There 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.)
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.
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?
In 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.
Yesterday the French government reported that Joël Robuchon, the most Michelin-starred chef on the planet, had died from complications related to pancreatic cancer. He was 73. By most accounts, Robuchon was a tyrant in the kitchen, a madman obsessed with perfection, and a genius. Pete Wells of the New York Times breaks Robuchon’s career into two parts: the culinary wunderkind who, at age 36, received his first Michelin star after opening Jamin in 1981 (and the maximum three stars only three years later), and the seasoned veteran who opened L’Atelier de Joél Robuchon in 2003, not caring what those Michelin critics thought, and redefined high-end dining. (This whole gastronomic experience where customers can pay thousands of dollars to sit on stools around a bar while chefs cook what they want? You can thank—or blame—Robuchon.)