On the Kind of Person Who Steals Menus and the Midlife Crisis of the Restaurant Review

The Intelligence Brief is our weekly compendium of food and drink news sourced from outlets all over the world, including right here at home.

Check out all of the most outlandish kitchen gadgets featured at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, including a voice-activated faucet and a “smart” frying pan.

Take a fascinating look at how Chesapeake Bay restaurants are adapting their menus to deal with an invasive species of catfish.

An essay in the LA Review of Books on the midlife crisis of the American restaurant review:

For the informed eater, Jonathan Gold and Ruth Reichl were less journalists than Associate Justices on the Culinary Supreme Court. However, settling into its seventh decade, the silver-haired restaurant review has stumbled into a tumultuous cultural climate — and its old-fashioned views are starting to wear thin.

American wine lovers are calling 100% BS on the 100% tariff proposed by the Trump administration on all European wine imports.

In support of a dry January, enjoy this month’s Bon Appetit horoscopes with a zero-proof cocktail in hand.

How d’ya like them apples? From Pink Pearls to the Black Oxfords, Atlas Obscura shares the wonderful world of rare apples.

In case you blinked over the holiday season, Sunday’s Child in Victoria’s Oak Bay recently closed to become the second location of comfort food mecca Ruth & Dean

Wine Director Kristi Linneboe of Vancouver’s L’Abattoir restaurant shares some of her favourite spots to dine and drink around town.

You know that annoying guest that always steals a copy of the restaurant menu? Turns out it was former New York Times food critic Ruth Reichl.

“It started as a habit formed out of necessity—before a digital camera lived in everybody’s pocket by default, stealing menus was the only way to keep a record of a meal when she was a restaurant critic for New West magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and then the New York Times in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. But what began as a habit turned into a genuine curiosity about what menus say about their time. Every little detail, from the prices to the dish descriptions to the aesthetic choices, illuminates something about where we were as a society in that moment.”

Why a 40-year-old Montreal bistro continues to be a beacon of exceptional dining in a city filled with noteworthy restaurants.

With a new year comes new restaurants to look forward to. Case in point, Vancouver’s Fraserhood will soon be home Say Mercy, which is set to open its doors to the public this Saturday. Also of note in Vancouver: Old Bird on Main Street.

Roll up to Street Food City this upcoming weekend as the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery transforms into a food-truck pop-up with 25 participating vendors.

And speaking of which, former food truck Mogu Japanese Street Eats is getting a brick and mortar on The Drive.

Doesn’t matter how you cut it, this is definitely the cheesiest crime ever committed.

Meanwhile, this ultra-rare Wisconsin cheddar is going for at $209/lb — just in case you were hoping to make the most luxurious grilled cheese of your life.

Taking sustainability to the next level: how one Brooklyn restaurant is adopting a zero-waste policy at every point of business.

“The aim is to lessen the restaurants’ environmental impact while running a profitable venture — with a possible added benefit of solidifying their eco-conscious bona fides among discerning clientele. Such radical idealism comes with challenges, including finding producers and distributors who can accommodate requests like compostable packaging and figuring out how to recycle broken appliances.”

And speaking of decadent cheddar, chef Marc Veyrat loses his court case against the Michelin guide after his restaurant was demoted for allegedly using cheddar in its cheese souffle. *clutches pearls*

Helen Rosner reflects on a decade of eating and the meals that have stood the test of time.

From hard seltzer to natural wine, Vinepair lays out their predictions for the top drink trends of 2020.

Food for thought: If sweet potato fries are lawful good and poutine is chaotic evil, what does that make tater tots? Roll for initiative.

What’s in the well? From vodka to gin and mezcal to amaro, two dozen bartenders share their go-to well spirits.

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