The aforementioned ordeal did involve an isosceles triangle with Chicago at its apex, which allowed for a very thorough perusal of the Chicago Sun-Times, which garnered the following items of interest.
As a perceptive observer noted in response to this item, while this may or may not be a miscarriage of justice of Sacco & Vanzetti proportions, but it is, hands down, just about the cheapest way to get exposure for your restaurant. In exchange for $250, Doug Sohn gets to look like the Rosa Parks of gourmands, and grab a few column inches. If the foie ban comes to NYC, look for Deathwatch'd establishments to stage special seal clubbing events on sidewalks in front of their restaurants. Also:
Sacre Bleu! Or maybe not. This happened back on Dec. 7th, and was in the newspaper yesterday. This is hardly Nixon-in-China level intrigue, but it is curious that it comes out so far after the fact. It is hard to imagine that the S-T had Janet Fuller, the author of this article, all Woodward and Bernstein on this until she broke the story, so one has to wonder if Alain's people passed the tip on as part of a pub campaign. Also, this kind of thing:
This line of thinking makes me a) think of the Simpsons monorail episode and b) wish my critiquing-late-capitalism chops were a little bit sharper. The phenomenon of the global "uber-chef" has made provincials of us all. The notion that a superstar from away setting up an outpost in your town makes your town a "big food town" is not limited to Chicago, viz the NYC Robucop hype of last fall, but no matter where, it makes dining in cities with their own talented chefs and interesting restaurants seem like shopping at an outlet mall -- "we should go to the one in Kittery -- it has a Coach outlet and a Ducasse restaurant." If you start using franchises from away as a yardstick of your rep as a municipality, you are in the same kind of conversation as Commerce, GA vs. Gaffney, SC. (The outlets in Commerce have a Starbucks, FYI.) Alinea, Blackbird and a host of other places make Chicago a dining destination, not Ducasse.*
*For my five years in Chicago, the U had me on a fries and sauce budget, so my sense of fine dining in Chicago is a) hazy b) limited and c) dated.
I kept a recent post on relentless chef boosterism blind on the grounds that a little bit of cheerleading from the sidelines of Typepad or Blogger was amusing, but not especially worrisome. I certainly have my favorites, (Tony Maws, Dave Roberts, Stetsasonic and Five and Ten come to mind) and I'll mention them freely. However, if round one and round two was holding up cards spelling J-O-E-L, round three is a PR marching band spelling out a flowing script "Robuchon," complete with downloadablemenus. Still, so what? Perhaps Robuchon is this blogger's Bynes, and this blogger makes it clear in one of the posts that she is a pal of Robuchon:
However, if you follow the blogger's own link, a similar piece appears in the New York Sun, without, or as she might say, sans,disclaimer. Unlike readers of a blog, people who pay to read the New York Sun have a reasonable expectation of objectivity, and to my mind, this crosses the line. I am aware that this is a) not a first in the world of food writing, and b) not exactly Stephen Glass territory. However, like the guy pictured on the right, this is a cheerleader I'll have a hard time trusting in the future.