New restaurants are a curious thing. It is always an interesting experience to visit a restaurant the first week, although one that is usually filled with strange service and menu items that quickly disappear – often to your disappointment. A new restaurant may struggle to find its identity as its customers may have different things in mind than the management. This was definitely the case with Proof. In my opinion, almost anyone would think that it is first a wine bar and then a restaurant. But according to my friend, a server at the restaurant, the management believed that it was first a restaurant and then a wine bar. Accordingly, they did not hire a cocktail waitress, which led to massive problems in the bar area. So obviously returning a few months later, the crowds had died down slightly and they had worked out those kinks.
But it does bring me to an important point – Proof is trying far more to be a restaurant with a big wine selection than a wine bar.
More than just some charcuterie, and an enormous menu managed by Haidar Karoum, the food is far above just some small noshy items. In the early days, they would initially bring out some white bean puree with awesome flatbreads instead of a bread basket. I am sorry they have discontinued this practice, but my guess is that it was cost-prohibitive because I imagine people asked for multiple rounds.
They have a by-the-glass tasting system with an Enomatic machine. This allows the wines to be stored at the proper temperature, and provides measured pours. I wish I could speak more effectively about their wine list, but it is very extensive and offers a lot of choice. I ordered the Villard viognier, which I believe is a pretty girly wine. But it has some very lovely tropical hints to it, and made me very happy. Continue reading
I just caught a trailer for 21. It’s based on a book, Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich about a group of students from MIT who memorize probability distributions to game blackjack in casinos. Most of the team members were Asian, hapa or female. The people on the team were chosen specifically for their race and gender in order to appear less conspicuous. That is because Asians tend to be big rollers, and women seem less suspicious in their seeming luck. So it really annoyed me when I noticed in the trailer that almost everyone in the film was white, except for two cast members – one of them apparently quite minor.
This is just one more way that Hollywood has shafted the Asians. Oh well given that Kevin Spacey is using this film as a vehicle, I have a sense that he’s going to play an excessively large role as the teacher who leads the blackjack team – a role that was extremely minor in the book. While it’s not the most well-written of books, Bringing Down the House is an engaging and interested read.
HAHA… from Qwantz
This works only if I really had synaesthesia. But I’m Asian, so that usually does it pretty well for me.
Hat tip: E.D.
I wrote earlier about some views I have about mainstream media. I’ve thought long and hard about it, and I also wrote it in a bout of anger about what I believe is a case that someone stole the premise from one of my stories. I wrote from the frame of mind that blogging is where it is at.
But the reality is I dither back and forth on my thinking. The mainstream media has the responsibility to serve as the fourth estate of the government, keeping it in check. They have a responsibility to check their facts, be accurate, and be learned. We’ve definitely seen a deterioration of that with the scandal at the NY Times with Jayson Blair, and what seems to be me to be an increasing conflicts of interest. It decreases people’s trust of MSM, and they become undifferentiated from much of the market.
Let’s be honest, conflicts of interest are rampant with bloggers. I know writers who get on the list for concerts, befriend chefs, and plaster their faces all over the place. (Not to say that there aren’t an enormous number of restaurants and diners who don’t know what WaPo critic Tom Sietsema looks like – even in disguise.) But it has a lot more to do with the fact that bloggers get paid a pittance or nothing to write about their opinions, and most feel the need to take advantage of perks. Good ones will disclose any freebies/special treatment they’ve received. I know some people who insist on not getting freebies, but will get exemplary service because they know every person in the place.
So let’s focus on the alleged strengths of mainstream media that those publications should work on. Continue reading
City Paper reported today that The Washington Post is offering retirement buyouts, and is merging their online operations with the web operations. It’s pretty apparent that the media portion of the Washington Post Company is simply not doing so well. And I can think of a number of reasons why, and how they can change.
The environment has changed so much because of blogs. No one believed blogs would be the dragonslayers that they are. They provide free content with real, unedited voices, admittedly a little less fact-checking, and update as information happens.
1. Effective ad revenue generation – Naturally the response is to free up the content behind the firewall. NY Times and WSJ were some of the last stalwarts to do it. While in some ways this does open up opportunities for advertising, it is not engaging and most people have learned how to screen it out. Even contextual advertising is somewhat ineffective and is distracting and upsetting. The model that Salon and the Economist used of viewing an ad is probably one of the most effective ad methods I’ve noticed. But at the same time, it requires compelling content to make it worth sitting through. Soo…
2. Stodgy, old feature writers – NY Times is lucky, it will always be recognized as a paragon of style, and people will sit down with the print version on a Sunday morning. The Post, not so much. Their feature writers are generally boring and don’t recognize new trends if it pimp-slapped them and left its mark on their face. Not to mention, they’re expensive. Word is that they’re cutting back on freelancers in order to maintain the staff that already exists. Solution? Hire freelancers. The reality is, with blogging, they’re now a dime-a-dozen and would be happy to get paid. And you don’t have to pay for their benefits. The variety and lack of job security is sure to bring a breath of fresh air and a glut of new content to any paper. Don’t say there is nothing to write about – DCist always manages to find something interesting. Continue reading