Thursday, October 7, 2010

Gumbo in New Orleans!

As I type this, the "Dralion" catering crew and I are driving through Chattanooga, Tennessee en route to Charlottesville, Virginia. We started at 7:00am from Houston, Texas, and anticipate arriving just before 6:00am tomorrow. We timed our arrival perfectly, though unintentionally, to stop for lunch in New Orleans. We met a friend of Brian's at a little hole in the wall called the Convention Bar & Gril, and I had a killer bowl of gumbo.  Since Patrick and Jena had never been to NOLA before, we drove around the French Quarter for a bit after lunch.  Showed them Bourbon Street and Jackson Square, then hit the road.  

The last time I was in New Orleans was pre-Katrina, and from the looks of it, the French Quarter, downtown, and other high traffic areas have recovered completely.  The outlying areas are a different story.  I remember them looking pretty rough before the storm, but a lot of it looks like the hurricane hit last week.  There are still partially-collapsed buildings and houses where you can see the high-water line standing as a silent but glaring monument to a total catastrophe.  It's really sad.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Social Media & the Independent Restaurant

The restaurant industry and social media platforms have always had a tenuous relationship.  With the advent of the message board and blog, suddenly the phrase “everyone’s a (restaurant) critic” became excruciatingly true.  Next time you’re going to go out to eat, hop on your computer and Google the restaurant you’ve chosen.  No matter where you’re going, - a rural truck stop diner or Jean-Georges, I guarantee there will at least be a couple dozen (if not hundreds) reviews.
I’ve heard a number of friends and peers in the industry lament the fact that “any hack with a blog” can smear a restaurant (deservedly or not) and damage its credibility, but fail to acknowledge or fully understand the enormous potential that free web-based platforms offer the restaurant industry – especially the independent operation.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pimp My Grill - Part 1 - Charmoula

As summer approaches, the grills begin to come out in force (unless you're like some of my friends who grill even if there are 3 foot snowbanks surrounding it).  I thought I'd share grill season favorites, as well as anything I end up creating myself.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What's Your Favorite Thing To Cook?!

The question that makes every professional cook want to jump off the nearest tall building.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Why I Cook

Taking my cue from Michael Ruhlman, whom I greatly admire and who has done a great deal of work demystifying a number of aspects of the culinary universe, I wanted to share the reasons why I cook - personally and professionally. To anybody out there reading this - why do you cook? Leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail, I'd love to hear about it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

RIP Uptown Bar & Café

This is a little belated, but I just wanted to share that subject of my "Comfort Food" post, the Uptown Bar & Café was closed and demolished late last year to make room for some big shiny corporate clothing store. The Uptown was a Twin Cities landmark - damn near ALL of my favorite bands played there early in their careers. Nirvana, Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, The Replacements, The Flaming Lips, Hüsker Dü, and the list goes on. It's a shame and a sin, but it's life.

Surviving Culinary School

Lately I've fielded a number of questions from friends, readers of my blog (which is admittedly not that many people), and members of Chef's Blade about what to expect in culinary school classes. I realized that my earlier post - "Things Every Culinary Student Should Know" - was slightly jaded, cautionary, and not very constructive or proactive, so I decided to come up with some strategies for actually successfully making it through culinary school. I can't think of many fields of work that are more fun, dynamic, and fascinating than the culinary work, so I certainly don't want to scare anyone away.