What makes a chef? It starts before any official training in culinary arts and perhaps even before that first job in a restaurant as a dishwasher. It starts back with the family, for good or ill, and those first meals our parents or grandparents cooked for us. The road to cooking begins with food and love—or the lack thereof. Nigel Slater relates his journey, in all its twisted glory, in Toast.
Those quick to jump on the “latest thing” need to do some deeper investigation.
I’m tired of talking about trends, but then, I’m tired anyway, so here we go. Do you think, though, that we could come up with a new word for this discussion? “Infatuations” is too long, I suppose, and “meme” is too Twittery. Not “fads,” I suppose. Fashions? Mass hysteria? Media-mediated groupthink? Never mind.
There is a substantial number of people who specialize in the epidemiology of aesthetics, believe it or not. Among them, there is general agreement that a “fad” is a very different thing from a “trend.” The former are widespread and have a short lifespan (hula-hoops, Asian flu); the latter move more slowly and become, eventually, part of everyday life (compact fluorescents, bubonic plague). By this understanding, the Atkins diet was a fad, thank goodness, and we may once more eat bread. The Buffalo-wing diet, however, appears to be with us to stay.
The Philosophy: My food philosophy is this as it pertains to my restaurant: use quality ingredients and solid technique to execute fresh takes on familiar, delicious food for an upscale bar clientele with discerning tastes. I like to stay knowledgeable on current food trends, offering fresh options for our amazing patrons.
Revisiting Foursquare as a way to market your restaurant.
We dug into Foursquare just over two years ago and given one significant recent update for businesses, it’s worth it to revisit the app, which has always offered up simple ways to connect with people who are connecting with you. Let’s start with the basics and then talk a little bit about their recent addition.
The CEO, Dennis Crowley, was just at SXSW (South by Southwest) 2013 and said that the app isn’t about checking in, which is where it started (check in, get points, beat your friends). Now he says it’s evolved to become about finding recommendations and search. And, indeed, with over 54 million locations in the database, it can be a useful place to grab a recommendation for anything from coffee to campgrounds.
Sing along! Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall (and one Manhattan with Buffalo Trace, Cocchi Vermouth, egg white, orange liqueur, Cherry Herring and bitters). Sigh.
A guy walks into a bar. He orders a vodka tonic. That’s it. That’s the whole joke. Because, can you remember a day when ice wasn’t hand-cut, when bitters didn’t come in an eyedropper, when your bartender was just that, and not a handlebar-mustaschioed mixologist in a porkpie hat and bowtie? Craft cocktails. The culture of the drink seems as poised to take over the bar experience as latté culture once was to the lowly cup of drip coffee.
And like that now de rigueur trend that’s no longer a trend but rather a matter of course—(drip or Chemex?) the philosophy of it all seems rife for the haranguing. Because of, let’s face it, the eye-rolling minutiae of it all. Has craft cocktaildom jumped the shark? Is it fair to say that some days you’d just as soon be poured a simple, life-validating Jack and Coke and then be left the hell alone—no essences, bitters, tinctures or garnishes, please?
I posed this question to a handful of our city’s most prominent bartenders (mixologists, if you must). Here’s what they had to say:
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