A day working at Rustler Steak House (1977)

"Back in 1976/77, I worked at the Rustler Steak House in Alameda, California," writes Take2MarkTV. "One night, I took my Super 8 camera with me to document a typical shift."

Growing up, my family preferred the local Ponderosa Steakhouse over Rustler, and even Bonanza and Sizzler for that matter. That said, I'm sure the employee experience was similar at all four establishments.

(r/ObscureMedia, thanks UPSO!)

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Michelin three-star restaurant French Laundry serves mushroom soup from a bong

In a New York Times review of celebrity chef Thomas Keller's Manhattan eatery Per Se, critic Pete Wells described the mushroom soup "as murky and appealing as bong water." So now for special guests, Keller's legendary French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley serves their porcini mushroom broth out of a blue and green swirl glass bong. From a column by San Francisco Chronicle food critic Soleil Ho:

After dinner, I emailed the French Laundry’s public relations people about the bong. In an email, they responded that it’s something Thomas Keller pulls out for restaurant industry folks because he knows we’d get a kick out of it. (This is true. And Keller knows me from a previous encounter during my past life as a New Orleanian line cook.)

“It is clearly a tongue-in-cheek reference to past writing and is not on the menu,” they wrote, “but regularly prepared for guests as a fun item.” When I pressed them on where the bong was actually from — obviously not Riedel or Zalto — all they would say was that it was “hand blown by an artisan.”

"The French Laundry’s bong course is a brilliant act of artistry" (SF Chronicle) Read the rest

Impressive champagne saber fail at Michelin-starred restaurant

Below is New Year's Eve video of Michael Minnillo, general manager of Yountville, California's legendary French Laundry restaurant attempting a dramatic saber opening of a $2,000 bottle of Billecart-Salmon brut.

French Laundry disinfecting their kitchen floors for the new year with some questionable technique from r/wine

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The Yogi Bear Graveyard

The Yogi Bear Graveyard was a short-lived accidental tourist attraction in North Carolina. After Yogi Bear's Honey-Fried Chicken restaurant chain dwindled to just one location, the owners sold all the fiberglass statues of Yogi, Boo-Boo, Cindy, and Ranger Smith to a local Jellystone Park campground. After that failed, the statues were dumped behind a truckstop.

Travelers who find themselves in Hartsville South Carolina can still visit that last location standing. The beginning of the end for the chain came when Hardee's bought the honey-flavored chicken additive they used in their chicken. Via The Post and Courier:

From its first location in Myrtle Beach, Yogi Bear expanded to Charlotte, Rocky Mount and Hartsville, among other cities. The franchise was about six stores strong when Hardee’s expressed interest in the honey technology; the Rocky Mount-based chain purchased the method for $1 million, according to Davis.

But once Yogi Bear belonged to Hardee’s, the branded stores were largely neglected.

“It was mismanagement,” says Yogi Bear’s current owner, George Atkins. “All the rest of them just didn’t control their costs.”

Anyone who finds themselves in Hartsville can still stop by Yogi Bear's and enjoy some batter fried corn, liver, or even the original honey-fried chicken.

The Yogi Bear Graveyard Read the rest

Restaurant servers can't afford San Francisco rents so restaurants are going self-serve

San Francisco is one of the most expensive places in the world to live -- six figure incomes are considered "low" and even the tiniest homes are farcically expensive. Read the rest

IHOP isn't really changing it's name to IHOb, but here's what the "b" stands for

IHOP caused quite a stir last week by claiming they are changing the restaurant chain's name to IHOb. They aren't. It's (duh) a marketing stunt and the "b" stands for "burgers." From the New York Times:

Many people said they were distressed, some because they hate the sound of the new word, others because they love pancakes. (Pancakes remain on the restaurant’s menu.) Still others pointed out that the “changed” logo, with its lowercase b, resembled that of o.b. tampons....

Brad Haley, IHOP’s chief marketing officer, said that the idea had been proposed by the marketing firm Droga5 in November. He said that only one IHOP location, on Sunset Boulevard, had undergone a design change in response to the new (fake) name, which is meant to promote a product line of Ultimate Steakburgers.

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A visit to a self-service sushi restaurant in Japan

You have probably seen sushi restaurants where plates of different kinds of sushi move past you on a conveyor belt. These kinds of places are called kaitenzushi. Here's one where you order sushi on a touch screen and the sushi arrives on a little rail system, stopping right in front of you. I want to go and see how it works. Read the rest

Finding a "secret" Chinese restaurant in Madrid

The folks at Great Big Story went to Madrid to find a hidden Chinese restaurant known as "The Underground."

Underneath a plaza in Madrid lies one of Spain’s greatest culinary secrets. Cafetería Yulong Zhou is home to some of the best Chinese food in the country. Getting there, however is another story. With no exact address or email, trying to find the restaurant takes some expert sleuthing. With the help of a friend and a hint, we embarked on the journey. Spoiler alert: the dumplings made the trek totally worth it.

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This restaurant in New York has only one table

Warung Selasa in Queens, New York has one table. It's in a tiny grocery store flanked by a pest control service and a skin care spa.

Every Tuesday, Indo Java in Queens, New York, turns into the hottest spot in town for traditional Indonesian cuisine. And the best part? You’re always guaranteed the best seat in the house. With only one table, Warung Selasa is one of the smallest restaurants in the city, located inside a tiny, two-aisle grocery store. Owned and operated by Dewi Tjahjadi, Warung Selasa has been spreading the flavors of Indonesia in Queens for the past 10 years.

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Peeping inside Paris's new nudist restaurant

O’Naturel is a nudist restaurant in Paris. The New Yorker's Henry Alford had a bite and an eyeful:

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Outstanding rant about the surreal design ethos of The Cheesecake Factory

Cleveland games developer Max Sledroom went on a Twitter tear about the amazing, surreal, awful design experience that is The Cheesecake Factory, a place whose calorie bombs rank among America's deadliest, and whose strange religious projects have made headlines. Read the rest

Outback Steakhouse is a chain of Satan

Is Outback Steakhouse the devil's restaurant? Several twitter users mapped the location of Outbacks around some major cities to the shape of a pentacle or pentagram. Are the restaurant's flame broiled steaks delivered rom Satan's kitchen? Or is it just the fact that Outbacks are generally located in the suburbs around metropolitan areas? Outback's response below. (WCPO)

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25c vending machine gives boy cocaine instead of toy

The Taqueria Los Altos in Bell Gardens is the place for cheap blow: just 25c a go at the putty ball vending machine!

The mother called police, who arrived and tested the white powder, which was positive for the drug. Police opened the machine and found 136 grams, or just under 5 ounces, of cocaine bundled into other little packages, the Bell Gardens Police Department said in a statement.

Officials said a phone number on the side of the machine was registered to Snack Time Vending company. A woman who answered the phone at that number Wednesday morning told The Times that her company owned two other machines in the restaurant but not the one that contained the cocaine.

“We’re getting a bad rap,” said the woman, who declined to give her name.

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The "Pan Am Experience:" luxury dinner, circa 1970, served in a recreated 747

At $300 a person, the Pan Am Experience in Los Angeles costs more than many round trip plane flights. But the food is better and they won't knock your teeth out or kill your rabbit.

Your Pan Am Experience begins at our exclusive First & Clipper class check-in desk. where our Pan Am customer service agent provides each passenger with a 70’s style boarding pass, ticket jacket and first class carry-on tags.

You’ll be invited into the Clipper Club where you’ll have an opportunity to peruse the vintage Pan Am memorabilia including authentic uniforms, airline seats, handbags, artwork, and more. You can mingle with other enthusiasts at the Clipper Club lounge, share stories, and make new friends.

Soon thereafter, you’ll board “Clipper Juan T. Trippe”, our dedication to Pan Am’s first Boeing 747, where you’ll be sprung back in time to the 1970s. As soon you set foot inside the aircraft, your Stewardesses adorned in original Pan Am uniforms will welcome you onboard with a fine cocktail of your choice as Frank Sinatra’s soothing voice will transport you back in time.

With libation in hand, we encourage you to explore the aircraft – from First Class on the main deck, to Clipper Class aft of the galley, and the Upper Deck dining room. The interiors of each cabin have all been uniquely restored to Pan Am’s original cabin décor and branding elements.

Before we “take off”, the crew will perform an in-flight safety demonstration followed by a brief welcoming message from the flight deck.

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Forget sushi boats, check out the sushi bullet train

At the new Magic Touch Bullet Train Sushi restaurant in Cerritos, California, you order off an iPad menu and the rolls arrive via model bullet trains. I can't wait for them to upgrade to maglev trains. (via Laughing Squid)

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Diner "overwhelmed with customers" after Michelin star awarded by mistake

Le Bouche à Oreille is a perfectly decent working class diner in Bourges that'll feed you a slap-up meal for €10. La Bouche à Oreille, though, is a brilliant €48-course restaurant in Paris. Only one of them should have been awarded a Michelin star, but don't tell that to the posh sorts descending en masse upon an overwhelmed greasy spoon.

The Michelin Guide apologised, saying it had confused the café with a more refined establishment of the same name near Paris. The listing was changed on its website, but not until two days later.

Véronique Jacquet, who runs the café, said it had a regular clientèle of local tradesmen. “Suddenly, we were rushed off our feet. Reporters were coming in and then my son phoned me from Paris, where he lives. He almost died laughing.”

Three cheers for the diner's chef, Penelope Salmon: “I put my heart into my cooking.” Read the rest

Moby Dick's Restaurant lease blocked due in part to its "offensive name"

A building council in Vancouver, BC commercial building are reportedly refusing to allow one of the building owners to lease to Moby Dick's Restaurant, a fish-and-chips franchise, in part because of its name. According to a lawsuit, the building council claims that “that the word ‘Dick’ in Moby Dick was an offensive term" and "also claimed a Moby Dick sign would hurt the value of neighboring properties, and that the restaurant would bring increased litter and violate city laws on odor." From Courthouse News Service:

“It was clear by the end of August 2016 that the Strata intended to refuse any signage proposals belonging to Moby Dick which resembled its traditional trademark and brand,” the complaint states. “Instead, the Strata demanded that Moby Dick adopt a signage that was ‘minimalist’ both in color and design. As such, the Strata wrongfully denied Moby Dick’s use of its logo, brand name, and goodwill recognition at the commercial property.”

Mengfa seeks declaratory judgment and damages for interference with business relations.

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