Victorino Matus

The View From Behind the Bar

If Basic Books continued its Art of Mentoring series—Letters to a Young Contrarian by Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Chef by Daniel Boulud, Letters to a Young Conservative by Dinesh—anyway, we could’ve used a Letters to a Young Bartender by Derek Brown. I recently interviewed the bar owner at his Columbia Room outpost in Washington, D.C. And while I had questions about his new book, Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World, our conversation turned to practical issues like the dry Martini.

Low Art on the High Seas

Amy Chozick has a piece in the New York Times about the mental decline of pop artist Peter Max and how his son has allegedly been exploiting him since the onset of his dementia a few years ago. The artist would enter a room above the Shun Lee restaurant on the Upper West Side where lesser artists were "churning out art in the Max aesthetic: cheery, polychrome, wide-brushstroke kaleidoscopes on canvas."

‘The Quintessential American Drink’

Review: 'Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World' by Derek Brown with Robert Yule

cocktailsPrior to a conference, I was at a hotel bar with a colleague who had just turned 21. When the bartender came to take our order, I asked for a martini up with olives. My friend, on the other hand, said, "Long Island Iced Tea." The bartender promptly asked for his I.D.

The Need for Speed

Test-driving an Aston Martin in the worst traffic ever

Spotted Cars SC:FacebookThere are guys who do this for a living. They slink into the leather bucket seats of a $150,000 sports car without the slightest hint of concern. (In March, the Wall Street Journal's Dan Neil test drove the McLaren 600LT Spider, valued at $256,500.) But when I step into a 2019 Aston Martin Vantage, all I've got is concern: What if I scratch it up? What if this hand-assembled masterpiece ends up in a ditch? What if I embarrass myself like Pete Campbell trying to drive stick in Mad Men? (The Vantage turns out to be an automatic.)

Amazon Corners the Corner Store

Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was planning to get into the grocery business. But wait, isn’t Amazon already in that business? In September 2017, it acquired Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion. Organic food stores, however, are just a segment of the cut-throat supermarket industry.

The Furor Over the Führer

Review: 'The Death of Hitler: The Final Word' by Jean-Christophe Brisard and Lana Parshina

Thanks to The Death of Hitler: The Final Word, we now know unequivocally that Adolf Hitler died in his Berlin bunker on April 30, 1945. Because you still weren't sure, were you? The conspiracies began to flow from the very beginning—the Soviets helped spread them. "Hitler has escaped!" reported the news agency TASS on May 2, 1945. Stalin later told U.S. envoy Harry Hopkins that he presumed Hitler and his henchmen Josef Goebbels and Martin Bormann were somewhere in hiding. Then there was that German submarine, U-530, that made its way to Argentina in July 1945. Who was on board?

About That White House Dinner

White House dinnerCollege football’s championship team, the Clemson Tigers, had dinner at the White House on Monday night, and we’re still recovering from it—mainly because the photos are so shocking. The grinning president of the United States presiding over a meal fit for … well … hungry college football players?

My Salad Days, When I Was Green in Judgment

It’s the new year so of course I’m standing in line at Sweetgreen waiting to order my salad. This despite a story in the Weekend section of the Washington Post warning us that many of those salads are rather unhealthy.

The Bombay Club Turns 30

How Ashok Bajaj redefined Indian cuisine

NalligoshtIn 1961, Cecilia Chiang opened a tiny restaurant in San Francisco called the Mandarin. It offered authentic Chinese cuisine that attracted a devoted following. Victor Bergeron of Trader Vic's fame was a fan. But more important was man-about-town Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle. On the one hand he called it a "little hole in the wall." On the other, he said it had "the best Chinese food east of the Pacific." Seven years later the Mandarin moved to Ghirardelli Square—expanding from 65 seats to 300—becoming one of San Francisco's premier dining destinations.