The culinary world in Europe — and now around the world — is still reeling after news of chef Benoît Violier's apparent suicide. Worries over a slight demotion in France's Gault & Millau guide along with concerns his restaurant Restaurant de l'Hôtel de Ville in Crissier, Switzerland would lose its third Michelin star are being blamed.
In other news, Starbucks has introduced a new drink but it's only available in one location in the U.S... but it's actually a secret menu item, too; Napa Valley wineries sold over a $1 billion worth of wine directly to consumers last year; more about Louis C.K.'s newest show; Taco Bell thinks it's so clever; and let Erin Brockovich explain Flint's water crisis.
— There is only one Starbucks Roastery in the U.S. (it's in Seattle), but it's recently released a new beverage. According to Starbucks Melody the new drink is called the Undertow, and is actually "an off-the-menu" option people can order from Starbucks around the country. It's made when espresso shots are floated atop cold milk in a glass. Earlier this year Starbucks locations across the country released the Latte Macchiato, which is more like a sandwich of milk-espresso-milk. What will they think up next? And when will they bring pistachio and rose mochas to the U.S.??
— Napa Valley continues to churn out a lot of wine. Last year, the region sold $1 billion in wine — directly to consumers. This excludes all wholesale sales wineries in Napa Valley made during the year. As of 2012, Napa Valley's total wine sales were a $13 billion business.
— Taco Bell's new secret menu item is available for pre-order now, in case you are dying to have some sort of fatty, mystery meat-filled not-at-all-Mexican meal. Here's what we know: It costs $2.99; it is a marketing stunt; Customers must pay for it today but can't taste it until February 6 at 2 p.m.; it will be available everywhere on February 8; and commercials for it will air during the Super Bowl next Sunday.
— Louis C.K. announced a new show late last week, Horace & Pete, and according to the Verge it takes place in a bar called Horace & Pete's. Steve Buscemi co-stars, so that automatically makes this worth the $5 it costs to download. Is this the Cheers the millennial generation has been waiting for?
— Finally, here's Erin Brockovich of Julia Roberts fame, explaining the sad state of affairs in Flint, Michigan, and how citizens can protect themselves from lead-tainted water: