Posts for February 19, 2013

Grey Poupon to Ruin Classic ‘Pardon Me’ Ad

Don't call it a comeback.

Is nothing sacred? It's been sixteen years since the "Pardon Me" Grey Poupon commercial aired, and in an effort to boost sales and compete with the cooler condiments, Kraft is reviving the spot and adding a bunch of twenty-first-century crap. The new commercial, which will debut during the Oscars on Sunday, begins in the same way as the original, with two fancy men exchanging mustard. But then, "the scene continues with the second car speeding off without returning the mustard. A wild car chase through a golf course and city streets ensues, complete with explosions to make the spot look like a trailer for an action adventure movie." Did Michael Bay direct this mess? Pass the ketchup. [AP]

Apple Tattooing Is a Very Real Thing

Does Che look better on a Gala or a Pink Lady?

Edible Geography explores the history of the apple stenciling subculture; people around the world are branding innocent fruit with everything from Che Guevara's face to the Apple computer logo. A Japanese pop star even put his picture on apples to give out as presents, which we're pretty sure is the fruit equivalent of a tramp stamp. So how does this work? First, apples are covered in wax paper bags during the growing season, producing a pearly white skin. Then, they're adorned with stencil stickers that block the sunlight. It's basically the same thing that happens when you accidentally tan while wearing sunglasses. Apple tattooing isn't a recent phenomenon; it stems back to nineteenth-century French fruit-growers. But for the past few years, it's actually been on the decline. Your move, people of Williamsburg. [Edible Geography]

Carrie Nahabedian Talks Food With Armenian TV

Carrie Nahabedian of Naha is one of our longtime top chefs— Phil Vettel certainly thinks so during Restaurant Week— but one who rarely sounds off in the media (though we did talk with her here years ago). But as someone of Armenian extraction, she attracted the attention of an interview show on Armenian television, which spoke with her via Skype for about ten minutes. It takes a little while to get started, but gets interesting once Nahabedian is talking about the influence of her Armenian heritage and other international flavors— "There's borders politically, but there's no borders when it comes to food," she says. Watch it below.

Read more »

Samuel Adams Will Finally Be Available in Cans

A Sam Can mock-up.Photo: The Boston Beer Company

The Boston Beer Company announced this morning that, after two years of meticulous ergonomic and sensory research, they'll offer twelve-packs of their Samuel Adams Boston Lager in cans, starting in early summer. (Until now, Sam Adams has been sold exclusively in bottles.) CEO Jim Koch, never a fan of cans until spending millions to develop what he says is his own superlative vessel, believes that "cans have changed," per a release. Craft brewers, like Brooklyn's Sixpoint, long ago proved that good beer can indeed be found in cans. The logically named "Sam Can" will differentiate itself with a flared lip and wide top, designed to let those luscious hoppy aromas waft freely from can to nose. More important, it'll probably be just as easy as other cans to hide at the beach. [Official site]

Sauce and Bread Kitchen To Open March 2 From Co-Up Sauce/Crumb Couple

We heard a while back that the space near Clark and Devon that includes Co-Op Hot Sauce and Crumb was eventually going to have a full-fledged restaurant, and here at last it comes. Mike Bancroft and Anne Kostroski, who also have The Stew Supper Club as well as all of the above (and benefit the arts organization Co-Op Image with the sauce sales), will open a cafe called Sauce and Bread Kitchen on March 2, serving brunch, sandwiches and salads and pastries of various kinds. There will also be a BYO Bloody Mary bar, and The Stew Supper Club will continue once a month in the cafe. [Dish]

GQ Names the ‘12 Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2013,’ Includes La Vara, Central Kitchen, and Vedge

Richman doesn't care if his waiter smells.

It's a big day for lists! GQ critic Alan Richman dropped his roundup of the country's top twelve restaurants, which are places he identifies as "casual, kindhearted, original, and a little too loud." Richman deems fine dining a "democratic institution"; his idea of a perfect night out includes eating off cutting boards and waiters wearing dirty T-shirts — not wild foraged ingredients or twenty-course prix fixe menus. And by omitting Mission Chinese Food, his list is by default different than most others of its kind. Last year, L.A.'s ink took the top spot, and the crown now goes to Little Serow, a Thai restaurant in Washington, D.C. Check out where else to go if you want to feel "coddled, welcome, and well fed," ahead.

St. Anselm and Bäco Mercat made the cut. »

Here Are 2013’s James Beard Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists


The James Beard Foundation just announced its annual restaurant and chef semifinalists, and per usual, the list is a behemoth. Some highlights: Danny Bowien's nominated for Rising Star Chef; and Andrew Carmellini, David Chang, and Marc Vetri are going head-to-head for Outstanding Chef. In the coveted Best New Restaurant category, Empellón Cocina is facing stiff competitors like Chicago's Balena and Grace, San Francisco's Rich Table and State Bird Provisions, and Vernick Food & Drink in Philly. Last year's winners included Chicago's Next, Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park, PDT, and Boulevard in San Francisco. Check out the massive list of semifinalists ahead, and stay tuned until March 18, when the Foundation will reveal the lucky finalists.

Will Outstanding Bar Program go to the Aviary or the Bar at the NoMad? »

Kahan, Grace, Balena, Fehribach Among Beard Award Semifinalists

Paul Kahan, Outstanding Chef nominee.

The James Beard Foundation Awards Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists were announced today, and Chicago chefs (current and past) did well in many categories. Although the finalists (who will be announced in March) will be a shorter, more exclusive list, we find the semifinalist list more interesting to see who's up and coming in our own city and who's attracting some degree of national attention in smaller markets— and this year's is no exception. It would have been a surprise to not see Grace listed for Bets New Restaurant, but it's great to also see Chris Pandel, one of our best chefs at regular people prices, land Balena on there too. Likewise, there are plenty of givens on the Best Chef Great Lakes list— it's Matthias Merges' year, and no more surprising that he's joined by Dave Beran and Chris Nugent, among others— but it's a pleasure to find Paul Fehribach, whose interest in Southern cuisine grows deeper all the time, making the list too. And moving out of town, it's great to see former BOKA group pastry chef Elizabeth Dahl on the list for Nostrano in Madison, Wisconsin— and especially cool to see Three Floyds get a nomination for Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professionals. The complete list is here; we've highlighted Chicago nominees below.

Read more »

The Rap Video Guide to Chicago Eats

If there's one thing you can count on the internet for, it's answering any and all pop culture questions, and if your question was, "Hey, what was that hot dog place that IL Will and Sasha Go Hard are rapping at?", then a new blog called This Here's Overrated, But I Love Your City, Baby is just the answer you've been waiting for, painstakingly documenting Chicago restaurants seen in Chicago-shot rap videos, to a level of precision bordering on insanity:

The first snack happens at Hot Dog Express. La Palpita shows up in the background, since it’s nearby. Yummy Buffet is the restaurant with the red awning. Finally, China Star is in the same shopping center as the laundromat in the video.

If that's what you gotta know, they're the ones who know it. [This Here's Overrated, But I Love Your City, Baby]

Benjamin Netanyahu Has a $2,700-per-Year Ice Cream Budget

"Who used the scooper last?"

Dude, that's a lot of literal and figurative Rocky Road: In the midst of increased scrutiny and the implementation of austerity measures, it seems as though the prime minister of Israel has been eating an unhealthy amount of expensive ice cream.

Cup or cone, Mr. Prime Minister? »

Watch Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jim Beam Commercial

In an international ad for Jim Beam Bourbon, Jack Dawson chips away at a block of ice, showing us how he could have single-handedly saved the Titanic from sinking. Our friends at Vulture noticed that he only says four words in the seventeen-second spot. But we think he mouths "wow" six seconds in, so let's make it four and a half.

Never let go. »

Slideshow: What To Eat at ¡Ay Chiwowa!, Open Now

The story behind ¡Ay Chiwowa! is well known and pretty funny— local scenetrepreneur Billy Dec saw a chance to buy Martini Ranch, a River North nightspot with a coveted 4 a.m. license, and did so— surprising his partner Arturo Gomez on Twitter. He must have gotten over it, though, since when the concept took a Mexican taco bar bent, Gomez recruited his own father from Mexico City to help devise the street food-inspired menu, which is prepared by the team under executive chef Julio Sanchez Galicia, another Mexico City native who worked his way up through the kitchen at Rockit Bar & Grill (he was one of the very first employees). So while it is, first and foremost, a bar with an extensive lists of tequilas and cocktails, it has a menu of easy-to-like Mexican classics done with an authentic yet contemporary approach— all to make the tequila-sippin' easier. It opened on Friday; see a few menu items in our slideshow below, and see the menu here.

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