“Life fades vision dims and all that remains is memory.” Such are the haunting first words of The Road Warrior, and we can’t help but think of them as we look back, through heavy lids, at the year that was. 2007 was a memorable restaurant year in so many ways, but there are a few that stick out in our minds. Our favorite moments of the last year would definitely have to include:
The folks at PETA are really outdoing themselves this year. First, there were the Hairy Kate and Trashley dolls. Now, they've reverted to their old standby, Anna Wintour, whom they've stuck in a snow globe this holiday season — you know, so you can "shake some sense into her." Inside the virtual globe, fearsome opera plays as Anna drifts through a fiery netherworld inhabited by workers in Karl Lagerfeld glasses whose job, it seems, is to skin shrieking animals and toss their carcasses into a massive pile for "pelt pusher" Anna's future coats. It's creepy, of course, but it's still kind of fun to shake the globe and watch "Anna" bounce around in the snow. Until you realize that, whenever she falls, her neck bends at a disturbing angle.
PETA's Holiday Snow Globe [PETA]
In Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, The Office's Jenna Fischer plays Darlene Madison, winsome backup singer and love interest to John C. Reilly's titular Johnny Cash knockoff. But during the making of the film, Fischer says, it wasn't Cox she had to worry about — it was his ass.
So, yesterday Bear Stearns CEO Jimmy Cayne announced the investment-banking firm's first quarterly loss in its history, on the tail of announcing a $9.1 billion write-down. He was apologetic, sort of: He said the results were unacceptable and declared that neither he nor his management team would be taking bonuses this year. Then he then proceeded to entirely skip the conference call with investors. “You’d think the circumstances might have merited a show of contrition,” noted The Wall Street Journal today. Yeah. Especially since, the other day, Charlie Gasparino reported "sources" were saying the Bear Stearns board has been talking about a successor for him. We can't, er, bear this idea: We've grown fond of the Jimster, he's like our pot-smoking, bridge-playing, possibly pervy uncle. Which is why we have to assume that Cayne skipped the conference call not because he didn't feel bad, but because he couldn't deal with all that bad energy.
Bad News for Bear Stearns [WSJ]
Bay Ridge: A VFW post has been fined by the Department of Health because its ice machine constituted a need for “food protection certification.” [The Brooklyn Paper]
Cobble Hill: Now that the deli and the TV repair shop are gone, we can dream of the G&D Television Wine Bar. [Gowanus Lounge]
Forest Hills: A new development threatens restaurant culture, as for-rent signs specify “NO FOOD.” The horror! [Queens Central]
Fort Greene: Plans are afoot for a food co-op. Does anything else scream gentrification louder? [The Brooklyn Paper]
Manhattan: Look for delicious French onion soup at Pastis, Landmarc, and Rue 57, among others. [Gridskipper]
Midtown East:Fireside at the Omni Berkshire Hotel is serving Chuao hot chocolate for $7 a cup includes whipped cream, crumbled graham crackers, and marshmallows. [Gothamist]
Park Slope: Tempo Presto is officially closed. [OTBKB]
Though the menu at Stanton Social is immense, there are always a few dominant dishes Lower East Side patrons order again and again. Recently it was the crab corn dogs, which Starchefs had chef Chris Santos prepare for the Rising Star Chef gala. Now it’s a postmodern “Chicken and Waffles” created by Santos and his soon-to-depart chef de cuisine Ryan Angulo. We spoke to Angulo about the dish. As always, mouse over the different elements to hear it described in the chef’s own words.
We were shocked recently to discover that a couple of our readers didn't quite understand just how stop-motion animation worked. So, we unearthed this little gem, which was created last year by Canadian high schooler Joel Plosz for a science-fair project.
When you think of Eric Ripert, you tend to think of ethereal lobster, marinated fluke, transporting escolar with miso brown butter, and the like. Which made it weird when the chef started enthusing about his hamburger the other night. “It's the best hamburger anywhere better than anywhere in New York,” the fish master says.
Julian Schnabel has a bone to pick with Andrew Corsello's Schnabulous profile of him in GQ this month, one Boston Globe reporter found when he went to interview the director of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Perhaps, you might say, Schnabel took issue with being called a "fat, famous, hairy, rich, name-dropping blowhard"? Not so much. What troubled him was something else.
"Look at these hands," he urges, laying them flat on the table. In the profile, Andrew Corsello describes Schnabel's hands as "thick, unpretty, blue-collar" and his fingers as "scratched, filthy with dirt and paint, medium-sized."
"Do these look blue collar?"
Even after the Globe reporter assures him that Corsello was way off and honestly in the dark someone might mistake his fingers for those of Muffie Potter Aston, Schnabel is still clearly obsessing.
He puts out his hand for a shake, and then holds on. It's actually not much of a handshake. In his grasp, Schnabel keeps the embrace for a good 10 seconds, making sure he's able to show the softness of the skin.
"These are delicate hands," he says.
Got dinner reservations for New Year’s Eve but still don’t know what to wear? We’ve got you covered. If you’re eating at Craftsteak, we recommend pairing your Wagyu New York strip with a Ralph Lauren charcoal suit and a Diane Von Furstenberg velvet wrap dress. Our Everything Guide to New Year’s has even more suggestions for your evening. And the photos are hot.
New Year, New Look
• Bear Stearns followed up yesterday's Morgan Stanley announcement with its own $850 million loss, again the first quarterly deficit in the bank's history. [DealBook/NYT]
• Is former Bear Stearns exec Ralph Cioffi, the guy behind the two Bear funds that imploded this summer, the main culprit in the subprime crisis? New reporting suggests his team set off the plague of dirty debt that cost Citi and other top banks billions. Oh, and Cioffi's under investigation for pulling out a couple mil before anyone else got the chance. [Business Week]
• What a mensch: David Rubenstein, the former lawyer turned Citadel private-equity master, decided to keep his new copy of the Magna Carta on display at the National Archives. Rubenstein paid $21.3 million — chump change for a guy worth around $2.5 billion. [Law Blog/WSJ]
When President Bush's press conference came on this morning, we were frankly a little grateful for the interruption during the fourth hour of the Today show. The vague chipper bitterness of those last few cooking segments has really begun to wear on us. Our favorite moment of the press conference was when a reporter asked Bush about Bill Clinton's Monday statement that the first thing Hillary would do as president would be to send Clinton and the former President Bush ("41") around the world "to tell them that America is open for business and cooperation again." So, what did the current President Bush think of that?
"41 didn't think it was necessary," he laughed coldly. "Sounds like it would be a one-man trip."
Wait, it's like we're back watching Today again! Everybody's smiling, but why is the air crackling with bitterness? We suspect we know: Ever since the uncomfortable lovefest between Bush 41 and Bill Clinton began, Bush the younger has been totally jealous. And then Bill tried to steal the president's dad for his own team! Such melodrama. We can't wait until Showtime makes this into a historical mini-series.
Bill Clinton: George H.W. Bush Will Help Hillary [CNN]