Japanese breakfasts, Saudi Dining, & New Orleans

Leave it to The New York Times to have three really interesting stories having to do with food, culture, and money all in one day.  And that day?  That’s today.

The paper reports: At the Whole Foods inside the Time Warner building, you can now buy a Japanese breakfast bento.  It’s the real thing, and I bet it’s good: Includes miso soup, grilled mackerel, pickles, and rice.  For about $12, you can start your day with a cultural experience that may inform your thinking until the next morning.

Speaking of Time Warner, there’s a terrific Q & A with Ken Himmel, a major investor in the building who also has his own restaurant development group with top dining spots in NYC and Boston.  The piece notes that the restaurant thing is just a sideshow, however.  Himmel is, “the president and chief executive of Related Urban, the mixed-use development division of Related Companies, and a managing partner of Gulf Related, a joint venture with Gulf Capital that invests in real estate projects in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.”  So every time you buy anything at Time Warner (inc. that bento) or one of his restaurants (Grill 23, Per Se, Bistro du Midi etc.), a Saudi prince sleeps a little better.

Finally, there’s a long, wonderful story about New Orleans.  Noting Besh and Link, the writer acknowledges the wonderful dining scene there, identifying Scotch House, where the world’s best fried chicken is cooked, and naming Herbsaint, which is one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been lucky enough to enjoy.

Food News: August, 2015

On a personal level, last week saw several publications on Japan that I wrote, and a few new assignments.  Travel + Leisure published two pieces: Hokkaido; Artisans of Yamanaka.  KarryOn published my piece on anago.  Gastronomica assigned me a long research piece that has to do with organic food and (shhh!) toxins in Japanese agriculture.

And with a month to go: I’m up to page 175  in my book on the psychological resiliencies of Indian-Americans, editing my way through my novel on family life, and taking notes for a project to start in September on race riots in the town where I grew up.

Outside of my personal life: The summer fruit season is ending, acorns are appearing on the ground, and tomatoes are bursting with sugar.

In the city of Boston, Sweet Cheeks, Vegan Thai Cafe, and Clear Flour Bakery continue to rock the joint.  Forget high end dining in this town: Stick to BBQ, pan-Asian, and breads, and it becomes first-rate.