Late Night Basement Trolls Willamsburg Dwellers With Fake Guy Fieri Joint

When Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar opened late last year in Times Square, it was met with a blitzkreig of critical pans. Cocktails that tasted of formaldehyde and bongwater, calorie counts in the five figures, all sorts of clashing, sticky sauces on overcooked giant cuts of meat—it sounded like the making of a tourist mecca, and a self-proclaimed "foodie" torture chamber. So really, it was only a matter of time before a certain variety of New Yorker (namely, the kind currently gentrifying various Brooklyn neighborhoods while scoffing at tourists and their tourist destinations) would start going there to dine "ironically." You can’t help but roll your eyes at this, but we all know someone—and maybe, it’s you—who moved to The Big City from the South or the Midwest, who always Instagrams from the farmer’s markets and the taco trucks and the gastropubs, but every once in a while, you catch them at the Chili’s in the tourist hub, just because they’re looking for something familiar.

Anyway, whatever the M.O. is for Williamsburg’s insufferable elite visiting Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar, Chris Rose and the team at Late Night Basement decided to troll a bunch of trendy urbanites by offering the horrifying news that their backwards-sunglasses-wearing foe would be opening a restaurant in their neighborhood. Most of the responses to Guy’s "factory-farm-to-table" were predictably met with either abject horror or ironic glee ("It’s going to be terrible," remarks one interviewee. "I can’t wait."), with one woman suggesting it would be good as an overnight drunk-food-type situation. According to Rose, the fare would include nacho cheese foie gras (in which the poor poultry has been force-fed nacho cheese for two months, a horror almost delicious to ponder) and—A+—"gentrifries," along with a menu curated by Vampire Weekend. It’s hard to tell if the people are aware their legs are being pulled (my guess is most are, probably), but it’s still pretty funny. Watch.

[via Uproxx]

The Ten Best Questions Raised In The ‘NYT’ Review Of Guy Fieri’s Times Square Restaurant

My new favorite game is reading New York Times celebrity profiles out loud—sometimes just to myself! Nothing is more fun than really hitting home the super congratulatory, handjob-in-words kind of writing that shows up in the arts section of that paper. But last night I thought I might have a heart attack when food critic Pete Wells published his review of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, a Times Square joint (well, if "joint" can describe a 500-seat restaurant) eagerly visited by Midwestern tourists and bloggers who have given up on ironic dinners at Applebee’s. It’s quite a review. Here were the best lines that I read aloud in varying accents. 

1. "When you saw the burger described as “Guy’s Pat LaFrieda custom blend, all-natural Creekstone Farm Black Angus beef patty, LTOP (lettuce, tomato, onion + pickle), SMC (super-melty-cheese) and a slathering of Donkey Sauce on garlic-buttered brioche,” did your mind touch the void for a minute?"

2. "Were the ‘bourbon butter crunch chips’ missing from your Almond Joy cocktail, too?"

3. "Why is one of the few things on your menu that can be eaten without fear or regret — a lunch-only sandwich of chopped soy-glazed pork with coleslaw and cucumbers—called a Roasted Pork Bahn Mi, when it resembles that item about as much as you resemble Emily Dickinson?"

4. "Any idea why [the watermelon margarita] tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde?" [Ed. note: how does Pete Wells know what either of those things taste like?]

5. "If a customer shows up with a reservation at one of your two Tex Wasabi’s outlets, and the rest of the party has already been seated, does the host say, ‘Why don’t you have a look around and see if you can find them?’ and point in the general direction of about 200 seats?"

6. "Has anyone ever told you that your high-wattage passion for no-collar American food makes you television’s answer to Calvin Trillin, if Mr. Trillin bleached his hair, drove a Camaro and drank Boozy Creamsicles?"

7. "Is this how you roll in Flavor Town?"

8. "Somewhere within the yawning, three-level interior of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, is there a long refrigerated tunnel that servers have to pass through to make sure that the French fries, already limp and oil-sogged, are also served cold?"

9. "[W]hen we hear the words Donkey Sauce, which part of the donkey are we supposed to think about?"

10. "Why did the toasted marshmallow taste like fish?"

Soooo, we’re still on for tonight at seven, right?

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

Guy Fieri Takes Manhattan

It’s official; starting Monday, Guy Fieri takes New York. After overseeing five restaurants in California and spending two years as the face of the Food Network, the celebrity chef opens Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar, his first New York restaurant in the heart of the city: Times Square. His new joint has around 500 seats, three levels, and will feature the food that helped make the frost-tipped chef famous. I pulled Fieri away from grilling up pizzas at his son’s birthday party in order to chat on the phone with the chef about his New York debut. 

What took you so long to get to New York?
I am a California guy. I came to New York before, but I had never spent a long time there. It’s an amazing place with such a strong collection of restaurants. To be honest, not being from the East Coast, you kind of go play ball where you know how to play ball. But the more times I was in New York, the more I looked at it and thought, “Wow, I would sure like to do a restaurant here.” But I didn’t have any roots in the city. Then I met Jon Bloostein, who owns Heartland Brewery. Someone came to me and said Jon was interested in doing a restaurant with me and suddenly we were off running.

Why did you decide now was the time?
You have to do it when it’s the right time, and I wanted make sure I got the right connections, the right partner, and the right energy.

So, you and Bloostein have become quite the pair…
Jon is a mastermind; the dude has got it ten-fold. Jon is so creative, and he goes at everything with such a drive and such a passion. I love seeing someone who runs that hard.

Why Times Square?
Being in Times Square and being around all these types of people—it’s the heartbeat of the city.

Do you feel like the space suits you?
I lost my little sister to cancer a year and half ago and I have a tattoo on my arm for her. When you walk into the restaurant, by the side of the bar, they are doing a chalk mural of this tattoo of mine. There are a lot of pictures of my cars, and a lot of stuff about me. It’s funny the things you will see on the wall, like “love, peace and taco grease.” This is my hangout, this is my casa, this is my gig.

How do you think your restaurant will fit into the New York food scene?
I am trying to make something for everybody but still gives people a lot of culinary opportunities. It’s going to be great food in an eclectic environment. If you are looking for loud and wild, we got that. Quieter, or large tables, or watching the kitchen—we got that, too. We know we are going to have to deliver the real-deal food. We will have to stay focused, but I am confident that we really have sharp players. Two of my culinary guys from my team [in Los Angeles] are there full time. It’s going to be really fun

Will you have any special, signature dishes just for your New York restaurant?
The whole menu is the tough part. When we were designing it, there were 90 items, and then we had to pare down. Now, we got an eclectic mix of pastas, and not your traditional Italian linguine and clams. For example, we have Louisiana pasta with blackened chicken breast. We have spicy onion rings that we hand make, and sashimi tuna tacos in crispy wanton skins. Basically, it’s my style of doing food and it’s all fortified with my Guy Fieri style and flavors.

When people come to a restaurant like this, whether it’s because they are fans of mine, for the food, or just because they’re in New York, I want them to walk away thinking they are taking something back with them. We are also making some custom beers with some great names like the El Jefe. Jon made all these beers in the style we were looking for, and my tattoo artist made all the logos for the beer, like there is a keg that is in a gun. It’s just really cool

Does this new restaurant mean we will be seeing more of you here?
Like crazy. The TV thing is a blessed opportunity, but I am still a chef in a restaurant. I make it to New York once or twice a month, and now, even more. We might get an apartment since the restaurant will be my home base.

Meet Your Julie and Julia Tumblr For 2012, Gwynedd and Guy

By now, you’re probably quite familiar with the story of Julie & Julia, the ambitious project of blogger Julie Powell to go through the entire culinary oeuvre of the great Julia Child that was eventually made into a major motion picture starring Amy Adams as Julie and a lauded Meryl Streep as Julia.

But what of this new generation of culinary icons? Who will pay homage to the new generation of celebri-chefs whose careers are spurred by the new mega-empire of food-related media, from television to magazines to cookware? One blogger has decided to take on a project perhaps even more ambitious than Julie & Julia. Meet “Gwynedd & Guy,” in which our intrepid writer will be taking on the cookbook of Food Network personality and T.G.I. Friday’s shill Guy Fieri, for a Tumblr that she describes as being like Julie & Julia, “but with more Sammy Hagar.”

So far, Gwynedd, who calls herself “an endearingly modest woman who can kinda write and barely cook,” has made just one recipe from Fieri’s Guy Fieri Food: Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It, but it’s a doozy: the “Garlic-Onion Tortilla Stack,” a bizarre grilled flatbread concoction that looks like a grilled cake slathered in an onion-mayonnaise paste from his “Appe-tapas” chapter. We can’t wait to see what else Gwynedd and Guy have in store for us, but we bet it’s gonna be money. 

What to Expect From the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival

The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival reloads this weekend for another year of tropical culinary excess. To understand the festival’s true spring break-like essence and what it has evolved into during the 11 years of its existence, consider this scene from last year’s event: Paula Deen, the living patron saint of butter and diabetes, is standing onstage underneath a giant white tent built on the sugar-sand of Miami Beach as hundreds of her Deeniacs scream and whistle. Wearing a flowing, Pepto Bismol-colored muumuu over black leggings, her eyes shielded by sunglasses so large that she resembles a tree frog, Deen then asks, in her thicker-than-grits Savannah drawl, how many in the audience are there “hoping to see my britches to fall down?” An unlikely roar erupts. Clearly they saw the viral clip of her South Beach appearance from 2010 when the doughy, silver-haired former agoraphobe lost the integrity of her pantaloons.

Prowling the stage in 2011, she promises no such “moon over Miami” would revisit, but then grabs her butterboobs and suggests that perhaps “my falsies might fall out.” Moments later, her Food Network compadre Robert Irvine, walks onstage wearing a sky blue body shirt and cradling a giant dish of butter. Deen suggests he remove his shirt all Chippendales-like. Instead, he dips an index finger into the dairy product, takes a lick and then rubs the remainder all over his ribbed abs. As her husband Michael watches, Deen drops down for a lick off his hairy belly. And then Irvine inexplicably goes down on all fours with the precision of a man who has great experience doing so. Deen proceeds to ride him like a jockey to the delight of the Photoshop geniuses who would go on to create

To borrow a phrase, this festival is no ordinary day at the beach.

Originally conceived by organizer Lee Schrager as a fundraiser for Florida International University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, the festival last year sold more than 53,000 tickets to more than 40 events and raised $2.2 million. In a decade, SoBe has eclipsed Aspen’s Food & Wine Classic in popularity and prestige. For four days, Miami’s South Beach district turns into a rollicking buffet of strange and glitzy decadence as Food Network personalities and reality TV stars descend on Florida’s nether region to pimp their brands, press the flesh, see their friends, and blow off some steam.

“Its sun and surf and sex and suds,” Miami chef Norman Van Aken told me last year. Van Aken, father of New World cuisine and executive chef at the Miami Culinary Institute’s Tuyo, says the festival is “the big daddy of food festivals like American Idol is the big daddy of American TV.”

If that’s the case, then spiky-haired bro Guy Fieri is South Beach’s Steven Tyler. He and Emeril Lagasse will host the first big shindig of the weekend on Thursday night, Moet Hennessy’s the Q, presented by Allen Brothers Steaks. This is the first year for the event since the retirement in 2011 of the festival’s wildly popular BubbleQ event, which married the venerable pastimes of barbecue and carbonated French beverages. BubbleQ was the festival’s way of keeping it real, inviting the likes of barbecue gods like Myron Mixon and Chris Lilly to pull some pork seaside with Food Network stars like Bobby Flay of Mesa Grill in New York City and such locals as Miami Beach chefs Dewey Losasso of The Forge and Mark Zeitouni of Lido. What has changed for this year? Not much. Different brand of bubbly and different chefs but the same beachside tent behind the Delano Hotel. And the same expensive ticket — $300 a pop. For another hundred bucks, patrons get a 45-minute VIP head-start at the chandeliered hog trough.

This year’s heavy hitters include Stephen Stryjewski of Cochon in New Orleans, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, and Ben Ford of Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, California (Ben’s dad is some old guy named Harrison.) The local roster includes Michelle Bernstein of SRA. Martinez and Jordi Vallés of J&G Grill.

The big change is that this year’s Q will have a three-hour after-party called The Q After Dark (which is odd, because the Q itself takes place in the dark). One imagines besotted foodies raving barefoot on the beach, reeking of KC Masterpiece parfum as DJ Ruckus spins his trance-hop canon from Phunked Up Records.

If that hasn’t crushed all culinary souls, Friday’s schedule includes Rachael Ray’s Burger Bash, a carne-extravaganza featuring 30 chefs from joints across the country. Meatmeister Michael Symon of B-Spot Burgers in Cleveland is going for a three-peat trophy this year — his fried salami, provolone cheese, shasha sauce and pickled onion burger took the top prize in 2011. But it’s far more impressive that the burger craze — which took over for the bacon craze, which took over for the cupcake craze, which took over for the seasoned salt craze — is still going strong enough to survive 1,000 episodes of Ray’s daytime talk show.

Later that night, Robert Irvine (he of the buttered and lickable British abs) will host the Party Impossible bash at 1111 Lincoln Road. And while that might sound impressive, it helps to know that 1111 Lincoln Road is an open-air parking garage. A very nice parking garage in a very swanky part of South Beach’s shopping district, mind you. A parking garage designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the same Swiss firm that created the ground-breaking, Lifesavers-looking Allianz Arena in Munich. But it’s a parking garage, one with jutting, off-angle concrete pillars and uneven cathedral ceilings that give the impression that, cool or not, it could crumble at any second (which could be a buzz kill).

Saturday’s schedule hits the throttle with a blur of two dozen events, including a farm-to-table brunch at the Miami Beach botanical gardens hosted by Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink in Miami. Seminars like those by fromageinatrix Laura Werlin’s grilled cheese and wine-pairing class lend the day an educational aroma. But before things get too esoteric, The Best Thing I Ever Ate Late Night Bites & Sweets party, named unsubtly after Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” series, showcases finger foods and desserts (read: munchies) at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach.

Which brings us back to Paula Deen, who hosts her annual Down Home Cookin’ Sunday Brunch. Last year’s shindig nursed hangovers with fried chicken, pocket pies and the lip-smacking goodness of Fort Worth, Texas, chef Tim Love’s beef short ribs with anasazi bean stew and ricotta cheese. Oh, and Deen making up new lyrics to long-established gospel standards. At a gospel brunch. Halleluiah.

By the time Travel Channel bug chewer Andrew Zimmern hosts the Trucks on the Beach closing food truck party that night, it’s a good bet Deen will be asleep. Unless there’s more butter to lick.

If that happens, all britches are off.