Posts for December 21, 2012

Canadian Prison Pizza Parties Are Now Banned

Hold the pepperoni, and everything else.

In September, Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews put an end to years of sanctioned fast-food parties held for inmates when he issued a directive condemning them. The practice was widespread in prisons across Canada for many years and doubled as a food drive for groups like Doctors Without Borders. Under the program, inmates used their own money to order outside food, while food drives took place on the outside. "Canadians were concerned that dangerous and violent prisoners had across the board access to pizza parties and BBQ socials," a spokesperson for the government tells the CBC. Greg McMaster, a convicted murderer who has spent 34 years of a life sentence in jail, says his fellow inmates raised $50,000. "If someone's in an outrage that I enjoy a piece of KFC twice a year," he told the CBC, "I would say their priorities may be a little askew." [CBC]

The Year In Beer is Clearly Bubbling

Our interest in beer being more practical than obsessive, we rely on a number of sites to keep us informed, high among them Guys Drinking Beer. GDB's Karl Klockars does a roundup of the year in beer in the Chicago environs, and the main thing we take away from it is... holy reinheitsgebot, Batman, there's a LOT of breweries starting up here. Begyle, Pipeworks, Dryhop, Atlas, One Trick Pony, Hopothesis, Brewery Vivant, 4 Paws, Off Color, not to mention that giant Lagunitas thing coming here and the prospect of a Three Floyds pub up here and, good grief, just go read it and salivate yourself. [Guys Drinking Beer]

Twelve Interesting Christmas Food Traditions From Around the World

Did you know that KFC is now a huge Christmas thing in Japan thanks to a 1970s ad campaign?Photo: .tamoteru./Flickr

In America, we have our sugar cookies, our rib roasts, and our candy canes. The French have bûche de Noël. In Italy, there's panettone and the Feast of the Seven Fishes. But you may not be as aware of these other festive traditions from around the world. Like, for instance, the potato, cheese, and anchovy casserole known as Jansson's Temptation that's a traditional part of the Julbord (Christmas smörgåsbord) in Sweden? See a dozen of our favorites below.

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Louisville Man Sues Maker’s Mark Bourbon House for Alleged Racism

Maker's Mark Bourbon House in Lousiville.

Andre Mulligan and his brother met with representatives at the Maker's Mark Bourbon House and Lounge in Louisville last August in order to book a party for the following day. "During the meeting," Mulligan alleges in a complaint filed this week in Jefferson County Court, "the officials from Maker's Mark demanded to know the ratio of 'black people' to 'white people' attending the event." When Mulligan told them the party would be "100 percent African American," management allegedly replied that the restaurant would not host the event. When his party showed up at the restaurant the following night, they were turned away at the door. Mulligan is now suing the restaurant's operators for costs and punitive damages for violating the Kentucky Civil Rights Act.

The liquor company's statement. »

Katt Williams Causes Trouble at Subway While Suge Knight Gets a Manicure

Repeat offender Katt Williams was detained by LAPD in front of a West Hollywood Subway last night in response to an alleged disturbance at the foot-long purveyor. Much to the reassurance of public safety, the cops later released the comedian, handing him back his marijuana and a .45 caliber pistol after determining that he was only loitering while his manager, Suge Knight, got a manicure next door. For their troubles, a Subway employee brought the twosome free sandwiches and denied any incident took place. [TMZ]

And a Few More New Year's Eve Things You Could Go To...

The more we try to get out, the harder they pull us back in! Here's a few more New Year's Eve events, starting with a big kahuna— Grace will have one menu for New Year's Eve, and guests will have the reservation for the evening. It starts with a champagne reception at 7:30, with dinner shortly after 8:00. At midnight, the festivities peak with a Champagne toast, and guests are free to stay as long as they like and mingle throughout the space (including the kitchen). It's all a mere $325 per person; call 312-234-9494 for reservations.

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Guy Fieri Is Now Dr. Guy Fieri

He will school you.Photo: Corbis, Getty Images

The Donkey Sauce titan and Food Network personality was given an honorary doctorate on Tuesday by his alma mater, UNLV. The school thanked Fieri for his public service and continued support of its hotel college's fund-raising efforts. "[T]here is no place better in the world to get a hospitality degree than UNLV," the chef said during commencement. "It allowed me to get the mental game it takes to win in the big leagues." Now that he's got multiple TV shows, a successful restaurant chain, and many cookbooks under his belt, let's hope that Fieri will move on to teaching, because he'd obviously be the best professor in the world. He'd wear Hush Puppies with a suit and bring gyozas with Bleu-Sabi sauce to class. He'd carefully hear out all of your problems and then maybe hit on your sister. [UNLV via Eater]

Slideshow: See What Winning Chef Scott Manley Is Doing at Table, Donkey and Stick

It began with Scott Manley competing against six other chefs for the job of chef at Alpine Inn-themed Table, Donkey and Stick. Now he has the job— backed up by another of the competitors, Jon Keeley, who will help get the place launched before joining owner Shin Thompson in his new Randolph-area restaurant in March— and he's putting out the food his pop-up promised. But for Manley it also represents another progression— he's identified with his first and most important mentor, Paul Virant, for whom he cooked for 2-1/2 years, and there are plenty of signs of Virant's porky, farmer's market-focused approach. But Manley hastens to add that Mike Sheerin, for whom he worked at Blackbird, is his other big influence, in the way he uses unexpected contrasts within certain dishes— a creamy accompaniment that might be heavy and thick turns out to be lighter and more contrasting through the use of a farmer's cheese. Whichever mentor you prefer to credit, the care and precision of Manley's execution is unmistakably school of Kahan, and at a higher level than you would guess you'd find in what remains a cozy neighborhood spot on an off-the-beaten path stretch at 2728 W. Armitage. We sampled the final menu on opening night, last night, as our man Huge Galdones took its pictures; check them out below.

Watch This Outback Steakhouse Ad With Scary, Singing Leftovers

If you've ever opened your refrigerator door and found yourself, minutes later, deep in conversation about Sartre with a dish of beef stroganoff or slab of fennel gratin, don't watch this video — it will probably hurt your feelings. For everyone else, the idea here is that holiday-meal leftovers are creepy, so instead of eating them, let them fester until they develop perfect pitch and start singing Christmas songs. Then go to Outback Steakhouse and eat there. After all, Bloomin Onions don't cry out when you pull them apart limb from limb.

What's up with that turkey leg? »

Touring the Soon-To-Be Sumi Robata Bar With Gene Kato

Jessica and Gene Kato, sous chef Justine Romine, and bartender Matthew Lipsky.Photo: Sky Full of Bacon

"It's not a robata concept, it's not our take on a robata grill," Gene Kato, former chef of Japonais, explains of his upcoming Sumi Robata Bar. "It is a robata grill, as authentic as we can make it without getting into, like EPCOT territory with kimonos and ninjas," he laughs. We're on a tour of the space for his upcoming restaurant, which at this point is still raw and consists mostly of sheetrock, but is at the point where it will suddenly come together quickly. The exquisitely finished bar top, made from a two-inch-think vertical slice of wood with all its grain and irregular edges lovingly highlighted, sits atop the bar it will shortly be anchored to; while we're there, the first piece of the marble wall is cemented into place. To make their hoped-for New Year's Eve opening, it will all need to happen quickly, including the always unpredictable City part. But even in this state, we can see the shape, and more importantly, how Kato's desire for an intimate, one-on-one experience is reflected in the design.

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What To Eat at Municipal Bar + Dining Company, Open Now

Braised lamb shank with root vegetables, truffled white corn grits.Photo: courtesy Municipal Bar + Dining Co.

Another sports bar? Well, yes. But there are reasons to take a look at Municipal Bar + Dining Company and they aren't just a bunch of TVs and a bunch of burgers on the menu (though they have both). The food, by New York import Chef Jeffrey Arasi (Imperial No. 9, Aureole), artfully covers the old school manly classics with some modern twists and the use of quality, fresh ingredients. While the design evokes the history of the City That Works with use of gritty urban motifs based on the bridges and rails of Chicago— most notably the Y"-shaped emblem seen on many old public works in the city (which was itself inspired by the meeting of the rivers at Wolf Point), and including authentic pieces of salvaged Chicago historical infrastructure. Municipal Bar + Dining Company opened in River North at 216 W. Ohio earlier this week, but they've continued to tinker with the menus, so here they are at last for lunch, dinner, cocktails, late night and brunch.

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