Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Maxim Magazine + Steakhouse

Maxim Steak

Sorry for the delay…

Been traveling a bit and working too much, but I’m back to posting when I can.

This just in – Maxim Magazine and Jeffrey Chodorow’s China Grill Management will open 15 “Maxim Prime” restaurants over the next five years.

It doesn’t seem like a likely duo, but their idea is interesting.

“Maxim Prime will be designed to appeal to customers in their 20s and 30s,” Dennis CEO Stephen Colvin says. The average age of the Maxim reader is 27. (from USA Today)

And according to Grub Street

The Times today confirms that this summer Jeffrey Chodorow will open a steakhouse, Center Cut, in the Empire Hotel and — the real horror show — a Maxim-magazine-branded steakhouse to replace Ono in the Gansevoort Hotel in late March. Will it be a “breastaurant” combining boob tubes and tube tops à la Hooters, or will Chodorow go for something a tad bit more refined?

But this steakhouse won’t be anything like your father’s steakhouse, nor will it be anything like a Hooters. According to USA Today, Maxim Prime will be more upscale and intimate. “Sexy but sophisticated,” Chodorow says.

Another unique feature will be the size of their portions. Maxim Prime will serve smaller portions since their patrons will be going out afterwards, so their meals won’t put them in a food coma.

Photo from Flickr.

Batali vs. The Big Mac

Batali Wind-Up

Gourmet food is about indulgence and eating well, not necessarily healthy, but well. Chefs use high quality ingredients in order to prepare food that tastes good. But does the average person question restaurant food the same way they do fast food? Do people calorie count when they eat a meal prepared by Mario Batali or Thomas Keller? For the most part, no. But the Wall Street Journal decided they’d do just that.

What’d they find? Well, although restaurant food (especially that prepared by Batali or Keller) is about indulging, a lot of these gourmet meals are higher (or close to the same) in calorie content and fat than McDonald’s.

It’s not just fast food that’s making us fat. Temples of fine dining are known for using heart-stopping amounts of butter, not too mention artery-clogging delicacies like foie gras and chocolate truffles.

American adults buy a meal or snack from a restaurant 5.8 times a week, on average, according to the National Restaurant Association. So we have ceded control of a significant part of our diets to professional cooks, who have no incentive to whip up healthy meals in modest amounts. They want to appease your piggish appetite, so they send out gargantuan pieces of meat with several garnishes.

So how did the WSJ test this? They chose a dish from Batali and one from Keller and compared it to a Big Mac.

For Mr. Batali, we chose his pork loin alla porchetta with “mirto,” a myrtle-spiked roulade of sausage-stuffed, butterflied pork loin. Mr. Keller’s breast of veal with yellow corn polenta cakes, glazed vegetables and sweet garlic was the dish he cooked at home for his staff a week before the French Laundry opened in 1994.

Both recipes are (just) feasible for the home cook, down-to-earth but with extra spins that send them into a higher orbit than a regular pork loin (the elegant rolling and stuffing, plus the myrtle) or veal breast (the cutting of the elegantly braised veal into circles to stack with the polenta circles).

We took the ingredient lists of both recipes and ran them through the sieve of the USDA nutritional database to get a rough idea of calorie count. Since both chefs advise you to skim off excess fat, these estimates are undoubtedly higher than a full-scale laboratory analysis would have given. But they are still lower than plenty of fast food meals.

A single portion of the Babbo pork loin totaled 558 calories in our estimate. That’s only 40 calories more than a Big Mac and way lower than the 740 calories you ingest with a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese. Mr. Keller’s veal breast and polenta clocked in higher than either McDonald’s item at 1,143 calories, though it still comes in below a Double Quarter Pounder with large fries (1,310 calories).

Although both chefs do aim to satisfy their customers’ indulgences, you’re still better off eating one of their dishes over Mickey D’s.

Oh, and if you want to give either of these recipes a try at home, head over to the original article at the Wall Street Journal.

Photo from Flickr.

Killer Meals

Last Supper

Ever wonder what your last meal would be if today was your last day on Earth? I have a friend who always asks that question, and it’s a pretty tough one for me.

But killers on death row often have their last meals archived. Seems like they can pretty much request anything they’d like, and it’s a pretty interesting read.

Epi Log recently wrote about how the Texas Department of Correction’s Web site used to display last meal requests (up until 2003) and some can still be seen in their archives. But sleuthing around the web I found a site that recovered list of final meals (click here to see it).

It’s fascinating if morbid reading, from suicidal murderer Charles Rumbaugh’s single flour tortilla and glass of water to shotgun-wielding killer Stanley Baker Jr., whose request makes you wonder whether he was trying to cheat the state of an execution by rupturing his own stomach. His last meal? Two 16-ounce ribeye steaks, one pound of turkey breast (sliced thin), 12 strips of bacon, two large hamburgers (with mayo, onion and lettuce), two large baked potatoes (with butter, sour cream, cheese and chives), four slices of cheese (or one-half pound of grated cheddar cheese), chef salad (with blue-cheese dressing), two ears of corn on the cob, one pint of mint chocolate-chip ice cream, and four vanilla Cokes (or Mr. Pibb).

You can also check out Dead Man Eating, a website that focuses on recent death row inmate’s last requests. The most recent?

Elijah Page, July 11, 2007 – the menu: steak with A-1 sauce, jalapeno poppers with cream sauce, onion rings, and a salad with cherry tomatoes, ham chunks, shredded cheese, bacon bits, and blue cheese and ranch dressing. He wanted lemon iced tea and coffee to drink and ice cream for dessert.

And before that?

John Washington Hightower, June 26, 2007 – the menu: had a final meal request of four fried pork chops, collard greens with boiled okra and “boiling meat”, fried corn, fried fatback, fried green tomatoes, cornbread, lemonade, one pint of strawberry ice cream and three glazed donuts.

Here’s some other good ones…

Thomas Grasso, 1995 – The signature meal in “Last Suppers”. Mr. Grasso devoured a dozen steamed mussels, a Burger King double cheeseburger with mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato, a can of Franco-American spaghetti with meatballs, a mango, half of a pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and a strawberry milkshake. But, there was a problem. Mr. Grasso had been served spaghetti and meatballs, but had actually requested Spaghetti-O’s. He did not take this slight lightly, his last words included this complaint, “I did not get my Spaghetti-O’s. I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this!”

Still not satisfied? Here’s an interview with a death row chef.

Not enough? Pick up the book My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals, by Melanie Dunea. You can get your copy from Amazon for $26.37 or at a bookstore near you. I might have to pick up a copy for myself.

Annie Leibovitz meets Heat in this award-winning photographer’s stunning celebration of world-famous chefs and their final meals.

Chefs have been playing the “My Last Supper” game among themselves for decades, if not centuries, but it had always been kept within the profession until now. Melanie Dunea came up with the ingenious idea to ask fifty of the world’s famous chefs to let her in on this insider’s game and tell her what their final meals would be. My Last Supper showcases their fascinating answers alongside stunning Vanity Fair–style portraits. Their responses are surprising, refreshing, and as distinct from each other as the chefs themselves. The portraits—gorgeous, intimate, and playful—are informed by their answers and reveal the passions and personalities of the most respected names in the business. Lastly, one recipe from each landmark meal is included in the back of the book. With My Last Supper, Dunea found a way into the typically harried, hidden minds of the people who have turned preparing food into an art. Who wouldn’t want to know where Alain Ducasse would like his supper to be? And who would prepare Daniel Boulud’s final meal? What would Anthony Bourdain’s guest list look like? As the clock ticked, what album would Gordon Ramsay be listening to? And just what would Mario Batali eat for the last time?

Featuring: Ferrán Adrià, José Andrés, Dan Barber, Lidia Bastianich, Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, Michelle Bernstein, Daniel Boulud, Anthony Bourdain, Scott Conant, Gary Danko, Hélène Darroze, Alain Ducasse, Wylie Dufresne, Suzanne Goin, Gabrielle Hamilton, Fergus Henderson, Thomas Keller, Giorgio Locatelli, Masa Kobayashi, Nobu, Jamie Oliver, Jacques Pepin, Gordon Ramsay, Michel Richard, Eric Ripert, Marcus Samuelsson, Charlie Trotter, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and more… (from Amazon)

So what would your last meal be?

This is NYC.

 NYC Food

New York City is being branded.

Starting with a new logo, then a commercial and full fledged website with downloadable wallpaper and limited edition prints, NYC wants to get in your head.

The commercial is actually very cool, making NYC look like an oversized amusement park.

BBH New York has created a new campaign for NYC & Company, the official tourism organisation for New York, in a bid to attract yet more tourists to the city (the aim is to entice 50 million visitors annually by 2015). The campaign, based around the tag This Is New York City, encompasses television, print, online and outdoor advertising, as well as a new logo by Wolff Olins, which will be used in advertising, promotional materials, as well as on New York taxis.

With the campaign airing in such diverse markets as the UK, Ireland, Italy and Spain, as well as domestically in the US in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, Miami and San Antonio, the ads focus on creating a family-friendly feel, pitching New York as a exciting, frentic fairground of a city. While this is a gripe that many New Yorkers may have about the city’s image post Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg’s considerable clear-up of its grittier edges, as so often is the way with these campaigns, those actually living in the city may recognize little reality in the tourism-friendly campaign. (from Creative Review)

Download the above NYC food-themed wallpaper here.

Check out NYCvisit.com for more info and to see how the campaign and commercial turned out.

How Starbucks Saved My Life

Saved by Starbucks

Need a good read? Already finished reading Heat? Well pick this up and read it before Tom Hanks turns it into a movie.

Seriously.

How Starbucks Saved My Life tells the story of how Michael Gates Gill, a successful advertising exec. for the Ford Motor Company at J. Walter Thompson, was canned from his $160,000 per year job and hired by Starbucks. According to Reveries

JWT denies Michael’s version of events, but whatever happened, it led him to where he is today — earning $10.50 an hour at a Starbucks in Bronxville, New York. That unusual career move occurred some ten years after starting a business that ultimately failed, and about a week after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Michael was sitting in the Starbucks, unemployed and with no health insurance, dressed in an expensive suit and doing his best to look important. Oddly, the manager asked him if he wanted a job. The offer included health insurance, so he took it, and, Michael says, entered a world “where everything, even cleaning grubby tiles, is given a positive spin.” Sounds just like….advertising.

Gill was “surprised by how little revulsion I felt for a job I would have previously thought beneath me.”

He found comfort working “where people could be nicer and the work environment better than I had ever believed possible … What you are trying to do is help other people enjoy something,” he says. That “something,” he explains, is not a “multimillion dollar ad campaign. It’s just trying to serve a good cup of coffee.”

The book will be released on September 20th.

And according to Variety

Universal Pictures has made a six-figure acquisition of “How Starbucks Saved My Life” based on a 102-page proposal and attached Tom Hanks to star and Gus Van Sant to direct.

And according to Defamer

Universal picks up the rights to the forthcoming memoir How Starbucks Saved My Life, about an ad exec who loses his job and becomes a professional macchiato slinger, with the intention of having Tom Hanks don the green apron. Of course, the book’s author was in his 60s during the personal crisis, but fudging the age downward should make the whole story that much more poignant as the humbled, middle-aged Hanks struggles to master the frappuccino blender.

Photo from Flickr.

Putting a Face on Breakfast

Breakfast

This site has been getting a lot of blog attention lately, but I think it’s a perfect fit for this site.

Artist Jon Huck has a series of photos that has two pictures, one of a person and one of what they eat for breakfast.

It reminds me a little of those commercials that show a plate of food on one side of the screen and Aunt Sally in a dress that resembles that food.

I think Lifelounge says it best…

If for some reason I could only have one meal a day it would most definitely be a cooked breakfast. When it’s good, it’s by far my favourite meal of the day to both eat and cook. That’s one of the reasons why I immediately warmed to Californian photographer John Huck’s Breakfast project. For the project, Huck chronicled the eating habits of more than 100 of his friends by photographing both them and their food at the beginning of their days and collating them into a large collection of images. It’s actually really interesting and insightful to see how some people choose to start their day.

Three Sheets

 Three Sheets

If you don’t happen to have an HDTV and Cable (sorry DirecTV fans), I highly suggest picking up this show on DVD.

Three Sheets has a loyal audience and is growing in popularity. It’s one of the most popular shows on MOJO HD, the all HD channel, and stars comedian Zane Lamprey as he tours the globe partaking in drinking traditions all over the world. Not only is it educational, but the show itself is a drinking game and by the end of the episode, Zane is quite drunk. When he wakes up in the morning he provides viewers with a local hang over cure.

In case you’re brand spanking new to the show, here’s some helpful info (thanks to IMDB) to make you feel at home.

  • Three Sheets is the first television show to be produced as a drinking game. When Zane drinks, you drink. First person to see the monkey makes someone else finish their drink. And when Zane talks about his friend, Steve McKenna, it’s a social (everyone drinks).
  • The drinking game was introduced in the Costa Rica episode.
  • Zane mentions his college buddy, Steve McKenna, in every episode.
  • The monkey, Pleepleus (plee-plee-us), seen in every episode, was a gift from Zane’s wife. She packed it in his suitcase on his first episode (Galway, Ireland). He puts it in every show to tell her he loves her.
  • Curtiss Marlowe, the Three Sheets cameraman, was a child actor, who appeared in Heathers, Silver Spoons and the TV movie The Shadow Box, directed by Paul Newman.
  • In the Czech Republic, Zane left Pleepleus (the monkey) in the beer bath. The Chodovar brewery FedExed it to Zane in Venice, where he opens the box during the show. That is why, in Croatia, the monkey only appears as a photo.
  • In Jamaica, the hangover cure was a ‘special tea’. The main ingredient of the tea was marijuana. After the segment, Zane was unable to shoot for the rest of the day. But he was reportedly very happy.

Still not convinced? Here’s some info direct from the MOJO site.

Can you say “I’m buying” in 12 languages? Embark on an international drinking tour with comedian Zane Lamprey, who takes you around the world to master local drinking customs. Zane drinks Brussels sprout-flavored beer in Belgium, a “Pint of Special” in Ireland and learns the hangover cures of Jamaica and Belize. It’s the ultimate pub crawl so get ready to lift your glasses and toast… Cheers! Slainte Mhath! Salud! Navdrovya!

  • According to French wine laws, it is forbidden to include the word “Champagne” in the title of sparkling wines, unless it is made in Champagne, France.
  • “Guaro” is a liquor or brandy made from sugar cane in Costa Rica. It is a shortened name for “aguardiente de cana”.
  • Three toasts are common in Belgium: Cheers, Sante (French) and Gezondheid (Dutch).
  • In Wales, the term “Pub” came from the Public Houses, where town folk would socialize and resolve disputes.
  • There are no restrictions on carrying alcohol in public in Jamaica.
  • As tequila ages it takes its color from the oak barrels in which it sits. The longer it ages, the darker the color.
  • The legal drinking age in Ireland is eighteen (18).
  • The national beer of Belize is Belikin. However, although there are 500,000 bottles manufactured every year, it is difficult to find outside of Belize. Only 24,000 bottles are exported a month and they are all exported to Los Angeles, CA.

Head over to the Three Sheets site to learn more and watch some clips of the show. You can also add Zane or Pleepleus as your friend on myspace.

I’m not sure if the DVD is available in stores, but you can order the show directly from their site at the MOJO HD shop. It’s a double disc set so you should be entertained for hours. It’ll cost ya $29.98.

Apple Hearts Starbucks

Apple & Starbucks

Apple is holding a press conference as we speak (er, type) to announce a handful of new iPods and features. The only one that really relates to this food is the new iTunes Wireless Music Store and their partnership with Starbucks.

That’s right…if you own an iPhone or run out and purchase one of the new wi-fi enabled iPhone-look-a-like iPods, you’ll be able to download music on the go and when you walk into a Starbucks, a list of the song playing throughout the store as well as the last 10 songs played will appear on your screen. If you see or hear something you like, you can download it.

Steve Jobs even brought Howard Schultz, the founder and chairman of Starbucks, on stage during this announcement. According to Mr. Schultz, “We open 7 stores every single day.” According to Mr. Jobs’ presentation, Starbucks features over 14,000 stores world wide, 50m customers per week, 18 visits per month per customer.”

Also, no longer will you have to pay for the WiFi feature at Starbucks if you’re on your iPhone/iPod. You’ll have free access to the new wireless music store. Exclusive with iTunes, no login required, completely free access ot the iTunes WiFi Music Store while at Starbucks.

Engadget says the rollout plan is this: 5800 WiFi-enabled stores nationwide. Starting October 2nd: New York and Seattle. 600 stores, followed up in November with 350 stores in SF…then LA and Chicago in ’08.

According to Apple…

Sip. Buy. Repeat. If you’re in a participating Starbucks, the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store on your iPhone or iPod touch has even more to offer. Tap the Starbucks button to find out which song is playing in the café, then buy it instantly. Browse Starbucks playlists to discover new music. Or connect to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store for free and access millions of songs while waiting for your mocha. It all debuts in more than 600 Starbucks locations in New York and Seattle on October 2, 2007. Click here for more info.Oh, and if you have yet to buy an iPhone, you’ll be happy to know Apple just dropped the price to $399.

Visit Apple for all your iPhone/iPod needs.

100 Calories

Coke

Are those 100-calorie snack packs really worth it? According to Treehugger.com, they’re not.

Extra packaging and smaller bags factor into the price hike, but you might as well buy a regular bag and divvy it up into smaller portions.

The extra convenience—and unnecessarily wasteful packaging—costs extra money, says a new study from the Center for Science in Public Interest. ABC News notes that if you buy a large bag of the regular Chex Mix snack and divvy up portions equal to 100 calories each, you’d only be out 25 cents per portion, compared with 87 cents if you went with a 100-calorie pack. Each 100-calorie portion of Keebler Chips Deluxe Family Size Cookies cost 16 cents, but a prepackaged snack would cost you 40 cents extra. (from Treehugger.com)

And ABC News suggests that even though they only contain 100 calories, too much of a good thing can be bad.

For example, by splurging and eating two 100-calorie packs of Hostess Mini Cupcakes, suddenly a person has consumed more calories than if he or she had eaten one large Hostess cupcake.

And Jacobson said people should realize the types of foods that are in the snack packs.

“I think it’s important to note that none of these foods are really health foods. We’re talking cookies and crackers — foods that we really shouldn’t be eating much of anyhow,” Jacobson said. (from ABC News)

These 100-calorie packs are so popular that everyone is making reduced calorie packs now, even Coke.

And according to USA Today…

The category didn’t exist four years ago. But 29 such 100-calorie pre-packaged products were introduced over the past three years — 18 last year. (from USA Today)

Check out this chart that shows how the percent change from a year ago has lifted the “treats” category by 14 BILLION dollars.

So you pretty much have 2 choices…either spend the extra money for already portioned snack, or portion it out yourself. Just don’t go gorging on the 100 calorie packs because they sound healthier. Cause they’re probably not.

More Dinner with the Band

Dinner with the Band

I’m going out of town this weekend so I thought I’d download a few podcasts for my trip. As I was browsing through iTunes, I noticed that “Dinner with the Band,” an online show hosted by chef Sam Mason, was available for download in all different kinds of format.

In case you missed my first post about this a while back, the premise is this; Chef Sam Mason invites a band over, cooks with them or uses them as a theme, and then the band plays some songs. It’s done really well and it’s entertaining, probably more so than most cooking shows on TV.

Here’s a cooking show that breaks the mold – the perfect mash-up of indie music and edgy food for total entertainment. Chef Sam Mason has been raising the stakes in the culinary world for the last ten years. Now join him as he invites his favorite touring bands to dinner for an intimate evening of cooking, conversation and live performance. Part rocker, part chef, Mason creates “intellectual food” that stimulates the palate as well as the dialogue. Rock on. (from On Networks)

So head over to the Dinner with the Band site or go browse the podcasts on iTunes.

For more on Sam Mason, including his latest projects, check out his site, sammasonnyc.com.

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