Omni Daily Crush: "Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York"
With the same flair for obsessive detail that made his outstanding history of the American cocktail, Straight Up or On the Rocks, a must-read, former New York Times food critic William Grimes presents a passionate panorama of New York City's melting-pot cuisine in Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York. It's a thoroughly researched account of how New York went from a city of oyster saloons and chop houses to become one of the world's top dining destinations, with stops along the way at outdoor markets, saloons, produce stalls, chop suey restaurants, Automats, diners, and food carts. The book is illustrated throughout with archival photographs and illustrations, including many rare, vintage menus. As Grimes moves through the city's culinary history, from Times Square to Tribeca, he covers the 1800s through today's Food Network-fueled celebrity chefdom, with spotlights on pivotal players like Craig Claiborne, Warner LeRoy, Drew Nieporent, and Danny Meyer. In the last section of the book Grimes details highlights (and some lows) from his tenure as the Times' restaurant critic (1999-2003), with memories of Daniel Boulud's $27 hamburger, the grand failure of Alain Ducasse's eponymous, hype-fueled, "overproduced" restaurant at the Essex House, Mario Batali celebrating charcuterie and lardo ("one of his clever grace notes"), and his thoughts on the starred-system of restaurant reviewing.