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Unfiltered

Celebrate like Brody Jenner of The Hills (actually, don't), gourmet burgers for Mets fans, orange shoes for Batali fans, Garden State wine and bling from Carlo Rossi

Posted: August 15, 2007

• If you're anything like us, you were looking forward to Monday's season premiere of MTV's reality show The Hills with the same enthusiasm you express for the new release of Beaujolais Nouveau: It's a guilty pleasure surprisingly full of joy, often for all the wrong reasons. In case you're not familiar with the show, it pretty much just follows four L.A. women--Lauren Conrad, Heidi Montag, Audrina Patridge and Whitney Port--who couldn't possibly be more affluent or vapid. We weren't disappointed with the premiere, and we're eagerly anticipating a full season of gossipy TV fun. But it was a photo of The Hills supporting player Brody Jenner this week that really caught our eye. Brody, son of Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner and actress Linda Thompson (yes, former flame of Elvis)--best known for dating Nicole Richie and occasionally modeling--really seems to like his Champagne. Not to drink so much as just to pour it on his face. This is how the soon-to-be 24-year-old was caught celebrating his upcoming birthday in the Bahamas. Any chance Moët & Chandon will ask him to become a new spokesmodel?

• There's only one little hamburger stand in New York that can trigger headlines based on vague rumors of a second location-Shake Shack. Danny Meyer's gourmet burger hut in Manhattan's Madison Square Park routinely draws a line of hundreds of patient customers for lunch (it doesn't hurt that you can get Shafer Cabernet, Swanson Merlot or Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir with your burger). So when New York magazine's dining blog reported that a second Shack would be a part of the New York Mets' new stadium, Citi Field, when it opens in 2009, both foodies and Mets fans started buzzing. Meyer issued a non-denial/denial, saying, "We think it's a great idea and would love to do it. If you can help us figure out how to make that deal happen, Shack burgers are on the house!" A Mets spokesperson told Unfiltered, "The Mets have been in active dialogue with New York's leading restaurateurs regarding their potential involvement at Citi Field. While the Mets will not confirm or deny the extent of those conversations, we do expect to offer a unique food experience." (The spokesperson, who met Unfiltered in a darkened parking garage in Queens, would not identify him or herself, but appeared to have a very large, very round head.) If the Mets are talking to multiple restaurateurs, the potential is endless. A Mets Del Posto? BLT Mets? CraftMets? Whatever it is, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner will assuredly feel he has no choice but to go out and sign Thomas Keller and Alain Ducasse.

 
Kicks that'll get you kicked. Literally. And regularly, most likely.
• A few months ago, we predicted that chef Mario Batali would lend his name to the development of hip-hop style gold-plated "grills" (i.e., false teeth) to benefit the homeless. While our guess came close, the chef and TV personality has actually added low-rise sneakers to his growing arsenal of products. The kicks, available in black, cream and Batali's signature blaze-orange, are a collaboration between Batali's Spotted Pig restaurant in New York and DC Shoes, which originally designed them for the gastropub's busy staff. Spotted Pig co-owner Ken Friedman explained, "Our customers wanted to buy them, but we couldn't really sell them in the restaurant … we made the same sort of deal that a skateboarder or a drummer in a punk band would make … they're a limited edition, [sold] only in kind of cool stores in different cities." Unfiltered looks forward to the fall 2008 release of Anthony Bourdain's limited-edition cigarettes, Gordon Ramsay's signed and numbered spanking paddles and Rocco DiSpirito's signature self-deflating life raft.

OK, pop quiz: Which of the following American Viticultural Areas is not in California: (a) Diamond Mountain, (b) Rutherford, (c) Sta. Rita Hills or (d) Outer Coastal Plain. If you chose D, you're right. But if you think the Outer Coastal Plain is in Washington or Oregon, you're way off. It's in New Jersey (so is Rutherford, but that's a very different Rutherford), and just recently was named an official AVA by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. New Jersey's roughly 40 wineries produce about 1 million gallons of wine a year of several varieties. "I'd like to believe we're headed for the same kind of quality that Long Island is known for," said Tom Sharko proprietor of Alba Vineyard in Milford, NJ, and president of the Garden State Wine Growers' Association. "I think there's a handful of people in New Jersey who are superdedicated to really high-quality wines." Sharko's winery has 93 acres, 50 of it planted, and is in the process of planting another 10 to 20 acres of Dijon clone Chardonnay, along with some Pinot Noir and Riesling. Hey, if Jersey gave us Frank Sinatra, Abbott & Costello and Jon Bon Jovi, there's hope for the state's wine. Actually, forget the Bon Jovi thing.

 
Sad part is, it still looks better than collagen lips.
• Last year, Carlo Rossi forayed into the world of fine, functional art with the Jug Simple collection-basically, furniture made out of empty Carlo Rossi jugs. And now he's sporting some serious bling in his latest collection. Among the Carlo Rossi-themed works in this year's Jug Simple line is a 14k gold chain adorned with a golden lower lip. The gold lip also features a ruby-colored gem meant to represent a drop of Carlo Rossi Merlot. Designed by Jules Kim (it's her own lip that the necklace is molded from), the unisex chains will be on sale this fall and are expected to cost $200. Less gaudy items in the collection include a series of Rossi jug-inspired decanters and a puzzling "jug of crystal," which is a Carlo Rossi jug with a crystal goblet inside it (apparently some people still go for that whole ship-in-a-bottle thing). Unfiltered cheers Gallo's Carlo Rossi collection for supporting the arts, but wonders if they may be missing their demographic. Then again, if you're paying $10 for 4 liters of wine, you've probably saved enough to blow $200 on golden lips.

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