New York City Overwhelmed by Scourge of Illegal, Underground Dinner Parties

Who dares eat without government approval?


Stop-and-frisk soon to be expanded to look for whisks, candy thermometers.

Folks in the Big Apple are illegally eating things! The CBS affiliate in New York City today uncovered the scary, secret world of illegal, underground dinner parties.

No, this is not a joke or a parody, though it will really feel like one for the first few seconds of the clip. The news casters treat this situation with the same slightly amazed and shocked tone that they use when they cover the "underground world of raves." You know which story I'm talking about. Every local news affiliate runs one every sweeps period. Here's some of the text, but I can't really do the reading justice:

The diners are a mix of New Yorkers and tourists. CBS 2's undercover cameras captured one experience — eight people who didn't know each other eating a meal in a stranger's home.

That hostess, Naama Shafi, writes about food but is not a chef. [Reporter Tamara] Leitner found her through a website, which connects amateur foodies and professional chefs in 20 different countries with people who want unique dining experiences.

Clandestine dinner parties like the one Leitner attended have become more common in New York City. And insiders told Leitner they are completely unregulated.

Undercover cameras, y'all. If you've watched enough local news you should be able to hear the slight alarm in the reporter's voice in your head when she uses words like "stranger's home" and "completely unregulated." But I encourage you to watch the whole thing. It gets both funnier but also infinitely maddening when they bring in a consulting firm made up of retired health inspectors who now make a living advising restaurants on how to comply with the regulations they used to enforce. They weigh in on the illegality of the whole thing, and then the reporter returns to tell Shafi how illegal it is that she's having dinner parties. She could be fined $2,000.

(Hat tip to Fish)