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Chicago is the Restaurant City of the Year

Photo via Bon Appétit

 

The midwest may surprise you….

I don’t own a single piece of Cubs paraphernalia. I don’t have Chicago’s four-star flag tattooed on my forearm. I don’t care if you put ketchup on a hot dog. But there’s one thing from my hometown that I will absolutely go to bat for, and here it is: Chicago is clearly America’s most exciting city to eat in right now.

As a Chicago native who covered the city’s food scene for years as a local restaurant critic, I’m obligated to tell you that my hometown has always been able to hold its own against the best food cities in the country. But I can’t remember a time that I’ve been as psyched to eat there as I’ve been this year. Where other cities fall into soulless trend cycles, Chicago has a way of generating distinctively personal restaurants. So, SF and L.A., this might hurt a little, but here’s all the proof you need that the Midwest is best.

Read on at Bon Appétit.

This Food Casino Allows You To Bet With French Fries

Photo courtesy 777.com, via Munchies
Photo courtesy 777.com, via Munchies

The night is billed as “The World’s First Food Casino.” I think it probably is, considering we’re promised the chance to bet with actual French fries and exchange our winnings for an array of burgers and sides. Similar to All-In Kitchen, the recent, temporary poker-themed restaurants that saw gamblers play for three-course dinners, the “casino” is actually a pop-up taking over an American-style diner in London’s Soho.

The poker pro I’m pinning my hopes of a free dinner on is Jerome Bradpiece, who represented the UK at the International Federation of Poker’s European Nations Cup and has won over £1,000,000 in poker tournaments. He messages me with burger and fries emojis as I make my way to Soho, so I’m confident his eyes are on the prize.

Read the rest on Munchies.

A Restaurant Charged Customers for the Air They Breathed

Flickr user Lea Latumahina, via Munchies
Flickr user Lea Latumahina, via Munchies

While some of those unexpected extras are pretty fair (that waiter did manage not to sneer when you asked for gluten free gnocchi, after all), even the most profit margin-obsessed budget eatery wouldn’t charge its diners for the air they breathe, right?

Wrong. Get ready to reevaluate your opinion of stingy business owners: a restaurant in eastern China is being slammed after charging patrons an “air cleaning fee.”

According to Chinese news agency Xinhua, a restaurant in Zhangjiagang city in the country’s Jiangsu Province charged its customers one yuan ($0.15 or 10p) each to cover the cost of purifying the air inside the building.

Read the rest on Munchies.

What About Restaurant Employees Buying Ingredients Through The Restaurant?

Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Rodale, via The Plate
Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Rodale, via The Plate

At egg restaurant in Brooklyn, Hanczor allows all 25 employees to buy virtually any ingredient the restaurant purchases, virtually at cost. (He adds 5 percent or less to save in a fund to keep the program sustainable as it grows.) Every server and line cook has a daily, low-priced farmers market at work where the fine ingredients are literally the same as those served at an acclaimed New York City restaurant.

At a time when the definition of a “sustainable restaurant” is growing to include fair treatment of workers, as well as of the environment, Hanczor is promoting better nutrition security for his workers.

Read the rest on The Plate.

There’s a My Little Pony-Themed Restaurant in Tokyo

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Calling all hungry bronies and pegasisters: Japan is home to the world’s first official My Little Pony-themed restaurant. According to a press release (translated), the cleverly named My Little Pony Cafe opened last week and will remain open in Tokyo until November 29. The pop-up is a collaboration between Sega Toys, which makes My Little Pony; Umajo, a professional women’s horse racing team; and Sunday Jam, a restaurant that is known for its pancakes.

Everything in the colorful restaurant is themed, writes Tech Times. The cafe features a massive mural of My Little Pony characters and there are My Little Pony horse dolls everywhere. As for the food, the menu features items like banana, chocolate, and marshmallow pancakes drizzled with a very pink sauce and topped with a My Little Pony cookie. There is also a matcha chocolate latte with pony-themed foam, My Little Pony-emblazoned toast, and “a milky rainbow parfait.”

Read the rest on Eater.

2016 Zagat Guide to New York City Released

Credit Evan Sung for The New York Times, via The New York Times
Credit Evan Sung for The New York Times, via The New York Times

The 2016 Zagat Guide to New York City was released on Tuesday, with a few surprises. A notable addition to the top 20 restaurants is Graffiti, which received a 28 (on a scale of 1 to 30) for food. Jehangir Mehta’s tiny eclectic spot in the East Village joins a list populated by big guns like Gotham Bar and Grill and Peter Luger.

Last year Graffiti also received a 28, but from too few voters to put it on the top 20 food list, said Evan Barbour, a spokeswoman for the guide.

Read the rest on The New York Times.

St. Vincent Waited Tables In Family’s Restaurant This Weekend

Photo by Renata Raksha, via Pitchfork
Photo by Renata Raksha, via Pitchfork

Happy Monday, everyone.

Are you in the Dallas area and feel up for trying out the new Mexican restaurant? Are you also a St. Vincent fan? You might want to head to Resident Taqueria, a brand new restaurant run by Annie Clark’s brother-in-law and sister. As Stereogum reports, Clark has been spotted working there.

few people on social media say that they spotted Clark waitressing, refilling napkin dispensers, clearing tables, and so forth. When asked if these reports are true, Chef Andrew Marc Savoie confirmed the news over the phone.

Read the rest on Pitchfork.

Jonah Reider And His Not-Restaurant In His Columbia Dorm Room

Photo: Gabriel Harber, via Grub Street
Photo: Gabriel Harber, via Grub Street

The week, the world learned about Jonah Reider, a 21-year-old Columbia University senior who’s operating a “restaurant” (of sorts) named Pith, which he runs out of his dorm room. The idea is that it costs just $10 to $20 for five- to eight-course dinners (capped at four people) that Reider prepares in his dorm’s common kitchen.

It quickly became popular among students, and because of the influx of press, Reider says non-collegiate New Yorkers have actually made Pith overbooked. But unlike, say, Flynn McGarry, Reider says he started doing this to get away from high-end restaurant culture, and he’s not even sure he wants to make cooking his career. He realizes that, if he does, he’ll have to put in a lot more work: “I recognize how presumptuous it is to casually cook and get so much attention,” he says.

Read the interview on Grub Street.

Why Are Restaurants So Noisy?

Credit Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Credit Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

From the outside, Untitled looks like one of those places where intimate conversation gets lost in the din.

The restaurant, which anchors the architect Renzo Piano’s new home for the Whitney Museum of American Art in the meatpacking district, has all the makings of a cacophony box. The primary walls are glass. That back wall is concrete. The floors? Blue Catalan limestone. The cooks chop and sear in an open kitchen, and the tables don’t have tablecloths.

Read the rest on The New York Times.