• David Chang's empire is about to get bigger. The Times confirms the rumor that the man behind Momofuku plans to open a French-Vietnamese spot in the former Town space in the Chambers Hotel sometime this fall. [NYT, TFB]
• The beer garden at Standard Hotel is now open. [UrbanDaddy]
• Andrew Carmellini is perfectly happy that Locanda Verde got two stars from the Times recently: "[T]he reviews have been exactly what we wanted." [W]
• Le Cirque founder Sirio Maccioni's favorite person this week? That would probably be the president of the Philippines, Maria Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who showed up with her entourage and dropped $20,000 on dinner. [P6]
• Tonight's waiter may be yesterday's trader: "Carlos Araya used to order lobster, filet mignon and $200 bottles of red wine at the Palm Restaurant in midtown Manhattan. Now, he seats customers at its Tribeca branch." [WSJ]
• Somewhat related: Swiss bankers depressed about the downturn are finding comfort in Italian food because of its "soothing factor." Go figure. [NYT]
• It's not all bad news: Some 28 new restaurants opened in May. [Eater]
• Time Out has issued a list of the best new pizza places in NYC. [TONY]
• Momofuku Noodle Bar has applied for a full liquor license. [DBTH]
• The East Village yakitori spot Mr. Jones is now closed. [Eater]
One doesn't think of New Yorkers as particularly gullible or naive, but when it comes to food, we're totally clueless and assume that anything labeled low-fat is automatically low-calorie—at least according to marketing guru Pierre Chandon, who's turned his attention to discovering why Americans, despite being so rich and well-informed, are still such fatties. The Times took his questionnaires out into the field and discovered that "health halos"—ideas about which foods are virtuous based on health campaigns and restaurant advertising—meant that even the know-it-alls in Park Slope embarrassed themselves when it came to guessing calorie content.
Sure, the current dicey economic climate has reduced America to nation of terrified food hoarders. But more importantly, it has cost us some of our annoying and unnecessarily strange advertising icons: Applebee's Wanda Sykes-voiced talking apple, and a bunch of guys running around in bizarre red pigtail wigs on behalf of Wendy's. Take a moment to mourn them. "Both campaigns were meant to attract younger diners," the Times reports. But they failed, because kids aren't doing as many drugs these days, I guess. The companies' new advertising strategy? "Hey, look at our food."
Let's see, how to get press for Applebee's dreary Middle American cuisine? How about... invite members of the national political press corps to plop their ass down in the restaurant for a week while they talk to REAL Americans, eat Baja Potato Boats, and blog about it? What reporter could resist the combination of boneless buffalo wings and a private booth? Sadly, this is an actual idea that a professional at Rubenstein PR was paid money to come up with. Full pitch to Politico's Ben Smith (who declined the offer) after the jump. [Politico]