Posts for January 9, 2013

Seattle Man Hit by Bus, Grabs Morning Coffee Anyhow

A city bus hit a 32-year-old man in downtown Seattle yesterday morning with such force that the airborne pedestrian hit and cracked the windshield, the Today File notes. Yet the man, whom the Seattle Times describes as "a downtown business professional," was able to get up after the incident and walk a block over to a coffee shop, where he proceeded to place an order — after getting knocked down, it turns out, the man just needed a good pick-me-up. The unidentified man was declined service because he had a concussion, however, and was instead taken to the hospital. [ST]

Sherry Seminar at Vera, Can You Come Out January 19?

We just mentioned the sherry list at Vera yesterday, now here's your chance to find out all about it from the woman who put it together, Liz Mendez. What is sherry? Why do you want to drink it? What does it go with? Why did Frankie Valli sing about it? All these questions and more will be answered and, more importantly, tasted in a journey to Jerez, where sherry comes from, beginning at noon on Saturday, January 19. Reservations, which are required, are $40 and include tastes of multiple sherries and tapas to go with them; call 312-243-9770 to save your place.

The French Are Annoyed That Obama Is Serving California ‘Champagne’ at Inauguration

Didn't go through customs.

Korbel has made a special cuvée for President Obama's second inauguration, which they're bottling as "Korbel Natural, Special Inaugural Cuvée Champagne, California," and once again the French wine lobby is annoyed that Americans are co-opting the word "Champagne." Per U.S. law, the label is supposed to read "California Champagne," and the French would actually prefer it say "sparkling wine" anyway.

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Jason Wagner Named— And Unnamed?— To Food & Wine Top Sommelier List

It should have been good news all around— Jason Wagner, who launched the wine list at Nellcôte and RM Champagne Salon, was moving to The Gage and Henri, while his equally acclaimed colleague Shebnem Ince left those restaurants to go work for Perman Wine Selections. But the onward and upward progress of somms hit a snag: apparently along the way Wagner learned that his job-hop would cost him the honor of being named one of Food & Wine's Top Sommeliers. Since the list for 2013 doesn't come out until April, we only have Wagner's tweets for verification of the story, but apparently the honor is awarded to a somm in a specific post— which means, evidently, that you can't switch jobs between something like December and April if you're up for the award. (If they did that in advertising, where we once toiled, nobody would ever collect any award.) Wagner's unhappiness is pretty clear from his tweets, which include some directed at Food & Wine (which did not respond responded here): "it's been a career-long goal 4 me n its heartbreaking to see what I poured my heart into is now not recognized... apparently it's the venue, not the somm that gets the award. Creating 2 beautiful wine lists not enuf." [Twitter, 312 Dining Diva]

Good-bye, Gourmet Live

Condé Nast is killing its Gourmet Live tablet app, which survived for two years, three months, and some days. After the company shut down 90-year-old Gourmet magazine in 2009, it appeased readers by creating a free, advertising-supported app. Though it was one of the most popular downloads in the iTunes store at its prime, it "no longer helps fuel the brand’s evolution," according to a company spokeswoman. Content will continue to go up on, which currently has an optimistic "Welcome 2013" headline on its homepage. Dream big. [NYP]

And By The Hunt, We Don't Mean "At the Supermarket"

Photo: courtesy Next via Facebook

We wonder how comfortable some people, whose idea of hunting was shaped at an early age by Bambi (as ours was), will be with Next: The Hunt. Because part of its point seems to be to drive home that the Michigan childhoods of chefs Dave Beran and Grant Achatz were in a culture that was closer to the source of its food than city folk are— specifically, it was right down the barrel of a rifle from it. And there's a pretty big political divide right at the moment between the America that grows up with guns and the America that's freaked out by that. And... Next looks like it may wade straight into it, to judge by this image posted at Facebook of house videographer Christian Seel making a video of chef Beran in the field with a rifle. Are Next diners prepared to confront a reminder that sometimes food is killed by those who eat it, not merely by a conveniently out-of-sight industrial system? We'll see. [Next via Facebook]

Holy Guacamole, The New Billy Dec Taco Bar Will Be... Ay Chiwowa!

Have you been waiting for a place to eat tacos and drink till 4 a.m. under the gaze of a mascot dog wearing a Mexican wrestling mask? Of course you have, and Billy Dec is ready to serve your market niche. A while back he bought Martini Ranch, to the surprise of his partner Arturo Gomez, and harnessing the power of social media to guide his destiny, he put a poll up on his blog asking what the hell to do with it. You the people spoke, and the answer was, eat tacos, drink, dog in Mexican wrestler mask. Well, close enough, and now the moment has come to unveil the concept in full. As Ay Chiwowa!'s site puts it, "It was clear with 39 percent of all votes, that a majority of voters wanted to see a play on "dive bar" comfort and accessibility with a Mexican cocktail and food component. And with President Arturo Gomez's family from Mexico, the team enthusiastically took on the challenge," including flying Gomez's father up to consult on tacos. They're not saying when the opening is likely to be just yet, but they're hiring here, so it shouldn't be too far off.

Sprechen Sie Trendy? 2013 is German Food's Year

The last time German food was hot, 1965.

We've already lost track of where we read this, but it was someone's comment on the sudden craze for Scandinavian foraged cuisine— "Scandinavian is hot? What next, Bulgarian?" Well, maybe not (we ate Bulgarian once and let's just say, it was no Slovenian) but if people are getting into Nordic food, which was last a trendy cuisine in Chicago in 1927, then it should be no trick for an eternally popular, but also eternally square, cuisine to make a comeback— German food. As kitschy as lederhosen and glockenspiels and Oktoberfests may be, there's no reason that a cuisine built on pork and pickling and beer, all of which are hipper than hiphop right now, can't come back on its own, stripped-of-the-kitsch terms. And Time Out Chicago reports on four examples of its likely return in 2013— from some that are already here like Table, Donkey and Stick (helmed by former Paul Virant protege Scott Manley), to the upcoming Radler (helmed by, um, former Paul Virant protege Nathan Sears). (TOC reports, as we did some time back, that Virant has a piece of Radler and its sibling D.A.S., but we ran into him at Green City a while back and he seemed to suggest that wasn't the case.) Check out your German future and read the whole thing— and get ready for Finland 2014! [TOC]

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