Rocco DiSpirito and Jeffrey Chodorow in The Restaurant
Many of you may have watched The Restaurant, a television series a year ago, which followed the experiences of Rocco DiSpirito and Jeffrey Chodorow as they opened a restaurant. After bitter infighting, it eventually failed. Since then, Chodorow has opened two other restaurants in the spot, the latest featuring entrees up to $200, and a ceiling covered with 2,000 samurai swords dangling from the ceiling. It makes quite a picture.
Anyway, when the restaurant got a 0 star review from NY Times critic Frank Bruni, Chordorow went ballistic and took out a full page ad to tell the world what a terrible critic Bruni is, and started a blog where he follows the critic around, and rebuts his reviews. Unfortunately, Bruni has a lot more friends than he does, so the end result is quite entertaining.
Over on Pajamas Media, Nancy Rommelmann , along with links to the ad, blog, etc. It’s quite interesting reading.
Rumor mill: Micah Camden
Micah Camden, owner and chef of Yakuza (reviewed today in Mercury), and also boyfriend of Naomi Pomeroy, will be opening a cafe next door to Yakuza, called Beast.
Whole Foods is buying the Wild Oats chain.
I’ve heard that Jack Bog blogged about it and a lively discussion followed, as well as the interesting fact that New Seasons owns the property that Wild Oats is located on at NE 15th and Freemont. The NY Times has done several stories on the free fall of Whole Foods stock, which have dropped 40% in last year. Many feel that they have strayed too far from their mission with the prepared foods, healthy junk foods, and buying from large organic agri-conglomerates from California rather than small local farms. This will effect us, since there are still Wild Oats stores in the area. Additionally, they are opening their big new store in the Hollywood area this year. Of course Trader Joe’s is opening a store in the old 24 hour fitness location in Hollywood too.
Thomas Keller Exposed!, or so says the person that sent me a link to an article in the NY Times, which talks about how he uses frozen French Fries at Bouchon.
From the article, “We use fries which are 100% potato, which do not contain additives. The consistency in these fries is often better than that of fresh potatoes.”, and another choice clip, “Bouchon would need to use over 200 pounds of potatoes a day to fulfill French Fry orders. In addition to space in the kitchen, it would require an exorbitant amount of manpower to process this large of an amount of potatoes into usable French Fries.” You can read the article here.
Giorgio Owner to Open New Restaurant?
Some food gossip from Alberta street, if you haven’t already heard. Giorgio (of the Pearl restaurant), bought the building on the corner of 30th & Alberta that houses Oyster Bar and Bella Faccia. We knew he bought a place down around 18th last year and there was word he was going to level the lot and build a building for a new restaurant. Apparently he was on the lookout for other options, bought this building last month, and is kicking out the two tenants on the corner (Frock and the bead shop). Word is he will put his restaurant in on the corner. But the real news is, it’s not going to be Italian, but Spanish!
Whatever happened to the Rogue Chef’s? Unsubstantiated rumor is, the mysterious Jake Nelson didn’t pay his bills, leaving merchants in the lurch. Has he left town? Do the dinners continue? There are a few people who would like to know.
Is Food Critic Karen Books Getting Desperate to Be on Top?
Which restaurant reviewer has taken to emailing restaurateurs to ask whether they’re still friends, seemingly desperate to get all the news first? We’ll give you a hint: the same one as gets absolutely apoplectic at the mere mention of anything having to do with PFD. Yup, it’s Karen Brooks at the Oregonian. Rumors have been flying that this is going on, and restaurateurs are starting to push back. Some of the emails are making their way to Food Dude. This seems to be a desperate scramble by her to remain the queen of Portland reviews, but um, Karen, your time in the Portland spotlight is growing dim.