There are not sufficient ways to calculate how to measure aesthetics. We rely on an adage: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Simply put, seriously?
We can make a philosophical argument defending this, but it holds no logical weight.
Replace the word beauty with the word everything, and we have something more truthful. Yet thinking that everyone can equally analyze beauty is equivalent to imagining that everyone can equally evaluate quality as it relates to music.
We have seen this on television, for example, on American Idol, where a tone deaf contestant lashes out at one of the expert judges who has struggled inside the industry for years. It’s the same with taste. If I asked a celebrity chef – let’s say Bobby Flay from the Food Network – to critique a meal at a restaurant, I would value his appraisal more than my lovely son who loves Chipotle.
In the sports world, calculating opinion is even more comical, as millions of fans conceive of themselves as equals to the coach. Not only do 99 percent know less than Heat mentor Eric Spoelstra, I suspect a near equal number know less than their child’s middle school coach, who has at least put in some time. When it comes to opinions, like other body parts, like ribs, everyone has a bunch. With this in mind, let me delve into the world of culinary arts.
In the past, this column has praised a few local purveyors of fine food and good taste – Zak the Baker, Panther Coffee, Lagniappe, Eating House and Roc Kat Ice Cream come to mind. Today, let’s recognize a few more.
Del Sur Artisan Eats sits in a strip mall on US 1 indistinguishable from what seems to be a million others in this wasteland of what can never be called a model of intelligent urban planning. Adding insult to injury is the horrifying specter of FPL making it dramatically worse by imitating Transformers on the current busway. Worse yet than that nightmare is talk of the special speedway for the privileged oligarchy for whom 75 cents a day during rush hour would get them home faster than us commoners (I could go on and on about this “hate-the-poor” campaign, but the Pinecrest Tribune would not print it. The only, remotely logical reason to build the tollway would be that some decision maker’s spouse is addicted to Knaus’ sticky buns and feels entitled to a faster way to get into the Redlands every afternoon before closing time). Marie Antoinette would be right at home in Miami.
Del Sur sits in an upgraded strip mall across from all this dreadful drama, but inside at dusk, one might be tempted to forget how gruesome it is outside on US1. No, check that, one will be happy about the soft lights, the colors, the bookshelves of wine bottles, the vibe and the Argentinian/Italian flavors.
Similarly, on Old Cutler, next to the only Starbucks in the USA that allows smoking on its premises – well they don’t allow it, they just don’t police it – sits Bistro Foly. If you are caught deep down in Palmetto Bay’s daily traffic sprawl, you have had few choices: Farm Store, Sir Pizza, Subway or in Cutler Bay, Takee Outee, Harvey’s, Rodbenders. I’ll leave it at that.
However, Bistro Foly changes the landscape. Look, I can eat those 2 for $2 baguettes from the Farm Store and a few square slices with Ranch dressing along with the best of them, but Bistro Foly isn’t playing at the same level. To say they up the ante is akin to saying the Everglades ups the ante on a pond. Lovely inside despite another frightening exurban strip mall structure, entering here is like walking through the looking glass in perverse reverse. Outside is a frightening hallucination; inside bread is baking, France is rising and quality reigns.
Finally, I apologize for what I’m about to write. Much to the chagrin of my children, I am a parent. Adding to their humiliation is the fact that I have never taken them to Taco Bell for some Mexican eating, nor Wendy’s, Mickey D’s or KFC, though I confess that I once cashed in the Winner’s Circle for some Burger King fries. What’s the point? Once again – Chipotle.
Along with the Shake Shack, Chipotle gets a number of basics right, which is why it is so popular among young people. I am not speaking as an animal rights person, a culinary expert or design wizard, but on the most rudimentary levels, the product, its simple presentation, and the industrial stylings, Chipotle is the Spartan go-to for the fast food filler that you crave.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? I’m afraid I contradict myself.
Carl Rachelson is a teacher at Palmer Trinity School and a regular contributor to the Pinecrest Tribune. He may be contacted by addressing email to firstname.lastname@example.org.