You can't hide from New York's Eleven Madison Park. As New York's Alan Sytsma explains at Grub Street, mâitre d' Justin Roller googles everyone who has a reservation at the restaurant on any given night. He searches for personal information — birth date, anniversary, profession — so he can give proper salutations when the party arrives. Once he discovers something concrete, he jumps on it. "If I find out a guest is from Montana, and I know we have a server from there, we'll put them together," Roller explains. Systma adds:
Same goes for guests who own jazz clubs, who can be paired with a sommelier that happens to be into jazz. In other words, before customers even step through the door, the restaurant's staff has a pretty good idea of the things it can do to specifically blow their minds. [Grub Street]
That attention to detail makes Eleven Madison Park an intense place to work; the training manual for front-of-the-house staff is 97 pages long, and it even specifies the type of socks that can be worn by staffers. Every part of the process is designed to keep the best staff around, so the restaurant can run smoothly and the guests can appreciate the personalized service.
While some might think having a complete stranger know everything about you down to your Social Security number (just kidding... I think) is kind of nutty, general manager Kirk Kelewae argues that it's part of the restaurant's charm. "We want to evoke a sense of being welcomed home," he says. Read more about Eleven Madison Park's blend of old-school service and internet sleuthing at Grub Street. Catherine Garcia
A friend of alleged Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof pleaded guilty Friday to lying to federal officials and withholding information about the attack. Joey Meek faces up to eight years in prison and $500,000 in fines, The New York Times reports.
He agreed to testify against Roof, who is accused of fatally shooting nine black people in a Bible study at a Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June. Roof had claimed to have been planning the attack more than six months in advance, Meek said.
The race-related shooting renewed debate that led South Carolina to remove its Confederate flag from statehouse grounds.
Actor Will Ferrell has reportedly nixed plans to play Ronald Reagan in a comedy about the late president's dementia, just days after it was announced he had signed on to star. Ferrell's spokesperson now says he was never officially attached to the project. "While it is by no means an 'Alzheimers comedy,' as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project," his spokesperson said.
Shortly after news of the film broke, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis penned an open letter expressing her disappointment. "Perhaps if you knew more," Davis wrote, "you would not find the subject humorous." Becca Stanek
A lot can change in eight years — as Carly Fiorina knows. While the former Hewlett-Packcard CEO is now Ted Cruz's vice presidential candidate, Fiorina actually sung Hillary Clinton's praises back in 2008. While on the campaign trail for Republican presidential nominee John McCain, Fiorina described Clinton as "incredibly intelligent, focused, tough, determined."
"As a woman, I take great pride in the fact that Hillary Clinton ran for president," Fiorina said.
Fiorina added that "bold women, women in power are characterized, scrutinized differently than their male counterparts are." Fiorina has since joined the chorus of conservative voices who have accused Clinton of "playing the woman card," saying that "Hillary Clinton, first of all, calls everybody a sexist and that's not a fair game."
A representative for Fiorina clarified to CNN that the vice presidential candidate "thinks Hillary Clinton is smart and hardworking, but she also believes she is profoundly misguided on the important issues facing this country."
Watch the surprisingly different tone Fiorina had less than a decade ago, below. Jeva Lange
The White House decided to mix things up at its daily press briefing Friday by having a fictional character step into Press Secretary Josh Earnest's role. Yes, seriously.
Allison Janney, who played the whip-smart press secretary C.J. Cregg on The West Wing, took over the podium while Earnest was supposedly out of commission for a root canal.
"But let's be honest," Janney said, "I'm better at this anyway."
Watch Janney's briefing, which — spoiler alert — Earnest eventually crashes, below. Becca Stanek
Allison Janney takes over White House press briefing as character 'C. J. Cregg' from 'The West Wing.' https://t.co/jdDgMDQbm5
— ABC News (@ABC) April 29, 2016
Your friend is getting married. Hooray! Now pay up.
On average, millennials spend nearly $900 for every wedding they attend as a guest, according to numbers crunched by American Express this week. In comparison, the average American wedding guest spends 27 percent less, around $703 per wedding. That number accounts for an average of $205 spent on airfare, $166 on attire, and $69 on child or pet care.
Millennials, though, break the bank by spending on average $893 per wedding or, if they're a part of the wedding party, $928. Wedding gifts don't come cheap, either. When purchasing gifts for family members, Americans spend an average of $127, or $99 on friends.
Better start saving up — wedding season hits its peak in June. Jeva Lange
The Pentagon announced Friday that it has punished 16 American military personnel, including a two-star general, for the deadly strike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan last year that killed 42. Because the Pentagon determined the attack was not intentional, but rather the fault of human error, fatigue, and technical errors, those punished will not face criminal charges. Instead, the punishments will be "administrative actions" only, including suspension, removal from command, and letters of reprimand.
The attack occurred after crew members reportedly mistook the hospital for a Taliban-controlled building about a quarter of a mile away. Becca Stanek
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the Republican presidential race during a Friday appearance on a conservative talk radio show. "I'm not against anyone, but I will be voting for Ted Cruz," Pence said, though he first went out of his way to commend Donald Trump for giving a voice to "the frustration of millions of Americans."
Pence's endorsement comes just four days ahead of Indiana's Tuesday primary, which is critical for Cruz to win if he wants to prevent frontrunner Donald Trump from locking up the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the nomination. Becca Stanek