Tag Archives: food

I leave it up to you


Omakase is a Japanese word that means to entrust. As in, I leave it upto you.

It’s a culinary tradition wherein the chef chooses the courses based on what is inspiring to him or her.

Entrusting someone is hard work. It’s casting aside all your cares and worries and believing that the person you’ve entrusted will at least meet your expectations, if not surpass them.

A week after one of the worst elections in my lifetime, if not US history, my friend Aaron put together an Omakase gathering for sixteen guests. Continue reading I leave it up to you

Gut Decisions

An assortment of pickled vegetables for making Bloody Marys.
An assortment of pickled vegetables for making Bloody Marys.

Much like good bacteria lying dormant in my gastrointestinal system for lack of food to revive it, I believe the fermentation bug has always been with me, passed down through the mists of time from one person to another, waiting for a reason to revive.

Having been raised in Europe, where naturally fermented foods like yogurt and cheese were not just staples but everyday delights, I grew up with a taste for strongly flavored, potent and sour things.

The bluer the cheese, the better. The more sour the yogurt, the better.

My mom was making kombucha in the 80s and 90s, long before it became a household name. My grandmothers made pickles and sauerkraut that sat in jars on shelves for us to consume throughout the long winters.

Continue reading Gut Decisions

Eating Fiji: They killed a goat for me

Peppers, curry powder, ginger, fenugreek and cloves are among the flavorings in Fijian goat curry
Peppers, curry powder, ginger, fenugreek and cloves are among the flavorings in Fijian goat curry

Food is a serious thing in the South Pacific.

It is labor, nourishment, hospitality and worship all wrapped up together with every other part of the distinctive cultures in the islands.

Food is gathered and pounded and wrapped up in leaves and cooked in underground ovens. And increasingly bought from store shelves and microwaved on countertops.

Food is simple, essentially what grows on the limited terrain and in the tropical climate, and yet it’s complex and strong, like an alloy comprised of different metals.

When I think of Fiji, I can taste the green coconuts I would pick up and drink from a hole in the husk on a hot afternoon.

Continue reading Eating Fiji: They killed a goat for me

Savannah on my mind

She always finds her Tardis
She always finds her Tardis

Gabrielle and I approached the breakfast buffet at the Comfort Inn in Columbia, South Carolina, trepidatiously.

That is to say we’ve been there before.

That moment when you walk into the foyer of whatever cheap hotel occupies every single exit from here to Modesto, and you discover that it looks like it’s been pillaged by Viking raiders.

The tables were covered in the viscera of yogurts and bananas, whose skeletons and skins bulged in a heap atop the trash can like a pile of bodies ready for the pyre.

Sloppy paper notes indicated the orange juice, waffles and sausages were gone. Forever.

So we made up toast with jam, salvaged the rest of the Fruit Loops and drank apple-juice colored water and headed to the pool, where I taught her my secret skills of playing the mouth trumpet in an echoe-y room.

“You’re really good at that dad,” she said.

“I know,” I replied. “I want you to put that on my grave stone.”

She just looked sideways at me and continued to swim.

Continue reading Savannah on my mind

The Art of Staying In Bed All Day

in-bed-all-dayWe stayed in bed all day watching Netflix movies and reading books in between the movies.

Call it recovery from our first big house party in a few years, where we dipped into the cellar and made like Jesus, serving the best last late into Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

I got up and made breakfast for the friends who stayed until the bitter end and then stayed the night.

We ate omelettes with leftover pulled pork and sharp cheddar cheese with salsa and avocado. I made them strong coffee, and we watched some television together before they left for their Sunday activities.

Continue reading The Art of Staying In Bed All Day


As if char-broiled oysters weren’t enough, we walked the 10 blocks or so over to Cochon Butcher for alligator bites and an oyster bacon sandwich.

I could go on and on about the oyster bacon sandwich. It’s one of the few exquisite food experiences I’ve had in my life. Like basil and and tomato or ginger and bourbon, bacon and oysters are perfect lovers.

It was so sunny we opted to sit outside, and it was warm enough to entice us to order a big glass of something cold and California, of the Chardonnay variety.


Eating the South – Thoughts on food and drink from Chicago to New Orleans – Part I

Turning 40 is a decent occasion to celebrate health and sobriety these days.

Knowing, as I do, many who’ve opted to run marathons, tough mudders and triathlons instead of imbibing on craft beer and bourbon and eating enough fried food to kill Elvis several times over.

But that is what I did.

Continue reading Eating the South – Thoughts on food and drink from Chicago to New Orleans – Part I

NYC 2: From the inside –

New York is like hot sauce in the morning. There is a subtle but noticeable trace of vinegar  and a lot of spice. 

I tried to hit Starbucks for a cup of green tea before heading to the training at WNYC, but I stood on the corner watching life go by a few minutes too long and missed my window. 

I ran for the subway, the number 1 to Houston, pronounced HOWston. I learned this the hard way. 

WNYC sits proudly at the corner of Varick and Charlton streets, a beacon-station, I’m told, for many reporters. 

I joined a group of public radio reporters from around the country gathering to talk about transportation and all the issues surrounding it. No better place to do this than in New York city. 

I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that you definitely rely on the facts they gather and the voices they use to explain things. They get you home on time. Or close to it. 

I watched New York go by through the big windows of the performance studio where the training was held. 

When I wasn’t completely immersed in some detail of the national transportation story, I’d drift outside to the cars heading toward the Holland Tunnel. 

The rush starts early, but then it is a Friday, and I can imagine people are anxious to get back to their homes in Jersey. 

When the workshop wound up, a group of reporters walked over to the Arctic, a bar a few blocks from the station. We curled up around a few drinks and talked shop, which if not our favorite thing to do as reporters, definitely comes in a close second, especially with a drink in hand and a boisterous atmosphere. 

We told war stories, shared technology secrets and marveled at how other shops conduct their business. 

After drinks, we made our way to The Ear, which used to mark the water line on a much narrower Manhattan. If you stand at the side of the bar and look south, you see rows and rows of buildings on what used to be river. 

The Ear has been around for a long, long time. I believe it’s called the oldest working bar in Manhattan. 

It was built for a James Brown, an aid to George Washington though, not the Godfather of soul.

It’s been a home to sailors and salty New York patrons ever since. 

Kind of perfect for a bunch of journalist types to hang out in and talk about ghosts. 

The folks from the national show “Marketplace” met us there and regaled us with more stories and pictures of spouses and kids. They even picked up the tab. Nice folks. 

I pitched a story to one of the editors. They liked it. 

Now I get to say I pitched a story in New York, even though John Haas works in Los Angeles. 

New York factored into our discussions all day. I didn’t get to wander aimlessly around taking pictures today. In some ways we explored New York from the inside, looking at the way people get around and the structures that allow them to live their lives. 

Sometimes I think journalists are the best people to hang out with. Their view of the world may be skeptical, but they see through many of the layers of this life better than the average Joe. That’s why we need them.  

On the way back to the Cosmopolitan Hotel in TriBeCa, we talked about 1 World Trade Center and how you have tickets to get in to the 9/11 Memorial. I think I’ll do that another time.  

We laughed at funny traffic control signs, especially when one of them flew us the bird. 

After parting ways at the elevator, I briefly thought about trying to find the well-known Weather Up bar a few blocks from the hotel. But getting to know New York from the inside is a lot to digest in one day. I decided to let it all sink in over a good night’s sleep. 

I’ve got a lot of city to see on Saturday and not a lot of time to do it in.