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LAT Food(!), Ma closes, IACP cuts, BentoBox raises, and more...
Family Meal - Saturday, April 13th, 2019
Good morning from beautiful Durham, NC. where I am still working on the massive cornbread side I started eating at Foster’s yesterday, and am looking forward to finishing it off over the next few days. Like one of those oversized jawbreakers, but cake.
Let’s get to it…
The Food Section – It’s here. The LA Times first standalone print food section since 2012 arrived on Thursday, and it’s a beaut. The cover is an illustrated map of LA food, complete with Jonathan Gold’s famous green truck rambling toward another meal. If you can’t get your hands on the real deal, there’s an ereader version here (can’t link directly to food section; use top-right menu to get there), and the articles are all online in normal web view as well. Definitely check out “Fancy Chinese food is here to stay — and it's about time” by Andrea Chang and Lucas Kwan Peterson, with cameos from Brandon Jew, Mei Lin, Jon Yao, and more.
Editor Peter Meehan’s intro note doesn’t reveal much, so read his Grubstreet interview with Nikita Richardson instead: “I want us to have a national reach and resonance. And I want to do a lot more on Mexico, considering the fact that Los Angeles is the second biggest city in Mexico, and that’s meaningful. I’m hoping, much in the way that the New York Times’ is not seen as a local food section, that in a year we can get to the point where we’re writing stories that have national resonance as well as covering our region as well as or better than anybody else.”
Aim for better! Congrats, all!
The Profile Treatment – Staying in LA for a second, Eater’s Euno Lee has the story of Yoonjin Hwang and her Spoon by H in the Fairfax District. After David Chang named it his restaurant of the year on Instagram last November, “the hype machine is clearly taking a toll on the small storefront.” Details of how she handles that hype are interesting (ah, the challenges of runaway success!), but her journey there is much more fun. The crib notes: Piano wunderkind gets scholarship to prestigious CA music school at 13, and eventually preforms at Carnegie Hall before the financial crisis forces her to teach private piano lessons and take work in a café. Then she moves home to Korea to open a successful spa, gets another scholarship to another prestigious US conservatory, sells spa, and moves on to mastering the pipe organ. Yadda yadda yadda, Spoon by H. As one does.
The Raise – Restaurant website startup BentoBox raised a $16.4M Series B round. The glorified press release in TechCrunch says they got some of that from Will Guidara, so expect to hear that name when sales reps come a-callin’…
The Close – In DC, the Washingtonian’s Anna Spiegel reports, “Chef Tim Ma is serving his last crème fraîche wings at Kyirisan as the Shaw restaurant prepares to close on Thursday, April 18. An eviction lawsuit from landlord JBG shows that the modern French-Chinese restaurant owes $111, 574 in unpaid rent and other fees dating from September of last year to March.” Chef Adam Greenberg added this P.S. warning on Twitter: “Restaurant friends: There is NO amount of TI money a LL can offer that will create a neighborhood and drive your sales. You can open a restaurant for a lot less out of pocket, but this is what happens when ‘this will be cool in 2-3 years’, isn’t. LL’s come to collect, not good.”
The Trailer – The team behind Chef’s Table has a new “Street Food” series coming to Netflix. Trailer here. (And for all you haters: An ode to CT’s slow motion format from Helen Rosner here). This first “season” will feature Thailand, Japan, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines.
Awards Season – If you need to butter up a food media type, the 2019 IACP Award finalist list is now out. Did Family Meal make the cut? You’ll have to click through to discover the answer! The answer is no. Anyway…. Congrats, all!
Michelin Season – Taipei’s 2019 guide is out. Per the press release, “Le Palais holds on to its three stars accolade and continues to be the only three-starred restaurant in Taipei.” Raw and Taïrroir both moved up to two stars to join debut entry Sushi Amamato and previous two starred restaurants The Guest House and Shoun RyuGin at the ** level. There were also four new one stars and 25 new Bibs. Full list here.
For the Somm – In discussing the sale of Grace Family Vineyards, “one of Napa’s original ‘cult’ wineries”, this week, Esther Mobley details the state of winery ownership in her newsletter, where partly because “a shockingly high percentage of Napa’s important modern wineries were launched in 1972… A 2017 survey by Silicon Valley Bank showed that 50 percent of U.S. wineries thought it was either possible or likely that they would sell within five years.” Can’t wait to see who uses their IPO cash to finally #disrupt viticulture! Is there enough protein in wine? We’ll soon find out.
For Design Fans – Here’s Rey Lopez’s Eater photo spread for Queen’s English, a new “Hong Kong-Style” restaurant in DC from Henji Cheung and Sarah Thompson. Did they save some money on the floor? Yes. Did they spend that savings on fantastic Chinoiserie wallpaper and beautiful details throughout (parquet-ish(?) wood under the bar, a Chinese window / medicine cabinet room divider, and that sink / ceiling combo in the bathroom)? Also, yes. Fair deal.
And that’s it for today. Back to St. Louis tomorrow, then on to D.C. next week.
I’ll either see you there, or see you here soon for next Family Meal.
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