So, I was in the office during lunch trying to get my mind around the concept of "Antifragile" in the book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, when across the transom came an email from "eateasyMGM" with a Paperless Post invitation to enjoy the "Celebration of Spring Lamb" at some location to be named later at a date certain. "Hello, I said to myself. What, I thought, is this?" I had just been reading how some things (like evolution) gain from disorder when I received the email and went to the eateasyMGM Facebook page which described it as "An underground dining experience featuring progressive cuisine in one night only engagements." Some quick research and I found news articles and great photographs about a prior event at True that had sold out in a short time:
I went back to reading "Antifragile" and suddenly became more interested in the discussions about how individual restaurants appear to be fragile businesses that fail often whereas the overall restaurant business is antifragile because as long as there are humans there will be a strong demand for all types of food at various costs. We in the Gump have seen periods when we lost restaurants at frightening clips--some of them favorites of ours: The Sahara, The Elite and even Lunde's have passed on despite loyal followings. Yet, like cells dividing, new restaurants with excellent food have taken their places. But, as Taleb would remind us, these individual restaurants are all fragile. A chef's departure or a fire can ruin an apparently successful restaurant in a short period of time.
It hit me: eateasyMGM has no building, no executive chef, no overhead and no requirement to be great every night. It just needs a random location, a visiting chef, a small wait staff and fantastic food only once a month for people who are notified by email. Why, it may be the poster-child of "Antifragile." Now I was beginning to understand.
I anxiously awaited notification of where I was to be at the appointed hour. Notice came only 24-48 hours before the event. It was..."Lucas Tavern?" The Lucas Tavern in Old Alabama Town? Yes. Ashamed as I was to have been living here for years without ever visiting Old Alabama Town, I was excited about the idea of eating a fine meal in a place tourists from all over world visit every day and which I, a so-called local, had never been.
When we arrived and walked through Lucas Tavern (a stop on the old Federal Road in the 1830s) and into the back to see the "kitchen," tables and bar arranged under a beautiful arbor set among a vintage church, school, home and other buildings from the period. The Enlove Photos tell the story better than I ever could. Needless to say that the surroundings were unique.
Our celebrity chef for the evening was David Bancroft of Acre in Auburn. The theme involved serving as much of one lamb could offer to those assembled. We even had the farmer who raised the lamp speak of the lamb's last six months with sincere fondness. Why, I was almost reminded of the Portlandia skit about the couple that demanded to see the personnel file for "Collin" the chicken they had ordered.
|The Randall Farms "Porchetta" with a lamb center.|
|Yum (not the food conglomerate) but just yum! That's lamb tenderloin and sausage wrapped in pork belly.|
The moral to this story: (1) Sometimes it helps to learn complicated and esoteric concepts by reducing them to real world examples. I now know to trust eateasyMGM to present a fine meal while remaining Antifragile; and (2) Do not wait long to respond to that email invitation if your sensibilities are fragile and you cannot handle being shut out at the kitchen window.
If you want to try eateasyMGM, you may be able can get on the email list by requesting access to firstname.lastname@example.org.