My cousin Jordan asked me to print a retraction.
From last week’s piece.
It was an omission, really, but he’s not wrong.
Jordan and my Uncle both mentioned the same thing: for the sake of brevity, I left out one important food experience in last week’s column.
They’re right, so let’s rectify it.
In my first actual travel article in more than a year, I chose not to write about the donuts.
Those special, special donuts.
Duck Donuts, to be exact.
At a Saturday pool party, Jordan’s daughter asked for some dessert, after we’d eaten the Luigi’s pizza, and through the wonder of Door Dash, (which I’d never seen in action,) they found a Donut joint in the app, and a variety pack was dropped on the driveway.
At first, I abstained.
I watched the crowd attack the donuts, like Roman crows to human hair, but stayed on my lounge chair, not wanting to give in to the munchies. (Like I said last week, it was a bender.)
Eventually, Jordan said I had to try them.
They were THAT good.
I relented, and within a minute had devoured small sections from three or four different donuts.
(Who am I kidding? It must have been five or six.)
Each donut was a bigger flavor explosion than the last, and the chocolatey browns and saturated colors made you NEED to eat them, even though you knew better.
Truth: they were the best donuts I’ve ever had.
4 stars out of 4
I mention my Jersey trip.
It reminded me of one thing: we all need to check in with our tribe, now and again.
Our personal clan, sure, but also the local culture where we’re from.
Most people, almost everywhere, prefer to stick close to their local culture, because it’s the operating system that makes us.
The symbols, rituals, in-jokes, music choice, beloved foods, weekend activities, they’re all specific to a place.
Some photographers love to enter cultural communities, spending so much time taking pictures, and asking questions, that eventually they become embraced by the people they’re observing.
In this case, I’m thinking of Kristin Bedford, a photographer I met at the Medium Festival of Photography, back in 2014.
She sat next to me in the lobby and started chatting me up, (not knowing I was a journalist,) and an hour later, I promised to pitch her work to the NYT Lens Blog, and they greenlit the story, which we published that December.
We stayed in touch over the years, Kristin and I, and recently chatted on Zoom, for a new interview series I’m kicking off, in conjunction with PhotoNOLA and the New Orleans Photo Alliance.
Starting this month, I’ll be doing interviews every other month for their BookLENS program.
In our inaugural piece, I spoke to Kristin in a video interview about “Cruise Night,” her new Damiani book, which showed up in the mail here not to long ago.
You can see the interview in its entirety here.
June 2021 BookLENS: Kristin Bedford from New Orleans Photo Alliance on Vimeo.
But a chat isn’t a book review.
In a proper book review, the opening rant has nothing to do with the book.
Like those donuts, though, “Cruise Night” is so vibrant, saturated, and alive.
Colors this gorgeous, this bright, communicate a joy, a love, an infatuation with the lowrider culture so dear to the Mexican American community in SoCal.
The book is filled with sharply observed details, which suggest someone paying attention, looking carefully.
I think “Cruise Night” is an excellent book, and worth the praise it’s been getting in the media.
Thankfully, I don’t rank books by stars, (only Duck Donuts gets rated today,) but I have to admit, I might have inadvertently created a monster with this restaurant reviewing thing.
After last week’s column, my cousin Jordan seems to have discovered the thrill of rating things.
He’s texting me, giving stars to everything now.
3 stars for this.
0 stars for that.
I’m actually starting to wonder if he’s after my job?
See you next week.
To Purchase “Cruise Night,” click here