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Tom Valenti

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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.

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Grant Achatz Getting Better; Bourdain Spreads Blood and Holiday Cheer

Grant Achatz writes Ruhlman that the tumor on the great chef's tongue has been diminished by about 75 percent, thanks to aggressive chemo. [Ruhlman]. In his upcoming No Reservations holiday special, Tony Bourdain cooks a Thanksgiving dinner with L.A. rockers Queens of the Stone Age and spends "a fair amount of time spraying stage blood onto [his] niece and nephew’s face." [The Grinder/Chow] Rickshaw Dumpling has officially opened. [Eater]

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Chodorow and Valenti Scope UWS Hotel; Ramsay's Culinary Reputation Waning

Jeffrey Chodorow and Ouest chef Tom Valenti may both open restaurants in the boutique hotel On the Ave at Broadway near 76th Street. [NYP] Has Gordon Ramsay spread himself too thin? Harden’s annual guide has dethroned Ramsey’s eponymous flagship as its pick for highest overall rating in food, service and ambience. [The Guardian] Lower East Side neighbors were duped by the Box — they believed it was to be a “cultural institution.” Well, sort of depends on your definition of “culture.” [NYDN]

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Nello Buys ‘Page Six’ on the Cheap; Jody Williams Trying Not to Sweat It

Nello’s Nello Ballan gives Richard Johnson a $1,000 gift, and fifteen "Page Six" mentions of Ballan’s restaurant later, the embattled gossip column has the devil to pay. [NYT] Jody Williams claims not to have read Frank Bruni’s review of Morandi, though she knows that people are laying odds on the date of her departure. [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine] Related: Not So Bene [NYM] Restaurant-industry lobbyists express a not-unexpected disappointment with the federal minimum-wage increase passed by Congress, finding it “entirely out of place” in a war-spending bill. [Nation's Restaurant News]

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Chodorow and Tom Valenti Team Up; Rum Renaissance

Jeffrey Chodorow is opening a restaurant with Tom Valenti right next to his new restaurant with Zak Pelaccio; also, a new Rickshaw will open in the Village. [Eater] Related: Chodorow and Pelaccio Planning a ‘Malaysian Coffeehouse’ [Grub Street] We’re in the middle of a rum renaissance, with “heavy, thick and funky” British varieties and “smooth and sugary” Spanish-Caribbean ones. [NYDN] Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club defends itself against charges of unfair labor practices: “Everyone makes the minimum wage at the club.” [NYDN]

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Tom Carvel’s Mysterious Death; Tom Valenti’s Awesome Uptown Digs

The old technique of force-feeding geese with a metal tube was the evil secret behind foie gras. Now there’s a new, gentler method: force-feeding them with a rubber tube. [NYT] Tom Carvel’s niece is convinced that her uncle, the late custard king, was murdered, and she wants his body exhumed. [The Journal News] Ouest chef Tom Valenti shows his museumlike 157th Street apartment to the world. [NYP]

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Forget the Glaciers. Will Our Children Be Able to Enjoy Stews?

Clive Thompson’s November article about the warming of New York seems more and more apropos — birds that should be in Miami are luxuriating in the park, and New York has just experienced its first snowless November and December since Rutherford B. Hayes was president. But like everything else, global climate change comes down to just one thing: How’s it going to affect our dinner? Specifically, what will become of the rich, heavy cold-weather dishes that are the boon of the bitter-cold winter months? We’ve taken a look at how three restaurants — Savoy, Brasserie LCB J.J. Rachou, and Ouest — are coping with the winter warmth. All quite differently, as it turns out.

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Best Seats in the House: Where to Eat at the Bar

Even before the arrival of Joël Robuchon and his bar-centric L'Atelier, the ancient urban tradition of bar dining was undergoing a great renaissance. And why not? Eating while seated on a stool is a uniquely New York experience. It's convivial, expedient, and communal, but in a solitary way. The Gobbler has met Wall Street kingpins, ex–CIA agents, and loquacious bookies from Queens at restaurant bars. You don't have to deal with sniveling waiters or go overboard on tips, and it's often a convenient excuse for getting really, really drunk. Here are a few of the Gobbler's favorite barfly destinations.

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