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Today in Tabs

Food: Reading About It Is What's Instead Of Dinner

You will have to pry the word "stock" from my cold, dead hands.

Food: Reading About It Is What's Instead Of Dinner
[Photo: Alcinoe via Wikimedia Commons]

Eating food is a critical part of every man’s self-care routine, but did you know there are so many other things you can do with food besides put it in your lower facehole? You can read about it, you can talk about it, you can watch people make and/or consume it on TV. You can argue about it, read about other people arguing about it, and watch people argue and/or compete over it on TV! Rumor has it that you can even make food yourself, but this seems unsanitary and probably dangerous. Today, bringing us a sampling of tabs about the wide world of food activities that are not actually eating is Helen Rosner, from the sarcastically named website Eater.

Hi, I’m Helen Rosner. I’m the executive editor of Eater, and I’m here to tell you all about food, which is stuff you put into your body via your mouth (please) in order to be nourished (or sometimes emptied).

Some topical service journalism! DC and New York are preparing to be paralyzed by snow, which means you should stay home this weekend and play Mario Kart and cook stuff. My plan is chocolate-chip cookies—this recipe but swap dark brown sugar for all the sugar—and bourbon. Please don’t order delivery if it’s blizzarding, it’s just extraordinarily cruel. If you do, tip the delivery dude $20. Yes, twenty dollars, at minimum, as payment for how horrible you are.

More recipes: Baklava is cool now. I wish I was eating this pasta right this second. Here’s a recipe for making an Egg McMuffin at home that does look objectively better than the McDonald’s product, but only makes sense as a culinary endeavor if you’re a foodie robot who is indifferent, if not outright hostile, to context, nostalgia, and convenience.

Two restaurant openings of sincere national importance: A guy launching a woman-friendly barbecue restaurant in Atlanta said on the record, to a journalist, "Appealing to men is not that difficult, but there’s a threshold anxiety that a lot of women have" when "they see a bunch of smoke going into a place," so his plan is to keep the dining room separate from the smoke pits so our silken petticoats don’t fill with noxious meat-fumes and send us into paroxysms of hysteria. Matt Buchanan for the rebuttal:

Two thousand miles away (literally! But also metaphorically!) L.A. just celebrated the start of one of the most meaningful and ambitious restaurant undertakings in recent memory: LocoL, a healthy/sustainable quick-serve spot with an impeccable double-chef pedigree and fast-food prices opened its first location not in Silver Lake or Echo Park, but in Watts. Unlike certain ~brands~ that talk about "feeding people" but really mean "feeding white yuppies with Instagram accounts" (It me!), Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson are interested in serving people who aren’t already bombarded with meticulously curated nut-milk options. I’m curious to see how many heat-seeking food hipsters will head to Watts on the reg for messy beef chili bowls, and also how they’ll feel about the fact that Choi and Patterson seem not to care about them at all (outside of the opening-day party, which excusably featured Lena Dunham and John Favreau), focusing their energy instead on the under-served communities they’re opening in. I’m being completely earnest right now: LocoL appears to be both a great and a good undertaking, and I hope it succeeds wildly.

Thirst Tabs: Cocktail historian David Wondrich on the forgotten legacy of Black bartenders. Magenta-haired sylph Marian Bull on the glories of playing Erotic Photo Hunt in dive bars. Excellent Negus is an excellent name for a cocktail. Keurig, the Zynga Games of culinary appliances, announced that you can now use their machines to make bone broth. A fun game is to go up to someone and ask them which is more annoying: A) people who are really into bone broth, or B) people who snottily interrupt every mention of "bone broth" by saying "actually, it’s just called 'stock.'"1 When they try to anticipate your punchline that they’re equally annoying, they’ll realize you’ve walked away and are off somewhere else living a rich, fulfilling life. Not inaccurate: "Nespresso is the iPhone of coffee makers." Bon Appetit had sommelier Chad Walsh review "waters" and accidentally gave him expired maple water.

Something something Ozymandias: Last week, New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells demoted Per Se, a very fancy, very expensive restaurant, from four stars to two. A flurry of thinkpieces ensued: Is Slate right that Wells is a populist hero? Yes. Is Grub Street right that fine dining is doomed? No, only Per Se is doomed. But truly the hottest take of all arrived yesterday: Ahmass Fahakany, the money guy of restaurant group Altamarea who wrote a simultaneously scathing and incoherent open letter to Wells a few weeks ago in the wake of a one-star review, said: "I don’t think [restaurant critics] are serving the industry at this time to the fullest," which reveals a near-pathological misunderstanding of whom restaurant critics tryna serve. If you’ve canceled your Per Se reservation but still want to drop a Grover Cleveland2 on dinner, my recommendation is the chef’s counter at Empellón Cocina, which is great. Ryan Sutton, Eater NY’s restaurant critic/the guy who sits next to me at work, agrees emphatically.

The most important news of the week, though, was every food and non-food writer collectively flipping their shit at the fact that Tyrese has a Benihana-style restaurant in his backyard ("Actually, it’s called a teppanyaki restaurant" —bone broth nerds, probably.3) Gibsihana has a Twitter account that was opened in 2011 and apparently forgotten in 2012. How great is it to not only open a faux-Benihana in your backyard, but to give it a social media presence, and then abandon that social media presence?! It is currently newsworthy because Official Food Establishment-Sanctioned Celebrity Aziz Ansari dined there, and also because, let’s be real, it’s the best thing ever and we the media should never stop covering it.

This is a great time for me to bring up two of my very favorite things: Logan Hill’s astonishingly entertaining 2007 profile of Benihana founder Rocky Aoki (dad of Devon and Steve!), which I try to re-read annually because it’s just, I don’t even know how to express the glory, really, and this bot that retweets NBA players tweeting about Benihana.

Okay, that’s it! Happy Friday, and if you’re in New York, it’s too late to stock up on box wine. For a good time, read Eater, follow Shit Food Blogger on Twitter, and follow Drake on Cake on Instagram. Thanks to my personal Friday Food Tabs interns Hillary Dixler and Leah Linder. Also, tip your waitress. No, more. Seriously, tip her even more.


  1. But it is! jklklxsharharihlkrsjhsl —RF ↩

  2. Is that even a real denomination? —RF ↩

  3. I resent this abuse. —RF  ↩

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