Hillary Eaton

Originally appeared on The Wall Street Journal

Inside Mei Lin’s anticipated new project, Daybird

If there is one thing Mei Lin and Francis Miranda didn’t envision for 2020, it was how their Los Angeles restaurant, Daybird, would come to life. Hot off the success of their first project, Nightshade, chef Lin and her partner Miranda originally planned to open their new Silver Lake spot in early May. It was meant to be a small, chef-driven fast-casual place inspired by Nightshade’s crispy-skinned Szechuan hot quail dish. Lin would also use it as a test kitchen of sorts, to play around with new recipes.

But as the months went by and the pandemic set in, Lin and Miranda found themselves confronting the challenges of a new kind of dining scene. They were forced to close Nightshade on March 15, and they chose not to reopen at limited capacity. With Daybird, the pair have ended up focusing much more on to-go and delivery. “Pre-Covid, I never wanted to do a takeout model,” Lin says, “but we have to think of the customers, and it will take some time to come to our new normal.”

But as the months went by and the pandemic set in, Lin and Miranda found themselves confronting the challenges of a new kind of dining scene. They were forced to close Nightshade on March 15, and they chose not to reopen at limited capacity. With Daybird, the pair have ended up focusing much more on to-go and delivery. “Pre-Covid, I never wanted to do a takeout model,” Lin says, “but we have to think of the customers, and it will take some time to come to our new normal.”

So when Daybird opens July 22, diners won’t be sliding into its birch booths. Instead, customers will be enjoying Lin’s dishes—the crispy chicken thigh sandwich on Japanese milk bread, for example, or chicken tenders with hot honey and cornbread—off-site. Yet Lin and Miranda are excited to feed their neighbors and Nightshade supporters in the weeks to come. They’ve carefully sourced key ingredients, like umami-rich porcini powder or fiery Thai bird’s eye chili, from expert supplier Le Sanctuaire. To temper the three levels of heat, Lin will serve her signature milk tea and other original drinks. And she will still be using the space to have fun with food, so playful dishes like her Instagram-famous scallion pancakes may start to pop up on the menu.

“Covid-19 has highlighted a lot of things for us and others,” Miranda says. “Fine dining is going to suffer, and things will move in a different direction. Is the future having a $2 million dining room or having something that can open? What’s important?” daybirdla.com. —

Originally appeared on Eater

One Day in June

On June 2, 2020, as Parisians sat down at cafes for the first time in months, people in Moscow still couldn’t leave their homes between curfews. Here, the divergent views of 17 cities around the world on the same day.

IfIf there’s one thing that the coronavirus pandemic has made crystal clear these last few months, it’s how thoroughly interconnected life on Earth has become.

We are now, without a doubt, a global civilization, and as many brands have so graciously reminded us lately, “We’re all in this together.” But the spread of COVID-19 has also had a profound way of spotlighting the differences: the ways in which each of our societies responds to crisis, the things we value, and how our governments support our vulnerable communities — or don’t.

The first days of June were an anxious time for much of the world. Just as protesters took to the streets across the U.S. to condemn racial violence and the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, cities across the globe were grasping for the first signs of life after months of COVID-19-related lockdown and quarantine, thanks to the easing of restrictions on bars and restaurants.

Virtually every major metropolis on earth spent the bulk of spring in some state of shutdown; our responses since have been less synchronous. On June 1 and 2, Paris and Melbourne began to allow dine-in seating, and Berlin reopened bars — prost! Elsewhere, life remained at a near standstill. Bogotá only began allowing carryout from restaurants on June 1, and taking so much as a walk in Moscow — let alone a bite — continues to require scheduling. Meanwhile, Ho Chi Minh City and Tokyo welcomed this June like every other before it, with little fanfare beyond the usual blooms and ripening market fruit; for them, the spread of COVID-19 is all but a terrifying memory.

The point is, despite the near-universal tragedy caused by the novel coronavirus, the look and feel of our experiences today is anything but uniform, and depends greatly on the place we call home. Last week, Eater asked an international team of photographers and writers to document daily life where it intersects with food and drink in 17 cities around the world on the very same day. What follows is something like a diary of eating on planet Earth on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. The resulting snapshots show our disparate realities as we edge ever closer to once again sharing a great meal, a stiff drink, and everyday life, together

Originally appeared on Bon Appetit

Mānuka Honey Is a Wellness Wonder—But Your Jar Could Be a Fake

In the jade roller–colored realm of wellness, where you can pick up $80 crystal water bottles, adorably packaged ceremonial-grade matcha, and reishi-infused wellness shots, there’s nothing like mānuka honey.

Made from the nectar of New Zealand’s mānuka tree, mānuka honey is prized for its antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. New Zealand’s Māori people have used the mānuka plant for medicinal purposes for centuries, but mānuka honey didn’t gain global popularity until the late 1980s after New Zealand biochemist Peter Molan’s discovery of methylglyoxal (MGO), an antimicrobial and antibacterial compound found in high concentration in mānuka honey. (Some honeys have it in trace amounts, but not nearly as high as in mānuka honey.) Today mānuka honey can be seen across Instagram slathered on skin to fight acne and recommended by holistic health practitioners for its ability to fight throat infections and help heal wounds.

A small jar of high-grade mānuka honey can run upward of $180, making it one of the world’s most expensive honeys. It’s also reportedly one of the world’s most fraudulently labeled ingredients.

Originally appeared on Travel + Leisure

Here’s What Really Happens When You Visit a Balinese Healer

As traveling for wellness becomes more and more popular, hotels are finding more diverse ways for their guests to explore health and wellness while on vacation. In Bali, the increase in wellness focused travel has many hotels incorporating traditional Balinese healing elements in their spa and wellness programs, some even bringing on Balinese healers and priests for shamanic energy work, therapy and traditional healing sessions. Translation: there’s never been a better time to visit a healer in Bali.

But while anyone who’s given “Eat, Pray, Love” a watch might be familiar with what a Balinese healer is, what it’s actually like to go to one (off the silver screen) is a different story. To learn for myself, I headed to the Mandapa Reserve, home to one of the most immersive, curated selections of Balinese healing experiences in the region.

Bali is Indonesia’s spiritual center. With a population that’s nearly 90 percent Hindu and religion deeply rooted at the heart of daily life — you’re bound to find offerings of fruit and flowers at the feet of nearly every street corner statue — Bali is one of the world’s most vivid centers for spirituality and self-discovery. But even still, finding the right healer in Bali can be tricky.

Originally appeared on EATER

The 38 Essential Restaurants in Santiago

Santiago is experiencing a culinary renaissance like it’s never seen before, says food and travel writer Hillary Eaton. Chile’s capital city, famous for its stunning setting amid the Andes as well as its mix of modern and Spanish colonial architecture, has long been on tourists’ radars.

“In the past decade, Santiago’s dining scene has undergone a massive transformation,” says Eaton. “Thanks to a mixture of seasoned Chilean chefs returning to their culinary roots, young chefs returning home with flavors and ideas inspired from overseas, and better access to fresh and native ingredients, Chile’s culinary epicenter is more diverse, self-reflective and internationally noteworthy than it’s ever been.”

Some of Chile’s best up-and-coming chefs are behind a vibrant middle class of restaurants, and are tackling the whole idea of what it means to cook Chilean cuisine. From a carefully curated tasting experience of native Chilean flavors at Boragó to traditional plates reinvented at La Salvación to cocktails that have left their mark on the world’s bar scene at Seite Negronis, there’s no better time to experience the old alongside the new in Santiago.

Originally appeared on MUNCHIES (VICE)

This Chef Is Making Civil War-Era Cuisine to Uncover American Food’s Real Roots

“The fascinating thing about our history is that it’s very dark,” Brian Dunsmoor tells me, hunched over hand-scrawled menu notes for Fuss & Feathers, the supper club out of his Southern-American inflected restaurant, Hatchet Hall, that takes a deep dive into what we mean historically when we talk about American food. It also happens to be one of the most exciting tasting menus in Los Angeles.

“In almost every direction you look, it’s very dark. If you look at George Washington or Thomas Jefferson or anyone that was of influence at that time [of America’s origins] you can’t find a clean slate. That’s why we’re so fascinated with American food. And why so few people know or talk about it. I think because it’s all tied to some really horrible things. Our history is carnage. It’s carnage. A lot of that can be seen in the food. It’s food as carnage.”

Originally appeared on Los Angeles Times

Burt Bakman transfers his precision barbecuing from Trudy’s to his first restaurant, Slab

“I was always really surprised that people would come to a complete stranger’s house from the internet for food,” says Burt Bakman.

The real estate agent / barbecue aficionado behind Trudy’s Underground Barbecue is known for slinging Texas-style brisket from his San Fernando Valley backyard. But he said the above while seated in the dining room of his soon-to-open barbecue restaurant Slab in West Hollywood, contemplating the unconventional route he took to get here. He’s staring closely at the fat lining a thick slice of glistening brisket hanging from his fork, as he mercilessly inspects a sheet pan of half chicken, spareribs, pulled pork and brisket that will be Slab’s signature combo when the restaurant opens later this month.

Bakman draws fans from as far as the Bay Area for his Texas-style barbecue, the carnivorous spoils of his signature copper-green smoker, and an 18-plus-hour exercise in patience and temperature control. The meat is covered in a rich yet rudimentary dark bark of salt, pepper and mustard, which encases deep pink to pale taupe flesh that weeps warm, clear fat with each slice of the blade or poke of the finger.

A work trip to Austin for a real estate conference solidified Bakman’s obsession with perfecting Texas-style barbecue. He ended up skipping the conference entirely in favor of bouncing around the city to try as much barbecue as he possibly could. Bakman learned by trial and error, making brisket and giving it away to friends, honing his craft and reaching out to another self-taught pit master, Texas’ Leonard Botello of Truth Barbecue — No. 10 on Texas Monthly’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints list — for guidance and insight. “He’s my smoker brother No. 1!” Bakman says now.

Originally appeared on Los Angeles Times

The cocktails at this new bar in the Arts District may be the most ambitious tipples in Los Angeles

To make the umami oil used in the Naked Maja cocktail at the new Duello bar in downtown L.A., heaps of sun-dried tomatoes are macerated and poured into avocado oil before being vacuum-packed and left to meld and leech for five days. All that work for just five drops on top of the cocktail, necessary for what bar director Iain McPherson calls “mouthfeel.”

McPherson, known best for opening the award-winning Panda & Sons cocktail bar in Edinburgh, Scotland, is on a mission to make Duello, the bar inside chef Jessica Largey’s new Simone restaurant in the Arts District downtown, more than just a waiting area for your dinner table. And to do so, he looked to the Arts District’s rich history and perpetual reinvention.

“I easily spent over 100 hours researching the history of the area,” said McPherson, referring to the area, which in another era, was home to hundreds of acres of leafy French Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc vines. . “For a new world country, what I found is that the Arts District had a very concentrated history over a very small space of time.”


Originally appeared on Food & Wine

Daniel Humm Reinvents Eleven Madison Park with New L.A. Pop-Up

While Eleven Madison Park has long been considered one of the pinnacles of fine dining (and the best restaurant in the world), this new pop-up might actually offer Daniel Humm’s most unique food experience yet.

Restaurant 1683 is a three-night-long, invite-only pop-up coming to L.A. on May 21. In partnership with the luxury appliance brand Gaggenau, 1683 takes its name from the year that Gaggenau was founded, featuring a menu that spans the brand’s three centuries of existence.

Originally launched in New York in 2016 as an interactive dining experience complete with tableside cooking, models dressed in Black Forest folk clothes performing live interpretations of a cuckoo clock’s automata and even blacksmiths forging nails, this award winning pop-up transports diners to the mountainous southwest region of Germany.