GOOD on speakeasies

Nostalgic for the appeal of the speakeasy, or just not interested in being bothered by city health regulations, a few enterprising cooks are entering the speakeasy business. From GOOD:

Given that speakeasies violate numerous health codes and zoning laws, it’s not surprising that the people who run them are leery of letting in just anybody. (The Chowhound website won’t even allow discussions of secret restaurants on its message boards, for fear of getting them shut down.) Mark is more likely to offer a seat to the person who emails about fears of a life doomed to eating boxed macaroni and cheese than to someone who simply requests a reservation for two; the online application for Studiofeast, another Brooklyn-based speakeasy, asks applicants to describe their ideal last meal. Through word of mouth and aggressive filtration of potential diners, these hidden kitchens strive to create the perfect dinner party.

This libertarian foodie likes it! Read the whole thing here.

[Via Slashfood.]



… to those of you who’ve ordered from Amazon after clicking through the book links at the left. Even if you don’t order those particular items — what’s with the kids’ books and baby shoes? — I still get a cut. Accumulating an occasional gift certificate is a nice bonus for keeping the site running.


Magician or a bouncy

For the past few years I’ve had a love/hate relationship with magic. At its best, the art is a vehicle for self-expression, masterful skill, humor, beauty, and wonder. Yet at the level it’s usually practiced, performance barely rises above the level of adolescent talent show. (See Adam Gopnik’s excellent article in the March 17 New Yorker for a discussion of this.)

As a reminder of exactly where magic stands in the public perception, it’s useful to keep an eye on the Craigslist ads. This one, for example:

Magician or a bouncy for kids to jump in

I am having a birthday party for 2 of my kids on April 5th and I am looking for a Magician that will not charge alot but will do a great job and make my kids happy. or I am looking for someone that has a bouncer/bouncy, you know those big things that you blow up for the kids to jump in. I would like to borrow for a small charge just for a few hours/ half a day. Please let me know if anyone can help me, it would greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much

Got it? Magicians are 1) for kids, 2) not worth paying much for, and 3) roughly equivalent to a big, blow up bouncy.

Oh well, at least the bartender’s craft is treated with respect.


Moment of the day

Sitting at Murky Coffee. The music is momentarily off and everyone is quietly working on laptops or reading books. The silence is finally broken by a ringing cell phone, buried deep in a woman’s purse. She struggles to silence it as everyone in the room smirks awkwardly to each other as the ring tone chirps out “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid.

The barista just put on some old Belle and Sebastian, restoring the cafe’s indie cred.


Free Dr Pepper for everyone

My friend Mike notes that Dr Pepper will offer a free soda to every person in America this year — but only if Guns n Roses releases their fifteen-year-old, $13 million boondoggle album Chinese Democracy. I couldn’t care less about the album, but free Dr Pepper is good, especially if it’s from Dublin.

Oddly enough, the idea of enticing Axl Rose with Dr Pepper was sort of floated on this blog way back in 2003. If you weren’t reading the blog back then, the entry won’t make any sense. Actually, it won’t make any sense even if you were reading. This site had strange beginnings.


“Berkeley approves smoking ban”

And dog bites man! Not an earth-shaking headline, I know. But worth noting:

Every afternoon, Barbara Roberson walks out of the Berkeley Ace Hardware store and takes her cigarette break, but a smoking ban on all commercially zoned sidewalks in Berkeley, would make this illegal… Smoking is already banned in Berkeley’s public parks, within 25 feet of public buildings, and 50 feet from health facilities and senior centers.

Professor Katharine Hammond explains the economics:

“In general, probably on a busy street the auto exhaust would be higher,” said UC Berkeley environmental and health sciences professor Katharine Hammond.

Hammond, says there’s an obvious cost to the notion of banning gas-fueled cars. A smoking ban has no cost, only benefits.

Right. No costs. Because smokers aren’t people, and therefore their interests don’t count.