• He played a cynical beef merchant in the film Fast Food Nation, so it makes some kind sense that actor Bruce Willis's latest role also finds him in the restaurant industry. Willis, along with partners Chris Sileo and Lenny Linar, has just opened Bowery Wine Co., a Manhattan wine bar and restaurant. Sileo, who befriended Willis two decades ago while working as the general manager of the '80s hotspot China Club, acknowledges the irony of opening a celebrity-backed wine bar in a part of New York City better known for down-on-their-luck folks drinking paper-bagged bottles of Thunderbird and Night Train before falling asleep on the sidewalk. And that's just the NYU students. "There's a juxtaposition right now between the old and the new Bowery," said Sileo, who had old photos--of men standing on bread lines and moving furniture out of a condemned hotel--encased in Lucite and mounted on the bar's windows. In the spirit of the "new" Bowery, Unfiltered thinks it's only a matter of time before Ashton Kutcher, current husband of Willis' ex-wife Demi Moore, opens an even hipper, younger place across the street.
• With the exception of a glass of sangria now and then, Unfiltered tends to stay away from red wine on ice. But a new charitable partnership is putting the idea in a different light. The National Hockey League's Alumni Association is collaborating with six NHL franchises and Ironstone Vineyards to create the NHL Alumni Signature Wine Series. Portions of the proceeds are being donated to 11 different charities selected by the players involved, as well as each team's alumni association. Among the dozen players involved are Pat Lafontaine, Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull, to name a few. Unfiltered is tempted to put them all in a blind tasting: We'd like to know if former Rangers goalie Mike Richter's California Cabernet could stand up to Red Wings Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay's Terrible Ted's Red. No matter the outcome, like true wine-drinking hockey fans, we just hope there's a fight at some point.
Prudhomme: Easy target?
• New Orleans chefs have been through a lot in the past three years, so they seem to take things in stride--even dodging bullets. Paul Prudhomme, famed chef of K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, was setting up a tent on the practice range of the TPC Louisiana golf course Tuesday morning to prepare for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, which starts Thursday, where he'll be cooking for golfers and caddies during the four-day event. As he was setting up the tent, however, he felt a sting in his right arm. He shook his sleeve and out fell a .22-caliber bullet. According to a Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman, someone most likely fired the shot into the air within a 1.5-mile radius. When the bullet came back down to earth it just so happened to graze the chef's skin. He was examined but didn't require medical attention, and was back to cooking within five minutes. The sheriff's office said that it doesn't appear that whoever fired the shot was targeting Prudhomme. Still, Unfiltered urges a full investigation. What if it was some nut who hates blackened redfish and has been biding his time for 30 years?
• Remember when disputes between American wine producers and European regions were so much simpler? It was perfectly understandable when France's bubbly producers weren't thrilled with California sparkler-makers for using the name Champagne on their labels. And we could certainly see some French guys getting in a tizzy over Gallo's Hearty Burgundy wine all those years ago. But in the latest dispute, lawyers for the Consorzio di Brunello di Montalcino, the organization that oversees wine production in Italy's Montalcino region, have asked Sonoma winery Petroni Vineyards to stop using the name Brunello di Sonoma for the Sangiovese wine it produces (in Montalcino, the Italians traditionally called the Sangiovese grape Brunello). "My wine is clearly labeled as coming from Sonoma," said Petroni founder Lorenzo Petroni in a press release. "The name Brunello refers to the grape and not the place where it is produced." Unfiltered has to admit, this is a tough one. We therefore recommend that all parties sit down with a couple jugs of Carlo Rossi Chianti, Burgundy and Chablis, drink them all, and talk it out.
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