The Family Meal – Friday, December 23rd, 2016

Hello Friday and Happy Holidays!

If you’re getting this as a fwd, sign up for yourself on our brand spanking new website.

If you’re working this weekend, I hope the checks are so big that Visa has to call your guests to confirm the spend.

Now, this…

Whither Rihanna? Tuesday night was final service at Greenwich Village’s Da Silvano, a decidedly NOT private favorite of celebs and hangers on. Despite its high-profile clientele, owner Silvano Marchetto’s 41 year-old, groundbreaking Italian trattoria fell victim to the usual suspects according to the NY Post: “A grim-sounding Marchetto blamed soaring operating costs including new minimum-wage rules and rent that escalated from $500 a month in 1975 to $41,000 a month today.”

UPDATE: Or… the usual suspect in this case might actually be divorce. Page Six updated the story yesterday: “Sources tell us that flamboyant Italian-born Silvano’s stunning decision… happened after lawyers for [‘his much younger wife Marisa Acocella’] asked to see the restaurant’s financials as part of the divorce proceedings…”

Midwest arrival to watch: In Chicago’s West Town, Temporis is now due to start serving its “contemporary American” tasting menu January 5th. Per Eater Chicago, “That’s about seven months since news broke that chefs Evan Fullerton and Sam Plotnick – [two chefs who worked together at Les Nomades] – plotted to open a new restaurant.”

Justice Claus: One of two men allegedly behind (what I’m now calling) The Great Christmas Wine Heist of 2014 has finally plead guilty. “Prosecutors said thieves broke into the French Laundry on Christmas Day in 2014… and made off with 110 bottles of some of the world’s most sought-after and expensive French and domestic wines, valued at nearly $550,000. The labels included Romanée-Conti and Screaming Eagle.”

“The Brutal Economics of Food Delivery”: ReCode reports that a leaked investor deck shows Maple, “the restaurant-in-an-app backed by… David Chang”, losing $9M on 2.7M in revenue in 2015. Plus, “Maple was still forecasting an operating loss of $16 million for 2016 on revenue of $40 million. Those plans were predicated on expanding its service to other boroughs and to other Northeastern U.S. locations. Currently, though, Maple appeared to still only be servicing Manhattan.”

Appetites? Selling poorly! No good! SAD! In a wide-ranging follow-up to their podcast conversation, Eater’s Helen Rosner got together with Anthony Bourdain to talk politics last week. It went as expected. Two highlights for the purposes of our newsletter:

First, this response to Rosner’s question about what Bourdain thinks of Alessandro Borgognone opening Sushi Nakazawa in Trump’s DC hotel: “I will never eat in his restaurant. I have utter contempt for him, utter and complete contempt. Just like [Trump Hotel’s BLT Prime chef] David Burke… Burke’s a steaming loaf of shit, as far as I’m concerned, and feel free to quote me.”

Second, heads up celebrity chefs who like to travel: Bourdain says Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused “TV foodies” of being behind the coup attempt in that country, and Russia is no longer safe for him either.

Read the full interview here.

Side note: “A-List” celebrity chefs will obviously not be invited to the inauguration.

This Family Meal is brought to you by Add Passion and Stir: Big Chefs, Big Ideas, a weekly podcast about inspirational people who are changing the world. In each episode, Billy Shore, the creator of the No Kid Hungry Campaign (, brings together prominent change-makers and guests from the culinary world to discuss how food is at the intersection of social transformation. 

Guests on the podcast include James Beard Award-winning chefs who have amassed a host of Michelin Stars, joined by leaders in the public and private sectors who are making profound positive changes in the world: Chef José Andrés, U.N. Foundation CEO Kathy Calvin, Shake Shack CEO Danny Meyer, Chef Traci Des Jardins, and many more.  Listen, Subscribe, Rate, and Review:

Philly fish, finally – I don’t know enough about Philadelphia’s sushi scene to comment here, but @tkretchmar spotted this news on BillyPenn: “Philadelphia’s impressive dining scene just remedied its most glaring omission. On Thursday, chef Jesse Ito opened the back room at Royal Sushi & Izakaya…  giving the city its first real-deal sushi bar.”

Good for SF: Chef Deuki Hong is en route from NYC, bearing chicken.

Top Chef recap here. And since Mike Lata was on last night, here’s a little holiday story about having everything in Anson’s walk-in stolen hours before he was due to start Christmas service. Don’t worry, there’s a happy, holiday ending, of course.

ATTN: Gamer-chefs – Check out this impressive look at the game-changing (yes, game-changing) food graphics in Final Fantasy XV. Director Hajime Tabata tells Whitney Reynolds, “In Japan, we have a term called ‘meshi-tero‘ (an abbreviation of the Japanese-English combo phrase ‘Meshi (food) Terror’ and similar to the English term ‘food porn’), but that pretty much summed it up.”

ATTN: Linguist-chefs – Here’s a longread on the corruption of the meaning of “fruitcake” both as a word and a dessert. It takes you from West Bengal to Truman Capote, Carravaggio, 19th century British slang, and Ms. Anita Bryant.

And finally, one last reminder (as seen on Tuesday): For your last-minute impossible-to-shop-for list, give a gift subscription to a favorite local and/or national news source. The Family Meal is a paid subscriber to the SF Chronicle, LA Times, Washington Post, New York Times, New Yorker, Washingtonian (our local monthly mag), and several more. They are all great value, and make great gifts!

And for a random act of holiday kindness, next time you share an article you liked, try to tag the author and let them know you liked their work. Even the biggest names get a kick out of it, I promise.

Also: Rate that podcast you like! It takes 2 seconds. Do it now. 

Happy Holidays! If you don’t hear from me until after New Years, it’s because I had a second child and am running around trying to make sure the first one eats something other than Cheerios.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and send tips and/or Rihanna restaurant sightings to

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