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 Disney Food Blog offers in-depth news, reviews, and information about food and restaurants in Disney’s parks, resorts, and cruise ships, along with reviews and photographs of and about anything food-related in Disney parks, resorts, movies, and events. Disney food FAQs. Disney food news.
"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.
Chili's Has Installed More Than 45,000 Tablets in Its Restaurants — When your server is a screen, you spend more money. Hungry? No human server in sight? With a flick of your wrist, you can instantly order more appetizers and drinks, indulge your whim for Baby Back Ribs, let the kids play games, read the news, pay your check (with a default tip), and get done faster. Be sure to save room for some Cinnamon Molten Cake: doesn't it look tasty?
There’s nothing better than spending a night out to dinner at one of your favorite restaurants, reveling in the food and the service, and those quality after-dinner mints in the little wrappers. Until you run into one of these people: The 44 Worst People in Every Restaurant
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]
'There’s more lobster out there right now than anyone knows what to do with, but Americans are still paying for it as if it were a rare delicacy.' Also, from 2004: David Foster Wallace goes to the Maine Lobster Festival. Via)
The bloggers at The St. Louis Slinger Tour have completed their comprehensive 16 month review of the Slingers available at 58 different St. Louis area restaurants. Follow them chronologically or check out Tim and Tony's Top 10 for later enjoyment (consensus favorite: The Sidebar). Also available for your convenience is a list of the worst Slingers in St. Louis (e.g. Uncle Bill's), to be avoided or ordered out of morbid curiosity. [more inside]
Cooking For Freedom
A few days before I met Ahmed Jama in Mogadishu, three Islamist gunmen from Al Shabaab — al-Qa’eda’s Somali branch — burst into his new restaurant wearing suicide bomb jackets. They sprayed the place with bullets and then detonated themselves.NPR: At His Own Risk, Somali Chef Creates Gourmet Haven In War-Weary Mogadishu [more inside]
Tufts University senior Maximus Thaler is raising funds to start a Freegan, pay what you can restaurant out of a Somerville, MA apartment. Food for the restaurant comes from local dumpsters.
"I was never threatened covering the cops beat nor while reporting on a big Mafia trial, but I was threatened – twice – for writing negative reviews of two restaurants. Shows where the passion is, I guess." Restaurant critics write about (and link to) their most negative reviews and discuss the measured and reasonable responses they received after their publication. [more inside]
Vanity Fair: What's Wrong With The Michelin Guide. Esquire:Why It's Hard To Trust The Michelin Standards. FT:Star-Crossed: Once universally revered, the Michelin Guide is now dismissed by some as a relic of a bygone age
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.
Drive 8.7 km (5.4 miles) west of the municipality of Roses in Catalonia, Spain, and you'll get to the gates of the renowned avant-garde restaurant, El Bulli. Run by Ferran Adrià since 1987, the restaurant closed in 2012 due to Adrià and his partner Juli Soler losing a half million Euros a year on the restaurant and Adrià's cooking workshop in Barcelona. Slate's Noreen Malone wrote an article on the history of the "I Ate at El Bulli" piece, giving an overview of tropes that you could expect in an IAaEB piece, and you can browse images tagged "elbulli" on Flickr for snapshots of personal experiences. But for an extended look into what went into making the ever-changing 35-course taster's menu, El Bulli: Cooking in Progress (Trailer on YT and Vimeo) is a 109 minute documentary on the preparation and implementation of the 2008/9 season, an "extreme fly-on-the-wall vérité, with only the barest context provided." If you're looking for recipes, Molecular Recipes has a few listed under the El Bulli tag. [more inside]
How a frugal economist finds the perfect lunch. Tyler Cowen's Ethnic Dining Guide: Some places you must try. How to find good deals when food shopping for home. How to find the best food in a foreign city.
You have only 128 days left to eat at Charlie Trotter's eponymous restaurant in Chicago. [more inside]
From the How To Be A Retronaut archives: U.S SENATE DINING MENU, Thursday August 27th, 1964
Kitchen Nightmares shows Gordon Ramsay helping restaurants make miraculous turnarounds. Ramsay helped relaunch Austin, Texas's El Greco, but the restaurant still ended up closing. Some people are saying that Ramsay's interference may have been the final nail in the coffin for the restaurant.
Diner's Guide to the Working Conditions of American Restaurants [PDF] published by labor advocates at Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.
This had to be the most amazing merchandising operation I had ever seen! I don't remember whether I ate a hamburger for lunch that day or not. I went back to my car and waited around until about 2:30 in the afternoon, when the crowd dwindled down to just an occasional customer. Then I went over to the building and introduced myself to Mac and Dick McDonald. (very previously) [more inside]
Reconstructing nostalgic childhood food at Grant Achatz Next Restaurant. Background on 'Eater'. Previous menu of 1906 Paris. The business behind Next. Moléculaire!
Diner for Schmucks. GQ's restaurant reviewer Alan Richman had heard "nothing but great things about M. Wells, one of New York City's hottest restaurants—the food was amazing, the setting sublime, the ambience charming. And, in fact, everything was going quite well. Until..." More at Eater. (Via) [more inside]
Dishtip is a service that combs through restaurant reviews on other sites and attempts to figure out the best dishes of a particular type in a city of your choice (e.g. waffles in New York or tacos in San Francisco) or a particular restaurant's best dishes (say at Alinea).
A few days ago, Los Angeles Times food critic, S. Irene Virbila, was photographed and kicked out of Jordan Kahn's new Beverly Hills restaurant, Red Medicine. [more inside]
The Taxi Gourmet Every week, I get in a taxi, ask the driver to take me to his or her favorite restaurant. [more inside]
Yesterday, reports leaked out that KFC was releasing a new sandwich, consisting of 5 layers of fried chicken skin between two (bread) buns. Sadly, it was later revealed to be a hoax. Undaunted, some people at the Chicago Tribune went ahead and made the sandwich anyway.
The Saint Louis Bread Company Cares Cafe opened Sunday, as an experiment by Ron Shaich, former CEO of Panera Bread. Customers are asked to pay what they can afford. [more inside]
The owners of Casa Saltshaker in Buenos Aires have compiled a list of venues in what they refer to as the Underground Dining Scene. [more inside]
"Real Meals": Will Self's (relatively) new fortnightly restaurant column reviewing high street food outlets for The New Statesman. Thus far: McDonald's, KFC, Indian Restaurant, Starbucks, Subway.
There have been precious few times that a restaurant review had me laughing out loud, even on page 2.
Giles Coren is restaurant critic at the Times (of London). Last week he wrote a very angry letter to the subeditors complaining that they were "tinkering with his copy". The subs were guilty of deleting a single indefinite article. [more inside]
According to the recently published book The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, the best Chinese restaurant outside China is Zen Fine Chinese Cuisine, tucked away on the second floor of a mall along a section of Richmond, BC (a Vancouver suburb) that's known by the Chinese community as Eat Street. [more inside]
DOH. Its Valentine's Day and you forgot to make a reservation, and now everyone's all booked up. Except White Castle. [more inside]
Tastier tofu courtesy of Shiok Food, a fantastic Thai cooking blog run by chef and restauranteur madman.
You know Bruce Schneier the polymath security genius. Now meet Bruce Schneier the kind-hearted reviewer of local Minnesota restaurants. (He doesn't like to give bad reviews -- sounds like "security through obscurity" to me!)
At Dans Le Noir ? you can "experience the unique interaction between clientele and guides as your food and wine are served in total darkness". Is it really a pitch-black dining room? "Yes it is ! The room where the dinner takes place is completely dark! We aren't used to completely dark environment since you hardly find this level of darkness in daily life as, we are used to small rays of light from the streetlights or moonlight but in the Dans le Noir ? restaurant there is no light at all!" Worried about going to the loo? Don't be, because "the toilets are fully lit".
The Epicurean online. Charles Ranhofer's 1893 book The Epicurean is available online from the Michigan State University Library and the Museum as part of their Feeding America digital project. Ranhofer was the head chef at Delmonico's Restaurant from 1862 to 1894; he popularized the Escoffier version of French cooking to America, modifying it to take advantage of American foods such as turkey, squash, corn, and Pacific salmon. Besides thousands of recipes, The Epicurean discusses table settings, menus, various methods of presentation, and kitchen management. The book may be downloaded as a PDF in two parts.
We know that the French take their food seriously, and restaurant ratings are a BIG deal over there. But here's a sad illustration of that: famed chef Bernard Loiseau was found dead yesterday of an apparent suicide, and speculation centers around his downgraded rating from the influential GaultMillau guide. Shades of Vatel?
In the long stretch of culinary history, the creation of the menu was a notable development. In the U.S., New York is the restaurant capital, and the New York Public Library has an enormous collection of menus, many of which they are currently displaying in a third-floor gallery. If you're in NYC (or will be visiting this winter) and are interested in such things, don't miss it; it's showing until March 1.