Monday, October 05, 2009

Sad that Gourmet’s closing

October 5

“I can’t believe it!” everyone keeps saying when hearing the news that Condé Nast has decided to cease publication of Gourmet magazine.
But then they admit that they can, in fact, believe it, because these are awful times in the world of publishing. Gourmet is not the first big title to say good-bye, and I doubt that it will be the last.
But still, it’s a sad day in the food-writing world and it didn’t seem quite right to let it to go by without acknowledging it.
I had a couple of groups of visitors to the office today.
One group came from Lemaire, an old-school fine dining restaurant in Richmond, Va., that, like so many fine dining restaurants, has reconcepted itself to make it more accessible to a wider variety of guests and occasions, offering things like braised rabbit sliders on jalapeño cornbread and specialty cocktails using local herbs and such (restaurant director Ben Eubanks is trying to coin the term “farm to glass”).
They brought me a gift basket of Virginia ham and Virginia peanuts and some little chocolates and an alligator Christmas tree ornament (the alligator is an important symbol of Lemaire dating back to an earlier time, when it was fashionable for Virginia ladies to wear baby alligators on short chains, sort of as brooches — I couldn’t make this stuff up) and a trivet with a recipe for spoonbread on it.
They’d tried to drop off a similar basket to someone at Gourmet on the way to meet with someone at Bon Appétit, and were told the bad news and that they probably shouldn’t leave the basket.
I think they said they couldn’t believe it.
My other visitor was a representative from Sonic Drive-In, who came in just to touch base and talk about flavor trends. She said the mango drinks they sold as limited time offerings this summer did well — probably not well enough to be brought back full-time, but they got a lot of anecdotal feedback asking when it would come back.
She also said that cranberry Diet Dr. Pepper is delicious. So that’s good to know.
She said she was sad that Gourmet was closing, too.


Paul A. said...

I can't picture exactly how one would wear a baby alligator. They are a foot or so long at birth, I believe. Tell me more.

Bret Thorn said...

All I know is that they were kept on very short chains, which I was told when I asked if they didn't eat their owners' ears.

Paul A. said...

Fascinating. It bears further investigation.

I know the classy Jefferson Hotel in Richmond (is Lemaire in the Jefferson? I seem to recall so) used to have an alligator pool. I hadn't heard about the wearing of the gator though.

I too am hoping to check out Fort Defiance soon.

Bret Thorn said...

Yes, Lemaire is at the Jefferson, and the alligators in that pool were, according to Ben, donated by the fashionable ladies once their ’gators grew too big to wear.