I never liked the band R.E.M. Everyone who thought they were cool in university was into the supposedly alternative sound of R.E.M. Their first single came out the year I started university as an undergrad, 1981. I was busy catching up on Neil Young and Rolling Stones from the early 1970s, and thought R.E.M. sorta sucked, especially the lyrical nonsense of frontman Michael Stipe. I liked the distorted guitar of What’s the Frequency Kenneth, and the mandolin of Losing My Religion, but the rest blows.
Mario Batali is a celebrity chef in New York who practices terrible cross-contamination when preparing food. I’ve got the video. And he’s showed up in barfblog.
His "Spotted Pig" restaurant in New York was found to have mice and insects. On two prior inspections, there were a high number of critical violations that required inspectors to come back for follow-ups.
So it’s no surprise Sara Barron dishes on her stint waiting tables at a New York eatery she nicknames "Hell," run by a celebrity chef she dubs "Luigi." Of all the celebs who routinely dine at Hell, says Barron, one – nicknamed "[Bleep] Waffle," after the time he demanded blueberry waffles, even though they weren’t on the menu – particularly incited the wrath of the staff.
Page Six has learned that "Luigi" is Croc-wearing doughboy Mario Batali, who’s been dubbed Fanta Pants because of his bright orange shorts. "Hell" is his eatery Babbo, and "[Bleep] Waffle" is Stipe.
And making overworked cooks run out to buy a pint of blueberries at 3 a.m. was far from Stipe’s worst transgression. Barron tells of a time when he and a posse of 19 rolled into Babbo at 12:42 a.m., 42 minutes after the kitchen closed to the public. Stipe refused to directly communicate with Barron, instead delegating a member of his entourage to place his orders. He never said "please" or "thank you," never took his sunglasses off, and refused to go to the bathroom alone, according to the book.
By 5 a.m., says Barron, Stipe and his pals had rung up a tab of more than $2,000. The meal was comped by celeb-obsessed Batali, although Barron of course still expected a tip: "Four [hundred dollars] would be ideal – four would be 20 percent – but since they weren’t being presented with a check and didn’t seem mathematically inclined, figuring on two was best," she writes.
When the group extinguished its cigarettes and filed out, Barron discovered that they’d left zero: "[Bleep] Waffle had kept our staff of seven on our feet for five extra hours . . . and he did so without tipping."
Not tipping and acting like an asshole. So alternative.