TASTY DELIGHT: Ruth Reichl agrees that “having a good meal” is a good way to fight stress caused by worrying about the tough economy, but where to eat is a different issue. On Monday, Reichl, editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, hosted the preopening preview for Shang, a sleek global Chinese restaurant in the new Thompson Lower East Side hotel, and its chef Susur Lee. Though it may seem the wrong time to open a restaurant, Lee has a following among his top-chef bretheren: Daniel Boulud, Bobby Flay, Tom Colicchio, Dan Barber, David Chang, Drew Nieporent, Bill Telepan and Jacques Torres were among those who headed downtown to sample Lee’s cuisine. As for what could tempt the average consumer to eat out during a recession, Reichl believes diners will continue to seek out either high-end, destination-type restaurants — Daniel, for example — and those serving budget-friendly comfort food. Her recommendation for a soul-soothing meal? “Wherever you can afford,” she said.
For some consumers, that means a home-cooked meal, which is good news for food magazines like Gourmet. During the first half of the year, Gourmet’s total paid circulation rose 1.5 percent, to 983,836, and newsstand sales rose 3.5 percent, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The single-copy sales of issues from July through October have increased 4.5 percent, per ABC’s Rapid Report.