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What Your Take on Water Pickles Says About You

From the Editor: Everything you missed in food news last week

Mission Chinese Bushwick spicy ice Robert Sietsema/Eater

This post originally appeared on October 27, 2018, in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.


First up, please check out our brand-new video series, Sugar Coated, in which host Rebecca DeAngelis gets to research and develop new confections, techniques, and wild experiments in some of the country’s best bakeries, pastry kitchens, and restaurants.

Otherwise, right now I’m very much enjoying responses to the news that Mission Chinese, the renegade Sichuan restaurant/partyplace, serves what appears to be a big bowl of spicy ice — listed on the menu as “water pickles” — for $8 in Manhattan and Brooklyn (and for delivery!). (Danny Bowien swears it’s more than just flavored ice.) The reactions are better than the dish itself.

Do you think he’s trolling us all, a la Eater’s Serena Dai?

Do you think it’s end times, a la New York magazine’s Adam Platt?

Do you think this is no worse than charging for bread and butter, a la chef Dave Chang?

Do you think it’s no worse than paying for bottled water, a la Alison Roman?

Do you think it’s no different than kakigori, a la Francis Lam?

Do you think this is another sign of Bowien’s genius and his demand that a diner truly explore a dish, a la this guy on Twitter?

OR do you think they’re “misleadingly named” and “confusingly categorized,” but also a “terrific high-contrast tool to see how and from what vectors we assign value to food as a retail good!” a la Helen Rosner?

What a delight.

On Eater

On the Podcasts

This week on The Upsell, Daniel and I talk to butchers, small-business owners, and Youtube stars Brent Young and Ben Turley about the wild world of sustainable meat.

And on this week’s episode of our business podcast, Start to Sale, hosts Erin and Natasha talk to Piera Gelardi. a co-founder of Refinery29, about how she had to adapt her role and strategy as her business grew.

Off Eater

  • How an Austin barbecue restaurant owner is grappling with the temptation to sell his land to vulture real estate developers for a life-changing $5 million sum: “It makes me cry, when I’ve got to choose between my neighborhood and money.” [TM]
  • Remember when those economists said Seattle’s minimum wage hike hurt most workers? They’ve changed their tune. NYT]
  • Uber hopes to have food-delivery drones by 2021. [WSJ]
  • In my next life I want to be a cool bookstore owner who publicly calls my landlord a “dickhead” when he raises my rent by 136%, a la Sarah McNally.
  • Choire Sicha is so good he can make a blah column about personal tech within the newsroom funny and strangely profound. [NYT]
  • Really enjoying this “Hungerlust” series from Culture Trip, especially the one about a Paris baker who was able to come out with the help of his naughty baguettes. [Culture Trip]
  • Cookbook author J.J. Goode brings his typical self-deprecating humor to his own disability in his search for a one-armed cookbook. [Taste]
  • Costco, which sells 60 million rotisserie chickens per year, is building an awe-inspiring (in the scary way!) production system to cut out the middle men. [NPR]
  • The current and complex state of Gilroy, the garlic capital of the world. [Curbed]
  • Saving this for the weekend when it shows up in print, but New York Times Magazine’s Candy Issue! [NYTMag]

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