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Disney World’s ‘Ratatouille’ Ride Actually Smells Like a Real Kitchen


Because the opening of the Ratatouille ride at Walt Disney World on October 1 is as good a reason as any, here now, a weeklong exploration of the 2007 rat-infested Pixar classic, Ratatouille.


A gig at Disney World must be a dream for set designers. Whether you’re stepping into Wendy, John, and Michael’s bedroom before boarding the Peter Pan ships, touring through a museum-level exhibit of yeti lore ahead of the Expedition Everest roller coaster, or browsing a market inside a dark temple within Epcot’s Mexico, Disney achieves a level of escapism that’s difficult to rival.

It’s a repellent to some — Disney’s brand of earnest, fanciful, corny, expensive make-believe. But for the fans, the Disneyphiles (hi there), those extra touches and details are the hook.

In that regard, there’s plenty to appreciate with the Ratatouille-themed expansion of the France Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase and the Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure ride, opening to the public on October 1. They’ve doubled the size of the pavilion, adding a new street with a waterfront evoking the Seine, a creperie inspired by classics in Brittany, a plaza with a rat-topped fountain (garnering lines for photos even before the attraction officially opened), and a full replica of the starring restaurant in Ratatouille, Gusteau’s, which holds the ride — what I suspect is the only kitchen brigade-inspired children’s theme park ride in the country.

Through the magic of landscape architecture, they’ve deftly hidden the sheer size of the building (massive if you peek at Google Maps) holding the ride behind a quaint storefront. Inside in line — because Disney lines are never just lines — riders weave through rooms inspired by the movie, including a studio apartment with animated paintings and a rooftop overlooking Gusteau’s. The movie’s accordion-heavy theme song pipes through the lines, where it’s forever twilight.

And once you’re done waiting you basically … go inside the movie.

The ride consists of rat-shaped trackless cars that weave through different scenes and spaces as you and Remy are chased through the restaurant of the film. For anyone unfamiliar with the trackless ride experience, that alone is a bit of a thrill, as you’re not tethered to a visible path or linked to the cars nearby as you maneuver through various, high-energy scenarios.

Meanwhile, 3D imagery across various screens is sharp, and superfans will appreciate experiencing new material from the Ratatouille world, as Linguini ushers you into a hidey hole or Skinner’s finger gets caught in a mousetrap. There’s not much in the way of plot, but the 4D elements — heat when you’re under the broiler, misty water droplets from a mop, the pungent, actual smell of wafting cheese in the kitchen — combined with the set design of the pantry (giant onions! enormous sausages!) and a post-chase rat picnic make for a fully immersive and incredibly fun few minutes. My 5-year-old was beyond amazed. (And, according to him, “Only a little bit scared.”)

A red vespa parked next to a black motorcycle

The Walt Disney Company

Bottles of wine labeled Chateau Ego on a shelf

The Walt Disney Company

Inside a darkened ride, two children spin in a rat car wearing 3D glasses.

The Walt Disney Company

In the end, it’s a 4 minute and 40 second ride that is a replica of one in Disneyland Paris and based on a movie that’s 14 years old in a park that’s every kid’s least-favorite.

But for me, a Ratatouille fan, Disney aficionado, a lover of pretty much any amusement or theme park ride that goes the extra mile — and perhaps more importantly, a former restaurant worker — I came out with a dumb smile on my face. So many of us fell in love with this movie because it was able to capture the danger, thrill, and passion involved in kitchen work. To escape into the cartoon version of that world so fully for a few moments — feeling the heat of the stove, smelling the fragrances of the ingredients, and experiencing that weird, extreme dissonance between the chaotic, clanging kitchen and the serene show of the dining room — was a real thrill, even for someone (especially for someone?) who worked inside an actual restaurant. Which, let’s face it, is also a ride that sometimes involves screaming and rats.

I immediately got back in line to ride it again.



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George Floyd Bust On Display In NYC, Just Months After Demands To Remove Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson Statues


Golden busts of George Floyd, John Lewis, and Breonna Taylor are being displayed in New York City just three months after the Public Design Commission voted unanimously to remove a statue of Teddy Roosevelt from the American Museum of Natural History.

The trio of statues was on display after being unveiled in Union Square Park in New York on Wednesday.

The Belmont Star reports that the statues are “inspired by the events of 2020 and has empowered many to take a stand in demanding justice.”

“The series aims to honor the lives and ongoing messages through art, tying together three iconic people,” they explain.

Aside from the removal of American President Theodore Roosevelt, this is also the same city where members of the city council demanded that a statue of President Thomas Jefferson – author of the Declaration of Independence – be removed from City Hall.

Floyd died a little over one year ago in an arrest involving excessive force by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, sparking nationwide protests and riots.

Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in April.

Floyd spent many of his adult years in and out of prison.

John Lewis, the late Congressman, was a civil rights icon.

RELATED: George Floyd Statue In New York City Vandalized, Days After It Was Unveiled For Juneteenth

George Floyd Statue Vandalized

The statue of George Floyd was originally unveiled in Flatbush, Brooklyn this past June for the Juneteenth celebration. It was vandalized less than a week later.

Five days after the Juneteenth reveal, the NYPD announced that “officers discovered graffiti on a George Floyd bust statue and pedestal” in Brooklyn.

“An unknown individual spray-painted the statue’s face black and covered the words on the pedestal with the black spray paint,” the police reported.

The incident prompted a hate crime investigation.

RELATED: President Teddy Roosevelt’s Statue Will Be Removed From Museum Of Natural History

Roosevelt, Jefferson Cancelled

The bust of George Floyd, John Lewis, Breonna Taylor appear just months after the American Museum of Natural History announced an iconic statue of President Teddy Roosevelt was being removed.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed for the removal of Roosevelt’s statue last year claiming it “explicitly depicts black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior.”

Roosevelt is a man of such historic importance that he is memorialized on Mount Rushmore with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln – widely considered some of America’s most revered presidents.

Sam Biederman, chief of staff and assistant commissioner at NYC Parks, provided a ‘woke’ word salad explanation when announcing Roosevelt’s statue being removed.

“Though historical circumstances demonstrate that this sculpture was not erected with malice of intent, the compositional hierarchy … visually supports the thematic framework of colonization and racism,” he said.

And Teddy isn’t the only figure from Mount Rushmore to be cancelled, as mentioned earlier.

Just over a year ago, New York City council members were arguing for the removal of a statue of Thomas Jefferson, one of the nation’s founding fathers.

“The statue of Thomas Jefferson in the City Council Chambers is inappropriate and serves as a constant reminder of the injustices that have plagued communities of color since the inception of our country,” Council members wrote in a letter to the mayor. “It must be removed.”

They described Jefferson’s statue as one of several “disturbing images of divisiveness and racism in our City.”

President Trump half-joked four years ago that the radical left would never be content tearing down statues of Confederate figures – and that statues of President George Washington would be coming down if we continue to go down this path.

“George Washington was a slave owner… Are we gonna take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson?” Trump asked at the time.

 

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Clubhouse finally makes audio shareable with 30-second previews of rooms


One week after , Clubhouse is introducing a host of new features. The first of those new is Clips, a tool people can use to share previews of public rooms. When creators and hosts enable the feature, you’ll see a new icon that looks like a pair of scissors. Tap it and Clubhouse will capture the last 30 seconds of audio, which you can then share on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, iMessage or WhatsApp. Clubhouse says it’s rolling out Clips in beta to select creators today. In most public and open rooms, you should see the scissors icon there unless the host has gone out of their way to disable the feature.

Sometime in the next few weeks, Clubhouse also plans to introduce a way for people to share archives of past live rooms. The feature is called Replays. As with Clips, it’s something that people will be able to disable if they want. When active, however, it will make past rooms discoverable for as long as a host or creator wants people to find that conversation. Clubhouse says it plans to start rolling out Replays sometime in October.

Rounding things out, Clubhouse is introducing a search tool that allows you to look for specific people, clubs, live rooms and future events. Initially, that functionality will live in the Explore tab for about a week or two before Clubhouse moves it to the hallway sidebar. Last but not least, Android users can look forward to Clubhouse rolling out support for spatial audio. In many ways, the updates Clubhouse announced today address shortcomings that have been in the app for a while. The absence of a way to share audio was a particularly notable omission.  

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10 Best Instant Noodles: Instant Ramen, Ramyun 2021


Photo-Illustration: The Strategist. Photos: Retailers

Anyone who has walked through an instant-noodle aisle knows what it’s like to be confronted by shelves upon shelves of identically shaped packets, their glossy exteriors promising bowl after bowl of slurpable noodles in hot, savory soup. There are some things all instant noodles share: All you need to know to make them is how to boil water, and all you have to pay for them is roughly the price of a single subway ride. But that’s more or less where the similarities end. There are flavors and varieties to satisfy any craving — fiery curries of every color; rich, tongue-coating miso soups; sour, lemongrass-laden broths. Some options are even packaged in single-serve cups and bowls, offering the promise of not having to do dishes in addition to getting a satisfying meal. With so many options, you may find yourself asking, Which instant noodles are the absolute best?

According to the eight experts I talked to — including chefs, food writers, cookbook authors, and other foodies — the answer isn’t as simple as the cooking process. Perhaps unsurprisingly, each person had their own favorite noodles, none of which came up more than once; the recommendations were just as diverse down to the brands, only one of which was recommended by two experts. Because of this, we forwent our typical designation of “best overall” and instead divided the instant-noodle recommendations into soupy, saucy (also known as dry), and spicy varieties. (Even these categories are imperfect — some soupy noodles would count as spicy or even saucy, depending on how you prepare them — but they should be helpful for those who already have an idea of what they like.) One thing all of our noodle know-it-alls agreed on, however, is that instant noodles only get better when you doctor them up. So along with the noodles themselves, we’ve included any cooking tips our experts shared to make a tasty dish even tastier — most of which require ingredients that may already be in your fridge or pantry.

Photo: Retailer

No serious discussion of instant noodles can take place without the opinion of Lucas Kwan Peterson, the food columnist for the Los Angeles Times. In November 2019, Peterson put together an exhaustive, thoroughly detailed power ranking of 31 varieties, placing each on a matrix (not unlike New York Magazine’s “Approval Matrix”) according to their taste and how much the instant noodles recalled their non-instant iterations. Since publishing his guide, Peterson told us he “hasn’t been keeping up with new ramen releases as much as I should,” but he says, “In my experience, you can’t go wrong with instant noodles from MyKuali.” (One reason is that the Malaysian instant-noodle brand is “easy to find online.”) As for his favorite: “I like the white Penang curry MyKuali,” which contains green chiles that give the white curry a satisfying heat (“white” here means it’s made with green chiles, not red).

Photo: Retailer

These instant noodles from Sapporo Ichiban made Peterson’s power ranking, falling somewhere near the intersection of “Better Taste” and “Tastes More Like Thing” on his matrix. They also happen to be the favorite instant noodles of Sheldon Simeon, the chef-owner of Tin Roof and author of Cook Real Hawaii, who calls these noodles “crazy ridiculous.” Simeon explains that the “Momosan” in the name nods to their creator, chef Masaharu Morimoto, whom he describes as “one of the best chefs in the world.” Simeon adds, “Sometimes, to make the broth even creamier, I’ll crack an egg in it, stirring it directly into the soup, almost like egg-drop soup.” Then, to kick up the heat, “I add a bunch of Tabasco or black pepper. We do that at the restaurants, too — lots of black pepper in our broths.” To make these noodles an even more substantial meal, Simeon says he will occasionally toss in “leftover roast pork: I’ll freeze individual portions with sliced green onion in small Ziploc bags, and all I have to do is add it to the hot broth.”

Photo: Retailer

If you’ve read New York Times food reporter and Indianish author Priya Krishna’s Strategist story about the best Indian snacks you can buy on Amazon, you might already be familiar with her favorite instant noodles. “I have been a Maggi masala noodles devotee my entire life. They are India’s answer to Instant Ramen, and they are perfect — spicy, salty, and equally delicious whether prepared really soupy or more like a loose sauce.” Krishna boosts the flavor by adding extra aromatics: “I love to doctor them up with soy sauce and a ton of cracked black pepper, and/or sauté ginger and garlic before adding the noodles and the soup base.”

Photo: Retailer

Mama’s Creamy Tom Yum Noodles come recommended by Nong Poonsukwattana, the chef behind Portland’s chicken-and-rice haven Nong’s Khao Man Gai, for their tangy, lemongrass-laced flavor. She says they have been a staple since she was a kid, when she would “just crumble the noodles and put everything that comes in the package on top and eat it.” (Noodle connoisseurs know that any crunchy fried instant noodles are pretty great straight from the package.) While these instant noodles are traditionally prepared as a soup, Poonsukwattana says she instead uses them in a noodle salad in an effort to eat healthier. She adds shrimp, shallot, lemongrass, mint, and lettuce to the cooked and strained noodles and swaps out the tangy seasoning packet for a citrusy fish-sauce dressing.

If your eyes slightly popped at the price, know that the 20-pack of noodles comes with a long-handled spoon you can use to prepare them.

Photo: Retailer

Food writer Cathy Erway, author of The Food of Taiwan, pointed us to these noodles that come with an extra ingredient to make the dish, well, extra. “They have this little packet of black-garlic oil, which creates these little droplets of black oil across the top of your bowl — a nice touch that feels kind of fancy for instant noodles,” she says. Erway also cracks an egg into her noodles as they cook. “An egg is imperative: About halfway through the cooking process, I crack one into the center of the pot with the noodles and don’t stir it anymore,” she says. “A couple minutes later, the noodles and egg are cooked; the yolk is usually still a little soft.” Occasionally, she adds more: “If I happen to have some fresh leafy greens like spinach, I’ll also drop them into the pot toward the end of cooking.”

Photo: Retailer

Sometimes you want noodles sans a whole bowl of broth. That’s where saucy noodles come in. As San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Soleil Ho explains, this type of instant noodles — which includes her favorite, Indomie Mie Goreng Satay Noodles — is also known as dry noodles because “there’s no broth.” The ones she recommends have “a strong savory flavor that comes from an onion oil and fried onions,” she says. Like other experts we talked to, Ho has been eating these since she was “in elementary school, when my cousins and I would prepare ourselves instant noodles when our parents were out.” Like Simeon and Erway, Soleil adds an egg — sunny-side up — to her noodles. And while it “does not make them healthier,” Ho says she also likes to “sear them really quick in a wok so they get that nice and smoky wok hei flavor. Then I finish with a chile oil, like Fly By Jing or a homemade Cambodian variety.”

Photo: Retailer

These dry barbecue-chicken-flavor instant noodles from Indomie are another favorite of Peterson’s. (Close readers will recognize Indomie as the only brand on this list recommended by two experts.) Like the soupy black-garlic noodles Erway loves, these come with fixings in the form of tiny packets of chicken-flavor seasoning, fried onions, seasoned oil, chile oil, and a thick, sweet soy sauce. Peterson explains that those who find themselves overwhelmed by the choices in the instant-noodle aisle should look for options with add-in ingredients. “A good test is the sachet rule,” he says. “There’s usually (but not always) a direct correlation between the number of sachets of different things — oils, sauces, powders, dried veggies — included in a package and how good it is. The more, the better!”

Photo: Retailer

The favorite dry instant noodles of Yooeating’s Irene Yoo are a made-for-convenience take on a Korean-Chinese classic. “Chapagetti is an instant version of jjajangmyun and has been a favorite since childhood,” Yoo says. She describes these “inky black noodles” as “intensely savory and saucy and super-fun to eat.” Unlike the add-boiling-water-and-you’re-done varieties on this list, Chapagetti involves a bit more preparation. “There are two different camps on how to best prepare Chapagetti,” Yoo explains. “Either you boil the noodle water down enough to create the sauce, or you boil the noodles and then remove some water before adding the sauce packets.” To zhuzh these up, Yoo says she’ll sometimes “fry up some chadolbaegi (thinly sliced beef brisket) to put on top, then drizzle them with a bit of truffle oil — or sesame oil when I’m feeling less ridiculous.”

Photo: Retailer

This beef noodle soup is also beloved by Yoo, who says “Shin Ramyun is a very classic Korean instant ramyun and the standard against which I measure all ramyuns.” She explains that it’s “different from other beef-flavored instant noodle soups in that it is spicy and very umami forward,” noting that it’s neither “too greasy nor one note.” Yoo adds that these noodles are “endlessly adaptable” and suggests a litany of ingredients — “an egg, some chopped scallions, cheese, or even meat or seafood” — as ways to gussy them up. They come with a seasoning packet that she calls a “flavor bomb” and says it can be used with more than just the noodles: “I’ve added it to kimchi-jjigaes or other stews in a pinch.”

Photo: Retailer

In developing Immi, the instant-noodle brand he co-founded, Kevin Lee told us he did a lot of research on his competitors. After trying a bunch of their products, he says his favorites (aside from his own) are Tseng’s Scallion With Sichuan Pepper Noodles because they taste delicious straight from the package. “The best part is you don’t really have to doctor them up at all,” he says. “This flavor is meant to be eaten dry — coated with the sauce and without soup — so it’s already packed with enough flavor and spice.” The noodles, Lee adds, have an interesting backstory: “Tseng Noodles is a Taiwanese brand that started from a Taiwanese spicy-crab restaurant. During a time of financial struggle with their restaurant locations, they pivoted to launching instant noodles, using the same sauce they used for their spicy crab.” He notes the noodles have a “wide, scallop-edged shape” owing to a special manufacturing process that “puts the dough through eight-to-ten sets of kneading procedures.”

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Russell Brand “Beyond Disappointed” To Learn Trump-Russia Collusion Allegations Were Propaganda: “What Other Things” Did They Lie About? | Video



English movie star and comedian Russell Brand posted a video to YouTube this week titled, “So…Trump was RIGHT About Clinton & Russia Collusion!!”

He said he was “flabbergasted” by reports that special counsel John Durham charged Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign-affiliated lawyer Michael Sussmann with lying to the FBI to spark an investigation into “Trump-Russia collusion.”

“It seems like years ago that we were hearing that Trump was colluding with Russia, that he wouldn’t have won the election without Russia, that his whole presidency was kind of a Putin plot,” he said. “There’s now serious evidence it was the Clinton campaign and Hillary Clinton acolytes that were involved in the generation of what turned out to be an untrue conspiracy.”

“Think about how much media you watched? Me, a person who, broadly speaking is coming from the left, a liberal, certainly not a Trump supporting Republilcan… I find myself in awe, gobbsmacked, flabergasted and startled by these revelations that Russiagate was a Democratic conspiracy.”

“I want to believe the Democratic Party are reliable. That they are the party of diversity, and truth, and social justice, all great, positive ideas. What my concern is becoming is these are totemic issues pushed to the forefront to mask regular corruption.”

“Every late-night talk-show, all over the news, it was just — you were bombarded with it…. And it was like, being sort of in a way discussed as if it was just an absolute fact. To discover that this was propaganda, a construct, a confection by the Democratic Party — who, of course, are now in government — is kind of beyond disappointing, because you begin to question and query what other things may not be true.”

“Once you recognize that people create certain truths in order to meet certain ends and aims, the idea that you might be able to trust their integrity obviously dissolves. This in itself is a big enough issue to cause concern, but what else is implied?”

“It suggests to me that everything is a sort of construct. All the information that is peddled is unreliable. The primary function is to create a state where people do not query or question… and truth is just lost and irrelevant.”

“A lot of these stories are so important that you want to believe what you’re being told is authentic conveyance of truth.”

“He’s just a concerned private citizen, a regular Joe who’s working as a lawyer for the Clinton campaign, a mom-and-pop operation, and I’m heading up cyber security for the Clintons, I’ve got no skin in the game, I just want to see justice served on this imaginary bunch of lies I’m peddling,” he said, mocking Sussmann. “I’m just a regular citizen collecting payments from the Clinton campaign.”



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New FCC rules could force telephone companies to block robocalls to 911 call centers


Back in 2012, Congress directed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create a special do-not-call registry to protect 911 call centers from robocalls. The system was never implemented in part due to security concerns that came up when the FCC and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) started looking into the feasibility of the idea. Specifically, there was a worry that a bad actor could use the registry to flood a call center with automated calls and thereby prevent them from helping people in need.

Fast forward to the present and the FCC says it has a better idea on how to accomplish the goal assigned to it by Congress. On Thursday, the agency that would require telephone companies to block robocalls made to those facilities. As Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel , the advantage of this approach is that it would limit access to the do-not-call registry to a select group of verified telephone companies and carriers. And by limiting access to that list, the FCC and FTC can put in place better safeguards to protect it. With today’s decision, the FCC isn’t ready yet to implement that system, but what it does plan to do is collect feedback before moving forward. “We believe this is a promising approach, but we want to get this right,” Rosenworcel said. 

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