Leftovers: Chopstick Straws, Hot Dog Laws, Rice Pandas, and More

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[Photograph: Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Holy ramen! These chopsticks ARE ALSO STRAWS. Thank you, Gizmodo, for shining the light on all that is hilarious. Also of grave importance: gummy bear chandeliers, Pete Wells adds his voice to the spirited chorus of tipping debates, and everybody seems to be playing with their food. —Niki Achitoff-Gray, Associate Editor

I've seen some cute plates of Japanese curry rice in my day, but not one like this: PUDGY RICE PANDAS HEADING INTO A POOL OF CURRY! The cuteness turned my brain to jelly.—Robyn Lee, Art Director

It costs a hot dog vendor in NYC over $250k to pay the city for the licensing fee to operate a push-cart hot dog stand near the entrance of the Bronx Zoo. And this is not an unusually high price for a park operations license. Given the cost of food and operations, you'd need to sell almost a million hot dogs to break even on that. That's a number that even Eddie Izzard would admit is pretty awesome, in the original sense of the word.—Kenji Lopez-Alt, Chief Creative Officer

Just in time for harvest season, a fascinating article on the rise of Latino winemakers in "Valle de Napa." —Jamie Feldmar, Managing Editor

The New York Post is reporting that American Express sold Food & Wine and Travel & Leisure to Time Inc. for, allegedly, "less than 100 million." Meep. —Max Falkowitz, NY Editor

This piece on why most restaurant startups fail, from someone who has failed. The "not being nice" is too true for so many restaurants in this city, unfortunately. —Tracie Lee, Designer

Jason Wilson (who we recently interviewed here) has released a new set of digital wine guides, and they're really well-written. You can check out a preview over at Table Matters.—Maggie Hoffman, Senior and Drinks Editor

There is just not enough love going around for za'atar, which is a kick ass spice blend. Luckily David Lebovitz gave it some love (not surprising because he is great at showcasing spices in all their glory) in this recipe for grilled vegetables with za'atar vinaigrette. It's also just what I want to eat in the late summer: vegetables just past their peak done on the grill to get some char, and going a bit heavier on spices than I've been doing. —Carrie Vasios, Sweets Editor

I have to thank the Chicago Reader for shedding a light on a dish I'd never heard about before—jerk pasta, which can be found at Eastman's Jerk Paradise in Austin. As the name suggests, the dish combines shredded jerk chicken with rotini noodles, along with green and red peppers, carrots, and onion. While it doesn't sound like the greatest thing ever—the review states that it is 'not bad'—I am happy to see something like this. Just when I think I've explored every unique Chicago dish, a new one shows up, proving that my job is never done." —Nick Kindelsperger, Chicago Editor

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