The world’s best whisky, Circa on brink of bankruptcy, the first lab-grown pork

The world’s best whisky, Circa on brink of bankruptcy, the first lab-grown pork

(Photo by Danielle Scott)

• Since before Circa even opened in 2007, club watchers wondered endlessly if Peter Gatien’s enormous party palace could possibly draw in enough of a crowd to survive. Gatien left the club last March, followed by a number of original staffers, and the mega-club has been inching ever closer to bankruptcy since. Now it looks like it may go over the brink, as Circa has just sent out letters to its estimated 100 creditors. The fact that no self-respecting 416er over the age of 24 would be caught dead there is partially to blame for the club’s demise, though Circa will try to continue operations after restructuring its debt load. [BlogTO]

• After winning the Toronto leg of Gold Medal Plates with a wry dish of crispy chicken skin and poultry cartilage, David Lee took silver at the national championships after a two-day, three-stage battle of wits and whisks. The competition kicked off with a wine-pairing challenge, wherein the chefs were given a mere 24 hours and $400 to whip up a Black Hills 2008 Alibi–inspired dish to feed 250 people, and culminated with the grand finale, where the chefs were asked to cook their finest signature plate. Lee came in second with an updated reprisal of his Toronto dish, while Montreal’s Mathieu Cloutier rose to the top of the podium with a rack of rabbit confit and a foie gras parfait. [Globe and Mail]

• Dutch scientists have used live pig cells to create the world’s first lab-grown, Petri dish–raised meat, but the yet-to-be-tasted pork is more “soggy” and “sticky” than the restaurant-ready variety because the muscle has never been stretched or worked. Although the so-called “in vitro” meat could greatly reduce environment-damaging methane emissions from livestock, whether or not we eat it depends on the all important consumer taste test, which may come as early as 2014, when scientists hope the Petri-pork could be used to make processed food, like sausages.  [The Times]

•  The 2010 Whisky Bible, Britain’s dram digest, has ranked America’s 18-year-old Sazerac Rye as the world’s finest and pegs India’s Amrut Fusion close behind at number three. Although the Bible’s author, Jim Murray, puts the Isle of Islay’s Ardbeg Supernova in second place, he also notes that “there is a lot of Scotch whisky out there which is really not good at all,” adding, “If these guys in Bangalore can produce exceptional, world-class whisky, why can’t Scottish distillers who have been around for 100 years or more? Very often, the answer is that distilleries don’t take a huge amount of bother in choosing the casks they use, and it has become a numbers game for them.” [The Independent]

• Although it doesn’t take an Ipsos-Reid poll to know that Americans ate vast quantities of turkey and pumpkin pie last weekend, Thanksgiving trends are becoming easier to track as more people use Google to search for recipes. Marketers might be particularly interested in knowing that a cornucopia made of baked bread is the country’s centrepiece of choice, or that broccoli casserole is popular from Maine through Appalachia to Florida. With millions of consumers searching recipes the day before Thanksgiving, Tanya Wenman Steel, editor of Epicurious, sees a different trend: “As a snapshot of America, it shows that people aren’t planning.” [New York Times]