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The Crumb for September 29th, 2017

Lori Bailey / September 29th 2017

Today's Crumb dropped en route to mountains.

Happy Friday! Help yourself to a responsibly-portioned snack as you settle into this past week’s food news.


Watch out

What’s more important than that first morning coffee? Conversely, what’s more frustrating than groggily fumbling around with a purse or wallet while trying to pay for said coffee? Mercifully, Starbucks has heard its customers’ cries and is doubling down on digital ordering to streamline the payment process. Their most recent rollout: an update to the Starbucks Apple Watch app that allows users to reload their cards using Apple Pay. The changes should also spell good things for Starbucks Rewards — as users find it easier to pay through the Starbucks app, they’ll reap more loyalty points. HC’s 2¢: Removing obstacles in the payment process means customers have less to think about before making a purchase. As tech-forward companies innovate in this area, look for the act of paying to become increasingly invisible.

 

Hospitality post-hurricane

It’s been a stormy few weeks. As if Harvey and Irma didn’t do enough damage, Hurricane Maria tore through the Atlantic last week and laid waste to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. As the island faces a near future without electricity and a grim longer-term agricultural outlook, having enough food to live is a very real struggle — which is why some chefs are revisiting the meaning of “hospitality” in hard times. D.C.-based chef José Andrés and friend Jose Enrique have banded together with several owners of local food trucks, prepping meals in Enrique’s restaurant kitchen and distributing the goods (for free) via food truck to neighborhoods in need. In the current climate, actions like these are a reminder to the restaurant industry of how weighty a responsibility feeding people really is.

 

If you use antlers in all of your decorating

This one’s for you: an Australian restaurant is getting hounded for hanging, slaughterhouse-style, a full-on taxidermied cow from its dining room ceiling. And not because they’re extremist vegans who’ve gone a little off the deep end (nope, their menu caters to the meat-eating crowd). For the much-needed explanation of why, the owners of Etica wrote up a four-page defense: essentially, they want to challenge common societal perceptions of meat and inform more ethical sourcing choices. Etica does, after all, mean “ethical” in Italian. Fine, but apparently the display is disturbing enough to have sparked a petition to please have the installation removed. Moral of the story: advocating for something, even a good thing, without a palatable communication strategy? Bad mooove.

 

Moody foodie blues

Fashionistas feeling blue about the closure of the French fashion destination Colette can now eat their feelings with these blue-bunned burgers. Blend, the Parisian gourmet burger chainlet behind this quirky LTO, devised the Pantone-293C-saturated bread to celebrate the iconic boutique’s similarly colorful 20-year run. If it seems strange to honor a French fashion institution with cheap American fast food, consider Colette’s reputation for mixing the high-brow and the low-brow. Also, the French love burgers. Blend’s two blue-bunned options will be available until December 20th, at which point they — and Colette — will bid a fond adieu.

 

A very Aviary opening

Let’s just get this out of the way: team happy hour today probably won’t be at the Aviary. Not that it shouldn’t be; expectations have been through the roof for Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas’s new cocktail bar on the top floor of the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. Wednesday marked its first night of service, and standouts from the playfully experimental menu included the “Not Ramen” (which does incorporate ramen noodles, but no pork) and the “Wake and Bake,” an Old Fashioned with a hint of coffee, presented inside a plastic bag filled with the aroma of everything bagels. Because this is the chef and owner of Alinea we’re talking about, so ordinary rules about how food or drink should be experienced don’t apply. And, from the looks of their booked-up reservation system, these guests don’t want an ordinary cocktail anyway.
 



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