Seattle and the Bulge

THE RESTAURANT MADE ME DO IT Chow Foods partners Jeremy Hardy and Peter Levine thought customers at their 5 Spot Café ˇould get a laugh out of making them sign a waiver before eating "the Bulge": a sugar-and-fat-laden dessert composed of a sugary deep-fried banana, vanilla ice cream, gooey caramel, whipped cream, and macadamia nuts. But the tongue-in-cheek jab at class-action litigator John Banzhaf's campaign to pin the national epidemic of extra poundage on oversized restaurant servings has resonated far beyond the walls of the popular Queen Anne eatery. So far, radio stations in San Francisco, Toronto, Minneapolis, and Australia have come calling for interviews with the restaurateurs. Monday night brought the partners an MSNBC debate with tobacco-lawsuit titan Banzhaf; still in the offing were inquiries from Katie Couric, Ellen DeGeneres, and Jay Leno's people. "We were just fed up with the whole thing of blaming people getting fat on the restaurant business," says a delighted Hardy. "It looks like a lot of other people are fed up, too." PETA QUOTE OF THE WEEK Seattle resident Rachel Bjork, referring to her plan to spend two months pedaling cross-country to protest KFC's treatment of animals: "Biking across the country will be grueling, but it's nothing compared to being scalded alive for KFC." BEST IN CHOW Janis Frey knows a thing or two about teamwork. As one of five Art Institute of Seattle chefs who brought home a silver medal from July's National Student Hot Foods Culinary Competition in Washington, D.C., Frey has plenty of insight on what it takes to succeed at one of the top student cook-offs in the country. When asked about her rapport with teammates Mary Lokar, Brittany Higley, John Wilson, and Hayley Vause, Frey gives a glowing account: "Oh, we got along so well! Yeah, I named the team 'four kids and an old lady'I was the old lady. We looked like we probably shouldn't get along, but we became family more than friends." According to Frey, the team spent "well over 500" hours practicing for this series of contests, and their work paid off. What's next for the quintet of up-and-coming chefs? Vause cooks at Campagne, Wilson works at the Fish Club, and Frey teaches part time at Madison Park's Blue Ribbon Cooking School. She hopes one day to own "a destination cooking school/bed and breakfast" outside Seattle. YOU ASKED FOR IT Well, maybe you didn't, but you're gonna get it anyway: New in wine racks everywhere, J. Garcia-brand wines (pron. "waaaaainz"). Whomped up for the designer-logo generation by California's Clos du Bois, the first release includes a $14 2002 chard and a cab and a merlot, each $18. Pretty pricey for generic Cal reds and whites? Ah, but the label on each bottle bears not only a reproduction of the late Grateful Dead guitarist's signature but also one of the psychedelic abstractions he was wont to paint between gigs and quadruple-bypass surgeries. Now all we need is a catchy nickname: Why should fans of Two-Buck Chuck have all the fun? Let's see: Gerry-Juice . . . Garci-Cola . . . E-mail us a snappy moniker to gerryskids@seattleweekly.com by Sept. 15; best suggestion wins a prize! Food and/or beverage news? E-mail Hot Dish at food@seattleweekly.com

 
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