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The Salad Shift That Shook New York

From the Editor: The Eater Guide to Rome, the James Beards Awards, RIP chopped salad, and more in food this week

A controversial not-chopped salad from just salad
Photo: Just Salad / Facebook

This post originally appeared on May 12, 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.

I have two main stories to talk about, both equal in importance to me (no offense to either story). But before we jump in, please check out our beautiful, servicey, insightful, and inspiring Eater Guide to Rome, perfect for armchair and actual travelers alike.

Okay, first story: the James Beard Restaurant Awards happened. (I’ve already shared my thoughts on awards, so I won’t go too much into that here.) For these particular awards, a committee of gatekeepers selects the semi-finalists via sourcing advice from voters and the public, huddles up locally, and then argues over them in person at an offsite. Then hundreds of eligible voters narrow the committee’s selections down to semi-finalists and then winners.

It’s an interesting hybrid system, my only complaint being that, as a voter, one can vote in any category whether you are expert in the area or not, leading to more wins for places that have the benefit of PR or tourism boards. (For example, I can vote in the Pacific Northwest category if I want, even if I’ve only been to Portland because of a recurring food festival there; and I can vote in the best restaurateur category even if I’ve never been to the restaurants of, say, Martha Hoover in Indianapolis.)

Anyway, I think the committee did a nice job presenting the voters with some solid candidates this year, and it led to a diverse and representative group of winners. For true insight and analysis, I’ll direct you to the wonderful Korsha Wilson and Hillary Dixler Canavan.

Second: The New York story about local salad chain Just Salad halting their bespoke chopping (via the New York Post) is such a great local news piece, because every office drone from the Battery to Central Park knows this lunch and has strong feelings about whether a) having a person chop your salad ingredients and mix them in front of you so everything is perfectly distributed and dressed and exactly the same size is one of life’s great pleasures, or b) these salad people are losing their minds over nothing and people should just learn to chew. I also just love that one of the selling points from the Just Salad CEO is the elimination of the “crazy acoustics of chopping.”

Openings to add to your dining agenda

What the hell, why aren’t you at the insane-looking Broken Shaker rooftop bar in New York this very second?

Broken Shaker
Photography by Alex Staniloff

Chef Chris Shepherd’s evolution of Underbelly, called UB Preserv, serving queso fundido, noodle cakes with crawfish tails, mega seafood towers, and more in Houston.

The giant all-day cafe, bakery, and market from the crew behind Austin’s acclaimed Odd Duck.

Sour duck’s burger at Odd Duck in Austin
Photography by Courtney Pierce

Barbecue deity Adam Perry Lang’s Hollywood house of meat.

And Bright, the place where all the London cool kids will flock to over the next year.

On Eater

On the Upsell

Dan and I chat with legendary cookbook author, TV star, and former op-ed columnist and restaurant reviewer Nigella Lawson about how she’s driven by fear, how she controls everything on her show, how she writes recipes, and why home chefs have an edge on restaurant chefs. Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.

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