Pigs Spotted

The Spotted Pig, trendy mainstay of the West Village has been the fodder for recent #MeToo due to bad behavior by restaurateur duo Mario Batali and Ken Friedman. Friedman’s chef co-owner April Bloomfield has parted ways with him after pretending to be oblivious to the debauched behavior in the venue’s after-hours-upstairs. Drugging and raping staff. Allegedly.

News today that another woman is going to partner with Friedman to revive The Spotted Pig. Gabrielle Hamilton, author of Blood, Bones & Butter and decades-acclaimed chef owner of East Village gem Prune. A renegade rebel from lobster fiascos at upscale camps in the Berkshires, to line chef at Curtis & Schwartz in Northampton while at Hampshire College, as told in Table’s Edge. This is an interesting decision. But. Hey. Go Gabrielle! You are a true survivor.

Aside Posts

Killing Eve. BBC America’s mesmerizingly unique love story. Assassin pursued by a British agent. Vice-versa. To dub this a feminist trope would be soul-less and silly at best. It’s an intimate sensuous cold look at raw characters. Sandra Oh. Jodie Comer. Acting, writing uncannily different. In a similar spirit, HBO’s Barry has an edgy ensemble, with laugh-out-loud Russian caricatures. Violent. Ironic. Startling. Jaundiced. Captivating. Both. Must see.

Warlight. A new novel by the brilliant author Michael Ondaatdje. Not as good as one of my all-time favorites The Cat’s Table, 2011. His table metaphors continue, nonetheless. It is a melodic poetic post-WWII tale of a boy abandoned by his parents and left to the care of loving Dickensian rascals. His mother, Rose, worked with one of them on the roof of the Grosvenor House Hotel in London during the war, intercepting enemy communications.

Mansour Ghalibaf of the Hotel Northampton in Table’s Edgehappened to be partner with owners of the Grosvenor House consortium, descendants from those days. As an aside.

Ladies Who Lunch

Not a fan of lunch with just ladies. Have to dress up. Makeup. Pink tablecloths. Perfume-permeated rooms. Boring menus. Power business lunches used to be de rigueur. With women. And men. That was fun. When I was young. There I said it. Hate shopping, too.

However, 150 years ago women couldn’t go out to lunch unaccompanied by a man. Right, Mike Pence? Until Delmonico’s held a luncheon for women in 1868. This week Gabrielle Hamilton has created a menu to commemorate this milestone at Delmonico’s for a Ladies’ Lunch.

Nice. But. No. Won’t be going.


Blood, Bones & Butter, Gabrielle Hamilton
Hamilton’s book is a Glass Castle-esque memoir. She was a line cook at Curtis & Schwartz Café in Northampton while at Hampshire College. She’s the acclaimed chef-owner of Prune in the East Village today.     BOOK-TREKS.com

On Fleek

Plutarch’s fleek Romans were sleek. For today’s pop icons fleek connotes perfection. On point. As in Caitlyn Jenner? Rumer Willis? Rainy Monday. What can I say. Tyrion Lannister and Khaleesi together. Definitely.

Rand Paul has been consistent in making the right case. It’s not about whether data gathering under the Patriot Act makes us safer. The point is that it violates the Fourth Amendment. Slippery slope. Potential for abuse in the wrong hands.

Recent literary prize-winners were women. Mantel. Catton. Enright. Tartt. Why the need for a women-only prize? Edward St. Aubyn spoofs the process in his Lost for Words where the prize went to a Cookbook. What’s wrong with that?

Bon Appétit 2013

The year has yielded mostly 3-star fare around our ‘hood. The Farm Table in Bernardston is fine for lunch outdoors or at the bar. Risotto and wine list worth the trip. Lord Jeffrey Inn’s renovation in Amherst a success, 30 Boltwood cocktail lounge indoors and out, comfy booths, sophisticated supper.

Best restaurants and cuisine remain in Manhattan. Lucky to go often. Classic standbys still great. Da Silvano.  Lure Fishbar.  Gramercy Tavern. Bourdain’s Les Halles. Nobu Next Door. 25-year favorite Gotham Bar & Grill fell from grace. Best new find in the Flatiron Maysville. Mediocre Village’s Blue Hill. Don’t ever bother with Dos Caminos or Atlantic Grill.

Berkshires have consistent spots. On a trip to Great Barrington to seek out Blue Hill Farm, stopped for another visit to Café Adam which had since moved. Gazpacho fresco superb. Bistro Zinc in Lenox always savory burger frites.

Rave reviews from Barcelona~ Sensi Tapas, Arcano, Bodega 1900 liquid olives by Albert Adrià. Bon profit!IMG_5487-1

Hash Marks

Crazy day in sports. Delay of game in Philly to snow-blow the goal line. Flakes a flyin’. Pats got a last ditch reprieve on a questionable call in the end zone. Gronk out. Injuries continue to mount in NFL. Huge win for Niners over Seahawks. Defense reigned. Wish we could have seen it, FoxSports. Show the best games everywhere. Meanwhile, there was golf going on. TW is ready to hoist another trophy when Zach Johnson holes a shot from the drop zone on the 18th. Playoff. Tiger blows a short putt. Flukey finishes.

Transitions in the food world. Charlie Trotter in Chicago. Judy Rodgers in San Fran. Her Zuni Cafe ground-breaking originator of California cuisine. New York Elaine’s to open as The Writing Room soon. Irreplaceable restaurateurs.


Mandela center stage. Recall writing policy at Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco 1980’s. Consulted with Laura Tyson at UC Berkeley to apply Sullivan Principles to multi-national clients. California was a leader in anti-apartheid sanctions. Seems forever ago.

Flipping over to live Sound of Music on NBC last night. Morbid curiosity. Stilted acting, cheesy sets, bad singing. If it wasn’t an SNL skit, it should be.

Sightings… Joan Rivers in white ermine at Twelfth Night on Broadway…mAdBen rave reviews for Mark Rylance as Olivia…CandyPants at Yankee Candle in Deerfield…what?…JeanJean dipping roast beef sandwich at Farm Table in Bernardston…holiday oddities. Bon Sinter Klaas weekend.