Consider the Red Lobster

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

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Chicago’s Food Future is in Los Angeles

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.

Fail Fast. Fail Often. Fail Up.

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.

Why Turkey?

Thanksgiving is the one holiday where I prefer to go vegetarian.

Yes, There Really is a Food Mecca There

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…

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The Sausage Maker

I imagined the unburdening would come much later; a slow uncoiling where memories like ethereal tendrils eventually roiled around and invaded my indifference.

Grub Street’s State of the Food Union

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…

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Common Sense on Common Culinary Misconceptions

According to biographer Craig Nelson, in the last few weeks of his life, everything Thomas Paine ate triggered episodes of vomiting. In response, he allegedly gave food up entirely until he died. Maybe that’s the real story? We think maybe Paine just witnessed the bad behaviors and fibs of colonial celebrity chefs and restaurateurs and couldn’t take it anymore. We know the feeling. As their modern counterparts have grown in stature and the PR machines have heated up, so has the mythology of dining out. Since the truth shall set you free, we bring a little common sense to bear on some common culinary-related misconceptions.

The Pastry Trail: Eclair, the moment I met you…

For many folks, a first trip to Paris turns out to be a bolt of culinary enlightenment. For me it was pretty much about trudging up thousands of really old stone stairs with the occasional side of mediocre pan au chocolat. Of course, as in substandard sex or pizza, one can always find something to love in a bad croissant stuffed with the gooey chocolate. But the point remains that during that trip I was not sophisticated enough to know where I should have gone for good pastry.