“Fine! Just have the CUPCAKE!” I yelled (in my head) as I practically threw the sugar-infested, oversize cupcake (that I was planning to bring to a party) at my 3-year-old son. The meltdown he was having in the pouring rain on Second Ave...
Art Meets Hot: You could call it the hottest art exhibit in Los Angeles. LA’s Chinese American Museum is currently showing, through July 12, new works by 30 diverse artists inspired by locally produced hot sauces Sriracha and Tapatio. Some of the artwork even incorporates the sauces as a medium. The now-iconic sauces have risen “to rival Heinz Ketchup and French’s mustard as the all-American condiment for the Y-Generation,” the museum contends, adding that they “have become interwoven into the American cultural fabric.” Curator Steven Wong told NPR that, while “a hot sauce show could be superficially kind of pop-y,” he believes it is “very complex if you peel away the layers.” [Chinese American Museum via NPR]
Whiskey A-Going-Going … Gone? Thanks to a global explosion in bourbon and whiskey consumption, with exports more than doubling in the past decade and sales up more than 10 percent in just the past year, we could be looking at a whiskey shortage. American distilleries are struggling to keep up with the rising demand, but sales are outpacing increased production by about two to one, The Tennessean reports. “It’s not like you can ramp up production today and have that whiskey on the market tomorrow,” Clayton Cutler, chief distiller at the TennSouth Distillery in Lynnville, Tenn., tells the paper. “There’s an aging process that requires a wait of at least a couple of years before you can start selling it. Some takes four years or more.” Better down that sour before it’s too late! [The Tennessean]
When Robert Irvine arrived in Murphys, Calif., to rescue Hillbillies Restaurant, he was forced to contend with not only a dingy dining space overrun with tchotchkes, but with struggling owner Jami Saul as well. Unconfident and unable to assert herself to her staff, she would often be talked down to by her employees, so it was up to Robert to teach her how to voice her opinion and stand up for herself. He and his Restaurant: Impossible team had just two days to work and a budget of only $10,000, but in true Irvine fashion, he delivered, reopening Hillbillies to a crowded house of eager customers. Read on below for the first exclusive interview with Jami to find out how her business is doing today.
“I do love the simplicity and clean feeling the new design brings to the restaurant,” Jami says of the transformed Hillbillies. “My favorite is the front entrance and the back wall of pallets. I think Lynn nailed the design for me.”
When Robert Irvine arrived at Rising Sun Bistro in Kalispell, Mont., he learned that this French food-focused eatery was nearly $500,000 in debt. On top of that, it was being run by three owners, Jennifer Griffith, Peggy Kirby and Sally Racine Truscheit, who couldn’t put their strained relationship aside to effectively run the business. In just two days and with only $10,000, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team put new life into Rising Sun, adding fresh, authentic French offerings to their menu, revamping the interior design and working with Jennifer, Peggy and Sally to mend their partnership and begin to ease their debt. We checked in with Jennifer a few months after the renovation to find out how the restaurant is doing today.
Since the transformation, she tells us, sales at Rising Sun have increased nearly 27 percent and diners have been pleased with the updated French-inspired decor and communal table that Robert and his team created.
While Rising Sun is no longer serving breakfast, its dinner menu has stayed largely the same since Robert left. Jennifer says that they’ve added “a cod dish, pasta [and] boeuf bourguignon” to their list of offerings, but she notes that Robert’s “brie and caramel is a big seller.”
Pastry chef Anne Thornton’s ridiculously delicious Salted Caramel Banana Pudding Pie (and fun, bubbly personality) caught the attention of many a guest — including a few top Food Network execs — at last year’s SWEET event at the NYC Wine & Food Festival. Now, one year later, Anne has joined the FN family with her very own show for the sweets-obsessed: Dessert First.
It’s a dream come true for Anne, who left a corporate career to pursue her passion for food. “I always thought, I’m going to go to culinary school when I retire,” she says. “Then I realized, you don’t have to wait until you retire to do what you like!”
Dessert First premieres this Sunday at noon. Before you tune in to watch Anne make festive Halloween treats (Couture Caramel Apples rolled in fun toppings like popcorn and peanut butter cups; spooky Red Velvet “Brains” Cupcakes), get to know our new pastry gal with 10 questions from the Dish.