Eight Dishes That Should Be 86’d; Caveman Cuisine; An iPhone As Dinner Date; Ellen and Lady Gaga to Open Eateries; Best New Restaurants in Canada

An OpenTable diner snapped this cellphone picture of the Geico cavemen dining at Sauvage in Berlin.

Dining and restaurant news…

* Give me liberty. The Liberty Tavern, that is. That’s where President Obama dined with four fortunate supporters last week. [Obama Foodorama]

* Your time is gonna come. And by come, the HuffPost foodies mean go, for these eight played-out dishes. [HuffPost Food]

* So easy a caveman could eat it! Food from the Paleolithic era is all the rage at a restaurant in Berlin. Bring your own club. [Daily Mail]

* In the foaming. Is molecular gastronomy hurting fine dining? I doubt it, but some people in D.C. seem to think it is. [NBC Washington]

* “And, my Blackberry will have….” You’re not dining alone if you have your smartphone. [Washington Post]

* And if you don’t have a smartphone? You can hire a dining companion, if you happen to be in Vegas. I haven’t spent a lot of time in Vegas, so maybe this isn’t as weird as it sounds? [Las Vegas Vegas]

* Somebody bring me some water. Apparently, it’s what most folks are drinking while dining out. [NY Daily News]

* The Art-ful Gaga. Lady Gaga’s father is set to open a new restaurant with Chef Art Smith (Art and Soul). Because of her aversion to the telephone, we’re hopeful it will be on OpenTable. [Delish]

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Top Chef Just Desserts Season 2, Episode 9: Laiskonis on Brilliant Disguises

"Johnny, 'Where's the beet?' isn't nearly as funny as you think it is."

We’re one episode away from the finale of this season of Top Chef Just Desserts. Michael Laiskonis, Executive Pastry Chef at Le Bernardin, dissects what happened with the desserts in disguise and dishes on everything from cereal to how he moved from punk rock into pastry.

At the start of this episode, Matt eats some Cap’n Crunch in honor of Carlos – and Chris pours some out. Which would you do? And, is there any kid cereal that you still crave once every five years or so – or one that you might consider cooking with?

Hmmm, dumping it out just seems wasteful. And, truth be told, I can’t even remember the last time I’ve eaten any kind of cereal for breakfast. But, I use Rice Krispies a lot — currently in play on the menu as a garnish to a yuzu dessert, where the cereal is caramelized with black sesame seeds. One of my favorite cereal-based desserts was courtesy of pastry chef-turned-restaurateur, Michel Richard (Citronelle in Washington D.C.), who constructed a miniature croquembuche (a traditional French wedding cake) out of Cocoa Puffs! Crazy! Another that I’ve been inspired by, but never cooked with, is Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I’ve also noticed that just the right combination of citrus zest and lemon verbena eerily calls to mind the flavor of Trix…

Clearly, at this stage, every exit leaves a gaping hole in the TC kitchen. What is it like in a professional kitchen when you get close to someone, professionally speaking – you are very comfortable working together and rely on them – and they move on or, worse, are let go?

Friendships in professional kitchens, even at the highest level, do tend to be transitory. However, one of my favorite parts about the business is the larger community of cooks. Even in a big city like New York, it’s really a small, tight-knit world; should two random cooks meet, it’s safe to say there may only be a degree or two of separation with regard to mutual culinary friendship. While those relationships may or may not extend into ‘real life,’ they almost certainly can transcend any particular kitchen or restaurant. When some sous chef finally opens his own place, who do think he/she calls when it’s time to hire staff?!

Orlando may have fared better if he'd created his entire paella dish out of chocolate.

Wow, Matt sounds like trouble with a capital T when he was a kid, and culinary school helped him find his way. I know you were a punk rocker in your not-so-distant youth, while paying bills by working in a kitchen. What made you make the leap, formally and fully, into the kitchen?

I may have had my moments, like any rebellious teenager, but I think I was a good kid! It’s true that I came of age in the ‘underground,’ and was heavily involved in the local scene when I started to work at a friend’s bakery. What started as something I could do to pay the bills quickly evolved into something I ‘had’ to do. For me, it was working with bread — working with my hands I was suddenly able to transform this pile of ingredients into a living thing, with near-infinite possibility. I was hooked at that moment, and haven’t looked back.

Suzanne Goin is in the kitchen. Lucques is one of the few places I’ve dined in LA and it was amazing. Do you know her and/or have you dined at her restaurants? And, Cat Cora! Whoa! This promises to be an all-star ep!

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Top Chef Contender Tiffany Derry Tells (Almost) All to The Daily Sip’s Eric Arnold

Chef Tiffany Derry wisely dodged Eric Arnold's questions about Angelo's mail-order bride.

Once more, OT’s usual commentators on the most recent edition of Top Chef – Caroline Potter and Ed Cotton — are both out of town – and Top Chef is a re-run. Fortunately, I was able to secure an anything-goes interview with former and current Top Chef-testant Tiffany Derry (who is also out of town but not away from a phone). If you don’t remember me, Eric Arnold, I’m the editor of The Daily Sip, a free, wine-centric e-newsletter; and you can usually find me waxing about the wines of New Zealand–and other booze-related topics – herehere, and here. As for Chef Tiffany Derry, when she’s not on your television screen or out of the country, she is the Executive Chef of the upcoming Private Social restaurant in Dallas [Ed. Note: We hope Private Social will be featured on OpenTable.]

We hear you’re out of the country. Where are you right now, and what’s the greatest thing you’ve eaten?

I am off enjoying some much-needed family time. I am a foie gras-head and it was done at Brennan’s Restaurant in Houston, Texas. They did this praline foie with French toast — and it was the perfect balance of sweet and savory.

Last week was pretty lopsided, and the front-of-the-house person always has a big bull’s eye on him or her. Did you think Padma was going to tell you to pack up and go, or were you confident you’d hang on?

I am never confident when I am on the bottom. Sometimes you hear things slightly different from what they actually said. I honestly did not feel like it should have been me. I brought back so many plates of food and had so many bad comments that it was very overwhelming. I did the best I could to not show all the drama that was going on in the back of the house.

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Molecular Gastronomy Goes Mainstream in Manhattan

Stock PhotoWylie Dufresne has been playing with his food à la Dr. Frankenstein for years, and while not all restaurants embrace his methods, many elements of his brand of molecular gastronomy have seeped into mainstream dining in the Big Apple. The New York Post reports on Dufresne, chef-owner of wd-50, Dave Arnold, resident mad scientist at the French Culinary Institute and its restaurant L’Ecole (who regularly  blogs about his “experiments” at the FCI), Michael Laiskonis, pastry chef at Le Bernardin, and George Mendes, chef-owner at Aldea, on their use of “meat glue” and other ingredients more likely found in a laboratory than your kitchen cupboard.

Are you a fan of molecular gastronomy’s transformative powers? Or do you prefer more traditional ingredients and techniques?