Posts for December 3, 2012

Watch the Trailer for A Film About Coffee

"There's so much about coffee that we don't understand," says a subject filmed for A Film About Coffee, a forthcoming documentary from Brandon Loper, a San Francisco–based director. From the looks of things, Loper talked to the experts, obsessives, and some philosopher-baristas on his way to understanding the forces that shape coffee culture around the world. Here's his behind-the-scenes production blog, and check out the teaser trailer, straight ahead.

Espresso served in porcelian, arabica poured through a sock. »

British Restaurant Offers Dim Sum With a Side of Condoms

Seal the deal at their safe-sex lounge.Photo: Daily Mail

Here's one restaurant Kate Middleton probably won't frequent once she recovers from morning sickness hyperemesis gravidarum: Cabbages and Condoms. The Oxford restaurant has the distinction of being the first in the U.K. to offer "leaflets on protective sex when your meal ends," plus other safe-sex-themed goods. The restaurant, a chainlet that's really big in Thailand, reminds customers that "our food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy" and that purchasing condoms should be as routine as, you know, buying cabbage. After wooing over "fascinating" dim sum and "wonderfully herbaceous" shrimp soup, diners can linger over condom-themed mugs, keyrings, and books, purchases that might seem presumptuous before a third or so date. It still sounds better than Modern Toilet restaurant. [Daily Mail, Earlier]

Help The Greater Chicago Food Depository In a Really 2012 Way

If the perfect country song has mama, getting drunk, prison and trucks in it, per Professor D. A. Coe, the perfect foodie charity idea for 2012 has to involve the holidays, the homeless, guilt, your cell phone, a phone app and social media. And here it is, and we admire both its ingenuity and its fidelity to the moment. You pledge an amount to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Then, every time you check in to a restaurant on Facebook or Foursquare, a portion of that amount is disbursed to the Food Depository, so that the guilt you feel indulging in a foeigras-wich with condor fat fries and truffle shake is immediately expiated by knowing you've done something good. Anyway, it's called Eat Out Check In, it should do a lot of good and even keep hunger on the mind like we were all just told to, and you can do it all right here. Watch their video below. [via Chicagoist]

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Your Tap Water Might Be Giving You Food Allergies

Noooo. First peanuts, then gluten, and now tap water is killing us, too. According to research from New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine, pesticides lurking in our perfectly tasty, really rather cheap tap water can be linked to food and environmental allergies that might cause tongue-tingling, hives, and even death. Oh, and there's nothing you can do about it.

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DNAInfo Debuts, Immediately Starts Talking Eating Meat, Brains

The Chicago edition of New York's DNAInfo is a new attempt to bring hyperlocal journalism to the digital age. Or some such thing; if you want to get caught up in those kinds of debates, which have too often consumed such ventures in navel-gazing rather than serving readers, go here. It's a new site, it has some good food stuff on it, that's what you need to know as a reader. Most of the talk so far has focused on this piece about underground bacon makers, which, frankly, we think is a little less than meets the eye (these guys aren't that much closer to having a real business than lots of home charcuterists we know, trading their wares on the underground circuit). But there are a number of good stories there already in the Our Interesting City of Quirky Old Joints genre, like this one on Gepperth's Meat Market or this one on a diner favored by CTA personnel. And the standout, so far, is this one on eating brains, which goes into delightfully grisly detail. That said, the need to fit a newspaper-style format— those aphasic one sentence paragraphs, the focus on verifiable facts more than the color that really brings a story to life— is maybe holding the writing back a little. But it's new (and despite the claims in the Reader piece, many of the writers seem to be pretty new, too) so give it time— and bookmark it.

Take Your Shopping List (and Your Hungry Self) to Fete Chicago's Debut Thursday

When three of the people who launched Dose Market, Heather Sperling, Jessica Herman and Emily Fiffer, parted ways with the fourth, April Francis back in July, they hinted pretty strongly at parlaying their connections with the food world into a similar event with equally cool food offerings. (There's also all kinds of fashiony and gifty stuff involved, too, but let's stay focused, people.) The premiere event this Thursday evening will at last be your chance to see how that worked out— but based on the lineup, we don't think there's much doubt.

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Charlie Trotter Says Everything Must Go!

Eat your Chinese takeout Charlie Trotter style.Photo: courtesy Auction Consultants

Hey, those rumors that Charlie Trotter might keep his restaurant together and reopen it someday? They are so not true. Whatever else he might do in this life, it won't be reopening the same place, because the wine's being sold by Christie's and now all the other stuff that went into running a restaurant is being sold off by Auction Consultant/Bunte Auction Service. And it is everything, from fancy china to the spooky-cool photographs that decorated Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home to the kind of sliding-top opening freezer you see in 7/11s. Trotter seems to have been unsentimental about what he's getting rid of, and there's more than a few things you might find surprising he wouldn't hang on to (a signed bottle of Schramsberg for his 20th anniversary, a menu from Girardet where he got his start), but his unsentimentality is your chance to get the deal of a lifetime, we guess. The catalog is apparently still being prepared for the December 12th auction, but you can see much of it here— or take advantage of the preview on December 11 to walk through the space and check out his stuff one last (or first) time. Hey look, a kid's sled....

Previously: Video: Go Behind the Scenes of Charlie Trotter’s Gala Farewell, With Nathan Myhrvold and Sean Brock

Save Chrissy Camba's Top Chef Bid By Texting and Tweeting

Chicago's only Top Chef-testant this season, Chrissy Camba of Bar Pastoral, went down in a double elimination challenge last week. But it isn't over till it's over, and just as Beverly Kim got a second chance in the Last Chance Kitchen parallel universe on the Bravo website, now Chrissy and the other eliminated chefs have a chance to come back— thanks to fan involvement. One of them will be put back in competition based on the number of fan texts and retweets they get by December 7, and Camba and her fans are rallying support. In a clear reference to fellow eliminatee Carla Pellegrino, Camba says "I know it's a popularity contest, and I'm not the hottest chick on the block," but she's getting support from the Chicago restaurant community, as she tweeted this morning:

Before a pre-service meeting was finished at a neighboring restaurant, owner told the staff to #SaveChefChrissy @BravoTopChef #Love :D

To vote for Chrissy, text "Chrissy" or the letter B to 27286, or tweet the hashtag #savechefchrissy.

Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Spotted Pig’ Is a Project With David Beckham

Really, we can't wait.Photo: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

Make it stop: Just before taking the field for his final game with the L.A. Galaxy, David Beckham was quoted as saying his next career moves involve business plans with Gordon Ramsay, including a restaurant. "It will be a business thing but owning a restaurant is going to be fun as well," Beckham told the Sun. When we last heard about Ramsay's business plans, of course, they included a preemptive U.K. trademark filing for the name of the Spotted Pig, the New York restaurant owned by Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield. There's been speculation that Ramsay moved to trademark the name of a restaurant he does not own to snipe at onetime sparring partner Mario Batali, a Spotted Pig investor, but we're pretty sure the Gordo-Becks project is the Spotted Pig U.K., or some such attempt. Here's why.

Would you buy a hamburger from these men? »

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