Blog Posts by David Prior

  • RE:find Austin Food with Andrea Grimes

    It should not come as a surprise that food in Austin is unique; the city has a way of taking trends and giving them an Austin twang. Over the past decade there have been several notable national movements in food, and a couple of those have been adopted by the Texan capital. I am thinking of course about the "farm to table" trend and also the proliferation of food trucks. However, what has happened in Austin is not an exact appropriation of California's local, seasonal restaurant style or Portland's food cart culture. Instead it has developed its own distinct style.

    Of course if I was coming to Austin, I was going to find good Texan barbecue and we definitely did (Franklin's as an example). But beyond that, the intrigue was with places that were using high-quality ingredients managing to elevate barbecue to another level. A kind of high-low style that I think is pretty unique. Barbecue made with sustainably raised animals, seasonal variations on classic dishes and an increased

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  • RE:find DC Art with James Alefantis

    I turned 30 when we were filming in DC and it is safe to say that I never thought I would have passed that milestone in the city. This leg of RE:find was full of surprises. Had I written a list of all the things I thought I might be doing in DC, it would bear very little resemblance to what I actually did, even taking into account the spirit of the show. I thought I had DC covered -- I would interview a politico (I didn't), visit a well-known restaurateur (no) and then see some of the lesser known but great institutions (no again). Instead, I found myself playing ping pong, dancing go-go and eating an impromptu birthday cake.

    Good travel is about embracing the unexpected and letting yourself go with events, and in DC I had little choice but to do that. That is largely thanks to the generosity of James Alefantis, who cottoned onto the fact that it was my birthday and quickly produced a cake and got a ping pong tournament rolling. I had heard of James through mutual friends and also seen

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  • RE:find DC Food with Sweetgreen

    I met the guys from Sweetgreen a few years back when I first came to DC -- their chain of salad bars was already a success, but not like today. This week they opened the 17th Sweetgreen and announced plans to open in NYC. It is a remarkable achievement for a group of seniors at Georgetown who started out simply wanting to create a place where they would like to eat themselves.

    DC has never been known as a food town. Yes, there are a string of chef Jose Andres' restaurants, but for something a little more accessible and everyday it has always lacked options. But to me what is inspiring about Jon, Nick and Nate is not so much the salad bar concept or really that they decided to start it in DC (where there was clearly a market); it is that they have created a business around their lifestyle. They wanted good, healthy, locally sourced food, so they opened their own place. They love music, so then they started the Sweetlife festival, now one of the country's best attended by both artists and

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  • RE:find DC Music with Eric Hilton

    Eric Hilton might own many bars and restaurants in the capitol, but he is better known as one half of Thievery Corporation, DC's biggest music act. When I was doing my research I had heard that a whole side of DC revolved around its radical underground music scene. I was interested to talk to him, someone who is political and internationally known but grounded very much in his hometown music scene, about the city from that perspective.

    Why did he live here? Typically it has been unusual for creative types to stay in DC, a town dominated with politicos, fly-in fly-out workers and the temporary expat community. To me it was a town of baggy-suit-wearing, hard-drinking, stressed-out political types with nothing really sexy or fun going. When I put that to Eric he laughed and jokingly agreed but then he quickly corrected himself to say that the music scene has been bubbling for decades in DC.

    When we met up it was only a few days after Margaret Thatcher had died and I was very keen to hear

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  • RE:find Miami Hospitality with Roy Alpert

    Relaxing in the courtyard of the Freehand Miami was a surprising experience for me. I try never to be prejudiced about a place I am visiting, but I have to say that I had a very set notion of what hotels and bars would be like in Miami and the Freehand shifted that for me. It's neither a mega resort nor a club with weekend revelers spilling their drinks (and out of their dresses!). It is old-school Miami -- a chic, relaxed vision of what the city was. It is the whole look and feel, the rambling tropical plants, the cool deco building, the cute people lounging around on salvaged furniture and most crucial, the fruity-yet-potent drinks.

    I met Roy Alpert, a man about Miami and the director of the Freehand, in the courtyard and we hit it off straight away. While he recently went into hospitality, his background is firmly rooted in nightlife, and he was excited to show me another side of Miami -- his Miami. We hung out in the Freehand courtyard, of course, but he also took me to the Soho

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  • RE:find Miami Food with Michael Schwartz

    When I discovered I was going to Miami for RE:find, I'll admit I was a little concerned about hunting down the kind of food I generally respond to -- food that is authentic, simple and perhaps most important, "tastes of the place" I am visiting. It was my impression that a great food scene had yet to take off in the city and that while I was in for some great Cuban food (not disappointed on that front, hola Enriqueta's!), my options were either generic fast food or choosing from a handful of overrated, overpriced hotel franchise restaurants. I was sure that when it came to food, Miami wouldn't be able to compete with its art scene, beach or nightlife.

    It is here where I am supposed to say that in fact I was wrong, and that I found one of the great food cities in America hiding behind the candy-colored Deco facades. While that wasn't exactly the case, I will say that I was happily surprised. Dining in Miami might not yet be one of the city's longest suits, but for people who want to eat

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  • RE:find Miami Art with the Rubells

    When Don and Mera Rubell started collecting art in 1964, their monthly budget was $25; it was all that the public school teacher and medical student could afford. In those early days in New York City, the young couple nurtured a limitless curiosity in art, building relationships with promising young artists in their social circle (Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat) and honing their gift for picking the new provocateurs.

    Almost 50 years later, this inspiring couple now own one of the world's largest, privately owned contemporary art collections, The Rubell Family Collection. Housed within a 45,000-square-foot repurposed Drug Enforcement Agency confiscated-goods facility in the once-blighted Wynwood district, the collection has become a model private-public institution showing works from some of the great artists of our time. Pieces by Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, Ai Weiwei and Andy Warhol fill the space. Yet the Rubells' impact has been much more profound than

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  • RE:find NYC Style with Jeff Carvalho

    Being in New York sharpens your sartorial game. Each time I visit I leave with an updated wardrobe and a fresh perspective on style. The city is, of course, one of the global fashion capitals, home to the flagship stores of Fifth Avenue, an influential fashion week and some of the world’s most recognizable brands. Yet famous brands are not where its inspiring fashion culture begins and ends. New York’s streets are a continuous catwalk and beyond seasonal trends, for me the special thing about this city is witnessing it’s a parade of individual style.

    I wanted to talk to someone who had a very distinct point of view on style in the city, someone whose style is not bought exclusively from the catwalks of Bryant Park or off the rack in SoHo. There are plenty of high-profile publications and experts that can speak to that endless (and wonderful) cycle of style. Instead, I wanted to get perspective on NYC style that is a good mixture of the timeless and current, the durable and the

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  • RE:find NYC Nightlife with Jon Neidich

    New York has a way of adjusting my body clock. In the hours when I might otherwise be asleep, in New York City the night has only just begun. The intense pace that drives this city forward throughout the day pushes well into the night. It has a habit of collecting you up and taking you on a ride that you may not have anticipated. My best advice is to let it.

    The city is like a hothouse for nightlife -- a new bar/club/warehouse party will spring up in an unexpected place, attracting all, and then die off as quickly as it came, only to be surpassed by the next. New York has always had a storied nightlife, from the Jazz Age to Studio 54, immortalized for the world in film, music, art and the social pages. Yes, it is not the same as the 70’s or 80’s -- when Uptown and Downtown found each other with more ease. The bottle service trend, which is more aligned with Las Vegas than downtown, can be obnoxious. But that trend, like all trends, seems to be fading out -- Vogue Balls in Harlem are

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  • RE:find NYC Food with Andrew Tarlow

    I first met Andrew Tarlow four years ago. I remember it well. I was writing a story about Brooklyn's burgeoning food scene. At that stage, only some restaurants in the borough had managed to cross the difficult bridge of actually getting people to cross the bridge.

    Brooklyn was not yet synonymous with the local/organic/artisan food movement, although it was rapidly heading in that direction. Over a table at the wonky little Diner (still my favorite in his family of establishments), Andrew introduced me to the food community around him: the young butchers, bakers and pickle makers (who also often happened to be musicians, photographers and art directors). Inspired by his recommendations and vision for what Brooklyn might be, I wrote this:

    "The hallmark of the new Brooklyn is a counter-culture movement that has sprung out of the new Brooklynite’s embrace of its craftsman heritage. Nowhere is that more so than among its food scene, where a youthful energy, purist approach and dedication

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