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Anthony Bourdain on Dining in LA; Amazon’s Robot Alexa Will Make You Coffee

Percolate over these five bits of food news


"Alexa, start brewing my favorite coffee."

Amazon’s virtual assistant/countertop robot Alexa can now make coffee. And according to CNET, when you run out of coffee the bot will work with Amazon Dash buttons to reorder your favorite beans. One thing it won’t do? Make dinner reservations. For that you can use Google’s virtual assistant, which connects directly to OpenTable. Or — get this — for most restaurants, you can still pick up the phone and secure a reservation the old-fashioned way.

If you aren’t currently standing in line for free coffee at one of hundreds of Luke’s Diner pop-ups across the country, it’s likely that you know someone who is. Or, if you’re like me and you had no idea Luke’s Diner was an important part of the show Gilmore Girlswhich ran until 2007 but has since been revived by Netflix — read on for other interesting food-related news:

— Speaking of coffee, in a surprising and somewhat hard-to-believe move first reported by Bloomberg, today McDonald’s announced it would begin buying all of its coffee from sustainable sources by 2020. Last year only 37 percent of all of McDonald’s coffee was sourced from sustainable purveyors. According to Bloomberg, “switching its coffee sourcing is part of the burger giant’s attempt to spruce up its menu with better ingredients.”

— Last night’s vice presidential debate... made a few headlines. But Stephen Colbert may have said it best on the Late Show: “It was like watching a loaf of white bread get pistol whipped by jar of mayonnaise.”

— Chicago-based chef Rick Bayless did a bag dump for the New York Times recently. Surprising things he always packs before a trip: Gift-wrapping ribbon (for gifts), an electric coffee maker, and very fancy sporks.

— Another day, another Anthony Bourdain interview. This time, Bourdain tells Thrillist what he ate recently while in LA:

I hadn't been to chi SPACCA before. That was amazing. I really, really, really appreciated it and enjoyed it. I went to a place out in Burbank. Josh Homme [from Queens of the Stone Age] turned me on to it: Chili John's, in Burbank. It was awesome. Oh man. It's been there since the '20s, since like Prohibition. It's really cheap thrills. Delicious, about as not-fancy as you get. It's not hipster chili. It's ground meat, you know, just really good. Slopped on top of some beans and rice. It was delicious. I went there. And I always go to Park's Barbeque. I think their banchan are some of the best I've ever had.

— Finally, in a recent op-ed SF-based chef Daniel Patterson, of Coi and Locol fame, reveals his struggles with depression:

I’ve always had my ups and downs. Some days were harder than others. Some years were harder than others. I thought it was a more or less normal outgrowth of a flawed character, something I should accept, endure, survive. I never considered medication, though. I wasn’t one of those people.

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