As I sat at an outdoor table at The Lighthouse, I suddenly felt old. Fifty years before, I was a high school kid who rode my bicycle to hang around in the rear parking lot and hear the music that poured out of the place. I didn’t understand much of it, but the unpredictable time…

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Lots of children are interested in aircraft, though most dream of flying them rather than designing them. A boy in Long Island named Michael Ciminera was one of the few who was obsessed with the engineering details, even as a teenager, and he still sounds surprised that two major aircraft companies took him seriously. “At…

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About 50 years ago, upscale restaurant Chez Panisse shocked diners by serving a peach for dessert. Not a peach cobbler, shortcake, galette, or pudding, just a piece of fruit on a plate, with a knife next to it. It was symbolic of how they wanted diners to focus on the simple and natural. When you…

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The South Bay’s foremost art impresario and curator would like to change the way you think about food, particularly how you season it. Though Homeira Goldstein has planned and executed creative dinners for up to 200 people, she made a startling admission for someone who has released a line of seasonings and written a cookbook.…

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In 1976, someone asked Paul McCartney whether the Beatles would ever get back together. He responded, “You can’t reheat a souffle.” That quote has been repeated many times as an example of the futility of resurrecting creative enterprises, and the most amusing thing about it is that it’s wrong. Sir Paul is a great entertainer…

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Names matter. They set expectations, telling you with varying degrees of subtlety what clientele a business owner wishes to attract. Changing them is no small matter – it’s more than hoisting a new sign. So what is a business to do when their concept shifts, or they want to appeal to a different demographic? In…

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I’m going to start this article by stating a fact: any review of Table Manners that is written for a local audience will include a comparison with the former establishment in the location. This isn’t fair, but is inevitable. It is reflected in the emails that I have received from readers who emailed me either…

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There’s a type of place that doesn’t often get attention from reviewers, but that just about everybody visits on at least an occasional basis. They do a solid job without calling attention to themselves. It can be a blind spot, like furniture you don’t notice details of because it’s always there. I noticed an example…

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As much as I like variety, sometimes I’m happy to see a restaurant with a short, well defined menu. It signals confidence, essentially saying, “We don’t serve much, but we’ll bet you’ll like what we offer enough to come back for it.” It’s a strategy reminiscent of the days when a culturally conservative population valued…

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Chandra Williams did not originally dream of moving from her village in Fiji to California. The stories she had heard about the US were frightening, and she was still concerned even after moving here in 1987. A prank shortly after she arrived confirmed her worst fears. “When I was growing up I heard America was…

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Some restaurant concepts are easy to describe because they’re gimmicks. If, for instance, you plan to offer flavors from around the world in tacos and change the whole menu weekly, you have an easily comprehensible though dubious strategy. If brilliantly executed it could develop a following, but it risks being a place people visit once…

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“Great boasts deserve great scrutiny,” said someone wise. I’m not sure who that was, because I overheard someone attributing the saying to an obscure Victorian author without saying which one. Pithy wisdom may be valued regardless of the source, and this maxim is equally useful for political assertions and restaurant menus. That maxim was what…

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