Saturday, May 18, 2013

Guy Fieri Recieves a Scathing New York Times Review - Cocktails and Gossip - How to Make Pimm's Punch

After so much insanity going on in the world of Food TV this week (two words: Restaurant Nightmares), which supplied a huge shot of crazy when chef Gordon Ramsay deemed the latest restaurant on the show - "Amy's Baking Company" - as beyond saving and walked away.

The restaurant owners, Amy and Samy Bousaglo were apparently too off the wall for Ramsay to tame and went on a bizarre Facebook posting rampage in the days following the show.

In other news, I came across a tidbit about Guy Fieri this week. The current reigning prince of Food Network and multiple restaurant owner, opened a new joint in Times Square called Guy's American Kitchen and Bar. In keeping with his philosophy that food need not be sophisticated to be considered great, the 500 seat restaurant boasts a menu featuring dishes like pretzel crusted chicken fingers, homemade burgers, bison meatloaf, and cedar planked salmon.

Though I haven't eaten there myself, to my mind it looks like any other franchise type restaurant, and on the basis of that alone, it wouldn't really be my kind of dive. This just because I've reached a point where I want to eat incredible food in restaurants that I could never do myself at home.

And I have burgers covered.

At the same time, though, there's a place for these kinds of restaurants just as there is a place for Guy Fieri because, love him or hate him, he has that certain something called Star Power that's helped him rise to where he is now. And because of that, there is probably a long line of people in the food world waiting like sharks chumming the water, to take a big bite out of the success he has attained.

Case in point: The scathing restaurant review written by Pete Wells, food critic for the New York Times two months after Guy's American Kitchen and Bar opened; accusing the restaurant - among other things - of serving drinks that looked like nuclear waste and tasted like "some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde," marshmellows that tasted like fish, and very little flavour in flavour town.

I will be honest, I'm not a huge Guy Fieri fan, but there's a fine line between writing a negative restaurant review and letting your own disappointment at the way the world of food has evolved  leak into the writing. Yes, people like Rachel Ray and Paula Dean have become culinary super heroes while real chefs conceptualizing amazing food in kitchens and restaurants all over go largely unnoticed by the masses.

But this is just another example of our dumbed down culture and willingness to accept such travesties as frozen Walmart broccoli, microwaveable mashed potatoes, and "yummo" as a descriptive for good  food. By attacking Fieri's restaurant in this manner, Wells came across like a former nerd done wrong calling down the high school quarterback.

Fieri said it himself in an interview on the Today show. Calling the entire thing "ridiculous," he still has hopes for the restaurant as it gets over the inevitable bumps of the early stages.

As for the rest of us, I truly think we would be better served by suspending our collective disappointment and frustration over the people, music, art, food, movies, television, media etc etc etc that become popular in today's Kardashian infused microwave popcorn world.

At the end of the day, none of that matters.

Let the masses slurp Donkey Sauce. The rest of us will quietly sit back and enjoy seasonal morels, fresh oysters, real cream, salty cheese, and tomatoes off the vine; secure in our ability to appreciate excellence and grateful that the world of food is as vast as it is limitless.

In this way, we will exact our revenge.


As always, I have a great cocktail to share with today's gossip and with all of us heading into wedding season, I think our featured cocktail, Pimm's Punch, would be a perfect wedding, bridal shower, or garden party libation!

Visit the printable recipe here: Pimm's Punch

Or enjoy my easy to follow step by step video!

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  1. I had read that Times review and see sawed between thinking it was fair and unfair. The food sucked. I get it. The atmosphere had a cheesy chain/theme vibe. Ok. But on the unfair side, when is the last time that the NY times reviewed a restaurant like this. Do they have a similar write up in Applebee's? How about Fridays or Olive Garden? Pretty sure 'never' is the answer.

    The bottom line is that there is a solid place for restaurants like that in Times Square. It doesn't cater to the typical New Yorker who is so overloaded with amazing food choices that they need an iPhone app to sort it out. It's for the tourists who come to NY from distant places who want something familiar, comforting and recognizable. They want their food with a side order of catchphrase and that's ok.

    I guess what i am saying in too many words is I agree with you.

    Ps. I actually went in there for a drink last night. Curiosity had me by the booboo. We had time to kill before a play and Guy's was across the street. Sad to say the ketel and soda that i had tasted like kerosene. It clearly was not Ketel One vodka. But it's whatever. Curiosity killed the cocktail.

    1. I LOVE that you were able to got there and check it out yourself. Curiosity killed the cocktail - great line! So nice to see you xoxoxoxo!!!

  2. I have to say I would waste a second of my life on that nasty Ramsay. Whether he is right or wrong about their restaurant he is a bully and a jerk and I don't support that as entertainment. Yuck.
    I do see a place in the culinary world for the Guys and Rachels though. They make people up their games a little in the kitchen because they seem more like your neighbour then a TV personality. Not everyone wants to be a gourmet chef but they do want to serve meals that family and friends will love.