This post originally appeared on July 13, 2019, 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.
This week I was chatting with our restaurant editor Hillary Dixler Canavan about this year’s Best New Restaurants list, a project that she spearheads alongside our city editors and other staffers sprawled across the country. She said that eating at San Antonio restaurant The Jerk Shack felt like being on vacation. It’s a counter service spot near an Army base, serving fiery wings, braised oxtails, and mac and cheese on picnic tables lined with newspaper. Bob Marley blares over the speakers; fans blow toward the patio.
Meanwhile, of another entry to the list, Kentucky’s The Baker’s Table, she wrote the restaurant “invites the midday lazing that defines a vacation’s lunch.”
I just think it’s a lovely way to think about restaurant-going, whether it’s in your town or not. For example, I went to Frenchette, a 2018 Best New Restaurant, last weekend, and the severe heat of the night and the emptiness of the Tribeca streets at 8 p.m. on a Saturday (locals there head to the Hamptons these summer weekends) made me feel like I was on my own little summer sojourn. The campari-gin-lemon-strawberry cocktail over pellet ice didn’t hurt.
That might be my new metric for new spots: Do I feel transported? Can I convince myself, if just for a moment, that I’m stepping outside my normal life? Can it get me out of my head? Or am I drinking some cloudy natural wine, sitting three stools down from the Brooklyn-based food writer I ran into twice already this month? Also fun, but maybe not the vacation I need right now.
- Intel: Uber Eats now, strangely, offers a dine-in option; as speculated last year, an investment firm is putting $100 million into Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant empire, setting him up for a major American expansion; Chicago chef Iliana Regan closed her Japanese restaurant Kitsune and her just-opened bakery Bunny; Montreal now has a restaurant dedicated to fried skewers (kushikatsu); Subway made the weirdest commercial; pitmaster Bryan Furman is planning the comeback of his beloved B Cracklin Barbecue after a devastating fire; the BBC set up a fake restaurant in London and was able to deliver food via Uber Eats; the team behind Chicago’s Alinea opened a new supper club; the chef behind SF’s AL’s Place opened a spinoff inspired by Jewish delis and Israeli street food, AL’s Deli; the people behind Charleston and Nashville’s Butcher & Bee opened a new Tex-Mex spot called Redheaded Stranger in Nashville; if you like industry drama, look no further than the dustup between a fancy Manhattan chef and the Hamptons club owner who hired him to consult on a restaurant and then ran out of money; Lululemon now has a restaurant in Chicago and so does Crate & Barrel; and the long and ugly legal battle between the maker of Sriracha and the ranch that used to grow red jalapeño peppers for the hot sauce finally came to a close last week, when a jury awarded $23.3 million to the pepper growers.
- How the next generation of food workers is turning to the co-op model to find equity.
- Why cooking schools teach pilaf but not jollof, mother sauces but not mole.
- Networks need to stop re-making international cooking competitions.
- The best dishes to eat in LA’s Chinatown.
- How to translate some of the cool of Tokyo-style listening bars to your own home.
- I’m very eager to try the cocktails and the sherry-flavored soft serve at Dos Mamis in DC.
- Check out our three-part docuseries about the process of coming out as a food business.
This Week on the Podcast
This week on the Eater Upsell, Daniel and I discuss Uber Eats’ new dining in option, bone marrow on tap, new Crate & Barrel and Lululemon restaurants, and more.
- Why the ikejime method of killing fish is so much more humane (and leads to better-tasting product). [Vox.com]
- An alarming number of food couriers working for Uber Eats and its competitors in Mexico are dying. [The Verge]
- I LOVE that aviation geeks are flocking to the TWA Hotel’s roof pool to stare out at the runway. [NYMag]
- How an anxious cook cleans vegetables in an era of increased foodborne illnesses. [Taste]
Eater, “yucking on other people’s yum” since 2005.