The utterly charming history of Bagel Bites
Check out the Boston section for a neat story about grocery stores and inequality.
Emily Wilson, writing in TASTE, surveys the state of food podcasts. There are a growing number of food podcasts, but none have broken through to mega hits. The article does a great job showing the different ways success can look in the field, from small dedicated communities to mega-networks.
The James Beard awards are out! After totally shutting down for two years to rethink and retool, a new list is out that looks like one of the most diverse in history. That’s great!
If you are a certain age, you finish the phrase “pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening…” without blinking. I am that age, and I devoured this history of the bagel bite only slightly faster than I have devoured entire boxes of the titular product after coming home drunk. It’s a charming tale of a group of friends in Florida coming up with an idea and working their ass off to make it a success.
The best thing I read this week: I loved this beautiful story from Forward digging into a famous ad campaign for Levy’s rye bread. Writer Andrew Silverstein digs into one ad in particular: a smiling Native American man eating rye bread. Silverstein figures out who the man is and unravels the complicated life and identity of a Penobscot Nation man who settled in the Bronx and ended up working for the MTA!
Turns out the famous marshmallow self control test is bullshit. It feels like a good life rule is to assume every famous psychological experiment is not really true and it’s only a matter of time until there’s an episode of This American Life debunking it.
WIRED profiles a company trying to turn carbon dioxide into fake meat. The article is a bit too credible, as I doubt it’s *actually* carbon-neutral right now given the energy required for the transaction. But hey, Snack Cart is officially pro fake meat so bring it on.
Deena Shanker, writing in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, takes a more thorough look at the fake meat world. After a tremendous 2020, sales of fake meat products slowed to a crawl in 2021. Looking to find new ways to expand the market, companies are now working their products into read-to-eat foods. You can buy frozen ravioli with fake beef or DiGiorno pizza with fake sausage. I think this is great! These kinds of products are the ones that use industrial meats that are… barely meat. It’s the category to crack to reduce overall consumption. Shanker makes a great point that a lot of the startups we talk about now have a rocky future ahead: major meat companies all have fake meat divisions and it’s likely going to become a commodified product. Which is… also great to me? Anything that makes it cheaper and more ubiquitous.
Stephen Satterfield, the founder of Whetstone Magazine and host of Netflix’s High on the Hog, shares the ups and downs of starting a new print project and being a black entrepreneur with the Nieman Lab.
I did not love this article reviewing the egg rolls at the Cheesecake Factory, but as with all things Cheesecake Factory it doesn’t matter what I think. You’ve clicked already based on the topic.
Edi. Patterson. Grub. Street. Diet. (Go watch Righteous Gemstones). Also shoutout to Edi for defending well-done steak. If you are at a random hotel the steak is probably bad anyway.
If you have taken over baking during the pandemic and are bored with your results, may I suggest no-knead gatorade bread?
The Y Axis, a newsletter devoted to making data fun and understandable, looks at the increased number of deaths from alcohol over the past few years. This is a bit dark. The numbers are way up and the author lists the ways alcohol is horrible for you. However, it’s good to look the hard truths in the eye.
It’s not just you. The fountain coke at McDonald’s really does taste better.
I don’t do too much cooking stuff, but making a pan sauce is literally the easiest thing that can make you feel and look absurdly competent in the kitchen. Learn how to do this.
There was a medium-viral twitter thread about US dairy policy and cheese reserves. I generally try to avoid those shouty “LISTEN UP YOU WON’T BELIEVE THIS SHIT” threads ever since the genre was ethered by this Outline article in 2019. HOWEVER, if you don’t know about the giant US cheese reserve, you should read about it! It’s a wild story of regulatory capture and special interest. One of the best things we could do for this country would be to subsidize healthy food instead of unhealthy food, but we don’t! It’s insane!
Is it OK to use Romano cheese instead of Parmesan? And if I don’t have spaghetti on hand, can I just use fish?
Going back outside… err inside? The MOFAD has a new exhibit on African American culinary history. The exhibit runs though June 19th. I’ll definitely be planning to go.
Make sure to pencil in this stop on your next trip: Food & Wine named Breadfolks in Hudson as the best bread in the state.
Bonnie’s in Brooklyn is worth it, according to Ryan Sutton, which will not make it easier for me to eat there. Anyone want to go with me?
Sutton also reviews Hawskmoor, the new British steakhouse. Pete Wells reviewed it a few weeks back and Sutton finds a new angle. He says that the best steaks on the menu are some of the cheapest. This is great, as steak is becoming an ever-more-expensive luxury. I also love any review that uses the phrase, “brobdingnagian”.
Pete Wells loves Ci Siamo, the new outpost from Danny Meyers Union Square Hospitality Group. It features aggressive and precise Italian Cooking. Wells muses that we’ve come to appreciate our local restaurants more during the pandemic, but places like this might get us traveling the city again.
The owner of Threes Brewing exploded in a new-deleted Twitter thread calling vaccines a crime against humanity (and many worse things!). Sounds like a real shithead. If I relied on progressive Brooklynites for my business, I would simply not do this.
I really want to do a food crawl down in Bay Ridge. When I do, I’ll stop by the newly opened Kimchi Kooks. Scott Lynch in Brooklyn Magazine has a review of the new brick and morter location of a popular greenmarket pop-up. Seems like a great place to grab a quick bite and a slew of prepared foods and banchan to take home.
Fat Tuesday is coming up, and Chicago Magazine has a guide to getting your Pączki. I would like to eat ten thousand of these, please and thank you.
Congee is pretty universal across Asia, so it makes sense for a Keralan and a Cantonese chef to both have it remind them of home. Mike Sula profiles the congee-specific pop up as part of their Monday Night Foodball series in Irving park.
Louisa Chu profiles and celebrates Josephine Wade, the owner and founder of the oldest Black woman-owned soul food restaurant in Chicago. Josephine’s Southern Cooking, formerly Captain’s Hard Time, has been an institution in Chatham for almost 60 years. Wade and her son muse on the ups, downs, and bright future of the place.
Chu also reviews Bocadillo, a new Lincoln Park cafe celebrating an unlikely connection between Spanish and African American cooking. Chu does a great job teasing out the personal stories being this place. This is Chu’s best review yet and I really liked it!
Speaking of personal stories, it’s hard not to let your jaw drop reading Mike Sula’s personal history of Karlo Caceres, chef behind the new Avenida Peru. Carceres worked his ass off for years trying to break into hospitality, and his big break was mass-cooking Peruvian specialities in his living room. Now he’s got a brick and mortar spot that is serving the Lima street food he grew up with (plus some more obscure dishes). I’d definitely stop here.
This review of Venezuelan Typica Diner & Cafe in Block Club Chicago is a neat story of a business surviving the pandemic, but mostly it’s worth reading for the photos of the latte art. They are stunning.
The Illinois wine industry is… surprisingly big! The Tribune dives into their efforts to change the state's alcohol distribution laws that forbid them from selling directly to stores, restaurants, or consumers.
The Globe publishes a truly interesting story from Chaseedaw Giles of the Kaiser Health News Network that highlights the disparities in grocery selection at different stores in different neighborhoods. Giles and her mother visited multiple Stop & Shops with the same shopping list, noting the overall inventory and what was highlighted as specials. In Somerville and Brookline, they found abundant organic fruit and healthy options. In Dorchester, processed foods and snacks. There’s also a really interesting conversation with Stop & Shop. The story of our current economy is how the algorithms that drive and optimize every business have massive unintended consequences.
I raised more pints than I should have at the Dubliner in Government Center, so I’m excited that a bar and restaurant that may actually be good is taking its place.
The Digg interviews The Chinatown Project, a combination community advocacy group / food influencer collective that has been highlighting the people and places of Boston’s Chinatown.
I, for one, can’t believe that there are a bunch of restaurants in Boston’s North End. Local residents are protesting the return of outdoor dining, and I hope the city tells them to shove it.
Scott Kearnan at BoMag dissects the James Beard awards, giving his take on who from Boston was snubbed.
Devra First covers a lawsuit over waffles and intellectual property between restaurant and bar Burgundian and Eastern Standard Provisions. As with many business partnerships that fall apart, this one seems messy. The underlying question is who owns recipes, which is something food media and business continues to grapple with.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal goes inside La Royal, a new Cambridge restaurant from the team behind Celeste. The rotating Peruvian menu is a return to where it all began for the team behind the place. Blumenthal tells the story of how the team behind a nationally-renowned restaurant group started cooking at home steps from the new location.
Los Angeles is famous for street food, but that doesn’t usually include 12-course omakase seatings in a Sherman Oaks back alley. Jenn Harris at the Times writes a phenomenal story on the rise in tasting menus. Restaurants across the city are starting to play around with set menus that reduce waste, save money, and let chefs push themselves (and their customers) creatively. This was one of the biggest “holy shit I want to eat there” things I’ve read in a while. We also read a similar story in Eater New York last week! National trend alert!
Masa-Fried chicken? MASA-FRIED CHICKEN!!!! #masafriedchicken.
Bill Addison is thrilled at the return of Here’s Looking at You, a small and quirky spot in Koreantown doing a mix of inventive small plates and cocktails. It’s a place that closed with COVID and the owners had to fight to re-open. I am making this review sound more boring than it is, as Addison really seems to be exploring what an “LA RESTAURANT” is in this review and a lot of his recent ones. It’s neat to see him starting to develop a point of view on the city.
The Los Angeles Times publishes a cartoon from Fabiola Lara exploring how vegetarian empanada recipes helped her reconnect with her Chilean roots. More food media outlets should experiment with comics.
Speaking of empanadas, L.A. Taco tells you where to get the best ones around the city.
Out of Context J. Gold of the Week
In the great march of world civilization, every country has done its part. The Germans contributed the symphony; the French, symbolist poetry; the Irish, William Butler Yeats. The Dutch chimed in with Mannerist painting, the Nigerians with the great sculptures of Benin. And the Belgians? French fries . . . well, fries and a funny kind of beer that tastes like cherries. Monks make it, I think. - link