|Scene from Brooklyn 99|
San Diego Magazine's resident food critic Troy Johnson has struck up an interesting debate with his article Casual Hex in San Diego, an entertaining and philosophical read on a fascinating subject - the modern trend toward casualizing the dining experience. Bertrand Hug of the legendary San Diego fine dining establishments, Betrand at Mister A's and Mille Fleurs, has already chimed in on the subject, as has Chef Matt Gordon of Sea & Smoke, Urban Solace and Solace and the Moonlight Lounge. As a San Diego loudmouth, I just had to get in on this action, interject, and toss my own two cents into the debate!
As the hipster culture demonstrates, there is a change in actual style taking place - a casualization of class, if you will. Suits with sneakers and a t-shirt? Glasses with no lenses? The style is classy, yet rebellious. We want to look like cool reflections of our former, formal selves, all while flipping the bird to the man. If style stayed the same, we'd all still be wearing white wigs and corsets.
Troy Johnson is fortunate, like I am at this point - we aren't forced to formalize ourselves on a daily basis. I worked a job where I had to wear a suit everyday, day in and day out, even if I never left my desk or spoke with anyone else. F that! Now, I'll dress up when it's appropriate - and if I don't know when it's appropriate, then I'm a boob. Wearing flip flops or tank tops to Bertrand? That's nonsensical, and the person who does that is evidently a self-consumed dope, rebelling for all the wrong reasons, with no understanding of style. Blame his mother.
We all have our principles, and for restaurants like Bertand at Mister A's, there will always be a client base seeking that elegant dining experience. We need restaurants like that, just as we need restaurants like Carnitas Snack Shack and every spectrum beyond and in between. Diversity is key, but the trend is currently casual, and to be honest, I hope it stays that way.
"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." ~Thomas Jefferson