The Family Meal – Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Hello Friday,

After a few weeks of travel messing with send times, we are now back to our regularly scheduled program. (Shout out to everyone who hears John Leguizamo any time they read “regularly scheduled program”.)

Let’s get to it…

The Final Word – Eater’s Ryan Sutton adds another beauty to the cannon of World’s 50 Best criticism, with point after point about shortcomings (and worse) in every aspect of both the ceremony and the list itself. He ends by asking, “Is this a party you want to be a part of?” If yes, at very least the serious diversity problems beg a follow-up: Who’s your plus-one?

The protest – Despite loads of initial reports to the contrary, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was not actually shouted out of D.C. Mexican restaurant MXDC this week. As the Washingtonian’s Jessica Sidman explains here, after 15-20 minutes of chanting, protestors were surprised the cops hadn’t shown up and decided to leave on their own. Nielsen left after that. Cooler heads prevailed. It’s a distinction worth noting as big city restaurants think about what they would do in a similar situation. Stephen Starr, you got a good plan at Le Diplomate?

The mirror – In the wake of Gabrielle Hamilton’s announcing her partnership with Ken Friedman, Portland’s Naomi Pomeroy (Beast) takes a hard look at both Hamilton’s decision and the accommodations Pomeroy feels she made to get ahead over her own career. “Sure, I worked my ass off to make my own place, but I also got there by acting like the men around me, even men whose behavior I knew was wrong. A lot of other women did, too. We thought we had to… We partied with them, let some of them slap us on the ass. We learned that the real way of handling it and getting ahead was maintaining (if not even creating) the bro code. Sometimes WE started slapping people on the ass. And it was working. We were getting ahead! … I look back on that time with real sadness. ”

P.S. Pomeroy echoes something Jen Agg has talked about on Twitter as well: Just how much money is Friedman paying Hamilton and her wife Ashley Merriman to help salvage his reputation? Pomeroy says “presumably, a lot”. Agg is “Throwing out some guesses… between 2 and 4 million (1 million’s an insult and 5 seems too eager). I mean what’s the going rate for redemption?” Place your bets?

Leaving the institution – “After seven years as executive chef at one of New Orleans’ most storied fine-dining institutions, Michael Sichel is making moves. The chef at Galatoire’s… has been appointed executive chef at Hotel Bennett, a new luxury hotel opening this fall in Charleston, SC. He’ll be leaving Galatoire’s at the end of June.” No word on who’s taking over on Bourbon Street.

For design fans – So close. With nearly every single brewery-bar concept still eerily copying high school lunchroom layouts, it feels like the design team behind this Artisinal Brewers Collective spot in L.A. almost achieved escape velocity and were all “Back-lit art wall! Cool chairs! Black marble! 5+ corners!” but then they took a deep breath and said, “OK that’ll be a small side room, for the rest let’s have a big open space with plain wood tables and office chairs, but like, nice, modern ones.” (Before you write: Yes, I understand that brewery equipment is expensive. Still think the creative minds who made America care about limited edition gose can design cooler places to taste it.)

For design fans too – The new La Vie in D.C. is a lot to look at, and I’m concerned about the long term stability of two main things: First, those banquette tables and their roots. Second, yet another cavernous luxury spot in this part of town. I know some folks are bullish on The Wharf, but…

For the somm: The Profile Treatment – From zero-English immigrant at 16 to CIA grad to Eleven Madison Park server to Level 2 somm cert to Beverley Hills’ MaudeLA Mag says “Andrey Tolmachyov is 26 and, in the parlance of Instagram, living his best life… As the team was getting January’s inaugural Rioja-themed menu off the ground, Tolmachyov traveled with [Curtis Stone] and a few colleagues to Burgundy—specifically the town of Beaune in the Côte d’Or—where they spent their days traversing the storied terrain of Chablis, Puligny-Montrachet, and Meursault, selecting the wines he’s now pouring alongside chef Justin Hilbert’s escargot and oeufs en meurette.”

They just want to kelp (not sorry) – Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, the prominent Chicago-based restaurant company known for restaurants like RPM Steak and R.J. Grunts, plans to phase out the use of plastic straws by Oct. 1…. More than 100 Chicago-area restaurants and bars have made similar commitments as part of the Shedd Aquarium’s ‘Shedd the Straw’ campaign. … Lettuce plans to transition all of its 120 restaurants in nine states to alternatives, including paper, hay and even biodegradable plastic straws, though customers will be encouraged to not use straws at all.” Details in the Tribune.

That TV $$$ – Per Deadline: “Fresh Off the Boat author and restaurateur Eddie Huang is partnering with Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens’ Propagate to produce Cash Only, an original unscripted series exploring race, identity and multiculturalism through immigrant kitchens.” If you had the exact same idea for a show, I encourage you to join my new class action.

Last and least – I initially ignored this article because it’s about Bon Jovi hawking rosé with his son, and good for them, but… so? So… turns out the interview is a really fun read. I learned about Jovi’s marketing prowess (on why they named the wine Hampton Water not Hamptons Water: “You see, that’s where the mastery comes in”), his media savvy (“Bon Jovi [to his son]: That’s The New York Times and she just jammed you! She just cut you!”), and his personal brand (“Classic and timeless is always what I do. Classic and timeless.”). Last one checks out.

And that’s it for today. Your love is like bad medicine, but bad medicine is what I need, so I’ll see you here Tuesday for next Family Meal.

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, and send tips and/or million dollar insults to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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