Erewhon and Balenciaga Drop Very Expensive Merch, Naturally

Erewhon and Balenciaga Drop Very Expensive Merch, Naturally

Welcome to Delicious or Distressing, where we rate recent food memes, videos, and other entertainment news. Last week we discussed a woman finding a chopped finger in her Chopt salad.

A recent Roman Empire of mine—yes, one can consider multiple at once—is this $42 slab of Erewhon blueberry pie. The hot Los Angeles supermarket chain, known to attract dewy-faced influencers and West Coast wellness gurus, is as much a luxury brand as it is a food purveyor, evidenced by its blasphemous prices. With this truth in mind, it’s no surprise that it’s chosen to collab with fellow luxury brand Balenciaga on a line of merch that includes a $725 T-shirt and an opaquely black beverage laced with and hued by charcoal.

Also this week, Bradley Cooper served Philly cheesesteaks out of a food truck to a crowd of New Yorkers—among them rumored girlfriend Gigi Hadid and ex-girlfriend Irina Shayk. A woman, after hurling a burrito bowl at a Chipotle worker, was sentenced to fast food work to repent. White Claw, in its latest attempt to innovate on its signature seltzer, just made normal seltzer. Is capitalism regressing? (No: See $42 blueberry pie.)

Read more below on this week’s food news around the internet.

Erewhon and Balenciaga collabed on an expensive merch line, including charcoal juice

Last November, Balenciaga enraged the internet with an ad campaign featuring children clutching bondage-clad teddy bears. Now, still clamoring for redemption, the fashion powerhouse unveiled its pre-fall 2024 runway show, which dropped hints of a collab with Erewhon—LA’s luxe market known for its celebrity-endorsed juice bar featuring partnerships with the likes of Emma Chamberlain and Hailey Bieber. The $725 Balenciaga x Erewhon Tee makes a grim kind of sense: Food and bev is as much a status signal these days as luxury fashion.

For a less expensive taste of the collab, you can drink a $14 bottle of what looks like toxic sludge and reeks of eau de desperate-for-cultural-relevance. The Balenciaga superfood smoothie is an Instagrammable, obsidian concoction of apple, lemon, ginger, cinnamon, organic maple syrup, and (of course) charcoal. LA-goers: Try it and let me know the verdict? Meanwhile, I’m dubbing this grocercore revelation a tepid 3.5/5 on the distressing scale. —Ali Francis, staff writer

Bradley Cooper served Philly cheesesteaks out of a truck in New York

Bradley Cooper, to Philadelphia what Ben Affleck is to Boston (white male actor mascot, that is) slung Philly cheesesteaks out of a food truck in New York this week. For me, this was a delicious event by many measures. The celebrity-LARPing-as-service-worker is one of 2023’s odd archetypes, and we’ve mostly rolled our eyes at the stunty concept. But unlike Prince William lowering himself to the plebes to serve food out of a truck or David Letterman pretending to be a grocery store worker at Hy-Vee in Iowa, Bradley’s cheesesteak endeavor feels more true to his Philly roots—after all, the man wears an Eagles jersey like a second skin in Silver Linings Playbook. He’s also genuinely starting a new food company with Danny DiGiampietro, of Philadelphia’s Angelo’s Pizzeria, called Danny and Coops. Perhaps the PR machine has me on a tight leash, but I sign off on this event as acceptably authentic. Even better: Not only did supermodel and rumored new girlfriend Gigi Hadid make an appearance to cop a sandwich, donning little black shades and a hat, so did ex (and supermodel) Irina Shayk. Flames old and new reuniting at the cheesesteak truck—that’s 5/5 delicious. —Li Goldstein, digital production assistant

This woman was sentenced to fast food work after throwing a burrito bowl at a Chipotle worker

In a wild Chipotle showdown in Parma, Ohio, 39-year-old customer Rosemary Hayne took her burrito bowl grievances to the extreme, tossing the loaded dish at staffer Emily Russell. The entire chaotic episode, caught on video by a bystander and shared on Reddit, shows Hayne hollering at Russell for at least a minute before launching her food like a human catapult. Vigilant Chipotle patrons swiftly captured Hayne’s license plate and alerted the police, who arrested her at home on September 5. Judge Timothy Gilligan didn’t hold back: “This is not Real Housewives of Parma,” he said during sentencing.

Initially facing a fine and 180 days in jail, the judge served up an alternative: work 20 hours a week at a fast food joint for two months to reduce her sentence to 60 days. Hayne accepted the counteroffer and apologized to both the court and Russell. Meanwhile, Russell, understandably shaken by the incident, chose to resign from Chipotle due to anxiety. This whole spicy saga is giving a medieval eye-for-an-eye. It’s giving, send her back to the kitchen. It’s giving…can fast food workers cop a break? Judge Timothy Gilligan might be a deee-licious hero, but I’m rating this villain a 5/5 distressing. —A.F.

White Claw is making normal seltzer now

In a beautiful ouroboros of absurd branding, White Claw is now making a product it’s calling White Claw 0% Non-Alcoholic Premium Seltzer. Although the packaging on its box identifies it as “a new wave in drinking,” it’s hard to understand what exactly about this is…new? Nonalcoholic seltzer, which most people know as “seltzer,” has been around since the 18th century. The ploy here seems to be more about hopping on the de-alcoholized, nonalcoholic trend that has been growing in recent years, but while nonalcoholic beer or wine makes sense, taking the alcohol out of a product whose natural state already doesn’t have alcohol seems about roundabout and wasteful as this incredibly long run-on sentence. This news deserves a sober, bubbly 4.1/5 distressing. —Sam Stone, staff writer

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