Everything's Bigger on Top Chef

Bravo recently announced its chef-testant lineup for its ninth season of Top Chef and you should NOT mess with it. Oh yea, it's in Texas.

The cooking competition/foodie TV career enhancer is going south this winter and is changing things up a bit. In the past, news of the show's debut is followed by a list of the 16 chefs planning on competing for the title. This year, however, the TV station has revealed 29 "hopefuls" that wil be narrowed down some time in the future. In addition to the bulked-up participant list, fans can expect to see the regular parade of celebrity guest appearances including Pee Wee Herman, Patti LaBelle, Charize Theron, Cat Cora, John Besh and Tim Love. Of course, the always-hungry judges, Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons will have final say on deliciousness but will this year be joined by perennial nice guy, Emeril Lagasse and Hugh Acheson.

Bring it on Down to Hill Country

Well here's about the best news we've received all week: the comfort food kings over at Hill Country are now serving breakfast! The fried chicken specialists have expanded their menu to include early-moring, rib-sticking classics so that no New Yorker will have to worry about where their next meal of Chicken and Waffles is coming from.

Open Monday- Friday from 7:00am-10:30am, the Flatiron locale will offer Southern standards like Egg and Cheese Biscuits ($5), Cheese Grits ($3) and Egg Pie (which, in these parts, we here call "quiche," $5). And while the filling fare is an affordable weekday option, it's available for dine-in or take-out service only. So, no, you can't Seamless it to your office.

Go New York, Go New York, Go!

We've sampled our share of hotdogs and popcorn at Madison Square Garden. And while we've enjoyed them all, we wouldn't mind it if the traditional fare stepped up its game. And according to a piece that ran in The New York Times yesterday, that's exactly what's about to happen.

The paper reported that MSG is set to roll out brand new gourmet offerings when it reopens this season. Following 20 closed weeks, the mega stadium will welcome back sports fans and concert go-ers with serious foodie options. "Madison Sqaure Garden is about to unveil its new carte du jour as part of its six-year, $850 million refurbishment," says the NYT.

Be Such a (Food) Snob

Have you lauded the praises of your city’s pierogis? Fought to defend its honorable restaurants as the nation’s best? Well, that settles it. You’re a food snob. (It’s ok, we are too!)

But before you declare your local waterhole- or entire city- the unquestionable victors, take a look at Travel + Leisure magazine’s just released list of the top foodie towns in the nation. It won’t come as a surprise to most that New Orleans takes top billing in this race. Nor will it shock the farmer’s market-happy citizens of San Francisco to learn that they come in second. But learning that the bronze medal goes to- wait for it- Providence, RI? Way to go smallest state in the nation! This announcement comes on top of tales of the city’s excellent restaurants of yore which can only mean one thing: Providence, RI is having the Best Week Ever!

Farm Fresh

Grab your red wheelbarrows and allergy medication! The Blue Hill Stone Barns Annual Harvest festival is back its 8th year. Even better? The day of activities will only set you back $35 as opposed to the few hundred that it would usually cost to dine at the restaurant (we know, we know... it’s a dining experience).

Hops to it.

It’s entirely possible that you just didn’t drink enough beer this summer.

Or last weekend. Or, ever.

Fear not, brew-friends. The 2011 Newton Beerfest is back quench your thirst. The September 24th event will feature over 50 different brews during throughout the day as well as some snacks to soak up the booze. General admissions tickets ($40) will provide access to the festivities from 2:00-5:30pm and a souvenir mug for sampling the available ale.

Vendy, Vidi, Vici

You know what’s not right about NYC’s surge of food trucks?


So hop the ferry and head to Governor's Island on September 24th to celebrate your favorite street eats at the 7th Annual Vendy Awards. From 12:30pm- 5pm, the awards will highlight “NYC’s premier street food...and an intense cook-off between the best sidewalk chefs.” Even better than food you can eat while walking? The event is also a fundraiser for the Street Vendor project, “a membership based non-profit organization that stands up for vendors’ rights.”

Please Don’t Feed the Models

Unless you have your eyes sealed shut right now, it’s pretty difficult to walk around New York and not notice the city has been taken over by stunning, Amazonian catwalkers. Of course, this sight can only mean one thing; Gattica-like forces are taking over the city! Just kidding. We know that models mean Fashion Week. And while we’re not sure if any one of the fatal attractors will actually be eating in any of these locales, there’s a good chance that you might be able to view some stunners at these restaurants.

Beer Here!

Summer memories might be fading faster than your tan these days (thanks weather), but it’s always a balmy day in Mexico at Fonda Noltia. And now, after over a year of neighborhood negotiations, the Tacombi taco truck/restaurant is now serving beer. Grub Street learned that Carta Blanca and Bohemia are currently available but “Sangria, wine, micheladas and up to seven proprietary brews” will be offered in the future.