Image: Ismo Hölttö, Lestadiolaisten Suviseurat, Oulu, Finland (1966)
This week our update is short and sweet, and a little late out of the gate. Enjoy!
Updates to D.C. Recommended Restaurant List
Thip Khao – The avant garde of Lao cuisine in D.C. is still going strong.
The Berliner – The ode to German sausage and beer is losing its lease as the new building owner looks to convert it into a hotel. They hint that they are looking to find another space. They close October 23.
D.C. Dining News
Compensation: Amanda Michelle Gomez in DCist does a pretty good summary of the state of play on Initiative 82. Coincidentally, two things out of New York make a strong case against tipping as the basis for compensation, either because it creates bad dynamics between customers and staff but not in the way the NY Post thinks, or because of the unaddressed problem of Back of the House compensation.
So Long Stars: The lead restaurant critic for the Post, Tom Sietsema stopped using star ratings in his reviews during the pandemic. He has defended star ratings over the years, and there was a sense he would bring them back at some point. This week he announced he would not. We obviously applaud the decision.
Other Dining News
When It Doesn’t Rain, It Sucks: Drought hits Midwest ranchers. This seems like one of those things that could lead to a big political shift. Or not.
The Emerging Economy: Monthly jobs numbers came out, and they were good enough not to be bad (overall they were strong), but not bad enough to be good (because they will encourage the Fed to keep going on interest rate hikes). The leisure and hospitality sector did well, which some took as a sign that the overall labor market is loosening. It is a implicit condemnation that an increase in a sector is bad news for the overall employment situation because it means people are settling for shitty jobs.
More Compensation: Greg Jaffe has been doing a series on the new economy and those that survive at the bottom of the pay scale. His story this week looks at how Howard Schultz, who thinks of himself as the good guy, came back to Starbucks for one year as CEO to be the bad guy, specifically to stop the union drive.
Sustaining Shrooms: Alicia Kennedy has a piece in the unlikely outlet of Foreign Policy about how Puerto Rico is developing a mushroom sector: “Puerto Rico’s chefs and entrepreneurs believe that mushrooms’ adaptive nature may hold a key to survival. They want to present a reproducible model—and make it delicious, too.”
Food and Identity: Mallika Rao, writing in Grub Street, takes on a topic that is a rising area of interest in public discourse over the last year or so. “If you are a member of the Asian diaspora in America, the push-pull around foodstuffs may be a tension you recognize. On the one hand, there is the desire to maintain a connection to the ancestral land. On the other, a sense that too much weight is placed on food as a source of meaning and identity.”
Tejal Rao profiles Madame Wu, a Los Angeles visionary and restaurateur who died at 106.
McDonald’s runs out of ideas. Adult Happy Meals, which seems like a #1 with a toy. But not an “adult” toy.
Tulip Mania on Resy: The demand for “hot” reservations among a certain high altitude/low-oxygen class is back to absurd. Recession worries do not land equally. Chris Crowley makes a dig that the problem is that so many new places are not that great. Soleil Ho, the San Francisco Chronicle’s restaurant critic posted a review of French Laundry. They were kind but not fawning. The lengths Ho went to get a crucial third reservation for the review included, buying two tickets for a table for four with two strangers who were reselling their extra seats because sometimes four-tops are easier to get. “Ultimately, it was fine — even if I was intruding on a stranger’s 10th wedding anniversary dinner.”
Service Journalism: The Post offers tips on induction stoves.
In case you didn’t know, our site’s primary purpose is to be a dining guide for Washington, D.C. We have 300+ recommended restaurants. You can sort by cuisine, neighborhood, and current operating status (dine-in and/or take-out, etc. – though things are in flux and we may miss something, so check before you go!) in either LIST or MAP format. So if you are gonna be in town, check us out.