Posts for January 30, 2013

‘Coffee Rust’ Is Destroying Central America’s Coffee Berries

There is a fungus among us.

Forget for a second that global warming will soon render several farming regions that produce much of the world's supply of Arabica coffee untenable as soon as 2020: Costa Rica's coffee plantations are at the moment being devastated by a fungus called "coffee rust." Authorities are saying that the 2013-14 harvest may be halved in the hardest hit farming areas. What's worse is that coffee rust is affecting crops in other countries, and a University of Michigan in Ann Arbor-based ecologist named John Vandermeer tells Nature that the outbreak now includes “reports of devastation in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Mexico."

It's not looking too good in Costa Rica. »

Watch a Preview of Anne Burrell’s New Show, Chef Wanted

Like her mentor Mario Batali, Anne Burrell dons shorts and clogs in the kitchen, only her clogs are fuchsia and she seems to curse a lot more. The new season of her show, Chef Wanted, which premieres tomorrow night on the Food Network, approaches the "restaurant-rehab" theme with a novel setup: Burrell leads teams of professionals through challenges at actual restaurants (like the Old Homestead Steakhouse), and there are actually executive positions to be had at the end of each line. In the exclusive preview, just ahead, a fearsome Burrell confronts a contestant she thinks is screwing around. "That's your Amatriciana sauce? Amatriciana does not have garlic in it," she says. "Italian cuisine is regional," the contestant gurgles back, "I grew up with it in my sauce."

The heat is on. »

A Look Inside Taiwan’s Very Pink, Very Creepy Barbie-Themed Restaurant

The inspiration.Photo: SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images

In the heart of Taiwan, there is now an electric-pink Barbie restaurant full of more dead-eyed, busty blondes than the Playboy Mansion. The restaurant, in the heart of Taipei (where Barbies were once manufactured), is fully licensed by Mattel, a company not known for its culinary prowess. Odd that food is on sale here, really, since Barbie's measurements are prime endorsements for anorexia. But eating isn't really the point: It's all about selling dolls! In a move that's probably great for business and horrible for feminism, "The staff who work at the restaurant sport a not-entirely practical uniform of pink Barbie logo T-shirts, matching tutus, Barbie logo armbands and glitter and tiaras on their heads," the Telegraph reports.

Read more »

Bon Chon Will Expand to Lowell

After years of going without that delicious addictive chicken, Boston is finally becoming overwhelmed by Bon Chons. First there was Allston, then there was Harvard Square, and now they're coming to ... Lowell.

Read more »

Reminder: The Line-Up for Barbara Lynch's Blizzard Bash Is Really Pretty Amazing

How much would you pay to mingle with Daniel Boulud, Barbara Lynch, Missy Robbins, Chris Cosentino, and local wild-n-crazy guys like Will Gilson and Jamie Bissonnette? The correct answer is $375 VIP or $225 General Admission. They'll converge along with 30 other big names from across the country for Barbara Lynch's Blizzard Bash on February 8, benefitting The Barbara Lynch Foundation. Of course, if you're feeling truly generous, you can book a $1000-per-plate gala at Menton the night before with dishes prepared by Lynch, Boulud, Del Posto's Mark Ladner, Quince's Michael Tusk, and Blackberry Farm's Joseph Lenn. See the full BB roster ahead, and cash that paycheck!

Read more »

Bocuse d’Or 2013 Results: France Wins Gold; USA Places Seventh

Picky eater.Photo: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty

Congrats to France, which just took the top prize at the world's most prestigious culinary competition. Denmark (winner of the gold last year) was awarded silver, and Japan got bronze. Team USA placed seventh, but captains Richard Rosendale and Cory Siegel (of West Virginia's Greenbrier) shouldn't feel too bad; we've never placed higher than sixth. And apparently, "Born in the USA" played at some point during the competition, which is a huge win in itself. If you don't agree with the results, you can blame Bocuse d'Or USA Foundation president Thomas Keller, who judged the meat platter. Check out the full list of winners, straight ahead.

Two for the United Kingdom. »

Thirteen Appetizing Super Bowl Ads From the Past 33 Years

Don't dispute this one.

Whether you're excited to see the Ravens play the 49ers, or you're just watching for the Beyoncé halftime show, everyone can get excited about the $4 million commercials. Beer and car spots will always dominate, but over the years, there have been some fantastic commercials hawking fast-food and non-beer drinks, too. Michael Jordan and Larry Bird playing Horse is enough to make you want a Big Mac (maybe), and we can collectively blame the nation's current soda crisis on Britney Spears gyrating ten years ago. Here are thirteen of the best, presented in chronological order.

From Cindy Crawford to Betty White. »

Don King Explains Why Josie Should Be Voted Back On to ‘Top Chef’

Don King: American, patriot, and Josie suporter.Photo: Dario Cantatore/Getty

The greatest boxing promoter of all time — who worked with Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Julio César Chávez, Evander Holyfield, and Larry Holmes — has now turned his attention to Top Chef, of all things. Don King says that, at 81, his interests in cooking and food are deepening, and as a regular watcher of Bravo's cooking competition, he feels that chef Josie Smith-Malave was "unjustly" booted at the end of last week's episode, and he's now enlisting the public to get her voted back so she can cook her way through the final rounds. Grub Street spoke with King yesterday afternoon as he waited to board a flight in Cleveland back to his home in Florida.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." »

There's a Hole in This Story

A nude man has been visiting a Cambridge drive-thru in the wee hours of the morning, reports Wicked Local Cambridge, though they decline to name the restaurant. The drive-thru is located on Concord Ave., and savvy commenters note that the only drive-thru open at that hour on that street is Dunkin' Donuts. The guy is wanted for "open and gross" lewdness. Does he have cup holders? [Wicked Local]

Grubstreet Sweeps

Recent reader reviews on MenuPages

  • Cookin' Cafe & Grill See the menu

    “Cookin is gooood!”

    I'm picky about meatball subs so when I say is good it's really good

  • The Pour House See the menu

    “Awsome food and drink”

    After spending all your hard earned dollars in the Pru enjoy a few cool one here before you take the T home.

  • Il Villaggio See the menu

    “Absolutely Amazing”

    Having worked at Olive Garden for 3 years I guess I never really knew what REAL Italian food tasted like.


Kara Baskin
NY Mag