Splitting the Check on Portlandia; 86ing Butter + Cream on Menus + More

The corn-eating porcupine sounds eerily like Gizmo from Gremlins.

Food and dining news from around the web and the world…

* The perils of group dining. Splitting the check isn’t always easy or equitable. Take a cue from Portlandia and call in an expert. [Slate]

* Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto. A robot may one day take your restaurant order. [NBC News]

* It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature. So the man behind Rouge Tomate isn’t trying to. He keeps his cuisine butter and cream free without artificial ingredients. [NY Times]

* Hot chef. Here is a picture of Tom Colicchio with hair. Is he more handsome now or then? It’s probably too close to call. [US Weekly]

* From the ‘Moment of Zen’ files: Here’s a mogwai porcupine in a party hat eating an ear of corn. [YouTube]


10 Things You Need to Know About Top Chef Seattle Episode 7

“Since I’m the tallest and prettiest, you should serve me first,” laughs Padma Lakshmi.

Happy almost-holidays, Top Chef fans. This week’s episode lacks the star power and the outrage evident in the last two episodes, but, thanks to Stefan Richter and Bart Vandaele, things stayed pretty amusing. Today’s takeaways from last night include:

1. Padma Lakshmi is seriously tall. I know many of you already know this, but last night she really looked as though she might trample Chef Stepanie Izard’s village or worse, Girl & The Goat!

2. Toss your pots and pans, space savers. Apparently, you can do anything with Reynolds Wrap.

3. Just ask Bart Vandaele, who appears to have watched Signs one too many times. Or Airplane.

4. Micah has a seriously super-sized ego, but I’m not sure he’s got the culinary prowess to match. At least we’ve not seen it yet.Continue Reading

Trending on Recent OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Pickles

These homegrown serrano peppers are pickled in a sherry vinegar brine and go great with roasted meats. And, also, pretty much everything else.

If you watch the wonderful Portlandia (“We can pickle that!”), you already know that you can pickle just about anything! And restaurants do, too. Pickled produce, seafood, and more are being served as appetizers, complements to primary ingredients, or as their own dishes. Just yesterday, I had amazing pickled oysters at America Eats in Washington, D.C. And, the day prior, some colleagues and I enjoyed a delish appetizers of seasonal pickles (rhubarb, green beans, asparagus) at District Kitchen. Find out what other restaurants are brining for diners!

Aubergine at L’Auberge Carmel, Carmel, California: “Watermelon/pickled rind and chilled shellfish, fantastic and refreshing.”

Bar Tartine, San Francisco, California: ” I had the chilled cucumber and buttermilk soup, the kale and goat cheese on rye bread, and an assortment of pickles. This dinner really was a unique eating experience.”

Big Jones, Chicago, Illinois: “The use of ingredients and flavors were wonderful. The pickle platter is a must-try!!”

Campanile, Los Angeles, California: “The summer vegetable pickles were a perfect appetizer paired with the duck pâté, which was amazing.”

Carolina’s Restaurant, Charleston, South Carolina: “Salads are exceptional, featuring unusual items such as pickled blueberries, fig morsels, pistachio nuts, and bacon cubes.”

* District Kitchen, Washington, D.C.: “Odd small plates were the best — smoked bluefish, pickles, and, especially, the squash blossoms.” [Ed. note: See what I mean about the pickles here?]

Gilt Club, Portland, Oregon: “Had one of the best meals I have had all year when passing through Portland. The snails on a log were delicious paired with the pickled vegetables.”

* Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, New York, New York: “The food was expertly prepared and plated. The flavors were authentic Sicilian with subtle twists. Pickled kumquats with the octopus was an unexpected and fantastic pairing.”

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