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The One Story I’d Like You to Read This Week

From the Editor: An incredibly important piece, where to eat/stay/go in DC, and more this week

A scene at Ode to Babel in Brooklyn
Photo by Eli Schmidt

This post originally appeared on April 21, 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.

Before we get into some other, unrelated thoughts, I want to direct your attention to this long-in-the-works piece about the importance of three Black-owned bars in Brooklyn. The feature was the brainchild of our manager of visuals and design Brittany Holloway-Brown, who wanted to pay tribute to the incredibly cool designs of these spaces. This piece does that, while also — through the words of writer Muna Mire — explaining these places’ relevance as gathering points in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods.

Ode to Babel
Photo by Eli Schmidt

Now, I am writing this to you all from the Amtrak heading home from a small offsite in D.C. One fun-but-challenging aspect of the Eater network is how dispersed our staff is. While many of us are in New York in the Vox Media offices, pretty much our entire part-time staff and almost half of our full-time employees live elsewhere. I consider it a great competitive advantage, to be able to bring a national perspective to our coverage while having on-the-ground experts in dozens of major cities — but it can also be hard to make everyone feel like they’re part of the same team.

Once a year we do a big annual retreat where the entire crew gets together in New York. And, new to this year, we have regional offsites for our city editors. This is a long-winded way of saying I got to spend 24 hours in D.C. eating a bunch of food, workshopping articles and headlines, and playing get-to-know-you games with some colleagues I rarely see. A couple of highlights from the road:

  • Yes, the Obama portraits are absolutely gorgeous. As is Elaine de Kooning’s portrait of Kennedy (which is apparently “in conversation” with Kehinde Wiley’s Obama piece, according to my Insta DMs). If you’re in town to see those sometime in the next month, I also highly recommend the Sally Mann exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. Absolutely stunning work. (h/t Melany Robinson)
  • Bad Saint — the exalted and wildly popular Filipino restaurant in Columbia Heights — is everything everyone said it would be. I usually refuse to wait in lines, but forced myself to do it this time, and ultimately found it worth the hour standing in the too-cold-for-April weather. The menu changes too often for me to recommend anything, but if you go soon, don’t miss the prawns.
  • The Line Hotel is perfect. If you’ve been to the Line in LA, this one is just as stylish, just as hip, but 100 times less weird and clubby. And it feels like every detail — from the branded pencils and notebooks on the desk, to the decorative old books and framed esoterica and lighting fixtures with dimmers — was obsessively considered. Plus, during cherry blossom season it was one of the cheaper hotels I could find!
  • There, I only got to eat at Brothers & Sisters, the lobby restaurant from Erik Bruner-Yang. I had a very wonderfully spicy duck consume and caesar salad (with big fat anchovies). An old NY favorite of mine, Pichet Ong, is there making the most extravagant cakes. Elsewhere in the hotel, they have a coffee shop, a fancy restaurant from Baltimore’s Spike Gjerde, a cocktail bar that looks too pretentious even for me, and a standing-only Japanese dinner spot. Next time.
  • Oh, and they also have a radio station in the lobby, which is almost… too cool.
  • I got to see my soon-to-be-friend (I’m working on it) Joe House, of Ringer podcast fame, and now have a whole to-do list for when I’m next in town, including Maydan, the whole Wharf complex, and Supra.

Openings of the week

New to my to-try list:

Hide, the biggest restaurant opening in London this season:

“Ground” on the ground floor at Hide
Photo: Official

Bavel, the new LA Middle Eastern restaurant from the team behind Bestia:

Apps and spreads at Bavel
Photo by Nicole Franzen

Canard, Gabriel Rucker’s PDX follow-up to Le Pigeon:

The bar at Canard
Photo by Dina Avila/Eater PDX

On Eater

Khachapuri adjaruli at Georgian Dream
Photo by A.E. Davis

Last week on the Upsell

Dan and I talk to Giada De Laurentiis about why the success of her Vegas restaurant was so important to her, the stereotypes she’s been fighting her whole career, and how she feels about the downfall of her mentor Mario Batali. Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Off Eater

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