This post originally appeared on May 1, 2021 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.
In February, I dined in the quiet backyard of a trendy Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn with a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. We caught up on each other’s lives, on work, on post-pandemic vacation dreams. And we gossiped. About someone in particular. At length.
Of course that person was sitting at the next table, which I noticed on my way to the bathroom, where I hastily texted my friend and accomplice. How long had she been sitting there? What did she hear? Did we say her name? Can we hear what she’s saying? Is she also being indiscrete and therefore must not know we are also within earshot? We went into a full spiral.
Turns out I’m rusty at this! But it’s not just me. At another outdoor dinner a few weeks later, a friend of mine asked the waiter for “a wine” when he asked what she wanted to drink. Another stood up to leave before we paid the bill. Meanwhile, a colleague told me this week he is relearning to withhold burps while socializing.
I doubt you need the reminder that we’re all, at best, a little out of practice at all dining out and socializing (and at worst, completely feral). But remember we’re all in the same boat. And if you want to share your awkward re-entry stories (or even stories about weirdo customers where you work), I’m here for it (email@example.com).
— Registration is live for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, aka the $28.6 billion in government grants covering full-year 2020 losses (up to $10 million). They will start handing out grants on Monday, prioritizing establishments owned by women, veterans, or people from economically and socially disadvantaged groups. Here’s our explainer on the program.
— Recipe site Epicurious will no longer publish new beef recipes.
— Responding to restaurant complaints (and legislative commission caps), delivery company DoorDash announced a more flexible tiered pricing program for restaurants.
— Filing under The Rich Get Richer: While most restaurateurs limp out of this pandemic, Major Food Group opened four restaurants so far this year and have nine more planned before the end of 2021.
— LA chef David Schlosser threw shade at Japanese restaurants for not respecting and promoting the cuisine the way he does at his restaurant Shibumi. The blowback was immediate and predictable.
— D.C. is enjoying an enviable focaccia boom.
— A somewhat offensive and excessively tacky trailer park-themed bar opened in Houston.
— When my co-worker Jamesy went to South Korea in December to see his family for the first time in seven years, he had to quarantine in a facility for 14 days. There was no bed, but they delivered delicious dosiraks three times a day. Here’s his food diary.
— Ryan Sutton files on an exciting destination for both Korean wings and Nashville-style hot chicken sandwiches in New York.
— Feeling very jealous of people in LA and San Francisco who can order these beautiful egg tarts and caneles from Spoons Patisserie.
— Watch as my podcast co-host Dan Geneen visits America’s only eel farm. Skip ahead to minute nine to see him try to butcher one.
— Julia Moskin has a jaw-dropping exposé (even for these times) of the work culture (racist, sexist, dangerous) and business practices (deceitful!) of Willows Inn, the locavore destination off the coast of Washington State. [NYT]
— Welcome to the golden age of pizza in America. [F&W]
— Guy Fieri recently renewed his contract through 2024, and the alleged eight-figure deal is “said to be the biggest talent deal of its kind for Discovery Inc.” [THR]
— The allure of the Japanese fruit sando. [Atlas Obscura]