Posts for February 26, 2013

Shocker: Lawsuit Accuses Budweiser of Watering Down Its Beer

We still love you, blue beer.

Listless teenage boys and Jennifer Lawrence alike will be dismayed to learn that lawsuits have been filed by plaintiffs in three states accusing beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev of watering its brews down before passing them on to an unwitting drinking public. “AB’s customers are overcharged for watered-down beer and AB is unjustly enriched by the additional volume it can sell,” reads part of one complaint filed by Thomas and Gerald Greenberg in federal court in Philadelphia. While it's currently unclear just how multiple plaintiffs came to the conclusion that Budweiser is mislabeling its beer, Bloomberg reports two more lawsuits are imminent, in Colorado and Ohio; meanwhile, the beer company, which currently controls 39 percent of the beer market in the United States, steadfastly denies such preposterous claims, adding that it routinely deploys technology that measures "alcohol content in malt beverages to within hundredths of one percent." The plaintiffs are seeking an amount in excess of $5 million in compensation and damages, apparently, because weaker beer ruined their lives. Or something. First it was America's bourbon watering it down, now it's the King of Beers? Does this mean we can expect some horrible news from Bartles & Jaymes about their wine coolers tomorrow? [Bloomberg, Earlier, Related]

Kendal Duque To Bring Contemporary Classics to American Junkie

American Junkie in Scottsdale is apparently a wild and crazy sports bar with, among other things, scantily-clad servers and a prize wheel for free drinks. A year ago (in a comment at Eater) the developers of the Chicago one in River North insisted "that American Junkie Chicago will be nothing like the others and will compliment the level of sophistication River North Demands. American Junkie river north will not have the shot wheel or table dancers." Which makes one wonder why, exactly, they wanted to use the name at all. But in any case, Dish reports that they seem to be living up to the intent of going a higher road than Scottsdale's version, by hiring a higher-level chef than you might expect.

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New Study: Democrats Love Bagels, GOP Loves Olive Garden’s ‘Ethnic Food’

A sad new Public Policy Polling survey of registered voters reveals that a vast swath of the country is very sheltered when it comes to authentic spaghetti. It seems that 43 percent of Republicans agree with the following statement: "Olive Garden is a quality source of authentic ethnic food." Democrats don't know good pasta, either; 41 percent of them think the exact same thing.

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New Dengeo's in Uptown... Isn't. Meet Palla's Grill

Dengeo's, not at Broadway & Wilson.

A few months back we mentioned a report in the Uptown Update that the north shore's Dengeo's, one of the better old school Greek burger/family restaurant spots, was moving to Uptown. Well, the location (the former Best Steak House at Broadway and Wilson) is open, but it's not a Dengeo's and pretty much was never going to be a Dengeo's— it's called Palla's Grill. Apparently the owner, George Goumas, had the help of Dengeo's management in planning his restaurant, and somehow that got blown up into "Dengeo's opening soon." Not that it matters a whole lot, most likely, given how similar these places tend to be... and Uptown Update seems satisfied with what they tried:

The new restaurant is light, modern and airy, with booths, tables and TVs. The staff is warm and friendly.... the food is worth waiting for. In honor of George's Greek heritage (and accent), I had gyros and baklava. Both were outstanding. My companion tried the silver dollar pancakes, which were pronounced equally delicious.

[Uptown Update]

Abandon All Hope: In-N-Out Burger Has No Big Expansion Plans

Staying out of reach.

Hold on to your Shake Shacks and Five Guys, everybody, because In-N-Out is not coming your way anytime soon. In a rare interview with Orange County Register, secretive company scion Lynsi Torres makes it plainer than a Bible verse on a paper cup when she says, "We're definitely not franchising, and we're not going to sell." The 30-year-old heiress, who spends her free time and family fortune on a passion for drag-racing, explains that the company has purposefully plodded slow out of the gate to maintain their famously never frozen food, daily baked buns, and hand-sliced fries. To keep its focus on freshness, every new In-N-Out has to stay close to the company's distribution centers in Dallas and Baldwin Park, the main reason In-N-Out has only expanded to five states in 65 years.

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Gordon Ramsay Has Really, Truly Relinquished the Spotted Pig Trademark

Sending out good vibes all over.

The British chef angered many last November when it was learned he had moved to trademark the Spotted Pig name in the U.K., leading everyone and their mother to speculate that he was trying to prevent April Bloomfield, Ken Friedman, and one-time rivalMario Batali from opening a branch of their successful New York restaurant across the pond. Ramsay stood down, and while he's been saying for months he'd surrender the trademark, it looks like it's only now official, reports Eater. Unfortunately, there's news today of another pressing legal matter involving the chef: Ramsay, it turns out, also owns the trademark to the name "Brain Freeze," and may in fact be opening a restaurant under that name. "No freakin' way," said some 7-year-old kid in Dade County, responding to the news that papers had been filed last January. "I had that idea when I was 5." [Eater, Earlier, Earlier]

Schuba's Tavern To Host Maker's Mark Chairman Bill Samuels for Bourbon Dinner April 25

Well, here's interesting timing for an event; the subject may need a good stiff drink by the end. It's a bourbon dinner at Schuba's Tavern at the Harmony Grill, featuring Maker's Mark chairman Bill Samuels Jr. While the most recent chapter in his career elicited controversy and a public about-face, there's more to the story he'll tell about how he wound up in the family business after being out and about in the world at the urging of his father (who pretty much invented the premium bourbon biz with Maker's Mark in the 1950s). Samuels will introduce the three-course dinner and pairings, which runs $59; get tickets here.

Will the Sequester Really Halt Meat Production?

At least the cows would be happy.Photo: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

Bear with us while we talk food politics for a sec. Even if you aren't thinking much about the sequester — those looming government budget cuts that are set to happen Friday if Congress can't come to some sort of agreement — there is one bit of possible fallout that could affect the food world, big-time: The White House and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have floated the scenario that cutting the USDA's budget (something that would happen as a result of the sequester) would leave the agency with "no choice" but to give food-safety inspectors unpaid leave, which would in turn halt meat inspections, which would in turn mean no fresh meat for anyone. Not good!

Stock up on broccoli. »

Get Ready for a Pollan Family Cookbook

Sage advice.

“Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food," Michael Pollan famously wrote, but what about more immediate family? We're going to find out, it seems, in the Pollan Family Table, which is being written by the food-policy advocate's mother and three sisters. According to Publishers Marketplace (subscription), the forthcoming cookbook will be chockablock with "Pollan family stories, recipes, cooking techniques, and pantry wisdom for healthy, harmonious meals for every family." While the sagacious, best-selling author — who once told Grub Street all about noshing at Barney Greengrass and ricotta on twelve-grain toast at his mother's apartment — won't be dispensing tips for using sage here himself, he is writing the foreword. Look for the Scribner book in the fall of 2014. [Publishers Marketplace, Earlier]

Nigella Lawson on Midwest Eating 'With Relish and Abandon'

Nigella Lawson

In the second part of our interview with Nigella Lawson, whose new book Nigellissima came out on February 12, the cookbook author and The Taste judge talks specifically about the midwest and the philosophical similarities between Italy and the heartland of America. Though her book tour, which took her rapidly through a series of events in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Louis, didn't give her much of a chance to sample local foods, she did get to check out Chef Kevin Hickey's mix of highbrow and classic South Side Chicago flavors at Allium. Here's what she had to say about Italian food and Chicago; read part one here.

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Nobu and Geoffrey Zakarian Are Cruising

Bingo, anyone?

Is partnering with a cruise line the next step to building a celebrity chef empire? Aboard the uppity Crystal Symphony in July, Nobu Matsuhisa will lead cooking demonstrations, host special Omakase dinners, and schmooze with passengers. A pretty sweet deal, considering he's sailing around Italy. Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian already had plans for a partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line, and now he's sweetening the deal by opening a second restaurant on a Miami-based Norwegian boat. Like Matsuhisa, he'll hop onboard to do cooking demonstrations and hold babies for photographs. Since these cruise lines are two of the most luxurious ones, hopefully these guys will avoid feces and four-hour waits for food. [USAT, Earlier, Miami Herald, Earlier]

Video Feed: Michelin-Starred Tru Does the Harlem Shake

We promised ourselves that we would avoid all Gangnam Style and Harlem Shake videos... but then Tru put out one, and when a Michelin-starred restaurant kitchen gets fonké like this, we must pay our respect. We especially liked this exchange between Future Food Films/Moto video producer Michael Silberman and Tru Chef Anthony Martin at YouTube: "Is this what happens behind the scenes of all Michelin Star restaurants?" The reply: "Mr. Robuchon actually taught me the shake." Watch it and see Mr. Robuchon's moves below.

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20 Examples of Counterfeit Meats That Are Way Grosser Than Horse

One of these things is not like the other. Bring on the ammonium hydroxide!Photo: Corbis

For many, Mondays are meatless. Read on here, and you'll probably end up adding Tuesdays through Sundays. While the horse meat scandal continues to expand in Europe and more and more schools and retailers and restaurants who could have sworn they were serving beef find out that they weren't, it's become clear that once added to a food system, counterfeit meat can really have legs, in addition to what are purportedly shanks and trotters. So keep a close eye on your rump roast: Here are some of the worse mystery-meat substitutions from the last few years.

Unfortunate cats, hamburger helpers, and other sad steaks. »

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