♦ After 14 years at the Miami New Times, longtime food critic Lee Klein has been laid off. A victim of his own success, he had a salary that was higher than a blogger, which is reason enough in this day and age to deliver a pink slip. Klein never shied away from controversy (many will remember a questionable review of Route 9 but my favorite flare-up involved a group of caroling elementary school students) but I always appreciated his prose. My favorite line? “Everything about Mr. Chow is awful.” (Which is still nicer than what Anthony Bourdain had to say about the place). Klein is being replaced by a rotating crew of Short Order contributors who will work on tips.
♦ The New York Times’ Style Magazine unveiled a ‘first look‘ of the new Freehand hostel, set to open in November at the site of the former Indian Creek Hotel. The hostel is being developed by the Sydell Group, known for the Ace Hotel and NoMad Hotel in NYC and the Ace Palm Springs. Roman & Williams, the design firm behind the stylish Ace NYC is designing The Freehand, which sounds like it will be a riff on the latest Wes Anderson film (“Think seaside boathouse, lifeguard school, a homemade summer camp near the ocean,” said the designer to The New York Times). The most exciting news for fans of food and drink is that the Broken Shaker will make its return and its proprietors, Elad Zvi and Gabriel Orta, will also be in charge of the restaurant, which will feature a yet-unnamed chef.
♦ Here’s a brilliant little piece of technology: the DipJar, an “electronic” tip jar that functions by simply inserting a credit card and then a predetermined amount (say $1) gets automatically deducted. No signature required. Baristas, rejoice!