Critics Like Chop Suey Despite Themselves; One Star for IliliFrank Bruni awards one star to Ilili, establishing the restaurant’s critical reception as generally admiring but far from ardent. Bruni uses it as an occasion to discourse on the current trend of highlighting previously low-rent genres, but he seems to have liked all the food and not found the prices or noise too distracting. [NYT]
Steve Cuozzo wanted to hate Chop Suey, he really did. The name was dumb, and he was skeptical of consulting chef Zak Pelaccio, whose “résumé of short-lived eatery associations … is as long as his list of bona fide accomplishments is short.” But he loved the food and its “bold, explosive” flavors. [NYP]
Ryan Sutton also plays the “better than it has any right to be” card with Chop Suey, declaring the place as “jolting, gorgeous, frightening” and reluctantly praising its Korean-themed food. [Bloomberg]
Amy Fisher Sex-Tape Story Isn’t Over Yet (In Fact, It May Never Be)God love Cindy Adams. “Amy Fisher is an American original,” she writes in her column today, reporting that Fisher attended the recent Adult Entertainment Expo Las Vegas to promote her sex tape. “Someday they’ll bronze her private parts.” Let’s hope sooner rather than later, as Cindy also says there’s a rumor flying around that the Long Island Lolita and her husband “want their own reality/sexuality show.” Shudder. It does seem as though Fisher (who previously claimed her husband sold the sex tape without her knowledge and that she is being forced by circumstance to help promote it) is warming to her new career as a porn star. “I saw the video, and I think I look freakin’ hot,” Fisher told Adult Entertainment News, adding that she and her husband have a lot more where that came from. There’s “probably a thousand hours of video,” she said. “Frankly, they could probably make 15 more movies out of the footage that they have.” Wait: 1,000 hours? How do these people even manage to do anything else or ever get to work? Oh, right.
Amy Fisher Stars in Vegas Porn Con [NYP]
Amy Fisher Promotes Sex Tape at AEE [Adult Entertainment News]
Earlier: Daily Intel’s coverage of the Amy Fisher sex tape
Howell Raines Has More to SayHoward Kurtz reports today that Howell Raines, the former Times top editor who was ousted in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal, will begin having a media-criticism column in Portfolio. At first, at least, the column will focus on the campaign coverage in the press. “It’s been refreshing and a bit daunting to try to think about writing something that hasn’t been said 30 times,” he told the Washington Post. “I don’t have any thunderbolts to throw at my former profession.” In mid-2006, at the time of the release of his memoir The One That Got Away, Raines went fishing with New York’s Philip Weiss. The pair talked about the Times’ own political coverage, and whether Raines was hard on Bill Clinton because he was “jealous.” Click below for the full story.
Fishing With Howell [NYM]
Timesman Resurfaces [WP]
apropos of nothing
Shock: Record Labels to Dump More EmployeesHow’s the music business doing these days? Glad you asked! Last night it was announced (thankfully not by Billy Bush) that EMI, the music group responsible for Coldplay, is thinning its ranks by 2,000 employees worldwide in a restructuring plan expected to be unveiled tomorrow.
Zagat Empire for Sale; New Low-Cal Girl Scout CookiesThe Zagat family has put their empire of burgundy books on the market, with Goldman Sachs handling the search for a buyer who will have to drop at least $200 million for the acquisition. [NYT]
Stereo, the club outside which a patron was shot last week, closed after a weekend police raid. [NYDN]
Howie Mandel’s mention of the Waverly Inn on Live With Regis & Kelly made Graydon Carter’s restaurant a highly searched Google item. [Gawker]
Brooke Shields Shares the Love on ‘Lipstick’Lipstick Jungle may top Cashmere Mafia because Jungle star Brooke Shields is nicer to her castmates than Mafia star Lucy Liu is to hers. Details editor Dan Peres says he’s going crazy and putting on weight because wife Sarah Wynter is pregnant. Kid Rock paid a busboy at Southern Hospitality $1,000 after he returned a $200,000 watch found on the floor of the bathroom that belonged to a Rock posse member. Val Kilmer was spotted running around town with Chad Lowe’s girlfriend, Kim Painter. Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce refused to use his credit card at Tenjune and left to go find a club where he could use cash. Donald Trump is hosting a Celebrity Apprentice party at Tenjune during Fashion Week. Uma Thurman and boyfriend Arpad Busson were all over each other at lunch at Lever House.
in other news
The ‘Times’ Is Back on the Toilet BeatLike you, we go to the New York Times for the thoughtfully written and fastidiously reported coverage of the most important issues in New York and our world. Unlike other media outlets, the Times doesn’t pander to popular tastes: It brings you news you should know, rather than news you want to know. Which is why we’re pleased that the paper of record has added to its coverage of poverty and genocide another topic that has heretofore gone tragically undercovered: the public toilets of New York. Last week, the paper lingered over the details and craftsmanship of the city’s new pay-per-use public toilets: “There are two architectural flourishes, both on the roof: a small pyramid of glass, like a little model of the Louvre, and an anachronistic metal stovepipe, reminiscent of a cozy shanty or an old outhouse with a crescent moon carved into the door,” the paper mused, then went on to note: “But no one goes to a bathroom to look at it.” And what a shame that is, someone must have decided, because over the weekend, two reporters traveled around the city to examine some of New York’s older public toilets, and found that perhaps, some these facilities have been undervalued. Such as the bathroom in the New York Public Library:
Located in a small carved stone building, the restrooms have a large bouquet of sunflowers, Casablanca lilies and eucalyptus in a stone vase near the entrance. They smell beautiful.
The bathroom stalls in the women’s room are unusually wide, about eight inches wider than the usual economy-class stalls found in most public restrooms. A sign above a red button reads, “Push RED button for a new, clean toilet seat cover.” A push, and the cover appears.
And at the St. Regis:
The lighting fixtures are crystal and the faucets polished brass. A red flowering plant smells sweet. No one else is there.
Don’t have time to visit these architectural wonders yourself? There’s a slideshow of them on the. Times Website. Alas, it is not scent-enabled.
Less Hype, But At Least These Restrooms Are Free [NYT]
Clay Aiken vs. ‘Newsweek’ Reporter: A Catfight?Every journalist who has to talk to celebrities at some point has to deal with attacks. A star will tire of the reporter’s probing questions and will suddenly lash out. There are a few traditional means of doing this. First, and most common, is the “Why did you decide to do this for your job? There are hundreds of people dying in Iraq and you are asking me about my sex tape?” approach. Then, sometimes, there’s the “I’m calling my publicist and none of her other clients will work with you if this is how you operate,” tactic (otherwise known as “I’M TELLING MOM!”). And finally, there’s the “I thought you were better than this!” routine, which celebrities always think will work, but never does, because, hello, we’re reporters and you can’t appeal to our sense of shame because we don’t have one. This last mode was the one taken by Clay Aiken when Newsweek sent cute boy reporter Ramin Setoodeh to interview him about debuting in Spamalot this week, and to ask him about the whole incident with Kelly Ripa last year. (You remember, when she snapped at Aiken for putting his hand over her mouth, by saying, “I don’t know where that hand has been,” and then Rosie went bananas about it on The View and called Ripa a homophobe?) The minute Setoodeh brought it up, things went very downhill very fast:
What about the Kelly Ripa thing?
I’m not going to discuss it.
Did you think it was homophobic?
I’m not going to discuss it.
What do you want to talk about?
I think we’re done.
Getting EmotionalA resurgent Hillary Clinton wasn’t the only one who felt like having a good cry last week. Barack Obama, whose momentum washed out prior to the New Hampshire primary, decamped for a $700,000 midtown fund-raiser at the Grand Hyatt; Richard Gere and Iman looked on as Obama plotted his counterthrust against the Clinton machine, vowing angrily to “take it to them just like they take it to us.” Rudy Giuliani barely nosed out lovably loony libertarian Ron Paul in the Granite State for fourth place but insisted that he only has eyes for Florida, anyway.
in other news
Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews Are FrenemiesLike most people Keith Olbermann has ever worked with, Chris Matthews has felt the sting of his MSNBC colleague Keith Olbermann’s acid tongue. “Maybe this [box] contains Chris Matthews’s eyebrows,” Olbermann said to New York last year. “You see them last night? Did he borrow them from Joe Pesci?” But it must have really hurt his feelings! Because Olbermann’s Countdown is doing really well in ratings, and instead of being happy for him, Matthews is pissed. “Keith runs MSNBC,” a senior executive at the network tells Men’s Journal in their February issue. “It’s been an amazing turnaround, because two years ago they were going to cancel him. Because of his success, he’s in charge. Chris Matthews is infuriated by it.”
Olbermann Talks Office Politics, Other Politics [TVNewser/Mediabistro]
Related: Limbaugh for Lefties [NYM]
One Restaurant Opening This Week Isn’t Enough for Alex Garcia
These are busy days indeed for Nuevo Latino chef Alex Garcia. Having just opened Carniceria in the space formerly occupied by Porchetta, Garcia is about to open another restaurant, this one on Manhattan’s West Side. Gaucho Steak Co., which goes live today, is an Argentine steak concept based on the chef’s smaller establishment, Gaucho Steak, in Montclair, New Jersey. “In Argentina, if you want steak, they have a place called a parilla, which is just a guy behind the grill,” Garcia tells us. “He’ll make you a steak, French fries, chorizo on bread, whatever you want. It’s really casual, and that’s what we’re trying to do.” That plan seems to run counter to the fairly elaborate kind of cooking that established Garcia as an avatar of new Latin American cooking at Novo and Calle Ocho. However just as at Carniceria Garcia has found a way to express his style through the appetizers, presumably he’ll do something similar at Gaucho Steak. No Alex Garcia restaurant is ever likely to be really reminiscent of “a guy behind a grill.”
Earlier: Porchetta Reborn as Carniceria, With Alex Garcia at the Helm
Treat Mom to an Apartment Near Stuyvesant SquareSunday is Mother’s Day, which means restaurants teeming with brunching families and, yes, fewer open houses. But if a new home is on your gift list, what better way to spend the day than being on the hunt? (Anyway, who needs another brooch or shudder lotion set?) These apartments are all within walking distance of historic Stuyvesant Square Park on 15th Street near Rutherford Place, a patch of green that’s fenced, like Gramercy Park due north, only you don’t need that infernally hard-to-get key to gain entry. The area, named after Peter Stuyvesant, has stellar schools (private and public) and an easygoing flair that recalls the Village pre-fancification. Lately, though, it has seen its profile rise alongside that of nearby Union Square and the East Village. Still, Stuyvesant Square retains a glimmer of its underappreciated and, consequently, still neighborhood-y vibe. Some would say the real estate’s still affordable, too, though it’s far from cheap. But then again, maybe you should decide for yourself. After the jump, a list of open houses scheduled for Sunday, mothers be darned. S. Jhoanna Robledo
Vulture Goes Tony Vulture, our culturally inclined sister-blog, may be young, but it’s got strong opinions. Today, it enters the fraught field of award prognostication: the editors have made their inaugural Tony picks (in the musical categories) ahead of the actual nominations, which will be announced May 15. The editors’ spider-sense is dictating a Grey Gardens-Spring Awakening showdown for Best Musical, and a wholly surprise-free Best Revival category; click over to see who else, in their educated opinion, will make the cut.
Tony Predictions: Song-and-Dance Division [Vulture]
Keith McNally: A Restro-spective
As we noted when we toured the restrooms at Morandi, Keith McNally has pissed away a great deal of money to make his restaurant lavatories the gold standard. When Morandi failed to hit the mark, we were truly bummed, so to restore our faith in the master (and to make sure we weren’t remembering his previous works through Clorox-colored glasses), we decided to embark on an epic stall crawl of McNally’s previous loos, from Pravda’s Commie commodes to (pardon our French) the shitters at Schiller’s. Come flush with us.
Park Slope Send Arab School to Boerum HillBoerum Hill: The proposed Arabic language and culture school so infuriated Park Slopers that the city decided to put it in Boerum Hill. [The Brooklyn Paper]
Brooklyn Heights: Last chance to buy tickets for the Brooklyn Heights House Tour tomorrow. [Brownstoner]
Chelsea: Someone’s looking for information on what a building on the north side of Seventh Avenue between 23 and 24th Streets looked like in the sixties and seventies. [Blog Chelsea]
Park Slope: The Brooklyn Blogfest was last night, giving bloggers an opportunity to see daylight, and each other. [Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn]
Williamsburg: After months of wondering, the new rendering of 184 Kent Street causes a significant “whoa.” [Curbed]