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We'll Have Your Finest Bottle of Water…

“Bottled or tap?” is an annoying enough question (we love our local H2O, critics be damned), but come August, when Evian’s “luxury bottle” graces restaurants like Daniel, Le Bernardin, and L’Atelier, the question will be “tap, bottled, or really pretentiously bottled?” As elaborated in a training video (that’s right — Daniel Vrod, server of presidents, will soon learn how to pour water), the swanky Palace bottle is presented as if it were a bottle of champers and delivered to your glass using custom coasters and a ceremonial pourer. Question is, will there be a sexy delivery device for the suggested $5 to $8 that will flow out of your wallet for this?


Is ‘Transformers’ Better Than Sex?

There's nothing like a summer blockbuster to bring out passion in the critics. Should these flicks be judged with the same standards as, say, an Ingmar Bergman or Brad Bird film, or are they simply escapist teenage fun where plot and character are rendered irrelevant? Michael Bay's Transformers has left many in the critical establishment reaching for earplugs and aspirin, while fan sites have declared it mind-blowing. Just as Decepticons face off against Autobots, so is the pride of the critical establishment pitted against hyperbolic online magazines.


Chris Cheung Leaves Almond Flower, Unbowed

Chinatown’s Almond Flower is an unusual restaurant, and its young chef, Chris Cheung — who just left the restaurant on Sunday — was the main reason. The bistro was the reverse of places which serve Western food with Asian accents to a largely Caucasian clientele; Almond Flower served fusion food from a Chinese perspective to an overwhelmingly Asian crowd. But Cheung kept pushing the envelope with luxe ingredients that chefs sometimes like more than customers: roast pork buns filled with foie gras, say, or truffled congee soup with abalone wontons. And now that he’s done with Almond Flower, he's unrepentant.


‘John From Cincinnati’: The Problem With Cass

In our John From Cincinnati daydreams, the show is a perfectly calibrated mix of memorable characters engaging in entertainingly streetwise banter to express their thoughts about the supernatural events complicating an epic family drama.


How Much Thomas Keller Is Really in ‘Ratatouille’’s Remy?

Pixar’s Ratatouille owned the nation’s box offices this past weekend, a tribute both to its makers and the country’s seemingly inexhaustible appetite for shows about cooks and cooking. Ratatouille’s pedigree on this score is as impeccable as Pixar money could make it: The studio hired Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Per Se as a consultant. The title dish which the movie’s rat hero Remy and his human assistant Linguini make is actually one that was served in the French Laundry. And, according to somebody who should know, Remy as a chef was wholly Keller-esque.


Times Square Is Safe

There were two foiled car-bomb attempts in London Friday, a car-cum-fireball was driven into the Glasgow airport Saturday, and the British government has described the attacks as Al Qaeda–connected and raised the country's terror-alert level to its highest setting, which suggests an attack is believed to be imminent. Meantime, back in New York, part of JFK was evacuated after what turned out to be cologne was left unattended in a terminal, and an abandoned car with brooms inside caused cops to close Riverside Park for a few hours while the hazmat team was brought in. So we guess we find it reassuring that there were SWATish-looking cops — with machine guns! — in Rockefeller Center on the way to work this morning, plus, apparently, rows of other cops on cute little motorcycles in Times Square. We especially dig the little scootery things.


Happy Birthday, Linds!

Because it should be noted: Today is Lindsay Lohan's 21st birthday. Remember when you were in college, and you had your birthday, and you made a big deal of going to the local liquor store with your I.D., just because you could and therefore should, and yet you knew in the back of your mind that it was sort of ridiculous, because you'd been able to get drunk easily enough with other I.D.'s, or on booze your friends bought, before you'd turned 21? This milestone is sort like that. But way, way more. Related: Happy 21st Birthday to a Rehabbing Lindsay Lohan [Defamer]