The Way We Live Now

drawing of a construction worker

[T]he owners hired bartenders who don’t look as if they make their own bitters or collect first-edition bar books.

Oliver Strand, in his review of The Commodore in the Times. Apropos of this I have been meaning to post about how I was buying lettuce and the guy next to me was all “Have you tasted this salad mix?”

“No,” I replied, turning to walk away. “Try some!” he yelled. “It’s super spicy!” I was like, “God, OK,” so I took a couple leaves and ate them. “Yes, very spicy.” He beamed at my like I was a good girl and I could finally get away. It was like the foodie version of a construction worker yelling at me to smile.

Sam "Bright Eyes" Sifton and Food Writer Bingo

For years, Sam Sifton, now the New York Times restaurant critic, has had a passionate over-attachment to the word “bright.” He’s rhapsodized about a “bright and lemony vinaigrette,” a small pool of olive oil “bright with garlic,”  “bright and intense tomato sauce,” and “bright and flavorful farro salad.”  Just yesterday he had “bright and lemony aioli” and a ragu in which “brightness and fire combine again in the presence of acidity.” My husband and I have followed Sam’s brightness-obsession over the course of our marriage, turning it into a drinking game. Of course, if you drank whenever you heard or read any food-writing cliché, you’d be too drunk to enjoy your blindingly bright food. So in the tradition of Michelle Kerns’s delightful Book Review Bingo, here is your Food Writer Bingo card. First person to complete one gets, well, something. Bonus points if you find some mention of Proust and madeleines.


—Artisanal Bitters (art by Snacktime)