Saturday, February 11, 2017

Meet Dave the Bagel Guy

Published on the I Love Memphis Blog
February 11, 2017

Meet Dave The Bagel Guy

Ed. Note: Bagel lovers, search no more for your Memphis fix. Contributor and Memphis food expert Stacey Greenberg has the scoop.You’ve probably been seeing some fresh faces on the I Love Memphis Blog. Be on the lookout for even more this month. – Holly

Apparently Memphians have been jonesing for a really good bagel.

David Scott, 26, moved to Memphis from Portland, Oregon in October of last year. He started “Dave’s Bagels” shortly after and has basically been making bagels (by hand!) around the clock ever since.

“Honestly, bagels were always my favorite breakfast food,” says Dave, who was born in New Jersey. He spent a few years backpacking across the country and had trouble finding the bagels he was used to growing up. “I couldn’t find anything good past sourdough on the West Coast,” he says.

Dave decided to try making bagels himself, thinking ‘How hard could it be?” Well, it turns out it was a lot harder than he thought. “I’ve been tweaking my recipe for three years,” he says. “In Portland, I had a Jewish friend from Brooklyn who was my official taster. One day, she told me I had something good and that I should sell them.”

But in Portland, bagels were just a hobby, since it’s an expensive place to live and Dave was busy making ends meet. But once he got to Memphis, he says he didn’t want to do anything else.

“I made a home batch of 50 bagels and went around town to grocery stores and bakeries and passed them out,” he says. “I had my number on the bag.”

His last stop was the Curb Market. “Pamela [the manager] is gluten free, but her staff loved them. She told me to get a business license and come back,” says Dave.

What makes Dave’s bagels so special? Well, he’s got trade secrets he can’t divulge, but says the overnight fermentation is key. “There are some chemical reactions that happen in there to create great natural flavors,” he says.

Dave has seven varieties of bagels (plain, everything, sesame, poppy, cinnamon raisin, cinnamon apple, and chocolate chip), and the “everything” is the most popular. He started selling them at the Curb Market on Sunday, November 6th. He sold them every Sunday through December, and thanks to growing demand, began selling them on both Saturdays and Sundays in January.

Making 200-400 bagels by hand each week is no easy feat. (His goal is 500-1000.) Dave works out of a commercial kitchen near the Trolley Stop Market and puts in 8-10 hour days. He keeps a steady pace dividing, weighing, and forming the dough, repeating that cycle for hours and hours. “I can do two dozen an hour by hand. I love doing it. I put my head down and go. Time flies,” he says.

Dave has also inadvertently gotten into the pretzel business, sort of. “Davin from Wiseacre contacted me and asked if I ever experimented with pretzels. I said no. He said he had and it wasn’t too different from making bagels. So, I got some spent grains and played around,” he explains.

Davin loved what he had made, and now Dave will be serving fresh hot pretzels at Wiseacre’s Febtoberfest on Saturday (that’s today folks – Feb. 11!) when he’s done at the Curb Market.

Depending on how they sell, or if they attract buzz, Dave may consider devoting some time to regularly making pretzels. As business booms, he’s deciding whether to hire an employee and hoping to someday be able to invest in a $4300 bagel former. “I had no idea it would happen this quickly. Apparently Memphians love bagels. I guess it’s a thing. I owe Memphis a lot,” he says.

The Curb Market is temporarily closing, so Saturday, February 11, will be his last day there until they reopen in Crosstown in May. Then he will sell his bagels every day. In the meantime, he will be selling them at Otherlands, and hopefully a few other coffee shops in town. Come summer, he will be at the Memphis Farmer’s Market.

Find Dave this Saturday, February 11th:

Curb Market (596 Cooper St.), 10:30am-noon.
Wiseacre Brewing Company’s (2783 Broad Avenue) Febtoberfest 1:00-10:00pm


P.S. Dave says his bagels paired with Tom’s Tiny Kitchen pimento cheese is pretty magical.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Memphis Late Night Guide

Published on
February 2017

Memphis Late Night Guide

You’re on vacation. You don’t have to go to bed at 10:00pm. Why would you when there’s still so much to do? Here are our picks for the best late night fun in Midtown and Downtown.


Most of Beale Street stays up way later than the rest of the city and has the added bonus of allowing you to walk from place to place with a drink in hand (the only place in Tennessee to allow this). Take a stroll from one end to the other and see which places are hoppin, as it varies from night to night.

The Blew Note, across from The New Daisy, is closest thing there is to a real deal juke joint on Beale. Handy’s Blues Hall also feels authentic and original. (Check out the McDaniel band on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.)

The Tap Room is a down and dirty saloon if you wish to imbibe. People’s has the nicest, biggest pool tables in town. Rent one by the hour or pay as you go on a regular size table. (They also have a vending machine full of chips, candy, cigarettes, aspirin and dice, among other things.)

Live music and eats can also be found in other parts of downtown, too. Heading south from Beale, the legendary Earnestine & Hazel’s is known for its soul burgers, jukebox, and ghost stories. (Depending on the night, there is live music and/or free pool.)

The newish Loflin Yard is the place to be, especially when the weather is nice. It’s like a park that serves pitchers of beer, handcrafted cocktails and wine by the bottle. Their coach house often has live music and the upscale menu features mostly grilled items. The Dirty Crow is downtown’s newest dive bar. It features a great patio, crowd-pleasing chicken wings, and live music on weekends.

Downtown central has a couple of great neighborhood bars with great food—Bardog (a smoking bar) and the newly opened speakeasy-like Belle Tavern. For dancing, Paula & Raiford’s Disco is a revered Memphis institution which really doesn’t get going until 11:00pm. Don’t let the line down the street deter you. It moves fast and the party inside is worth it - think fog machines, twinkle lights, white leather couches, and a live DJ. (Also, if it’s crowded, paying a bit extra for the VIP area is suggested.)

For more soulful sounds and slower dance moves, head to Memphis Sounds Lounge in the basement of the Econo Lodge. Known for cool jazz and hot blues, it’s a fun, intimate spot for live music.

In Victorian Village, Mollie Fontaine’s is the go to. Official hours are “5:00pm til the spirits go to sleep,” Wednesday through Saturday. The entire house is beautifully decorated, dark, and cozy. The downstairs features a piano and a large bar. Upstairs is a series of smaller rooms and a small bar (that allows smoking) with adjacent livingroom-like seating. Things can (and do) get a little wild.


Overton Square entertainment district is one Midtown option for the after party. It doesn’t go nearly as late as Beale Street, but there are a few late night gems to try. Dodici, located inside and above Bari Ristorante, is a super snug and exclusive bar that only seats twelve. The bartender, Vincent Hale, has been given free reign to make the fanciest, most complicated cocktails in town. He’ll stay as long as people are ordering drinks. Robata serves ramen and other Japanese delights until midnight Monday-Saturday and Local’s kitchen doesn’t close until 3am, seven days a week.

Just south of Overton Square is the Cooper-Young neighborhood, filled with an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars. Slider Inn (a smoking bar) has your patio needs covered, year round. They serve sliders, fries, nachos, lobster rolls and the like until 3am. Bar DKDC has live music almost every night and is a solid bet for late night fun. It’s not the biggest bar in town, but it definitely provides a bang. Around the corner, the much roomier Young Avenue Deli features live music, pool tables, and full service late night dining and drinks.

In Crosstown, the Hi Tone is the go-to, especially if you want to rock. They have live music nearly every night, usually starting at 10pm. There’s a separate smoking bar and a smaller room in back for intimate affairs. Food depends on who sets up outside, but is typically some kind of barbeque.

In VECA, Wild Bill’s is a must for the juke joint experience. Locals and tourists alike fill the communal tables. Beer is served in 40s with extra cups or you can BYOB and get a set up. The house band, led by Ms. Nikki, plays from 11pm-3am on weekends. Bring cash and plan to chat--and dance--with all of your new friends.
Down the road, Alex’s Tavern (a smoking bar) is known for its Greek seasoned burgers, jukebox, and extra late hours. If you wanna keep the party going all night, this is the place.

Warm Up In Memphis This Winter

Published on
February 2017

Warm Up In Memphis This Winter

Winter is a relative term in Memphis, where we can deliver nearly year round patio weather. However, during our occasional stretches of cooler temps, there are plenty of tasty ways to warm your belly.

Soups and Noodles

You can find plenty of Asian restaurants in midtown if spicy, fragrant soups are what you have in mind: think Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, and Chinese.

Crazy Noodle (2015 Madison) is a sweet little place tucked in just down the street from Overton Square. They have an amazing variety of ramen as well as Korean favorites like manduguk, which features Korean dumplings, flat rice cakes, cabbage, carrots, onions, shiitakes, and zucchini. It’s stirred with an egg and topped with seaweed.

Shanghai’s (1400 Poplar) magic tofu curry soup, also known as T12, is sure to cure whatever ails you, or just improve analready good day. Phuong Long (306 Cleveland) has fresh and delicious pho. Jasmine (916 S. Cooper) has perfected Thai favorites tom ka and tom yum and has one of the best hot and sour soups in town.

Finally, if you can catch a Lucky Cat Ramen pop up you absolutely should. They’ve taken ramen to a fine dining level.

If you are looking for a more traditional soup to stick to your bones, then get a bowl of Huey’s hearty potato soup. (Go ahead, get a burger too.) If chili is your thing, The Young Avenue Deli has a great veggie option and the Belle Tavern’s signature bowl is made with beef tenderloin.

La Baguette’s spicy tomato soup is the perfect match for their fresh baguettes. Tart’s Onion Soup Gratinee will literally make your mouth water. Finally, for the ultimate chicken soup fix, try Maciel’s sublime Chicken Chipotle Soup (listed as Caldo Tlalpeno).

Winter-Friendly Menus

When you are all souped up, or if you are souped out, head to Tsunami for a plate of the warm red cabbage salad with blue cheese and walnuts. The Cuban menu at Los Compadres (3295 Poplar) features Puerco Asada, also known as seriously delicious braised meat.

The mussels at Café 1912 come with bread for sopping up the sauce you’d drink from the bowl if no one was looking. Pete & Sam’s has a perfectly sized lasagna for one. Dino’s Grill has a really, really good chicken and spinach ravioli with authentic Italian gravy. Finally, Catherine & Mary’s grilled quail with polenta, pancetta and maitake ragu is one of the most satisfying dishes in town.

Cozy Up By The Fire

If fire is what you seek, Memphis has you covered. Mortimer’s has a full on fireplace (replete with mantle and fake books) adjacent to the bar. Have a bowl of gumbo and stay awhile. Le Chardonnay also has a fireplace with a couch if pizza is what you seek. Or sit at the bar by the pizza oven over at Bosco’s. The Madison Hotel’s Twilight Sky Terrace lights up their rooftop fire pits during cooler weather, too.

If that’s not enough fire, try Loflin Yard. Not only do they have fire pits set up, they sell DIY s’mores. You can also make your own s’mores indoors at the Kooky Canuck right on your table. But if just a small amount of fire sounds right, then you might also try the city’s oldest hibachi at Nagasaki Inn. Midtown’s newest Korean hotspot, DWJ #2 (2156 Young) lets you do the tableside cooking. Finally, a sizzling volcanic bowl of Bi Bim Bop from Kwik Chek should hit the spot.

Liquid Warmth

Wintertime liquid refreshments are the best. Stop by the Cove and have them whip up a hot toddy suited to your particular tastes. Casablanca has the best tea in town, which just happens to be sweetened with Wolf River honey. Order it hot! City & State’s Salted Caramel Latte is also a guaranteed warmer upper. (You can even get it with a slice of pie.) And no winter would be complete without at least cup of hot chocolate from Café Eclectic.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Memphis's New Ramen Masters: Lucky Cat Ramen

Published on the I Love Memphis Blog
January 24, 2017

Memphis’s New Ramen Masters: Lucky Cat Ramen

Ed. Note: I’m excited (pumped, really) to share with you this post from Stacey Greenberg, Memphis food expert. Be on the lookout for more fresh faces and new voices on the I Love Memphis Blog in the coming weeks. – Holly

Sunday, once known as the day of rest, is currently—due mostly to brunch—the funnest day of the week. Now, thanks to Lucky Cat Ramen Pop-Ups at The Cove, Sunday is also the most delicious day of the week.

Every Sunday the Lucky Cat crew—Zach Nicholson and wife, Sarah—spend an hour hauling their equipment to Broad Avenue and transforming The Cove’s tiny kitchen into ramen central for their weekly pop-ups.

While Zach works in the kitchen, Sarah takes orders at a separate register at the end of the bar. (Meaning, get your cocktails from Parks the bartender and get your noodles from Sarah.) There’s a menu board set up with the daily offerings—usually one veggie bowl, a pork offering or two, and a chicken option.

A half order is $7, and a full is $12. You can add spicy chili oil or an extra egg for $1 each. (Do this.) After you order, find a seat and enjoy a cocktail (order from the bartender) and Sarah will deliver your food when it is ready.

OK, we have to talk about the ajitama, a.k.a. the eggs. One of Zach’s family members raises 300 chickens to provide Lucky Cat with incredible eggs, which they soft boil to perfection and marinate in barrel-aged shoyu from Japan for eighteen hours.

They are nothing short of amazing. Each bowl comes with one ajitama, but as mentioned, adding an extra one is a total pro move.

You can already see that this is not the ramen you met in college, right?

All of the Lucky Cat Ramen animal products (bones, proteins) are delivered weekly from Jackson-based Marmilu Farms and their fresh, authentic noodles are shipped from New Jersey from the same producer that supplies ramen heavyweights such as David Chang of Momofuku and Ivan Orkin of Ivan Ramen.

It takes many steps to prepare what might seem like a humble bowl of noodles. Their pork broth undergoes a 48-hour cook time, resulting in an incredibly rich and creamy base for the soup. (See above.)

The chashu pork preparation involves several cooking techniques and takes a day-and-a-half to complete. They incorporate sous vide cooking with all of the proteins to ensure perfect and consistent results.

“We take the best of what we’ve learned through working and eating at notable restaurants to bring Memphis the best bowl of noodles we can make,” says Zach.

My favorite is the winter yuzu veggie bowl with lemongrass ginger broth. It is incredibly satisfying, even to non-vegetarians. Lucky Cat Ramen recently introduced two new dishes–coconut curry veggie ramen (with Thai basil, black sesame, and baby bok choy) and spicy Tan Tan pork ramen (with roasted peanut and fried garlic). Um, yum!

Here’s a ramen dictionary to help you order:

Kikurage: a mushroom with a jelly like consistency
Negi: a Japanese variety of onion
Nori (not to be confused with Negi): seaweed
Togarashi: red chili peppers
Yuzu: a citrus fruit

Lucky Cat is working on finding a permanent location, but in the meantime, you can find them at The Cove every Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. They also do to go orders. Keep in mind that The Cove is 21 and up.

There are also plans to partner with Memphis Made Brewing and Stock & Belle in February. Check their Facebook page or Instagram for more info.

Keep scrolling more about Zach and Sarah’s background in the bonus section at the bottom of this post.

Go there:

Lucky Cat Ramen Pop-Ups

The Cove (Sundays only, from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.)
2559 Broad Ave.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Reviews of New Food: Burger King’s Mac n Cheetos

Published September 19, 2016 on McSweeney's

Burger King’s Mac n Cheetos
Submitted by Stacey Greenberg

When Taco Bell came out with the Doritos Locos Tacos we were all ecstatic. Taco Bell and Doritos together? I mean, how could life get any better than that? As a child of the 70s and a mom, I was 100% impressed by their genius marketing team (which probably consisted of people in their 20s). I didn’t even care that the shell wasn’t actually a giant Dorito, just the same old shell with Doritos flavored powder on it.

Fast forward a few years and now we have Burger King’s retort, the Mac n Cheetos. What. The. Fuck. How do they get the macaroni to cooperate long enough to be encased in the Cheetos shell? What on earth must go into the Cheetos shell to make it strong enough to contain the macaroni? And is it fried? There are just so many questions I want to remain unanswered.

Oddly enough, the Mac n Cheetos hit my radar via a vegan friend on Facebook. She was lamenting the fact that she would never know the pleasure of the Mac n Cheetos. My first thought was, “Ew is there meat in them too?” Then I remembered that vegans don’t eat cheese. I could see the Mac n Cheetos turning just about anybody off of cheese eternally, assuming it actually contains real cheese, which surely it doesn’t. Ew, maybe there is meat in there too. Or ground up baby cow hoofs. Or that pesky gelatin that ruins so many things for vegans.

Because my now fourteen-year-old son only talks to me if it pertains to food (as in me buying him food, preparing him food, carrying food to him while he lays in bed watching YouTube), I asked, “Hey did you see the new Cheetos thing at Burger King?”

His eyes lit up, and he showed a level of excitement I hadn’t seen since agreeing to buy him four burritos at Chipotle a couple of weeks prior. “The Mac n Cheetos! Let’s go!” he said.

I’ll be honest. I wanted to go get them not just because I basically will do anything to keep my teenage son from getting hangry, but because I had to see one in person. Then I remembered we had just discussed the fact that he’d eaten a whole bag of pork rinds at his dad’s house the night before and had been suffering some pretty ill effects most of the morning. “Let’s wait until you can go several hours without using the restroom,” I suggested.

After having a few days to think about my offer of driving to Burger King, making the order for one Mac n Cheetos and paying with money I earned myself, I had second thoughts. Mostly of the fourteen year old becoming addicted to Mac n Cheetos and this being the first of many, many trips, especially since I had officially refused to ever go to Chik fil-A again.

We made a deal between the menu board and the pay window. He could have one order, and his little brother and I would each have one bite. The experience would be Snapchatted and then we’d all move on with our lives.

In the plus column, they didn’t take extra time to cook like the stoopid Buffalo Chicken Fries. The packaging is attractive. The actual product is quite a sight to behold—a tube with lots of little tubes inside. Totally tubular!

In the minus column, they just taste like super soft and cheesy fake cheese wrapped in mildly crunchy even faker cheese. They are truly disgusting and cause you to feel all the shame you knew you would. Unless you are fourteen. And then your eyes roll back into your head and you tell your mom that you’ve achieved nirvana.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Soothing Sounds for Today’s Modern Ambien-Intolerant Woman.

Published August 12, 2016 on McSweeney's

- - - -

Crisp kale leaves falling into place in a compostable cardboard container at the Whole Food’s salad bar

Cleanly cut cauliflower cross-sections sizzling in coconut oil in a well-seasoned Le Creuset pan

Organic gingerberry kombucha effervescing over pellet ice in a commemorative Ragnar race pint glass

A bladeless Dyson fan ruffling the crisp pages of an almost-finished dissertation

Rolling and unrolling a $75 Lululemon yoga mat which has finally lost that baby seal smell

Continuous text alerts from an iPhone 6 set to vibrate and resting on a hard surface

Loritab capsules gently knocking about in a prescription bottle at the bottom of a Birkin bag

A massage therapist’s ballpeen hammer thoroughly thumping the lumbar vertebrae

Perfectly tanned skin on a perfectly Crossfit thigh coming unstuck from a Herman Miller chair

Successive snaps being hastily undone on Franco’s heather gray and mocha-toned faux-vintage cowboy shirt

Quarter-sized bubble wrap popping to the tune of that Beyonce song about cunnilingus

Friday, July 1, 2016

Robert Gordon: The Memphis Fridge

Published July 1, 2016 in Edible Memphis

Grammy-Award winning writer Robert Gordon is the author of six books (It Came From Memphis), and producer/director of eight feature documentaries (Best of Enemies). Born and raised in Memphis, he has focused on the American South — its music, art, and politics — to create an insider’s portrait of his home. We met up with him in Central Gardens where he lives with his wife of 22 years and BFF of 37 years, Tara, and their two teenaged daughters, Esther and Lila. (Lila is a good eater and Esther is currently expanding her palate from foods that are white to foods that are orange. “I think mac & cheese was the bridge,” Robert says.)

Robert is currently working on a book of collected essays that are connected musically and says he has a number of documentaries percolating. He spends the majority of his day at the computer, writing. “I get up early, work, eat, shower, work, eat, etc.” he says.

Tara, who does the bulk of the cooking, has been out of town for ten days, but Robert and the girls went grocery shopping and were planning a burger night.

What is the first thing you remember cooking?

Cinnamon toast. My technique was to melt the butter on top of the toaster while the toast was toasting. I also learned to mix my own cinnamon and sugar combo. I was six.

What was your first food-related job?

I was a baker the first summer of high school at the Super Sub Bakery. A family friend was the owner.

I met Tara in a food truck in 1979 in Philly. It was called Le Bus and was in an old school bus. They made gourmet sandwiches. After college, the guy was expanding Le Bus — he had two trucks — into a restaurant. He wanted it to include a bakery — oh I also worked at La Baguette — so that was good for me because it was night work. It kept me out of the clubs so I could focus on my writing. I used to get up at noon and write. Tara was the manager of the restaurant. It’s still open. They make a really good hard crust rye and pumpernickel. I send it to my mom. She’s says it’s like the Messiah in a FedEx truck.

What is your “default” thing to cook when you’re hungry and need to make something fast?

I usually go for the freezer — La Rosa tamales from Charlie’s Meat Market. The best are Delta tamales. I’ve tried all but Solly’s. The best I’ve tried are Hicks in Clarksdale. He’ll ship five dozen if you call.

Any memorable mishaps in the kitchen?

Oh yes. In the bakery I nearly cut off my thumb and had to go to the ER. You can see the scar. [Shows us his thumb.]

We shared a kitchen with the restaurant. I would go in at night when they were closed. They kept the salt and MSG in similar containers…one night I baked the most beautiful breads, but used MSG instead of salt. They weren’t edible so we dumped them in the dumpster. Homeless people scooped them up all day and were similarly disappointed.

One day at home I was pouring hot oil and somehow it hit my leg and I only knew that I was in excruciating pain. I ran through the house taking my pants off as I went and the girls had friends over. I was howling like a monkey.

Name any ingredients that you couldn’t live without.

Hot sauce. Salt. My dad put red pepper on everything when I was a kid. He kept it on the table. That’s how I got into hot flavors. Oh, and lime — from the pre-cooking cocktail to the final accent to the dish.

What’s your favorite indulgence?

I guess I gotta go with ice cream. It’s a treat. I try to stay in shape and exercise pretty regularly. I’m subject to whatever the kids pick, but Breyer’s Frozen Dairy Dessert is disgusting. It tastes like puffed plastic.

Favorite thing to do in the kitchen?

With minimal exception, I am the sous chef. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Tara really knows what she’s doing and I don’t. Wistfully, he says, “She used to leave a big pot of spaghetti and meatballs when she’d leave town.’ I’m good at chopping on demand and keeping the sink clear. I used to cook a lot but after kids and after work got intense, we split the duties.

What’s your least favorite thing to do in the kitchen?

My first job when I had to wash lettuce — twenty heads of Romaine — I really hated that. Now, I don’t know. I’m sure Tara would take great glee in answering that.

Favorite kitchen tool?

I went to Davis Kitchen Supply in Nashville and got Tara a mallet with a smooth side and a pulverizing side. At first she was like, “Why did you get that?” and now she’s like, “This is the best thing ever!” I am also a big fan of the lemon squeezer. Our stove (Kenmore Elite gas) was a great investment and pays in dividends nightly. Tara has cooked some great meals on it. I also really like our defective Fiestaware from Schwab’s.

Ever watch cooking shows on TV?

I don’t. I never watch TV. Now that I’ve started to try and make TV shows, I have to force myself to watch. I did briefly binge on Transparent, but I can never seem to make myself watch. It’s a luxury I feel like I can’t afford.

What condiments are in your fridge right now?

Condiments! Do you do recipes? I’ll have to find Tara’s recipe for condiment gravy. It’s so good — ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise mixed together.

[Opens fridge] Okay, we have BBQ sauce, Sriracha, salsa…gotta have sliced jalapenos…I’ve got white wine if you want some…My daughter would say Hershey’s chocolate syrup. There’s usually a big jug of Tara’s homemade dressing, but I finished it while she’s been away.

Fruits and vegetables?

Oh, we keep them out here — apples, pears when available, bananas…blueberries now that they’re coming around. In the fridge we have celery — the most underrated vegetable of all time — carrots, bell peppers of various colors, garlic, Brussels sprouts — a personal favorite, leeks — I didn’t know we had leeks; I haven’t spent much time in the vegetable drawer — asparagus, salad, and onions.

Most embarrassing thing in the fridge?

Well I would leave that up to you. You did come on a day that it doesn’t smell.

[Chip and I do due diligence but find nothing. Not even in the freezer. Or pantry. Finally we settle on a piece of pizza sitting on the cutting board next to a half-eaten pepper. Robert is perplexed by our choice and says both will be eaten before the night is over.]

How about cottage cheese? I’m embarrassed that Tara likes that.

What’s in the freezer right now?

Three boxes of waffles, tamales, Skinny Cow mint ice cream sandwiches, four boxes of butter, big bag of frozen blueberries, chicken burgers, edamame, pot stickers, wild corvina, and Dr. Praeger’s kale & quinoa burgers. We have a vegetarian coming to burger night tonight.

What’s in the pantry?

Our shelf of replenishments — salsa, soy sauce, etc. Tomato products, beans, rice, nuts, dried fruits, oils, baked goods stuff…caster sugar? I don’t even know what that is.

Favorite thing your mom cooked when you were a kid?

My mom makes really good chicken and matzah ball soup. She complained that all I wanted as a kid was hamburgers. So she made hamburgers every day to try and punish me, but I never had a problem with it. Now she smokes salmon. She’s a great salmon smoker.

Will you share a recipe that you cook at home?

It’s been years since I made this, but I learned to make it before I dropped out of film school in Austin. There was a cowboy who made fideo. It’s cactus with super hot, canned, smoked peppers. You break up thin noodles and cook them like risotto, letting the chicken stock absorb. Then you throw in the cactus and hot peppers. It really used to annoy Tara when I made it.

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