The Family Meal – Friday, March 3rd, 2017

Good morning, Friday!

Quick personal note before we get started: José Andrés, Ted Allen, and Andrew Zimmern are all confirmed for this year’s DineNDash in D.C. and so am I. I mean, I’ll just be a guest, but still… Join me! Ticket info is here, and on their Facebook page. I’ll be giving over some ad space in the coming weeks to this good cause (the event benefits Andrés’ World Central Kitchen and its “Smart Solutions to Hunger and Poverty”), so be on the lookout for more details as they emerge.

And now, the news…

U.S.C. to D.C.  – The Washingtonian has word that “[Danny] Meyer will open a location of his James Beard-winning Manhattan restaurant, Union Square Cafe, in the ground-floor retail space of 200 Massachusetts Ave., NW, when the building finishes next year. It will be the first Union Square Cafe to open outside New York.”

Oh yeah, and Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group is also dropping $30M on a FiDi event space at 28 Liberty Street in NYC. Per the Post: “The still-unnamed venue — 880 feet high on the 60th floor, with 360-degree views of the skyline, rivers and harbor… It will be the highest ballroom in the city, and the largest downtown.”

SF Chronicle hires an anti-Bauer – Lucky Peach co-founder Chris Ying is starting a new column called “All Consuming” at the paper, and the debut is a sweeping rebuke to all the things that annoy people about longtime critic Michael Bauer. Ying details his conflicts of interests (What can he say? He’s friendly with chefs!), and his Jonathon Gold style plan to go further afield: “I think a San Francisco-based critic would do well to consider the wider world of eating, whether by expanding the range of restaurants we consider worth writing about; by bringing more of the North, South and East Bay into the fold; or by discussing the city’s restaurants in a global context.” Looking forward to seeing how that goes…

You’ve been sued? Kill them with kindness, not hit men – The original, New York location of Jessi and Jennifer Singh’s Australian-Indian restaurant Babu Ji has closed, according to this Eater article detailing updates to two lawsuits against the couple. “One of the two plaintiffs, a server at Babu Ji, alleges in the document that Jessi Singh approached him on October 13 at the restaurant and ‘immediately’ began making ‘threatening’ statements. Per the complaint, Jessi told the server in Hindi: ‘You know that in India a man paid $100,000 rupees to have someone’s family killed.'”

Speaking of lawsuits and death threats – L.A.’s Hiroyuki Urasawa got the Hollywood Reporter treatment yesterday, and it’s not pretty. Headline: “Labor Violations, Chopstick Assault and a Death Threat? The Fishy Legal Battles of L.A.’s Priciest Sushi Bar.”

Portlandia spoofs Chef’s Table. It’s hilarious, and only 01:31 long. So you can actually watch it right now.

This Family Meal is brought to you by Bilgola. Bilgola is a creative agency providing design services for the food service industry. The Bilgola team takes a straightforward, collaborative approach to solving problems for businesses of all sizes, from startups to global brands. Services include beautifying emails and invites, event pages, websites, menus and more. Happy customers include Jamie’s Italian, Nespresso and Kingsley’s Steakhouse. Have a creative challenge? Hit Bilgola with it –

Aquaman origin story – They’re using tilapia skin to treat burn victims in Brazil. Yup. Do you sell cheap fish? Do you burn yourself from time to time? Read on.

Hotels – so hot right now. Restaurants are dying to be in them. Thomas Keller is building one. Single Thread is one. Now breweries are getting in on the game. If the BrewDog in Columbus, OH has its way, “you’ll wake up ‘to a view of our sour beer foeders and the smell of freshly mashed malt,’ and can mosey down for a beer breakfast, then just camp out in the room and make liberal use of your own private IPA tap.’” Of course, to get its way, it’s going the indiegogo route, so investors can’t exactly be banging down the door on this one…

Top Chef Finale Recap – Season 14 is in the books, and this year’s Top Chef is… Recap here. Spoiler at the bottom of this email.

Top Chef withdraw? –Iron Chef Gauntlet premiers on April 16th, with Alton Brown hosting, and Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto, and Michael Symon manning the “Gauntlet”. Seven new contestants are up (profiled here): Jason Dady (San Antonio), Jonathan Sawyer (Cleveland), Michael Gulotta (New Orleans), Nyesha Arrington (Los Angeles), Sarah Gruenberg (Chicago), Shota Nakajima (Seattle), and Stephanie Izard (Chicago).

Also coming back: Jose Garces, Geoffrey Zakarian, Alex Guarnaschelli and Donatella Arpaia.

And finally, Connoisseurs love Costco – Not lost in the political fray around Russia and Trump, this parenthetical aside in Politico is getting a bit of attention… Russian Ambassador “Kislyak also hosts parties for fellow diplomats, Russia specialists and other Washingtonians with personal or business ties to Russia. (Though elegant, those functions may also reveal hints of Russia’s economic malaise: At one recent event, bartenders served Kirkland vodka—the brand sold by the bulk-discount retailer Costco.)”

That’s it for Friday. If you’re in D.C. and not working the gig, don’t forget to get your tickets to DineNDash!

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and send tips and/or USHG gift cards to

Spoiler – Top Chef this year is…


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