Image: Paul Almasy, Young reader in the park of the Champs Elysées (1947)
Despite the picture caption, there is little local news, but lots of interesting national stories in this week’s roundup. Buckle up and away we go.
Updates to D.C. Recommended Restaurant List
Taco Bamba – At the beginning of the pandemic, the more formal Poca Madre and its casual counterpart closed in the District, but now there is news that Taco Bamba will return to district later this year.
D.C. Dining News
The compulsion to return to normal is running into the steps taken during the height of the pandemic. This week’s example is the confusion over the Walters Sports Bar streatery.
Could D.C. be moving to having open container areas?
Signs of the Times: Is there an appetite for the return of the Automat? We are skeptical, but there is a new movie about the mid-century phenomenon.
What is in a restaurant name? Maggie Hennessy says it reflects the culture of the moment, but can’t quite put her finger on it: “That by simply seeing or hearing a restaurant name, we diners can grab hold of—and retain—some moment in time, and everything we loved or aspired to.” Surprisingly she does not make a madeleine reference.
The restaurant relief is on life support – but not dead yet.
A loyal reader flagged two stories about the restaurant business in the Times. “I will no longer have any equity interest in Corbin & King,” the normally loquacious Mr. King said in a terse farewell email to employees after the auction. “It remains to be seen how the transition will be effected.” And that is how it ends for a famed London restaurateur. Another end: “Now Mr. Yoshida’s Little Tokyo is gone. After nearly 30 years occupying the strip of low-slung buildings near Third Avenue, he has left or is leaving all the spaces, after negotiations failed with Cooper Union, which leases the buildings from their owners and had subleased them to Mr. Yoshida for decades.”
Farms and Food Safety: Politico, though we often needle them, has done a big story on the failures of the Food and Drug Administration to the the food part of their name. Coincidentally, Washingtonian has a piece on the origin of our food safety laws and the role played by a federal government chemist and a sweets shop on H Street.
Speaking of which, there is a Bird Flu outbreak.
Vertical Farms expand.
Odds: A tomato plant grows out to world record scope.
Ends: We have often bemoaned that the Food Sections of many outlets resist covering the full range of food issues, especially the ones that are disturbing and sad. Celeb chef recipes are covered, but not their misdeeds. Ingredients are covered by not supply chain problems. The comings of new restaurants are covered, but not the goings. But JJ Goode argues that they should be covering even more goings.
Speaking of crappy days, Food52, which started as a serious food site with food-related products expanded its commerce focus and sold control to private investment last year, announced layoffs this week of 20 (out of 300) employees. This is why we have been so leery of the venture capital folks who keep pitching us, looking to exploit our unique content that garners a wide audience of friends, family and confused Google searchers.
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If you are not a regular reader you may not realize that our unique content includes a robust D.C. dining guide – one that we like to consider the best way to find a great place to eat in the District. The guide has 300+ recommended restaurants that you can sort by cuisine, neighborhood, and current operating status (dine-in and/or take-out, etc. – though things are in flux currently so check before you go!) in either LIST or MAP format.
Stay safe, be kind. Support the restaurants you want to see survive.