Rage against the vending machine
September 2nd, 2010
06:00 PM ET
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I like to think of myself as a pretty rational person. In the 14 years I've lived in New York City, I've never gotten in a shoving match on the subway, punched a cab hood, or shrieked aloud in a 20-minute Whole Foods checkout line. I patiently wait my turn at crowded bars, resist the urge to body-check tourists who stop dead in the middle of busy sidewalks to snap group pictures (really – please don't do that!), and say no...no...that's okay when the neighbors' double-wide stroller runs over my toes - again.

So why do malfunctioning vending machines turn me into a total nutjob?

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Filed under: Culture • Favorites • Office • Sip • Soft Drinks • Vending Machines

5@5 - Pastry chef Michael Laiskonis
September 2nd, 2010
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Michael Laiskonis is executive pastry chef of New York City's famed Le Bernardin. His sweet artistry has helped Eric Ripert's restaurant maintain a four-star rating from the New York Times and three stars from the Michelin Guide, as well as earn him the Outstanding Pastry Chef award in 2007 by the James Beard Foundation.

Needless to say, he's mastered the art of dessert with the help of a little inedible inspiration.

Five Visual Artists Who’ve Inspired My Work as a Pastry Chef: Michael Laiskonis

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Filed under: 5@5 • Think

September 2nd, 2010
01:45 PM ET
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Panera Bread's chairman says he believes that people are fundamentally good. His company has instituted a "cafe of shared responsibility," allowing customers to pay whatever they feel they owe, on an honor system, into a donation bin.

"It's not a soup kitchen," he says. "It's a wonderful human experience."

60% of customers leave the amount owed, 20% leave more and 20% leave less - often much less.

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Filed under: Business and Farming News • Casual Dining • Charity • News

The King commands a princely sum
September 2nd, 2010
01:00 PM ET
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Burger King said Thursday that it has agreed to be acquired by investment firm 3G Capital in a deal valued at $4 billion.

New York-based 3G Capital will buy the fast food chain for $24 a share. That marks a 46% premium over Burger King's closing price of $16.45 on Tuesday, the day before news reports said the company was up for sale.

CNN Money has the FULL STORY

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Filed under: Business and Farming News • Fast Food • News

Lunchtime poll – dirty dining tricks
September 2nd, 2010
12:15 PM ET
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"Hey, watch this!" I looked up from my nachos, and my friend T. was pulling a long, black-rooted, bleach-lightened strand of hair from her head. My confusion grew as she stuffed it into the chili atop her half-gnawed burger.

"My Mom showed me how to do this." She summoned our server. "Ummm...this is really gross? But there's a hair in my food. I don't think I should have to pay."

The woman sighed. Though I'd never witnessed anything like this before, an eighteen-year-old girl running a scam was hardly a new menu item for her. She grabbed the plate and returned several minutes later, plunking it back on the table. "No one in the kitchen has hair that...blonde color," she huffed, staring pointedly into T.'s eyes - and then at her scalp.

T. shrugged. We paid the full bill. I never went to a restaurant with her again.

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Filed under: Buzz • Lunchtime Poll

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