The Wrap-Up: The Week in Food News
• Conspiracy on Top Chef? A commenter on Gawker claims that the crappy frozen scallops that brought down Spike Mendelsohn (sans fedora for once) were not part of guest judge Rick Tramonto’s restaurant kitchen, as Mendelsohn claimed, but were a plant by the show’s producers. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that Spike, who had first dibs on a walk-in fridge full of fresh ingredients, chose the bag o’ frozen critters anyway. Why are we on such heavy Spike watch? His family-owned burger joint, Good Stuff Eatery (303 Pennsylvania Ave., SE), is slated to open in the next few weeks on Capitol Hill. He tells Grub Street: “I’m really young, 27, and I didn’t want to open my fine-dining restaurant yet. All the critics would have been really on top of me, and I would have driven myself crazy. I’m giving it the branding of Starbucks; it’s a very well-branded store.”
• Alain Ducasse, the venerable French chef who holds three triple-Michelin-starred restaurants (plus 19 others) in his repertoire, is opening in Washington. The Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema reports that he’s planning Adour at the St. Regis (923 16th St., NW) in downtown DC’s newly regilded St. Regis Hotel this fall. Designed by starry New York architect David Rockwell—who’s also responsible for visuals at the much-lauded Manhattan branch of Adour—the space will include wine vaults, hand-blown glass lights, and a 40-seat bar.
• Carol Blymire, the Takoma Park PR consultant who is valiantly blogging her way through every recipe in Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook (Take that, Julie Powell!), gets a nod in a Wall Street Journal article about the mad art of start-to-finish cookbook blogging. Blymire, who gets 4,000 to 5,000 visitors a day on her wittily written French Laundry at Home, has already filmed a pilot for a possible Food Network show (check out the quickie demo—sawed-up pig’s head and all—here) and is contemplating doing her own cookbook.
• Mauricio Fraga-Rosenfeld—the crisply suited restaurateur behind U Street’s Chi-Cha Lounge, Georgetown’s Maté, and Silver Spring and Glover Park’s Ceviche, among other spots—is set to open Yaku (2001 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington), a Peruvian restaurant in Clarendon’s Odyssey condominium building this July. The menu, overseen by Peruvian chef Gisela Laos, will focus on the cuisine’s Chinese-influenced Chifa dishes. According to the Washington Business Journal, Fraga-Rosenfeld also has his hands on another piece of property, the 40-year-old Grog & Tankard, the grungy but much-loved music hall that sits near the Glover Park branch of Ceviche. The business license hasn’t transferred yet, but if it does, he plans to turn it into—wait for it—another lounge.
• Let the sugar-rush wars begin: A new branch of CakeLove has set up shop in Tysons Corner Center, directly across from Cinnabon.