The magazine is bringing sexy back. I would ask everyone to vote for me, but I can’t win since I am an employee of the magazine. Who am I kidding, no one’s voting for a 49-year-old bald fat guy. But since I swim in the food world, I am curious about sexiest cooks around town? Who comes to mind for you, male or female?
Did everyone see the awesome list of hot 'new’ travel spots in Sunday’s Times?
I am sold on checking out half of them, and the other half I can wholeheartedly endorse.
I was catching up on weekend reading yesterday, and I came across all the posts on Shefzilla that Stewart put up featuring pics of his new dishes on the winter menu. I know John Occhiato is streaming video from D’Amico Kitchen, and I know that for years many avid restaurant junkies like myself have been frustrated by poorly maintained restaurant websites that post incomplete information, old menus, and outdated hours. But it occurred to me that with the plug and load capability of even disposable cameras, there's no reason for restaurants and chefs not to post snaps of the food and their thoughts on the dishes. I know some do, but I think it's time everyone does, it’s a great sales tool.
Speaking of sales tools, in my opinion, nothing could have prevented Maggiano's from closing. The food was bad. And its schtick was dated. RIP. By the way, I drove by Sapor last week, and it reminded me that the greatest success story of the last decade in local food news would be how that very committed and determined group has kept this notable establishment open through thick and thin. They deserve some kind of award, and I am hoping a return visit if you haven’t been in a while.
I am not one to hop on bandwagons, but whomever is trumpeting the notion that the world became more rude and unpleasant this last year, I agree. In the last week, both doctor offices I dealt with were downright bitchy and obnoxious, a flight crew was appalled at my asking them to check the power in my seat because it was nonfunctional (hey, if you offer the service it’s not unfair to ask that it be made available!?!?!?), retail staff at about a dozen stores that my wife and I ran errands to couldn’t have cared less about our business, and I can see it in most of my restaurant visits as well. Adam Platt and I have long bemoaned how hospitality is dead, and how customers eat out for other reasons these days. Price, convenience, fakery and artifice, and aspiration all seem more important than hospitality to our latest generation of diners. It's one more reason why the most popular new eateries opening all around the country are casual. When is someone going to bring back the Automat? It’s the perfect concept for the decade we just slid into.
In Wednesday’s WSJ, two piece caught my attention. Anne Jolis wrote a piece detailing the plight of a French wine that wont be sold Down Under because the name on the bottle is Kiwi Cuvee and the label protectionists down there are up in arms much the same way that for the last hundred years only brandy from Cognac can be called Cognac. You get the drift. The longtime justification is that some brands and place names should be protected and given what is essentially a trademark because the products origin defines the very thing it is. I agree with that. But there is now a sticky sweet allure for every producer in the world of even the most insipid of goods to seek special status for place name foods. I think its wrong for domestic cheesmakers here to make a cured and aged pig leg and call it Parma ham. Come up with your own name for crying out loud, that one's taken! But until the WTO or some other august body grandfathers in the 1000 or so special products around the globe and then wipes the slate clean on everyone else, we are going to have these kinds of crazy fractious debates every year.
And finally in truly stupid moronic fashion the WSJ has a front-page story from Ben Worthen on how new TSA rules will make for greater scrutiny at airports thereby limiting a chefs potential success playing their favorite pastime, smuggling food. Several chefs interviewed said that they rely on smuggling salumi into the country as a way to analyze and reverse engineer products for sale here in this country. Are you kidding me???!!!!??? Whatever happened to going over to Italy for a week and eating and taking notes and asking questions and coming home and using trial and error to create a unique product for yourself? Everyone wants the easier softer way. Sad.