Posts for December 12, 2012

Man Laid Off From Pink-Slime-Producing Company Sues ABC, Jamie Oliver

Oliver.Photo: Getty Images

Back in September, South Dakota's Beef Products, Inc. sued ABC News for defamation, claiming investigative pieces on "pink slime" made by the company crushed demand for the product and forced BPI to close three-quarters of its plants and lay off more than 700 workers. Now one of those laid-off workers, Bruce Smith, is also suing a group of people including ABC News, anti-pink-slime-crusader Jamie Oliver, and school-lunch blogger Bettina Siegel (who says on her blog that she hasn't yet been served with the suit). Smith is seeking $70,000 damages, a number he tells the Daily Mail is low enough to keep the case from going to federal court: "I want the people I have sued. I want them here in the locality where the damage is done," he says. "And if that means not suing for everything I can, so be it." [Daily Mail UK, Earlier]

More New Year's Eve Ideas For You, Part 2!

Posting our first batch of New Year's Eve events brought our inbox a digital ton of them. So here's round two, beginning with... let's pick one from a hat... Bread & Wine. Hey, who needs to go downtown for New Year's when you have a neighborhood farm to table restaurant bringing in a side of veal from Catalpa Grove Farm to create specials like veal strip loin with green olive, tangerine, new potato and arugula, or veal shank ragu, watercress cavatelli and pickled mushrooms. They'll serve up till 9:30, champagne toast at midnight; regular menu will be available but reservations are recommended.

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Income Disparity Between Fast-Food Workers and Executives Keeps Growing

Billions served, millions of employees screwed.

Bloomberg brings us a frown-inducing story today about the income disparity between fast-food workers — like one McDonald's employee in Chicago named Tyree Johnson who works at two restaurants, still can't get 40 hours a week, and makes $8.25 an hour despite having been a loyal employee for twenty years — and recent former CEO Jim Skinner, who made $8.75 million last year. As they point out, depressingly, it would take Tyree Johnson working a million hours, or a hundred years, to make what Skinner makes. Worse: That's totally indicative of the growing wage gap between the one-percenters and everyone else.

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Toys For Toddies, Charlie McKenna Does Tacos, And Other Stuff That Is Happening

Stuff is happening and here is some of it: tomorrow night Heritage General Store, which is a bike shop/cafe, will join with bartenders Wade McElroy, Jeff Donahue and Greg Buttera of The Barrelhouse Flat and Infinium Spirits to host Toys For Toddies. For every toy you donate for underprivileged kids, they'll serve you one of the holiday hot libations created for the occasion by Barrelhouse Flat mixologists. (Alternately, they ask for a $5 donation to buy more toys.) It's from 8 to 11 p.m. tomorrow at Heritage General Store.

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Dum Dums: Soda and Candy ‘May Reduce Brain Function’

Put down those Christmas cookies immediately: New research from UCLA concludes that consuming soda, candy, and sugary snacks for just six weeks could render you dumb, reports CBS. Apparently, in addition to causing things like obesity and diabetes, fructose slows cognitive functions, altering the "brain's ability to learn and remember information." This sounds like something we might have expected after, say, five eggnogs. But now Coke and Tootsie pops, too?

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Will Climate Change Wipe Out the World’s Pasta?

Possibly, says Newsweek (a mag that probably knows a thing or two about being wiped out). In a way-long story called "The End of Pasta," this helpful bit of info appears: "Pasta is made from wheat, and a large, growing body of scientific studies and real-world observations suggest that wheat will be hit especially hard as temperatures rise and storms and drought intensify in the years ahead." Scary! But here's the thing: If climate change gets so bad that it destroys the world's wheat crop, spaghetti will be the least of our concerns, as we'll also be unable to produce things like, uh, bread. [Newsweek]

But Is It Food For the Jews?

Just in time for Hanukkah to be almost over, two interesting dispatches from the small world of Jewish food in Chicago. (If you need three for a trend, the third is our interview with the proprietor of Kaufman's Deli, we guess.) At Time Out Chicago, Carly Fisher talks to the Talmudic chef Jason Vincent of Nightwood, as he explores bringing the flavors of traditional Jewish comfort foods into his menu:

There’s housemade matzo for the matzo-meal pancakes with “gelt butter” (melted Hanukkah chocolate coins mixed with butter); brisket latkes; and the very unkosher McMatzo Cubano: a breakfast sandwich with ham, pork, cheese, pickles and mustard wedged between matzo brei. “We start with an idea and find out what makes it interesting,” Vincent says (though he admits no amount of experimentation could make Manischewitz palatable).

McMatzo Cubano? Well, the guy did win the pork competition Cochon 555.

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On His Way Out, Charlie Trotter Lets Door Hit Mark Caro

L: Ejectee. R; Ejector.

From the Tempest In a Teapot Desk at Grub Street Chicago, sponsor of our league champion Inside Baseball team, comes word that Charlie Trotter has unexpectedly done something outrageous, and there is outrage! Yesterday, according to a tweet from Tribune reporter Mark Caro, "Charlie Trotter kicked me out of his restaurant today while I was checking out his auction's preview." Good God! Is he insane, or merely out of his mind? Chicagoist talked to Caro, in whose mouth Plugra apparently would not melt: "We did have a good relationship. Aside from providing the impetus for (Caro's book) The Foie Gras Wars, he sat down with me for a couple of long interviews for my Tribune series and also let me follow up on the phone so I could give him the chance to respond to anything that had been said about him. I hadn't heard from him since the three-parter ran in August." Well, pardon us if we're not only not shocked that this happened... we kind of suspect Mark Caro isn't, either.

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The Boarding House To Open December 20; Bar, Cellar To Soft Open This Weekend

Alpana Singh and Chef Christian Gosselin.

2012 is not going to get away without a major opening every week, and the word came yesterday that The Boarding House, the three-story wine bar and restaurant at 720 N. Wells built around sommelier Alpana Singh's wine list (and personality), will open next Thursday, December 20. Reservations are available now on Open Table and by phone (312-280-0720). That's for dining in the third-floor restaurant with its spectacular floor-to-ceiling windows— but that's only one part of the entire business, and you'll have a chance to check out others later this week. There's no specific date, but according to the press release, "by the end of this week" they will soft open the bar area on the first floor and the cellar (which seats 75) for walk-ins to enjoy the cocktail list, wine selections by the glass and snacks from chef Christian Gosselin's menu. Also ready to book for holiday parties— the second floor private dining room, which seats up to 50.

Previously: See the Space That Will Become Alpana Singh's Boarding House

Slideshow: First Look at the Menu at Alpana Singh's The Boarding House

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