SOME WEEKDAY A FEW MONTHS AGO I was brainstorming themes for this issue, and an advance copy of Anthony Bourdain Remembered, a collection of anecdotes and fond memories of the man who brought us food and adventure from all over the world, showed up on my desk. Flipping through the pages, it dawned on me that if there's one thing Bourdain wants us to remember, it's that food is a tool for uniting humanity. And there it was, this year's First Plates theme: The World on a Plate. ... MORE
Not only does June 2019 mark one year since beloved Bourdain moved on to his next adventure, just a few weeks before his 62nd birthday, but it's Immigrant Heritage Month. Bourdain wrote, "The Italians and Spanish, the Chinese and Vietnamese see food as part of a larger, more essential and pleasurable part of daily life. Not as an experience to be collected or bragged about – or as a ritual like filling up a car – but as something else that gives pleasure, like sex or music, or a good nap in the afternoon."
The restaurant scene around town has shown some interesting trends over the last year, which we believe are reflected in this list. Things are trending more casual, little-sister restaurants are popping up, time-honored eateries are revamping their style, and health-meets-flavor concepts are running menus all over town. Perhaps most interestingly, Austin has taken its global cuisine roster to a whole new level. Consequently, to "define Austin dining now" is a massive undertaking. After several months of heart palpitations and anxiety dreams, I am thrilled with the way this roster of local food scene excellence turned out.
This issue takes a Chron army to produce, and I am grateful to work with this very special group of individuals. Special shout-outs to our web and production teams, and thank you to our editorial crew and sales, IT, and admin teams for keeping this machine running while my brain was in the trenches. I'm very proud of this year's contributing writer team – Josh Kupecki, Eric Puga, Alisha McDarris, Melanie Haupt, Jessi Devenyns, Danny Palumbo, Emily Beyda, Alexandra Detmar, Tom Thornton, Rod Machen, Sydney Greene, Jessika Roth, and Lieutenant Wayne Alan Brenner. Our proofing team – Kat McNevins, Jasmine Lane, James Scott, and Greg Stitt – is the best in the business; our marketing gurus make us look cool. Thanks to Hank the Chron Dog for lying at my feet, and to Creative Director Jason Stout for the tremendous artistic vision. And to my Editor-in-Chief Kimberley Jones: Thank you for your help with the tedium and all of your patience.
I think Bourdain's punkass would probably hate all of the sappy tributes, but in honor of that rascal, not just on #BourdainDay (June 25), but always: Let's eat at tiny family-owned restaurants. Let's ask simple questions and really listen to the answers. Let's be empathetic. Let's open our homes. Let's tell the real stories. Let's share meals. "We are, after all, citizens of the world – a world filled with bacteria, some friendly, some not so friendly." – Jessi Cape