David Chang’s Delish New Chicken Sandwich Chain Is called Fuku…as in: “Fuku”, Chick-Fil-A

Fuku
Photo by Gabrielle Stabile 

Momofuku founder David Chang is set to reveal “Fuku” to the world, a hopeful fast food endeavor with high quality ingredients and affordable prices. 

Catering to “normavores” (people who want to eat normal food), the restaurant’s signature dish will be the spicy fried chicken sandwich, a far cry from the more exotic dishes Chang has helmed in the past. Though it’s not organic cold-pressed juice, the sandwiches still seem healthier than typical fast-food fair considering the chicken is not pink slime, but sustainably-raised from a small network of farms. With a focus on takeout and eventually delivery, Fuku seems poised to become a big contender on the national fast food scene.

While Chang hasn’t gone on the record as saying anything openly hostile towards Chick-Fil-A, “Fuku” is a clear competitor that’s sure to attract people hungry for higher quality food at cheap prices without the not-so-subtle homophobia attached.

Of course, no one seems to be talking about the fact that slicing the name Momofuku to “Fuku” could clearly be mispronounced as “fuck you”, especially to folks in Middle America. Do you think that will stand in its way from becoming a robust fast-food brand?

Rock & Rock and Vodka in Iceland, Magic Monday at Tammany Hall

Our post-BINGO Monday night crawl, which almost always ends up at Joe’s Shanghai, took a detour this week. Dana Dynamite, that Sailor Jerry Rum P.R., was intent on meatballs – and a man my age knows to never get between a gal and her cravings. Shoot, I ended up married a couple of times to women that could have done better following that advice for me. Amanda was a willing lemming as well, as we vowed to follow Dana off any cliff. Waylaid at the door of Tammany Hall by my old friend and newish manager Christine Jennings, my stop-and-chat had the girls wandering into Mission Chinese Food, 154 Orchard Street. I’ve seen the lines and heard the news about folks from Momofuku and Blue Hill Farm and the Mission Chinese San Francisco joint that the NYC spot was all the rage. It was 11pm on a Monday night and the dapper maitre d’ told us 20 minutes. Seemed like a plan.

It was red hot chili peppers meets Mean Mr. Mustard and Steve vs. the Volcano. Hot stuff! Dana was doing her thing and telling me all about this Icelandic Vodka, Reyka, and this rock and roll festival. I was all ears, as my mouth and nose were too numb to be of use. The Icelandic Airwaves Music Festival will whisk Dirty Projectors, Of Monsters and Men, Sigur Rós, and 70+ other bands to that fiery rock with those sexy people October 31 – November 4, 2012. They say it’s “the hippest long weekend on the annual music-festival calendar.” This is Reyka’s second year in a row sponsoring this thing and there has been an online screening process to choose the bands, called “Breakthrough at Airwaves.”

Today is the last day for bands to submit tracks to www.Reyka.com. "Two bands, selected by the festival will win a weeklong trip to Reykjavik, including travel and lodging, and get to perform alongside some of the most exciting and inspired names in music." They’ll announce the winners August 14th. Iceland in November gets, like, 16 hours of night – perfect for Goodnight Mr. Lewis. I’m just saying.

Anyway, after surviving the ridiculously delicious but way too spicy meal, we decided to pop into Tammany Hall to check out the infamous Magic Monday soiree. It’s been running six months now and Christine and Ky told me all about it:

"Breedlove performs every week, along with the guest bands booked by Ky. The party starts at 10pm, is always free, and there is an open Bud Light bar for the first hour, which happens to be Breedlove’s beer of choice."

Ky impressed me. She seems to have those musical chops that are so rare in this biz. Managers are a dime a dozen, door people maybe a quarter, and I wouldn’t go past two cents for a waitron or bartender. They are all replaceable in hours. A person who can book bands and get it right…now that’s a rarity. We’ll be back, but this time we’ll opt for the meatballs.

David Chang Makes Shrimp and Grits for Astronauts

Being in space is hard for a number of reasons—the loneliness, the lack of gravity, the time away from loved ones, the food. Granted, astronaut food has come a long way since the perception of dehydrated meals and Tang, but it’s hardly gourmet. That’s why the team at TestedMythbusters hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman and Will Smith (no, not that one) enlisted a famous spaceman and a famous chef to try out some space-friendly meals.

Commander Chris Hadfield, who recently returned to earth (but not before filming the first music video in space, a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity (Major Tom)”), was still in space when Tested filmed this episode, in which he works with chef David Chang, he of the Momofuku empire, to create some gourmet space meals. Chang makes some comforting shrimp and grits, and some asparagus, which yes, you can eat upside-down while in space.

There are some considerations to take before Chang’s meal is space-ready—storage on a mission to Mars, the lack of gravity and movement and ability to eat in certain compromising positions, but the break from a typical space meal was probably quite enjoyable. If you’re interested in astronomy or gastronomy, take a look at the episode below.

[via Laughing Squid]

Read Some of the Mouthwatering Food Writing Up For James Beard Awards

It’s that time of year again, time for people who are really into food to talk about some really big awards. Nominees for the 2013 James Beard Awards were announced this week, with appearances from the usual suspects: David Chang of the Momofuku empire, Suzanne Goin of Lucques and Paul Kahan of all your favorite Chicago restaurants (but this year mostly Blackbird) are all up for Outstanding Chef, April Bloomfield and Stephanie Izard are up for regional awards and the Bouchon Bakery cookbook and Andrew Zimmern are both up for a bunch of things.

But just as much as the Beard Awards are about good food, they’re also about good writing about good food, and this year’s crop has some interesting reads. So when you’re done clicking literally every link on our site, why not cozy up on your lunch break to one of these selections? But wait until you have some food in you, of course. Otherwise, you’ll just get hungrier. 

Kick and Play: Shoes. Party. Go.

Lately, I’ve heard many people talk about the struggle to find the perfect boot – the pair that you can throw on with anything and trust it to look and feel good. Sometimes one pair of boots only works with jeans and not your work pants, and vice versa. Meet the pairs that change all that.

THE KICKS:

Wodehouse Chukka by Timberland (to the left)

A brand known for work shoes and a plain look, Timberland introduced the Wodehouse collection a few years ago, and now it lives in its own realm of personal style and function. You get that same lifetime comfort with these Timbs, but look so damn good doing it.

Wodehouse’s super-comfy Chukka boots are a slightly pointed pair with wax-coated laces. They’re built as a mid-top so you can tuck your jeans in for a refined look, or let them hang for that brilliantly messy feel. Blazer, t-shirt, oxford – who cares. They all work.

Available in both black and brown, no pair is the same, since the shoes are hand-finished, full-grain leather with a worn-in aesthetic. That being said, the more you wear them, the better they’ll look. And most importantly, it’ll be your own unique fit. Nobody else’s. Available for $295 at Nordstrom.

Not loud enough? Let’s get wild.

LunarGrand Chukkah by Cole Haan

LunarGrand Chukkah by Cole Haan

For those who want something a little brighter, Cole Haan has taken their partnership with Nike to a new level by recently borrowing their Lunarlon sole technology and beautifully blending it with their very own chukka boot.

Dressed in a soft black suede with a volt (neon yellow) sole, this shoe is definitely a stunner. It’s a pair that you can wear for hours on hours and not have sore feet. With the LunarGrand, you get a great mix of casual aesthetic with traditional feel.

Also available in camel/red, grey/pink and woodbury/orange. Works great on jeans, but get bold with dark chinos. Available for $228, everywhere and here.

THE PLAY:

Smitten Ice Cream, San Francisco, CA

Hey, ice cream is good. But when you taste it at its freshest point, it just might be the best thing ever. No better way to say it, Smitten prides themselves on re-imagining the ice cream experience. Each order is made fresh, and is created from absolutely raw, organic ingredients and liquid nitrogren. Yes, liquid nitrogren. Why? Because it makes the smoothest, freshest ice cream you will have ever had, literally.

Gjelina, Los Angeles, CA 

A staple in the Venice community, the creative fusion-Mediterranean restaurant is perfect for the foodie. Seasonal menus, beautiful people, and all types of energy are here. Hey, it’s LA, right? Atypical from the typical Los Angeles characteristic, the menu is meant for sharing, so the more you order, the better you eat. Known for eclectic array of pizzas, but so good for their grilled goods like corn, shisito peppers, and carrots, Gjelina gives you great food, the LA culture and, likely, a good story. Rock your boots to brunch or dinner, just don’t ask for substitutions.

Momofuku Milk Bar and Bakery, New York, NY

Let’s call 2013 the year of the cookie. And ice cream. And pie. Is that too much? Momofuku is that creative baker-friend you always wanted. Remember sipping on that bowl of cereal milk after you finished your Cheerios? That’s the milk Momofuku uses to create their fantastic soft serve. If ice cream is too cold, try their famous Compost cookie, made of chocolate, butterscotch chips, oats, graham crackers, coffee, and potato chips. It’s one hell of a cookie. And then…the ultimate dessert – the crack pie, full of butter, cream, brown sugar, more sugar, and corn flavoring to give your palette a hit of salty and sweet. As Momofuku pastry chef Christina Tosi is known for saying, it tastes better “with your favorite someone.”

Walk fresh. Eat right. Be well. 

Restaurants, Bars, and Food People Pull Together For Charity

Well, since just about everything planned this week and weekend was cancelled, what else is there to do but drink, and give a little back to those who lost a lot during Hurricane Sandy? All across the city, food folk are pulling together to host fundraising dinners, cocktail hours, and get-togethers to help pull New York City back on its feet. We already posted about the dinner by Momofuku and Café Boulud, but here are some other ways you can help, and in comes cases, eat and drink too.

On the Upper West Side, the yet-to-be-opened Casa Pomona is throwing a Hurricane Sandy relief dinner on Monday. For $75 you get wine and a four-course dinner. The best part, as you enjoy their lamb stew with mint, it will go down easier knowing all profits are being sent to New York Cares.

In SoHo the power is back at City Winery where they will be hosting a Hurricane Sandy Free Film Festival today. It started at 12:30, but you can still look forward to catching When Harry Met Sally at 3pm, Sidewalks of New York at 5pm, and Manhattan at 7:30. They will be serving light snacks and drinks, cash only, and if you need to, you can recharge your electronics. 

Sadly, Speed Rack’s Sunday event got postponed, but on the upside, the founders are turning their efforts into “Back the Rack,” and putting energy toward helping folk in the service industry by cleaning and rebuilding destroyed restaurants and bars. You can volunteer by filling out a form here.

Watch Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together, the benefit concert and telethon featuring Christina Aguilera, Jon Bon Jovi, Jimmy Fallon, and Sting tonight at 8pm at Full Circle Bar in Williamsburg. There, aside from broadcasting the show, they will be collecting toiletries, canned food, socks, clothes, batteries, and whatever else you want to give.

Also in Williamsburg, The Meat Hook and Brooklyn Kitchen are collecting goods to help people and businesses in the Rockaways, which, in case you didn’t know were obliterated.  Nearby at Union Pool, they are also supporting the Rockaways and the bar is putting together musicians and artists for a benefit show. If you want to be a part of it, you can email them here: info@union-pool.com.

On Monday you can hit up Clinton Hill’s The Fulton Grand bar for Hilary Krishnan’s Barman’s Fund shift. Every penny she gets in tips from 3 to 9pm will go to local charities, which, as she so eloquently says, “they need ‘em more than ever.”

Eat Some Pork Buns, Help Your Neighbors With Momofuku

As much of New York City still waits for the lights to come back on and the subway to be fully functional, more and more people are finding new ways to help their fellow city-dwellers and plenty of opportunities to join them going into the weekend. A group of running enthusiasts who were planning on running the NYC Marathon this weekend have decided to opt out of the race and go volunteer on Staten Island (where the starting line is, along with heavy devastation and fewer resources than some of the other boroughs), and more groups are encouraging runners to boycott the marathon and get their workout in by helping people instead.

If running is not your thing though, and say, drinking cocktails and eating delicious pork bao are your things, then there’s a way for you to help, too. Momofuku and Café Boulud are teaming up for a number of eat-in and dine-out events to raise money for the Red Cross, beginning right about… now. Momofuku’s downtown locations are still not quite up and running yet with the hurricane, but all proceeds from lunch and dinner at Ma Pêche in Midtown tonight will go to the Red Cross, and starting at 5 p.m., Booker and Dax’s Dave Arnold and Tristan Willey will be serving up some cocktails. And starting at noon, Milk Bar Williamsburg (with help from Noodle Bar) will feature a pop-up bar of Momofuku’s tasty, tasty buns at 2 for $10, also for the Red Cross. Maybe you can save them and eat them while watching the All-Star Celebrity Telethon happening tonight. 

And, tonight, if you’ve got $495 laying around and are quick to make a reservation, the efforts will culminate at Café Boulud at the Surrey Hotel with a special Boulud + Momofuku dinner, featuring beverages and cocktails from John Debarry and six courses, featuring dishes from Café Boulud’s Gavin Kaysen, Momofuku Ssäm Bar’s Matt Rudofker and Momofuku Ko’s Sean Gray. More information can be found on the Momofuku Tumblr

Hey Kids, It’s Goatober

Last year’s “No Goat Left Behind” program proved so successful, Heritage Foods USA decided to do it again. Enter, Goatober: a month dedicated to eating, milking, and loving these funny-eyed, four-legged mammals. 

“It’s urgent for us to have an outlet to sell these lovely creatures so we can focus on our primary goal, which is to make cheese,” said Angela Miller co-owner Consider Bardwell Farm. “We want to create a demand for goat meat the way there is a demand for lamb, they are very similar in flavor.” 

Heritage Foods USA started their push for goat awareness to bring to light the amount of male goats, which can’t be milked for our beloved goat cheese, that end up getting slaughtered with no purpose. Goats can birth two or three kids at a time, but what can you do with the males besides consume them? So, eat we must.

This year, 53 restaurants have participated in the effort to bring goat to the table, including Minetta Tavern, Colicchio and Sons, Momofuku Noodle Bar, Fette Sau, Gran Electrica, Parish Hall and more. Also, if you happen to be in Charleston, SC, at 6:30pm on Sunday, Hominy Grill’s James Beard award-winning chef Robert Stehling hosts a five-course feast of goat with dishes like grille goat loin, goat cheese salad, and goats head soup. Of course, if you happen to live in Brooklyn, getting a good goat curry isn’t too hard either, especially if you hit up Fisherman’s Cove or Christie’s Jamaican Patties

David Chang to Join Toronto’s Hotel Shangri-La

The Shangri-La Toronto is slowly starting to flex its muscles as a major downtown attraction—and it’s still only skeletons and scaffolding. The 5-star, 66 story hotel and residence tower, which straddles the Financial and Entertainment districts, it’s already causing a stir amongst locals. Anticipation has been building on Urban Toronto‘s forum, where construction progress and rumormongering have been laboriously detailed by users. The latest to come out of the construction site (and perpetuated on Twitter): David Chang has plans to open a restaurant in the hotel, joining the property for its 2012 scheduled opening.

Chang is an incredibly busy dude: ruler of the Momofuku empire (which includes Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Má Pêche, Momofuku Milk Bar and the Michelin-starred Momofuku Ko), celebrated cookbook author, culinary bad boy (a title earned after telling Anthony Bourdain that Cali chefs “don’t manipulate food, they just put figs on a plate”), and most recently, an iPad app publisher. While Chang has not made an official confirmation, he did cryptically Tweet something rather leading:

@DavidChang: hello southern ontario . . . late late 2012ish?

To which the Urban Torontoans exclaimed:

David Chang? Seriously? That’s a massive score. I’d had my fingers crossed for a Nobu, but I’ll take a Momofuku anyday.

Hopefully they don’t build up too much buzz about it, so that I’ll actually be able to get the odd reservation here and there. Major pain in the ass to get in to some of his NYC locations.

I think the other hotels are dead to me now. This is the one I’m waiting for.

This Toronto-based project would be the chef’s first restaurant outside of New York City—a major coup for Shangri-La. His restaurant is rumored to be three full levels, in construction next to the hotel’s pools on the northeast end side of the hotel.