Beard Season, Sad News, Eater blurbs, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, March 31st, 2023
And hello from Hong Kong! Which is… not where I’m supposed to be. After a week laid low by the flu, we were supposed to be in Ho Chi Minh City today for a few days of the kids’ spring break. Turns out we apparently cut it a bit close with visa applications, and the airline was unconvinced by my “I’m sure they’ll be approved by the time we land!” argument.
So… This thing I was supposed to write on a plane is now beat down, bedraggled, and not sure where it should really be, just like me.
Let’s get to it…
Beard Season – The 2023 James Beard Award finalists lists came out this week. Full list here. Top three categories on the list (their order, not mine!):
Outstanding Chef: Rachel Miller (Nightshade Noodle Bar, Lynn, MA); Niki Nakayama (n/naka, LA); Erik Ramirez (Llama Inn, NYC); Rob Rubba (Oyster Oyster, D.C.); and Hajime Sato (Sozai, Clawson, MI).
Outstanding Restaurant: Copine, Seattle; Coracora, West Hartford; Friday Saturday Sunday, Philadelphia; Lucia, Dallas; and Mita's, Cincinnati.
Best New Restaurant: Causa, D.C.; Dept of Culture, NYC; Don Artemio Mexican Heritage, Fort Worth; Kann, Portland, OR; Lupi & Iris, Milwaukee; Neng Jr.'s, Asheville; Nolia, Cincinnati; Obélix, Chicago; Restaurant Beatrice, Dallas; and Tatemó in Houston, TX.
Congrats, all! Good luck, all!
The End of an Era – In Atlanta, “It’s the end of era. Empire State South closes after nearly 13 years in Midtown. Owner and chef Hugh Acheson made the announcement on Instagram, stating that the decision to close his critically acclaimed Southern restaurant took place around six weeks ago and is due to the financial fallout stemming from the pandemic and continued inflation.” Beth McKibben has details in Eater.
Some Sad News – “Yang Bing-yi, the founder of Din Tai Fung, the Michelin-starred Taiwanese restaurant chain whose signature soup dumplings have attracted crowds around the world, has died at 96. The company announced his death in a statement on Saturday. It did not say when or where he died. Mr. Yang and his wife, Lai Pen-mei, opened their first modest storefront in 1958, laying the foundation for what would become a franchise that their children and grandchildren have expanded to more than 170 locations across Taiwan, mainland China and 13 other countries, including the United States, Japan, Australia and the United Arab Emirates, with a menu that includes such specialties as wontons in red chili oil, shredded tofu and seaweed salad, and steamed truffle-and-pork dumplings.” Full obituary via Tiffany May in the NYT.
And last but not least: The blurbs – Eater’s debut cookbook is set for release in September, and the pre-order game is on. I’ll ask about a full list of restaurants included, but still: How will you know if you’d like a book you can’t see? Take it straight from the blurbs, where chefs praise Eater in their natural voices. Why, it’s just like listening to them talk! In fact, I bet you can guess exactly who the below quote is from easy peasy. Answer in Post Script. Good luck!
As quoted on the Amazon page: “Join Hillary Dixler Canavan of Eater on a journey to discover delectable dishes across the country, as she applies her reporter’s curiosity and editorial eye to this cookbook. Delve into the stories of the passionate people behind each culinary creation and experience the unique flavors and compelling narratives that make each dish a true gem.”
And that’s it for today!
I’ll see paying subscribers back here Tuesday, and everyone else on Friday for next Family Meal.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and send tips and/or the unique flavors and compelling narratives that make each dish a true gem to email@example.com. If you like Family Meal and want to keep it going, please chip in here. If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself!
P.S. - David “Delectable Dishes” Chang