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Restaurant Reads: There’s a hole in our hearts — so feast on these books

As a NYC-based company, we’ve always felt incredibly lucky to be surrounded by the best restaurants in the world (San Francisco, LA, Paris —we’re willing to talk, but for now we are standing by this assertion).

As tea experts, our first business, Brew Lab, supplied custom tea blends to some of the greatest restaurants in New York, including Quality Eats, Quality Italian, Momofuku, Upland, The Clocktower, and Park Avenue Spring among many, many others. We also worked with more casual restaurants like Sweetgreen, Dig Inn, and Fresh & Co to create customized organic iced teas.

Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of working with chefs, beverage managers, and waitstaff.

The heartbeat of NYC is its restaurants and as a community our heart breaks for their current closures. After reading Gabrielle Hamilton’s amazing and devastating NY Times Article, we decided to dedicate this Wise Wednesday to restaurants. A portion of our online mixer sales this week will go to ROAR NYC, in support of financial aid for all restaurant workers.

There’s a hole in our hearts (and our stomachs) — so feast on these books.


Blood Bones and Butter, by Gabrielle Hamilton

Gabrielle Hamilton’s story about her journey, in which she discovers her purpose as a chef, and helms foodie darling Prune. Starting with recollections of the rural kitchen of her childhood, and the joy with which her family embraced cooking and community, Hamilton travels through the kitchens of France, Greece and Turkey. Her (sometimes difficult, often joyous) personal journey is interlaced with her culinary tale — beautifully written, honest, humorous and passionate.

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, by Anthony Bourdain

A wickedly funny expose of the restaurant industry, and at the same time a love letter to food. Kitchen Confidential relates Bourdain’s journey from early food discoveries (provincial cooking in France, Oysters!) to time spent in various kitchens, ranging from dives in Provincetown to the storied Rainbow Room, and to finally founding his own restaurant, Les Halles. Bourdain describes life in the kitchens of the 1990s as fueled by drugs, alcohol, impatience and tyranny. The late Bourdain’s narrative is also riddled with self destructive behavior. At times tragic, at others hilarious, but always joyful in regard to rare moments where excellent food, wine and company meet.

The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten

James Beard Award Winner and Vogue restaurant critic Jeffrey Steingarten relates his adventures in food. In this humorous memoir (really a series of articles published in Vogue magazine), Steingarten exuberantly explores all things of interest to him in food. Chapter one begins with him diving deep into his own food phobias, from kimchi to Indian desserts. Other chapters include “Salad, the Silent Killer”, which has a catalog of the toxins lurking in every bowl of raw vegetables. Another chapter addresses his quest for to make himself the “perfect mineral water” (his ultimate conclusion is that it must contain impossibly small quantities of various chemical ingredients, including 2 parts per million of sulfates and 1.8 of sodium). Steingarten’s essays are inquisitive, erudite and rip-roaringly funny as he jets across the world to sample choucroute in Alsace, and Granita in Silicy — and explores the limitations of what he can make his own Manhattan apartment.

Until next time! Happy Reading.



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