest expired yogurt in the world!"

Symbolic of all the faded luxury once associated with Donald Trump's name, the ferret-haired millionaire's eponymous Las Vegas steakhouse, DJT, was recently shut down by Sin City health inspectors after being cited for 51 code violations. Among them was the discovery of month-old caviar, improperly stored food, parasites in the halibut, aged veal stock, and expired yogurt. The place reportedly reopened with the issues fixed, but we won't believe that until the Donald sends us his complete health inspection certificate by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday. [HuffPo]

Want To Be a Food Writer? First, Attend This on Saturday.

Want the glamorous life of a food writer? The writing part is easy— as Gene Fowler said, "All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead." The hard part is doing it in a way that you get paid, and that is why Culinary Historians of Chicago will be hosting Andy Smith, who runs the Roger Smith Food Writing conference in New York and teaches Food Studies at the New School University in New York. (He's also the editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America.) He'll cover the business basics of choosing an area to focus on and pitching it successfully, in a seminar with check-in at noon on Saturday (go here for more info). And if you want to get to know his work better, he'll be giving a talk beforehand, starting at 10 a.m., based on the subjects of his two most recent books, American Tuna—the Rise and Fall of an Improbable Food, and Drinking History: 15 Turning Points in the Making of an American Beverages. Find out more about that program here; both are at Kendall College tomorrow.

Video Feed: The Next Two Contestants Battle Flames For The Table, Donkey and Stick Gig

Watch Alpine inn concept Table, Donkey and Stick pick its new chef in real time! Watch diners judge the food (and maybe be one of them)! There's never been a series like this and it's happening right now here on Grub Street. In this episode, the second pair of contestants show how they'd execute Alpine food in the midwest. First up, from Monday night, is Brian Beverly, a Bonsoirée and Stephanie Izard veteran, who among other things explains why trout and salt cod are totally legit for mountain food (a question that's come up several times among diners). Then he's followed by Tuesday night's chef, Sean O'Hara, who sees Alpine food as being part of what good chefs are already doing in the midwest. If the first two nights seen in Part 1 went smoothly, these dinners verge more into Kitchen Nightmares territory, with everything from late arrivals backing up the kitchen to a waiter catching fire. (We're not exaggerating.) But even so, you'll find the food delectable to look at, as the diners did eating it. Watch this latest 8-minute episode below, and watch for openings to the very last dinner, Monday night, at the Table, Donkey and Stick Facebook page.

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CEO John Hall, COO Leaving Bud-Owned Goose Island

This is the writing that was assumed to be on the wall the day Goose Island Beer Company was sold to Anheuser-Busch in 2011: founder John Hall will leave the brewery he founded in 1988 at the end of the year, as will COO Tony Bowker. Replacing Hall will be 30-year A-B vet Andy Goeler, who as vice president of important, craft and specialty brands at A-B oversaw Goose Island's expansion into a national brand, with distribution in all 50 states and plants in New York and Colorado. Hall and Bowker are being kicked upstairs to an "Anheuser-Busch Craft Advisory Board"; the original Clybourn brewery was never part of the sale and remains on its own. [Tribune]

Astoundingly Skinny Matthew McConaughey Contemplates His Ultimate Burger Binge

Give this man some mayo.Photo: Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic

He's shedding pounds for an upcoming role as an eighties-era HIV patient in The Dallas Buyer's Club, and like any dutiful dieter, Matt McConaughey's dreaming about food — and he has some very specific ideas about what he'd like to eat. Toppings-laden cheeseburgers, for instance.

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Slideshow: Inside the New, Very Relaxing Bar Pastoral

You're about to settle in for a glitzy meal of 80-day-aged steak or squid eyeballs in Pop Tart foam or whatever, and you think to yourself... a hunk of cheese, a jug of wine, and thou. Preferably from a chef with a really big smile who just wants you to be happy. Is that too much to ask? No, it isn't, in fact it's at Bar Pastoral, the new wine bar and cheese paradise that just opened next to the original Pastoral store on Broadway. Chef and current Top Chef-testant Chrissy Camba is serving up comfy plates of good cheese and other stuff, her colleagues are pouring good wines and beers... it sounds pretty great even in the morning, but for several hours, at least, you'll have to make do with our man Huge Galdones' slideshow, below.

Time to Mourn: Watch Sixteen Vintage Hostess Commercials

Today's news that Hostess will close has almost instantly prompted Twinkie mourning and nostalgic missives. Sure, another company will likely buy up the brands, but things just won't be the same. To help you cope with the loss, we've rounded up some truly retro ads from over the years — remember Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pies? — that you can watch while you wallow in your cream-filled sadness.

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Tamarkin Perplexed by Elizabeth; Pang Calls McD's CBO Top Tier

This course made David Tamarkin feel like a nube.Photo: Sky Full of Bacon

"There's a new restaurant in town — I won't name it — where the chef is pretty green. Never been an executive chef before. Our meal there will be $380— and that's without any alcohol. And I'm like, the fuck?" So said David Tamarkin in an interview a month ago, and it didn't take much to figure out that he was talking about Elizabeth. His review has come out, and it's better than that might suggest— he really doesn't seem to have approached it mind made up— but it never shakes that initial skepticism, either: "I resigned myself to Regan’s choices, some of which seemed like senseless esoterica. When I found a crunchy half of a crabapple underneath some cheese and squishy fried frog legs, I didn’t bother wondering why the cumbersome bite hadn’t been cut down in size. I just rolled my eyes." For Tamarkin, "At Elizabeth, why? is often asked but never answered." For instance, he asks of a bolognese— "There was also a raccoon course, a pleasant ragù over soft polenta. The table talked about it—what does raccoon taste like? (In other words, why?)" But isn't that the answer— the table talked about it? Why assume that a protein that isn't beef or pork has to justify itself? [TOC]

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Obamacare Isn’t Forcing Restaurants to Cut Employees’ Hours

Photo: Spencer Platt/2012 Getty Images

Several restaurant CEOs have suggested recently that since President Obama is keeping his job, their employees' jobs might be in danger. Owners of chains like Papa John's, Olive Garden, Denny's, and Applebee's say that because of the Affordable Care Act, they'll be forced to reduce employees' hours since they can't afford to provide more full-time workers with health insurance or pay the fines for leaving them uninsured. Online Obamacare supporters called for a boycott of the restaurants, and opponents argued that the law will hurt restaurant workers as well as all who turn to them for a cheap, greasy dinner that isn't served in a paper wrapper. However, the claim that the health-care law is worsening conditions for restaurant employees is dubious.

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The (Possible) End of Twinkies: Hostess Will Close Forever

Time to stock up, armageddon-style.Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Start hoarding those Cupcakes: Hostess — the company that makes Twinkies, Cupcakes, Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, and all the other little plastic-wrapped cake-y things you begged your mom for when you were little — will shut down.

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