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Friday, August 30, 2013

Cockroaches alone at Ru San's, Besha Rodell slams 'Eat, Drink, Love', NPR does dumplings

A solution? Thai-style fried cockroaches
  • Vijinathkv/wikimedia Commons
  • A solution? Thai-style cockroaches
As has been reported everywhere, Ru San's Midtown location was closed by the Fulton County Health Department last week after three inspection failures within a month.

The cause? An infestation of cockroaches.

I have refused to eat in the restaurant more than three or four times since it opened years ago. The sushi was always of vastly inferior quality. Honestly, though, I don't recall seeing an insect trapped in the sticky rice.

At this writing, the restaurant has not reopened. Calls are forwarded to a full voice mail box. The Midtown restaurant has been removed from the chain's locations page.

But who knew that cockroaches like sushi? Apparently, Adam knew ...

Speaking of cockroaches reminds me of television and its endless parade of unreality. I'm referring specifically to Bravo's new show, "Eat, Drink, Love," which tracks the lives of five glamorous, single women in the LA food biz. They're all claws, donuts, hotness, and sappiness. As is true with most great narrative art, an ethical dilemma is at the heart of much of the show - specifically whether or not it's okay to fuck chefs.

The top babe is Kat Odell, editor of Eater LA. She apparently is widely suspected of sleeping around to get food scoops. At least that's what people accuse her of, along with being creative with facts.

Kat Odell opens her mouth
Not everyone is amused by the show, especially CL's former dining critic Besha Rodell, who is now critic at LA Weekly. (Hey, "Rodell" rhymes with "Odell"!) Rodell blasted the debut show for its stereotyping of women and Odell's unprofessional performance as a food journalist.

Rodell is certainly not alone in her opinion of the first episode. Give the column a read. I managed to watch the episode and assumed Odell is engaging in the usual hyperbole of the fame-crazed (as Rodell speculates in a follow-up note to her review). In fact, Odell denied the accusations of professional indecency in a blog post Monday. She does not address her incessant self-promotion in a job that usually requires at least staying in the background when anonymity is lost, as it always is.

WTF ever.

I look forward to discussing the show with a friend who is writing her doctoral dissertation on reality TV. The sleaze almost seems like a literalization of "food porn," and at one point a cast member makes the connection between sex and food, which is real, but I kinda doubt will actually be explored in the show with much depth or satire ...

NPR's "Morning Edition" featured a terrific week-long series about dumplings, Aug. 26-30. You can hear the broadcasts and read transcripts online, where recipes are also featured. A sample:

Some of the earliest archaeological evidence for dumplings date from over a thousand years ago, says , a food writer who specializes in Chinese cuisine. Archaeologists have found wooden bowls filled with dumplings from eighth century graves "that look exactly the same as you'd see served in a restaurant in the area today," Dunlop says....

The series has, naturally, made me want to plop my face in a plate of twisted orbs and puffy buns, especially at Chef Liu or Gu's Bistro. And, of course, there's the new Yum Bunz in Midtown.

And speaking of Gu's, dumpling lovers are waiting with chopsticks drumming the table for the opening of the new Gu's Dumplings, whose location has not yet been announced, though Inman Park is the rumored choice.

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