rumination 36: quantum soulless…

•March 8, 2018 • Leave a Comment

It’s not enough to land the fly in the right spot.  The fly has to alight convincingly.  At the slightest hint of mischief or deceit, the fish won’t bite.  The art of fly fishing – from the craft of “tying” flies and lures, to deploying them successfully – is a sophisticated game of hide-and-seek.

Be it fisher or hunter, success is determined by how well prey is fooled.  And because of this, since time immemorial, the survival of man has hinged on convincing artifice.

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favorites of 2017: the restaurant edition…

•March 3, 2018 • 6 Comments

Clown Bar

In 2017, my most exciting destinations had little to do with food.

That’s not to say that I didn’t have any good food.  Rather, finding good food wasn’t my priority.  So, there are no dark horses for me to champion this year; no surprises to report.  You’ll find no exciting news here.

On the bright side, the tried remained true.  I continued to eat very well where I have eaten well before.  And that consistency and reliability is rewarding.

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rumination 35: worth a special journey…

•February 20, 2018 • 4 Comments

It’s no secret that I have been an unamused critic of restaurant lists and ratings.  Much of food media has succumbed to the pressures of collecting clicks, sponsorships, and advertisement.  And sensationalism sells.  So, to reach the widest audience, they cast the widest net.  As a result, lists and ratings rarely reward craftsmanship, originality, quality of cooking, or professionalism.  No, that’s boring. Instead, they reward diversity – geographic and demographic. They reward those with a large social media presence.  And they reward the ones who will play along.

For years, I have been calling for chefs to reject and resist these influences, not only to preserve their own careers, but the craft to which they have dedicated their lives.  Of course, this is a risky move, and a long-game approach, which is why, understandably, few have done so openly.  But the collective inaction is finally coming home to roost.
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favorite desserts of 2017…

•January 28, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Plums off the hearth.

Plums, ashen from the hearth, bleeding into gauzy muslin.

Figs, syrupy and charred, nestled in a flakey frame.

Saffron suspended in a milky cloud glinting with gold.

And apricots, fleshy and warm, hugged in a doughy crust, with ice cream beside; a slice of the great American songbook.

These are just a few of my sweetest moments in 2017.

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favorite dishes of 2017…

•January 25, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Lacquered Quail

I took the lessons I learned in 2016 and applied them to 2017.

Staying close to familiar quarters, I continued to bet on sure winners.  They did not disappoint.

And, although many of my travel destinations in 2017 were not chosen with great food in mind, I found some great food anyway.

Let me tell you about some of my favorites.

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travel: an education… (2017)

•January 23, 2018 • 5 Comments


It has been over a dozen years since I started recording and reporting here.  Yet, despite my dwindling updates, I have not lost enthusiasm or eagerness for it. What little time I manage to devote to writing my blog remains exciting and important to me, because above all, it represents an incredible education.

Since leaving the law firm at the top of 2011, and more significantly, leaving my anonymity behind shortly thereafter, I began writing from a different perspective.  With an explosion of blogs and food media that began flooding the internet restaurant-related minutiae, the need for detailed reports like mine diminished. So, I broadened the scope of this blog to do more of what I love doing: connecting the many reference points I had gathered over the years, and championing those who are producing something of quality and substance.

Sadly, I can’t say I’ve been very regular about it. For the past few years, I’ve deferred much of my reflecting and sharing to the end the year, when I scramble to collect my thoughts and preserve some of what I have been too busy to file in the preceding 12 months.* And this task has only become more challenging as my calendar has grown more and more crowded each year.

Of course this is a good thing.  It means those blurred lines that I described in 2013 have sharpened.  Blissfully shrugging off the ambiguities (and the one-dimensional pigeon hole) of “food blogging,” I have moved into a truer and more fulfilling role as a photographer.  Documenting the world with a camera has been an essential part of my life now for more than two decades.  Before I had an adequate grasp of writing, or an understanding of the restaurant industry, I was framing the world around me through a lens. Now, in my adult life, I am blessed to be able to do this professionally.

2017 took me to far corners of our globe.  Logging over 120,00 miles, I visited 8 countries on 4 continents, as well as cities across the United States.  Much of it was to photograph restaurants, food, and chefs, both professionally and for personal pleasure.  But much of it was for other things that interest me – art, history, and culture.  When I’m not eating or writing about food, these are the things that occupy my time and thoughts.

So, before I turn to anthologizing my year in eating, as I have done for a decade or more, I’d like to share a bit of where I went, what I experienced, and what I learned last year.  Of course, if you’re not interested in these things, I invite you to skip to the bottom of this post, where I log all of the restaurants I visited in 2017.

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rumination 34: simplify…

•January 21, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Chefs: I challenge you to remove one (and for some of you, three) items from each dish.