We are living in a (very temporary) dining paradise

Of course current arrangements are terrible for restaurants, and pretty soon they will be bad for your dining too, as more restaurants close up for good.  But right now we live in a window of opportunity.

The owner and/or best chef is in the restaurant at a higher rate than usual — where else can he or she go?

Menus have been slimmed down, so there are fewer dishes, which means fresher ingredients and less delegation of cooking tasks.

Most menus have new dishes, not otherwise available, often in the direction of comfort food, which is a comfort because it tastes good!

They are cooking just for you, yum.

Show up for lunch at 11 a.m. or for dinner at 4:30 p.m.  Please only eat outside.  Bring a mask as well.  And please don’t linger at the table, so that others may follow in your footsteps.

Note which places have good outdoor dining arrangements, and which have nice park benches right nearby.  (Don’t drive the food back home as it becomes soggy and non-optimal for human consumption.)  You won’t end up with that many options to choose from.

Nonetheless I’ve had some very good and special meals as of late.

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Fine dining is a luxury consumer affectation that very few Americans are at all concerned about, even in good economic times.

Unsupported, out of the blue, assertions and generalizations about current state of such dining reveal much more of the author than of that retail economic segment.

If only millions of people would not depend on cooking and serving food to others.

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That’s a garbage take. This isn’t France or Scandinavia where only the upper middle classes or rich dine out.

In America, every soci economic group eats out, probably too much.

Tyler’s point stands. Please try again.

'Tyler’s point stands'

Including 'Menus have been slimmed down, so there are fewer dishes, which means fresher ingredients and less delegation of cooking tasks.' at the national restaurant chains most Americans, most of the time, eat out at?

Or this, applied to the same national restaurant chains? "Most menus have new dishes, not otherwise available, often in the direction of comfort food, which is a comfort because it tastes good!"

And would anyone believe the point that anyone at a national chain restaurant is cooking just for you, yum? Much like believing "The owner and/or best chef is in the restaurant at a higher rate than usual"

If you catch a chain restaurant when it’s not busy even that can still be nice & personal. People tend to like when you like what they’re doing for you, when they have time to notice.

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some of our local chains have indeed slimmed down their menus during the pandemic & the employees seem to have a sense of mission that
we never noticed before the pandemic

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You have any proof for that? Regarding Scandinavia and France?

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Yeah,
But did you notice
There is no
Happy Hour
With Discounted
Appetizers and Drinks.

No longer need to
Pack 'em in.

And, you can only
Eat in the same place
For 45 minutes
Before they ask you to leave.

45 minutes of eating is more than enough if you don't wanna end up
looking like j "the penguin" nadler

Nadler the waddler had gastric bypass surgery some years back. From the latest photos, he seems to have lost some weight.

Another NYC waddler was Mayor Fiorello La Guardia back in the 1930s. Time Magazine couldn't get enough of his ass - steatopygous and rump-sprung seemed to show up in every article.

+1 for steatopygous
+1 for rump-sprumg

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Tyler are you on the spectrum?

Is it commonly believed that "on the spectrum" diagnoses are real illnesses as opposed to just a certain type of personality? That is to say should this be considered a psychiatric concern or psychology type? If you omit the professionals that stand to earn income by treating this as an illness, and omit gullible members of the public, is there anybody left thinking this is a real illness?

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that the spectrum encompasses the whole range from *normal well adjusted* human to *exemplar of autistic characteristics*.

(and I liked the sentiment of this post -- it's about connecting with another human through taste in a more communicative way than was common in the Before Times)

+1 pernicious postmodern poopy psychology
using your definition of "the spectrum" -
everbody is "on the spectrum" and it is sorta ridiculous to ask
sumbody if they are "on the spectrum"

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You can't see infrared light AND YET NOBODY ASKS IF IT IS ON THE ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM because the spectrum covers all cases. So we need to stop asking "are you on the spectrum".

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This post has me torn.

On the one hand, I can see you urging people to go out to eat, playing to their self-interest, in a time when restaurants are suffering and they can use the business.

On the other hand, I'm not sure it's entirely successful rhetorically. As someone who is about to close his second (formerly) successful restaurant this year and will lose his life's work and savings -- a million dollars in wealth that was built from essentially nothing -- and may have to face bankruptcy, the way you wrote this sounds a bit like a vulture circling a dying animal.

Tone deaf at best. It's a catastrophe, particularly for the mom and pop's and independents. Millions are out of work. Open Table estimates a 25% failure rate. Here's a recent discussion of the impact in Chicago:

"When Chicago restaurant owner Manish Mallick does the math, the outlook isn’t pretty: Sales are 10 percent of what they were, while costs continue to pile up, from credit card fees and city permits to masks and thermometers.

The owner of ROOH Chicago, an Indian restaurant nominated for the city’s 2019 restaurant of the year by foodie publication Eater, gives himself a couple months at most."

https://www.chicagobusiness.com/restaurants/22-million-restaurants-worldwide-teeter-brink-collapse

I'm wondering if the Mexican restaurant that has always functioned as our local cafe/gathering place will persevere. Financially it must be tough but maybe as much because the family that runs it - and also lives in the area - may become fatigued and decide it's not worth the hassle. The "story on the menu" suggests some drama in its origins, as a start-life-over-in-the-US move decades ago by its patrician-looking founder, who had gotten on the outs politically in Mexico. The place almost has the air of an avocation at this point, or an act of patronage both for the staff and the community. They had already closed in spring for a month or so to revamp their old-school, largely-dine-in business model (especially popular with older people from long habit of eating there but also for their ample strip-center parking) ; now, like a number of other establishments in town, they've had a Covid case among the help forcing them to close a further 2 weeks and do a ritual cleansing of the space - unlikely to be a one-time thing.

There’s a Sholtskys near us that was on our weekly rotation, run by the same family for 20 years, always packed for lunch. Last time we were in (March) there were 2 tables occupied, and it looked like the family was back to running the counter and kitchen. I hope they make it.

The local Chuy’s is still open with a reduced menu for takeout, but I’m sure with much reduced staff.

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It really sucks to hear what this year has done to you and that Prof Cowen’s comments rubbed you the wrong way right there.

I assume trickly low-capacity business or takeout service didn’t do much for you. What would?

If your spot is open, what would you and your staff want from people considering it right now?

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"where else can he or she go?"
It's a pet peeve of mine, but that's clunky writing, we have a way of referring to a third person of unknown gender in English: "where else can they go?".

If that's your pet peeve, maybe you should advocate a solution less likely to trigger other language-philes than using the plural pronoun in an obviously awkward way. Person-up and take a stand for some non-gender specific neologism like zie or one of the others.

To stop from triggering those ignorant of common English usage, at least in his work. A Comedy of Errors, Act IV, Scene 3
There's not a man I meet but doth salute me
As if I were their well-acquainted friend

Note that the antecedent to 'their' is clearly male, so it is not a matter of attempting to conceal whether someone is male or female.

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For several centuries we had a way of referring to a third person of unknown sex in English: "where else can he go?".

That Shakespeare seems to have not cared. Just like most English speakers for several centuries.

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There's also "where else can one go"?

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My neighbors, a married couple, eat out at locally-owned restaurants as often as possible, not because they are too lazy to cook (he is a gourmet), but to support restaurants at the time of their greatest need. They choose a restaurant based on (1) local ownership, (2) with a history of serving good food, (3) with the fewest cars in the parking lot, and (4) with the strictest rules for distancing to protect the wait staff ((3) and (4) overlap). Notice that they consider distancing from the perspective of the wait staff (who don't have much choice in the matter) not the customers (who do). They don't express it, but my view is that the customers assume the risk: it's not as though the customers are unaware of the risk of going to a restaurant, or a bar, or a church, or a political rally, etc. Trump requires those who attend his rallies to sign a waiver of liability, for which Trump has been criticized. Criticized! He should be praised for being honest for once in his life. Do the restaurants where Cowen eats require the customers to sign a waiver of liability, a waiver of liability for bad food as well as for being infected with the coronavirus?

Well, it seems that Trump had the social distancing stickers, etc. removed from the Tulsa arena hours before the rally. Does that vitiate the waivers? Maybe. If a restaurant required customers to sign waivers while instructing the staff to pack the customers in like sardines, would that vitiate the waivers? https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/workers-removed-thousands-of-social-distancing-stickers-before-trumps-tulsa-rally-according-to-video-and-a-person-familiar-with-the-set-up/2020/06/27/f429c3be-b801-11ea-9b0f-c797548c1154_story.html

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for dinner at 4:30 p.m.

Completely uncivilized and a practice that leads to obesity. A dinner so early means another meal or large snack before bedtime, essentially a fourth meal of the day. No wonder the country is teeming with excess poundage.

??

Early dinners are much healthier than late dinners because you can more easily burn off the food you ate.

And even if someone eats a snack later eating many small meals throughout the day is again healthier than 3 big meals, so that is good for you too.

It all depends on when you go to sleep.

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I consider this "skirting" behavior. It is a form of "how much can I get away with" during the pandemic, rather than "what can I do" to solve the pandemic.

The reason we have cases taking off is that too many people tried to skirt, and misjudged the boundary.

In aggregate people said "it is safe to do x or y," but in aggregate it was not.

Do we actually know that eating outside at restaurants is safe? The only study I know of is the credit card one, which is a bit indiscriminate, but it's clearly shows more restaurant use equals more transmission.

Personally, I think we should all be extreme in our distancing until we achieve R less than one.

Post recipes instead Tyler, especially those that do not require fresh ingredients.

'Do we actually know that eating outside at restaurants is safe?'

Sure we do. That is, if the place you are enjoying the meal has a current new infection rate of something like 1 or 2 per 100,000 - per week. Don't eat out in Gutersloh in Germany - the number of new cases is far too high. However, the local lockdown (including 300 extra police sent explicitly to enforce it) in response to that fact means you cannot eat out anyways.

So, should anyone be eating outside in California or Florida? Probably not. Italy - sure, why not enjoy your gelato on a bench in the warm sunshine?

A threshold model makes sense,

but obviously at the boundary it is a skirting model, and requires everyone be excellent in their analysis?

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Here is a related image. File this under "skirting." The guy thinks he's safe;

https://twitter.com/ianbremmer/status/1277229092673388545?s=19

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My issue with outside dining is wind. And, to a lesser extent, bugs. The former impacts tastes (of food) and conversation. The latter can impact everything.

Of course, my dining doesn't vary like Tyler's. Meat (steak, chicken, pork), greens, rice or potatoes. A glass of the appropriate wine*. Maybe dessert.

*Usually French & red, with a lower alcohol content. And wine is to be consumed with the animal's flesh, never solo and never before the meal while conversing, waving the glass, medieval-drunkard style. That's for whiskey and beer. And you don't have to spend on wine. A white wine bargain is Muscedet - try it with a ham & swiss on rye and a touch of mustard and lettuce.

You must be the most erudite person in WNY.

Not by a long shot. I'm different. Born in Buffalo. Failed out of a CS program. Joined the Army Infantry - Gulf War (alleged Combat) Vet. I didn't do sh!t. When I left the Army, I considered most of the enlisted ranks make-work welfare programs.

And now I code for a living.

Many educated pals from my youth bailed for the south and west. An old friend calls western NY "America's East Germany". I should relocate. But family is here. Maybe I'm weak...

As a born-and-bred Buffalonian I appreciate you sticking it out. I've been impressed with how far it's come since I decamped 20 years ago and hope it continues. Have a Blue Light and a Sahlen's from Ted's for me.

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"At least 85 coronavirus cases have been linked to a restaurant near Michigan State University’s campus. . . . . Inspectors found the restaurant was in compliance with local guidelines, such as limiting capacity and spacing tables appropriately, according to a health department news release issued last week." https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/06/28/coronavirus-live-updates-us/#link-IGNZ2MENJFA2DK2JABFAWZUD3E

Comes a contrast to '“Unfortunately, due to the nature of a bar setting, they’re not necessarily able to identify everyone who they had prolonged, close conversations with,” health department spokeswoman Amanda Darche told the newspaper.'
******
'Swiss authorities said they had quarantined 300 people who visited a Zurich nightclub a week ago amid fears that a “superspreader” may have infected many of them.

A man visited the Flamingo Club on June 21 and tested positive for the coronavirus four days later, local authorities said. Then, five other people he was with developed symptoms and tested positive.

The club was keeping records of all its patrons, so authorities were able to contact everyone who was there at the time and ask them to remain at home for the next 10 days. Three hundred clubgoers and employees are now under quarantine.

Like most other European countries, Switzerland has significantly curbed the spread of the virus, but the country has recorded an uptick in recent days as it has started to reopen its economy. Infection numbers posted Sunday showed that 69 new cases had been diagnosed across the country in the previous 24 hours, about triple the number from a week ago.'

With a population 1/40 of the U.S., that means that Switzerland had a recent spike equivalent to 2,800 new cases in the U.S.

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'Outback SteakHouse' & 'Olive Garden' are not the type of restaurants that Tyler is talking about here.

His extreme characterization of a current "Dining Paradise" is aimed at a narrow class of upscale restaurants.

Probably not. My impression is that Cowen prefers ethnic food, mostly at locally-owned family operations, not the high end four star restaurants where one would expect to find a politician or executive. But you are right about Outback and Olive Garden, which are to food what Gallo is to wine. Not that Cowen would drink wine of any variety or quality.

Spot on. Tyler's book, "An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies" confirms what you say.

I'd forgotten that Tyler does not drink. But his book still rocks.

Good for him! I also don't drink alcohol and I'm not sure why other people do...it doesn't taste good and is expensive...🤔

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WTF?

Why aren't you eating at Bennigan's or Applebee's?

What about your love affair with corporations??

You're a bullshitter & a hypocrite.

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We haven't been eating out. We like our own cooking too much, and the supply chain shifts have worked to our advantage.

For example, early in the pandemic, we tried to order some frisee - a type of chicory - from our usual supplier in the nearby big city. Our produce man got back to us. His supplier in Los Angeles told him he was out of luck. With the restaurant trade down and out, no one was selling frisee, it was a restaurant good and only sold by the crate to folks like Sysco or Aramark. They weren't buying, so no one was producing - pardon the pun. A few weeks later, the frisee people were selling smaller units, so my produce guy sold me a few heads.

The other day, I noticed frisee at the local, out in the sticks, Safeway. Economics is endlessly fascinating. It was like the availability of flour only in 50 or 100 lb sacks. I punted on that and tried some specialty heirloom flour that cost the earth, but less than a fancy appetizer at an upmarket restaurant. I also wound up buying several pounds of yeast, the minimum purchase, when my old stock ran out.

Watching the supply chains disrupt and recover has been a real opportunity to learn.

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