12.10.2013: Farm+Tech / Next Restaurant


Season Tickets… to a Restaurant

If you haven’t heard of Grant Achatz’s innovative ticketing system for his restaurants, it’s worth checking out. Basically, seatings are treated similarly to any other live event (like a baseball game.) You buy tickets for a specific date and time, you show up on that date and time, and you experience what the kitchen and staff has crafted for a few hours. It’s a cool way of thinking beyond the traditional reservation, and, in Achatz’s case, giving special meals a level of special merit.

Appropriately, Next also offers season tickets for a year of service, entitling the holder to experience each ofNext’s three concepts (Chicago Steak, Chinese:Modern, and Trio 2004). Season tickets entitle the bearer to a two-, four-, or six-person seating on a certain day of the week. They are also highly, highly coveted and, as you can imagine, not without a few technical hiccups during peak popularity.

But more notable than the technology is the concept itself; creating the buzz of an actual event around fine dining — and spreading the popularity of those events worldwide thanks to digital technology. (There’s also something to be said about the egalitarianism allowed by online ticketing, though that seems to be an operation ripe for disruption.) If you’re not lucky enough to swing season tickets, keep an eye on Next’s Facebook page — the restaurant routinely releases same-week tables for purchase.


Farmers Allowed to Use Drones

illustration by April V. Walters

Drones: so hot right now. And also completely legal for farming use in the US, according to the FAA. By “drones” they mean those small, obviously unmanned quad-copter devices, which farmers can use to keep an eye on crops and livestock in order to “farm [in] the most efficient and effective way possible.” There are a few restrictions: drones can’t fly over 400 feet or within three miles of an airport. But generally, this is fascinating. Farmers with acres and acres of land and crops will now be able to virtually view their land, optimizing for the best and most productive uses. Cool stuff, inserting ultra-modern tech into centuries-old practices netting a better result all around.



It’s Baaack: Modern Farmer’s LambCam

Hot off the heels of its wildly successful GoatCamC+T favorite Modern Farmer launched its LambCam in honor of Sheep Week (LOL), monitoring a group of fine-looking little lambs on a Virginia farm. The cam features a mix of black and white sheep. And don’t worry, lest you fall in love with one of these fuzzy farm animals, know that they’re bred for their wool, not for meat.



Farming by Proxy

Speaking of virtual farm-viewing: When you live in the city, what’s the next best thing to a backyard garden? In Japan, it’s not a raised vegetable bed on the roof or squeezed into a teeny outside corner, it’s “surveillance farming.” A surveillance farm is exactly what it sounds like: a completely web-connected, monitored farm plot. And Japanese city-dwellers can pay monthly to grow their own crops from afar. Live webcams allow “farmers” to monitor progress, and a social networking element connects “farmers” with one another. You can’t be completely remote, sadly — these farms do require actual face time (weekends, mostly) with the crops for maximum yield.

story via Issue 3 of Modern Farmer



Instagram Envy: The McPoutine

And now for something completely different and available only in Canada (boo.) The McPoutine (it’s a thing!) apparently photographs really, really well. At least, according to GrubStreet. Poutine, in case you aren’t familiar, is a Canadian specialty of french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. It’s this author’s favorite late-night, soak-up-the-alcohol food. And, despite all evidence to the contrary (fast food, gravy, cheese curd), it apparently makes for great photographs. In fact, GrubStreet claims, the photos posted on Instagram are far better than even the official restaurant photo.



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