Posts for December 18, 2012

Busted: Brunello Vandal Caught; Maple Syrup Bandits Apprehended

Police in Italy have arrested a suspect in connection with a shocking act of vandalism that destroyed 62,600 liters of producer Gianfranco Soldera's Brunello. The 39-year-old Andrea Di Gisi is a disgruntled former employee, they say, and police are testing his wine-stained jeans to see if they're a match to Soldera's product. Meanwhile, Canadian police announced they've arrested three men in conjunction with the theft of an enormous amount of maple syrup — possibly $30 million worth of stuff — from a Quebec warehouse last August. Authorities are now concerned that the perpetrators actually intended to be caught and arrested so they could end up in jail together. They now suspect this is all part of an elaborate plan to contaminate the world's supply of Brunello with Canadian maple syrup. [Decanted, AP, Earlier]

Watch Aziz Ansari Go On a Po’ Boy Crawl

While on tour in New Orleans, the comedian tried a shrimp po' boy at Domilise’s, then chased it with a fried oyster and shrimp variation at Verti Marte. Not the first time we've seen Ansari wolf down sandwiches on-camera; the man can eat. His opening act, Chelsea Peretti, came along for the ride.

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Zealous To Close New Year's Eve

Penny Pollack of Dish tweeted earlier today that Michael Taus will close Zealous, his 19-year-old fine dining restaurant (which began in Elmhurst but moved to River North in 1999), after New Year's Eve. Which means he will close one year to the day from when his mentor, Charlie Trotter, announced his closing. We interviewed Taus about Zealous, the restaurant's longevity, and where he stood on the subject of Charlie Trotter last August; read it here. [Penny Pollack via Twitter]

Shaquille O’Neal Is Making ‘Luv Shaq’ Vodka

Because the world was just crying out for another novelty vodka, the company that teamed up with Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino to bring that ill-fated casein-fortified vodka to the clubs is now developing a new variety with Shaquille O’Neal called "Luv Shaq." The Post reports that the new vodka will not contain gluten or sugar, two things no one should ever anticipate to be in their vodka anyhow. O'Neal's new beverage will be coconut-flavored, easy to drink, and seems ready-made for novelty signature cocktails, but just watch out: Some Sex on the Beach, after all, can now lead to a drink called a Luv Shaq Baby, or worse, a Luv Shaq on the rocks. [NYP, Earlier]

And So It Begins For the Next Year...

Dave Beran plating at Next.

The fever pitch that greeted Next has died down a bit. It seems more possible to get tickets these days— yet when they offer them on Twitter, they still go quickly. So will Next-mania ratchet up again for the new season? We're about to find out. Next just sent season subscribers from 2012 an email announcing details about the 2013 season. We've got the full text below, but here are some salient points first: The Hunt runs January 9 through April 28, and as they explain, "Wild game will be featured, but so too other foraged and forgotten foods and techniques." Vegan runs from May 8 to August 24, which is to say, prime growing season in the midwest. And Bocuse d'Or will run August 31 to December 31. Bocuse d'Or, like El Bulli, is a more elaborate and expensive meal offering only one seating per night— it will run $195 every night, versus $90 to $115 for the others (depending on day of the week). The date season tickets go on sale will be announced in the next few days; now here's the full announcement.

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Still Even More New Year's Eve Listings, Part 3

The list of things to do on New Year's Eve just keeps growing every time we put up one of these posts. Here's the next dozen or so things to do, if you can't find an event to go to on New Year's Eve, don't blame us.

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Watch Pro Wakeskaters Ride a Cranberry Bog

Red Bull invited two professional wakeskaters — they're like wakeboarders but more hard-core since they're not bound to the board in any way — to travel to Wisconsin and surf a cranberry-covered bog. It's part of the energy drink's video series about extreme, winch-powered sports, which by definition is almost too marketing-driven to actually be extreme. But still, the video is great.

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200 Turn Out To Remember Gold Star Bartender Susan Stursberg

Stursberg and Tuggle.

DNAInfo's Alisa Hauser reports on the memorial for Susan Stursberg, co-owner of Wicker Park's Gold Star Bar with her husband Ian Tuggle, who died of pancreatic cancer on December 10 at age 45. More than 200 people turned out for the memorial at Club Foot to remember a bartender described by one as "a beautiful person without trying." [DNAInfo]

Prof. Milt Rosenberg To End WGN Radio Show Thursday

Dr. Milt Rosenberg, c. 1990.

You might have discovered it while twirling the AM dial— suddenly, among the sports games and the late night political ranters, there came a voice, unmistakably professorial, engaged in what might have been a late-night dinner party among university types. This was Professor Milt Rosenberg’s nightly program, the best interview show on radio, not on public radio but on one of the oldest and largest commercial stations in the country— a holdover from another time when local radio stations were actually local and did things like give college professors late night airtime to offer, essentially, free education to any steel worker or cab driver willing to tune it in. (WGN's own website called it "utterly implausible radio," and a more damning indictment of American media is hard to imagine.) Now, after 39 years, Rosenberg’s show will end abruptly with Thursday night’s broadcast. Okay, but what makes this a food story, you ask?

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Instagram Now Owns All of Your Food Porn

Why won't someone think of the truffles?Photo: Everett Bogue

Come January 16, you will no longer own all of those quasi-tilt-shift sirloin-steak photos, washed-out croquembouches, and artfully blurry Thumbelina carrot snaps you took on your phone. It turns out that Instagram, which is now owned by Facebook, is changing its user policy so that it can use all public photos taken with the app at any time, for any reason it wants to. The good news is that your cake pops may soon be in Everyday With Rachael Ray, but the bad news is that no one will pay you for that and your career as a cake-pop photographer will never take off.

Why is this happening? »

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Adorable Kid Convinces Hasbro to Make Gender-Neutral Easy-Bake Oven

Coming soon in silver and black.

Crisis averted: That New Jersey teen who started a petition beseeching Hasbro to manufacture and market a more unisex Easy-Bake Oven met with executives from the toy company, who told her that a redesigned silver-and-black model is in development and will debut at the New York Toy Show in February. McKenna Pope, who is 13, felt bad for her little brother, who'd asked for an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas but feared the social repercussions and stigma of turning out brownies with a girly-swirly purple-and-pink toy in the company of his macho, bench-pressing 4-year-old friends. Pope's petition elicited support from 40,000 concerned citizens, Bobby Flay, dozens of other chefs from around the country, and lots of reporters from the predictable array of tabloid news programs. [ABC, Earlier]

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