Gaggan's finale, Batali's severance, Momofuku's Mariscal, Palladin-ing, and more...

Family Meal - Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Hello Tuesday,

Quick note: There will be no Family Meal on Friday, as I’ll be chasing (my) kids around Bangkok for a few days. Please send your tips! If your tip is, “Gaggan is closing forever on Sunday!” you’re right.

Let’s get to it…

The Severance – “Chef Mario Batali, whose career crumbled amid sexual misconduct allegations, no longer owns a stake in Eataly, the Italian marketplaces he once heavily promoted. Chris Giglio, a spokesman for Eataly USA, told The Associated Press on Friday the company has purchased Batali’s minority interest, formally ending the relationship.”

The Performance – In the SF Chronicle last week, Justin Phillips asks, “Does San Francisco support black-owned restaurants?” His answer is a hard yes-and-no disconnect between support and $upport. Yes, in theory, SF media and diners love black chefs and restaurateurs. No, the public doesn’t spend a lot of time or money at the few the city has left. A case in point that sounds like it may not be long for this world: “The opening of Brown Sugar Kitchen, Tanya Holland’s new chicken and waffles shop at the Ferry Building, was covered ad nauseam by local media outlets, The Chronicle included. In the few months since the debut, the crowds have disappeared. On a slow day, it even looks closed.”

The Profile Treatment – Headline in the NYT: “Momofuku’s Secret Sauce: A 30-Year-Old C.E.O.” There aren’t a ton of new details about Marguerite Mariscal in the profile from Elizabeth G. Dunn, though we do find out that Momofuku says “its restaurant revenue is approaching $100 million per year,” and there are “plans for a slider joint that Ms. Mariscal describes as ‘an Asian-American White Manna.’” Dunn also says that the plan to donate one day’s worth of profits to charity after Momofuku investor Stephen Ross held a big Trump fundraiser was Mariscal’s idea. (Still waiting for someone to ask Chang: Is that it?)

P.S. Definitely don’t want to downplay Mariscal’s success — really, truly, she sounds like a hard working go-getter’s hard working go-getter — but think it’s fair to point out that if you’re feeling bad about not being CEO of a fancy restaurant group by 30, the profile is definitely dripping with a secret sauce: “Born and raised on the Upper West Side, to the family that founded the specialty foods emporium Zabar’s… attending high school at Dalton…. spent her 14th and 15th birthdays at WD-50… the family’s house in East Hampton….”

The Profile Treatment Too – Using a tribute dinner as a jumping off point, Tim Carman has a new look back at Jean-Louis Palladin, “D.C.’s original celebrity chef,” in the Washington Post: “The chef’s history has been told, of course, but… Many of the best Palladin stories remain locked in the memories of those who knew him best: not just [former sous chef Jimmy Sneed], but also Larbi Dahrouch and Jamie Stachowski, two others who toiled in the Jean-Louis kitchen… Palladin’s twin passions were no secret to those in his kitchen. ‘If somebody says they knew Jean-Louis, the test is to ask them, “What are the two things Jean-Louis loved to do more than anything in the world?”’ Sneed posits during a lunch break at the Watergate, still hours before the tribute dinner… The first thing is ‘cooking,’ he says. The second ‘-ing’ word is unprintable in this section of the newspaper. ‘But that’s what made him,’ he adds.” (Pretty sure the -ing word was: Fucking. Fucking’s made a lot of folks.)

The Loopholes – Also in the Washington Post: Think liquor licensing is bureaucratic? Try selling both pot and food (legally). They’re just getting started in West Hollywood, CA, but: “Although the city allows licenses for consumption lounges that aren’t attached to dispensaries, ‘There is no such thing as a cannabis cafe license from the state,’ which will license the businesses as dispensaries, [Sean Black, co-founder of Lowell Herb Co.] said.... Lowell’s strategy is to put two separate businesses under the same roof: a lounge to smoke cannabis and a restaurant. Guests who order food and cannabis will receive separate bills….” And, reports Maura Judkis, “It’s trickier for restaurants that planned to infuse food but applied for an edible consumption license…. The team behind the Antidote, which plans to open an upscale cannabis restaurant in the spring, also plans to open a commissary kitchen to produce sauces and dressings infused with THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. Guests would purchase a sauce, which would be presented alongside the meal in a sealed container, open it themselves and dose appropriately. (The sauce also would have to be purchased from a separate business — which, as at the Lowell cafe, could be under the same roof as the restaurant.)”

Cool scam, but has anyone invented a bad pun name for whatever we’re calling “corkage” at these places? Taking suggestions. “Dosage” is too obvious.

For the Somm – “The Court of Master Sommeliers has named five new recipients of its top accolade, including Germany’s first female MS, Bulgaria’s first ever MS and Japan’s first MS, aged just 24.” Per Phoebe French in Drinks Business: “The successful students included Helga Schroeder MS, Germany’s first female Master Sommelier; Carlos Simoes MS, Portugal’s second Master Sommelier; Pierre Brunelli MS; Svetoslav Manolev MS, Bulgaria’s first Master Sommelier; and Toru Takamatsu MS, Japan’s first Master Sommelier.” Congrats, all!

For Design Fans – A bit biased on this one — had my first ever bibimbap at the original Mandu here, and have liked the owners from a distance for a while — but there is something about this muddle of rooms and textures at Anju that just looks fun, and the mix of Korean elements (white painted ceiling between wood rafters) and neighborhood classics (painted brick and rowhouse joists) works to both fit together and separate spaces. We could play a game called spot-the-misses, but like I said, biased. Photos by Rey Lopez in Eater D.C.

And Last and Definitely Least – Saw this tweet from Insider’s Siddhartha Mahanta yesterday, and had to verify its very important restaurant history content for myself. Sure enough, here’s a straight copy paste from the (citation-corroborated) Wikipedia page for one Charles Entertainment “Chuck E.” Cheese: “Chuck's official backstory is that he is an orphaned mouse who does not know his own birthday. His orphanage was called St. Marinara's orphanage. To make up for never having a birthday party of his own, he hosts parties for children. After winning a Pong tournament, Chuck moved to New York and started working as a singer at an Italian restaurant, where he also met and befriended a musically-inclined chef named Pasqually as the drummer. Eventually, he moved to California and created his own restaurant franchise, with Pasqually becoming his star chef and later joining his band. The two would go on to find others to join the band, eventually recruiting a talented vocalist chicken named Helen Henny, a purple keyboardist monster named Mr. Munch (who absolutely loves pizza), and a country music-loving guitarist bloodhound named Jasper T. Jowls.”

The More You Know…

And that’s it for today.

Please send those Bangkok tips, and I’ll see you here one week from today for next Family Meal.

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