FOOD- THE DISH- <i>Edible</i> strikes again! Mag company goes after local food blog
Edible Communities Inc., which plans to launch a local food mag here in January, is demanding that the author of this local blog change her title.
Commenting online about Edible Communities Inc's lawsuit against Flavor Magazine, in which the corporate food mag went after the local food mag for copyright infringement, blogger Jenee Libby jokingly wondered when the company would come after her.
"Oh dear, thinking maybe I should change the name of my blog! lol! ;) which has no affiliation whatsoever," she wrote as Feisty Bourbon Girl.
As a hobby, the recent transplant from Pittsburgh launched a website called Edible Cville (http://ediblecville.blogspot.com) on which she reviews Charlottesville restaurants and writes about the local food movement.
Now it appears she may have to shut down her blog.
As detailed in the Hook [Edible tries taking a bite out of Flavor, October 12, 2008], Edible, a food magazine franchise operation with 54 locally-based titles across the country, took issue with Flavor before the January launch of locally-based Edible Blue Ridge, claiming Flavor's publisher Melissa Harris was stealing their concept. Before Harris launched Flavor, she flirted with the idea of partnering with Edible, but claims she later made it "very clear" that she was considering publishing her own magazine, a decision she claims company brass appeared to approve.
Two months later, after Harris launched Flavor's website, Edible's lawyers came calling, accusing her of copyright infringement, unfair competition, and of stealing their "trade dress."
After spending $50,000 in legal fees, Harris says she elected to settle with the company rather that fight them in federal court, a decision that required her to pay Edible $22,000.
Harris alleges that Edible Communities was hoping to "take her out" or at least cripple her effort before the debut of its own local food magazine, Edible Blue Ridge, which is being launched by local publisher Steve Russell.
Russell takes issue with Harris' claims, believing she did in fact appropriate much from Edible's concept and that the company was simply protecting its interests.
"I may have shot myself in the foot by commenting on the article," says blogger Libby.
Indeed, on December 1, Libby too received a cease-and-desist order from Edible's lawyers, who demanded that she change the name of her blog.
Initially, Libby says she told Edible she would change the name, but now she's not so sure. Besides contacting the press, Libby says she's told several hundred friends, posted about it on Foodbuzz.com (an online food blogging community) and consulted a a lawyer on Internet trademarking, hoping for some free advise.
"We'll see what happens....I'm still reeling that a lil' ol' blog with seven subscribers would garner such attention," she says.
Where's my falafel?
Dish loves a good falafel, that ancient Middle Eastern fried patty or ball made from fava beans or chickpeas, and stuffed into a pita or laid on a bed of lettuce with vegetables–especially eggplant, yum!–and laced with tahini sauce. But where do you get a good one in town?
Well, it appears that Basil Mediterranean Bistro on the Corner serves a mean falafel, along with its famed Santorini, a salad with gyro meat (lamb) and a variety of other traditional Greek toppings recently featured in The Eater. Bashir's on the east end of the Downtown Mall is also another good place to find a falafel, especially while watching belly dancers! Tip Top on Pantops has a falafel too, but it isn't quite as authentic as the ones at Basil, Bashir's or the new Moroccan restaurant that just opened in the Ix building, Al Hamraa.
According to Aroma's Café owner Hassan Kaisoum, his falafel is one of his Barracks Road restaurant's most popular dishes and is served in both a wrap and as a platter. "It's very good," he says.
Since moving to the new location–for years, he was tucked away in the Fontaine Research Center–a whole new clientele has discovered Kaisoum's exceedingly friendly personality and his unique Middle Eastern food.
"I really have to thank Charlottesville for the success we've had," he says. "The people here are great."
Gee, thanks, Hassan!
The Clifton Inn will be hosting a special "France Meets Virginia" wine dinner on Thursday, December 11, that will feature side-by-side comparisons of various vintages hosted by special guest and noted local wine expert Michael Shaps. In addition, the event will also feature a four-course dinner (scallops with Italian sausages, short rib stew, artisian cheeses) with wine pairings, specially designed and prepared by executive chef Dean Maupin. The cost for the event is $79 per person. To make reservations, call the Clifton at 434-971-1800.