The Family Meal – Friday, May 25th, 2018

Hello Friday,

Quick programming note before we get started: I’ll be on planes from Hong Kong to D.C. most of Monday, so there’s a good chance there will be no Family Meal this Tuesday. (Thanks so much to everyone who sent in tips on where I should spend my time in the District next week. Recommendations – especially on the cocktails side of things – still welcome!)

And now, the (industry) news…

The Hike – In NYC, Major Food Group’s The Grill turned one this month, and Eater NY’s Ryan Sutton has a look at some pretty impressive price increasesfor year two. Biggest climbers: “The famed mushroom omelet, flipped tableside by a tuxedoed waiter, has leapt from $24 to $38, a whopping 52 percent hike. The pheasant Claiborne with black truffle, once $45, has increased by over twenty dollars to $69. And the triple lamb chops, once $59, are now $92.” So… permission to throw an extra buck or two on your sides?

For TV Fans – ABC has cancelled The Chew, and this is certainly a sad day for all the Carla Hall fans out there, but maybe they can hold back the tears long enough to chuckle at the fact that lovers of All My Children, which was cancelled seven seasons ago to make way for The Chew, held their grudge so long that they took time to rejoice in the latest cancellation on Twitter. We humans truly are the superior species in every way.

The media – FYI, Southern food writer / scholar John T. Edge was involved in a serious car accident outside Athens, GA on Wednesday, but left the hospital yesterday and is at least well enough to tweet thanks to well-wishers. We wish you well, John T. Edge!

The media too – Career path detour? “Attention kitchen geeks! Reviewed is seeking a full time Staff Writer with you in mind. You’ll be… creating daily content about kitchen gadgets, the ‘smart kitchen,’ and other home goods. Your work will be read across the USA TODAY Network and beyond…. This is an ideal position for someone with a deep and abiding love of kitchen gear, home goods, and home design.” Upside/downside: Based in Cambridge, MA.

The Closures – In Chicago, “Despite all-star bartender Jim Meehan’s presence, Heisler Hospitality has pulled the plugs on Prairie School and Regards to Edith, their neighboring bar and restaurant in Fulton Market inside Google’s 1K Fulton building. The last day of service for both will be Saturday after staying open for eight months.” In LA, “Longtime Hollywood restaurateur George Abou-Daoud has closed what was perhaps his most personal restaurant to date: Farida. The final night of service was [Tuesday].”

That Hotel $$$ – Philadelphia’s own “Greg Vernick, six years into the acclaimed Vernick Food & Drink near Rittenhouse Square, will go the seafood route with his second restaurant, opening this fall on the street level of the Four Seasons Hotel at the new Comcast Technology Center, on the 1800 block of Arch Street side.” A Mr. Jean-Georges Vongerichten is also opening a location in the building. Details on, including this: “Meanwhile, Vernick’s next major project… is a second daughter with wife Julie, expected in September.”

The Survey – (Included here because I’m genuinely interested in the results.) The folks behind the Racist Sandwich podcast have put out this request: “Hey food friends! We’re really curious about your thoughts on the food media, so we put together this anonymous survey for you. THE [chili emoji] MUST FLOW!! BRING THE [fire emoji]!” Survey here. VERY short. Sample Q: “Of all the food media outlets and publications you experience, whose coverage do you consider the best and why? The worst?” (Please don’t call Family Meal the worst. Thank you.)

The Critics – A reminder to SF bar owners from Chronicle Food editor Paolo Lucchesi: “The Drink Up column (the Chronicle’s weekly bar review) is now in the hands of three talented voices”.. and (easily google-able) faces: Emma Silvers (Facebook photoTwitter profile), Maggie Hoffman (Twitter profile), and Esther Mobley (heard of her?).

Last and least – Here’s an excerpt from David Chang’s upcoming book IDGAF, A Cherished Life in Hospitality: “The truth is, I don’t give a fuck about the friends and family that eat at the restaurant for soft opening… So the first night of friends-and-family at Majordomo, without telling anyone else, I asked the GM, [Christine Larroucau], to take down the POS system during service at 8 o’clock. I said, ‘I want you to unplug it, and I want you to turn the circuit breakers off in the northeast side of the restaurant. And I want you to overload the reservation book at 8 o’clock. And I don’t want you to tell me how many people, because I’m gonna help expedite and I don’t even wanna know.’… It was total fucking pandemonium and chaos. And I liked it, because it allowed us to take note of who makes decisions well under duress, who is calm, cool, and collected… And that’s what I cherish most about friends-and-family.”

(Actually that’s from his most recent Dave Chang Show newsletter, but I can’t find a web version to link to. Happy to fwd mine if you want it.)

And that’s it for today. Here’s hoping I run into you at my local (Boundary Stone) or that great new cocktail bar (you tell me) in D.C. next week. I will be the one drinking exactly what Anthony Bourdain would be drinking, exactly the way Anthony Bourdain would drink it. As usual.

See you here next week for Family Meal.

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, and send tips and/or Four Seasons Philadelphia loyalty points to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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