Craft Beer Is Selling Out, Kitchen Patriarchy Isn't Dead and More: This Week in Food
Kegs at Lagunitas Brewing in Petaluma
Hey, remember when craft beer was punk rock? The DIY alternative to fizzy yellow stuff and an entire industry created in direct opposition to the macro-making devils like Budweiser and Miller? But as craft beer crests into double-digit market share and distribution struggles to keep up with demand, more and more the big guys are putting their hands in the pie. This week, two new acquisitions made big headlines: First and most surprising is the 50 percent purchase of Lagunitas Brewing by Dutch company Heineken; then came the news that MillerCoors bought San Diego's Saint Archer Brewing, started by a team of action-sports stars and itself only a few years old. Since 2011, Anheuser-Busch has acquired several craft breweries, including Goose Island, 10 Barrel and, earlier this year, Elysian. With Saint Archer, MillerCoors finally gets in on the game, entering the San Diego craft-beer market, one of the country's most coveted and respected. The Lagunitas deal, however, makes official the interest that Europe has in owning, brewing and distributing American beer, a fact also made apparent when Central Coast heroes Firestone Walker entered a partnership with Belgium-based Duvel-Moortgaat a few months ago. These half-purchases, partnerships and co-ownership mergers mean more investment money is coming to American breweries (and probably also explains the massive facility Lagunitas has planned in L.A.). You can read Lagunitas owner Tony Magee's amazing Tumblr post about the deal, in which he quotes Nietzsche and tries to explain how he's not selling out, which has invariably stoked the wrath of craft beer snobs everywhere. As for what's on the shelf? That probably won't change much.
A few months ago we pondered the death of raunch in kitchen culture. But more than just not being able to tell dick jokes or use the word "slutty" to describe wet food, the piece touched on a note that is all over the food-o-sphere lately: patriarchy in the kitchen and how it's shifting — or is it even? Jen Agg, a Toronto restauranteur, recently flew out a bunch of restaurant-industry hot shots to speak on a panel called "Kitchen Bitches: Smashing the Patriarchy One Plate at a Time," and the conversation concluded that change is happening but not fast enough to prevent sexism lawsuits or completely erase the fact that there are some serious assholes still in the game. John Birdsall sat on the panel and did a great writeup for First We Feast about it, pondering also the relevance of René Redzepi's opinion piece in a recent issue of Lucky Peach, which had the same dude-bro causing some of the problems setting down ground rules for ending them. Agg said she might do a similar event in L.A. in the future, which would be awesome, since it's clear this issue isn't going away anytime soon.
Northern Thai restaurant Night + Market had been in the news a lot lately, first last week when owner Kris Yenbamroong said he would no longer be selling his infamous blood soup and again this week when our writer James Gordon discovered the restaurant that possibly sparked Yenbamroong's decision. Now, Night + Market announces it's getting out of town — to do a pop-up in, of all places, Copenhagen. And will be making, of all things, tacos. Yenbamroong said in an email: "We'll be answering the question, 'If we were to distill everything we do at Night + Market into the form of a single taco, what would that be?'" Whatever it is, it'll sure be delicious.
In an effort to prove its value as "a modern, progressive burger company," McDonald's says it plans to switch over to cage-free eggs in the United States and Canada over the next 10 years. But, like the company's March announcement to switch to chickens raised without most antibiotics, there is a little half-assed feel about it. "Cage-free" doesn’t mean cruelty-free or that the chickens have access to the outdoors. And the word "most" always gets to us when it's plopped between "raised without" and "antibiotics." The news also comes as McDonald's egg usage will increase (starting Oct. 6, the company will be serving breakfast all day), making the whole announcement seem like a big PR stunt, especially since the timeline is a full decade out. Who knows what food will be like in 10 years? We'll probably be drinking Soylent and laughing at how hard all those animal-welfare advocates fought for humane, fresh food.
Your obligatory Roy Choi update is here: Loco'l is shooting for a Christmas Day opening of its first location in Watts. Even if it doesn't land exactly on Christmas Day (do any restaurant openings go as planned in this city?), with Choi's recent collaboration with Munchery still going strong and sneak peeks into Loco'l's potential recipes flying across the Internet, the potentially game-changing fast food restaurant is no doubt imminent. In the meantime, you can still eat amazing food at any of the thousand taco trucks that dot the Watts streetscape.
Tweets o' The Week
Husband notices my burrito. "Wait did you get Regular or Super??" "Super." "It's bigger than usual." "Don't judge me."— John Birdsall (@John_Birdsall) September 9, 2015
This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper. And that whimper is a man with a bun correcting your pronunciation of "acai".— Elizabeth Hackett (@LizHackett) September 8, 2015
Maybe because it's insanely hot, but there's NO LINE AT EGGSLUT.— amy scattergood (@AmyScattergood) September 9, 2015
Friday and Saturday: Alpine Village Oktoberfest
Rejoice! It's the first weekend of Oktoberfest in Germany, which means the Alpine Village in Torrance is back at it with another year of beer, brats and babes. Head down to the oldest Oktoberfest celebration in Southern California for stein-holding contests, along with oompah dancing and more.
Monday, Sept. 14: Vintage Australian Wine Dinner
Bonhams auction house comes to E.P. & L.P. to decant a rare assortment of vintage Australian wine. Eat through an eight-course dinner crafted by executive chef Louis Tikaram, then sip on never-before-seen, auction-preview pairings from back vintages bottles.
Monday, Sept. 14: Providence Celebrity Chef Collaborative Dinner Series
In honor of Providence's 10-year anniversary, Michelin-starred executive chef and co-owner Michael Cimarusti will host a series of commemorative celebrity guest chef dinners, this time featuring James Beard Award winners Michael Tusk (Quince and Cotogna in San Francisco) and Marc Vetri (Vetri family of restaurants in Philadelphia).
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