This post originally appeared on June 9, 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 don’t think I’m going to be able to add much to what has already been said, written, tweeted, and otherwise shared during this sad time for the food community. Anthony Bourdain died on Friday, and the world cried out in mourning. Those who truly know him mourn him for infinite reasons we will never and should never understand, reasons big and small and private. But for those casual friends or acquaintances or fans, we mourn him because:
He was a singular and powerful storyteller, original in his style, catholic in his curiosities. He created good things as a writer and host, and he recognized good things as an editor, producer, and publisher.
He was a brilliant commentator. He had a mind that could quickly and easily cut through the bullshit, a wit that could be at once erudite and risque.
He was honest and fearless, unafraid to take on powerful people (Trump, Weinstein, Batali) or institutions (the Beard Foundation, media). He was a voice for the powerless, the defender of Latinx people, victims of sexual assault, immigrants, Muslims, the poor, and subjugated and misunderstood populations around the world.
He examined himself and his beliefs. He apologized for the culture he might have created, the toxic masculinity he came to represent for many. And he aimed to break bread with those he didn’t understand, with those he thought he abhorred in and outside his country.
He infused his work with a sense of joy. While he played the cynic, the grump, the jaded New Yorker, any reader of his work or observer of his shows could see he reveled in the food, the conversations, the discovery. He was a champion of cities and food and chefs and people.
“Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.” This is how I’ll remember Tony. He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him. pic.twitter.com/orEXIaEMZM— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 8, 2018
The other common reaction voiced last Friday was the notion that we do not know who amongst us is suffering silently. We do not know, as Andrew Zimmern said on a call, “which of your friends is suffering from not having their outsides meet their insides.” And it’s impossible to know. But we should ask those closest to us.
If you or anyone you know is considering suicide or self-harm or is anxious, depressed, upset, or needs to talk, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. For international resources, here is a good place to begin.
Opening of the week: Arlo Grey
Who’s behind it?: Chef Kristen Kish.
What is it?: A 100-seat hotel restaurant. The menu spans genres and includes a Texas ribeye, a burger, crispy chicken over rice porridge, and a “buffalo short rib,” as well as pasta dishes and burrata. Kish says if she were to shrink the dishes down and serve them in progression, it would be her ideal tasting menu.
Where is it?: The new Line Hotel in Austin.
When did it open?: Monday, June 4.
Why should I care?: Kish is a talent. The Line Hotel generally prioritizes the quality and cool factor of its restaurants. Also, read the description of this burger: “made of Texas beef, topped with aerated pommes aligot, lacto-fermented pickles, Kewpie mayo, caramelized onions, and mustard greens, on a challah bun.”
- Intel: CNN aired a tribute to Bourdain this weekend; LA chef Ludo Lefebvre wants to expand his French brasserie Petit Trois to Southern California and possibly Denver; the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the baker who didn’t want to make a customer a gay wedding cake; Keith Garrett of the famed LA food truck All Flavor No Grease will open a brick-and-mortar restaurant; José Andrés’s America Eats Tavern found a new, permanent (well, permanent as far as restaurants go) location in D.C.; famous person and chef Ayesha Curry will host a family food competition show on ABC and open a Houston location of International Smoke, her restaurant with Michael Mina; Salt Bae’s LA restaurant has a location; meanwhile, the Slanted Door halted its LA expansion plans; London restaurant St. John will close its location in Bermondsey; Heinz is changing the name of UK favorite “salad cream” to “sandwich cream”even though both sound unappealing and I have never tried it and now I should; Eggslut chef Alvin Cailan will open The Usual in New York; Vegas now has a toast-focused restaurant and a Hangover-themed bar in a wax museum; a misguided New York chef was caught poisoning his neighbor’s tree because it was blocking the solar panels on the $1.5 million house he just bought and hadn’t even moved into yet; Jose Garces, the drama-plagued chef who was forced to close his Atlantic City restaurants when the Revel Casino went bust, now has two new restaurants in a brand-new casino there; a giant food hall will debut in St. Paul this summer in the former home of a brewery; a prominent Miami bartender died this week; Scott Pruitt is maybe eating at the White House Mess too often; the salad emoji is now vegan; you may be tired of Nobu, but Houston is psyched to get its first location; three novelty dessert peddlers will open in LA soon; a couple of Mourad/Saison alums will open a casual Middle Eastern restaurant in SF; and sandwich chain Pret wants you to eat like a bear.
- Reviews, baller edition: La Mercerie in New York; Avery in San Francisco.
- It’s June, people, so please say hello to our BEACH GUIDE. If you are going to a beach this summer, we can probably tell you where you should be eating nearby. Also: regional beach foods, the history of cocktails served in coconuts, how to make frosé at the beach, and oh so much more.
- In the Ken and April divorce, Ken gets the Spotted Pig, and April gets Tosca, Hearth & Hound, and the Ace Hotel restaurants.
- LOL activated charcoal cannot be served in food in New York, according to the health department, and trendy restaurants across the city are dumping thousands of dollars’ worth of product. One Instabait-y cafe has resorted to using over-roasted coffee beans to dye its lattes black.
- A rich venture capitalist built a fancy-ass Korean tasting menu restaurant for him and his friends, but will open it to the public next month.
On the Upsell
Last week we aired my interview with Dave Chang and Recode’s Peter Kafka at the Code Conference. We discuss how he thinks about expansion, the professionalization of the restaurant industry and how it relates to #MeToo, his two failed attempts to conquer the food delivery space, and the lessons he learned from the closure of Lucky Peach that he’ll apply to his new venture, Majordomo Media. Read the takeaways on the site, or listen to the episode here or wherever you get your podcasts.
- Newsweek’s Bourdain death clickbait was horrible to behold (but it’s also Google’s fault). [Fast Co]
- One of my favorite Massachusetts chain (which, by the way, DOES have objectively delicious rolls, DEVRA) Bertucci’s filed for bankruptcy a couple of months ago, but was bought for $20 million by the parent company of Planet Hollywood. [Boston Globe]
- Lovely Alan Richman profile of the longtime owner of Le Bernardin, Maguey Le Coze. [NYT]
- A photo essay following a father and son for 12 years after the loss of the boy’s mother. [Topic]
- The size conversation. [Racked]
- Our enjoyment of wine is very seriously linked to myth, stories, illusion, and subjective feelings and that’s okay! [Vinepair]
- Why bagged salads are such a potent source of food poisoning. [Vox.com]
- An ode to beloved neighborhood restaurants. [Bon App]