Kwame names names, Bittman rebrands, Hearth for rent, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, March 22nd, 2019
It’s getting warmer in Hong Kong, and the sounds of landscapers weed-wacking their way through the cemetery beneath our apartment mean the first tomb-sweeping holidays of the Year of the Pig are nearly upon us. And that means I’ll be stateside in the coming weeks, with all the Family Meal schedule disruptions and added color travel may entail.
Details at bottom.
Short one today.
Let’s get to it…
The Opportunity – Via Farley Elliot in Eater LA: “One of Hollywood’s biggest and most expensive restaurant build-outs in years is now sitting empty… The former Hearth & Hound on Sunset Boulevard has been listed with powerful restaurant real estate outfit the Knox Company for around $26,000 in monthly rent, and that’s not including a negotiable amount of key money just to get in the door.” Good luck with those negotiations!
The Conversation – Chef Kwame Onwuachi spoke with Eater’s Hillary Dixler Canavan about his new book and what it means to really “pay your dues” in the restaurant industry. Onwuachi’s takes will be eye-opening for some chefs, but don’t miss this line about the book from Dixler Canavan: “One thing that surprised me is that you really named the names. You didn’t shy away from saying this is who I worked for, here’s how they behaved.” Eyes-looking-sideways-emoji pointed at you Eleven Madison Park, Per Se, et al.
The Rebrand – Turns out Mark Bittman’s new Medium magazine ripped off both its name – Salty – and design from, “Salty, a ‘sex, dating and relationships newsletter for women, trans and non binary people,’ launched in March 2018.” Maura Judkis has the fallout in the Washington Post, which has since led Bittman’s site to rebrand as simply “Bittman”. None of this explains how this site will make money.
The Rebrand Too – I agree with most of Devra First’s Boston Globe column this week, “There’s nothing cute about Crack Pie,” in which she calls out Milk Bar and others on their attempts at using the crack epidemic for marketing purposes, but she got our great country wrong when she said: “A bakery would never try to market something called Fentanyl Cake.” It’s only a matter of time, Devra.
The Hurdles – Opening a restaurant in San Francisco is a bit of a different beast: “Burning furniture wasn’t a requirement Dennis Leung ever thought would be necessary to open a restaurant in San Francisco. As the general manager of Dragon Beaux, a dim sum hot spot in the Richmond District, he’d been through the opening process before. Still, when a fire marshal last month told him some of the chairs at his upcoming Ghirardelli Square restaurant, Palette, would need to be incinerated to test them for harmful chemicals, Leung couldn’t help but think: Well, this is new.” Backstory/draft in this Justin Phillips article in the Chronicle
The Podcasts – Speaking of new books (a few paragraphs ago), Ruth Reichl was on this week’s Eater Upsell promoting her memoir and talking Gourmet glory days with Amanda Kludt and Daniel Geneen: “It hurts me that nobody is really doing those kind of great dreamy centerfold pieces that we did where we really did try and create a mood.” Reichl has obviously not embraced the advent of GIFs… yet.
The Media – “Eater SF is looking for a fearless reporter to cover the restaurant beat.” I’d do it, but FEAR. Job posting here.
For Design Fans – Apologies if you’ve been bombarded with clickbait about “Europe’s first underwater restaurant in Norway” but… it’s pretty stunning. Pictures have been going around for a while, but this Wallpaper photo spread is the best I’ve seen so far, and includes views of the actual interior (opposite the sea window). Looks like a pretty standard, sleek, Nordic design inside, but those exterior shots of the structure itself... oodelally!
And that’s it for today. A short one, like I said.
As for schedule disruptions going forward, here’s the deal: From April 2nd to 21st, I’m embarking on an epic(ish) trip from Hong Kong to San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Northwest Arkansas, St. Louis, Raleigh-Durham, and Washington, D.C. I will try my best to keep Family Meal to Tuesdays and Fridays, but there will be three kids under 5 years-old in tow, so please cut slack.
If you have tips, big ideas, or whatever relating to those cities, please send them my way! The saint who is travelling alongside me says I can go out once the kids are in bed. See you then.
And see you here Tuesday for next Family Meal!
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and send tips and/or your plan to help bring “Oo De Lally!” into common use alongside “fetch” to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. – Readers working at Condé Nast / Bon Appétit should please consider this my staking an official claim to “Epic(ish)”, a new travel magazine focused on all-inclusive resorts and short-distance travel. Thank you.