Review of Burn the Ice

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In the new millennium, American dining underwent a resurgence that may have peaked. Chefs rediscovered obscure ingredients, bartenders reincarnated classic cocktails and food trucks served gourmet fare. Every detail became a big thing: cheeseburgers, hot sauce, pizza, coffee, exotic cuisines, ramen stalls, craft breweries and small distilleries. Food journalist Kevin Alexander chronicles this era with wit and insight, tracing trailblazing chefs and restaurateurs who redrew the culinary landscape. 

About the Author

Kevin Alexander is a food journalist and writer-at-large for Thrillist. A James Beard Award winner, he also contributes to Esquire, Men’s Journal, The Boston Globe, Howler and other publications. 


“Burn the Ice” is restaurant slang for melting the ice at closing or breaking a glass in the ice well.

Until the mid-2000s, New York City and San Francisco, California were the United State’s culinary centers. Alexander explains that “American” style cuisine developed in the 1950s and 1960s. 

Joe Baum opened several restaurants during that period, including New York City’s Four Seasons. At Chez Panisse, Alice Waters started the French-West Coast hybrid that became California cuisine. Jonathan Waxman brought the movement to Los Angeles, sparking a culinary revival throughout the 1980s. “Just for the briefest of moments, at the height of the food crazes,” the author writes, “it did seem as if American culinary glory would last forever.” 

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