Addison: Love, Labor, and Patience

The adage that states “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” might best epitomize the tireless diligence of Chef William Bradley. For thirteen consecutive years, his devotion to the culinary arts has produced some of the finest haute cuisine at Addison, a luxurious fine-dining restaurant in San Diego, California. Along the way, he has garnered a multitude of distinctions for this destination wonder: Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star rating, AAA Five-Diamond award, and the Wine Spectator Grand Award. Addison has held all three awards for the last eleven consecutive years. The James Beard Foundation nominated Chef William for “Rising Star Chef of the Year” multiple times earlier in his career. The consortium of luxury hotels and restaurants known as Relais & Châteaux designated him a “Grand Chef” in 2010, an honor afforded to only 160 chefs worldwide. Additionally, in 2014, he won the Robb Report’s Culinary Masters Competition while under the mentorship of Thomas Keller. The aforementioned achievements are even more impressive given that San Diego is not exactly the epicenter of fine dining for California, let alone the US.

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The Harbor House Inn – A Reverence for Terroir

Product. Technique. Timing. Sustainability. Precision. Individually, each of these nouns represents a facet of the culinary arts. As a collective, they form the vision and philosophy that embody the cuisine of Matthew Kammerer, executive chef of the Harbor House Inn, a fine-dining destination located in the town of Elk, California. This Mendocino County community, home to the restaurant and lodge that shares one name, is sparsely populated with around 200 people, give or take a handful. It makes the perfect getaway for those wanting to retreat from city life for a few hours or a luxurious weekend. Or for hard-to-please foodies seeking a fresh and exciting dining experience.

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minibar and the spark of a major gastronomic journey

When I lived in Alexandria, Virginia from June 2013 until August 2016, I took advantage of every opportunity to explore the culinary landscape across the national capital region. I began in Old Town, conveniently located less than two miles from my apartment. On the weekends, I rode the metro train into Washington, DC to dine at the multitude of restaurants there, both vanguards and newcomers alike. I Uber-ed endlessly around the political heart of the nation, eating solo at first and later with an eclectic mix of friends and strangers. I was constrained neither by time nor by distance. I indulged in all types of food buoyed by unbridled enthusiasm and an unapologetic appetite. Without realizing it at the time, I was also falling in love with food, not just the diversity and availability of cuisines but by the idea of what food could be, what it could represent, and also its ability to shape and evolve my perspective on life. Food quickly became both metaphor and philosophy.

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The High Cost of Tasting Menus?

Even before the fine-dining restaurant Pineapple and Pearls (abbreviated P&P hereafter) opened in Spring 2016, several foodies had preemptively decried its then-price of $250. The comments section of numerous online articles became the bastion for their indignation and disgust. Adjectives such as “outrageous”, “ridiculous”, “pretentious”, and “out-of-touch” were just a few of the colorful (and printable!) pejoratives strewn among the discussion. How could any restaurant charge that much money, regardless of how great the food may be, some intoned? How dare Aaron Silverman, chef and owner of the local but nationally regarded Rose’s Luxury, have the temerity to ask such an astronomical price? For those comfortably accustomed to the fast-casual food culture prevalent in Washington, DC, P&P became the source of their ire. If they had been looking for a target to pillory, they found it in a restaurant that appeared excessively expensive, even by DC standards.

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A Lucid Dream Named Somni

When speaking to foodies knowledgeable about dining in Los Angeles, they are likely to point you toward the city’s tremendous offerings of ethnic cuisines. A quick Google search will validate their assured opinions. You have popular neighborhoods that begin with either “Thai”, “China”, or “Korea”, appended with the word “town” at the end. And you also have Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia, and Little Tokyo—each is a microcosm of their international counterpart. From north to south and east to west, some of the best taco trucks anywhere are scattered throughout the city, both famous establishments and hard-to-locate ones parked at obscure street corners. Ethnic foods certainly have a powerful foothold here as evidenced by its ubiquity and its seemingly 24/7 availability.

There is, however, another side to LA’s culinary scene: fine dining.

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The Rise of Omaha Fine Dining

As a serious foodie who resides in Omaha, NE—sympathetic friends might say I have been trapped here—I often travel to NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, DC to dine. Compared to those four cities with their diverse abundance of ethnic and Michelin-rated fine dining, Omaha cannot compete foodwise. Sure, my current city has a few culinary gems: Block 16 for incomparably fantastic fried chicken (it’s fucking sublime, actually!); Blue & Fly for very respectable Sichuan cuisine; Via Farina for lovely wood-fired pizzas; El Basha for casual though delicious Middle Eastern fare; and Birrieria El Chalán for amazing tacos reminiscent of the famed street food in Mexico City. But proper tasting menus worthy of traveling foodies from out of state? Not a chance. However, that was before a friend told me about a pop-up named kanō (pronounced kay-no).

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Let Me Show You the Beauty of Vegetables

Before coming to Blue Hill at Stone Barns (hereafter BHSB), I had read an article by Eater’s previous Editor-in-Chief Bill Addison about his exhilarating experience at this restaurant. In his December 5, 2016 testimony, Bill had declared BHSB to be the best restaurant in America at that time.

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My Love of International Relations

This Master’s degree took three-and-a-half years to complete. During that time, I have come to believe that international relations is, fundamentally, the study of how to align our preferred method of communication with one another in the most optimal manner. For those of us obsessed with eating, is there a better communicator than food? Is there a greater medium to convey that we—despite different shades of color, religion, or sexual orientation—are more alike than not? Food can provide for a common perspective and unite us when we share a meal together.

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A Tribute to Anthony Bourdain

I don’t get sad too often. Those who know me probably are used to seeing a smile on my face. But Anthony Bourdain’s death brought me to tears on multiple occasions this weekend. The non-reasoning part of my brain hasn’t totally processed his passing because a lot of me is still reeling from the shock. My disbelief hasn’t entirely dissipated; I don’t want to believe it.

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