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.
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 Edge, happened to be partner with owners of the Grosvenor House consortium, descendants from those days. As an aside.
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
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?
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.
As holidays approach, a renewed interest in gift collectibles. Amazon is offering several ways to buy Table’s Edge. All hardcover with photos and illustrations. A nostalgic nod to Pioneer Valley’s culinary history. Tales of creative chefs who came to Paradise City from all over the world. CookBook, too. Their timeless recipes. For more information, check it out here at tablesedge.com.
Meanwhile, in Manhattan the dining scene continues to evolve. One of our faves, Ciano is now CucinaCiano, moved from Flatiron to Upper East Side. Over on York & 73rd, a hole-in-the-wall has become the hottest spot for fish flown in daily from Japan. Tanoshi has 10 seats, so plan ahead. Snow in NYC today. None here!
Once a glittering mecca, Northampton is called “Paradise City”. It’s the latest title and setting of Archer Mayor’s Joe Gunther detective series. Gunther uncovers a stolen jewelry ring, and encounters some unsavory sorts. I’ve run into a few real-life residents portrayed in this book over the years. And, it’d be wise to be wary. Mayor hails from Brattleboro, Vermont, up the road.
K9Queen loves a good mystery series. I’m looking forward to Joe McGinnis’ local crime exposé. He’s the guy who moved next door to Sarah Palin and has been hunkered down in our Hampshire County Courthouse, at “15 Gothic Street”.
Dreams of my father. Mad times in Manhattan 1960’s. Train from Springfield, dining car with formal tablecloths, waiters, silver, china. First plane ride on a PamAm prop to Idlewild from Bradley. Lunch at TootsShor watching an already drunk Jack Lescoulie at the bar during a day of buying men’s clothing at the Sperry Rand building at 1290 Avenue of the Americas. Jack was Dave Garroway’s sidekick on the Today show.
Sardi’s for dinner, then Jilly’s singing around the piano bar with Nancy Wilson into the wee hours. Memories of trips to New York with my Dad. Priceless.
Copa Cabana to see Sammy Davis, Jerry Vale, lots of other Italian singers named Frankie or Johnny or Tony. The bocce court at Il Vagabondo. Cousin Joey DiVito and his wife Tootsie (really) took care of me. P.J. Clarke’s, Elaine’s. Those were the days.
Daddy Joe always acted as if he were in his dining room at home. They responded in kind. No wonder restaurants have always been the center of my life.
Happy Birthday, Dad. 8/30/30
Stellar restaurateurs once converged in Northampton and made it a dining destination. Those shining stars have lately dimmed. Freshness, quality, service have disappeared into a black hole. I don’t want to pay less for three courses of frozen cardboard food. The economy is bad, true. So, put fewer choices on the menu and make sure they’re fresh and good. If you disagree, enlighten me.
A former bright local, Unmi has returned to open a new restaurant “Coco” in the former Easthampton Venus venue. Will try it soon. ‘Til then cooking at home.