A Waffle Does Not Make Good Sandwich Bread (and Other Thoughts)

I received a Groupon in my in-box this morning (why I still receive Groupons in my in-box is another conversation) for a place called “Red Maple Café”. A rather generic attempt at an Americana tavern/eatery type name (the trend these days). Obviously not drawing the people they expected, if they are putting out a Groupon.

The photo included with the Groupon was of an ill-conceived sandwich, a meat of some kind — probably smoked heritage pork belly — suspended between two waffles. Making matters worse was a sprig of cilantro sitting ominously close to the meat.

A waffle does not make good sandwich bread.

I was in Hollywood a few nights ago and passed the famous eatery, Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles. Fried chicken and waffles are a surprisingly good combination, although I do wonder if they weren’t somehow culpable for spawning sandwiches with waffles for bread.

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I actually purchased a Groupon awhile back for a poke bowl joint. I took my 8-year-old daughter, Imogen, for lunch there one day. The bowls were quite good, but there was nobody in the place. That’s because there are too many poke bowl restaurants. You can have a lot of pizza joints, but how many poke bowl joints can any one community sustain?

I was at the elementary school, walking Imogen to her class, and was chatting with her friend Myla, who was upset she didn’t get a pineapple backpack. “Pineapples are kinda the thing this year, aren’t they,” I said.

“Yeah,” she replied. “They’re everywhere. And flamingos. Last year it was narwhals and rainbow unicorns.”

The food world has trends, too. The aforementioned American tavern/eatery, for example, serving pork belly bahn mi sandwiches and house-cured charcuterie with house-fermented pickles. I wonder what it will be next year in the food universe?

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I was busting up a cauliflower the other day to make some Indian pakora, when it occurred to me what a weird thing a cauliflower is.

“What the hell is this thing?” I said to myself, suddenly perplexed after a half century of eating them without even thinking about it. Is it a flower? It’s more like a mushroom than a plant. Cauliflowers have become quite a thing lately too. People are frying them every which way, much like I was for my pakoras. I’m not totally immune to trends.

I wonder if anyone is frying cauliflower and putting it on waffles for a sandwich?

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Popcorn for Breakfast and Other Minor Revelations

Leftover popcorn, I’ve discovered, makes a good breakfast. My wife often makes popcorn for the kids in the evening, and there it is in the morning, half a pot — the butter soaked in and coagulated. Like many things, it is better the next day.

I especially like the crunchy, half-popped ones that congregate at the bottom of the pan. My wife worries: “You’re going to break a tooth on one of those one day.” But I like to live dangerously, I guess.

I made another delightful breakfast discovery this morning. It’s soft-shell crab season — one of my most favorite of all foods. Last night, I made seven soft-shell crab sandwiches for our dinner party. I had miscounted, and there were only six of us. So my second course of breakfast was a reheated soft-shell crab sandwich. What a start to the day!

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Go Away, Gastropub

I ran into a chef friend of mine at my son’s baseball game the other Sunday. I asked him what he was up to, and after a harrowing tale about his time as private cook for an online poker billionaire, he confessed he was putting wheels in motion to open a restaurant.

I asked him when, where and what. He wasn’t sure, but said he was scanning food trends for inspiration.

“Don’t do a pork belly bahn mi,” I said.

Gastropub burger with truffle fries

As serendipity would have it, I had also been discussing the possibility of opening a restaurant with a friend. A unique opportunity had arisen, and we were exploring it. Which got me to thinking about what kind of food I would serve. I would not serve a pork belly bahn mi. More

Food as Art, Art as Food

Food can oftentimes be considered art. And art, on the other hand, might be considered food for the soul. So it didn’t feel entirely inappropriate to do a bit of art promoting on my food blog.

I have, in the past, been accused of being a “Renaissance man”. This is because, in addition to being a chef, I am also a writer, musician and artist. More

Year of the Sandwich — A Soft Spot for Soft Shells

Spring is a really good time for food. And several great seasonal items appear around this part of the year.

One of my very favorites is the morel mushroom, which they sometimes (rarely) get at Whole Foods. So driving down the street the other day, rather than shaking my head sadly at all the people mortgaging their futures to shop there when the Whole Foods came into view, I pulled in.

Soft shell crab sandwich

There were no morels.

I continued back to the seafood counter to see if there was anything interesting there. And my eyes nearly escaped their sockets when I realized it was also the time of year of one of my other most favoritest things: soft shell crabs. And on sale, no less!! More

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