Category Longform

Visby: The Floating City

Traipsing through the medieval city of Visby during Sweden’s annual political convention reveals something about the soul of the country.

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The Old Man and the Sea: My Great-Grandfather, from Latvia to Key West

The way I understand it, Key West, way back when – way back before the spring breakers and Girls Gone Wild, back before the pride parades, back before Jimmy Buffett and Margaritaville, back before the leather shops on Duval Street, back before the Conch Republic, back before Tennessee Williams, back even before Papa Hemingway and his […]

Memories of a SoHo I Never Knew

When I was maybe twelve or thirteen, weaned on Simon & Garfunkel’s hymnal “Bleecker Street” and a healthy mid-90s diet of Friends, with some nebulous notion of someday running back to the Big Apple, the city of my birth, my parents sat me down and made me watch After Hours, Martin Scorsese’ brilliant nightmare of […]

Max

How to Eat a Hamburger in Sweden

The first meal we had in Stockholm – no, not at Ikea – was Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and lingonberries. The second was Max at T-Centralen. Founded in Northern Sweden in the late 1960s, Max is Sweden’s answer to McDonald’s. The name even sounds suspiciously similar. The chain hasn’t spread much beyond Sweden, with […]

A Moveable Feast: A Brief History of the Revolving Restaurant

On August 15, 1961, Seattle architect John Graham filed patent 3,125,189 for “a restaurant of novel construction, which is to be erected at a considerable elevation on a supporting structure on the top of a building or on a tower built for the purpose.” So the customers could enjoy the view, the dining area was […]

Good Fortune at Best Fortune: Dim Sum at 10AM Sharp

Dim sum is a frenzied, fast-paced way to start your Sunday. But when you’re the first to arrive, it’s an altogether different experience. My first memory of dim sum is Chinatown in downtown Washington in the early 1990s. I remember staring through the ornate Friendship Archway – blue and red and gold with unfurling dragons […]

Whatever Happened to Taco Salad?

Food trends change, no doubt about it. When I was seven, my parents took me to France and the Basque Country of northern Spain. It was my first trip abroad, and it was a big deal. When I got back to Richmond, my teacher asked me to tell the class a little about my trip. […]

IKEA (Market) Hacking

Sometimes you find more at an IKEA than an Expedit bookshelf. Sometimes you find the food. IKEA is many things to many people. It’s a place to mark life events: welcoming baby with a sniglar or a hensvik, sending her off to college with best friends lack and billy, finding low-cost accoutrements for baby’s first […]

I Found the Soul of Switzerland in a McDonald’s McGruyère

Because sometimes a sandwich isn’t just a sandwich. The trip from Zurich to Zermatt lasts three hours by train and climbs four thousand feet. It takes you from within twenty miles of the German border to within five miles of the Italian, though you wouldn’t know it by the rösti – a dish so ubiquitous […]

Takeout Astrology: The Zodiac Placemat

All those chopsticks and duck sauce packets you’ve been hoarding for years? They’re all from one mysterious company in White Plains, New York. Growing up, every restaurant had its paper placemat. Sergio’s and Gino’s had a map of Italy with illustrations of the Tower of Pisa, a Venetian gondola, and the Colosseum. Generically Richmond restaurants […]

The Meaning of Fruits, or Tomatoes for Dessert

In the late nineteenth century, the Supreme Court decided the tomato was a vegetable, not a fruit, because it’s served with dinner not dessert. But why can’t we have our tomato cake and eat it too? The first tomato grew in South America. It was cultivated and taken to Central America where conquistadors took it […]

Eating San Francisco

There’s something about San Francisco. You sense it as soon as you get off the plane. Maybe it’s the weather – whatever that happens to be. Maybe it’s the constant horizon of old Victorians tumbling over hills like the backs of stegosauruses. Maybe it’s the yelps of sea lions, or, for a born-and-bred Easterner, the […]

Eating Miami

Miami during Art Basel is pure Fellini. Picture vacant models and their significantly shorter patrons parading around old factories in edgy parts of town. Picture the slow, interminable parade of rented Bentleys and Rolls Royces crawling across the causeways from Wynwood to the Beach. Picture reality stars knocking back glass after glass after glass of […]