Feast of the Senses at the James Beard House

Nobody forgets their first. Maybe it’s a cheeseburger, a lover, a car, a shitty job, or a dinner at the James Beard House. Maybe it’s beautiful or terrible or it lasts into the dregs of the night, but you don’t forget it, not easily, not in a lifetime. It’s an endless evening of piqued courses amidst weeks that turn up the same surroundings, over and over again. It’s a commercial break from a loop of Groundhog Day. We may be the same idiots we were when we walked into the James Beard House, but we were bracketed by strange and wonderful things.20160210_182306 Continue reading “Feast of the Senses at the James Beard House”

Alinea, Chicago, IL

It was magic in the middle of September. It was everything I’ve been hoping for and dreaming of for the better part of my adult life- a culmination, of sorts, an ascension into an adulthood that came with an ache in my wallet realizing that I was at the helm of this experience. Just me, the Bedfellow, and Grant Achatz one night for a few brief hours, a reservation made on a giddy whim in the heat of July in a sparsely decorated sublet. Alinea came and went as smoothly as its service. We were seated next to the worst dinner party, as it were, a guy and his three prisoners. Someone asked how many times he’d been there- “Oh, probably a dozen,” before he accosted the sommelier. For Alinea, I would easily do the same.20150917_211606Down the dark red hall, the world opened up into the well-oiled wizardry of the kitchen. I can’t remember a time, not the Macy’s Christmas displays, not Bloomingdale’s, not Sadaharu Aoki or Pierre Herme, that I have pressed my nose up against a glass panel with such wonder like this, and certainly not with a glass of champagne. There we stood watching the orchestration take place before we ascended. Continue reading “Alinea, Chicago, IL”

Brick + Wood, Fairfield, CT

Ain’t no party like a Neopolitan pizza party, because a Neapolitan pizza party is held five feet away from a 1,000 degree oven. Oh yes. Brick + Wood in Fairfield is the latest pizzeria to grace the Gold Coast, and a mighty good one it is indeed. We attended a press dinner a few weeks ago, full of hijinks, Italian cocktails, and dessert in Fairfield. DSC_1410 Continue reading “Brick + Wood, Fairfield, CT”

Myojo Ippei-chan Yakisoba Japanese Style Noodles

Yesterday I started my hypertrophy training. Today, I was ass-deep in estate tax notes to the tune of 115 pages. Today, I ate my lean muscle mass in ramen. We all know ramen is elevated as an obsessive art form in the US, ever since we discovered that the rest of the world knew how good ramen was long before we cracked open our first Maruchan. But I’ve discovered the intersection of boxed, laxy convenience and near-gourmet seasoning and preparation. Its name is Myojo Japanese Yakisoba, and it played the dozens with Nissin’s version and won hard. Sauce in the house, playa.DSC_1949 Continue reading “Myojo Ippei-chan Yakisoba Japanese Style Noodles”

The Generous Pour at the Capital Grille, New York, NY

A few weeks ago, The Bedfellow and I went to the Capital Grille in Times Square for an evening of wine, steak, and complaining after an insane job conference. This was my third time sampling the Generous Pour, and we had an excellent evening. The Times Square location, one of three in the city, is sprawling and cavernous, with numerous alcove-like dining areas throughout the restaurant and staircases leading to private dining rooms. The acoustics were terrible and it was difficult to have a conversation without shouting across the two-top, and halfway through dinner the lights went slowly dim and then bright again like a geriatric light show for about a half hour, making for a weirdly disconcerting dining experience.DSC_9374-2 Continue reading “The Generous Pour at the Capital Grille, New York, NY”

10 in 30: Top Eats in Arkansas, Month 3

I’m reluctantly counting down the days- how did this month, much less this summer, go by so damned quickly? I leave Friday at 8AM, and the next time you hear me run my mouth, it’ll be from Birmingham, Alabama. Holy cow. Without further ado, my last top ten from Arkansas. You run deep in me.wpid-img_20140726_124020.jpg Continue reading “10 in 30: Top Eats in Arkansas, Month 3”

Three Michelin Stars, Table for One: Joël Robuchon, Las Vegas, NV

When you laugh, the world laughs with you. When you dine alone at a three Michelin star restaurant, the world is cold. It started when I stepped in the limo, the sky unusually dark for a hot Vegas night. Sitting in the back, the car was familiar, tastefully gilded in a sea of black. Leg room and Fiji water for the taking. Silent. In traffic, I looked out onto the people, close enough to touch, and I knew they couldn’t see me watching. DSC_9292-2The dignity of lingering in the atrium, watching the lights go on and off in the villas at the private mansion entrance is offset by a gentle hand at your elbow as you are seated in the lounge. They expected a party of two and are modifying a table, a plush velvet banquette in purple and gold, very Deco Paris. You can ask women to do many things with you in Vegas, but none of them will accompany you to dinner. On the plus side, now you have more elbow room. It is my last evening in Las Vegas, and I am dining at Joël Robuchon. Continue reading “Three Michelin Stars, Table for One: Joël Robuchon, Las Vegas, NV”

10 in 30: Top Eats in Arkansas, Month 2

Another month, another set of delicious treats in Arkansas. This time, I branched out of the Bentonville/Fayetteville/Rogers area and explored beyond, to the Beaver and Wedington Lake areas and further. Many of these places were found while I was driving, as opposed to my last selection, which I’d heavily curated in advance. Half the fun was the discovery!wpid-img_20140714_120355.jpg Continue reading “10 in 30: Top Eats in Arkansas, Month 2”

Farm to People July 2014 Box: Smoke and Spice

I went on an adventure today on a borrowed scooter. I was chased by wild dogs, no big deal, don’t worry about it. I’m exhausted now and starving. When I got home after driving through a scary park, ogling silkworm nests and eating coconut cream pie, I got an awesome box in the mail. I’ve been getting into subscription boxes lately, and when Farm to People offered to send me a box, I was keen to try their selection. I’ve got to admit, I was a little nervous- with all the specialty foods I’ve tried, I figured there would be some repeats, if not most of them. Somehow, perfection and snacks aligned– not only were there items from new companies I hadn’t heard of, but there were things I’d been ogling for months.DSC_9147-2 Continue reading “Farm to People July 2014 Box: Smoke and Spice”

Top 10 Eats in St. Louis, MO

Yep. Back to Missouri. Can’t let the beast win, right?wpid-img_20140711_220341.jpgA few weeks before we made the plan to go, I found a clue. A new lead, like letters underneath fingernails. I think hipsters stole my briefcase. This is entirely based on a piece of paper I found while going through my belongings after switching rooms, a paint sample wedged in between a few Kansas City bus passes that read, in lazy handwriting, “I hope I’m the pain in your poems.” Continue reading “Top 10 Eats in St. Louis, MO”