Posts for February 1, 2013

Watch Your Food Levitate at Tru

Not a trick. It's science!Photo: courtesy Tru

Back when we ran a slideshow we mentioned— and even included a photo of— the levitating canape service at Tru, in which a small bite floats a quarter of an inch above its serving vessel. It's no illusion; chef Anthony Martin supercools a small metal disc in liquid nitrogen, at which point it is able to balance above the magnetic top of the serving device. See, superconductivity is a quantum mechanical property of certain materials when resistance drops to zero below a certain... oh never mind, just watch the video and trust us, it's for real.

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Aramis the Sick Lion Is Getting By on Elk Burgers in Texas

Here's a guy who probably doesn't mind a little horse DNA in his hamburgers every now and then. Aramis, an African lion living at the In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue Education Center in Wylie, Texas, hasn't been feeling too well. "This African lion is very, very sick," the local NBC affiliate explains. "All he wants to do is eat elk meat." Problem is, of course, dude needed to take his pills and no one had any elk filet lying around. Or so it seemed: the local Twisted Root Burger Co., which also grills venison and boar burgers, had just gotten a 50-pound shipment yesterday morning, so now the center's staff have been able to slip Aramis his meds by tucking them into the chop meat. "I think it's awesome," says restaurateur Jason Boso. "I mean a lion and me, we have a lot in common. We eat buffalo, and elk, and venison, and so I need to help my brother out."

Elkburger Helper! »

Vettel Fires Off Another Four Stars at Next The Hunt; Reader Rounds Up Some New Joints For You

Dessert at Next: The Hunt.Photo: Nick Kindelsperger/courtesy Serious Eats Chicago

Next: The Hunt wins four stars for Next from Phil Vettel, continuing a streak broken only by three stars for Next Thai, and Vettel reels off what delighted him: "The first course arrives in a glass box, a mini-terrarium filled with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, garlic, shallots and herbs, and guests are invited to spear the edible prey using silver French walnut picks (alongside, in wooden bowls, is a fragrant cremini-mushroom consomme with a sweet hint of Madeira)... The squab is the menu's centerpiece, and a delicious lesson in beak-to-tail preparation and consumption. Squab breast, leg and even head are on the plate (the brain is rather tasty), along with a dough-wrapped package of innards (think offal en croute) and a sauce of squab jus, cognac and red wine. It's deliriously good. On the table is a bowl bearing roasted carcass pieces — not a lot of meat on these bones, but tasty to gnaw regardless — which you are encouraged, nay, expected, to plunder." So what does it all mean after seven reviews of seven Next menus? We don't get a sweeping conclusion. [Tribune]

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Priorities: Eighth Grader Chooses Fried Chicken Over Young Love

They've surely broken up by now.Photo: Reddit

A hormonal adolescent has penned the most honest ode to fried chicken we've ever seen (and Grub Street has seen a few). This note — apparently found on the floor of an eighth-grade classroom — reflects teenagers coming to terms, as we all do, with how best to balance our love lives and our love of fried chicken. Kids, they grow up so fast. [Reddit via Mashable]

Edzo's Lincoln Park To Serve Dinner (Till Eight)

When he was a one-guy/one-restaurant operation in Evanston, Edzo's owner Eddie Lakin resisted the cry for dinnertime hours; he wanted to see his kids, so (like Hot Doug) he shut down every day at 4 p.m. But now that he's a burgeoning empire, he's breaking the 4 p.m. barrier. Beginning next Tuesday, the Edzo's in Lincoln Park (but not Evanston) will be open until 8 p.m. So yes, Edzo's For Dinner... you know what to do from there.

Applebee’s Fires Server for Posting ‘I Give God 10 Percent’ Receipt, Defends Its Actions

But does God serve Weight Watchers entrees?Photo: Reddit

Details have emerged about the customer who wrote, "I give God 10 percent, why do you get 18?" on a receipt and refused to leave a tip. Pastor Alois Bell delivered the holier-than-thou message at a St. Louis Applebee's, where she was dining with a party of twenty. Bell asked to have the check broken up into increments so she could avoid paying the mandatory 18 percent tip, and then proceeded to cross out the $6.29 auto-gratuity. Chelsea Welch, a waitress (but not Bell's sever), posted the photo online "as a lighthearted joke." After it went viral and Bell got outed, she called Applebee's to demand that the restaurant fire everyone involved in the scandal. Welch lost her job.

Jesus Christ! »

Make It Stop! Now Doritos Will Launch Taco Bell-Flavored Chips

Taco Bell and Doritos are like that new couple that just can't stop with the PDA. Following Monday's news that the Bell will release a new Doritos Cool Ranch-flavored taco shell, today Frito-Lay declares "I love you more" by committing to a new Taco Bell flavor of Doritos. Whoa, meta. According to the L.A. Times, the flavor will roll out for a limited time in April and carry the labels of both junk-food giants on the bag. We've done this to ourselves, America. [LAT, Earlier]

Someone Actually Gets a Mobile Food Preparer License

A couple of weeks ago there was reporting, primarily from the Trib's Monica Eng, that while the city had come up with new regulations for food trucks, nobody had actually successfully negotiated all the hoops and been granted a mobile food preparer license, the magic golden ticket that would allow you to take a hot dog and put it in a bun in a food truck, as we hear tell happens in other cities regularly, without fatalities or forcing upscale steakhouses out of business. It was starting to look like what one hand of the city granted in law, the other was preventing from actually happening in reality. Now the Tribune reports that the city's first mobile food preparer license has been granted to The Salsa Truck's owner Dan Salls, who hopes to be on the road, searing meat and grilling quesadillas, by Tuesday. It is a fair question if allowing Salls' truck its license is merely to quiet critics; we're interested now in who will be the second, the tenth, and the fiftieth, and how long it will take to have them. But Salls has advice for aspiring truckers, which is mainly, go slow with what equipment and cooking methods you can actually get approved:

"Tone everything down. Don’t go overboard right away and do what you can get away with.”

Innovation is still being driven... like a Sunday driver... by regulatory bureaucracy on food trucks, it seems. [Tribune]

Burger King U.K. Admits There May Be a Little Horse in Its Whoppers

Who's going to broil your wild horses?

Looks like someone got a little creative with the custom blend, messed up in the slaughterhouse, or didn't wipe down the grinder too carefully: Burger King announced that contrary to an earlier assertion, there are in fact "very small trace levels" of horse DNA in its products, but that it has taken action in order to cut out the horse-contaminated meat from its supply chain. It is thought that the multinational Silvercrest Foods bought meat from a "non-approved supplier" in Poland, and the fast-food chain hadn't been able to detect equine DNA earlier this month when it performed tests on its patties, in part because "testing for equine DNA is not a standard practice used in beef production." [Guardian UK, Earlier, Earlier]

Beyond the Chicken: See Lee Wolen's Winter Menu at The Lobby

"I want to get beyond the chicken," Lee Wolen of The Lobby restaurant in the Peninsula Hotel says. By which he means, he wants people to know that there are other things on his menu besides the $54 (for two people) roasted chicken, which David Tamarkin made famous in his five-star Time Out Chicago review ("none of these entrĂ©es compares to the chicken for two. The thing is a spectacle") and which has dominated discussion of the restaurant since. Wolen is grateful for having been introduced to the city this way, and for the validation of a new chef with a hot-ticket item— half the room may order it on a Saturday night; the first weekend after the review came out, a cook had to run out to Whole Foods to get more chickens in the middle of service. But he wants people to see what else he can do, too, which is, not least, change the menu with the seasons— the chicken which came with carrots a month or two ago now comes with white beans and escarole. "Carrots were kind of the end of fall. White beans and escarole is winter winter," Wolen, who tends to speak in short, precise bursts like that, explains. See our man Huge Galdones' photos, and find out more about the new chef and his menu, below.

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Ben & Jerry’s Announces Liz Lemon Greek Frozen Yogurt

30 Rock is over, but the show's leading lady is cryogenically frozen in the form of Ben & Jerry's. Liz Lemon Greek Frozen Yogurt will hit stores this spring, and it comes with a blueberry-lavender swirl. Proceeds will benefit the Jumpstart charity, an education organization supported by Tina Fey that serves children in low-income neighborhoods. That's awfully nice. But our beloved Liz would want full-fat cream in her dessert. [Earlier, Vulture]

What to Eat at Firecakes Donuts, Now Open

Lemon verbena meringue doughnuts at Firecakes.Photo: courtesy Firecakes Donuts

In the second doughnut shop opening in 24 hours, we introduce Firecakes Donuts, launched by longtime industry vet Jonathan Fox (La Madia, Maggiano's, Corner Bakery, Pump Room, Printers Row, Le Francais) and co-owner Tony Bardwell at 68 West Hubbard. And how's this for a cool historical backstory: Fox's recipe is built on (with a little modern chefly tinkering) "an heirloom recipe that his wife’s great-grandfather, Billy Hobbs, created in the early 1900s as a baker at a logging camp in northern Wisconsin. Hobbs' original metal donut cutter is on display at Firecakes." The opening menu has 10 different doughnuts (yeast and cake) in recipes ranging from buttermilk old fashioned to triple Valrhona chocolate and lemon verbena meringue, which run $2-$3 each. They also have La Colombe coffee and espresso. The shop will open at 8 a.m. every day and stay open till the doughnuts are all gone; see the opening menu below.

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