Posts for February 22, 2013

Couple Who Found Dead Bird in Their Salad Really Just Need to Learn How to Make Salad

They seem to have bad luck with dead birds in foodstuffs in the U.K., what with that whole "Sing a Song of Sixpence" thing and now this, the tale of a Gloucestershire couple who were just sitting down to a nice steak dinner under dimmed lights when one of them discovered a large, stanky, and dead Blackcap European warbler on his plate. "My first reaction," says James Watson, "was why have I got a soggy fishcake on my plate?" But that was no soggy fishcake, and so the couple complained to retailer Tesco and were compensated with a £200 gift card, which is much better than the simple apology another British couple received the last time this exact same thing happened. Which, in a way, says something about the sorry state of cooking skills — why aren't these people washing their greens before use? That's still the best way to beat salmonella, after all. Also, why wouldn't they dress greens the old-fashioned way, by evenly distributing vinaigrette to all the leafy things inside a bowl? It's much easier to spot a dead, five-inch bird that way. Also, eating under mood-lighting, we get it, but was this salad made in the dark, too? Only the warbler knows for sure, and he isn't singing anymore. [Daily Mail, Earlier]

Man Crashes Car Into 7-Eleven, Pours Himself Some Coffee

Not to be outdone by a Seattle man who was hit by a city bus but quickly bounced back to go fetch some French roast down the street or the Nebraska senior who plowed through the façade of Valentino's Pizza and ordered a pie from inside the wrecked dining room, an intrepid 56-year-old Californian named Dennis Cortopassi intentionally crashed his car through the window of a 7-Eleven outside Sacramento on Wednesday morning, then got out of his car and poured himself a coffee. Cortopassi threw a hissy fit and knocked things off the store's shelves after clerks called the cops. He was later arrested and taken to the Yolo County jail. YOLO indeed, Cortopassi.

Get me hazelnut! »

What Ever Happened to Uncle John's?

Mack Sevier of Uncle John's BBQ.

Steve Dolinsky was the first one to tweet news of what was happening with beloved South Side barbecue spot Uncle John's BBQ— that a second location, which would ultimately replace the first, was opening in the new location that also included the new Dat Donut at 83rd and Cottage Grove. Dolinsky reported further in this ABC 7 piece, which you can watch below, about how Dat Donut owner Darryl Townson, who got his start working at a Leon's BBQ in the same location, recruited Uncle John's owner Mack Sevier to help make the new Dat Donut location a one-stop shop for South Side goodness. Now Heather Shouse fills in some of the story on the beloved pitmaster and his apprentice at Time Out Chicago.

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Plastic Found in Packaged Sausage

For all you readers out there who are fans of Smithfield Packing Co.'s "Gwaltney mild pork sausage roll" — beware! The Virginia company's recalling 38,000 pounds of pork sausage after finding it mixed with small pieces of plastic, which likely came from gloves. No one's reported any injuries, but two unlucky consumers filed complaints. How appetizing. [AP]

Overheated and Loopy Paula Deen Dances on Today

In town for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Paula Deen stopped by Today this morning to make some low-cal Buffalo chicken bites, but also some Oscar picks. As TMZ notes, Paula was given a sugar-free and nonalcoholic "morning mojito" to sip, but the Food Network star was nonetheless moved to get up and do a little salsa dancing on live national TV, even outshining the professionals. Seriously, Bobby Flay may be signed up, but it's really Deen who should be next up on Dancing With the Stars. Her Today appearance got a little bit strange, however, after the cha-cha, when she sat back down and told everyone how she'd been sprayed by a skunk. Then she asked Al Roker if he wanted to smell her hand.

"Balls, y'all!" »

Nagrant Shoots the Breeze at Reno, Just To Watch Time Fly; Kramer Thinks Poli Marking Time at Little Market

The Southern at Reno.Photo: courtesy Reno

"The space — brick and rough woods, with tables built of knotty lumber and industrial black metal — has a Portland, Ore., feel," says Michael Nagrant of Reno. Given that Portland's food scene managed to inspire an entire satirical sitcom, that may not be an unalloyed compliment, but "There’s sort of a ski lodge-like warmth here. All that’s really missing is a fireplace, unless you consider the wood-fired brick oven behind the counter. And from that oven comes Reno’s best thing: puffy charred and chewy, thin-crust pizzas... This pizza is the cousin of the great Neapolitan pies served around town including those from Nella and Spaccanapoli. However, both those spots are strictly Italian, whereas the pizza slingers at Reno mine other exotic locales. 'The Hog,' for example, filled with tender strings of pork belly carnitas, a tangy salsa verde and crumbly white cotija cheese is pure Mexico. My favorite pie is 'The Southern,' a Korean/Kentucky mash-up of salty country ham, sweet roast garlic, fiery fizzy kimchi and juicy tendrils of spinach." [Sun-Times]

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Bobby Flay Reportedly Headed to Dancing With the Stars [Updated]

He already runs marathons.Photo: Rob Kim/WireImage

While no one's yet spotted him stocking up on tights at Capezio, word is this morning that the Food Network and Mesa Grill chef Bobby Flay has been cast on season 16 of Dancing With The Stars, alongside Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman and Sean Lowe from The Bachelor. Hollywood Life notes that while the official announcement won't be made until next week, they've shaken down a "source close to the show" who adds that 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is on the fence, but may also suit up. Cue the music. Update: Zagat finds out Flay is open to the idea, but hasn't signed on for the show. "My wife told me that she would divorce me if I did it," he says. [HL, Earlier]

Is Tabasco Launching Its Own Version of Sriracha?

You know he ain't gonna die.Photo: Amazon

Is Huy Fong's rooster sauce, better know to the world (Bart Simpson included) as Sriracha sauce, flying too close to the sun? Consider the advent of Sriracha chocolate bars, potato chips, and the sauce's role in a not-so-secret Subway sandwich condiment. Businessweek takes a look at the company's modest 68-year-old founder David Tran, a Vietnam native who, back in 1979, hopped on a Boston-bound freighter named the Huy Fong, and within a year had launched one of the unlikeliest, not to mention coolest food success stories ever.

Under development. »

5 Rabbit Co-Founder Leaving Company; New Marketing Chief, Brewery Announced

One chapter in the fight between the two founders of 5 Rabbit Cerveceria has come to an end; Crain's reports that co-founder Isaac Showaki has left the company, selling his stake to a friend of fellow co-founder Andres Araya, Cesar Garza, who joins the company as "commercial director" after owning bars and restaurants in Mexico. But the lawsuits against Showaki by Araya and another employee of the firm remain unresolved. The company has also announced the opening of its brewery in south suburban Bedford Park, with plans for a tasting room— though it's surprisingly far off— planned for late 2014 or early 2015. [Crain's]

Watch Elon Musk Recount Sending Cheese to Outer Space

The inventor of SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla Motors and PayPal stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live last night and chatted about how he and his Dragon spacecraft crew sent a wheel of cheese to space as a test. It was the largest wheel of Gruyère cheese he could find at a Beverley Hills cheese shop. And no, he didn't taste-test it when it came back. So much for a $100 million pasteurization process.

Funky. »

The New World of Media, Part MCXXXVII: Sodikoff Profile Sparks Media Twitter War

Public Enemy No. 1?

There was a time when a reporter got both sides of a story, assembled them into a piece, and then that was it. If you disagreed with it or felt wronged, you could leave a comment or write a complaining letter to the editor, but either one was roughly as effective at changing the narrative as stapling your message to a rusting viaduct. Now, though, the story can be just the prelude to the epic Twitter fight that breaks out over the story's veracity and worth, as Time Out Chicago's profile of restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff (Au Cheval, Bavette's, etc.) proved last night. The profile, by David Tamarkin, was previewed Tuesday on Twitter:

@TOCEatOut: We have a pretty controversial food story coming out this afternoon (tomorrow in print)....looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks.

Be careful what you wish for.

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