Hagan Blount

PlaceInvaders TableTalk Newsletter // October 6, 2017

Hagan Blount
PlaceInvaders TableTalk Newsletter // October 6, 2017

Happy Friday, Invaders, welcome to October’s first TableTalk. Wherever you are, whatever your weather, this is a great weekend for making a big vat of chili, dusting off your steins for a nice German bier, and peeping the changing leaves. We’ll be up in Paso Robles, where it’s going to be almost 90, but we’re Autumning with y’all in spirit. Here are some of the things we’ll be chatting about over apple cider donuts.

How Do Families Around the World Spend Their Vacations?

Very cool interactive feature from the New York Times about exactly what it sounds like. Join Colombian, Estonian, and Iranian families diving from cliffs, enjoying natural saunas, and exploring national parks only recently made safe by peace agreements. Maybe next year’s average US family’s summer vacation could be a little more out in the wild, and a little less Mickey & Minnie.

Could lab-grown fish and meat feed the world – without killing a single animal?

While the rest of America runs itself in circles with the same old arguments this week, we’d love to turn your attention to a problem that is responsible for killing most of the sentient beings on the planet. How come we haven’t figured this out yet? We’re using centuries old techniques to feed the population, and if everyone on the planet consumed as much as Americans did, we’d need three earths to feed everyone. Let’s prioritize and attack the big problems.

WTF is an AVA?

This week, we went to a talk in Los Olivos at the Refugio Ranch tasting room and the presenter was talking about American Viticultural Areas. You’ve probably heard of appellations (like Champagne, Burgundy…), so what’s the difference between an appellation and an AVA you ask? Nothing, really, except AVAs are ‘Murican. That and they’re likely to have more lenient planting rules, but ultimately, you’d expect there to be a quality level that buying wines with an AVA attached would deliver.

As Goes the Middle Class, So Goes TGI Fridays

What’s causing the death of the chain restaurant? Revitalized downtowns with affordable farm-to-tables, income inequality, the iPhone, Netflix, Millennial preferences for or aversion to any damn conflicting thing that’s convenient to the storyline? And what do we lose if the casual chain goes extinct? Maybe you have friends with whom you may occasionally ironically dine at the Olive Garden or some such venue. In a random town when you don’t feel like doing the Yelp research, sometime a BDub’s will suit just fine (that’s Buffalo Wild Wings, duh). Have you ever been to an Islands? An Islands can be great. Where do these types of dining experiences fit into your lives, Invaders?

An Ode to Shopping Malls

We know, we know... two economically related real estate stories here. We’re wondering why malls can’t be reformatted in some way as live work spaces or massive paintball fields or go-kart tracks. Maybe something to do with VR? We all knew the death of the mall was coming as we bought our first books online in the early 2000s, so whomever owns that land has a decision to make right about now. My guess is that your local derelict mall is going to end up looking like the mixed-use developments that plague suburban America. What’s your idea?