Restaurants are protesting...

We know you all marked your calendars and set your phone reminders and otherwise were getting SO pumped-up for an edition of L’Fork dedicated to the noble apricot. But then we remembered how often some of you email to say “Talk about restaurants only, you horrible monster!” For you see, it’s a pretty intense bit of restaurant news out there right now, and you might have seen it on sfreporter.com and you might have seen it in our print edition or maybe you just knew about it—whatever...the point is this: Some restaurants in this state are hopping mad. 

Let's go to a brief recap, buds: 

  • Pandemic hits, businesses are in dire straits (some were like "We've got to move these refrigerators..." but we digress), everyone agrees that ordering takeout or delivery from local restaurants is gonna be a heroic move that'll help them stay alive.
  • We DO all start doing that as much as possible, and some places stay afloat. Others, like Eloisa, aren't as lucky; pizza places seem to prosper.
  • No shortage of think pieces hit the world talking about how New Mexico knows how to deal with a pandemic. We've got the nukes, we've got the know-how, we're the gold standard.
  • Restaurants and businesses slowly start reopening.
  • A whole bunch of children get whiny about wearing fucking masks like it's somehow the most intense affront to the American way of life since our weird infatuation with Australian culture in the 1980s.
  • Cases start going up.
  • Servers and bartenders and assorted other restaurant workers BEG us to be cool and wear masks. They tell us how scared they are. 
  • We, as a people, seem to collectively tell them to fuck off, that we deserve to kill them because margaritas!
  • Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announces that if we can't be cool, we'll go back to lockdowns.
  • That indeed happens, and as of this week, eateries can only offer patio service (if they even have a patio) at 50% capacity. Anyone else is out of luck.
  • This doesn't sit well with the New Mexico Restaurant Association, and it files a request to postpone the ruling (no word on that outcome as of this writing) in addition to an online/virtual protest featuring restaurants across the state in photos with signs announcing their number of employees and the hashtag #LetUsServe.
  • That's about where we are now.

So, basically, we’re curious what you all think. Servers and actual industry workers to the front of the line; anti-mask gov hoaxers to the back (surely there’s some sort of crackpot newsletter for people who don’t realize wearing a mask is how the rest of the effing world is handling this, and so much better than us?). We’ll hopefully get some good conversation going next time.

And we'll hopefully get into apricots soon, so just hold your horses, apricot super-fans.

We can get behind THIS Australian import...

Also

-Normally we’d put something about that thing we just told you about right about here, but we already told you, so...word. We will point out, however, that since the virtual protest of restaurant restrictions went down, restaurants in Carlsbad and Hobbs have had permits suspended, and the Santa Fe and Framington locations of Weck’s were forced to temporarily close as well.

-Albuquerque’s Sawmill Market (which is like a fancier, nicer version of the mall food court) was slated to reopen on July 15. Word is they even have new tenants, including Red & Green, Neko Neko, NM Melt Co. and Salty Catch SW. 

-We’ve had more than one reader tell us about Santa Fe Kitchen, a taco truck located at 3668 Cerrillos Road (by the Best Western). According to these people, SFK is serving up the best tacos they’ve had in years. We’re on the case in our personal lives, but we also wanted you to know post-haste.

-Fork super-friend Shannon L (who writes the best emails, y'all, honestly) wanted to share with us a recipe for a cocktail she made with ingredients like mint and apricot she grew her dang self. If that's not nice, we don't know what is. Shannon also pointed out that it's too damn hot, and we agree big time. Hopefully by the time you read this, we'll have cooled down a bit and settled into the nice summer doldrums.

-Fork fan Lisa F wrote to tell us that she noticed a sign on the old Milad Persian Bistro building on Canyon Road that reads simply "Thai Restaurant." We don't know quite what that means yet, but certainly a kickass Thai restaurant couldn't hurt, right? Thanks for the tip, Lisa!

More Tidbits

-A 15-year-old trans woman and employee of a California Burger King who was forced to work with COVID-19 symptoms died from the virus recently. Burger King, it seems, has chosen to tack the death on Angela Martinez Gómez’s use of hormones rather than the virus. As such, employees, who say the restaurant has also not closed down for deep cleaning, are on strike. We’d ask that you think about two things in regards to this story: First, when a country’s system forces workers to continue working even while sick in order to not get fired, become homeless, etc., that system is fucked, and we’re seeing this in shocking numbers locally and nationally when it comes to foodservice. Second, that BK’s insistence on blaming hormones is insidious. It’s false and disgusting, and it perpetuates dangerous misconceptions about trans people and elevates and incites violence against them. Don’t even think about sending us transphobic emails, either, because we swear to you on all that is good that we will completely lose it on you if you do. Don’t even do it jokingly. A young woman is dead who didn’t need to die, and trans people are already soooooo much more likely to die than other groups, specifically trans people of color—and that’s not even mentioning how hard it is for them to find gainful employment in the first place. This is not about SJW anything, this is about a base level of human decency.

-Seems the chumps at Bank of America conducted a study about restaurant recovery in America right now, and while the chains have pretty much gotten it together (not counting, like some Dunkin’ Donuts closures and KFC shutting down lots of places in Florida), it’s the rest of the industry we need to worry about. This is galling for a lot of reasons, particularly in a town like Santa Fe where we have sooooo many good restaurants.

-CNN has some predictions for how lunching and snacking at work might pan out in the future, y'know, what with the pandemic and all. Companies like Glassdoor (a website that lets you rank how much you liked or didn't like working someplace), for example, says that if they provide lunches to employees when we start getting back to whatever it is we're getting back to, it'll probably come boxed, handed out by someone in gloves. We don't get free lunch at work. Or anyplace, so...yeah.

-We don't want to offend anyone's delicate sensibilities about workers trying to do what's right for them and their families, but there's a rather interesting story here about foodservice folk who tried to unionize, and who say employers used the pandemic as an excuse to quash those efforts—and fired them.

-Over at npr.org, they're talkin' Padma Lakshmi, the food-loving writer and appreciator whose new show Taste the Nation is being watched constantly by The Fork's partner. We saw the one about Persian food, and it was fascinating.

Finally

In the print edition of SFR, go deeper into the virtual protest organized by the New Mexico Restaurant Association.

A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence 

Number of Letters Received: 33 *Y’all nerds are the best nerds.

Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader): “With this issue it appears your conversion from mediocre food blog to mediocre social justice blog is complete. Congratulations.” *We’re not sure if reader Bob M. is being sincere, but we do know he later told us how hard we suck. We’ll be sure to ruminate on that...ON OPPOSITE DAY!

Actually Helpful Tip: The continuing missives about James Madison’s birth and death dates. *Seriously, we ask again, what’s with y’all and James Madison? We get it!

Longing for rain, The Fork

PS: We’re off next week, there will be no Fork, so stay cool and healthy ‘til we’re back. 

¡CORRECTION ALERT! We mistakenly said the disgraced food site editor worked for Food & Wine last week, but he actually worked for Bon Appetít. Also, he quit rather than being fired. We were just so amped up we got confused, but we regret the errors.