This post originally appeared on August 25, 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 loved Boston Globe critic Devra First’s honest look at why Boston hasn’t earned much national attention from food media of late. Instead of having a chip on her shoulder, she wants to figure out why Eater, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, et al. don’t give the city the love and attention they award to cities like Portland, LA, Houston, and Detroit.
Are the snubs unjustified? Is it her fault for not being a big enough booster, for not finding and highlighting enough of the good stuff and getting it out there? Or is it the restaurant scene itself that’s just... meh?
I haven’t really eaten around Boston except on the occasional trip, so I can’t really speak to it. But I also haven’t read much that’s inspired me to get on an Amtrak, even though I read and admire our own editor Rachel Blumenthal’s tireless and enthusiastic coverage of the scene.
Some interesting factors to contemplate:
• Boston is not as populous as New York, and thus can’t support the variety of restaurants that we can.
• But it’s still wildly expensive to operate there! ($400k for a liquor license?!) Meanwhile, Portland, Maine, is relatively cheap, so creative types wanting to take a calculated risk can set up shop there and maybe expand to Boston once they’re better capitalized (see: Eventide Oyster Co.).
• First notices that nationally lauded restaurants currently tell stories of inclusion, justice, and/or embrace the owner’s or region’s cultural history, but points out “in a city that is 53 percent white, in which people may be unlikely to visit neighborhoods with which they’re not already familiar, it is easy to miss out on the city’s myriad expressions of food culture.”
• Meanwhile, the local food press, which should be highlighting these places, continues to shrink.
Let me also mention something that First does not: In our competition for the worst name in the world of restaurants last summer, Name of Groans, an alarming number of contributions came from Boston. So... maybe it’s all a matter of taste. (Sorry to everyone I know and love in Massachusetts.)
PS: For the opposite kind of read, GQ’s Brett Martin has a beautiful essay on all the reasons why Houston is still so great.
Openings of the Week, Doughnut Edition
Good Day Donuts, Seattle: A new doughnut shop with classics like glazed cake doughnuts, apple fritters, cinnamon twists that will eventually branch out into breakfast, lunch, and pop-ups dinners.
Blue Star, Portland: A giant new factory and event space with a retail shop and chef’s counter from cultishly loved doughnut purveyor Blue Star.
District Doughnut, Washington, D.C.: a new location of local mini-chain for the mega-development the Wharf.
- Intel: Chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson closed the Watts and San Jose locations of Locol, keeping the former as a commissary and catering space; Theorita, the spinoff of SF’s white-hot Che Fico, opened with very good-looking pies and very not good-looking booths; a Boston woman who claims Mario Batali groped her is now suing the chef; Markus Glocker, the chef and partner of Tribeca restaurant Batard, is now also the chef at Keith McNally’s Augustine (why his partners are allowing this is anyone’s guess, but I have a few theories); Vice now curates New Jersey food halls; people are going nuts for this hyperrealistic ice cream dog; New York’s state’s attorney is investigating wrongdoing at the Spotted Pig, which could lead to a civil lawsuit; Michael Mina will open a Hawaiian restaurant with Honolulu chefs Michelle Karr-Ueoka and Wade Ueoka in SF’s Salesforce building; founder Noah Bermanoff left his expanding Jewish-Canadian deli Mile End; Americans will finally see the new version of The Great British Baking Show next week on Netflix; a pizza + poutine + Champagne restaurant now exists in Vegas; a former busboy at lauded Chicago restaurant the Purple Pig claims management ignored his sexual harassment complaints; noted Boston chef Tim Maslow returns to the scene after the closure of his last two restaurants with a new one called Whaling in Oklahoma; the owners of LA’s LGBTQ hub and coffee shop Cuties is crowdfunding to stay afloat; PepsiCo is buying SodaStream; Adam Perry Lang opened a chili dog window in Hollywood; Michael Solomonov might have a new Philly place in the works; budding bar empire Death & Co will expand to LA; an empire builder in Portland is going all in on chickpea ice cream; Major Food Group opened two restaurants in Tel Aviv; Netflix announced a new global culinary competition show; the Dallas Morning News’s new restaurant critic announced her rating rubric; and Michael Schlow just opened a pretty gorgeous Japanese-inspired restaurant just outside Detroit,
- A photo essay exploring the historic NYC diners keeping traditions alive.
- Watch: Halo Halo, a new series from Eater staffer Fran Manto exploring what Filipino food actually is.
- Buy: Mindy Kaling’s fruit pajamas.
- Reviews: Bill Addison visits Vianda, a 5-month-old restaurant from two Blue Hill alums in San Juan, and calls its vitality “heartening evidence of the island’s resilience”; and Ryan Sutton encounters flaws but a lot of promise at Persian newcomer Sofreh in New York.
- The winners and losers of the Minnesota State Fair.
- Check out the retro vibes at the new Paulie Gee’s slice shop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It’s a little over the top with the TV and the Atari, but I can’t get over how much I love the bench seats.
- Guide: Where to eat pastries in London.
- The people most surprised by the demands of motherhood — which have increased as childcare costs, expectations for breastfeeding, and hours spent with children have risen — are women with college degrees. [NYT]
- A very important investigation from The Cut: How do men get into bathtubs? [The Cut]
- What it’s like to be a disabled diner at four popular Charleston restaurants (with hidden cameras). [The Post & Courier]
- Finally, some parents who see school integration as a *good* thing for their district and are doing something about it. [NYT]
- California is close to banning single-use plastic straws at full-service restaurants. [LAT]
- Huh. [@dansaltzstein]
- Writer and historian Michael Twitty travels to Ghana to explore his roots. [BA]