A Response to Pete Wells, From Guy Fieri

Earlier this week, New York Times food critic Pete Wells, apparently too lazy to call a town car to take him to another hip SoHo gastropub, instead wandered two blocks from his office over to TV star Guy Fieri’s “Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar” in Times Square. Mr. Wells, shocked to find the obvious tourist trap serving anything less than Per Se-quality fare, churned out the scathing restaurant review that everyone and their mother has since shared with you on Facebook.

Because Wells’ now-infamous zero-star “review” is written entirely in questions, we decided to give Guy Fieri a chance to respond. Note: We don’t actually know Guy Fieri, but we’re pretty sure this is what he’d say if he got the chance.

GUY FIERI, have you eaten at your new restaurant in Times Square? Have you pulled up one of the 500 seats at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar and ordered a meal? Did you eat the food? Did it live up to your expectations? Did panic grip your soul as you stared into the whirling hypno wheel of the menu, where adjectives and nouns spin in a crazy vortex?
P-Wells, seriously…what’s harshing your vibe? Why so many questions? When did you become an angry food blogger? I thought you wrote for a newspaper. What happened, homeslice? Did your editor threaten to send you back to the obit desk if you don’t double your page views, pronto? This is all way harsh, bro.

When you saw the burger described as “Guy’s Pat LaFrieda custom blend, all-natural Creekstone Farm Black Angus beef patty, LTOP (lettuce, tomato, onion + pickle), SMC (super-melty-cheese) and a slathering of Donkey Sauce on garlic-buttered brioche,” did your mind touch the void for a minute?
Yes. You’re right, that sounds like it must have been a really tough moment for you. You have a rough life, don’t you, Pete? Well, now you know what real pain is like. A burger description with too many words. Try reading a restaurant review that’s 12 paragraphs longer than it needs to be.

Did you notice that the menu was an unreliable predictor of what actually came to the table? Were the “bourbon butter crunch chips” missing from your Almond Joy cocktail, too? Was your deep-fried “boulder” of ice cream the size of a standard scoop?
So…first my restaurant’s menu isn’t fancy enough for you, and now you’re complaining that your serving of DEEP-FRIED ICE CREAM is too SMALL?? What did you want, a gallon of it? It’s fried ice cream! Petey, I admit I wasn’t shooting for a Michelin star, but the one thing I can say with certainty is that if you did not get enough food at this restaurant, you have a serious problem. Most of our appetizers have more calories then a four-person family is supposed to consume in a week. Chiiiiiiiilllllll.

What exactly about a small salad with four or five miniature croutons makes Guy’s Famous Big Bite Caesar (a) big (b) famous or (c) Guy’s, in any meaningful sense? Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are? If you hadn’t come up with the recipe yourself, would you ever guess that the shiny tissue of breading that exudes grease onto the plate contains either pretzels or smoked almonds? Did you discern any buttermilk or brine in the white meat, or did you think it tasted like chewy air?
My bad, bro. You must have forgot to look at the back of the menu. That’s where our ten-course foie gras tasting options are.

Why is one of the few things on your menu that can be eaten without fear or regret — a lunch-only sandwich of chopped soy-glazed pork with coleslaw and cucumbers — called a Roasted Pork Bahn Mi, when it resembles that item about as much as you resemble Emily Dickinson?
You ate the whole menu?!? Wow, someone has some extra time on their hands. Not even my mom did that. Is everything OK at home?

When you have a second, Mr. Fieri, would you see what happened to the black bean and roasted squash soup we ordered?
Really, Pete, it’s the New York Times. Is this personal query really relevant to the masses? Perhaps you should have…I don’t know—reminded your server? No, no, never mind—you’re right. An angry online complaint is much more effective than asking in person for your personal problem to be fixed. Have you tried Yelp yet, Mr. Wells? You’d love it.

Hey, did you try that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste? The watermelon margarita? Any idea why it tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde?
Here’s a tip for the next time you go recreational slumming, Wellsie. You order a blue drink at a place like this for one reason, maybe two: it’s probably going to be giant, and it’s definitely going to get you (and your date) hella wasted. It certainly doesn’t matter two shits what it tastes like. People know this. In fact, you are the first customer to ever inquire as to what our giant blue “margarita” might taste like. I’m sorry it didn’t have the subtle cloying notes of a 1985 malbec. We’ll work on it.

At your five Johnny Garlic’s restaurants in California, if servers arrive with main courses and find that the appetizers haven’t been cleared yet, do they try to find space for the new plates next to the dirty ones? Or does that just happen in Times Square, where people are used to crowding?
Oh the horrors! I’m guessing this is also your first time eating at a restaurant where there was no silent waiter on hand whose sole job is to discreetly sweep the crumbs off your tablecloth in between the cheese plate and the sorbet course?

Read More

Plate It or Hate It

Recent food world discoveries the ES crew is loving and hating

Plate It: Creamed Honey

We love honey. We hate how it sticks all over everything. Creamed honey is pure honey that is crystallized so that it changes texture; you get a smooth, creamy product that spreads like butter and doesn’t drip-drip-drip all over everything like that pedestrian un-creamed honey. Brilliant. (Available at http://www.shopbot.co.nz/)

Hate It: Push Pop Cakes

The latest mom blogger craze picks up where cake pops left off. Come on, foodie moms — please stop sacrificing practicality for cuteness. That is not how you eat a cake. Push it up and things start to fall apart once you take your first bite.  (Photo: kristin_a)

Plate It: Travel-Size Brie

Finally. We no longer have to fly with just Laughing Cow. Quality doesn’t compare to regular brie, but it’s sure better than no brie. (Available from Ile de France)

Hate It: Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off

Read More

Presents for Foodies: Food Network Star Book

This time of year I am always scrambling for holiday gift ideas. It’s not that I’m not a generous person… it’s just that sometimes, come on, people are hard as hell to buy for. Being a food-minded individual, I often solve this dilemma by throwing a cookbook their way and calling it good. In this case, here is something to please the masses: Food Network Star: The Official Insider’s Guide to America’s Hottest Food Show. It’s chock full of recipes and television gossip. We all know people who love Food Network, so there! One gift to cross off the list.

How good is this cookbook? Well, it’s definitely a crowd pleaser. FNS:TOIGTAHFS, as I like to call it to save time, offers a wide array of recipes, from the laughably simple (Carissa Seward’s Shrimp Puffs), to the reasonable (Eggs en Cocotte from Amy Finley), to the elegantly involved (Alex Hernandez’s Beignets with Rosemary Caramel). It’s fun because recipes from basically every cheftestant from every season of the show are featured, so it’s easy to pick a selection from one’s favorite. I, for example, eagerly sought out recipes from the Hearty Boys. Then, upon seeing that their featured item was lobster pot pie and reminding myself I was supposed to be saving money for other presents, decided to go with something a bit more pedestrian.

I would hardly call Guy Fieri my favorite “chef” but hey, he is probably the ultimate Next Food Network Star winner. This dude is everywhere! How’s his food? There’s only one way to find out, and that is to make one of the recipes that catapulted him to stardom.

Chipotle Pasta

Read More

UPDATED—Endless Questions: Giada Talks Clinton, WillKat and Mike Isabella


UPDATED: Giada is right. Giada told Endless Simmer’s Russell Warnick that Top Chef Alum Mike Isabella planned to open a new restaurant in Georgetown. Simmer’s Stefanie Gans (gansie) called Isabella for confirmation. He denied it. Turns out, the scoop was meant for Washington Post’s dining critic Tom Sietsema and the restaurant is actually in the works.

Eater has the dramatic play-by-play of the restaurant announcement.

— — —

This past weekend DC hosted the 6th annual Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show, a collection of salsas, olive oils and oddly, British cashmere scarves. Not only is it an opportunity for small businesses to present their products to the masses, it’s also a chance for your favorite celebrity chefs to hawk a few books. Guy Fieri was presented to 2,500 military spouses by Dr. Jill Biden while Paula Deen pimped out her Caribbean cruise and Smithfield Ham. The envy of every straight guy out there, I got to speak with Giada De Laurentiis, and yes, she’s as hot in person as she is on TV, even with the cold she was suffering at the time.

Giada spoke of her time cooking for Prince William and Kate, what she’d cook for Bill Clinton and a little gossip about DC’s very own Mike Isabella…

Read More

Be on the Lookout: Douchemobile

I know that it’s bad karma to make fun of the misfortunes of others, but…

Someone stole Guy Fieri’s $200,000 Lamborghini!  And this is not one of your run of the mill smash-and-grab jobs, either.  This was a full-on Mission: Impossible operation

Police say a thief using climbing gear rappelled into a San Francisco exotic car dealership and stole television celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s $200,000-plus Lamborghini sports car. The bright yellow Gallardo owned by the star of the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” was taken Tuesday.

So, whose fault is this?  Blaming the criminal himself seems unfair, especially after he exhibited some serious ingenuity.  Maybe it was the fault of the dealer and his failure to mountainclimber-proof his shop.

No.  I’m going to blame you, the American Public, for somehow making this knucklehead rich and famous enough to be able to afford a car worth almost a quarter of a million dollars.

(Photo: Kiki Maraschino)

Feed Us Back: Comments of the Week


Alex is not buying this $15 “homemade” pizza thing:

ok stop me if this is a dumb question, but why wouldn’t you just make actual homemade pizza, considering that it would cost significantly less and be significantly easier (i.e., no need to leave the house)?

Whoever can give us a good reason why wins a free ES pizza delivered to their door.

– westcoast is not standing for any Alice Waters bashing, facetious or not:

Alice Waters is my hero. It’s like a Jesus or Palin sort of obsession, but more serious.

While Tyler drops a little-known GF fact:

Read More

Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: Back to Basics


The latest and greatest news about celebrity chefs, served up buffet style.

– Hey, Anthony Bourdain isn’t just about deep-fried cobra heart.   Being a good cook begins with the basics.

– Speaking of the fundamentals, Alice Waters‘ new cookbook takes you back to square one with the help of well-known chefs.  And you thought she only cared about the Slow-Food extremists!

After the jump…chefs that are:  annoying, dangerous (!?) and just plain cool.

Read More
Next »