The Family Meal – Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

Good Tuesday afternoon!

Hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving. We took Friday off, but will try to stay recent here and not go too far back into last week’s restaurant news.

Here we go…

New this morning: Damn, Japan – Still dominating Michelin rankings, Tokyo now has 227 starred restaurants, plus another 315 Bib Gourmands. For perspective, Paris has 92 starred spots, and NYC comes in at 76.

The list just came out, but the Japan Times already has a few thoughts, and lucky for us: Michelin is allowing a few days of free online access to the Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka guide, so here it is in its entirety. Access ends when the print edition arrives Friday.

One thing I’m pretty sure of: there is one fewer 3-star than last year – Esaki in Shibuya is off.

Meanwhile, the Spain and Portugal Michelin guides came out Wednesday, and Whitney Filloon has the full list and analysis in Eater: “The biggest news: Chef Martín Berasategui’s ten-year-old Barcelona restaurant, Lasarte, was the only restaurant to grab a new three-star rating this year, making him the most Michelin-decorated chef in Spain…. Meanwhile, Portugal has yet to produce a three-star restaurant, but added two new two-star restaurants this year (Il Gallo d’Oro and The Yeatman) and seven new one-star restaurants.”

First the Four Seasons in NYC, now The Cape Cod Room at The Drake in Chicago. After 83 years, last service is New Years Eve. This Trib obit features an excellent historical slideshow, including a shot of chef Theo Rooms, “one of three people to claim he invented thousand island dressing.”

Tell your Somm: Bloomberg thinks the best chardonnay right now is coming out of… Ontario. “A cool climate and limestone-rich soil combine to make perfect chardonnay growing terroir, and a wave of winemakers are taking advantage.” Is Napa now anti-NAFTA too?

TV Guide: It’s official. Alton Brown confirms he’s taking on the role of “The Chairman” when Iron Chef America returns next spring as Iron Chef Gauntlet.

David Chang is all in on Houston – He swears he’s not joking when he writes in GQ, “If I ever leave New York, I’m moving to Houston.” And since he’s getting so frustrated with the presidential security jams on Fifth Avenue lately, maybe he’ll be south sooner than later. Chang likes Houston’s diversity, its food, and, side note: “Houston also has cheap commercial and residential rents—oh, and no state income tax—which means broke-ass cooks and chefs can afford to live and open here. Zoning laws are more permissive than an Amsterdam brothel. And customers have cash to spend.” It’s the economy, stupid. (With a shout-out to “two chefs at the forefront of all things Houston… Justin Yuof Oxheart and Chris Shepherd of Underbelly.”)

This Family Meal is brought to you by: Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD), New York’s first museum with exhibits visitors can eat, now featuring its first-ever cultural exhibition, Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant. The multisensory exhibition chronicles how the Chinese immigrant community overcame prejudice and created one of the country’s most beloved cuisines, while providing an immersive experience for both the mind and the palate. Chow includes 200 curated historical artifacts, a colorful timeline of menus from 1910 to 2016, a working 1,500-pound fortune cookie machine, and a tasting at the ChowCulinary Studio. Tickets for Chow can be purchased on, as well as at the door of MOFAD Lab (62 Bayard St in Brooklyn), where the exhibition is on view on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Comedy Interlude – The French Chef, wasted: If you’ve never seen “Drunk History”, it’s basically very drunk comedians telling true stories while famous (and sober?) actors act them out. This week: a “lil’ tipsy” Lyric Lewis talks Julia Child’s spy days. The 6-minute video is worth a watch, but please use headphones in polite company…

“My vision is to take whole cities and translate them into one pita” –Makes sense. And now EaterNY says it looks like Israeli celebrity chef Eyal Shani may be expanding his plans for his Minzon falafel shops in NYC, possibly opening three next year.

Healthy Overture – Also in EaterNY today: “French fast casual health food restaurateurs [Claude Louzon and his daughter Julie] — will be debuting [Miss Pardis in Soho, NYC] this Thursday after close to five years in production… passersby will soon be able to spot the restaurant by a nine-foot tall sculpture of a chrome apple with an arrow going through it.”

Gentrification Chronicles in the SF Chronicle, this time featuring the old guard trying to hang on in the Mission. Innovate or die? “Aaron Presbrey and Barry Moore reopened the Roosevelt Tamale Parlor this month as the Roosevelt Sip ‘N’ Eat. For the first time in nearly a century, the restaurant no longer serves Mexican fare. The new menu features California cuisine with an emphasis placed on locally sourced products, like a salad of organic winter greens, pears and melons, or half a roasted free-range chicken.”

Hm. Possibly feeling the pressure of his ever-expanding empire, Chef Alex Stupak (with a retweet from Jeffrey Stoneburger) thinks everyone’s out to get him this morning, tweeting: “Please be clear that most of your colleagues want you to fail or at the very least want you to be doing less well then them.” To be followed up on later…

And Lastly, can anyone explain to me why Mario Batali is flicking off the royal family for accidentally cutting one singer-songwriter while trying to fake-knight another? Is there a Batali / Buckingham feud I’m unaware of?

And that’s it for Tuesday. Maybe a little rusty coming off the holiday this time, but back Friday better than ever…

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