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Speaking of which…
Your publicist / assistant / gatekeeper is not as good as Laurie Woolever. I haven’t finished the whole thing yet, but so far this long New Yorker profile of Anthony Bourdain reads like something a (very talented) 12 year old girl might write about one of the One Direction boys. Actual quote comparing him to not one, but two Greek gods: “He is Apollo in drag as Dionysus.”
Tom Colicchio is closing Craftbar – “He tells Eater that his landlord ‘jacked up the rent 50 percent’ to $60,000 a month. And while he’s been trying to negotiate the lease for a long time, he and his team have decided to move on. The last day for the restaurant… will be April 30.”
The Bauer effect – Despite a year of being dragged through the press for conflicts-of-interest and general snobbery, the SF Chronicle’s Michael Bauer still writes reviews that move markets. According to Eater SF, after a one and a half star stinger a few weeks ago (title: “Motze more food lab than enjoyable dining experience”) led to a severe drop in reservations at Nick Balla and Cortney Burns’s proudly experimental project, they’re switching to a fast-casual concept. The Bar Tartine duo says the move had been in the works for a while, but Balla isn’t holding back in his thinly veiled (“I’m not directing this at anyone”) criticism of Bauer: “We need voices to support progressive approaches, and are not stuck in establishment.”
Dominique Ansel going full service in L.A. The poor guy still has to have “Creator of the Cronut” appended to his name in headlines, but hey, at least that distinction gets him a glowing announcement in the L.A. Times. The few details: “In late 2017, Ansel will open his first full-service restaurant… The as-yet-unnamed L.A. project, at an address still to be determined, will include brunch, dinner, cocktails and events… It will be Ansel’s fifth and largest project.”
Chicago has had a busy news week: First, Eater Chicago reports that “changing times” have forced Andersonville’s Swedish Bakery to close after 88 years in business. Second, Andrew Zimmerman and Emmanuel Nony of Sepia announced their newest project will be called Proxi, and open under a new pastry chef – the Trib reports Cindy Shuman is moving on after 9 years at Sepia, and will be replaced by Sarah Mispagel of Nightwood fame. Third, some troubled soul using a fake name tried to open a closed bar (Crocodile Lounge in Wicker Park) while the owner was “indisposed”, and is now being chased around town by an angry horde of social media vigilantes. DNAinfo has the strange tale here. And finally, Tao is coming.
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For your Somm – After happening upon a bottle of sparkling that had been en tirage for almost 18 years, the Chronicle’s Esther Mobley hunts down Don and Kay Baumhefner and discovers a Forest Gump-esque story of a couple quietly in and out of the Northern California food and wine scene for decades. “They watched Raiders games with Alice Waters; they sold Swan’s earliest vintages to Kermit Lynch and Darrell Corti… With John Ash, in 1980, they opened John Ash & Co. in Santa Rosa; Don was the sommelier, Kay the pastry chef. There, they hired Dan Kosta and Michael Browne, who would later found Kosta Browne winery together.”
And if that tale tempts you, NB: Mobley notes, “The 1992 En Tirage has sold out, and Baumhefner’s current release is the 1990. Desmond Echavarrie, of local distributor Scale Wine (and another obsessive searcher of En Tirage), has picked it up. The 1990 is currently on the wine lists at Michael Mina ($176) and Epic Steak ($170) in San Francisco, as well as Kenzo in Napa. About 50 cases remain.”
Speaking of vino – There was Tom Brady this weekend, and there was Gaga. One is launching a new wine brand. It’s Gaga.
Get your permits in order, especially if you’re going to be this obvious about it – Oakland’s Scott Seafood Restaurant has a prime location in Jack London Square, and negotiated a pretty sweet deal to host private events in a public space, provided they share the pavilion when they weren’t using it. So of course their next move was to host more events than they were allowed, and add a few new features: “Canvas walls were replaced with retractable metal walls; a metal door and storage unit was was added, and a roof was extended without a commission permit.” The $841k fine they’re now facing may be excessive, but, come on guys. Details in the East Bay Times.
And finally, “Baklava has delicate feelings” – So sayeth Marhaf Homsi, a 76 year-old Syrian refugee who is baking up a storm in Brooklyn and selling pastries online with his wife. There’s got to be an opportunity here, NYC.
That’s it for today. I’m off to have a beer outside at my local this afternoon. In February. In D.C. See you Friday!
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