Sometimes it’s hard to tell if Beyoncé is being literal or figurative. For example it’s abundantly clear that she is not really riding an actual surfboard in “Drunk in Love”. Skittle candies are also not being eaten in “Blow”. However, in “Formation” when she says, “When he fuck me good, I take his ass to Red Lobster, ’cause I slay”, I think she really means she’s taking Jay Z to Red Lobster after sex. Advertisements
In 2005, Homaro Cantu ate a menu on the cover of Gourmet magazine and Ruth Reichl dubbed Alinea the best restaurant in America. John Mariani, allegedly pissed that his food reviewing rider demands weren’t met, ignored both Alinea and Moto and dubbed Ryan Poli’s Butter one of Esquire’s best restaurants in America. The Chicago food scene was king.
This website is what failure looks like. Which is to say, after 12 years of someone paying me to review restaurants, as of January 2018, no one is doing that anymore.
Thanksgiving is the one holiday where I prefer to go vegetarian.
This article was written for a national publication three years ago, but was never published for space reasons. Life got in the way and I never got around to publishing it. The New York Times and Food and Wine have recently show some interest in the region, so I figured it was time to ressurect the piece. Sadly, Tapawingo, the great restaurant referenced in the article has since closed. The winemakers are are still putting out incredible product, including Left Foot Charley wines which wasn’t open yet during my initial visit. The cheesemakers at Black Star Farms are also still first in class. As far as I could remember, Michigan had always been dubbed a rust belt state by embattled politicians, but growing up in metro-Detroit, I never believed it. Sure, shopworn laborers left their jobs drenched in sweat, with the boom, thud, plodding of pistons and a gnash of gears ringing in their ears, but they did so in shiny Cadillacs or trailed by the guttural purr of Corvette exhaust pipes. Local prosperity lingered far past damning rhetorical pronouncements, and nowhere was our good fortune more evident than “up north”, what native Michiganders call all land above the city…
A man without a country may die wistful, pining for a homeland. But he might also rejoice that he’s boundless, tethered to no cheap allegiances, and thus able to operate freer than most.
Since 2000, Chicago has gone from being a Rat Pack-worthy steak-and-potato-slinging stereotype to a destination for international culinary travelers.
I imagined the unburdening would come much later; a slow uncoiling where memories like ethereal tendrils eventually roiled around and invaded my indifference.
The kind folks at Grub Street and NYMag were kind enough to allow me to play in their sandbox and share my thoughts on the state of American dining. Most of my opinions made it in, but for those who are interested, here is the full transcript of my responses. 1. Who are the three most important chefs today, and why? Rachael Ray, Jamie Oliver and Guy Fieri. Guy Fieri has more frat boys wearing sunglasses on the back of their heads at a single Dave Matthew’s concert than Thomas Keller has served meals in his lifetime. Go to any non-foodie cocktail party in the nation and I’m willing to bet 7 out of 10 people won’t even know who Ferran Adria or Grant Achatz are. The road to eating at Robuchon for the majority of people goes through Rachael Ray. Ray and Fieri are the culinary versions of marijuana, the food TV gateway drug to eating and cooking either bigger, better, and badder food, or for lazier folks, a lifetime of the cooking equivalent of smoking really bad weed. Thankfully with guys like Oliver who’ve consciously chosen to cook in an unfussy appealing way while featuring super-fresh ingredients, and…
Those who can, do. Those who can’t, write about it. I don’t necessarily subscribe to that piece of wisdom, but I’m sure every cook who’s been on the blunt end of my keyboard strokes feels that way. And it’s true that if I had to go toque to toque with any of the Iron Chefs (save Cat Cora, I kid), I’d probably lose. But, given enough time and space, I’m a pretty damn good cook. And as such, I’ve been tempted to wade into the culinary business and test my practical mettle at times.