Posts for December 10, 2012

Yes, Geneva, There Is The World's Longest Candy Cane

Photo: courtesy All Chocolate Kitchen

We're not that excited by "world's largest" foods, but you have to give points to this one for being 1) attractive, 2) technically difficult without breaking, and 3) usable as a decoration for the rest of the holiday season— or it would have been if it hadn't been smashed and handed out to spectators at the end of Saturday's event. It was the world's longest candy cane, 51 feet of striped, hyperglycemic joy, and it's a third Guinness World Record for Chef Alain Roby of Geneva, Illinois' All Chocolate Kitchen, who also holds the record for tallest cooked sugar building and tallest chocolate sculpture (12'10" and 20'8" respectively).

The Aviary Plans Decadent, Carnival-Style Blowout For New Year's Eve

Cocktails were born in decadence and frivolity, so how did cocktail bars get as serious as art galleries, all of us carefully poring over our bar chef-created cocktails like monks studying Holy Writ? The Aviary, which even has a rood screen (google it), seems to be determined to bring some night back to nightlife this New Year's Eve. They're bringing in an array of modern-day carnival acts, from magicians to sideshow-type performers, to keep the evening on a decadent keel. Only 75 people will experience this, and it's $325 a ticket, so send your email to and they'll, uh, pick the winners out of a hat, we guess. Anyway, see the lineup and menu below as it was announced on Facebook.

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Novak Djokovic Now Controls the World’s Supply of Precious Donkey Cheese

Feta wouldn't do.Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Possibly in order to stand out from the rest of the Belgrade restaurant scene, Serbian professional tennis player Novak Djokovic has reportedly purchased the entire world's supply of donkey cheese known as Pule. Otherwise known as the most expensive cheese in the world, Pule retails for up to $1,350 per kilogram and only comes from one place, that is, the good donkeys of the Zasavica reserve in Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia. Djokovic, who also has a stake in a family-run Novak Cafe & Restaurant (they're looking for franchisees!), will serve the low-fat, high-protein Pule at his restaurants.

But how does it taste? »

So Why Is This Week The Week Of The Most Openings Ever?

Between various food journalism personages on Twitter, we've come up with a list of no fewer than nine restaurants that may open this week. Not all are as major as, say, Grace, but even so, two or three is probably a pretty high number for a typical week, so why are we getting such a bounty two weeks before Christmas? Well, one reason is that it's two weeks before Christmas, and nobody wants to open closer than that (and be sadly empty on Christmas Eve because no one knows you exist yet), so openings that might happen closer are instead being squeezed further from either side of that holiday. Another is that restaurants of a certain ambition want to qualify for "Best of 2012" lists, though that doesn't really explain a lot of the places on the list, either. And finally, the fact is that January is famously a somewhat dead month in the biz, so if you're about to open, you might as well get as much of freespending December as you can, especially New Year's. Anyway, besides the ones we've already mentioned, Grace and Little Goat Bread, here are seven more places on their way this week, apparently; hat tip to Sarah Freeman of Zagat who had the most comprehensive list in her head.

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Bloody Hell: London Might Outlaw Rare Burgers

An endangered species?

We can't believe we're typing these words, but London's Westminster City Council wants to crack down on restaurants serving rare and medium-rare burgers. The London Evening Standard reports that authorities have even enlisted the United Kingdom's top expert on E. coli (really), Professor Hugh Pennington, to advise on the lethality of rare meat — and things look grim.

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Oaky: Robert Parker Leaves The Wine Advocate

Why is this man smiling?

The Wall Street Journal reports that Robert M. Parker, who popularized his now-ubiquitous 100-point rating system and changed the nature of the wine business, is stepping down from his role as editor-in-chief at The Wine Advocate, the vastly influential wine-review publication he started in 1978 with a $2,000 loan from his mom and a few mimeographed copies. The publication has grown to 50,000 subscribers over the years and now occupies a central position in the global wine trade.

The new owners are three entrepreneurs in Singapore. »

California Women Called ‘Fat Girls’ on Restaurant Receipt

Three women looking to square away their tab last Thursday night at a place called Chilly D's inside the Cameo Club Casino in Stockton, California, were shocked to discover that the restaurant's bartender had rung them up as "FAT GIRLS." If you've been tallying all the xenophobic and racist receipts issued to customers at restaurants over the last year, perhaps this latest form of fast-casual hate speech doesn't bother you much. But consider this: After the women discovered the words "FAT GIRLS" on their check, they approached a manager, who offered no genuine apology, but instead initially just a 25 percent discount. They had to talk him up to 50 percent

50 percent off the bill isn't much better. »

Little Goat Bread To Open Thursday, Diner to Follow

Just in case you don't have reservations for the opening of Grace this week on Randolph Street, you'll have another option for being one of the first to check out an opening on the city's hottest restaurant strip. Phil Vettel reports that Stephanie Izard and BOKA Group's Little Goat Diner will begin its apparently month-long opening with the launch of Little Goat Bread on Thursday. Besides serving as the bakery for both Girl & the Goat and Little Goat (which is why the space occupied by the whole Little Goat complex is actually larger than Girl & the Goat), it will have its own cafe seating and offer morning pastries, soup and sandwiches for lunch, and bread, and a small selection of artisanal products for sale. Once The Little Goat Diner opens later this month, it will also turn into the complex's bar area at night, serving a dozen craft brews and cocktails. In the meantime, if you want a preview— of a sort— check out the Little Goat website, which as we noted a while back, is adding sections in parallel with the openings in the actual space; now you can check out sections about the bread (including an interview with baker Greg Wade), the bar and the plans for the upstairs private room and classroom. [Tribune]

Preview Table, Donkey and Stick Thursday, Friday and Saturday; Will Open December 20

You saw the videos in which six candidates competed for the job of chef. Maybe you even ate the rillettes last week as they introduced Table, Donkey and Stick's Alpine inn concept and chef Scott Manley to the neighborhood. You'll finally have your chance to dine at Table, Donkey and Stick for real starting Thursday, December 20— but before then, you'll have three more chances to preview the restaurant and chef Manley's food at the get-to-know-the-neighborhood price of $15, same as the pop-up dinners for the competing chefs. It will be a four-course menu featuring the dishes that Chef Manley has been working on, from charcuterie to dessert, plus an optional Alpine cheese plate for $12; wine, beer and spirits will be available for purchase. The menu will run Thursday, Friday and Saturday; see the menu below, and get a reservation here.

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Watch Jamie Foxx Play an Angry Ding Dong

The uproar over Hostess closing has mostly been focused on the loss of Twinkies, despite the fact that the company made lots of other things. Someone at Saturday Night Live must have noticed, because this weekend's host Jamie Foxx showed up for a "Weekend Update" segment dressed as a Ding Dong that was tired of being forgotten about.

Remember "Keep Their Heads Ringin'"? »

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