Tonight on Travel Channel is the Maine episode of Bizarre Foods , marking the television debut of both my son and my dad, and we all get to eat together. Amazing. Plus, a culinary death match with dozens of local Portland chefs, a day of lobstering with Linda Greenlaw, and, of course, plenty of moose and beaver. I love this episode and hope you do, too. For the record, the food at Hugo's, 555, Back Bay Grill, Evangeline, and at Fore Street (if they opened here in our town) would automatically make them top-ten eateries. For anyone looking for a great food vacation, Maine, and the Portland area in particular, is an incredible destination.
This weekend I am off to Des Moines to attend the Iowa Food and Wine Fest. The three big celebs featured on the big stage are Sandra Lee, Guy Fieri and yours truly. I have all the respect in the world for this woman, except that I disagree with everything her food style and 'brand' are based on. Fieri I hear is a good dude, so I am anxious to see him in action. The problem I find with his stuff is that he raves and waxes poetic about eateries that serve some pretty awful stuff. Just because he's eating there doesn't make it good, and he loses his credibility in a big way with me by not being honest. Should make for a fun couple of days. If you are headed down there this weekend, stop by and say hi. Anyone have any recommendations for road food as I drive down to DM from the Twin Cities?
In March, we always feature our Restaurateur of the Year Award in our big food issue, but after thirty years, it might be time to recognize Cooks of Crocus Hill for its incredible commitment to the dining scene here. The biggest and best names in the business continue to stop in there and teach classes . . . from Thomas Keller to Tom the Kitchen Guy, they all make Cooks THE place for food in our town, and while the award will never go to it because it isn't a restaurant, I wanted to recognize its contribution here. And for those who remember my fourteen years of teaching there on a monthly basis, I will be there again on February 3 for a special night of food and fun. I miss being there regularly; it rocks.
I know a lot of you are busy getting ready for the big holiday next week, and if you need some recipes, I have posted some incredible ones over the years on this site, including a perfect turkey-stuffing-gravy troika that will help immensely when it comes to getting ready for mealtime. Check it out.
So last week I drove around the Twin Cities, again, on a Thursday evening, peeking in windows and seeing who was busy, or not as the case might be . . . Convention Grill: packed; Via: empty; Kozy's: packed with early birds, empty after that; The Lex: empty except for the bar and two small private parties; Fuji Ya on Lake: full; Barrio: PACKED (but that's an easy place to fill); M & S Galleria: oddly empty, except for window tables . . .
Word on the street is that Crave is opening several new locations, including taking over the Cal Café spot at MOA. What a waste.
I witnessed firsthand how big celebs, such as Brian Lambert, get treated at Morton's during the lunch rush. Adam Platt and I waited patiently for our table (in the back in the bar) while Lambert enjoyed STAR service, with waiters busily ferrying to and from his table with platters of fresh food, freebies, and more genuflecting than you will ever see outside of the Basilica on Sunday morning. Every patron in the place stopped at his table, kissed his ring, and tried to pry hot gossip out of him and his lunchmate (the Strib 's Kristin Tillotson). Adam and I sat in the back, largely ignored, humbly eating our salads and wishing we were up front where all the action was.
A game warden was driving down the road when he came upon a young boy carrying a wild turkey under his arm.
He stopped and asked the boy, "Where did you get that turkey?"
The boy replied, "What turkey?"
The game warden said, "That turkey you're carrying under your arm."
The boy looks down and said, "Well, lookee here, a turkey done roosted under my arm!"
The game warden said, '"Now look, you know turkey season is closed, so whatever you do to that turkey, I'm going to do to you. If you break his leg, I'm gonna break your leg. If you break his wing, I'll break your arm. Whatever you do to him, I'll do to you. So, what are you gonna do with him"'
The little boy said, "I guess I'll just kiss his ass and let him go!"
May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!