Food Drama

  • Do Restaurants Have an Obligation to Let You Use the Bathroom?
    by Jaya Saxena on August 20, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    Shutterstock Why some people are fighting to give restaurant-bathroom access to more people “Starbucks has become the public restroom of America,” wrote Harvey Molotch, co-editor of Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing. “Along with serving up a cappuccino, its management carries the burden of toilet provision, maintenance and, controversially, deciding who gets in and by what criteria.” Molotch was responding to the 2018 arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks in an op-ed for the Washington Post. The incident itself, captured on video, had been widely circulated on social media, a clear-cut example of the racial profiling that goes on in public spaces: The two men had been waiting for their third friend to arrive when one asked to use the Starbucks restroom and was told it was customers only. They informed workers that they were planning on ordering after the last of the party had arrived, leading Starbucks employees to call the police and have the men — who were merely doing what Starbucks customers do every day — arrested for trespassing. Following the incident and inevitable blow-back, Starbucks announced a new policy allowing anyone to hang out in their stores, and use the restrooms, even without purchasing anything. The question of who gets to be the gatekeeper of a restaurant or coffee shop restroom is a surprisingly complicated one, as Molotch addresses. On one hand, we can consider the workers and hygiene of a restroom itself (as anyone who’s been in a gross public restroom can attest, accidents do — uh — happen). On the other, we must acknowledge that most American cities have a dearth of public bathroom options, leaving many without a dignified way to relieve themselves. Then, of course, is the aspect of policing who gets to use the restroom and when, basing those decisions on corporate policy or personal biases. Food establishments are typically the battleground for this debate, as they’re the most obvious option for a person out in public who’s in search of a bathroom, and most places require purchasing something if you want to use their toilet. Sure, you can use the tried-and-true method of “looking for your friend” in the bar, using the bathroom, and then leaving while pretending to be on the phone, but that too comes at a risk, especially for people who aren’t white, cis gender, or visibly financially comfortable. And even Starbucks, with its new “come one, come all” policy, might not be the toilet mecca it claims to be — according to a New York Post report, a number of Starbucks in New York City lock their bathrooms to everyone, or required secret codes to use them. Erin Sheehy and Elizabeth Gumport are trying to change the conversation about public restrooms, one cafe code at a time. Their print magazine, Facility, which launched this year, looks at modern culture through the lens of the restroom; online, they provide a database of bathroom codes (mostly in restaurants and cafes around New York and Philadelphia) to ensure access for as many people as possible. We spoke with Sheehy about the restaurant world’s specific relationship to restroom access, and why, like it or not, they may have an ethical duty to let all of us in. Eater: What inspired you to start Facility? Erin Sheehy: At some point we realized that bathrooms were an interesting way to frame a lot of the subjects that we care about, including public space, cities, gender, queer histories, and the seemingly mundane but endlessly fascinating details of people’s daily lives. (Plus I, for one, love to talk about bodily functions.) Our first issue includes an interview with some plumbers, an essay about fluorescent lighting, a history of delousing at the El Paso-Juárez border, an exploration of the laws that led to sex-segregated bathrooms, personal stories, artist projects, and more—we even have horoscopes! In one section of the magazine, and on our website, we provide a list of bathroom codes around New York City and Philadelphia, so that people can use the bathroom in businesses without buying anything. We update the website as often as possible, but we realize that some codes in the print mag will probably have changed by the time people read them. We hope the codes serve a practical purpose, but we also want them to start a conversation about bathroom access, and we hope they inspire people to start their own lists in their own cities, among friends, on Twitter, wherever. When did you first realize access to bathrooms was a problem? I probably first realized that bathroom access was a problem as a teenager, when I started wandering around the city more frequently and would find myself holding my pee till it hurt. But I remember this really crystallized for me during Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter protests in New York City, when I’d be out in the street for hours and realized that if I wanted to pee or change my tampon, I would have to go buy something. And even then it could be hard to find one! It struck me that not having bathroom access can really keep people from fully participating in public life. This can be particularly difficult for people who have incontinence problems or other health issues, people with disabilities, parents with small kids, nursing mothers, transgender people or people without homes, who are often harassed when using public bathrooms. New York is a pedestrian city, a public transit-driven city, and you can spend a whole day traveling around without encountering a free, accessible restroom. It’s a real problem. Why do you think these businesses are so reluctant to let non-customers use their facilities? I think that businesses are reluctant to let non-customers use their facilities because it’s easier not to! And there’s no profit in it. We realize that more restroom users do potentially mean more restroom maintenance. Our call to free the codes is definitely not meant to antagonize service workers, who already have difficult jobs. I worked at Starbucks. I remember having to do “Star Walks.” (That’s what they called it when you had to go wipe up the spilled milk and sugar, take out the trash, and check out the bathroom to see the damage.) Service workers have to deal with a lot, from defaced bathrooms to overdoses. But at the same time, most people use the bathroom without incident. A lot of today’s corporate policy, as well as municipal policy, urban planning, and design, is grounded in a basic distrust of people. So much protocol is about keeping people out. Have you ever gotten in trouble for using a code at one of these restaurants without buying something first? I haven’t personally gotten in trouble for using a bathroom without buying anything. But as a white cisgender woman I have a lot of privilege in that regard. We realize that using a bathroom without paying is riskier for some people, such as people of color or trans people, who are more likely to be harassed or policed just for being in public space, period. Last year, Starbucks vowed to let anyone use their cafes and bathrooms, even if they weren’t customers. Have you noticed that change, or has Starbucks remained the same? I haven’t been in enough Starbucks in the last year to say whether or not their change in policy has been noticeable. I hope it has been, and that more companies follow suit. Here in New York, restrooms in parks and transit centers are often locked, and as income inequality worsens, it’s getting harder for people to pop into a place where they can afford to purchase a little snack in exchange for a bathroom key. What’s the most common refrain you hear at a restaurant when asking if you can use the restroom? A common refrain in New York coffee shops, and some small restaurants, is that they don’t even have a restroom for customers. I understand that employee restrooms are often tiny, they are sometimes the place where employees keep their valuables, and having customers go behind the counter can be disruptive in a busy place. Also, a lot of employee restrooms (and customer restrooms) can be difficult or impossible to access if you’re disabled. But it’s frustrating, especially at coffee shops; coffee is a diuretic—and laxative! Do you think restaurants and cafes have a moral obligation to let anyone use their restrooms? I think there is a moral obligation for a business to provide a restroom to someone in need, but I also think we should expand the conversation to talk about government policy and urban planning. It’s crazy that New York City doesn’t have more functioning public restrooms on its streets, in its parks, in its transit centers. (My experience is New York-centric, but it’s a problem throughout the United States.) We are, as usual, looking to the private sector to provide for people’s basic needs. Publicizing bathroom codes isn’t the solution to our dearth of accessible restrooms, but it’s something people can do right now to get by.

  • Hard Seltzer Is Here to Stay
    by Rebecca Jennings on August 20, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    The cheap, low-cal, gender-neutral canned cocktail may be the unofficial drink of summer 2019, but it has serious staying power

  • Inside the Utterly Bleak Scene at Dean and DeLuca’s Flagship Soho Store
    by Carla Vianna on August 20, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    The once-renowned grocery store is supposedly undergoing “renovations”

  • The Ultimate Kitchen Gadget Shopping Guide
    by Eater Staff on August 20, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    Any cook, from a bumbling novice to a James Beard Award-winning chef, relies on at least a few tools in the kitchen. Some are essential basics, like an excellent blender or a sharp-as-hell chef knife, while others offer clever shortcuts, like an avocado slicer or a dumpling wrapper. Then there are the gadgets that solve problems you didn’t realize you had, like a special pot for making mac and cheese or tool for slicing… kiwi. Which kitchen gadgets are really necessary? Which are more a hassle than they are helpful? And if they are helpful, which are worth an astronomical price tag? Eater has spent hours testing food-related gadgets, from the basic (rice cookers!) to the gimmicky (the Pancakebot!), in The Kitchen Gadget Test Show and previously in You Can Do This! video series. Now you can find them all — and watch all the video reviews — right here. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.

  • Which Is the Best At-Home Charcoal Grill?
    by Eater Video on August 20, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    Testing out three barbecue grills for the everyday chef Summertime and the warmer weather months signify grilling season, when the best accessory for your backyard, front yard, or balcony is an outdoor grill. But how do you know which grill is best for your needs and level of expertise? Especially when every season there’s a new option on the market and there are just so many out there. To narrow down the playing field a little, The Kitchen Gadget Test Show host Esther Choi is trying out three different grill models, all at three pretty different price points: Kudu Outdoor Grill, typically about $500 Weber 22-Inch Charcoal Grill, typically about $100 BioLite FirePit Grill, typically about $200 To really put the three grills to the test, Choi is joined by Prime Time hosts and grilling masters Ben Turley and Brent Young, of New York’s the Meat Hook. Easily the most recognizable name among the three is the Weber grill, an absolute classic when it comes to making an at-home grill choice; Weber’s 22-inch version retails for $110. Much more newfangled options are the Kudu ($500) and the BioLite grills ($200) — but is either worth its higher price tag? See more Eater-tested kitchen gadgets and appliances | Follow Eater on YouTube for more videos Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.

  • Cursed Food Hack Sends Woman to the Hospital for Egg Burn Treatment
    by Greg Morabito on August 20, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    Matthew Horwood/Getty A cautionary tale about cooking random internet recipes One of food media’s dirtiest secrets is that many of the recipes that appear online are not adequately tested before they’re published. Recipe testing is, after all, a process that requires extra time and resources, and many viral food hacks and “how to” tutorials don’t need to actually be cookable to become wildly popular on the internet, anyway. But one food hack that certainly could have used more testing was a recipe titled “You Can Make Hard-Boiled Eggs In The Microwave, But You Need To Do It Right.” A woman in Worcestershire, England named Bethany Rosser claims that after carefully following the steps outlined in the recipe, she opened her microwave and the scalding hot eggs exploded in her face. Rosser called an ambulance, and emergency responders rushed her to a nearby hospital where she received burn treatment. “It felt horrible, I was in total agony,” Rosser tells the Mirror UK. “I could feel my skin burning for hours afterwards — even while it was being treated in hospital.” The doctors told Rosser that she probably wouldn’t develop any scars from the incident, but long-term skin discoloration might be a possibility. While the internet is full of food hacks involving eggs, microwaving them whole is widely considered to be a dangerous practice. The official homepage of the American Egg Board even has an explicit warning against the move. “Microwaves heat so quickly that steam builds up faster than an egg can ‘exhale’ it through its pores and the steam bursts through the shell,” the site warns. “For the same reason, when microwaving, always prick the yolk of an unbeaten egg with the tip of a knife or a wooden pick.” The Delish recipe does not mention pricking the yolk, but it does includes a “crucial” step of salting the water, so that “the egg won’t explode.” Clearly, this step doesn’t always prevent explosions. Shortly after Rosser began telling her tale to the British tabloids, the microwaved egg recipe disappeared from the Delish archives. The link to the original post now redirects to a story about how to make hard-boiled eggs on the stovetop, but the syndicated version of the microwaved egg recipe is still live on and you can also summon it via the Wayback Machine. The editors of Delish have not commented on Rosser’s experience with their recipe, or the removal of the post. Considering how popular both egg recipes and microwave-related hacks are on the internet, this probably won’t be the last time that someone gets coaxed into this dangerous trick. But Bethany Rosser, at least, won’t get fooled again. “I will never boil eggs in the microwave again, and I hope nobody else will either,” she says. • Woman suffers severe burns after microwaved eggs explode in her face [Yahoo]• Microwaved eggs explode in woman’s face leaving her with horrific burns [Mirror]• You Can Make Hard-Boiled Eggs In The Microwave, But You Need To Do It Right [MSN

  • No One Wins in This Fight Between a Vegan Influencer and a Fancy Italian Restaurant
    by Tim Forster on August 20, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Nicole Warne at Paris Fashion Week | Claudio Lavenia/Getty Images Plus, the Mormon Church warns its followers about Starbucks, and more news to start your day Is $200 a fair price for the ‘gram? It’s time for a game of “who’s the jerk here?”: Australian fashion blogger and Instagram influencer Nicole Warne went after high-end Italian restaurant Grotta Palazzese in front of her 1.7 million followers for failing to tweak its $200 tasting menu to fit her many dietary requirements. But in a case of things being slightly more complicated than a high maintenance internet celebrity being a pain in the ass, she says she contacted the restaurant months before visiting and was only told on arrival that they couldn’t accommodate her, leaving her with a $200 meal of “a tiny bowl of beans, two slices of vegetables, and…a fruit plate as dessert.” Based on the facts provided by Insider, Warne did initially approach this the right way, giving the restaurant notice of her dietary restrictions. She has intolerances to gluten, coconut, and cashews, and is vegan, though it’s not clear if the restaurant ever offered to accommodate her. Grotta Palazzese is built into the side of a cliff in Polignano a Mar, Puglia, offering spectacular Instagram fodder — and Warne herself admits that she ignored mixed reviews when she decided to book a table. Posting several photos of herself at the restaurant, she told followers, “If you are willing to pay just to take photos, then sure, go visit, the photos will be beautiful, but if you’re like us and just appreciate good service and delicious food, then I would highly suggest going to a local restaurant and ordering the $15 euro mouthwatering pasta that was easily better than what we found here for twelve times the price.” (Many local trattorias might also struggle to provide gluten-free and vegan pasta.) View this post on Instagram I was conflicted posting this; I am aware there are far worse things happening in the world but I am also aware that many of you look to my account as a travel guide and may book places as a result. I don’t like to be part of any form of negativity but I felt compelled to share my experience after so many of you asked where this place was because you wanted to visit. For me, this place was the worst dining experience I have ever had. We were so excited a table was available during our dates, and even after reading the mixed reviews we decided to try it anyway as we saw it is a once in a lifetime experience. I gave them my list of food requirements (I am vegan, with severe gluten, cashew and coconut intolerances) when I made a reservation three months in advance. Upon arrival, the view took our breath away, it truly is serene, but as soon as we sat down we were told the kitchen had not and could not prepare anything not on the set menu. I am used to not being able to eat most options on a menu, but as this was a “fine dining experience” and they asked for my food requirements well in advance, I was frustrated to hear I would still need to pay $180 euros for the set menu, much of which I could not eat. I ended up eating a tiny bowl of beans, two slices of vegetables and was offered a fruit plate as dessert, which I did not eat. The customer service was terrible and I was further disappointed when the staff and the chef would not acknowledge the situation. Beyond my experience, my girlfriend got the normal set menu and found it underwhelming. We are no food critics, but this food seemed to fall victim to a fancy restaurant trying to create fancy food but completely missing the mark and offering bizarre and confusing food as a result. For me, this place is not worth the money even despite the fantastic view. If you are willing to pay just to take photos, then sure, go visit, the photos will be beautiful, but if you’re like us and just appreciate good service and delicious food, then I would highly suggest going to a local restaurant and ordering the $15 euro mouthwatering pasta that was easily better than what we found here for twelve times the price x A post shared by Nicole Warne Shadbolt (@nicolewarne) on Aug 16, 2019 at 1:24pm PDT And in other news… In other influencer news, did a Nashville Insta-star use her (minor) motorcycle accident to shill for SmartWater? It kind of looks that way. [Buzzfeed] The predominantly Mormon city of Provo, Utah, is about to get its first Starbucks — and the Mormon Church, which forbids caffeine consumption, is reminding its followers not to succumb to temptation. [Sprudge] Food and Wine and Travel and Leisure have (in tandem) dropped a list of the World’s Best Restaurants, and it’s mercifully not too Euro- and America-centric. [Food & Wine/Travel & Leisure] A New York restaurant worker pursuing his former employer for $200,000 in unpaid wages was arrested by ICE at the deposition — possibly after the employer alerted the agency. [WNYC] Would you buy meat off Facebook? This isn’t a hypothetical question: people are already doing it. [Mel] Your next potluck recipe is Totino’s new snack mix, which puts pizza rolls, garlic bread bites, and tater tots into one bag. [Food & Wine] Jamie Oliver’s restaurant empire might have tanked, but looks like he’s still rich, according to a Times profile. [NYT] The next possible victim of President Trump’s trade war with China? California wine producers, who say tariffs are making their market dry up. [LA Times] Those photos of Jeffrey Epstein-associate Ghislaine Maxwell chowing down at an L.A. In-N-Out Burger were probably staged — by her attorney, no less. [Daily Mail] Lastly, some feel-good vindication from the Bay Area’s only culinary bookstore. [Twitter] Pariah Report: Neither of our Mario Batali books sold on our half-off table, for the second year in a row. Next stop: The Free Box on the Sidewalk.— Omnivore Books (@omnivorebooks) August 20, 2019 All AM Intel Coverage [E

  • The Great British Baking Show’s Pita Challenge Is a Stain on Its Otherwise Perfect Legacy
    by Jenny G. Zhang on August 19, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    Contestant Rahul Mandal examines a smoking head of garlic. | GIF: The Great British Baking Show The show should avoid stunt challenges if it wants to remain a go-to cozy classic Welcome to The Reheat, a space for Eater writers to explore landmark (and lukewarm) culinary moments of the recent and not-so-recent past. I love The Great British Baking Show (known in the U.K. as The Great British Bake Off). Everyone does. Watching it is a rare opportunity to detach from the bleak contours of reality and to lose yourself in the calming tedium of the big white tent, an alternate realm of warmth, friendship, and baked goods. I could rhapsodize endlessly about the by-and-large impervious virtues of The Great British Baking Show, but there’s one challenge in particular that’s continued to haunt me (and not in a nice, cute, friendly spirit sort of way!) long past its original airing last year: the open fire pita challenge in the ninth season’s finale. One of the most comforting aspects of the series is how almost nothing ever changes: there are always three baking challenges per episode, there are the same two judges and two hosts (barring the one major alteration that resulted in the current cast), and there is the iconic big white tent that’s both backdrop and centerpiece of the entire production. But in 2018, for the first time in the show’s history, the contestants — and, by extension, the viewers — were taken out of the tent for a round of baking. “Make good use of your heat source,” is judge Paul Hollywood’s mysterious advice, before the hosts Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig tell the increasingly baffled contestants to leave their ovens and work benches and to go outside. The three finalists’ technical challenge on that blisteringly hot day is to make six pita breads and three accompanying dips — on an open fire. Left with scant instructions, as is typical during the technical challenge, the bakers — Rahul Mandal, Kim-Joy Hewlett, and Ruby Bhogal — wrestle with the difficulty of controlling live flames for the first time, the bakers growing increasingly sweaty and frantic with each uncooperative eggplant or singed pita. Ruby accurately diagnoses the situation: “This feels like hell.” The real challenge, apart from knowing what to do with an open fire, is controlling the amount of heat — too much, and it will kill the yeast in the dough, resulting in pita bread that doesn’t rise and achieve the signature pocket. It’s not a huge surprise to learn that the contestants’ pitas, on top of being overly charred, don’t really puff up. Fire, ultimately, is the real victor of this challenge. To this day, the cavernous empty halls of my mind palace still echo with questions about this challenge, first of which is: how dare you?? Technical challenges are meant to test the contestants’ prior baking experience, advantaging those with more know-how; in this case, the only way for a contestant to be remotely prepared for a challenge like this would be if they were, I don’t know, a survivalist who regularly bakes on open fires? Relatedly, “baking” is a bit generous here, as half of the challenge is graded on separate dips that have nothing to do with baking. Mostly, though, I don’t like that this challenge is symptomatic of the culinary direction the show has been moving towards as a whole: more focus on flair, spectacle, and obscurity; less on the kind of baking that everyday people do for the sake of creating something delicious. One Reddit user analyzed the data and found that technical challenges are getting more difficult, decreasing in familiarity while increasing in complexity. “Over time I’ve felt less and less like the challenges might be something I could achieve,” the user, u/cremepat, wrote. “I’ve gone from trying recipes to just being glad it’s not me in that tent.” Qualitatively, one just has to compare the season finale showstopper challenges: in the ninth season, it was an entire landscape dessert; in the third, it was an elaborate chiffon cake. A surprisingly large part of my baking knowledge can be directly attributed to watching The Great British Baking Show. Thanks to constant viewing over the past few years, I’ve absorbed the barest awareness of terms and techniques — the windowpane test for dough, what a “crumb” is, the difference between Genoise and Victorian sponge — I never would have learned otherwise. In its best moments, the show strikes that perfect balance between attainable and fantastical, serving entertainment while also upholding the delusion that maybe I, too, will attempt one of these creations in my kitchen on some holiday weekend. An open fire challenge betrays that balance, moving the show solidly into the “almost certainly never” end of the spectrum. That, to me, is not what the gentle magic of The Great British Baking Show is about.

  • The Popeyes vs. Chick-fil-A War Will Be Fought Through Memes
    by Greg Morabito on August 19, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    Popeye’s Which chicken sandwich are you willing to die (i.e., be dragged online) for? Although a lot of chain restaurants have introduced chicken sandwiches over the last few years, none have garnered quite as much immediate buzz as the new one served at Popeyes. And now, less than two weeks after the dish’s nationwide release, it seems that battle lines are being drawn between Chick-fil-A fans and loyal Popeyes customers over which chain serves the One Chicken Sandwich to Rule Them All. What’s worse than heartbreak, you ask?Driving to your local Popeye’s only to discover the chicken sandwich doesn’t hit your area until Monday.— Phonte (@phontigallo) August 16, 2019 While Chick-fil-A has generally awful politics — the company famously funneled millions of dollars intro groups that oppose same-sex marriage — the chain ranks #1 in terms of customer satisfaction, and its pickle-laced crispy chicken sandwich is the star of its menu. Popeyes, meanwhile, is a chain that also has a rabid fanbase, and now it too has a chicken sandwich with a similar composition — a crispy fried filet on a cushion of pickles, hugged by a pillowy bun — that fans can enjoy on Sunday or any other day of the week without the guilt that comes from supporting a company with an anti-queer agenda. Y’all loving that spicy chicken sandwich and y’all know it’s just a mattter of time before it’s wild racist old tweets pop up smh— Desus Nice (@desusnice) August 17, 2019 The response from Popeyes fans was immediate and overwhelmingly positive on Twitter, and a number of publications — including the Takeout, Business Insider, and Eater’s sibling SB Nation — were quick to declare that Popeyes had pulled a victory over Chick-fil-A with the launch of this new menu item. Not content to leave well enough alone, Chick-fil-A took to Twitter this afternoon to attempt to claim ownership of the pickle-laced crispy chicken sandwich, a move that was instantly dragged by its rival: … y’all good?— Popeyes Chicken (@PopeyesChicken) August 19, 2019 As the chicken sandwich wars rage on, here are the best tweets about the great Chick-fil-A/Popeyes fan feud of 2019: ‘you made it a hot line, i made it a hot song,” — popeye’s to chick-fil-a— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) August 19, 2019 Chick-Fil-A watching everybody eating Popeyes new chicken sandwich— X (@XLNB) August 19, 2019 Popeye’s really made a chicken sandwich so good it made people think “maybe Chick-Fil-A IS homophobic…” lmao— JuanPa (@jpbrammer) August 19, 2019— Fiona Applebum Says Don’t Give Shaun King Money! (@WrittenByHanna) August 19, 2019 When someone asks me how many times I’ve eaten the Popeyes Chicken sandwich— problemola (@MrMola_) August 17, 2019— Trey Smith (@SlimiHendrix) August 18, 2019 Me eating Chick-fil-A again after trying Popeyes Spicy Chicken— Rondo (@Rondo_RogerThat) August 12, 2019 Me when I tried the new Popeyes sandwich.— chocolate milk influencer (@BourbonGhost) August 19, 2019— X (@XLNB) August 19, 2019 popeyes chicken sandwich twitter is kind of my favorite twitter right now— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) August 19, 2019 And now, as should be expected in this era of INTENSE brand Twitter engagement, every fast food brand with a chicken sandwich is trying desperately to get in on the action: Customer: Can I get something like Boston Market mac & cheese but mediocre?Other guys: My pleasure— Boston Market (@bostonmarket) August 19, 2019 Everybody around here knows the best chicken sandwich is a chicken biscuit.— Bojangles’ (@Bojangles1977) August 19, 2019 If you’re lookin’ for a chicken sandwich (without the beef ), you know where to find us.— SHAKE SHACK (@shakeshack) August 19, 2019 In conclusion: I mean, damn.— Saeed Jones (@theferocity) August 19, 2019 Update: August 19, 2019, 6:08 p.m.: This article was updated to include some bad tweets from brands. • Popeyes Launches Fried Chicken Sandwich by Teaming Up With Restaurant That Ripped Them Off [E]• All Chain Coverage [E

  • An Ode to ‘Guy’s Ranch Kitchen,’ a Surprisingly Chill Fieri Cooking Show
    by Greg Morabito on August 19, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    Jonathan Waxman, Guy Fieri, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Marc Murphy | Guy’s Ranch Kitchen/Food Network Fieri is, now more than ever, the reigning Mayor of Flavortown A version of this post originally appeared on August 9, 2019, in “Eat, Drink, Watch” — the weekly newsletter for people who want to order takeout and watch TV. Browse the archives and subscribe now. Much like his brother from another mother Matthew McConaughey, Guy Fieri went through a mid-career slump followed by a remarkable comeback. And there is arguably no greater example of the Fierissance than the celebrity chef’s Food Network show Guy’s Ranch Kitchen, which recently wrapped up its second season. To backtrack a bit: Guido, as he calls himself, enjoyed six years in the spotlight as one of food TV’s biggest and most beloved stars before Pete Wells delivered a sucker-punch in the form of a 2012 zero-star review of the chef’s Times Square restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar. After that assessment — arguably the most famous restaurant review of all time — Fieri became the food world’s favorite punching bag. Undeterred, the celebrity chef kept opening spinoffs of his notorious Manhattan restaurant in more than a dozen cities across the country, all while keeping up his normal clip on Triple D, publishing cookbooks, and launching a successful game show called Guy’s Grocery Games (AKA Triple G). Guy’s Ranch Kitchen/AmazonBut the real ignition point for Fieri’s career revival came in the form of a stand-up comedy bit by rising star Shane Torres. “People shit on that dude all the time,” Torres says at the start of his set. “But as far as I can tell, all he ever did was follow his dreams.” After running through a laundry list of Fieri’s most benevolent acts — Offering good benefits to his employees! Starting a culinary-non profit to get kids cooking! Working with Special Olympics athletes! Officiating a massive gay wedding! — Torres points out, “But because he has flames on his shirt, everybody shits all over his dude like he’s a member of Nickelback.” This wildly successful comedy bit helped swing the pendulum back in Fieri’s favor, and the next few years were full of moments that also cast the Triple D star in a positive light. After setting up makeshift kitchens to feed victims of the Northern California wildfires in 2017 and 2018, Fieri inadvertently became the celebrity face of natural disaster relief. By agreeing to go scuba diving in shark-infested waters with his college-age son, Hunter, the Fieris became the unexpected stars of Shark Week 2018. And in recent months, Fieri’s Twitter account — which is now likely run by a savvy social media manager — started to garner praise for its custom photoshopped pop culture parodies and jokes that echo the chef’s outsized personality. All of these recent turns suggest that Fieri is, now more than ever, the reigning Mayor of Flavortown: a hard-working public figure overseeing all things gnarly and turbo-delicious. Guy’s Ranch Kitchen is the seminal document of the Fierissance. Each episode features Guy hanging out with five celebrity chefs friends inside the massive porch-kitchen of his estate in Santa Rosa, California. This space features a wood-burning pizza oven, a massive grill, and several tricked-out ranges. Many of the dishes incorporate vegetables or herbs grown on the Fieri compound, and one episode even features a trip to go harvest honey from Guy’s personal bee farm. Fieri doesn’t do any of the cooking on the show, but he does do all of the tasting — except for the egg dishes, because Guido famously hates ‘em. Part of the fun of this show is seeing what all of these chefs come up with based around the given theme. A few favorites include: the dukka-topped Egyptian spinach pie that Aarti Sequeira prepares in the “Cheese Please” episode; the “steamed and fire roasted goose” with blood orange sauce that Jonathan Waxman makes in the “Christmas at the Ranch” installment; and the shellfish-rich paella that Marc Murphy fires up during the “Game Day” cook-out. Out of the 10 or so dishes that are prepared in each episode, there’s usually one clear flop, but at least these creations are ambitious failures — Carl Ruiz’s French onion brandy shooter in the “Cheese Please” episode, for example. Guy’s Ranch Kitchen is one of the more lively shows on the Food Network these days, and it has a particularly high hit-to-miss ratio where dishes are concerned. The first two seasons are now streaming on Amazon for $10 a piece, and the show also airs at 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays.

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