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Young & Hungry, Washington City Paper - Jessica Sidman Replaces Chris Schott

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That story is a year old - anything happen recently to bring it back to the forefront?

Yes. Michael's new place--his expanding empire, and his mysterious ability to open new restaurants without backers or partners.

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Tim is the most entertaining restaurant writer in town right now. This was a great piece - not just because it was funny (which it was), but because it establishes the "Sports Bar" as an important genre of gathering place (which it is). It was a masterful job of taking the mundane, and making it become important, all the while describing its subject in vivid, hilarious detail. Most importantly, he's talking with the readers; not to them.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Thanks for the kind words, Don!

On another subject, here's an update on Barton Seaver. It's not entertaining, but it may be informative. It's certainly very interesting to me to see where Seaver is headed.

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The funny thing, Seaver told me right after sitting down, is that within hours of resigning from Hook, he was presented with a chance to work for one of D.C.’s best-known and highest-end restaurants. He declined to make that phone call (or to name the restaurant publicly—sorry!)

Yes, but did he tell you who it was that presented it to him? :lol:

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Yes, but did he tell you who it was that presented it to him? ;)

Yes, he did. I thought this matchmaker might want to remain anon. :lol:

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Ummm...Bigger fish?

Ah, but you must remember what most fish eat in traditional aquaculture: other fish, including their own species and not those creatures lower in the food chain. The new generation of aquaculture facilities may have figured out how to feed fish without using more ground-up fish. It sounds pretty ingenious from what I understand of it.

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Shameless self-promotion: We just launched a new food blog at the City Paper called (what else?) the Young & Hungry blog. Check it out here. I'll be posting to it many times a day. Rocks may think it's the sign of the apocalypse (at least as far as my food-writing career goes), but hey, at least I have a full-time job again.

I hope you enjoy. And I accept feedback with only minor amounts of grumbling.

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I liked the recent food issue of City Paper, but the cover article just seemed to end partway through. I couldn't find the rest of it in the print edition. I was going to check online but never got to it. I'll check the blog soon.

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I liked the recent food issue of City Paper, but the cover article just seemed to end partway through. I couldn't find the rest of it in the print edition. I was going to check online but never got to it. I'll check the blog soon.

Yeah, sorry about that, Pat. It was a production error. We ran an online correction on it. You can read the whole story here.

-Tim

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Yeah, sorry about that, Pat. It was a production error. We ran an online correction on it. You can read the whole story here.

-Tim

Ah, thanks. I see it was only 2 lines that got cut. I was thinking I missed a whole additional page or something. Now my curiosity has been satisfied :lol:.

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Need more ways to waste time on a Friday?...

Feedback welcome.

Your astringent hip-shot comparison of a 3 month rookie chef to an established one 10 years his senior wasted my "college Friday" (Thursday).

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Your astringent hip-shot comparison of a 3 month rookie chef to an established one 10 years his senior wasted my "college Friday" (Thursday).

I'm staying out of this one, except I can't resist linking to the skirmish going on over in the comments section.

Admit it ... we all like watching a good internet fight from time-to-time. :lol:

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I spent a couple of weeks or so with Chef Cox, including the interview process, the handover week and subsequent special dinner, and was impressed with his work ethic, knowledge and passion for the craft. I trust he will be a talent for many years.

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So, I'd just come out of the Leni Riefenstahl/DW Griffith double feature and my buddy posed an important question which was " if Leni could get an entire nation to sign off on genocide, simply because of the power of her art, why couldn't she get work after the fall of the Third Reich?"

And I had to admit, he had a point. If you have the talent to sweep a nation up in your vision, why bother which direction your vision carries the nation? Same with chefs. If your chicken rocks the world, who cares if you treat your help like indentured servants?

After the Leni-fest we fell into Jean-Lucques place for a serious meal. Jean-Lucques himself welcomed us with tray of Caspian Sea caviar and we laughed about how our money was probably being filtered through the Russia Mafia and maybe we'd paid for the bullets that would end up in the frontal lobe of the next inquisitive journalist who dared to inquire about the felons now running that country. What the fuck, we were hungry.

Of course, we started dinner with a gang of Atlantic Cod, because who really gives a sweet goddam if a species grows extinct or a lifestyle fades into oblivion? If those fishermen really cared, maybe they'd get a day job at Wall-Mart and stop their desperate efforts to peddle whitefish to yuppies like me. In the long run, my dinner just means cheaper oceanfront condos for my summer vacation, once the town of Gloucester goes entirely belly up.

After the cod, we had some excellent veal. Not the free-range shit, but the kind where they drag the calves away from the cow and bind its feet for a brief lifespan marked by darkness and despair and the resulting escallops are a Victorian ivory color, and the pounded slices melt in your mouth. How wonderful that these dumb animals suffered so brilliantly simply to make my dinner better than it might have been.

"Jeez," my companion asked, mouth full of baby cow, exotic mushrooms and a spectacular cream sauce, "should we give a shit that we're paying purveyors to torture small mammals?" "Hell no," I suggested, "listen to what my [perhaps ex-] good buddy Tim Carmen wrote the other day:"

" I've just come to the conclusion that the palate is godless, amoral, and interested only in its own pleasures, and that's how it should be. A palate whose owner suddenly grows a conscience is a palate destined to suffer a dull, flavorless existence. That is not the palate's role in life."

Jean-Lucques, who'd just dropped by to check up on things, laughed. "I feel the same way about my dick as Carman does about his palate. In fact, I can hardly write a day's menu unless I've sodomized a busser before lunch – high school kids – damn they're hot. And, if they complain, I can have their parents deported. What's not to like about that? Care for some ortolans?"

Well, who can turn down an endangered song-bird? For a moment, I considered the plight of the Carolina Parakeet, slaughtered because its plumage looked so elegant on women's hats. I don't think anything justifies extinction more than a vision of Victorian chicks wearing nothing but those side-button boots and a feathery chapeau.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that if my baser instincts are being satisfied – sex, dinner, football – the whole idea that there might be a moral consideration in the satisfaction of those appetites is absurd. De facto indentured servitude? Felonious tax fraud? Animal cruelty? Environmental disasters? Who gives a fuck, as long as I get my dinner.

After all, didn't Sinatra hang out with mobsters? Sure, when we pay for "My Way" on iTunes, we're not actually subsidizing the murder of eye-witnesses and the plundering of small businesses in need of "protection," in contrast with Pollo Rico dollars that are in fact subsidizing fraud. But, the analogy works: if one person did one bad thing and still produced great art, it justifies my support of an equally immoral act committed by someone who can feed me well. It's the Dick Cheney view of the world, and it works.

So, anyway, I picked up a disc of Triumph of the Will and I'm starting to like Leni's camera work a lot. Can't wait to pick up some roast chicken and chow down while watching the flick. Amoral is where it's at.

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Waitman, Waitman, Waitman,

What am I going to do with you? Do you need a good spanking for your grandiloquent ability to spin my column into a statement on state-sponsored propaganda designed to lead everyone down some amoral black hole? (I mean, invoking Leni Riefenstahl? Why don't you just grab me by the balls and call me Hitler? I expect more subtlety from you!)

Perhaps a second and more generous reading of the column would have unearthed this simple statement at the top of the article: "That’s when it hit me that there’s another layer to ethical eating, buried way underneath the heavier issues of animal rights, fair-trade products, sustainable ingredients, and organic foods."

In other words, I was trying to deal with what I noticed was a minor trend among diners: Those who won't frequent a place when the owners have crossed some ethical or criminal line, even when the owners have paid the price, both in terms of jail time and financial remuneration. You (and admittedly others, including my wife) have responded almost exclusively to what I'm now calling the Amoral Palate Paragraph, which makes it seem like I expanded the argument beyond my initial premise. That wasn't my intention, and I wish I would have been clearer. I do believe there are beliefs worth fighting for---and worth steering away from restaurants for.

But, Waitman, do you really want to adopt such a self-righteous tone in this rejoinder? Would not an intrepid reporter, if he/she were to follow you, find massive ethical lapses in your eating habits? A foie gras here, a Chilean sea bass there? Maybe you've frequented restaurants that have treated employees far worse---and you just didn't have the Washington Post to tell you about it? My main point is that when a restaurateur has crossed a line---and the institutions assigned to punish the wrongdoer have done their job---I don't think I need to pile on.

So, I'd just come out of the Leni Riefenstahl/DW Griffith double feature and my buddy posed an important question which was " if Leni could get an entire nation to sign off on genocide, simply because of the power of her art, why couldn't she get work after the fall of the Third Reich?"

And I had to admit, he had a point. If you have the talent to sweep a nation up in your vision, why bother which direction your vision carries the nation? Same with chefs. If your chicken rocks the world, who cares if you treat your help like indentured servants?

After the Leni-fest we fell into Jean-Lucques place for a serious meal. Jean-Lucques himself welcomed us with tray of Caspian Sea caviar and we laughed about how our money was probably being filtered through the Russia Mafia and maybe we'd paid for the bullets that would end up in the frontal lobe of the next inquisitive journalist who dared to inquire about the felons now running that country. What the fuck, we were hungry.

Of course, we started dinner with a gang of Atlantic Cod, because who really gives a sweet goddam if a species grows extinct or a lifestyle fades into oblivion? If those fishermen really cared, maybe they'd get a day job at Wall-Mart and stop their desperate efforts to peddle whitefish to yuppies like me. In the long run, my dinner just means cheaper oceanfront condos for my summer vacation, once the town of Gloucester goes entirely belly up.

After the cod, we had some excellent veal. Not the free-range shit, but the kind where they drag the calves away from the cow and bind its feet for a brief lifespan marked by darkness and despair and the resulting escallops are a Victorian ivory color, and the pounded slices melt in your mouth. How wonderful that these dumb animals suffered so brilliantly simply to make my dinner better than it might have been.

"Jeez," my companion asked, mouth full of baby cow, exotic mushrooms and a spectacular cream sauce, "should we give a shit that we're paying purveyors to torture small mammals?" "Hell no," I suggested, "listen to what my [perhaps ex-] good buddy Tim Carmen wrote the other day:"

" I've just come to the conclusion that the palate is godless, amoral, and interested only in its own pleasures, and that's how it should be. A palate whose owner suddenly grows a conscience is a palate destined to suffer a dull, flavorless existence. That is not the palate's role in life."

Jean-Lucques, who'd just dropped by to check up on things, laughed. "I feel the same way about my dick as Carman does about his palate. In fact, I can hardly write a day's menu unless I've sodomized a busser before lunch – high school kids – damn they're hot. And, if they complain, I can have their parents deported. What's not to like about that? Care for some ortolans?"

Well, who can turn down an endangered song-bird? For a moment, I considered the plight of the Carolina Parakeet, slaughtered because its plumage looked so elegant on women's hats. I don't think anything justifies extinction more than a vision of Victorian chicks wearing nothing but those side-button boots and a feathery chapeau.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that if my baser instincts are being satisfied – sex, dinner, football – the whole idea that there might be a moral consideration in the satisfaction of those appetites is absurd. De facto indentured servitude? Felonious tax fraud? Animal cruelty? Environmental disasters? Who gives a fuck, as long as I get my dinner.

After all, didn't Sinatra hang out with mobsters? Sure, when we pay for "My Way" on iTunes, we're not actually subsidizing the murder of eye-witnesses and the plundering of small businesses in need of "protection," in contrast with Pollo Rico dollars that are in fact subsidizing fraud. But, the analogy works: if one person did one bad thing and still produced great art, it justifies my support of an equally immoral act committed by someone who can feed me well. It's the Dick Cheney view of the world, and it works.

So, anyway, I picked up a disc of Triumph of the Will and I'm starting to like Leni's camera work a lot. Can't wait to pick up some roast chicken and chow down while watching the flick. Amoral is where it's at.

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I've never said I don't need a good spanking, though I'd prefer that someone other that yourself administer it -- Mrs B., maybe, or Carole Greenwood, whom I suspect can be disciplined when circumstances demand.

As for the charge of self-righteousness -- that wounds. I hope to never hold myself out as a paragon of anything beyond slacker yuppiedom. However (as I discovered on the 52 bus between Harry's and The Red Derby) you did suggest that the crimes committed by Pollo Rico were inconsequential: "Frankly, I don’t care about all that wrangling between the government and the family. What matters to me is eating well."

I remain unsure why we should be hesitant to boycott restaurants whose owners have crossed "some ethical or criminal line." I am not persuaded that one's money should go into the pockets of a restaurateur who steals from the state and abuses their help, regardless of how delightful their chicken may be. And justifying the support of such an establishment by invoking the satisfaction achieved by one's palate and alimentary canal seems worse than disingenuous. Better to say that the end justifies the means then to try to justify the end based on the quality of the cooking. It reeks of rationalization: "sure, they're bad but the food is great and they've paid their debt." That is: I'm hungry, who cares how scummy they are?"

And, it's not that you didn't pile on, it's that you actively promoted a place owned -- apparently -- by a felonious scumbag. Because you like the chicken. And, if the chicken is good, dinner is only a rationalization -- "Maybe you've frequented restaurants that have treated employees far worse- -and you just didn't have the Washington Post to tell you about it?" -- away.

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I never said the crime was inconsequential. That is your interpretation. I said the matter was between the government and he owners, which it is. I play no role in the legal matter, other than to decide whether I will frequent the place after weighing all the information I can get a hold of. I believe in second chances, particularly when restitution is being made, and I also believe that humans are too quick to judge fellow humans when they have only a shaky grasp of the facts. (I include myself in this group, of course.)

For instance, one thing that you keep repeating is that the Solanos "abused" their employees. There has been no charge on that matter. The family pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, which stemmed from hiring illegal immigrants. It took me awhile to wrap my head around this legal argument, since money laundering usually involves drugs, guns or prostitution. But the family laundered money based on its illegal employment of aliens. There has been no allegations of abuse of those employees. I guess you could say that harboring aliens and paying them under the table is abuse in and of itself, but at least one source told me that the Solanos treated their employees well, paid medical bills, etc. Illegal workers in this country is a far too complex issue to attack so blithely. Do you have more information on alleged abuses of the employees or do you just assume that they were poorly paid and exploited?

Second, I'd hate for you to be my parole officer. Or anyone else's. No one would get a second chance in life.

I've never said I don't need a good spanking, though I'd prefer that someone other that yourself administer it -- Mrs B., maybe, or Carole Greenwood, whom I suspect can be disciplined when circumstances demand.

As for the charge of self-righteousness -- that wounds. I hope to never hold myself out as a paragon of anything beyond slacker yuppiedom. However (as I discovered on the 52 bus between Harry's and The Red Derby) you did suggest that the crimes committed by Pollo Rico were inconsequential: "Frankly, I don’t care about all that wrangling between the government and the family. What matters to me is eating well."

I remain unsure why we should be hesitant to boycott restaurants whose owners have crossed "some ethical or criminal line." I am not persuaded that one's money should go into the pockets of a restaurateur who steals from the state and abuses their help, regardless of how delightful their chicken may be. And justifying the support of such an establishment by invoking the satisfaction achieved by one's palate and alimentary canal seems worse than disingenuous. Better to say that the end justifies the means then to try to justify the end based on the quality of the cooking. It reeks of rationalization: "sure, they're bad but the food is great and they've paid their debt." That is: I'm hungry, who cares how scummy they are?"

And, it's not that you didn't pile on, it's that you actively promoted a place owned -- apparently -- by a felonious scumbag. Because you like the chicken. And, if the chicken is good, dinner is only a rationalization -- "Maybe you've frequented restaurants that have treated employees far worse- -and you just didn't have the Washington Post to tell you about it?" -- away.

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I think what you implied was that the crime was indeed inconsequential -- that the owner and the state could work it out and whatever they came up with was OK by you. To say "I play no role in the legal matter" is to suggest that whatever transgression the owner commits is OK by you, as long as (s)he's been properly slapped by the local authorities and the food is decent. I think it's an easy way out, a way to justify a good dinner while avoiding issues that may or may not surround an establishment. As I retreat from any implication that the Solanos abused their employees -- I apologize for apparently misinterpreting the article -- I'd like to push forward to the nut graf of the original article:

"I've just come to the conclusion that the palate is godless, amoral, and interested only in its own pleasures, and that's how it should be. A palate whose owner suddenly grows a conscience is a palate destined to suffer a dull, flavorless existence. That is not the palate's role in life."

If you want to make a case for eating whatever, whenever, regardless of the story behind the dinner -- that is, if you want to rationalize anything that seems to taste good at the moment -- go for it. But I don't think that that's good or right. And you don't have to be a pious asshole (as much as I appear to be one at this juncture) to suggest that every now and again -- as good as the food might be -- there may be a couple ofthings that you shouldn't oughta eat. For reasons more important than the taste.

Everything counts.

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