Image: Toni Schneiders, The Sunday Newspaper (Santorini, Greece, 1961).
Welcome back dearest reader to our recap of activity on our site and other dining news from D.C. (and further afield). As the year comes to a close, it seems that news is also slowing down. So this week is a quick snack of a review, so shall we proceed…
Updates to D.C. Recommended Restaurant List
Taqueria Habanero – The great taco spot in Columbia Heights has spruced up a bit since opening a few years back, but is remarkably consistent in its quality.
D.C. Dining News
Comings and Goings: La Cosecha is a getting a version of Mezcalero, but one without tacos and focused on coastal cuisine. It is almost as if it is intentionally trying to not compete with taco spot Las Gemelas or upscale Destino.
Little Red Fox is closing up shop. You have until December 23rd to recklessly throw money at them.
Right to Refuse? In Richmond, Va. a restaurant refused to do event for an organization advocating for “biblical” principles. In addition to the larger political and legal issues discussed in the story, one interesting element was that the refusal to serve was staff-led, whereas many of these types of stories often involve business owners making that decision. In a tight labor market, will staff have greater influence on these kind of decisions? We would also note that the restaurant is co-owned by Brittanny Anderson, the chef of Leni in the Roost food hall.
Around the Blogs: Rick Eats DC does his first rated reviews with generous scores for both Joy and Imperfecto.
What Mickey Eats tried out Irregardless on H Street and came away impressed: “Overall we had a wonderful meal – Mika was an excellent sommelier explaining each Virginian wine and gave generous pours to compliment the great food prepared by chef Ben.”
Lori Gardner at Been There Eaten That hints at more posts coming and makes a plug for Silver and Sons for Hanukkah.
Big Schlim also hit a few D.C. proper spots recently, including Butter Me Up.
Finally, Erik Bruner-Yang is posting about some of his favorite places from the year. He started with Lutèce, then a Pho 75 in Virginia, then a spot in Poland and Wheaton.
Following up on last week’s stories about wine bars, Chris Crowley in New York magazine, notes how those businesses led the way on the rise of minimalist cuisine. “More and more, it seems chefs are aiming to offer less. About a decade ago, when some of the earliest natural-wine bars arrived in New York — Estela and Contra in 2013, Racines in 2014, Wildair and the Four Horsemen a year after that — they offered this city a first taste of Paris’s bistronomie movement, in which chefs apply haute cuisine flair to daily-changing menus and locavore sourcing, taking inspiration from restaurants such as Le Verre Volé as well as (the now-closed) Manfreds og Vin in Copenhagen and Barcelona’s Cal Pep. Now the progeny of those early New York kitchens are running their own spots and paring things down even further. Their naturalistic and understated touch has resulted in some of the most dialed-back new dishes in the city.”
Other Dining News
Food and Identity: AI has figured out how to mimic certain kinds of stories. Bettina Makalintal, writes that “ChatGPT, an OpenAI chatbot that can algorithmically generate pieces of writing and conversation, is capable of nailing down the narrative exactly, churning out an essay I wouldn’t be surprised to read in a food publication during a heritage month.” She cites her colleague Jaya Saxena who had already identified the underlying issue without the assistance of any computer program: “there is a tendency among writers to whittle our nuanced real-life experiences into their ‘most obvious and recognizable parts,’ with this trope-ificiation conveying racialized trauma that is ultimately palatable to white readers.” Makalintal ends on a hopeful note, or at least a way forward. “Maybe it is a sign for us to think ourselves out of these tropes, to look past the most obvious and to consider what might be more interesting.”
Cover Me: “For years, agricultural experts have promoted the use of cover crops that are planted on fallow fields in an attempt to repair soil and slow erosion. But how many farmers have taken up the call and covered their cash-producing fields? Given the size of the nation’s Midwestern agricultural belt, that question is almost impossible to solve on the ground. So researchers turned to satellites and discovered the practice is on the rise.”
Also related to mass agricultural practices and AI, The Guardian has a story about AI being used to support pork production in China. “Across the world, an entire industry of scientists, swine technicians, genetic testing companies, educational institutions and industrial farm managers exists in order to optimise porcine life. Companies such as the Pig Improvement Corporation harness computational genetics and cutting-edge biotechnology to design pigs specifically for industrial farming. Increased agricultural automation has led to pigs becoming physically standardised, much like our fruit and vegetables.”
“Nobody wants sweaty cheese on Boxing Day”: Good guidance for serving cheese during the season.
When people say “‘90s food,” what comes to mind? Saveur talks with Sara Moulton, an icon of the early Food Network. She talks about the good things that came from that era (cilantro, fruit salsas on fish, lobster rolls, penne alla vodka, new cheeses) and the bad. “They didn’t really want women at Food Network. Every male chef had his own set, graphics, music, and tools. Not me. I had no oven, and the counter came up so high I had to stand on a riser. I remember recommending Michael Lomonaco for a show, and he got his own set.”
That is it for this week. Be sure to check in next week for our last week in review of the year. Also keep us in mind if you are looking for a place to eat in D.C. We have 300+ recommended restaurants in our dining guide. You can sort by cuisine or neighborhood in either LIST or MAP format.
Stay warm, be kind, tip big.