Zimmern's crickets, Isabella's sunny side, SF's Bibs, Iberian stars, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, November 23rd, 2018
Boy do I have absolutely no Black Friday deals to tell you about today!
Let’s get to it…
Egg on his face: A Mike Isabella update – His former staff are moving on: “Chef Michael Lee Rafidi, a veteran of Michael Mina’s group in San Francisco who won local accolades at Arroz and Requin, is collaborating with Maxwell Park sommelier / owner Brent Kroll for two neighboring ventures in Navy Yard.” Details from Anna Spiegel in the Washingtonian.
His marquis project continues to be rebuilt without him: “Thip Khao, Donburi and other D.C. food businesses to take over Isabella Eatery space in Tysons.” - Tim Carman in WaPo.
And for their December cover, the Washingtonian (the town’s top local glossy) has chosen a picture of Isabella with a fried egg on his face; yolk placed just so for a yellow clown nose.
(P.S. At least he made a couple hundred grand last week on the condo he bought right before his problems became public just eight months ago…)
Egg on his face too: Andrew Zimmern edition – On the cusp of opening his new Lucky Cricket in Minneapolis, Zimmern gave an interview to Fast Company’s Mark Wilson, in which he managed to disparage Chinese restaurants across the Midwest, question an Asian man’s Asian-ness as a way of promoting his own adherence to “authentic” Chinese cuisine, and sort of insult his target market all in one go.
Reactions came in hot: Eater’s Hillary Dixler Canavan ran an entire piece criticizing his performance, there was a powerful thread of articles “about the history of Chinese food in America, including the political, xenophobic, and economic factors that led to these ‘horseshit’ [AZ’s term] restaurants in the first place” from Vox’s Nicole Zhu, Post-Dispatch critic Ian Froeb said, “I can speak only for St. Louis, but he has no freaking clue what is happening with regional Chinese cuisine in this pocket of the Midwest”, and comedian Jenny Yang was decidedly not subtle in expressing her feelings on the matter (“FUCK this guy”).
My thoughts were best summed up by Stephen Satterfield on Twitter: “It’s 2019. So easy for high profile white dude to pick the right answer on the appropriation test. Answers have been given and given again. Instead Andrew Zimmern chose to be mediocre and obtuse. Homie you need to apologize and do better!”
BUT, the good news for Zimmern is that he’s built up a lot of goodwill in his time and is seen to hold some power in the industry, which is why when it comes to several high profile people I would’ve expected to pounce - or at minimum comment - on an issue like this, he’s lucky: crickets.
Michelin Season: Iberian Edition – The Spain and Portugal guide came out this week, with Dani Garcia’s eponymous Marbella restaurant joining ten others in the three star category. Those ten again: Martín Berasateguii (Guipúzcoa), Lasarte (Barcelona), Akelarre (San Sebastián) Arzak (San Sebastián), DiverXO (Madrid), Azurmendi (Larrabetzu), Aponiente (Cádiz), ABaC (Barcelona), Quique Dacosta (Dénia), and El Celler de Can Roca (Girona).
The big news in Portugal via Ann Abel in Forbes, “Alma was awarded its much-deserved second star, becoming the second restaurant in Lisbon to hold the distinction. The other, Belcanto, retained its star, as did the others elsewhere in the country.” And in Spain, three more restaurants earned a second star: “Cocina Hermanos Torres in Barcelona… El Molino de Urdániz in Navarra, and Ricard Camarena Restaurant in Valencia.”
Michelin Season Too: Belux Edition – In Belgium and Luxemberg, Eater’s Monica Burton reports Michelin “added three new two-star restaurants to the list…. La Paix in Anderlecht, Belgium; La Table de Maxime in Our, Belgium; and Ma Langue Sourit in Luxembourg. There are also seven new one-star restaurants… six in Belgium and one in Luxembourg. Just one restaurant maintained its three-star status this year: chef Peter Goosen’s Hof van Cleve, a tasting menu restaurant in Kruishoutem, Belgium. This means that Bruges restaurant Hertog Jan lost its three-star designation this year.”
Michelin Season Three: Bay Area Bibs – 68 Bib Gourmands for the Bay Area, including eight new ones: “Ciccio (Yountville), Dyafa (Oakland), El Molino Central (Boyes Hot Springs), Gran Electrica (Napa), Luna Mexican Kitchen (San Jose), Nyum Bai (Oakland), Soba Ichi (Oakland) and Teni East Kitchen (Oakland).” Meanwhile, “Off last year’s list are Aina, Brown Sugar Kitchen (closed), Kappou Gomi [closed], Michel Bistro [closed], Monti’s, Sir & Star and Tacos Sinaloa.” Details and full list from Paolo Lucchesi in the SF Chronicle.
The Promotions – Unverified, but according to a tweet from Bloomberg’s Richard Vines, “Eleven Madison Park has named team members Sueyoung Jo as general manager and Brian Lockwood as executive chef. Outgoing GM Billy Peelle becomes operations director, while Dmitri Magi will be exec chef at a future restaurant project.”
The Move – In LA, Farley Elliot reports, “Young chef Miles Thompson is moving on from his post at Michael’s in Santa Monica. The highly-talented kitchen lead is taking some time away, with no firm plans on just where he’s headed next.”
And last and least - I do not remember the Barney balloon getting violently torn apart and sinking slowly to the ground during the 1997 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but there is video, so that’s what happened. A tragedy for simpler times. #thankful.
And that’s it for today. If you’re recovering today, I hope you had the Thanksgiving you’ve always wanted, or close enough. We’re celebrating here in Hong Kong tomorrow, which means I’m off to pour a glass of wine, turn up The Big Chill soundtrack, and coat a hundred or so cheap olives in a cheesy butter dough. Friday night, baby!
I’ll see you here Tuesday for next Family Meal.
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