Key West with Justin

It is the ‘Monday morning after’ now. The Cuban coffee swirls in my blood as the Ocean gently rocks the shore of ‘The Southernmost Point’ I passed not an hour ago. We arrived in Key West Saturday to make the final preparations for our “battle” at The Hog’s Breath Saloon. Instead of…

Pig Paint

One of my best selling dishes of all time is called “The Rhum and Pepper Painted Grouper”. I started making that reduction I named a “paint” in 1985. Essentially a “paint” is a reduction of liquid along with spices, aromatics etc. as well as some sugar of some sort that become ‘tight’…

Valentine’s Feast

Every holiday that we celebrate in America has very specific menus or menu items. We can move through the calendar from the “Hoppin’ John” of New Year’s Day itself to Easter Lamb and Easter Eggs; the heroic barbecues and picnics of the Fourth of July to the Cuban Nochebuena of Christmas. At…

Southern Trios…And Quartets

I was reading from a collection of Eudora Welty’s eternally beautiful, ballad-like short stories after coffee and the normal morning chores. I got hungry. The fridge held a small cargo of odds and ends as it so often does from the recipe testing we do before I go to work. I saw…

Trinities

The power of trinity is one that weds the human experience with the divine. In Christian symbolism the use of signs and emblems are used to teach and present religious truths. Words often fail where symbolism succeeds. Three Circles, connected by bands forming an equilateral triangle, symbolize the Holy Trinity. Christ is…

Christmas Song

Yesterday as we rode in our car coming home from a mad dash to the mall for gifts… a version of this song came on the radio. After listening to it again for the uncountable time, I asked my wife this rhetorical question. “If you were asked your all-time favorite Christmas Song…

Steal Like An Artist, (I stole that)

This morning I got an email from our Chef-de-Cuisine, Jeffrey Brana. Last night I had sent him a ‘sketch’ of a dish I conjured up. ‘A Mexican Reunion’ Crispy Plantain Crusted Chicken Cutlet Oozy Slow Poached Hen Egg Fatty Chorizo Crumble Sharp/Sweet Rouille-like sauce w Pimenton Jeffrey is a very thoughtful man…

Thanksgiving and the Bean Kit

It was a woman. She was the one who gave me the gift. She was not gentle. But she was giving. And so it is on Thanksgiving that I want to pay respects to Betty Howard. She lived in Key West and was the Head, (and only) Breakfast Cook at The Pier…

Capote

Last night I watched the award winning movie, “Capote” for a while, trying to rally to watch the football game. I’d seen it before but Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal of the diminutive author is addictive. I reminisced on how the man for whom the movie was centered around and I shared two…

 
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