As TGI Friday's goes minimalist, signalling the demise of restaurant Americana kitsch, what happens to all the antiques? Containing a pretty fascinating and comprehensive history of the development of the "good-time" chain restaurant/bar and the antique-picking and design work that created its signature feel. Previously.
Laurel Randolph comes up with Simpsons inspired recipes for Paste Magazine - Clove And Tom Collins Pie - Little Meatloaf Men - Üterbraten - Thanksgiving edition.
"The room was upholstered in crimson and oatmeal and decorated with Socialist Realist frescoes of industrious maidens. A hefty multipointed star descended from the ceiling like a satellite returning from space. Above the tables a pair of identical life-size plaster statues of Soviet schoolgirls faced each other in the manner of temple guardians. They drummed on drums with a look of patriotic ecstasy; crimson blindfolds bound their eyes. Taking a swig of kvas, a fermented bread beverage that's slightly reminiscent of root beer, I wondered whether the statues were intended to be a political statement, nostalgic kitsch, or just a really ambitious exercise in color coordination." - The Surreal Thrill Of Moscow Dining by Alex Halberstadt
What were the food and cooking techniques of the Viking Age? you could ask The Viking Answer Lady or get pollen analysis, reconstruction tips, and recipes from The Viking Food Guy, or you could just ask Chef Jesper Lynge (Daily Mail) who is attempting to revive Viking Cusine from his cafe in an Danish Iron Age graveyard. ( Recipies and descriptions )
"I have a day job in Washington, D.C., as a food critic. I’ve done it for ten years. During that time, the city has become bigger and more cosmopolitan, the restaurant scene has evolved from that of a steak & potatoes town to that of a vibrant metropolis, and people now talk excitedly about going out to eat. But what no one talks about is the almost total absence of black faces in that scene." Todd Kliman's "Coding and Decoding Dinner" explores the racial divide in D.C. dining for the Oxford American.
The New York Times Magazine treated a group of second graders to a seven-course meal at a pricey NYC restaurant. Culinarity ensued. [video, via]
Lieut.-Col. Newnham-Davis was engaged in 1897 as the restaurant reviewer of the Pall Mall Gazette, and his reviews of London restaurants are collected in Dinners and Diners: Where and How to Dine in London, available online from The Dictionary of Victorian London. Newnham-Davis was a bon vivant, amateur of the theatrical world, and man of parts, and his reviews were equal parts reminiscence of the conversation with his pseudonymous companions and recollections and reviews of his opulent and lengthy Victorian dinners. [more inside]
"The server comes over to your table after you've finished your cheesecake, carrying a deck of cards. He or she asks you to cut it and pick any card. Each of the cards has a different chocolate flavor on it, such as lime or raspberry. The waiter then asks you to flip over your cheesecake plate – and there, right in front of you, is a chocolate that corresponds to your card.
They do this mind-blowing trick to every single customer who eats there." The 6 Most Pretentious Dishes Rich People Pay Money For from Cracked.
They do this mind-blowing trick to every single customer who eats there." The 6 Most Pretentious Dishes Rich People Pay Money For from Cracked.
"Nowadays, we tend to eat biscuits with beverages like tea and coffee. But in the past they were an important element of the dessert course and were dipped into sweet wine." - Food History Jottings (previously) on the strange world of Regency biscuits. (Cookies to you US types.)
Tables For One is a collection of restaurant reviews "from another New York City" by A. Ponitus and illustrated by Evan Johnson. The restaurants include Frito-Lay themed places, salt-obsessed aliens, a gelato cult, notable NPR personalities, and a cafe for heartbreak.
"Since first opening in 1934 in a converted sheepfold off 67th Street, on the western edge of Central Park, the storied franchise (which is still licensed by the Parks Department) has been a reliable hit. Joe Baum put the restaurant on the national culinary map during the 1960s, and when Warner LeRoy doubled the capacity several years later and added the famous Crystal Room, it became one of the great circus-dining destinations in the world. LeRoy’s heirs ran the profitable old production for years (in 2006, it was still the second-highest-grossing restaurant in the USA, behind Tao Las Vegas), until the great crash of 2008 brought their company to its knees. Now, after years of drama and delay, Tavern on the Green has opened its doors once again, this time under the direction of a hospitality operation originally from Philadelphia called the Emerald Green Group. " So begins Adam Platt's zero star review of the re-opened Tavern On The Green. Others have not been glowing. Even the Post got a few kicks in. Peter Wells' scathing takedown in the New York Times might be better experienced with some happy sheep.
Where Restaurant Reservations Come From: Why did the practice develop? In the startup terms of our day, what problem did the institution of restaurant reservations solve? Well, the answer boils down to... sex and propriety.
How to Eat Like a Cuban
"It wasn't until I was adopted into an enormous Cuban-American family, thanks to my fiancé , that I learned how to spot the Cubans—and now that I can, I see them everywhere. In three years, my extremely white self has gone from not being able to pronounce dulce de leche (don’t match those ch sounds—that’s a basic move) to knowing that I like my arroz con pollo asopao (a soupier preparation that ends up almost risotto-like).[more inside]
Some of the stereotypes are true: Cubans love to party, and they can eat. Backyard pig roasts are the traditional way to celebrate pretty much any special occasion—this is a country whose two greatest exports (if they could export them) are cigars and sugar.
Bottom line: If you find some real Cubans, it's in your best interest to make friends, fast. Here's what you need to know to keep up without looking like a chump."
Take Me to Sanborns: Swiss Enchiladas and Race in Mexico City.
One afternoon early in their stay, [Jack] Johnson and Etta – who was white – walked into the famous Sanborns cafe in Mexico City's historic center for lunch. But before they could even place their order, owner Walter Sanborn refused to serve Johnson on racial lines. Johnson went and found a few of the generals he had met and told them what happened. They returned to Sanborns together and all sat down at the counter. They ordered ice cream. Everybody was served except for Johnson.
"....many a tragic episode in family life is superinduced by the baleful influence of a tortured stomach. Mighty is the hand that holds the ballot-box, but mightier is the hand that wields to advantage the pepper-box, the salt-spoon, and the sugar-shaker." read the entirely of Maud C. Cooke's, Breakfast, Dinner and Supper; or, What To Eat and How To Prepare It (1897) online and enter a world of home remedies, large scale recipes, sound advice, leftover wizardry, squirrel stews, scientific digestion, and horrible things done to vegetables.
Lil' Buco: fine dining for kids
The American way of using a fork and knife is inefficient and inelegant. (SLSlate) Do you cut-and-switch? Well, you've got to stop. The more time you waste pointlessly handing utensils back and forth to yourself, the less time you’ll have to cherish life and liberty, pursue happiness, and contribute to America’s future greatness. And also—though that snob at dinner surely didn't know this—the supposedly all-American cut-and-switch is in fact an old European pretension, of just the sort we decided to free ourselves from 237 years ago.
Columbia students stuff Nutella in their pants to the tune of $1,000s a week. (SLNYT) Last month one of Columbia’s undergraduate dining halls began serving Nutella every day, not just in crepes on weekends. The problem was that the Columbia students went through jars and jars of Nutella — at least 100 pounds a day. Apparently they were not just eating it in the dining hall. They were spiriting it away in soup containers and other receptacles, to be eaten later.
Medieval tines: A brief history of the fork. There are many further details in this Leite's Culinaria article, The Uncommon Origins of the Common Fork, linked in the post.
Unable to visit the infamously badly reviewed Guy's American Kitchen & Bar? Never fear, for Metafilter's own mccarty.tim has you covered with a Guy Fieri Menu Item Generator.
Chef Grant Achatz plates the final dessert course at Alinea. Or perhaps you'd prefer the chocolate pumpkin pie or the edible balloon? Bon appetit!
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.
"Robert Browning Sosman, a physical chemist who died in 1967 at the age of 86, packed many careers into one lifetime. He wrote the definitive book on the chemical compound silica; was the seventh person to hike the entire Appalachian Trail; and, at home in New Jersey, kept a 3,500-strong map collection. He also made a 'significant contribution to the New York dining scene:" his Gustavademecum [more inside]
From the How To Be A Retronaut archives: U.S SENATE DINING MENU, Thursday August 27th, 1964
Diner's Guide to the Working Conditions of American Restaurants [PDF] published by labor advocates at Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.
Reconstructing nostalgic childhood food at Grant Achatz Next Restaurant. Background on 'Eater'. Previous menu of 1906 Paris. The business behind Next. Moléculaire!
The Newport. Harry's. Fluties. Indochine. Nell's. Cornell Club. The New York Yacht Club. The regular places.
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]
Michelin inspectors have been anonymous as CIA spooks. Until now. And now. The New Yorker has a rare interview with one.
One of the best parts of watching Mad Men is the perfectly recreated world of 1960s New York. Who doesn’t wish they could simply step into their tvs for a moment and experience the romance of sipping a cocktail in an elegant 60s bar? Guest of a Guest put together a list of Mad Men inspired locales, consisting of places that have been around since the 1960s as well as their modern counterparts. Here’s everything you need to know to dress, drink, eat, and live like a character out of Mad Men.
As I sat there, dazed and sweating, I felt hung-over, bordering on ashamed. ”Dear Lord,” I whispered, “what have I done to myself? I still have an entree coming! Will I survive?
The New York steak dinner, or beefsteak, is a form of gluttony as stylized and regional as the riverbank fish fry, the hot-rock clambake, or the Texas barbecue. Some old chefs believe it had its origin sixty or seventy years ago, when butchers from the slaughterhouses on the East River would sneak choice loin cuts into the kitchens of nearby saloons, grill them over charcoal, and feast on them during their Saturday-night sprees. - Joseph Mitchell, 1939. [more inside]
Greatbrewers.com releases the Beer Sommelier. Beer is increasingly considered the ideal beverage to accompany food for its palate cleansing carbonation and its diverse range of styles featuring flavor and aroma characteristics that can enhance any dish. But selecting the right beer style to complement a specific dish, and tracking down a retailer that carries that style presents inherent challenges. Masterfully select the best beer styles to pair with any dish, see examples of those styles, and track down individual beers in your neighborhood with the Beer Sommelier. [more inside]
"Some American consumers believe sriracha (properly pronounced SIR-rotch-ah) to be a Thai sauce. Others think it is Vietnamese. The truth is that sriracha, as manufactured by Huy Fong Foods, may be best understood as an American sauce, a polyglot purée with roots in different places and peoples." A Chili Sauce to Crow About.
Communities of and for foodies. Foodbuzz is about dining out, cooking at home, discovering a new flavor, drooling over a food blog, or swapping recipes. Check out Today's Top 9, a daily feature. Chowhound is the community for Chow.com. Dozens of boards enable you to drill down to local favorites, like this request for live crawfish in Virginia. Both communities have very active memberships.
What's the hardest dining reservation to score? French Laundry? Nope. El Bulli? Non. D.C.'s minibar? Not even close. [more inside]
Well, that's one less Carolina flying squirrel, but having it for dinner might actually help keep them around. A list of endangered American species once common on the dinner table has become a book, its author, Gary Paul Nabham, encouraging the reader to keep disappearing local culinary traditions alive. Endangered Dinners.
My favorite entree is the salmon sandwich on foccacia bread. Water is served with a slice of cucumber which is very refreshing.Which profession dines out the most? Whose judgements can be counted on for honesty and straightforwardness? The truckers'.
Bored with that same old business meeting? Why not try a dinner in the sky? But if it's a view you're after, you could probably take a few of your clients here for the same price. (flash & sound alert; film clip on main site is slow to load)
FoodCandy. A foodie hang.
Chicago: The New Barcelona? When it comes to cuisine, GQ seems to think so.
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