Nyotaimori means female body presentation in Japanese, and it seems gimmicky at first, but there is something fabulous about eating sushi and sashimi off of a living, breathing human being--especially when it is Simone, who lay there for two hours without moving, buck-naked, while Alexis McKinnis ( VitaMN , Girl Friday , etc.), Johnny Michaels (master mixologist from LBV, etc.), Martha Hopkins ( InterCourses , the cookbook), and I chowed down, carefully plucking the fish from shoulders, legs, belly, arms, and chest. Some days I REALLY love my job.
We were shooting the wraps, teases, and tosses for our Sexy Foods special for Travel Channel, and I have to say it was a great couple of days. First off, we shot at Midtown Global Market, which I talked about last week. The next day, we shot all day at Hells Kitchen, recently re-located to the old Rossi's space on 9th Street. Why would you want to move your restaurant into a subterranean space--with some of the worst 'bones' in the design biz--when there is so much awesome real estate to be had for so little these days?
Anyway . . . I stuffed myself silly on that great sausage bread, but everything else I nibbled on all morning was just a mediocre version of the items I always liked better at the old place. I saw owner Mitch Omer there, walked over, and said hello, trying to be a nice guy and take the moral high ground since the last time we 'spoke' was when he chose to trash me, my family, and my home in an online piece he penned for a local magazine's website. (He is hard at work, BTW, on his new cookbook, which drops from Borealis in the fall.) Well, expectations are a bitch, and I was hoping he might mention the little contretemps we had, especially since he and his co-author, Ann Bauer (who I also saw there that morning), asked me last month to write an introduction to the book, which I agreed to do. What an odd world. I don't know the man at all really, but doesn't that seem weird? To get pilloried by him (unreasonably, I might add), in what one of his friends told me was a red wine-inspired event, was fine by me as I said at the time, but he took some shots at parts of my life that he has no knowledge of and no business commenting on, but still I get it. I live by the sword, die by it, etc., as a public person. But to do that; then to ask me to write an intro to his book; then to "take our check," so to speak, for using his place as a location for our shoot; and then, when I go say hi to him with a big smile, he ignores the obvious opening. It just seems strange to me. God, I love that sausage bread though.
And yes, before you start frantically posting, I am well aware that I am in a way reopening a long-dead conversation. But to me, THAT thread really was put to rest last week when I finally got to shake Mitch's hand and say hi. I wish him well with all his projects. Also, if you didn't read Ann's piece in the NYT several months ago about her struggles with her son's autism, you should. It was superb.
Congrats to Niver and Fratzke! The Strip Club made the January "Best Of The Year" issue of Bon Appetit . Check out the "Hot Ten" in the starters section.
Now, if you weren't in St Paul but in Milano today, you'd be standing in line at Pasticceria Marchesi trying to buy Panettone. If you want to skip the line, simply click here, and see Panettone Classico by Marchesi arrive at your house overnight.
My friends Bob and Sue ate the gizzards at 112 last week, along with that awesome tongue and soba bowl, and they loved them. Nice.
Last week I was in Chicago for a day doing promotional interviews for Cherry Pepto-Bismol. I love the City of Big Shoulders, and I was there the day the Blago-gate story exploded, so that was fun. Kevin Pang and I got a tour of David Burke's Primehouse, specifically the meat-aging room, which is simple enough for anyone to build. It's just a cooler, set at a slightly warmer temp than your household fridge, and it allows Burke and his team to custom age all their meats, control spoilage, and provide a signature 'cure' to all their products, thanks to the back wall composed of slabs of Himalayan rock salt. Very impressive. But easy to do. So why don't more restaurants do that? Because they are idiots. In a day and age where it is more crucial than ever to distinguish yourself from the competition, this is an easy way for a beef concept to tout its superiority and devotion to craft.
While there, I also had lunch with Steve Dolinsky at Veerasway on Randolph, which bills itself as a 'fresh Indian' restaurant. Not sure what that means, I think it is trying to intone a modernist and lighter approach to Indian foods than what most people are used to, but I simply think it is a waste of ink. But, it serves some of the best Indian fare I have eaten in years. It is housed in a gorgeous and simple room that is staffed with earnest and learned servers who really get what the higher calling of the place is. Why there is no restaurant like this in the Twin Cities is beyond me.