It is not a journalist’s job to protect us from the ugly facts. Neither is it his job to protect the sensitive from the painful truth or anyone, really, from anything.
In fact, speaking more broadly, it is not a journalist’s job to make the world a better place, to ensure our right thinking, or to defend the virtuous politicians that sophisticates like himself voted for while excoriating the evildoers elected by those country rubes on the other side. It is not his job to do good or be kind or be wise. The idea that any of this is a journalist’s job is a fallacy that seems to have infected the trade in the 1970s, when idealistic highbrows began to replace the Janes and Joes who knew a good story when they heard one.
Because that’s the journalist’s job: the story. His only job: to tell the whole story straight."
Messy, comical, unpredictable, dramatic, impossible, beautiful. It’s the city where people lie in the gutters and dream of the stars. From slumdogs to millionaires, fashion to finance, Bollywood to beggars, it serves as a microcosm of the unwieldy, dichotomous country it exists in. Look past the dirty streets and the bright lights and you’ll see a city that’s warm and welcoming.
Guest chef nights are big business, but are they a genuine treat for diners or just another way of wringing a few quid out of them?
I am still trying to understand too.
We are a family of creators – close knit and a little crazy – handcrafting goods at our workshop in Portland, Oregon. We love what we do, and when work matters, it just keeps getting better. Our process is uncompromising, because we believe every product is a representation of who we are.
It’s hard to believe that a few short years ago, meathead chefs ruled the day, pushing gout-baiting, nose-to-tail tests and plundering pork-belly reserves into short supply. In those go-go times of beast worship, the seasonal-vegetable gospel played more humming background note than rip-roaring solo. That is, until a worldwide foraging craze made field pickings cool again and signature vegetable dishes became the new reputation makers. John Fraser — chef-owner of Michelin-starred Dovetail — is the latest adopter of the vegetable high altar, and his carrots Wellington at Narcissa sends up a fittingly sublime hymn.
For a dish that sounds like the token vegetarian option at a bad 1980s wedding, this Wellington is entirely novel. The sweet, brined carrots are tinged hauntingly bitter by a coffee-cocoa rub, their juicy flesh downright pampered by buttery puff pastry and silky sunchoke puree ($20).
The restaurant space itself is less than transcendent, about as navigable as the Bermuda Triangle, with a basement bathroom two zip codes away and a main dining area chopped up by wooden masts and zigzag banquettes. This carpeted room would look like a Marriott breakfast buffet were it not filled with black-clad art directors and Coen brothers lookalikes.
But a card-carrying locavore chef couldn’t ask for a better home than the Standard East Village hotel, whose proprietor Andre Balazs owns an upstate farm that funnels produce directly to the kitchen. And John Fraser proves to be one of this cites most captivating preachers of produce. The beef-less Wellington is nearly equaled by root vegetables spun on the open-kitchen rotisserie as if it were meat. Lush beets ($12) are dressed up as steak, sporting crackling char and creamy horseradish, while tender, smoky sweet potatoes ($12) wear jerk spices better than most chickens.
It would be noteworthy if Fraser were simply a vegetable sorcerer, but he’s also got a Midas touch with meat. Lamb two ways ($26) yields succulent rounds of loin rosy from edge to edge, and a crisp brick of belly drenched in musky fat. Charred rotisserie rib eye ($48) tastes so rich, you’d think the cow had been taking daily marrow supplements.
It used to be that chefs wanted to let the vegetables speak for themselves, turning out rabbit food incapable of stirring diners less than militant in locavorism. John Fraser smartly whispers through them instead, and it’s worth hanging onto everything he has to say.