The week that was (20 January 2017)

It's another week sans reviews and I'm still late! Blame summer. To mix it up slightly, I've gone for a little jumble of thoughts from around the world stitched together by the arts. Enjoy.

There is some street talk:

Pino’s Vino e Cucina has opened in Alexandria – Pat’s a fan.
- South of the border Attica has closed for renos. Shewry plans to have them completed by mid-Feb - presumably a little refresh before the 50 Best crowd descends. He says: “I want it to reflect the natural aspect and influences we have at Attica – the bush, the rawer textures in plates and food … it's not in the millions. I didn't want that. I wanted a designer who could thrive within a budget, because that's how I've worked – I think that's where character comes from.” 

- And, for my mates in the Adelaide Hills, this delightful look at Lost in the Forest. (“Today’s review would perhaps be better expressed as a Wordsworth poem. Or perhaps an impressionist painting.”) How delightful they are getting so much attention. 

- Max Allen has joined the AFR. He's already talking about diversity in our drinking, which is a win for all: "Three of the trendiest drink styles these days in our bottle shops and bars are pale dry rosé, sparkling prosecco and vermouth, which straddles the line between wine and spirits and liqueurs."

The soapbox via the arts:
- Do you know of Ron Finley, LA’s urban farming hero? He grew a garden on the sidewalk in one of LA’s food deserts, got fined for his troubles, the media jumped on it, the fine was overturned and now he’s doing TED talks and talking to Lucky Peach (very candidly) about the why and how of his gardens.

The why: “Because this food is not just food. This changes people’s lives, so therefore it’s changing culture, which is what we have to do. Agriculture. And we need our culture back.”

And the how: “Do what you want, it’s your painting. You should put the paint where you want it to be. The first stroke. Just do it. I treat this as art—that’s what it is to me. ... Oh, the yellow just happens to trim the green. You get to play with beauty like this, look at that. It’s like somebody painted them. That’s how I treat it. It’s art."

- I was quite taken by the excellent promotional posters on the walls at P. Franco in this Munchies article. I also liked Bracey's creative take on running a wine bar, from inviting different chefs to cook (each for a six month stint - “It’s almost like having a new restaurant every six months which I think is great for the community”) to wine matching (“I think there are moments when that happens and that’s great. But I think the beauty is that people can just … grab it off the shelf and drink that bottle and it will go somewhat across the menu.”) And then back to those posters ... I love the connection between the design/art and food (also see GT talking Patrick Sullivan's wine label here).
- In other wine news, the lovely James Hird makes an argument for drinking chilled reds this summer (apparently it's all about the acidity), while Decanter (among others) repeat their request to shun the champagne flute for a wine glass – it’s a bubbles vs aroma argument. In fact, did you know the bubbles also hold much of the aroma? As they pop at the surface, so too does the perfume. How delightfully romantic that image is.

- And, for a different artistic perspective, I really loved this look at the place of restaurant meals in society by novelist Kathleen Alcott. The opening premise: “You can tell everything about a person, says a common piece of wisdom, by how he or she treats the waiter.” It’s very true, I once broke up with a guy over it.

It is equally true that dining with the people you love, or are falling in love with, is the best. Alcott explains: “I often think of the poise of the friend who, should the water carafe become empty, without commenting or asking, raises her pretty hand to transfer a swallow from her glass into mine. Likewise fondly remembered is the pal who, upon receiving his dish but noting the absence of yours, asks after it on your behalf – in the transference of the question from your mouth to his, it changes from a complaint to a gesture of affection.”
She goes on: “I’ve learned to be many things in a restaurant – a young woman in love, intent on communicating a great breadth of affection or hurt with a certain touch of another’s elbow or a failure to look up; a writer learning to speak about her work … Sometimes I consider how foolish it is for someone with a middling income to spend considerable money and time on the theatre of eating out … but I can’t think of the institution that has taught me more.” Hear, hear.

- Lisa Abend talked to Redzepi about Noma 2.0, the Tokyo, Sydney, Mexico pop-ups, and what it is he is now striving for. There is no question the man is driven, but he’s also very logical. I love that and I particularly loved this: “Redzepi envisions menus – three of them to more accurately reflect the real number of seasons in this part of the world – that focus solely on vegetables in the harvesting months, for example, or game in the hunting ones.” There is much in that for us (and our seasons) too.

- In the NYTimes they're connecting food and tech, talking cow-share  - if internet middlemen can help ordinary people share cars and apartments, why not cattle?

- And while we’re there, Pat penned an article with some suggestions for where you could spend your New York minute (with a focus on “newness, hotness and nowness”). On his list: Estela, Café Altro Paradiso (also by those of Estela), Blue Hill at Stone Barns (his fancy number one), Cosme, Le Coucou, Los Tacos No 1, Russ & Daughters Café, The Four Horsemen, Maison Premier and then a few stragglers. It’s a good time to be eating in NYC. 

- Finally, Bill Addison (of Eater) has thrown in his two cents with eight restaurant trends for the year ahead: more pasta; French restaurants; black walnuts; chawanmushi (as vessel for all things luxe); crab rangoon (to take over pierogis as the dumpling darling of choice); baked pancakes, including my favourite clafoutis; green walls in restaurants; and Korean cooking (we've been saying this for a while, surely Korean will get there one year!).