This week in food – Musings of a restaurant bon-vivant, Week of Sept.14-20

This week’s food and restaurant scene news as I see it from Toronto and across the universe.

Lately it feels like a lot of restaurants are opening, making it seem like the Fall is the season for new eateries to come onto the scene, just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  The reality is that many restaurants planned to open in the Spring, but get caught in delays with building/renovating the space, getting equipment, getting permits, passing inspections,  hiring, training staff and at some point probably ran out of money,  which pushes back a restaurant opening to months later.

It’s exciting when a long-awaited restaurant opens.  When a restaurant closes on the other hand, it is a sad finale and a financially crippling end to a dream. I folded the first page from Bourdain’s Kichen Confidential chapter on Owner’s Syndrome a few years ago when I first read the book –

Kitchen Confidential
Kitchen Confidential (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“To want to own a restaurant can be a strange and terrible affliction.  What cause such a destructive urge in so many otherwise sensible people? Why would anyone who has worked hard, saved money, often been successful in other fields, want to pump their hard-earned cash down a hole that statistically…will prove dry? That chances of ever seeing a return on your investment are about one in five.  What insidious spongi-form bacteria so riddles the brains of men and women that they stand on the tracks, watching the lights of the oncoming locomotive, knowing full well it will eventually run them over?”

This passage always comes to mind when I read about celebrities and other people with lots of disposable cash, opening restaurants or worse yet, chains of restaurants.  This week I read about Eva Longoria’s new Las Vegas restaurant SHe which will open on January 1, 2013.  It’s a steakhouse for women, high rolling women nonetheless, yup the ones who smoke cigars. Her previous entrepreneurial venture, Beso Restaurant in Las Vegas is now closed (didn’t do well)  and SHe will be in the same place.

Based on the descriptions, it sounds more like a Hollywood soundstage, where the decor is everything and well, yeah, they also serve food. Not sure if this is true, but given the restaurant’s tie with Mortons Steakhouse, it’s highly probable that a Wagyu Porterhouse will be offered for a mere $250.00.  But this is the type of meal you’d want to eat while wearing your Manolo Blahnik’s, n’est-ce pas?  Let’s watch this one, any bets on how long it will last?

So onto stories about real people and real food.  Seems like American style food trucks are finding a niche for themselves in Paris!  Street food is not new to Paris by any means, it’s one of the few places where you can find a sidewalk vendor hawking crepes made with real French butter.  Cantine California and Le Camion Qui Fume (The Smoking Truck) are two that have parked in the streets of Paris since April.  Although many of the customers are American ex-pats, the trucks are very popular with the younger French crowd who are fans of the New York and California lifestyles and food culture.  I will be following this one closely.  Read the related articles to find out more.

Speaking of French food and food trucks, Smoke’s Poutinerie  will be holding it’s very own World Poutine Eating Championships on Saturday, October 13 between 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at Yonge Dundas Square.  There will also be FREE poutine, so you know I’ll be there.

Well that’s it for this week.  Have fork will travel.  Happy eating!



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