Beard Semi's, Soleil's 5(+3), Michelin Europe, The Noosh Experience, and more....
Family Meal - Saturday, March 2nd, 2019
Quick heads up: There is a good chance there will be no Family Meal Tuesday, on account of international travel with three children under five.
Our kids are capable of gratitude, but they are not grateful. And yet, we continue to work for them.
Let’s get to it…
Beard Season – The James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalists were announced Wednesday, but the list is long, so I’ll only include the Best New Restaurant section below. Full list here. Congrats, all!
Best New Restaurant semifinalists: Adda Indian Canteen, NYC; Andiario, West Chester, PA; Angler, SF; Atomix, NYC; Bardea Food & Drink, Wilmington; Bavel, LA; Bywater American Bistro, NOLA; Canard, Portland, OR; Celeste, Somerville, MA Chickadee, Boston; Ellē, DC; The Elysian Bar, NOLA; Folk, Nashville; Frenchette, NYC; Kyoten, Chicago; Larder Delicatessen and Bakery, Cleveland; Lineage, Wailea, HI; Majordomo, LA; Marrow, Detroit; Nyum Bai, Oakland; Passerotto, Chicago; Petra and the Beast, Dallas; Popol Vuh, Minneapolis; Q House, Denver; Sawyer, Seattle; Spoken English, DC; The Stanley, Charlotte; Suerte, Austin; The Surf Club Restaurant, Surfside, FL; Vianda, San Juan.
A reminder from JBF: “We'll announce the final Restaurant and Chef Award nominees, as well as the nominees for our Media and Restaurant Design Awards, in Houston on Wednesday, March 27. The nominee announcement will begin at 10:00 A.M. ET and will be streamed live (check back soon for details). Nominees will also be announced in real time via our Twitter feed.”
The Critics – Bay Area or not, you’re going to want to take a trip through new Chronicle critic Soleil Ho’s big drop two days ago, not least because every single person in U.S. food media and restaurant criticism is paying attention too. Thursday’s launch had two main elements: Five reviews, and three mini-essays about the standards she’ll follow going forward. The latter are as follows:
First: No more star system. Second: No more anonymity (more or less). And Third: No more using certain words, including “crack”, which leads her to this call out: “One interesting example of its persistence is in the way we talk about Momofuku Milk Bar’s ‘Crack Pie.’... Honestly, the company should have done the right thing and changed it by now.” Honestly.
The reviews are: Chez Panisse (“The former symbol of culinary counterculture seems to have fallen in love with itself.” – not a compliment), Nyum Bai (“where the dead get to sing again.” – a compliment, plus a playlist), La Folie Lounge (“On the plush white sofa behind me, a couple was practically sitting on top of each other and feeling each other the way I was feeling that salad.” – fun place / great salad), a group review of “a young crop of Chinese American restaurants” (she’s fer ‘em), and La Calenda (“Though this may shock some of you, I really like La Calenda, the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group’s new Mexican restaurant in Yountville. I think it is certainly an example of culinary appropriation. And I think that’s fine.”).
Still a lot more to say about this new chapter in criticism at the Chronicle and beyond. TBD.
Michelin Season – Announced this week: 63 restaurants, 4 Bib Gourmands, and five (total) stars for Croatia 2019: Noel (Zagreb), Draga di Lovrana (Lovran), Monte (Rovinj), 360˚ (Dubrovnik), and Pelegrini (Šibenik).
Meanwhile, Michelin Germany announced “five new two-star restaurants and 37 new one-star restaurants in the country's red guide… The 10 three-star restaurants maintained their distinctions this year.” New two-stars included debut-entry Pure (Andernach), Ox & Klee (Cologne), Luce d’Oro (Krün), Sosein. (Heroldsberg), and Alexander Herrmann by Tobias Bätz (Wirsberg).
P.S. For web design fans - Check out Sosien.’s hairy homepage. Hungry?
For Luddites – Shout out to Noosh in SF, which has somehow decided that a good PR strategy is to compare their customer experience to having a teenager tell you your hard drive is unsalvageable: “‘It’s going to function like an Apple store,’ [John Litz, a co-founder and partner of Lazy Bear] explained, with an ‘ambassador’ greeting people who walk in, explaining to them the menu and then taking their order. All of this happens long before they’ve even set foot in the dining room. Since the restaurant will implement a cashless system, the card for the table gets swiped at the door when the order is made. From there, the cameras track where a diner sits to ensure the orders are delivered accurately and in a timely way.” Justin Phillips has the full dystopia here.
The (mini) Profile Treatment – Headline in the NYT: “The Champagne Empress of Greenwich Village: Ariel Arce will soon have four hot-spot restaurants on Macdougal Street in Manhattan. She’s 31.” Those would be the already extant Tokyo Record Bar and Air’s Champagne Parlor, plus the upcoming Special Club and Niche Niche. At the latter, “a sommelier or some other beverage nerd will pick four wines per night, and food will be cooked to match,” according to writer Jonah Engel Bromwich, who probably hasn’t been served a solid pour in years.
For Design Fans – Hello, my name is Andrew. I am a small man, and I do not like the bare plywood trend*. Please support me as I live through this difficult moment in design history. Thank you. (*Or lightly-stained or whatever you want to call it. Let’s not romanticize these things.)
And that’s it for today.
I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.
P.S. Thanks so much to everyone who sent tips on Penang! If you like poorly-lit travel photos, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram.
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