Bites: Hip hop turns to haute cuisine

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The Independent Online

As random career changes go, hip-hop impresario to gastro-guide publisher is up there. Step forward Steve Plotnicki, one-time boss of Profile Records, the New York label that back in the 1980s was behind rap pioneers Run DMC.

Now Plotnicki has put out The 100 Best Restaurants of North America & Europe, a guide with advice culled from the opinions of his chums at Opinionated About, the online, invite-only members forum he runs for what he calls "The destination dining community". Imagine a bunch of people incessantly bragging to each other about the expensive places they've eaten in and you'd not be far off.

Meanwhile, a new Japanese guide has deliberately steered away from such elitism and taken a swipe at Michelin, which last November unveiled its first guide to Tokyo (pictured). Published by former stockbroker JC Okazawa, Shominchelin was launched as the "Tokyo Restaurant Guidebook For The Ordinary People" and rates 226 affordable places not found in the highfalutin French guide.