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David Bouley Tries to End-run His Foes

David Bouley isn’t throwing in the towel quite yet in his struggle to get a liquor license for Brushstrokes, his new Japanese restaurant, Eater reports.

Eric Ripert Hobnobs With the Dalai Lama

Over at her blog, Insatiable Gourmet, our own Gael Greene delivers news of Eric Ripert’s pilgrimage to Tibet to meet with his holiness, the Dalai Lama.

Popeyes Chicken Founder Kicks the Bucket

Two blows have staggered fried-chicken lovers everywhere: First Kentucky Fried Chicken announces plans to change its name. And now Popeyes founder Al Copeland has died.

‘Top Chef’ Spoilers Threaten Our Wednesday Nights

Cigarette Man, the Watcher, and the guy on the grassy knoll have nothing on the Time Out Chicago staff, who have been relentlessly staking out the Top Chef cheftestants and have delivered up what they believe to be a major spoiler about the next four episodes.

Psilakis Dismisses Rumor of Seafood Restaurant

Gael Greene is reporting on Insatiable Critic that Michael Psilakis’s new restaurant, in the space formerly occupied by

‘Times’ Asks If NYC Is Fat City No Longer

The Times article on portly foodists is out today, and we can't help but wonder if this is some kind of seismic shift in the city's gastronomic mood. After several years of what Alan Greenspan might have called “irrational exuberance” over the joys of pork belly, short ribs, bacon, and other such unwholesome treats, the city's “fat pack,” as Kim Severson dubs them, seems to have put the brakes on the spree, opting instead to focus on their health.

Marco Pierre White Coming to American TV — Try to Stay Awake

According to Mediabistro’s FishbowlNY, Marco Pierre White is coming to NBC as star of the latest food reality show, The Chopping Block, an Apprentice-like elimination series about eight couples running two competing restaurants in New York. This show might actually be good: White is a true mentor, rather than a self-aggrandizing ogre after the mode of his former protégé, Gordon Ramsay, and NBC's track record in food reality TV is short but stellar, with both The Restaurant and Top Chef to its credit. Not only will we be able to write about the show, but also to dine in! The restaurants the contestants create will be open for business, just like Rocco's unlucky venture a few years ago — but there weren't nearly as many food blogs back then. Marco Pierre White Tapped for NBC's New 'Top Chef'/Hell's Kitchen Killer [FishbowlNY/Mediabistro] Related: Batali, Bourdain, and Ramsay Mentor to Finally Take on America?

‘Esquire’ Escalates Chef-Fashion War With ‘Maxim’

Has it really come to this? Maxim and Esquire are going at it hammer and tongs to see who can print more ridiculous images of chefs as fashion models. Esquire started it, with a never-to-be-forgotten Simon Hammerstein–David Chang tough-guy shoot. This year, Maxim released its April spread early to get the jump on Esquire, but both mags shared a few models (formerly known as chefs): Michael Psilakis of Anthos, Neil Ferguson of Allen and Delancey, and Craig Koketsu of Park Avenue Winter. Psilakis, for his part, is even wearing similar suits in both spreads. (Did he leave the Maxim refrigerator and head straight to his Esquire lunch at Insieme?) Other chefs of note in the shoot include Ben Chekroun, the elegant maître d' of Le Bernardin, whom we interviewed for Ask a Waiter back in the day; San Domenico's affable wine director, Piero Trotta; and the boyish Wesley Genovart of Degustation, tucking into a plate of duck and soba noodles. We give Esquire the edge for shooting the dapper John McDonald at Keens. Though he’s more of a bon vivant restaurateur than a chef, Johnny Mac is a quintessential Esquire man. Man’s Gotta Eat [Esquire] Related: Chefs Put on Something a Little More Comfortable When Chefs Play Dress-Up

Cheap Lobsters, Dancing Girls Join Gordon Ramsay As Harbingers of Doom

Signs that a seafood restaurant may be in trouble, in order of severity: adding a $20 whole lobster to the menu; adding a free burlesque show; having Gordon Ramsay come into your restaurant to torment you for his reality-TV show, Kitchen Nightmares. We knew about number three, but now it turns out, via Metromix, that symptoms one and two have appeared at Black Pearl, the troubled seafood restaurant across from Hill Country. And you know what? Conditions sound pretty damn entertaining. As long as Ramsay, the burlesque show, and the lobster aren't physically connected in any way. Black Pearl Lobster & Burlesque Tuesdays [Metromix NY] Related: Gordon Ramsay to Inflict ‘Kitchen Nightmare’ on Black Pearl

Indian Buffet Pulls a Fiamma, Raises Prices in Midtown

It's not just on the highest plane of fine dining that critics, customers, and restaurants wage their unceasing war against each other: The same drama, played out in miniature, occurs everywhere. For evidence, look no further than Zach Brooks's encounter, on Midtown Lunch, with Spice Fusion, an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet that raised its price $1 after the blogger praised it. Yes, it's the Fiamma saga all over again, but we'll have to see how this plays out. Will Spice Fusion's corporate parent issue a press release vowing to lower prices? Or will the guy who hands out flyers on 48th Street just continue to thrust them wordlessly into the hands of passersby? Only Midtown Lunch will know. First Fiamma, Now Spice Fusion Follows Accolades With Price Hike [Midtown Lunch] Related: Fiamma Prices Drop After Bruni Post

New York ‘Times’ to Wonder How Bloggers Stay Alive

When we received a voice mail last week from Kim Severson of the New York Times, saying that she wanted to interview us, our natural response was one of delight. Was the topic to be hamburgers or our upcoming book on same? Or perhaps the larger topic of meat? Or perhaps the ongoing efforts of Grub Street? It was with giddy fingers that we dialed Severson’s number only to find out that the lady was writing an article on how fat and unhealthy food bloggers are, and to ask us, in so many words, why we were still alive. Apparently, bloggers aren’t the trenchermen they once were: Off the Broiler’s Jason Perlow recently had some serious health problems, and even Steven “the Fat Guy” Shaw of eGullet has gotten on the austerity program. But, as we told Severson, the day we start eating salad she’s welcome to our place at the table. Grub Street may cost us the vitality of our once-springy carcass, but by God the work will go on!

Encounter David Chang in This Week's ‘New Yorker’

Late in Larissa MacFarquhar’s profile of David Chang, the Momofuku man makes a confession: “I’m slowly realizing that I’m a highly complex individual,” he says. It’s not an insight likely to surprise readers of the piece, which will appear in The New Yorker this week. Chang comes across as brilliant, inspired, and high-strung to the point of actually giving himself shingles, a diagnosis made by a doctor after the chef literally incapacitated himself with worry and anxiety. But if you want to get a sense of how intense Chang really is, just read the passage where he reads the riot act to a group of hapless Noodle Bar cooks, who had committed offenses ranging from using tongs on the family-meal chicken (a Chang bête noire) to cutting up the fish cakes for the ramen carelessly.