Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Apologies to chef Holly Smith

My friend and I were walking to the Pike Place Market today and didn't notice the signs that said "crosswalk closed", so she ended up walking onto some freshly poured sidewalk. Red-faced construction worker yelled at her and others who took the same path. A policeman showed up. Big drama.

But it was an honest mistake. Not like the muck I stepped in yesterday when I casually Twittered a helping of idle gossip I heard this weekend about Cafe Juanita being on the ropes. I very quickly heard from chef/owner Holly Smith, who was rightly upset. (That's chef Holly pictured above at the James Beard Foundation Awards in NYC in May.)

I also got chewed out by various followers on Twitter. I should have known better. I apologized. But I don't really feel like that's enough. I want to turn this negative into a positive by pledging to get myself out for a meal at Cafe Juanita as soon as possible.

While chef Holly and her hard-working crew are still pulling in appreciative diners, if the restaurant is like any other fine dining venue, I'm going to guess their numbers are down from this time last year. It's a tough business and getting tougher all the time. 

I met the GM of Campagne last night and he told me the landmark restaurant near Pike Place Market is doing a makeover. Out with the white linen tableclothes, in with the bistro butcher paper and three courses for $30 daily. Chef Daisley Gordon recently launched a blog, letting fans know what he's up to in the kitchen. The Campagne lounge, not to be confused with Cafe Campagne downstairs, is one of the unsung gems of the happy hour circuit. All y'all get in there and support this fabulous place. 

In fact, please go and eat and support your favorite fine dining restaurant. Heck, any restaurant. I know the end of my gravy train had to have some impact on the local economy. Last year, as the P-I's food critic, I spent nearly $40,000. Shocking, right? Three of those meals were at the Herbfarm, which was $500 for two. 

I know belts have been tightened, but I would like to remind people that a vibrant restaurant scene is part of what makes Seattle so special. Please go out and dine. 

Anyone want to join me at Cafe Juanita? (Where I'll be eating humble pie!)

1 comment:

armani said...

Yikes, is it the heat that makes the natives so cranky? I could use a little AirCon right now myself!