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The Crumb for September 22nd, 2017

Lori Bailey / September 22nd 2017

Today's Crumb dropped while dreaming of Portland pizza pies.


Happy Friday! Grab a cup of pancake-flavored pudding(complete with maple syrup) and dig into this past week’s food news.


Star-studded in Shanghai

It’s no secret that China houses some of the world’s oldest, most noteworthy culinary traditions. In other words, they’ve got some pretty damn delicious food. Only in the past couple of years, though, has Michelin (the tire company that also rates the world’s best restaurants, of course) ventured into mainland China. And this year, for only the second time in their history, they’ve announced stars for restaurants in Shanghai. Good luck getting one of the 10 seats available at Ultraviolet, an avant-garde concept from French chef Paul Pairet, recently bestowed the honor of three Michelin stars. 30 restaurants in Shanghai now have at least one star, officially recognizing the booming city as a full-fledged dining destination. As the Chinese market for high-end cuisine grows, and as the Michelin authorities expand their coverage to more egalitarian establishments, expect to see more stars over China.


In the ‘Zon

Amazon really seems to love the spotlight. Earlier this month, they released what’s basically a glorified wanted-ad for city in which to build a second headquarters. And McDonald’s thinks it might have just the thing to strike Amazon’s fancy: a 700,000 square foot, Energy Star-certified space in the teeny Chicago suburb of Oak Brook. The burger giant plans to move into Chicago’s West Loop later in 2018, leaving its sprawling Oak Brook facility vacant and ready for another massive corporate tenant. Like, say, Amazon. Sounds compelling, but they’ve still got 90,000 other competitors to beat. The games continue.


Life is like a box of burgers

You never know what you're gonna get. If you're ordering in a Burger King in France, that is. For the month of September, the burger chain is giving customers the option to not have an option when they select the Mystery Burger. Unbranded white packaging conceals one of ten signature sandwiches, revealed only when the customer opens the box. It’s the most recent strategy that BK’s adopted to sway consumers to try different items from the menu, playing up the fun factor with clever marketing. Also helps that this little taste of adventure costs a mere 2 euros. Cheap, cheerful, and possibly a cheeseburger.


Bodega, bodah-gah

Every self-respecting New Yorker is familiar with the bodega. A neighborhood corner store, stocked with everyday essentials, and supplying its patrons with coffee and the city’s quintessential bacon egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches (all under the surveilling eye of the resident cat). Just last week, though, the bodega met a challenger: a Silicon Valley startup whose mission is to shake up the corner store model via app-connected, strategically placed vending machines. But here’s the rub: turns out not many actual bodega patrons want their beloved corner stores to be supplanted by vending machines. A sentiment made very clear in the internet backlash following the company’s announcement, which latched onto the product’s lack of both human connection and the aforementioned egg and cheese sandwiches. The startup’s cheeky choice of the name “Bodega” didn’t do it any favors, either — rather it came across as an insult to the immigrants who tend to own actual bodegas, and who would be displaced by this kind of tech takeover. One of the founders has since issued apology statements. And the world has learned, once again, not to mess with bodegas.  

Nada problem

Is it possible to run a restaurant that generates literally zero waste? For one restaurant in Brighton, England, the answer — for now — is just to try to get as close as possible. At Silo, Chef Douglas McMaster highlights off-cuts and by-products, sources what isn’t made on-site from local producers, and puts repurposed and recycled materials front and center. Even the scraps that inevitably go to waste are essentially put on display — fed to Bertha, the restaurant’s industrial composter casually hanging out in the lobby. It’s still not a perfect system, but McMaster and those of his ilk are determined to do the best they can by “chipping away” at the problem bit by bit. And, with restaurants in the U.S. alone producing an estimated 571,000 tons of food waste, we’ll take these folks’ chips over nothing.

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