Gordon Ramsay Comes To My Neighborhood

I gaze lovingly at Gordon Ramsay

Important Update – Read this new post for my experience at Sebastian’s AFTER Kitchen Nightmares AND learn about our free contest where you can win a Gordon Ramsay cookbook!

So after five episodes in New York, Gordon Ramsay comes to my neighborhood. Literally.

This week’s restaurant is Sebastian’s and it’s walking distance from my apartment in Burbank, California. I mean, really close. I shop at the Trader Joe’s across the street from Sebastians, drop my NetFlix rentals off at curbside mailboxes just down the street from Sebastian’s.

Here’s where it is…you get Google Street View and everything!

View Larger Map

If you look at Sebastian’s website though, Burbank doesn’t get mentioned. Instead, the address is in Toluca Lake.  Toluca Lake is part of the Southern California custom of trying to make sections of towns seem more upscale by giving them a different name. So, if living in Burbank sounds too déclassé, you rename it and it’s a new thing. (Hey, it worked for Marion Morrison.)

Toluca Lake’s major claim to fame is from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. When John Travolta shoots Marvin in the face, Travolta and Samuel Jackson go to Toluca Lake to clean the blood and bits of skull out of their car.

Here’s a scene with language Chef Ramsay would approve of, including the classic line “Well, I’m a mushroom cloud layin’ motherfucker, motherfucker!” Bon Apetit!

My brother Ken took me to Sebastian’s about a year ago. (My brother lives in nearby North Hollywood….oops, I mean he lives in Valley Village.) Sebastian’s is a sports bar and restaurant but more specifically it’s a Red Sox bar, where BoSox fans get together to watch games and cheer wicked hard for Dice-K and Big Papi and Manny. Ken and I grew up in Massachusetts, so there you go.

So I’ve eaten at Sebastian’s pre-Ramsay and it confirms my suspicion about the restaurants that Kitchen Nightmares is picking; generally speaking, they aren’t really bad or really in danger of closing down. This is a really a contrast with the original and superior U.K. version of Kitchen Nightmares, where the restaurants were so close to closing when Ramsay came in that some of them actually DID close down.

The menu at Sebastian’s was a bit weird and complex but the food was good, the couch seating was comfortable and most importantly – the place had customers. The biggest problem the restaurant probably has is parking; there’s a shared lot out in back.

So now I get to be a good little Gordon Ramsay investigative blogger, and have a meal at Sebastian’s and see how the post-Ramsay version is.

Here’s a weird fact from a really recent Yelp review….

After I emerged from the restroom, I walked past the owner of Sebastian’s who was watching Gordon Ramsay on an episode of his new show, “Kitchen Nightmares”.

“This guy doesn’t know anything about the restaurant business”, he mumbled to himself.

Call me crazy, but I think Gordon Ramsay, a 3-star Michelin chef with a worldwide empire of fine dining restaurants, might know a smidge more about the restaurant business than the owner of Sebastian’s, a mediocre restaurant in Toluca Lake with a painfully unfunny comedy night.

Sebastian’s Toluca Lake, Toluca Lake | Yelp

It sounds like the owner was complaining about Ramsay, post-Ramsay.

(If you like Gordon Ramsay, read my series of posts on Life Lessons from Chef Ramsay – here’s Part One or read my review of the U.S. version of Kitchen Nightmares)

Kid Rock – Scattered, Smothered, And Arrested

Welcome to AJC! | ajc.com

Kid Rock was arrested in a fight at Waffle House at 5am. I mean – of COURSE it was at a Waffle House at 5am.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has good coverage. You can almost smell the sweet tea being thrown.

Police said Ritchie (Kid Rock) was finishing up a post-show meal at a Waffle House on Buford Highway about 5:15 a.m. Sunday when a customer recognized a woman in his entourage and began exchanging words with her.Ritchie joined in the altercation, which soon escalated into a physical fight between the rocker and the man, Harlem DeJon Akins, 39.

Soon, five other men in his entourage — including the guitarist and the bass player in his band, Twisted Brown Trucker — jumped into the fray, and the fight spilled from inside the restaurant into the parking lot, said police spokeswoman Mekka Parish.

When the brawl ended, Ritchie and his group got into their tour bus and left the scene. An officer pulled the bus over at Buford Highway and Lenox Road, and all five men were booked into jail on the misdemeanor battery charge.

Along with Ritchie, police charged guitarist Jason E. Krause, 38, bassist Aaron Julison, 27, George P. Vourvoulias, 36; James W. Murphy, 34; and Brian O. Lang, 37.

Kid Rock arrested in DeKalb after fight at Waffle House | ajc.com

Here’s a map of the Waffle House it went down in and The Tabernacle, too…

View Larger Map

The Online Video / Television Collison Course

Deep Sea Static on Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Watching the meta-world of online video right now is rather like watching a storm picking up speed out at sea. You know something is going to hit but it’s hard to tell exactly what, where or how much actual impact it’s going to have.

There’s stuff happening on two fronts right now that I find interesting and both of them at set to make land in the next couple of weeks – one is the run-up to Hulu.com from NBC Universal and Fox and the other is the impending Writer’s Strike. In both cases, it’s a flexing of muscles to see who really has power.

The networks clearly think they do in both cases. The Hulu hubbub started weeks ago when NBC announced that they weren’t continuing their contract with Apple and iTunes – so no more Office or Battlestar Galactica from iTunes. The reason is because NBC-Uni wanted the content to be exclusive to Hulu and the rumors were they thought Apple’s pricing was too low.

Now, NBC seems to be gone from YouTube. NewTeeVee reports…

NBC’s YouTube channel, along with all of the network’s posted videos, has disappeared, as first reported by Valleywag. NBC — which is preparing to launch Hulu, a project long nicknamed a “YouTube Killer” — previously had a revenue-sharing partnership with YouTube for more than a year and was one of the most popular channels on the site.

NBC has been closely woven into the story of YouTube, with the explosion of viewer-uploaded versions of the Saturday Night Live skit “Lazy Sunday” coming at a crucial time in the site’s growth in late 2005. After the damage (or success, depending on how you look at it) had already been done, the network pulled the clip and set up a video portion of its own site to try to divert viewers. But then last June NBC struck a deal with YouTube to create an official channel for short clips from popular shows like Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Office, and SNL.

NBC Yanks YouTube Channel? « NewTeeVee

The Hulu site has a splash page up, showing some of that now exlcusive content including at least one show (New Amsterdam) that has been cancelled. Is it catty to mention that? Maybe, but one problem for the big networks is that nobody out there is really pulling for them to succeed. When Hulu launches, there will be a lot more people looking for mistakes then ready to cheer them on.

Then mix in the Writer’s Strike…

Members of the Writers Guild of America overwhelmingly voted on Friday in favor of authorizing a strike if they fail to sign a new labor contract with the studios by the time their current agreement expires on Oct. 31. Nearly half of the WGA’s 12,000 voting members cast votes, with 90.3% of those who voted in favor of authorizing a walkout

Free Article – WSJ.com

There’s a lot of funding and work out there now for content that is completely bypassing traditional TV and going straight to the internet. The people who are producing media directly for online services are crossing their fingers for this strike to happen and to be long and painful for the networks. They think it could interrupt people’s viewing habits in a way the networks might never recover from.

So the monopoly of exclusive content could be a fleeting victory. There’s a lot of what-ifs in this scenario but it’s going to be interesting to watch.

Blogged with Flock

Ramsay On Dutch TV

If you’re me and enjoy Gordon Ramsay, the Netherlands and hearing the word ‘fuck’ about 7000 times, you must watch this interview from the Robert Jensen talk show. A good photo montage about halfway through and an interesting bit about how the Dutch version of “Big Brother” led to him having a video system to watch his worldwide restaurant empire.