I generally have a sunny disposition, but everything leaves me red with anger these days. How could you not feel that way? Trooper-gate leaves me speechless, and despite the fleeting thought I had last week that things couldn’t get much worse, they really and truly have.
Wall Street rallied yesterday, but there’s no real plan for healing what’s broken. Unless Paul Krugman becomes the Treasury Secretary, I shall remain dyspeptic. There was actually a fluff piece on CNN yesterday about some ninety-somethings in the South reminiscing about dining on squirrel stew and other ‘wild foods’ during the Great Depression. It would be hysterical if it weren’t so poignantly sad and timely.
Everyone I know is hurting, one way or another, from what is cutely nicknamed the ‘credit crunch.’ And with the economy in such bad shape, plenty of businesses, restaurants, and others will not survive. I want to go back to worrying most about who makes the best burger in town, but right now that seems awfully trivial. These are serious times, and our elected officials need to be serious people.
Recent posters to this blog seem to think that the only way to support local restaurants is by ignoring the truth, which is that many restaurants out there are sucking the gas pipe; pretending these restaurants are not hurting doesn’t do anyone any good. Of course I support local eateries. I do it every time I dine out, which is frequently. My job is not to encourage locals to head to restaurants that have empty seats just for the sake of filling them. How ludicrous is that idea? Those who suggest that by not calling for some action in that vein (or not sending people to empty restaurants) I am being unsupportive of local restaurants are bonkers.
Yes, I get evaluated every week on the numbers of viewers who are tuning in to my show; oftentimes I see minute-by-minute numbers, even for re-runs, so I am in the same boat as anyone else selling a product. If there is a market for it, you stay in the game; if not, you are out. Simple. This conversation reminds me of the body count we ran on this site last year. The same point was made by the complainers back then. Why is everyone so afraid to confront the numbers? By posting numbers or by talking about restaurants, good and bad, that are losing business, we are calling attention to anomalies or trends in the industry that allow readers to draw their own conclusions. Then they can act on that info, voting with their feet.
Tor Westgard, the chef-owner of Town Talk Diner, has sold the restaurant to the Theros Group, the same cats who own Rudolph’s and the St. Clair Broiler. Rest in Peace TTD. It will never be the same. Well, actually, it hasn’t been the same for awhile, but you get the point. The hottest spot in town in 2007 is now gone. What does that tell you?!
Manny’s is packed, lunch and dinner. The move to the W Hotel seems to be the smartest move of the year for a high-end steak house. It exposes the restaurant to new customers and gives it more out-of-town travelers who can afford its product (W vs. Hyatt).
Alinea, the cookbook, was spotted locally last week by my wife and I at YUM. I was livid. I had ordered that a year ago and have now seen it in several places despite promises by Achatz et al. that pre-ordering through the restaurant website was the best way to go. If you are in the same boat, don’t despair. We called Alinea, and Grant and team are personally unwrapping and signing all the limited-edition copies and then mailing them out by the end of this week. Whew!
Collichio was in town last week to meet, greet, and demo his butt off for the Mpls.St.Paul Magazine event at the W Hotel. He is a wonderful guy, and in real life, he is quite the kind gentleman, much different than the character he presents on Top Chef. His new eatery, TOM, opens this fall in NYC and will only be open one night per week. TC will actually cook all the food. That’s what you call a tough table.
Spotted: I did the TODAY Show today, and while in NYC, I saw some interesting people:
David What’s His Name, the winner of American Idol, eating at Nobu in Manhattan, surrounded by his people, twitching nervously, and looking around the packed room hoping someone would recognize him. No one gave a sh*t.
Maureen McCormick smoking cigarettes outside the stage door to the TODAY Show in between her segments. Her tell-all book is boring: “I did coke, I had sex, blah, blah, blah . . . ” Meeting her was a blast. What can I say? I am part of the Brady Generation.
Josh Brolin . . . really cool guy, much shorter in real life than I imagined he would be. Very swarthy. We chatted about his movie, the new Oliver Stone flick. Brolin is very smart and superbly nice, chatting with fans and friends for an hour in the lobby of 30 Rock.
Donna Mills. . . . I have never seen more makeup on a woman in my life. Knots Landing has been very good to her, I guess, since she had quite the entourage.
Nick Wallenda . . . star power, reality show charisma. This guy has a lot of deals in the works. Look for some new stuff from him on the TV really soon. Think Survivor but with circus school.