Breaking: Another Freakish White Truffle Comes to Town
FINANCE • Another woman joined the federal discrimination lawsuit against Bloomberg LP. After her first child in 2005, her pay fell and her colleagues turned into sharks. One supervisor even asked, "What is this, your third baby?" [NYT] • More of the same on the Street: Bank of America wrote down $3 billion, Bear Stearns $1.2 billion, and British bank HSBC took the cake with $3.4 billion, largely due to U.S. mortgage weaknesses. Meanwhile, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein laughed in everyone's face, predicting no more write-downs (not that they lost much in the first place) at the Teflon bank. [NYP, NYT, NYT, DealBreaker] • Is the credit crunch just like Enron all over again? So says Bethany McLean, the reporter who first broke Ken Lay's fraud wide open. [Fortune]
Last week, the Wellfed Network gave out some food-blog awards. When we saw that we weren't among the nominees, our immediate response was rancor. But then we got that it was an award for individual bloggers, and we found a lot of pleasure in discovering some good ones. Among the winners we liked: Best Food Blog - New: Pinch My Salt. By a housewife in Sicily, this plain, recipe-centric blog has some of the most dazzling images around and is written in a totally simple and direct style that we wish we saw more of. Best Food Blog - Rural: Farmgirl Fare. Here at Grub Street, we hear a lot of talk about local cooking and seasonal ingredients, but this blog that is actually about life on a farm. Sometimes Farmgirl lays it on a little thick, but you do feel at times as if you're actually involved with her baby animals and various hay-related chores.
If the “Sunday Styles” piece on “secret bars” seems familiar, right down to the obligatory scene in trenddaddy of them all Milk and Honey, maybe it’s because you read “Buzz Off: Secret Bars That Spurn Hype” in 2000 or “Don’t Look for a Sign; Hot Spots Don’t Want Just Anyone to Find Them” in 2004. Strangely, the latest trend piece chose to single out tired examples like East Side Company Bar (um, didn’t this open more than a year and a half ago?) over, say, Gold Bar, the top-secret Bungalow-in-the-making we recently exposed. Which makes this a good time to let you in on a lil' something else about GoldBar: According to a well-placed source, they’ve enlisted bartenders Brian Miller of Pegu Club and Jim Kerns of Pegu and Freemans (both of whom are also putting in shifts at Death & Co.). But don’t tell anyone; it’s a “secret.” Daniel Maurer
French journalists and top NY chefs and food personalities meet at Franco-American gastronomy summit. The consensus? The world needs fewer haute restaurants, more steakhouses, and to go to war to protect foie gras. [Bloomberg] Le Binge: Gael Greene's account of her French Eat-a-Thon [NYM] The city contracted with the nephew of a former acting Gambino boss to run Caffe on the Green, Bayside’s answer to Tavern on the Green. This on the heels of the news that the Colombo family and the Russian mob together operate a golf course in Brooklyn. [NYP] There are apparently a number of people who are enthusiastic about food and travel constantly sampling it. Among these are Jane and Michael Stern, Chowhound's Jim Leff, and a guy who works for a management and technology consulting firm. Who knew? [NYT] Chow provides a sorely-needed molecular gastronomy cheat sheet, which not only explains spherification, but even tells you how to pronounce the names of the movement’s major exponents. [Chow] A relatively inexpensive cooking school established in Westchester, boasting a 100% placement rate. Now about those wages ... [7online] The question of what constitutes “true Japanese” food to be settled once and for all, when the Japanese External Trade Organization begins certifying restaurants. [Mainichi Daily News]
When New York politicians think of the Reverend Martin Luther King, they think of the Reverend Al Sharpton. They have to, because Sharpton has built his annual “public policy forum” into a mandatory Martin Luther King Day stop for politicos across the state. Today’s gathering, at Sharpton’s new digs off the corner of Malcolm X Boulevard and 145th Street, was no exception. Honored guests included Governor Eliot Spitzer, Lieutenant Governor David Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, several members of Congress, and Attorney General Anthony Cuomo, who joked that he was modeling a Phat Farm suit by Russell Simmons, as the hip-hop mogul looked on approvingly from the dais.
The most popular speech topics were critiques of the Iraq war, police brutality, and racial discrimination, along with repeated praise for Sharpton. Queens congressman Gregory Meeks was the most effusive, calling Sharpton a modern-day Martin Luther King. Indeed, it’s a testament to Sharpton’s tenacious chutzpa that he’s taken the official holiday devoted to Dr. King and fused it with a celebration of himself, a day for some of the most powerful New Yorkers to pay homage to both men in one easy stop. And lest they forget, Sharpton told Spitzer today: "You run Albany, but I run things here!”
Sharpton, who has recently stoked rumors of another presidential run, asked Bloomberg if he would run against him. Bloomberg replied that he already had a New Yorker in mind for the job: Charlie Rangel. If Sharpton's out campaigning next January, perhaps Martin Luther King Jr. will have the day all to himself.
• The Good Shepherd premiere. Ziegfeld Theater, 141 W. 54th St., nr. Sixth Ave., 7 p.m. Director Robert DeNiro and stars Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Billy Crudup, and John Turturro expected. Based on the movie's title and trailer, we're supposing that a white-haired mentor figure will shoehorn some sort of half-assed allegory about sheep into a conversation with Matt Damon's character. • Partnership for Public Service gala. Cipriani, 110 E. 42nd St., nr. Vanderbilt Ave., 6:30 p.m. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly will award Senator Joe Lieberman with the Theodore Roosevelt Award for the Advancement of Public Service. Humorously, Dennis Haysbert will be honored for the "portrayal" of public service but sadly will not receive it from Commissioner Tony Scali.
Daily Intel points out something that never would've occurred to us in a million years: Since former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko dined on possibly polonium-tainted sushi at what has officially been the most publicized restaurant meal of 2006, the eatery, Itsu Sushi, has been on a roll. Riding a wave of publicity, the owners plan on opening a branch in New York. "It sounds macabre and opportunistic to say that this is Itsu's moment, but they just have to make sure they manage it properly," brand consultant Graham Hales told Bloomberg. "There is a point of notoriety that Itsu has achieved that it can now build upon." Now for the "fusion" cooking jokes. New Restaurant to Test Whether There Actually Is Such a Thing as Bad Publicity [Daily Intel]
Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered that Steve Sailer doesn't allow readers to comment on his posts. Can you believe that? Here we have the aggrieved Steve Sailer, donning the cloak of victim as he decries my attempt at censorship. Here we have the allies of Steve Sailer, speaking out on behalf of the virutes [sic] of the free exchange of ideas, the importance of confronting one's critics, the necessity of fighting the good fight in arena of free speech. And all the while their leader is cowering behind the gates of a comment-free blog. Oh my. Is it possible that in addition to everything else, Steve Sailer is also a chicken?See? That's what's so revolutionary about the Internet: It can turn a dude with a camera phone into a photojournalist, some dorky grad students into billionaires, and, it now seems, Malcolm Gladwell into a 4-year-old. Imagine My Surprise … [Gladwell.com]
Michael Whiteman — the restaurateur who, with his late partner, the legendary Joe Baum, created the Rainbow Room, Windows on the World, the Hudson River Club, and a number of other historically important places — has issued his annual predictions for next year's restaurant trends, including "tropical superfruits," "ethical eating," and "wildly flavored chocolates." The list is pretty wide-ranging, but if we were handicapping all ten wrinkles, we'd say the odds are on "chef-driven steakhouses" (as Whiteman has persuasively argued), "Japanese small plates" (i.e., izakayas), and "burgers with pedigrees," like those promised by Joe Bastianich's Heritage Burger (which we announced the other day). The long shots for '07? Peruvian cooking, those spice-flavored chocolates, and the popularization of molecular gastronomy ("equivalent to a gastronomic IQ test in which typical diners are all below average"). Then again, no one ever said we were the oracle. 'Party-Colored Beets': 2007 Buzzword Preview [Eater] Remembering Joe Baum [NYM]
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