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The Spotted Pig

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At the Rusty Knot, There's a Bass on the Wall and ‘Barracuda’ on the Jukebox

Back when Spotted Pig owner Ken Friedman first clued us in to the Rusty Knot, in the old West space, he said little more than, “We’re doing a little dive bar there — it’s going to have a pool table and a jukebox.” In this week’s issue, chef Joaquin Baca tells us what “dive bar” means (an addictive chicken liver, bacon, and avocado sandwich, it turns out), but he doesn’t say anything about the jukebox. All we can say is, don’t expect to hear Masta Ace or New Young Pony Club, like you might at the Pig.

Todd Barry Not the Only One Who Worships at the Altar of Chipotle

As you now know, Todd Barry is a big fan of Chipotle, and he’s not the only one that considers it one of New York’s “great restaurants.” The Tex-Mex chain is just one of five joints (along with Tia Pol, wd-50, Hearth, and the Spotted Pig) that Momofuku lists as “friends” on its Website, and in this magazine’s profile of David Chang, he makes clear that it influenced Ssäm Bar:

“I tried to get a job at Chipotle when I got back from Japan, but they wouldn’t hire me,” he says. “They knew what I was up to.” It’s easy to see the parallels between Ssäm Bar and the Tex-Mex monolith that’s invaded Manhattan. “A lot of this is premised on what Chipotle’s done: Make affordable, good food, and do it with integrity.”
We've noted that Bobby Flay is also possibly a fan of Chipotle (indeed Bret Thorn overheard him calling it "good food"). And we're sure Chang and Flay aren't the only ones. So when will Chipotle’s founder, Steve Ells, finally be nominated for a Beard Award? Related: Comedian Todd Barry Eschews Tomatoes, Eggs, and Mayo, But Not 33-Cent Cookies

The Rusty Knot Will Knot Be Open Tomorrow

The Rusty Knot, Spotted Pig owner Ken Friedman's new west side bar, was jam-packed last night. Maybe a little too packed: Friedman has decided to close the place back up for a few days until he can figure out how to handle the crowds, which are much more intense than he bargained for. (Just last night, we saw Mary-Kate (or was it Ashley?) Olsen coming out the door, and Kate Krader of Food and Wine says Jay-Z and LeBron James were frolicking inside too. "Our friends ate & drank us dry last night. We'll open sometime next week," Friedman says. Related: Friedman Reveals a Little Bit (Just a Little Bit) About John Dory, Rusty Knot

LeBron James and Anna Wintour Cozy Up at Waverly; Moby Makes Out at R Bar

We weren’t surprised to read in "Page Six" today that Anna Wintour dined with LeBron James at the Waverly Inn. We passed their table on Tuesday, and when the ceilings are that low, it’s impossible to miss a six-foot-eight baller extracting himself from the center of a corner booth. James was patiently sitting next to the bathroom when we emerged, causing our waiter to remark, “You made LeBron James wait!” We couldn’t tell whether he was chastising us or congratulating us for no doubt costing the man a Benjamin of his time, but either way we felt a sense of accomplishment unknown since Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand queued up behind us at the Spotted Pig. The rest of this week’s sightings are heavy on the PDA.

Chace Crawford and J.C. Chasez Hang Out With Girls

Chace Crawford and J.C. Chasez hung out with girls and drank Cristal at a Vegas party thrown by Michael Strahan. A bunch of Upper East Side housewives at the premiere of The Real Housewives of New York City hated on the show. Because they were jealous. Among the stipulations in Kimora Lee Simmons's contract rider is that her glass of Champagne must be filled whenever it gets below one inch. Employees at Philippe may have been watching celebs like Tom Brady and Gisele hook up in the restaurant's private room via security camera. A party in honor of Baird Jones (open bar, naturally) will be held at Plumm this Friday, with a memorial service to be held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine Saturday afternoon.

Friedman Reveals a Little Bit (Just a Little Bit) About John Dory, Rusty Knot

Deodorant-eschewing Spotted Pig honcho Ken Friedman sits down with Bruni to say not much of anything about what he’s planning for the Rusty Knot, his “East Village–style dive bar” in the old West space. Despite the fact that he was last heard talking about the bar in a series of Belvedere ads, he says he doesn’t want the sort of exposure Sam Mason enjoyed on this very blog (“I was sick of [Tailor] before it even opened”) and reveals that his first choice for partner was Amy Sacco of Bungalow 8 rather than Taavo Somer of Freemans — a restaurant that’s one of his faves despite the fact that “the food’s never really that good.” Ouch! A Chat with Ken Friedman [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Earlier: Daniel Boulud and Ken Friedman Reveal New Projects in Belvedere Ads

What’s It Take to Get a Decent Grasshopper Around Here?

Earlier, we noted that La Esquina served grasshoppers at the bar during the Spotted Pig’s Super Bowl party, and there’s more reason to believe entomophagy is catching on. Next Tuesday, the Gastronauts, last seen eating python, will hold a bug-eating dinner at a “posh apartment.” Their master of ceremonies will be David Gracer, a Rhode Island enthusiast who lectures on edible insects and serves them at private parties. Gracer recently wrote on his blog, Bugs for Dinner!, that he was bummed he couldn’t find markets selling them in New York. To help Gracer in his quest, we turned to Miguel Calvo, a mixologist who will be serving cocktails rimmed with grasshopper salt at Crema this Valentine’s Day.

Spotted Pig's Super Bowl Party: Grasshoppers, Mariachis, and Pig (Natch)

Down by the Hipster has intercepted the menu for the Spotted Pig’s staff Super Bowl party at La Esquina and, we have to admit, it looks like it was a lot better than listening to “We Built This City” at the Village Pourhouse. A whole pig at the meat station? Baby crickets at the bar? Sombreros and mariachis? Definitely beats the plain ol’ pizza that La Esquina got for its staff party last year. The Ultimate Super Bowl Party [DBTH]

Pickle in a Tube: More Blechtacular Than Burger in a Can?

If you thought a burger in a can was nuts, consider the PickleSickle, a frozen treat coming out of (where else?) Texas. You’d think the guy who first sold these at a roller-skating rink (they’re now available in freezer-ready plastic tubes) would think twice about putting the word “sick” in the name of his product, but it’s actually not quite as disgusting as it sounds: It’s made from pressed pickles rather than pickle brine. Still! No matter what mascot PickleSickle Bob tells us about the health benefits of pickles (apparently they soften blood-sugar spikes after high-carb meals), we doubt the cherry and lemon-lime varieties go down as easy as, say, the “pot of pickles” at the Spotted Pig. That said, no way is the Pig’s menu as amusing as the spiel on the PickleSickle Website: “This is one of those crazy ideas that should’ve died a quick and horrible death from the beginning, right?” Well, we wouldn’t go that far… PickleSickle [Official site] Cheeseburger in a Can is Both the Best and Worst Thing I've Ever Seen [Gizmodo]

Momofuku, Freemans, Spotted Pig Honchos Break Bread With Stephen Starr

Our favorite celebrity sighting of the week was, of course, Lindsay Lohan at Peter Luger on Tuesday night — that’s because we saw her with our own eyes. Of course, we can’t be everywhere and see everyone, so as usual we’ve combed the gossip columns for other stop-ins. We’re sorry we missed Tracy Morgan at the Plumm, shirtless and offering to father babies as usual, and boy do we wish we were a fly on the wall when partners Ken Friedman and Taavo Somer, along with David Chang, dined with Stephen Starr at Buddakan. Is there a Spotted Buddafuku in the works?

The Spotted Pig Serves Pumpkin Salad, Plays ‘Pumpkin Soup’

Does the Spotted Pig have music cred? Yeah, maybe just a little bit. Owner Ken Friedman used to be an industry player, and his partner Jay-Z is, well, Jay-Z. We recall being kicked out of the upstairs alcove so that Franz Ferdinand could take it over after a show (front man Alex Kapranos is a fan of the lamb shank with crusted celery root). With these musician types having their run of the place, what’s playing on a quiet Tuesday night?

Spotted Pig's Ken Friedman Likes Your Sexy Stank

We can only imagine why Times writer Anna Jane Grossman rang Ken Friedman when she was looking for a quote about why folks forgo deodorant, but, boy, was he forthcoming about his use of what we call “meodorant”:
For those who managed to avoid underarm products, the idea of using them is anathema. “I never use deodorant,” said Ken Friedman, an owner of the Spotted Pig, a restaurant in the West Village. “I like girls who don’t use anything. They sort of smell like sex.”
Are you listening, Beyoncé? Cast Aside Underarm Protection, If You Dare [NYT]

Meatpacking Moguls Remm, Birnbaum, and Rabin on How to Be Cool

Our fave waitress Courtney Yates isn’t the only face Belvedere Vodka is using to try to look cool — the company, in association with UrbanDaddy, is running Web interviews with David Rabin, owner of Los Dados and Lotus, and Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum, owners of Tenjune. Remm and Birnbaum don’t exactly steer toward the underexposed when asked for their favorite restaurants: BondSt, Nobu, Bar Pitti, Los Dados, Mr. Chow, the Spotted Pig, Pastis, Buddakan, Dos Caminos Soho, Cipriani, Butter, Rose Bar, and Waverly Inn.

Win a Date With Thomas Keller; Year-end Lists Abound

Mix up your holiday charitable giving by entering a raffle for a coffee date with Per Se’s Thomas Keller or Ferran Adrià of Spain’s El Bulli. [NYT] Related: Ferran Adrià, Molecular Gastronomist—Who, Me? [NYM] On his No Reservations holiday special, Anthony Bourdain spoke with a veterinarian who explained that foie gras production is not the demonic act it has been portrayed as by animal-rights groups, so eat up! [Eat for Victory/VV] If Amy Sacco didn’t convince you of the growing synergy between restaurants and real estate, consider that Centovini has just struck a deal with luxe condo Soho Mews that offers not only delivery to the building but also the option to have executive chef Patti Jackson provide in-home cooking. [NYP]

Misled Socialites Outraged by Tamsin Lonsdale's Supper Club

Tamsin Lonsdale
It looks like Tamsin Lonsdale, the London socialite looking to make a splash with her new private dinner club, might just have a flop on her hands. The Observer today chats with a couple of the club’s disgruntled ambassadors, one of whom says, “She’s not offering a service to the boldface names. She’s using these people to bring in the mass.” Shocking! You mean this wasn’t merely a way to get people together to talk about the new Ang Lee flick? It was a marketing gimmick? Hilariously, one member gripes that she paid $100 for a meal at the Spotted Pig that normally would’ve cost her $40, and Londsale defends herself by saying that Jay-Z ended up dancing with everyone. But really — if Gawker types can rub elbows with Jay-Z at the Pig, can’t anyone? BURP! Sykes Sister Strikes Out! ‘Exclusive’ Brit Supper Club Lays an Egg [NYO] Earlier Socialite Tamsin Lonsdale’s Supper Club Probably Doesn’t Want You