Restaurant Slammed for Serving Fresh Fish
A chef in Taipei, Taiwan, is in hot water for putting a fish in hot oil, according to an Associated Press report. Reportedly, the restaurant served a deep-fried carp covered with sweet-and-sour sauce while the fish's head was still twitching, supposedly indicating it was alive. The freaked diner reported the incident and the eatery is now in trouble with animal rights activists.
The chef in question says plating still-moving fish is a standard practice, used to show customers how fresh it is. The dish he served, called yin yang fish, is apparently quite popular in China.
Just Desserts wonders what happens if you order a fresh steak...
One New York restaurateur is suing another one for stealing the "look" of her eatery, not to mention her super-secret Caesar salad recipe, according to a recent New York Times report.
The dustup stems from a typical parting of the ways in the restaurant business. The sous chef at the Pearl Oyster Bar, Ed McFarland, had left to start up his own place, Ed's Lobster Bar, earlier this year. Perhaps not surprisingly, it incorporates elements that are similar to those found at his previous employer, Pearl.
Too many elements, contends Pearl founder/owner Rebecca Charles, who is not flattered by the imitation. She cites a long catalog of similarities ranging from the white marble bar and wheat-straw-backed chairs and barstools to the oyster crackers at each table and—most outrageously—the Caesar dressing, a closely guarded family recipe McFarland had access to while working at Pearl.
Legal experts seem divided on the lawsuit's chances of success, but most agree it is a sign of the times in the restaurant business. As the costs of opening and operating independent eateries have escalated, so has paranoia about proprietary products, techniques and decor elements.
One operator cited in the Times article even went so far as to trademark menu items like "swordfish chop" and "salmon pastrami," though he found such trademarks almost impossible to defend in any practical way. (After all, can the law really say where a "salmon pastrami" ends and a "corned fish sandwich" begins?)
And that may be the best defense against the lawyers: chefs are just too darn creative.
Now Your Cup Can Always Be at Least Half Full...
A pair of inventors in Germany have reportedly designed a "smart coaster" for beer mugs that can sense when a refill is called for and alerts the bartender with a wireless RF signal. Of course, this presupposes that the patron is actually sober enough to put the glass down on the coaster with at least minimal accuracy. Hence, there may be a beneficial side effect to the technology: an automatic sobriety test. You don't nail the coaster foursquare with your mug placement, you don't get another beer. Even a near miss could leave you thirsty, depending on the sensitivity of the weight sensor in the coaster.
On the other hand, this system could also make it tough to leave said establishments. Say you finish your beer, then absent-mindedly put the mug down on the coaster.
Before you can reach for the tab, voila! there's another full glass sitting in front of you. At some point, it's hard not to see the bartender turning into some kind of Sorcerer's Apprentice of the beer tap.
To make the technology truly customer-friendly, one should have the "smart coaster" incorporate a timer that senses when happy hour is about to end, programmed to automatically order a last round just before time's up...