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The weird world of wine and building a better burger

This week’s collection of offbeat food tales that didn’t make Restaurant SmartBrief includes stories of intrigue in Chinatown, where restaurateurs have created a thriving black market for homemade rice wine, a story of French wineries looking to ensure sales by currying favor with students at the world’s top business schools and a few fun burger stories.

The New York Times told the story of a not-so-underground market in homemade rice wine at restaurants in Chinatown, a tradition many immigrants brought with them when they moved to the city. The homemade beverage contains about the same amount of alcohol as wine made from grapes, and proprietors openly flout a host of federal, state and local laws that govern the production and sale of alcohol each time they sell a glass.

About 200 French wineries have been busy helping future business moguls learn about wine, with the prospect of a big payoff later when students from business schools in several major cities make their fortunes. Bloomberg brought us the story of last month’s competition at Chateau Lafite Rothschild.

Texas couple Karl and Carol Hoepfner tasted their first Whataburger back in 1962, and they’ve been fans ever since. The pair is on a mission to dine at all 722 of the chain’s restaurants, according to Eater, and the couple are measuring the quality of each burger based on the number of napkins used.

Speaking of burgers, Details provided a step-by-step guide for making chef Tim Love’s version of a classic burger, complete with slides. Meanwhile, The Huffington Post went scientific with a similar set of slides showing off extravagant burgers from chefs, including Nathan Myhrvold’s Liquid Nitrogen Burger. Not only won’t you find these creations on a menu, but most also are tough, if not impossible, to replicate at home.

What were your favorite stories this week? Share them in the comments.