Posts for November 29, 2012

Chef Dave Beran on Next’s Next Season

Dave Beran plating at Next.

The 2013 season of Next menus has been announced. As reported a few weeks ago, the first will be the Hunt, a midwestern game-focused menu; while the second, as Nick Kokonas hinted to Grub Street Chicago shortly after, will be not just vegetarian but vegan. And the third will be Bocuse d'Or, after the famous cooking competition, which Grant Achatz and the Alinea/Next teams have strongly supported this year, hosting U.S. team head chef Richard Rosendale in Chicago for several weeks to work on ideas for the 2013 competition. (See our video featuring Achatz and Rosendale below.) We spoke with Next Chef Dave Beran as the news was breaking and got some behind the scenes insight into the upcoming menus — as well as seeing some of the new plateware that has been commissioned for the upcoming menus.

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Don’t Worry, Hostess Executives Will Apparently Still Get Bonuses

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Oh, Hostess: Yes, all of the company's assets will be liquidated and almost all of the company's employees are without jobs, but in a move that is sure to draw ire, the company asked a bankruptcy judge to approve a move that would give its top executives $1.8 million in bonuses. And, according to CNBC, that judge did, in fact, approve it.

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Check Out Au Cheval's English Cousin, Electric Diner

Photo: courtesy Electric Diner

Hat tip to 312 Dining Diva for pointing out the website now up for the previously announced London version of Au Cheval, which is part of the Electric Cinema complex in Notting Hill which includes an actual cinema as well as such things as a private club, a doughnut shop and (our favorite) a Smoking Terrace. We're in serious cross-cultural mashup territory here between the French food in an American diner setting in a space that looks like London's Tube, but we have to admit, it's pretty cool. Here's what may make you most jealous of London's version of Au Cheval, though:

The Diner opens at 8am for breakfast, switches to the all-day menu at 12pm and keeps serving until late at night (you can drop in for dinner until 1am at the weekend).

Their Brendan Sodikoff diner actually keeps diner hours, unlike ours. Anyway, check it out at the website here.

Top Chef Seattle Recap: David Rees on a Handsy Padma and Old-Timey Hawaiian Obsessions

Photo: Bravo

This week’s episode kicks off with the gang still arguing over Kuniko’s exile. John, the most hated chef in Dallas, continues his role of loudmouth jerk. He yells at Josh: “How many restaurants have you opened and failed?” CJ looks like he wants to knock John upside the head with How to Cook Everything. Amidst the din, someone lets slip this immortal diagnosis: “You pretend to have balls and you don’t have balls!”

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Peanut Farmers Peeved Over Peanut Butter Plant Closing

Seems the FDA’s shuttering of a peanut butter factory tied to salmonella outbreak that sickened 41 people in twenty states has turned a bumper crop of goobers into a bumper bummer for the small town of Portales, New Mexico. And the citizens there are mad as hell about it. The AP reports that the peanut-rich region was banking on a particularly bounteous harvest this year, but with Sunland Inc., the only production facility around, and the town’s largest employer, out of commission, those hopes of fortune have turned to worries about the local economy.

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Vettel Calls You To La Sirena, But Tamarkin's Experience Choppier; Sula Considers Baume & Brix Still Experimental

Photo: courtesy La Sirena Clandestina via Facebook

Phil Vettel gives John Manion's Brazilian bar and cafe La Sirena Clandestina two stars, which is almost always the most he'll give to a place this casual in feel, but the review suggests that on food alone, he could have gone higher: "I love the soulful moqueca (a deeply rich stew of fish, mussels and shrimp over cilantro risotto), the delicate sea bass casserole with coconut and curry notes and, my favorite, the whole-fried snapper, which combines satisfying crunch with beautiful, slightly sweet flesh. I haven't had a snapper this good in some time." Maybe he has a few reservations about startup kinks being worked out, but he's not much bothered by them: "La Sirena isn't a complete package, but it's only going to get better... Service and the kitchen, as they catch their respective breaths, will find their rhythm, allowing for a more dynamic menu and even lunch service, which Manion intends to add." [Tribune]

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Watch This Magician Make a Baguette Appear Out of Nowhere

This Yif guy really knows his way around viennoiserie. Even if you're one of the few people out there who doesn't appreciate street magic, you'll probably want to see this Paris-based, Taiwanese guy turn dough into flaky pastry, then transmogrify a little more flour and water to produce a three-foot-long loaf from, well, nowhere. We're wondering if Yif can make other food magically appear, but in any event, "bread magician" sounds way better than "charcuterie magician." What you are about to see may not be gluten-free, but it is no-knead. Prepare to be amazed.

Nice score marks. »

Goose Island, Two Brothers Vets Team Up To Brew Like It's 1499

Bleitner and Laffler.

Remember those great beers they had in Germany before the passage of the Reinheitsgebot in 1516? No, us neither, but there was a lot of variety in German beer before the law specified what constituted purity in beer, and two Chicago brewers with illustrious backgrounds are teaming up to bring it back. One is John Laffler, who as an R&D brewer at Goose Island was responsible for the acclaimed and much in demand Bourbon County Stout, among other things. The other is Two Brothers vet Dave Bleitner. They're teaming up to form Off Color Brewing, a new brewery located in West Logan Square which will focus on some of these forgotten recipes. They aim to hit stores with their first beer, Ampel Weiss, in March. [Sun-Times]

Vongerichten Asks Achatz a Burning Question

The Burning Question is a new video series from industry magazine Plate in which chefs will ask other chefs questions they've always wanted to ask them. At least, that's the idea we get, they never actually say. In any case, the first one has Jean-Goerges Vongerichten talking, semi-intelligibly given his thick accent, about his experience dining at the Alinea popup at Eleven Madison Park and posing a, well, burning question to Grant Achatz. Then the video crew shows it to Achatz and gets his response in return— which is all the funnier for the fact that he's thrown by the question at first, but finally comes up with pretty much exactly the right answer. Watch it below. [Plate Online]

Previously: A Night in the Kitchen During Alinea’s Eleven Madison Park Takeover

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Watch a Gangbanging Latke-Making Video

Just in time for Hanukkah comes the first episode of what's apparently going to be an online series, "Bubala Please." And the premiere finds our two Jewish gangster hosts frying up some latkes. Stir this motherfucker up.

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