Michelin UK, Virginia Ramos gone, Midwest Martinez, Pink red wine, and more...
Family Meal - Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018
First, thanks so much to everyone who sent tips for my trip to DC next week! Much obliged. There is now also the slightest chance I may make it up to NYC for a day or two, so your “if I only had one night in New York this year” recommendations welcome.
Let’s get to it…
Michelin Season – The UK stars were announced on Monday, and Richard Vines has the full list and analysis in Bloomberg. Clare Smyth’s Core debuted at two stars, and “there were two star additions also for Kitchen Table at Bubbledog, in London; and for Moor Hall, a restaurant with rooms in the countryside of northern Lancashire… There were also 21 new one-star establishments. No new restaurant won the top accolade of three stars… Chef Marcus Wareing… lost his second star for Marcus restaurant, at the Berkeley hotel.”
Eater London editor Adam Coghlan tweets: “A big day for [Gordon Ramsay] in general. He was present (in his chefs whites) on stage for the whole ceremony; his old foe Wareing got demoted; his flagship kept its 3 stars; and his protégé and friend Clare Smyth straight into the guide with 2 stars.” #blessed
Flashback to 2008 when an ambitious (and tubthumping) Wareing told the Telegraph: “Gordon loves being the only three-star [in London]. He’s milked it for years. Whatever happens between me and Gordon, if he wants me never to get to the status I want then my advice to him is: put a gun to my head, shoot me, put me in a box and bury me because if you don’t, I’ll come back and come back. I’ll never give up until I get to where I want to go.”
The Veto – California “Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the Late Night Bar Bill… last week on Septmeber 28. SB 905 would have adjusted the last call time to 4 a.m. in the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, West Hollywood, Palm Springs, Oakland, and San Francisco. Governor Brown added comment in a letter to the California Senate…: ‘Without question, these two extra hours will result in more drinking. The business and cities in support of this bill see that as a good source of revenue. The California Highway Patrol, however strongly believes that this increased drinking will lead to more drunk driving.’” Mona Holmes has the details and reactions in Eater LA, including this rough take from Three Clubs co-owner Marc Smith: “Does [the Governor ] have an alcoholic relative or something?”
What FOH is Reading – Claus Meyer’s Agern was no-tipping from the get-go in 2016, but “for almost two years, the restaurant’s business didn’t meet expectations. This February, its management decided to end the no-tipping practice and has lowered its prices by roughly 20% to accommodate traditional tipping…. Richard Walshe, 36, who has been a server and a bartender at Agern since June 2017, said the higher prices on the menu board under the no-tipping policy discouraged diners from becoming regulars. Now staff see more walk-ins and a bump in their pay from tips. MeyersUSA said Agern’s servers earned 25% to 40% more per hour this summer than in previous periods.” Full story from Mengqi Sun in the WSJ.
The Awards – The World Restaurant Awards, created by the people behind the 50 Best list (but self-described as “Not another f****** list”), released their inaugural categories last week, and made the obvious mistake of not being obvious. How excited will you be to tell your friends that your restaurant won the prestigious “House Special” or “No Reservations Required” awards? Will everyone be in on the joke(?) when you announce your victory in the “Red Wine-Serving Restaurant” category? Kudos to the first chef to get a tattoo of their “Tattoo-Free Chef” award, but also… Congrats?
(P.S. Dear World Restaurant Awards judges / Family Meal readers, I will be in Paris at the time of the awards next year, and am still waiting on my press pass approval. Thank you for your consideration.)
The Close – Per Amy Scattergood in the LA Times, “Baroo, the tiny experimental restaurant specializing in fermentation-forward bowls of vegetables and grains, is closing permanently at the end of October…. [Chef-owner Kwang Uh] said the business just isn’t sustainable… The restaurant, which never put up a sign, features a chalkboard menu, a communal table and two counters. The interior design mainly consists of tall shelves filled with fermentation jars and tubs, and stacks of cookbooks on most available surfaces.”
Midwest Moves – Chef Aaron Martinez is taking over from Ben Grupe at Elaia in St. Louis. Martinez was previously chef de cuisine at Quince and Commis in CA. No word on what’s next for Grupe. Details from Ian Froeb in the Post-Dispatch.
Some sad news – “Virginia Ramos — whom several generations of San Franciscans know better as ‘the Tamale Lady’ — has died. She was 65.... Ramos was a street-food legend in San Francisco, and her death comes just as her long-awaited restaurant in the Mission District was undergoing final repairs before opening.” Full obituary from Jonathan Kauffman in the Chronicle.
The Opportunity? – Via Arabella Advisors founder Eric Kessler on Twitter: “The Castanea Fellowship is a new, two-year fellowship for diverse leaders working for a racially just food system in any of the areas of: health, environment, agriculture, regional economies, and community development. We give Castanea Fellows the time, space, and resources they need to connect and innovate on long-term solutions that can foster vibrant communities… Fellows will experience domestic and internal learning exchanges and will be provided $40,000 over the course of the fellowship.” First round of applications open next month, due in December. Castaneafellowship.org.
For the somm – “Alecia Moore has been harboring a secret. You probably know Moore as Pink, the pop star. Her secret is that she is a winemaker.… On Nov. 15, Moore releases her first wines, which she calls Two Wolves, to the world: a Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.” I wouldn’t include a celebrity release here, but SF Chronicle critic Esther Mobley approves: “In spite of my best attempts at maintaining skepticism, Moore speaks about wine in a way that convinces me she’s serious. It would be one thing for her to name-drop obvious status-symbol wines — the Dom Perignons or Screaming Eagles or Chateau Latours of the world. But Moore is into Clos Rougeard, an obsession of the hipster sommelier crowd. Over lunch, she opens a bottle of Benanti Pietramarina, a Sicilian wine from the obscure Carricante grape — a wine you have to know about.”
And last and least – For Design Fans, Home Edition: Local television personality Alton Brown married designer Elizabeth Ingram this past weekend. She designed his apartment in Georgia, and while I of course wish them only the best, any occasional guest of modern hotels could’ve told them that the glass-walled bathroom they built in the master bedroom is an absolutely beautiful, bad idea. AD slideshow here.
And that’s it for today. Last night, my three year old was watching Wallace and Gromit, and at a crucial moment came running over to say, “No crackers! They forgot the crackers!” I am off to the grocery store, lest his claymation fears come true.
I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.
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