Robert Pattinson cheaps out, forks outsell knives, measuring restaurant pretension

Robert Pattinson cheaps out, forks outsell knives, measuring restaurant pretension

Tipple over tipping: Robert Pattinson leaves a meagre 14 per cent (Photo by twilight foxdie) 

Twilight star Robert Pattinson has outraged New York waiters by leaving a 14 per cent tip. The English actor munched on caprese salad while downing chianti and beer until well past midnight this week, and when he offered just $50 on his $350 bill, the aghast wait staff at Il Cantinori felt compelled to leak his penny-pinching to the media. Fans defended Pattinson’s faux pas as a simple cultural misunderstanding (tipping isn’t customary in Britain), but no one seems to have asked if the service was bad. [New York Daily News]

• The British are buying half as many knives as forks, according to a study by Debenham’s department store. Marketers have come to the conclusion that more meals than ever–like burgers, fries and salad–don’t require cutting. In bustling London, full of time-strapped urbanites wolfing down their dinner, the fork-to-knife gap is even wider (three forks sold per knife). [Independent]

• Eminent food writer Frank Bruni is entertaining (and disgusting) his readers with stories about his “life as a full-time eater.” At the age of two, he expelled his first two burgers just to make room for a third. At age seven, when most kids are discovering Dunkaroos, Bruni discovered quiche lorraine. This excerpt from his food memoir shows how eating for a living was his destiny, and how memory is often linked to food. [New York Times]

• The good news for New York restaurateurs: they have 430 fewer competitors this summer. The bad news: more restaurants are expected to close. The number of restaurants in the global food capital is 1 per cent lower in the second quarter of 2009 than it was in the same period last year. That’s a big change for a city with 35,000 eateries. High-end restaurants are faring the worst. Even the famous Rainbow Room at the Rockefeller Center has been killed by the recession. [New York Post]

• The Baltimore Sun is helping its readers define when it’s fair to call a restaurant pretentious. Correcting your French pronunciation: pretentious. A waiter giving you attitude for asking for ranch dressing: OK, that one’s justified. If the Internet is going to allow everyone to be a restaurant critic, it looks like critics are going to have to expand their vocabulary. [Baltimore Sun]