A lot of meaty content today, so let’s get right to it…
The Critics – Not to be outdone by Eater’s paltry list of 12, Bon Appétit is out with their 50 Best New Restaurants in America 2017. (Actually, these are finalists that will be whittled down to a “Hot 10 List” in a few weeks, but still: Congrats if you made it!)
The Profile Treatment – Institution Edition: In Brooklyn, the River Café turns 40 this year, and gets a milestone profile in the New York Times. “Owned by an Irish-American perfectionist named Michael O’Keeffe (better known as Buzzy), the restaurant has employed just six chefs since it opened, all of whom arrived virtually unknown and went on to national prominence: Larry Forgione, Charlie Palmer, David Burke, Rick Moonen, Rick Laakkonen and the current chef of 17 years, Brad Steelman.”
Among the innovations credited to the restaurant: Forgione is said to have coined the term “free-range chicken”, and “the cafe was among the first major restaurants in the United States to promote varietal wines from leading California producers like Opus One, Jordan Wine Estate, Dominus Estateand others.”
PS – I recommend pairing this video with your reading. It’s pianist Dom Salvador, who has been playing the River Café since day one in 1977, setting the mood among clinking plates and chattering guests.
The Awards – Despite annual pay-to-play questions and disillusion over an odd rules system, Washington D.C.’s RAMMY Awards continue to set the standard for local restaurant associations dreaming of James Beard level ceremony. List of this year’s winners here, including New Restaurant of the Year, Rob Rubba’s Hazel, and Chef of the Year, Tarver King of The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm.
Get ready, SF – Direct Action Everywhere, “whose goal is ‘total animal liberation’”, protested outside a Berkley butcher shop so often that the owners eventually agreed to hang a sign in the window of the shop – the butcher shop – saying, “ATTENTION: Animals lives are their right. Killing them is violent and unjust no matter how it’s done.” With this little victory in their pockets, guessing DAE will be taking the constant protest game plan “everywhere” they can…
And should you lose that battle… If you haven’t already been approached about selling meatless Impossible Burgers in your restaurant, get ready. The company’s new Oakland, CA facility is slated to open this fall, and the WSJ reports it will grind out “1.4 million pounds of plant-based ‘meat’ a month, up from the current 8,000 pounds.” When their sales reps do come knocking, I’d ask for a free sample case first. Impossible Meats just raised $75M, even though the CEO told the WSJ, “The company doesn’t need additional financing, but decided to raise capital.” (I also don’t “need” seventy-five million dollars, FWIW.)
And speaking of meat – Eater has this great profile of Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec, “The Rebel Butcher of Paris…. Often named, along with his frenemy Hugo Desnoyer, as one of the luminaries of the slice-and-dice world of French butchery, the 49-year-old Le Bourdonnec has as many titles as there are ways to carve a cow: ‘the bohemian butcher,’ ‘the king of butchers,’ and, as he has called himself, ‘the angry butcher.’ Simultaneously exalted and deemed an outcast, Le Bourdonnec was expelled in 2012 from the French butchers’ federation, for proclaiming that British cattle breeds produce the best beef in Europe…. At the same time, he has many high-profile clients, counting among them Mick Jagger, Pharrell Williams, aging French rocker Johnny Hallyday, and Michelin-starred chefs Alain Ducasse and Guy Savoy.”
This Family Meal is brought to you by Chefs for Equality, the premier event benefiting Human Rights Campaign and their work to to end discrimination against LGBTQ people and realize a world that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. Chefs Ed Lee, Jeremiah Langhorne, Amy Brandwein, Patrick O’Connell, Cindy Wolf, and many, many more will join select guests at Union Market in Washington, D.C. for a spectacular night of food, cocktails, auctions, and music. Chefs and industry friends looking to get involved can get in touch here. For tickets and more information, check out chefsforequality.org.
Solo together – “Looks like the new Tribeca restaurant from big Keith McNally alum chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr finally has a name and identity — it’s called Frenchette, and it will be an updated version of a brasserie. The restaurant will be the first true solo project for the partners, who put their imprint on the city’s dining scene by opening places like Balthazar and Minetta Tavern with McNally.” Full story in Eater NY, here.
NYC DBGB BRB – The Manhattan location of Daniel Boulud’s DBGB Kitchen and Bar will close in ten days due to lack of weekday traffic. He hopes to reopen elsewhere, but in the meantime, “Mr. Boulud plans to relocate the staff. The chef, Nicholas Tang, will go to the DBGB in Washington.”
For Design Fans – There is almost too much going on at Ink N Ivy Charleston to describe, but it’s basically hip kitsch with a healthy dose of tufted leather and animal goofiness (“Crucifix? Put a bird on it”).
Ugh – After being sued by Bagby Restaurant Group in Baltimore for alleged fraud and stealing during his time as CEO, Chris Becker has now been charged with (sloppily) breaking into the company’s offices to steal records. “At 10:12 a.m. July 22, Becker was caught on surveillance footage entering and exiting the building multiple times. Each time Becker was seen wearing different cloths and ‘a dark-colored wig to disguise himself,’ according to court documents. He left the building for the last time at 11:33 a.m., carrying a backpack and two brown boxes.”
Lastly, the 70s – A hat-tip to the wonderful Twitter handle 70s Dinner Party, for turning me on to 1972’s Bridget’s Diet Cookbook, which, according to this NSFW Etsy sale page, “Includes Bridget’s Overweight Character Analysis Quiz, dozens of full-color photos, and loaded with ‘recipes’ like Peanut Shell Casserole, Sirloin Tips Awful Awful, Turkey Foot Aspic, Tea Bag Won Ton Soup, Bread & Butter Sandwich, Lima Beans Titanic, Rabbit Food Salad, Drainpipe Daiquiri, and Egg Shell Nog. All prepared and presented by the Rubenesque Bridget, shown cooking and eating in her full natural glory, wearing (sometimes) only an apron and chef’s toque.”
And on that note, I’ll see you Friday for next Family Meal.
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