Any chef who works for a crook (cuz merde too often happens) should be feeling empowered now. They screw you, you can bring them down. Of course, the other lesson is that consorting with the wrong sort will only lead to trouble. Never claim the Butter Guzzler as a reference.
To elaborate on a 140-character rant: Somehow I suspect Ferran Adria would know exactly where to shove that monocle merde: Back into the end of the alimentary canal from which it spewed.
If not for the Twitter, I might have totally missed the coffin-nailing of a restaurant every critic in the eons I’ve lived in Manhattan has felt compelled to evaluate. My first reaction as the Tweets started was: Shouldn’t that be a TONY “who goes there?” When, really, was the last time that particular circus came to town in anyone’s cognizance? So I slogged through the dis and was rather stunned that the service is the only thing four-star about it these days. Wonder what could possibly have happened to change the arrogant assholes who tapped their order pads and wondered “did you come to talk or come to eat?” and then upended chairs around us as we finished our big-deal dinner after getting suckered in by my lunch with a big-time editor at which the asshole-in-chief did some serious butt-kissing himself? So I did a little poking around online and was reminded of another young un who was disabused of the notion that the temple of haute cuisine was anything but a private club, and then I turned up a story of how that same temple is now dependent on websites offering discounts. So file this under Dover sole served cold, the incomparable Seymour Britchky in 1990 on the ringleader now reduced to kowtowing to the hoi polloi: “With his slicked-down hair and accidental face, in his surely hand-tailored but too-tight suit, [he] is not aware that, though the moneyed and the powerful are his clientele today, in any reverse revolution, he and they will be separated at the first cut.”
As the foodiest of campaigns slogs on, it was rather rich to see the wearer of magic underwear strutting into a firehouse with Rudy 9/11 bearing boxes of not-even-good pizza for a photo stunt. Given NY fireguys’ reputation as great cooks, wasn’t that the equivalent of carrying coals to Austin?
As for the lame pizza issue, my advice on the Twitter was pretty much “throw the damn thing away and take a class at Pizza a Casa.” An overextended poseur is not going to change your life with his food processor and his first-draft “prose.” The paper seems intent on creating link bait, though, so I’ll suggest the ultimate: “I was the Egopedist’s ghostwriter!”
This is nothing personal on the phenomenon formerly known as Mr. Cutlets, especially since he once bought me a cheezburger and let me make an ass of myself as he was starting his first “real media” gig. But the Tweets about his take on the end of Ms. Perfect’s teevee run make me worry he has mastered the Clickiverse a little too well — call it “say anything.” Whatever killed her show, it was not a disconnect from America in hard times. Her whole grand scheme started, after all, in the Reagan recession — my going-away gift from co-workers on the national desk at the NYTimes in 1983 was a copy of “Entertaining” that they’d bought for $45, nearly what Keller’s opus went for a full 16 years later. Her whole schtick has always been selling an inaccessible lifestyle. Didn’t this country survive the first Depression through fantasy? And I definitely don’t buy the notion that the EVOO One is the new false idol. Once upon a time in America, Jeff Smith was Martha’s big competition. High and low always coexist on the gravy train. So let me rephrase that “say anything.” I meant to type “verbal mandrill.”
Epistemic closure is the undeniable diagnosis for most of wingnuttia, which probably explains why the deluded would look to an “economics” blogger sans calculator for advice on cookbooks. Naturally, she did not mention the manual for the socialist contraption she so proudly hailed after dropping $1,500. But she did “inform” readers that Maida’s books are out of print. Because that’s how capitalism works — no reissues are possible if the market demands. My advice to the closed-minded: Ask a liberal. We think anything goes anywhere, but especially in the kitchen.
Also, too, it’s unfortunate there’s no place where good people like Willie Nelson can go to get their food message out to a wide audience online. He’s totally right on Occupy the Food System, but I ain’t linking to a site that apparently believes we can all eat well when outlets don’t pay. Might as well shill for Smithfield processed crap behind photos of frolicking heritage hogs.
I’m with Shakespeare on the lawyers, but I still have to say they are doing some good for restaurant workers in NYC despite the bluster from Molto Ego’s partner. If you screw people, you should have to pay, not blame overregulation and whine about moving jobs out of New York (that should build loyalty here!). It’s ironic that this pro-biz story would run the same week a guy who may have been innocent of a murder was put to death; from the sound of it, restaurants just hand over mega-bucks rather than even try to prove they did not commit the crime. The ultimate irony, though, is that a newspaper that squeezes blood out of its turnips has a rutabaga out taking up the cause of the exploiter rather than its own readers. You’d think the tits-and-ass underclass would empathize more with the beaten-down. Someone should start advertising pitchforks.
One of the more amazing displays of audio hubris in recent history came when Mrs. Maroon hijacked a radio segment on restaurant reviewing in the Age of Yelp. Imagine Hungry Girl calling in and yapping endlessly while the Fed Up With School Lunch blogger was being interviewed. Of all people not to realize dial-in comments and questions are for the little people. . .
Who could have guessed, 25 years ago, that the top bastion of haughty attitude would one day be reduced to a sports bar? Thanks to the Twitter, I saw a shill on game day promising an open bar plus “Mama’s artichoke pizza, Tuscan fried chicken, mini burgers, Caesar salad, $50.” And that reminded me of the incomparable Seymour Britchky’s observation 20 years ago that the ringmaster was “not aware that, though the moneyed and powerful are his clientele today, in any reverse revolution, they and he will be separated at the first cut.” Wait long enough and all jerques get their due.
I meant to blather last week about a scene three of us encountered on our walk back to the C train after dinner and a movie: a familiar guy in a chef’s coat on a cigarette break outside a restaurant on a deserted lane. It should have been peak ordering time, on the busiest night of the week, and he was outside, and the fig trees were looking a little beaten, too. But I thought it would be mean to speculate that he was now describing himself in the NYTimes as “head chef” because he had no cooks left. Luckily, my suspicions were confirmed only two days later. As they say in Dante’s hometown, the good life is finito.
The most disturbing story I read all week was about the Subway franchise going up with every floor of the new building at the World Trade Center. We’re looking at an extinction-level disaster in the Gulf thanks to human hubris, and someone decided a deli in an elevator was a good idea? Yes, I’m an absurd eco-snob and would have less of a problem if the sandwiches being dispensed from this insanity were made with real ingredients; if something awful happened and a hero happened to be the last meal of a construction worker it might seem less grim on environmental and spiritual levels. But what the hell ever happened to packing a lunch? My dad worked construction on Arizona highways and always took soup in a Thermos. No composting was needed. Tesellating cheese 50 stories off terra firma can’t be what nature intended. Besides, without rats, can it really be fast food?