© Einat Peled
Illustration from a Pete Wells column. Congratulations to food writer Pete Wells, who will become Dining Critic for the New York Times effective in January. Wells became the Times Dining Editor in 2006, but before that he was a regular columnist for Food & Wine. Wells covered topics ranging from restaurant previews to “Raising a Baby with a Four-Star Palate,” but if you're trying to get to know his tastes, the most insightful piece might just be one of the oldest.
In 1999, Wells wrote a top 10 list about how New York had become the place to eat. At the time, reasons included a renovated Grand Central Terminal: “Before its eye-opening restoration, Grand Central was a bit like your grandmother: you knew she was a lovely lady, but she didn't exactly leave you weak in the knees,” he wrote. Wells’s first point also illustrates some serious foresight: “Remember when New York had hatcheck girls and double-decker buses? Neither do I. But dust off your grandfather's fedora, because those days are back.” After more than a decade, references to old New York still abound. Find more choice quotes from Wells's F&W articles below, including a comparison of Tom Colicchio to Lucille Ball.
The World’s Best Chocolate (2006): “Amedei sits just outside Pontedera, where they build those stylish Vespa scooters that make even old Italians look young.”
Four-Star Baby Food (2005): “When I tell people my wife and I make all the food we give to our eight-month-old son, they look at me like I've just said we personally tan the leather for our shoes.”
Pork Futures (2004): “Pork kept America well fed when we were still a country of farmers, and suffered as we became a nation of supermarket shoppers. But all signs point toward a major renaissance.”
Restaurant Preview (2000): “Tom Colicchio, a 1991 F&W Best New Chef, has long wanted his own restaurant, but his partner, Danny Meyer, didn't want to let him go. So they struck a compromise: Colicchio will keep cooking at Gramercy Tavern, but he'll also oversee the kitchen at his new place, Craft. It's conveniently located back to back with Gramercy, so that he can run out the kitchen door of one place, across an alley and in through the door of the other. Insiders are betting Colicchio is serious enough about his food to keep this routine from turning into an I Love Lucy episode."
Restaurant News (2000): “There are a lot of pretty, young restaurants out there looking to catch the eye of the fickle diner. So, like a rich man's wife who's hoping not to become a rich man's first wife, establishments of a certain age are splurging on face-lifts and new wardrobes.”