[E]ven though the restaurant's cartoonish decor bordered on offensive, it was still a temple to a people and a cuisine that America couldn't ignore. Taco Bells were everywhere. In every strip mall. Off every highway exit. Even the racists, the immigrant-haters, the people who'd laugh at my elementary-school stand-up comedy routine would run for the border.John DeVore writes about finding the "unexpected, self-affirming solace" of home... at Taco Bell. [more inside]
You can laugh or sneer at Taco Bell. Shake your head at its high fat and salt content. Go ahead and lecture on what true Mexican food is. My mom would probably just roll her eyes at you, and take a broken yellow shard of crispy taco shell and use it to scoop up the pintos, cheese, and salsa.
"People are always astounded that we still have Michael's matches at the front desks," says restaurant owner Michael McCarty, who offers the once-ubiquitous restaurant keepsake at both his restaurant locations: Michael's Santa Monica and Michael's New York. Although matchbooks are no longer a go-to restaurant souvenir, Michael's offers a classic 1½" x 2 ¼" sized matchbox — emblazoned with the bi-coastal restaurant's signature Art Deco-inspired pale pink script against a dark green background. McCarty posits, however, that his guests' surprise is disingenuous. Truth is, he says, "everybody loves a great box of matches." [more inside]
Last week, Time magazine put out a feature on the Gods of Food, a series of articles on 60-some-odd empire-building chefs who the magazine thinks are influencing and leading cuisine today. Beyond the statistical problems with the article ... some folks had the temerity to point out that this culinary Mount Olympus was basically a bunch of white dudes. Actually it was all dudes, not a single woman deified. Eater's interview with Time's food editor Howard Chua-Eoan about the story. Amanda Cohen's scathing takedown of the clusterfuck. The New York Times' Room for Debate feature asking leading female chefs about underrepresented women in food media. Eater's latest piece on the question of gender bias in food journalism. [via]
Eater.com breaks down Wired's new food issue, which includes David Chang's essay called "The Joy of Cooking With Science"; Alton Brown on the science behind real-tasting fake chicken, and a piece on umami (recently on AskMeFi).
Eater DC's monthly interview series, 'The Gatekeepers' talks to the hosts and hostesses at some of the city's most prestigious restaurants, discussing hard-hitting topics such as securing lucrative reservations, choosing the best table, and the favorite dishes of the famous dignitaries that pass through Washington. Their most recent interview, however, went a bit differently, perhaps revealing a bit more than intended about the world of fine dining -- a world where bribes are de rigeur, black customers are not seated next to each other, and well-dressed patrons are given preferential service. Though few in the industry will admit to it, bribing the host appears to be the fastest way to get a table (unless you're a tourist, or the Maitre d' happens to be the CEO of Groupon). HuffPo and the City Paper react.
Hey, how about some food blogs to help you blow that New Year's resolution? Let's start with The Kitchn where you can find 25 Vegetarian and Vegan Meals, then let's visit Eater where you can watch Tony Bourdain torch six tons of cocaine. (wait, what?) [more inside]