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Automat Documentary Serves Up Lost History

There was a time when, for the price of a nickel, diners could participate in a uniquely American food phenom. The Automat anticipated both the worlds of fast food and “self-serve,” became a social institution, then vanished into obscurity. Founded by entrepreneurs Joseph Horn and Frank Hardart in the late 1880s, their restaurant concept was…

Feast FMRL WineJourno

Bastille Day: Revolution in the Err

Je dis ça, je dis rien is a French idiom that translates literally as, “I say that, I say nothing.” Its nearest English counterpart is the comparatively flip “just sayin,’” which is as close to a raison d’etre as I can presently muster for this column. You see, the problem with being a humorist during…

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Quarantine Cooking 101

In the latest edition of my newspaper, I was compelled to pivot the “wining and dining” column a bit to dry out from all of the wine that’s spilled my way lately. The “dining” part of the beat is difficult to navigate at present, hence this foray away from restaurants and into recipes. Bon appetite!…

Culture Feast FMRL

Alice Waters Cooks Up Greens Restaurant Anniversary Dinner

The Greens Restaurant 40th Anniversary Acclaimed Chef Dinner Series continues its impressive lineup of guests chefs this month. Several Bay Area culinary luminaries have been invited to create an all-vegetarian four-course prix fixe meal inspired by historic menus from the last 40 years of Greens. Alice Waters of Chez Panisse presided over a sold-out dinner…

Epicurea Feast FMRL

How to Be a Restaurant Critic, Or Die Trying

When it comes to dining, I have admittedly provincial tastes. My gustatory galavanting ends a mere stonefruit’s throw past meat ‘n’ potatoes. I was anemic as a teenager because I refused to eat anything “with a face.” I instead tried to enjoy veggies and grains like my animal brethren. Then, I grew round in my…

Feast Lit Game Personae

A Lost Interview with the Late Anthony Bourdain

A previously unpublished interview with the remarkable Anthony Bourdain, who is probably the only man who ever uttered: “Dishwashing saved my life.” He will be missed.