restaurant

Posted by Ellen

Joe and his friend Beau pose for a picture last spring in Beau's new food truck, Local Roots, which plies the streets of Tuscaloosa serving an international menu that features locally grown foods.

Posted by Ellen

Looking up at the mirrored ceiling and down through the window to see Chicagoland and Lake Michigan spreading northward from the restaurant atop the John Hancock Center.

Posted by Ellen

Around the middle of every October comes a day declared Philly Photo Day by the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center. Anybody who happens to be in Philly that day with any kind of camera, even a cellphone, is invited to submit a snapshot that captures a smidgen of what's going on, on that day, in this city.

The nineteen hundred photos turned in this year, for the fifth iteration of the event, will be displayed next April in the new Dilworth Park plaza at City Hall.

Above is Katrin Maldre's submission, showing the action behind the back counter at Gavin's Cafe in Fitler Square. Below is my entry, featuring Grand Opening balloons outside a new pet-supply store on South Street.

Posted by Ellen

At the Waysider in Tuscaloosa, where another semester and another football season are already so close you can taste them.

Posted by Ellen

A chain of gourmet pizza places in cities around New Zealand's South Island is called Filadelfio's, despite what its website claims as a "New York–inspired atmosphere."

Americans can't help but notice something a little different about the atmosphere, however. Our restaurants have a no-shoes-no-shirt rule, and Kiwi restaurants don't.

Posted by Ellen

Faculty members of Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand, go the whole nine yards when it comes to academic regalia for graduation ceremonies, such as the commencement we happened upon last month.

We met this academician while waiting in line at a sandwich shop near campus. Arleigh, our kiwi sister-in-law, was clearly enjoying the chance to converse with him.

He was a professor of physical education, we were told, with particular research and teaching interests in the emerging new discipline of parkour.

Posted by Ellen

By the sackful at Gavin's Cafe near Schuylkill River Park.

Posted by Ellen

For their very first date, Linda and Wayne went out to dinner at Victor Cafe in South Philly, where the waiters are all trained opera singers who serve up Puccini along with the pasta. Now that Wayne and Linda have been together for a while, they decided to come back to Victor's for an evening out with Linda's two daughters, Gina and Erin.

The way this restaurant works is that every few minutes, somebody rings a bell and stands up to sing. When Linda rang the bell and Wayne stood up, we were all pretty sure of how the scenario would play out: Wayne had probably had a few drinks, and now he was about to start singing, and those two young girls were going to sit there wishing they could fall through the floorboards.

Instead, Wayne lifted a glass and spoke a toast, telling the world how wonderful Linda was and how important to his life she and her daughters had become. And then he was down on one knee, asking Linda to be his wife.

"Of course," she said.

And the bartender was the one who broke out in song: "Some Enchanted Evening."

Posted by Ellen

When I lived in North Carolina in the 1970s, downtown Durham was dead, dying, decrepit, and pretty much a mess. They were still making Lucky Strikes in town, but the old tobacco mills were already mostly abandoned, and by 1987 every last one of them was shuttered.

When I visited Durham last week, I don't think I saw a single empty mill. They are all restaurants now, or condos, or shops and galleries and studios and offices. In back of the Lucky Strike chimney is a baseball stadium for the minor-league Durham Bulls. A couple blocks away is a new theater complex, where Wicked was playing.

There are umpteen hundred old mill towns in America that died and stayed dead. And then there are a few that did this sort of thing. As for the cigarettes, I'm told that Lucky Strike is one of the major clients of the 1960s-era ad agency in Mad Men on TV, and that Luckies are still being sold today, filtered and unfiltered both. I don't know where the cigarettes are made, though–maybe Malaysia?

Posted by Ellen

In the eye of Mexican photographer Dulce Pinzon, the superheroes of the twenty-first century include millions of Mexican immigrants in the United States, including Elizabeth and Enrique Alonso, shown here. These men and women show their super-sized courage and devotion when they leave home and family to live among strangers in a strange land, working ferociously hard at the hardest jobs, all so they can send remittances to their families back home. In 2009, when Pinzon dressed the Alonsos as The Fantastic Twins to reveal their superhero status to everybody around them at their workplace, in a Manhattan restaurant, they were sending home $400 a week to support their family in Puebla, Mexico.