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Dining Out: Where would you go?


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A good summary from El País:   https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-10-28/a-room-a-bar-and-a-class-how-the-coronavirus-is-spread-through-the-air.html?ssm=TW_CC

I don’t want to leave because I think somewhere else would be “nice”. I want to leave because I think American Death Capitalism is malicious and evil. 

At one restaurant, we picked the fennel flowers from the planter next to us and used them on our fried anchovies. Can't do that indoors!

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17 minutes ago, Sneakeater said:

I'm coming a week from tomorrow (when you'll probably be out of good stuff).

I'll plan for that right now.

Went to Ko again, it was not as nice. I think overall this drives me towards making the avenue a location all about food and wine with zero investment in Michelin related expenses, leaving just the fucking de blasio solid fuel ban as an obstacle. 

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Of course. I totally agree it's a frivolous thing to be supporting right now. 

But also it shows how magnificently fragile the modern restaurant is - just remove a couple of undocumented employees in the kitchen and some front of the house frills and you're eating blah food between rats, priced as if you're at Taillevent.

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33 minutes ago, Orik said:

just remove a couple of undocumented employees in the kitchen and some front of the house frills and you're eating blah food between rats, priced as if you're at Taillevent.

Just don't remove the masks.

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15 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

That's just going to lead to the death of places appealing to a lower-class clientele, whereas restaurants appealing to the middle class and above have a shot at "relief" from a well-heeled clientele.

Not necessarily. I've been inclined to spend my dollars at local places which don't have a particularly well-heeled clientele. I feel more sentimental (which may not be rational) about places in my neighborhood than the high end.

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5 hours ago, Wilfrid said:

Not necessarily. I've been inclined to spend my dollars at local places which don't have a particularly well-heeled clientele. I feel more sentimental (which may not be rational) about places in my neighborhood than the high end.

I think this might miss the mark for a few reasons.  (My reasons are based a whole host of factual assumptions that might be wrong:  let me know.)

First, you live in a famously (famous because unusual in New York) economically mixed neighborhood.  In most New York neighborhoods where people can still afford to dine out, the "neighborhood" spots are pretty upscale by any objective standard.

Second, I live in an economically mixed neighborhood, too (although it's getting less so by the day).  And in my neighborhood, the downmarket local spots for the most part aren't offering outdoor dining.  I assume it's because their prices are so low they figure they wouldn't make back the added expense.  But for whatever reason, if I want to "support" such local faves of mine as Mitchell's Soul Food or El Gran Castillo de la Jagua, it has to be by grabbing takeout.

Third, I don't see continuing to patronize places like that as "supporting" them in the sense that I, at least, have been using that term here.  For one thing, the nature and quality of their product has been unchanged by COVID.  These places were completely unassuming (in a good way!) to begin with.  They haven't had to dumb down their menus or simply their kitchen techniques.  They're just selling the same stuff they've always sold.  You just can't eat it on-site anymore.

But also, these places are in no way luxuries.  You have to struggle to spend as much as $15 at them.  Grabbing a Cubano from la Jagua or a smothered pork chop from Mitchell's isn't appreciably more expensive than cooking myself.  Compare that to such "inexpensive" neighborhood spots as Olmsted (the closest restaurant to my apartment) or Noodle Pudding in Brooklyn Heights, where you have to spend real money.

So I'm not being asked to give up quality nor to make a financial sacrifice to continue patronizing these places.  I don't view such continued patronage as "support" any more than I view myself as "supporting" my local supermarket when I run in (always at the last possible minute) for paper towels and toilet paper.

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7 minutes ago, Sneakeater said:

You just can't eat it on-site anymore.

And even if you could, these utilitarian places never provided the kind of dining experience that can't easily be replicated by a few tables on the sidewalk.  So even if they offered outdoor dining, you wouldn't be being asked to give anything much up to patronize them.

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I don't know: this is anecdotal, but when I dined out in Astoria, all kinds of places had outdoor dining, including the inexpensive taco place I went to. Maybe the East Village is unusual for the reasons you say, but definitely the downmarket places have seized the streets.

I don't get around as much to be able to speak to a wide variety of neighborhoods.

The other point, whether you intend your patronage to provide "relief" or "support," rather than just grabbing a bite to eat, I guess it does do that anyway.

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But as I said in that follow-up post, even if places like that offer outdoor dining, it isn't a materially different experience than they offered before.  You're not being asked to pay a lot for less.  You're being asked to pay the (fairly minimal) same for the same.  (Please be sure to take note of the last three paragraphs of my initial post.)

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I think we're at cross-purposes. All I was responding to was the idea that middle class and above have a better shot at relief than lower class: not necessarily.

I wasn't saying anything about the dining experiences (which post do you mean?).

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Oh I see, looks like we're just using "support" in different ways. You're supporting a business if you keep paying them even though quality has slipped, I'm supporting them just by spending money there, regardless of whether quality has slipped.

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