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Robots Fight Potatoes at the Kaiju Big Battel

Kaiju is a giant-size spectacle, with performers in Godzilla-style monster costumes wrestling one another in a ring strewn with balsa-wood skyscrapers while a spiky-haired announcer cracks wise at ringside.

Model Catherine McNeil Finds Comfort in Chicken Burgers

Earlier this year Times fashion writer Guy Trebay declared 17-year-old Catherine McNeil to be “fashion’s latest crush,” citing her photo shoots for Mario Testino, her campaigns for Hugo Boss and Dolce & Gabbana, and her sudden status as the sought-after runway model. McNeil has lived on the Lower East Side since moving from Australia in February and can often be found at expat hangout Ruby’s wolfing chicken burgers like her mom used to make. “It’s chicken breast, and you can put lettuce and sweet chili sauce and stuff on it,” she explains. Not that she did much eating out this week between shoots for Another magazine and Versace. We caught her on the way to the airport (she was flying to Paris for a Gaultier shoot) and asked her what she noshed on.

Norman Mailer Dead at 84

Prolific, outspoken novelist Norman Mailer passed away this morning at Mount Sinai hospital, where he'd been admitted several weeks ago with respiratory problems. A true New York character, both colorful and controversial, Mailer co-founded The Village Voice, penned over 30 books, directed four movies, won two Pulitzer Prizes, and tossed at least one drink at Gore Vidal. A fascinating man with an ego to match, Mailer was nothing if not captivating, and the world of letters won't be the same without his bluff and bravado. Earlier:The Rise of Mailerism [NYM] Father to Son: What I've Learned About Rage [NYM]

Escaping the Obligatory Turkey Feature

Cold Beard Soup
It’s November in the food-magazine business, so expect feature after endless feature about Thanksgiving, and every imaginable variation on recipes for turkey and stuffing. Gourmet gives a pretty complete account, including big Turkey Day features on the fancy version, the Asian version, the Italian version, and even the vegetarian version. Bon Appétit is about the same, taking the big-name approach: Bruce Aidells on turkey, and Michael Lamonaco on potatoes, among others. A profile of Aidells and his meat-minded kitchen is in November's Food & Wine, as well as such year-round delights as domestic cheeses and a new brand of whiskey out of Oregon. Saveur, thankfully, limits itself to a nice article about a West Virginia farm, and then dips in on such disparate topics as kale, heritage chickens, prosciutto from Iowa, and other Saveur-like topics. We’re grateful for the respite; Thanksgiving is early this year but not that early.

It's a Haute Barnyard Type of Week in New York

“The doctrine of seasonal correctness is as ingrained in the collective restaurant psyche, these day, as linen napkins, pre-dinner cocktails, and superfluous baskets of bread,” Adam Platt writes in his review of Park Avenue Autumn, and who are we to argue? The combined efforts of Platt, the Robs, and Gael Greene all point to the triumph of the seasonal aesthetic. But that’s not to say they aren’t fun. Platt gives two stars to Park Avenue Autumn, Gael seems fairly pleased with Irving Mill, and the Robs introduce three restaurants (Lunetta, Bacaro, and Smith's) that are all about fresh ingredients, as well as a recipe for Bosc pears that is, of course, in season. Meanwhile, back at the Greenmarket, a long-overdue crusade against plastic bags is at work. And, though not an expression of the Haute Barnyard mystique, it's very much a sign of the times: PDT has named a hot dog for David Chang — proof that the Original Soupman has made it to the big time at last.

Yonkers Chef Presents City’s ‘First Authentic Southern Restaurant,’ Second Mechanical Bull

Bull!
Not only does the Shamlian brothers’ new Essex Street bar not yet have a name (James Killing is the current front-runner), but the place’s mechanical bull (the second in the city after Johnny Utah’s) is also still anonymous. And though Rob Shamlian says rumors on Eater that the bull doesn’t have padding are incorrect (quote: “Nine out of ten things you read on blogs are total bullshit”), it won’t be fully operational when the bar, built from salvaged redwood, opens to the public tonight. Still, take a look at the beast. Word is, rides will cost around $20 when it’s working (“soon”) and a chalkboard will list the top riders. Meanwhile, this isn’t just the first mechanical bull on the LES, but — according to Andrew Robertson, a former sous-chef at Town and Country and a pitmaster at Hill Country — it’ll be the first “genuine southern” restaurant in the city.