craftsmanship, consumerism, virtue, privilege, and quality

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Our texts for today:

http://thisismadebyhand.com/shoppe/
http://thisismadebyhand.com/film/the_knife_maker
http://cutbrooklyn.com/artwork/1711581_Available.html
http://www.bestmadeco.com/collections/axes

We all like to have nice things. Some people like to make very nice things in archaic ways. I'm not going to try to claim there is a "handmade movement", but there's definitely a cultural current of people wanting to buy stuff that is verifiably good and not just the best of the available options at Target for instance. It's hard to say that an enthusiastic craftsperson making kitchen knives by hand is somehow being evil by making cool stuff in a way that is economically viable for them, or that the people who buy the results can't do what they want with their money. But when he's selling one knife for six times as much as a block of kitchen knives costs at Target then you really have to question what exactly is going on here.

He's gotta be pricing his knives based on the value of his labor creating them, plus materials and whatnot. I certainly think $40 an hour is a fair rate to pay yourself for knife-making.

On the other hand, the resulting product, a $600 knife, seems pretty much like a Veblen good. Its use value has to be very close to even the $200 equivalent from Global, if we assume for the sake of argument that both are better knives than the $25 equivalent from Victorinox or the $10 equivalent from Ikea. Anyone who buys a knife from this guy either is spending a big part of their hobby budget on a knife they think is really excellent (maybe a few people) or…they've got cash and want something fancy and Handmade In Brooklyn By A Man With A Beard for its fetish value.

Something about this whole process is probably virtuous, and something about it is just conspicuous consumerism. And it all sort of feeds into the eternal quest of enthusiasts on the internet trying to figure out what thing is best. Running polls, seeking out trustworthy tastemakers, etc.

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Thursday, 3 November 2011 18:55 (six years ago) Permalink

I certainly think $40 an hour is a fair rate to pay yourself for knife-making

really

The Uncanny Frankie Valley (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 3 November 2011 18:56 (six years ago) Permalink

craftsmanship, consumerism, virtue, privilege, and quality [Started by whoop, up the butt it goes (silby) in November 2011, last updated 1 minute ago]
Innocuous things that make you irrationally angry (a list thread) [Started by the great aussie ballkicking vids (jjjusten) in September 2010, last updated 2 minutes ago] 10 new answers

glorified version of appellate court (get bent), Thursday, 3 November 2011 18:56 (six years ago) Permalink

xp considering programming contractors bill their time at $75-$100 an hour or more $40 seems fairly reserved. Plus the guy obviously has rent, fixed costs, etc.

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Thursday, 3 November 2011 19:00 (six years ago) Permalink

so yeah maybe the guy could be pricing his labor at $18-$20 and selling the knives for cheaper but I don't think "how much do people deserve to get paid for their labor for doing one thing vs some other thing" is a focus here?

The "$40 an hour" thing by the way was inferred from $600 knives / 15 hours of work = $40 an hour, assuming materials costs are negligible.

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Thursday, 3 November 2011 19:03 (six years ago) Permalink

Materials, tools, rent also factor into the cost of that knife, and whatever it cost him in time and materials to learn the skill in the first place, he's probably really only paying himself $20/hr.

Tied into this is also a sense of satisfaction at supporting craftsmen - I'm wearing a pair of jeans right now that cost more than $200. I can justify it (in my mind) because they're the only jeans I wear, the materials and construction are of higher quality than basic Levi's, and they're made by one guy in a loft in the bay area (Roy's Jeans). Objectively, it's an absurd amount to spend on jeans, but I appreciate the craftsmanship and that I'm supporting someone making them on his own rather than feeding $50 to a corporation that uses sweatshop (or near-sweatshop) labor.

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Thursday, 3 November 2011 19:28 (six years ago) Permalink

The ability of machines to mass-produce items, which in turn cost less because of economies of scale, is not something I have a problem with. It is the steady flow of profits away from under-compensated labor toward over-compensated capital that seems to me like the essential problem to address. That and overconsumption in general.

Aimless, Thursday, 3 November 2011 19:29 (six years ago) Permalink

let me use your shit and you can use mine

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Thursday, 3 November 2011 19:31 (six years ago) Permalink

one one hand, yeah i think 'fetish' is a very good word to use in terms of what's happening from the consumer side here, it's inarguably luxury for the sake of luxury

Otoh, paying living wage to local craftspeople for good product isn't a bad thing, i guess. Haven't ever heard of any millionaire 'dude who makes knives in a workshop' types.

blind pele (darraghmac), Thursday, 3 November 2011 19:34 (six years ago) Permalink

there's a real arrogance to the new breed of millenial craftsman, i.e. the kids who went to college in the '90s and '00s and then realized they liked doing manual work that was, by their standards, "below" them. To justify their own egos and intellectual pretentions they take to correspondingly hiking the prices/ramping up the cultural "worth" /finessing the language in their copy to include shit like "artisan-made" and "uniquely sourced and crafted" so that they feel their middle-class prejudices being satiated while they're doing work that would otherwise be, you know, plain old labor.

(and I don't buy for a second that the high cost of labor is due to some benevolent workers' solidarity with their underpaid brethren)

turkey in the straw (x2) (remy bean), Thursday, 3 November 2011 19:43 (six years ago) Permalink

darraghmac on the mark ^

turkey in the straw (x2) (remy bean), Thursday, 3 November 2011 19:43 (six years ago) Permalink

There's certainly a handmade movement. Wallpaper is fixated with it. It reflects a cultural shift in the way wealth is spent. It's considered a little vulgar or, at best, impractical to want the most stuff or the biggest stuff, people with money to throw around want something unique - something with its own instant 'heritage'.

I think there's also an element of the 'shop class as soulcraft' idea, in a strange way. People like the idea of working with their hands, creating something beautiful from raw materials - a counterpoint to people shifting numbers between Frankfurt and Zurich, making millions of intangible dollars. Even if it's the latter group with the cash to pay for it, but not the time or skill to do it themselves, an element of the romance remains.

I can't really see a moral problem with people spending £30,000 on a couture Chanel dress, tbh, given the number of people involved in making one and the number of dying crafts the company keeps alive. It's a needless luxury but it's not the worst needless luxury out there.

Mohombi Khush Hua (ShariVari), Thursday, 3 November 2011 20:01 (six years ago) Permalink

there's a real arrogance to the new breed of millenial craftsman, i.e. the kids who went to college in the '90s and '00s and then realized they liked doing manual work that was, by their standards, "below" them. To justify their own egos and intellectual pretentions they take to correspondingly hiking the prices/ramping up the cultural "worth" /finessing the language in their copy to include shit like "artisan-made" and "uniquely sourced and crafted" so that they feel their middle-class prejudices being satiated while they're doing work that would otherwise be, you know, plain old labor.

(and I don't buy for a second that the high cost of labor is due to some benevolent workers' solidarity with their underpaid brethren)

― turkey in the straw (x2) (remy bean), Thursday, November 3, 2011 12:43 PM (35 minutes ago) Bookmark

this kind of bald-faced self-serving projection is 100x more arrogant and prudish than any of the "new breed" of "millennial craftsmen" i've met or known.

ah, how quaint (Matt P), Thursday, 3 November 2011 20:29 (six years ago) Permalink

making something yourself and selling it, as your livelihood, and trying to be good/get better at it, is such a weird proposition in today's market that some kind of authenticity branding is kind of unavoidable, no?

ah, how quaint (Matt P), Thursday, 3 November 2011 20:36 (six years ago) Permalink

not talking about domino's obviously

ah, how quaint (Matt P), Thursday, 3 November 2011 20:36 (six years ago) Permalink

artisan means square in that context

mark s, Thursday, 3 November 2011 20:43 (six years ago) Permalink

Matt, I don't give half a shit whether you agree with me or not, but why don't you do it without the ad hominems?

turkey in the straw (x2) (remy bean), Thursday, 3 November 2011 20:44 (six years ago) Permalink

also: chunky xp

ah, how quaint (Matt P), Thursday, 3 November 2011 20:46 (six years ago) Permalink

tbf your entire post is basically an ad hominem

J0rdan S., Thursday, 3 November 2011 20:46 (six years ago) Permalink

I would categorize remy's post more as an appeal to emotion and prejudice.

Aimless, Thursday, 3 November 2011 20:50 (six years ago) Permalink

first of all, you're kinda being dicks.

second of all, i'm dyspeptic after paying $14 for a shitty plate of vertically-arranged eggs crafted by an "artisanal cafe" started by trust fund brats that took out the breakfast place where i used to buy excellent burritos for $5.50 and included a side of dirty rice so this is probably feeding into it

third, eh, fuck it

turkey in the straw (x2) (remy bean), Thursday, 3 November 2011 20:55 (six years ago) Permalink

occupy burritos

Mr. Que, Thursday, 3 November 2011 20:56 (six years ago) Permalink

remy, not sure where the ad hominem is, unless it's taking a guess at why someone would write that kind of boilerplate horseshit.

xp yeah, sorry, that sucks?

ah, how quaint (Matt P), Thursday, 3 November 2011 20:56 (six years ago) Permalink

occupy burritos

― Mr. Que, Thursday, 3 November 2011 20:56 (40 seconds ago) Bookmark

^^

Abattoir Educator / Slaughterman (schlump), Thursday, 3 November 2011 20:57 (six years ago) Permalink

probably the most vile part of this trend is the tacit assumption that the guys making those global knives (or any high-quality product made by a skilled craftsman) are not putting equal or greater amounts of skill, effort, and passion into the things they're making.

call all destroyer, Thursday, 3 November 2011 20:59 (six years ago) Permalink

remy what's the new place called?

call all destroyer, Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:00 (six years ago) Permalink

The ability of machines to mass-produce items, which in turn cost less because of economies of scale, is not something I have a problem with. It is the steady flow of profits away from under-compensated labor toward over-compensated capital that seems to me like the essential problem to address. That and overconsumption in general.

― Aimless, Thursday, 3 November 2011 19:29 (1 hour ago)

otm!

iatee, Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:01 (six years ago) Permalink

i'm writing off the cuff here, but in my experience a lot of the current iteration of 'craftsmanship culture' i.e. 'dudes who have a hobby making shit' gets elevated all out of proportion into 'artistry' that shortchanges long-time practitioners and career creators of that same ("mass-produced") items. maybe i'm thinking narrowly (though not – sorry – appealing to prejudice or bald-faced self-serving) but in the case of my uncle the snobby pro-'artisanal' attitude cost a good and devoted laborer his job.

turkey in the straw (x2) (remy bean), Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:04 (six years ago) Permalink

In other words, I guess I agree with CAD.

turkey in the straw (x2) (remy bean), Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:05 (six years ago) Permalink

there's a real arrogance to the new breed of millenial craftsman, i.e. the kids who went to college in the '90s and '00s and then realized they liked doing manual work that was, by their standards, "below" them. To justify their own egos and intellectual pretentions they take to correspondingly hiking the prices/ramping up the cultural "worth" /finessing the language in their copy to include shit like "artisan-made" and "uniquely sourced and crafted" so that they feel their middle-class prejudices being satiated while they're doing work that would otherwise be, you know, plain old labor.

(and I don't buy for a second that the high cost of labor is due to some benevolent workers' solidarity with their underpaid brethren)

it goes beyond 'justifying their own egos and intellectual pretentions' - if you can sell shit for more money by marketing it differently, *that is a good idea*. this happens in basically every market for everything!

iatee, Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:06 (six years ago) Permalink

otm

Mr. Que, Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:07 (six years ago) Permalink

how about when the product is bank accounts, iatee?

turkey in the straw (x2) (remy bean), Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:08 (six years ago) Permalink

this is really easy to run into if you buy liquor these days--microdistilleries are popping up all over the place and using words like "local" "artisinal" and "craft" and they pretty much ignore some basic facts of the beverage alcohol industry (liquor branch in particular), such as 1) distilling is really hard; 2) once you can do it it's really easy to do large-scale; 3) market competition and consumer choice have resulted in an environment where 95% of midshelf and higher products are quite high-quality.

the response of microdistillers is to give something "unique" (i.e. a gin that can't be used in martinis) or to essentially just put something out there and provide no reason for drinking it beyond who/how/where it was produced (i.e. the glut of awful, pointless "white whiskies" that you can get now).

call all destroyer, Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:11 (six years ago) Permalink

i'm writing off the cuff here, but in my experience a lot of the current iteration of 'craftsmanship culture' i.e. 'dudes who have a hobby making shit' gets elevated all out of proportion into 'artistry' that shortchanges long-time practitioners and career creators of that same ("mass-produced") items. maybe i'm thinking narrowly (though not – sorry – appealing to prejudice or bald-faced self-serving) but in the case of my uncle the snobby pro-'artisanal' attitude cost a good and devoted laborer his job.

― turkey in the straw (x2) (remy bean), Thursday, November 3, 2011 2:04 PM (2 minutes ago) Bookmark

yeah, i can see how the appeal to "artistry" is arrogant, especially when there are so many other people who make and sell the same kind of thing in a factory and do a good job and don't loudly claim to be "artists" and probably aren't white. agreed that mass-produced <> "lovingly crafted" etc. xp

ah, how quaint (Matt P), Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:16 (six years ago) Permalink

it goes beyond 'justifying their own egos and intellectual pretentions' - if you can sell shit for more money by marketing it differently, *that is a good idea*. this happens in basically every market for everything!

― iatee, Thursday, November 3, 2011 2:06 PM (10 minutes ago) Bookmark

yeah, i mean, that's where things get complicated imo

ah, how quaint (Matt P), Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:17 (six years ago) Permalink

the Global website has just this one photo of dudes grinding knives

http://www.global-knife.com/global/img/photo_04.jpg

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:19 (six years ago) Permalink

if he had a beard maybe he would be ok to work out of brooklyn instead of japan

call all destroyer, Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:20 (six years ago) Permalink

i guess i think there should be a distinction made b/w stuff that "appeals to artistry" in a way that is kinda slimy and stuff that is actually "artisan" by definition. and if ppl wanna pay $600 or for an actual artisan knife i guess that's their prerogative?

J0rdan S., Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:20 (six years ago) Permalink

competition in the market for personal bank accounts is a great idea and the fact that large banks don't seem to want to offer a competitive price (free) anymore is why people are switching to alternatives. xp

overall if someone is consuming less cause they're spending more money on fewer things, I'm totally cool w/ artisan stuff. if it's just creating more needless consumption opportunities otoh, there's a good argument against it.

regardless of 'higher quality' (true sometimes, bullshit sometimes) this trend has to be looked as primarily as marketing. you know what else has marketing behind it? all the cheap crap in the world.

anyway I find this interesting but am getting on a train. surely will be 500 posts while I'm gone.

iatee, Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:21 (six years ago) Permalink

xp what is artisan by definition?

call all destroyer, Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:21 (six years ago) Permalink

Many of the best chefs in the world use knives costing 1/2 - 1/3 as much as those in the OP, made by folks whose family/ancestors have been in the "artisinal" "knife"-making business for centuries.

Global is not very "artisinal" fwiw, it's a fairly large manufacturer.

citation needed (Steve Shasta), Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:22 (six years ago) Permalink

thanks for this thread, this is a subject i've been mulling over a lot lately. *mulls*

elmo argonaut, Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:23 (six years ago) Permalink

also, making one particular thing is like 95% tedious and brutal anyway, it's not like someone making knives in their warehouse is going to know something ^those guys don't. factories improve quality control for products like that big-time. xposts

ah, how quaint (Matt P), Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:26 (six years ago) Permalink

(it's only on ilx that i remember what a socialist i am, at heart)

true story:

my Uncle J spends 30 years making a niche product so successfully that it becomes ubiquitous in his corner of the [classical music] industry. Uncle J charges a very reasonable fee to make a custom, one-of-a-kind [widget], and takes on an apprentice who studies with him for six months. apprentice comes to my Uncle, and says he wants to become a partner –– AFTER SIX MONTHS –– because he's learned everything Uncle J. has to show him about making very complicated [widgets]. Uncle J. says no, not yet, and apprentice informs J. he'll be quitting if he can't make more $$$; what he feels is fair compensation. Uncle J. asks what fair compensation is, and the kid lists a price that is easily three times what Uncle J., himself, makes. Uncle J. is already paying the new kid a pretty top-shelf salary (middle five figures) roughly equal to 4/5 of J.'s own salary, in an industry that is flagging in this recession. Uncle J's apprentice quits and a few weeks later opens up a business at the other end of town where he charges many many times more than Uncle J. for the [vastly inferior, vastly less-experienced version of the highly technical widget –– now made with recycled! metal!]. Uncle J. loses all of his clients, who (are carefully seduced by the former apprentice to) feel that his product is inferior and less "ethical", because Uncle J.'s his experience and craftsmanship and desire to be reasonable are trumped by the geewhiz factor of a kid who slightly alters a half-stolen design and stamps ARTISANAL and HANDCRAFTED over a product that has always - obviously - been artisanal and handcrafted. Reducing my (inchoate) argument to a nut, I find it reedikerus that 'artisianal' and 'craftsmanship' are currently applicable to anything that, say, a 23-year-old has done for less than a few years.

turkey in the straw (x2) (remy bean), Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:26 (six years ago) Permalink

I don't think I thought that Global was particularly artisanal, just their knives are more expensive than and probably better than random stamped piece of crap knives from Target. So from a purely use-value perspective ("I want an objectively good knife and will pay more for quality because this matters to me") they are competitors. xps

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:27 (six years ago) Permalink

obv. i know this is not a generalizable anecdote, but it's illustrative of the attitude that bothers me

turkey in the straw (x2) (remy bean), Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:28 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah that kid sounds like a massive tool

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:29 (six years ago) Permalink

The customer is always right, even when the customer is a flagrant idiot.

Aimless, Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:30 (six years ago) Permalink

ha i finally looked at the links in the original post and pretty much had the same reaction tbh xxp

ah, how quaint (Matt P), Thursday, 3 November 2011 21:31 (six years ago) Permalink

there must be an artisanal type volunteer firefighting crew out there with a biodiesel truck and handmade axes.

Unlike a traditional firehouse, where the firemen might spend most of their time playing video games, talking sports, and eating frozen pizzas, here you're more likely to find some of the men sitting in a circle discussing politics or playing a board game (Carcassonne is the current popular favorite), while others are busy in the kitchen making adobo bowls laced with kimchi, seaweed, fish sauce, and soft-boiled eggs. A vinyl record player sits in the corner, playing the first album by Fleet Foxes while an ELO album sits in the queue. And here there are no fire poles, but slides reclaimed from an abandoned playground.

nomar, Wednesday, 3 May 2017 21:35 (nine months ago) Permalink

This preempts my idea for an artisanal software shop. Old mail carts full of hand-carved wood-block ones and zeroes. Citizen-coders tenderly arranging them on racks. In the back, a side business doing punch-cards for elite customers (using reclaimed crochet hooks). In the corner, a lovingly restored PC Junior - backed up using magnetic cassette tape - for client demos.

okey-dokey, gnocchi (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 3 May 2017 23:21 (nine months ago) Permalink

Magnetic tape backups still as good as it gets tbh

softie (silby), Wednesday, 3 May 2017 23:58 (nine months ago) Permalink

It's so much warmer than digital.

okey-dokey, gnocchi (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 4 May 2017 00:06 (nine months ago) Permalink

artisanally handled by robots

a landlocked exclave (mh), Thursday, 4 May 2017 00:29 (nine months ago) Permalink

Nomar please tell me you made up that firemen story because it made me immediately want to punch someone.

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Thursday, 4 May 2017 00:38 (nine months ago) Permalink

Paper tape backups. With handmade paper, of course.

nickn, Thursday, 4 May 2017 06:00 (nine months ago) Permalink

this has probably been said upthread but this urge to feel connected to objects by understanding/feeling close to their production makes perfect sense for a post-industrial/digital/hyper-real society in which it's easy to feel alienated from labour, your environment and the economy. localism ties into the same thing, as does minecraft

ogmor, Thursday, 4 May 2017 09:08 (nine months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

"Lauren Michele Jackson is a writer and PhD candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago."

you don't say

Larry Elleison (rogermexico.), Monday, 21 August 2017 17:29 (six months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

so breezy, these tomatoes

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 14 October 2017 21:10 (four months ago) Permalink

who bakes cherries with honey

is there in fact any such thing as a honey baked cherry

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Saturday, 14 October 2017 21:39 (four months ago) Permalink

There's at least one recipe, but it's more roasting.

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/254592/honey-roasted-cherry-ricotta-tartine/

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 14 October 2017 22:52 (four months ago) Permalink

Garnet color and soft, crisp saline body makes it sound like a Neti pot after a bloody nose.

rb (soda), Saturday, 14 October 2017 23:03 (four months ago) Permalink

don't know if this was noted on another thread. didn't really know where to put it either. the appropriation thread?

scott seward, Thursday, 19 October 2017 17:40 (four months ago) Permalink

the reallocation of chicken thread? the outside chicken thread?

scott seward, Thursday, 19 October 2017 17:41 (four months ago) Permalink

I feel like the whole artisanal craftsmanship blah thing might finally be on the wane as a marketing device, but maybe it's just that I live in a really boring neighborhood in Queens

IF (Terrorist) Yes, Explain (man alive), Thursday, 19 October 2017 17:42 (four months ago) Permalink

I've always thought if I had a venue that needed to serve food as a condition of getting a beer/wine or full liquor license, I would do something like this rather than try to cook food. It would be curated (the best things from Trader Joe's, etc) at reasonable prices, and their source not hidden.

nickn, Thursday, 19 October 2017 18:57 (four months ago) Permalink

People have a gut reaction against that kind of markup situation, even though all food served in restaurants is marked up.

IF (Terrorist) Yes, Explain (man alive), Thursday, 19 October 2017 19:00 (four months ago) Permalink

Usually, yes, but this would be a performance venue or even neighborhood bar situation where the attraction is definitely not the food. I'm thinking the $3.99 TJ's frozen ham and mushroom tart (which I love) being offered at say $7-8.

nickn, Thursday, 19 October 2017 19:04 (four months ago) Permalink

They'd get away with it if they announced it instead of hid it.

dan selzer, Thursday, 19 October 2017 19:17 (four months ago) Permalink

For a while, my local beer place included the take-out menus of several nearby restaurants in its drink menu, and encouraged people to have their food delivered to them at the bar.

looser than lucinda (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 19 October 2017 19:26 (four months ago) Permalink

there is a beer bar down the street (that doesn't serve food) and they encourage people to bring takeout to the bar or even get food delivered there! which i thought was nice of them.

x-post!

scott seward, Thursday, 19 October 2017 19:27 (four months ago) Permalink

People kind of have a reaction against that sort of overt markup though, even though it's really no different than any other markup you pay in a restaurant. Paying $8 for a tart that cost the restaurant $3.99 to make = ok; paying $8 for a tart that cost TJ's $2 to make and was sold to the restaurant for $3.99 = not ok.

IF (Terrorist) Yes, Explain (man alive), Thursday, 19 October 2017 19:28 (four months ago) Permalink

all the local brewery tap rooms have a rotation of food trucks that are there for the latter half of the week!

mh, Thursday, 19 October 2017 20:00 (four months ago) Permalink

better than a jar of moldy eggs and a basket of soggy pretzels.

scott seward, Thursday, 19 October 2017 20:05 (four months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Was sort of surprised to see this company is still in business
https://floyddetroit.com/

OTOH they have branched out from just making "table legs" into making actual tables as well.

IF (Terrorist) Yes, Explain (man alive), Monday, 8 January 2018 20:09 (one month ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Like many Aviary drinks, the one called Science A.F. (ostensibly a reference to the microbiologist Alexander Fleming) is made at the table. A small blue flame compels Scotch and other ingredients in the lower chamber of a vacuum coffee maker to ascend to an upper chamber filled with fruit tea, as dry-ice fog carpets the table. This took about five minutes and produced something that tasted like the fruit punch that might be served at a convention for designated drivers.

On the other hand, I admired the balance and complexity of the Wake and Bake, a mutant rye manhattan made with coffee- and orange-flavored vermouth. What I can’t imagine ever loving is being asked by a server to stick my head inside the inflated plastic bag in which it is served, to see that it really did smell like an everything bagel. It did, but it was one of several moments when I felt like a parent helping the Aviary staff to complete a project for the science fair.

After a round or two, the alert drinker may become gun-shy. A friend I’d invited for lunch gamely sipped a Boom Goes the Dynamite, which had never cooled below tepid despite having fumed vigorously from the dry ice inside its laboratory flask. Leaving a third undrunk, she asked for a Bloody Mary.

“Our Bloody Mary is very unique,” our server said brightly. “It takes about 15, 20 minutes to make.”

“Is it served ... cold?” my friend asked, hope flickering weakly in her voice.

It was. A few minutes later, a relatively traditional Bloody was poured over many tiny ice marbles inside the bowl of what looked like a small spittoon. Around the spittoon’s broad brim were arranged five garnishes, or side dishes, or condiments, including chopped razor clam with celery sorbet and a little pillbox of horseradish jelly.

When we were alone again, she sighed and said, “I was hoping for a glass.” The Aviary’s Bloody Mary, by the way, costs $38.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/06/dining/grant-achatz-office-aviary-review.html?hpw&rref=food&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region®ion=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

scott seward, Thursday, 8 February 2018 18:55 (two weeks ago) Permalink

things that could be a Portlandia sketch...

scott seward, Thursday, 8 February 2018 18:55 (two weeks ago) Permalink

i went to the Aviary in Chicago and it was ridiculous in a good way! my wife had this:

https://assets.worldsbestbars.com/bar_425_320/Aviary%20small%202_54b4f577c5d8c.jpg

i'm onboard with elevated weirdness in food (if it's good.)

omar little, Thursday, 8 February 2018 19:02 (two weeks ago) Permalink

(*food and drink)

omar little, Thursday, 8 February 2018 19:03 (two weeks ago) Permalink

i doubt i will be going to any place that serves 40 dollar bloody marys but they are a hoot to read about!

scott seward, Thursday, 8 February 2018 19:24 (two weeks ago) Permalink

actually, the lunch menu described in the review is not out of my price range.

scott seward, Thursday, 8 February 2018 19:25 (two weeks ago) Permalink

"... and served in a man's hat."

Doctor Casino, Thursday, 8 February 2018 20:25 (two weeks ago) Permalink

"hand-made, small batch" plaid shirts

https://www.jc-rt.com

please kill me

the late great, Thursday, 8 February 2018 20:34 (two weeks ago) Permalink

those are ugly

Fedora Dostoyevsky (man alive), Thursday, 8 February 2018 20:39 (two weeks ago) Permalink

they don't look ugly to me.

scott seward, Thursday, 8 February 2018 20:47 (two weeks ago) Permalink

The restaurant thing reminds me of the Vespertine review in the LA Times.

http://www.latimes.com/food/jonathan-gold/la-fo-gold-vespertine-review-20170902-story.html

nickn, Thursday, 8 February 2018 21:40 (two weeks ago) Permalink

can you get a Plaid plaid, do you think?

koogs, Thursday, 8 February 2018 21:54 (two weeks ago) Permalink

https://www.1843magazine.com/features/crafting-a-life

Jeff, Thursday, 8 February 2018 22:10 (two weeks ago) Permalink

man those are some long paragraphs

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 8 February 2018 22:26 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Craft paragraphs.

Jeff, Thursday, 8 February 2018 22:27 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Does it mention how white-collar workers CAN flee their desks to become artisanal picklers, but other workers can't?

I mean, I haven't yet seen the tenderly written article about the Wal-Mart cashier who bravely left it all behind to become a candle-dipper.

I will finish what I (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 8 February 2018 23:09 (two weeks ago) Permalink

opening a business is a luxury pursuit now. like instead of buying a supercar you decide to dip pickles.

scott seward, Thursday, 8 February 2018 23:23 (two weeks ago) Permalink

So plaid

Alderweireld Horses (darraghmac), Thursday, 8 February 2018 23:47 (two weeks ago) Permalink

oh thats totally my pet peeve. Reading about the guy who started the awesome food cart who used to be in finance. Of course.

dan selzer, Friday, 9 February 2018 00:13 (one week ago) Permalink

Yeah, "Oh, so you retired at age 38, how nice for you."

nickn, Friday, 9 February 2018 00:34 (one week ago) Permalink

tbh there are always the Bar Rescue episodes where some old guy is like “I retired and sunk all my savings into this place!” and the floor is about to cave in

mh, Friday, 9 February 2018 00:37 (one week ago) Permalink


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