Jose Andres

2019 in Review – What Did We Do Again?

On the back of the door in our apartment we have one of those old school calendars. We use it for scheduling shit and to make sure that we keep the dog alive with our schedules. I took a look at it this morning as I was getting the Black Eyed Peas and Greens on the stove and here is what we had to show for with Trips;

  • Geranium was away 151 days in 2019. Mind you 31 of those days were when she was in Switzerland/France. That actually made us both appreciate our time together more and take stock in our relationship which made it stronger.
  • We saw Elton John and his Farewell Tour at The Barclays
  • Got to experience The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. That was a killer event.
  • While Geranium was away Mr. 3 First Names & Lady Lawyer and I went to see Jose Andres at his book signing.
  • Got our Southern Redneck on thanks to BK and saw Hank Jr and Skynrd at Forrest Hills.
  • Rang in the New Year at the Barclays Center with The Strokes.
  • Oh and we had dinner at Per Se too.
  • And so that I am not a complete prick I am going to end this list that we also did some horse gambling at Aquaduct Race Track.

Regarding Trips Away, I am kind of embarrassed to divulge this to you dozen readers. I mean this list is somewhat obscene. Mind you we were able to take advantage of Geranium’s international trips and my ability to fly stand by.

  • Hung with PNG Mike, Ellie & JD in London and watched 6 Nations Rugby with them.
  • Visited Northwest Arkansas for Family Christmas
  • Made a trip Upstate with Vivian and Stone
  • Made warm weather trips to; Cancun, Belize, Fort Meyers, Gulf Shores, and Dale Hollow Lake.
  • Went over to Philly for a BBQ at Pepe’s house.
  • Got to experience Barcelona for the First Time. (Got to go back)
  • I did 48 hours in Switzerland to see Geranium and imagine that..it was raining!
  • Made it to Memphis for Thanksgiving and for a work trip in September.
  • Got to eat some low country cooking with the ChoHo’s in Charleston South Carolina.

All in all it was a good year for us for doing the fun shit. Granted I wondered why our bank account has been low but now I know why I haven’t been able to see my feet in months.

Photo by Toria of Blue Water Grill down in Belize
Charleston South Carolina with these two!
Thank God Geranium is Fluent in how to Speak Randy!
We got to go back one of these day!
I booked a whole week with these knuckleheads and I loved every minute of it!
I love this man!
Lausanne Switzerland and the snow topped alps
The rain does happen in Spain!
Oh Maya had a blast while we were away too!
Thanks Viv and Stone!
Rain in London….how odd

It was a good time for trips and shit that we saw in 2019.

Pictures of the Week

T-Minus 24 Hours till I am out of the office. Geranium is going to fly from Seattle and we will meet up in an airport to be named later.

Tomato Salad with Crackers – you can’t get much more Southern than this one
Catalonia Tomato Bread
Sofrito – Catalan Tomato and Onion Sauce
Miso Roasted Asparagus
Finished Product
Street Dog on Bourdain Day
While Sitting at Roco’s Tacos
Elsie and AR are going to love Uncle Robo next week
No more Hanks
Subways getting ready for Pride Weekend
So is Maya! She can’t wait to see Aunt Chelle

Have a good week!

Saturday Dinners

In an effort to save a little money since we are about to go on vacation we have been cooking a little more at home. Also with Geranium being on the road the last thing she really wants is food from a restaurant. For my inspiration on new dishes I have been reading Jose Andres’ book “Vegetables Unleashed”.

I really like the book and the recipes in it because cooking foods that are from a different culture really opens you up to new flavors and tastes. It is no secret that I started cooking from watching the chefs at Chez Philippe when I was a waiter there. “What do you mean that you don’t have heavy whipping cream in your fridge? How the Fuck am I to cook?” Yes I was trained to cook Classic French Cuisine. Thankfully the food shows gave me some balance but with “Vegetables Unleashed” it really puts you on notice.

For the menu we made a couple weeks back included;

  • Miso Roasted Asparagus (before this I had no clue what Miso was)
  • Microwaved Cacio y Pepe (Parents you need to make this for your kids)
  • Sesame Yogurt Corn on the Cob
  • Jose Andres’ Famous Beefsteak Tomato Sandwich
  • Lots of Wine and a little Tito’s
Seriously Go buy this book!
Tomatoes are getting good up here now!
The makings of the Cacio y Pepe (which is more or less Mac and Cheese with Corn or Peas)
Doesn’t this sucker look good. Holy Crap I made a dish with no meat or fish.
Finished Product. The Corn is really good and is different
Asparagus getting ready for the Broiler

Apologies to Taco Girl who probably just fried her laptop because she was drooling on her keyboard.

How Do You Reheat A Pizza?

Recall the post when I was bitching about cooking for one person? Well Geranium did it to me again…..she ordered another Marley Spoon on her way to Seattle. By the way L.J.Z. – I have supported your ass now for 3 years….. When are you going to send “Banker Man” to one of my eye-talian suit guys? *If you are wondering what I am talking about. There is an un-written rule for us fellow sales reps that sell tickets on the double decker buses. You always support your own*

Anyway I informed Jackie, our evening desk person, that I would be cooking for her because I had 3 meals to either cook or trash. She was excited and didn’t bring dinner last night. The order that you have to cook proteins for Marley Spoons are in this order; Seafood, Meat/Pork and Vegetarian. ****Imagine that, the food that the cow’s shit on can last longer****

Last night I made the grilled salmon and grilled vegetables with a red pepper pesto sauce. I cooked it to the recipe directions (ish) by using a cast iron skillet plate that I have had for years. If you are not sure what I am talking about it. This is a cast iron rectangle plate that has a flat side and on the other side is ribbed for her pleasure. TRANSLATION – This gives you the open flame grill marks if you are not cooking outside on a Weber charcoal grill. I made the dish to the directions and grilled the Broccoli, Squash, Red Onion and Salmon in the apartment using the plate. I take it down to Jackie and fellow peer and they are freaking out on the grill marks.

  • “Did you go down to the 3rd floor and use one of the outside grills? (By the way those fuckers are electric) I inform them I made it in the apartment and used a plate.
  • “Oh, you made this on a special plate that I will never need unless I have to cook inside, I will be fine ordering from Seamless or Uber Eats.”

I look at Jacky and ask her if she has never cooked on an open flame before. *She is originally from Barbados* and she says that she has. I told her that if I didn’t have a plate I could have made due with a bakers cookie cooling rack and my stove. It was right then that I lost the poor girl and realized that the millennial generation needs to step it up. Seriously you fuckers may starve to death if the microwave gives out or Uber Eats can’t deliver.

*Back History – I grew up in the time when there wasn’t a food network. There wasn’t a cooking demonstration at William Sonoma. There certainly wasn’t a cooking show on TV. I mean I pretty much learned how to cook watching my mother/father or the maid. However in this case, I learned how to cook at the ripe age of 23 years old from the chefs at the 4-star Chez Philippe Restaurant in the Peabody Hotel Meanwhile I while living in the Shrine Building in downtown Memphis.*

I have said many times that I am little shit. No seriously, I admit it openly. Poor Geranium, while we were dating, grew tired of eating all the Heavy Cream dishes that I would make each weekend. To my defense, I would watch the guys on the line make these dishes nightly. I would think “I could do this!” Actually, I am surprised I didn’t kill her because I later realized that the chefs would par-cook the proteins and I just watched the finishing moment. In other words, my shitwas half cooked.

Cutting to the case – Bourdain would always preach that one should learn how to made an omelet.

“The way you make an omelet reveals your character.”

He was referring to if you bring a person home for the night you at least owe him/her a decent meal before they are about to do the “walk of shame.” Millennials you need to start paying attention. You need to go buy you some items to put in the kitchen before you buy that Cross Fit membership. Then you should start playing around with cooking by watching You Tube or a cooking show. Try your dishes on your friends or that roommate that you always hate. This way when you are ready to cook for someone special you will be ready and not burning an a simple omelet for that one-night stand. Seriously folks, eggs are sold by the dozen. I even taught the Lady Killer how to break an egg without breaking shell. I mean, you need to do this and do it with grace. Wait till his mother, *who is the author for the title of this worthless dribble* finds out I have made the lady killer more marketable.

Changing the Subject yet again – My nephew when he was 12 fucking years old made Philly Cheese Steaks for Geranium and I. He was self-taught and figured it out from watching YouTube. *Of course Geranium was right behind him but he wanted to cook and by GOD he made dinner with little to no help…..And it was good too!* People, this is not brain surgery. Go forth and learn how to feed yourself! I am not asking you to field dress a deer, I am asking you to cook a decent burger and then serve it to someone.

So, in no consequential order this is the list of items that one should have in their kitchen. Jose Andres goes big baller with a Juicer but I say do this in baby steps. So here is what I say you need;

$4.00 Bakers wire Rack and you have a grill. Yes it is going to get dirty but whats the point of cooking if you aren’t going to get dirty. Oh by the way I see this get up all the time in the Korean Joints in Manhattan. Anyone Can Grill indoors.
This was the plate I used for cooking dinner tonight. If you don’t have one, it is fine.
The racks that are soaking in the sink. – I am cutting to my chase guys I promise
I did get some good grill marks tonight!
Get a Decent Knife and sharpen it every time. Yes I am an asshole and have all kinds of knives but I assure you they are sharp and ready to go.
Buy you a decent saute and and skillet pan.
BTW – Those pots and pans are 20 years old. Yes they are expensive but when you pay top dollar for stuff you will treat it differently.
The beauty of quality is that it will last forever.
Whatever you have that is your own I assure that you treat it with dignity and respect. Yes I acknowledge that I am anal retentive
You may lose a finger tip but get a Mandolin.
Always buy spices and seasonings. Try them all the time. Worse Case is that you have to order take out pizza!
Case in point, I found this recipe for Grilling Salt on Garden & Gun. Tried it one time and called my grilling concierge and told him I am sending him some goodness. He loved it and gave some to RJ
These baking pans are over 22 years old. We got them when we got married. Don’t ask for money. Ask for good cooking equipment!
Not the first item you have to get – I still don’t know how to use this fucking thing.
I know that Geranium loves it so it has a shelf to it’s own. Carbunkle Trumpet Says to master a knife, a Saute Pan and a stock pan then when you want to burn money get one of these.
#RoboCares
Gathered Dust Since we got it!

Bottom Line is Try Different Stuff.

Try to cook something other than your normal drunk food.

And if you have a new Kitchen Toy or recipe please don’t be bashful. I love things that are different.

One Year Ago Tomorrow – We Lost A Great Traveler

I recall it like it was yesterday. The first text came from GrainbinGirl at like 7:AM (6:AM Memphis Time) then the next came from Pepe. “Anthony Bourdain was gone and by his own hand.” *Disclaimer – I have lost many a good friend and family member by their own hand. This post is not in any way shape or form trying to speak of this horrible disease. Sadly it takes too many good people*

Best Friends

So the loss of Antony Bourdain has bothered me for a while. Now that I have just finished up on a whirlwind tour with Shawna (yeah, I am serious when I use real names) I miss him even more.

Tunisa

For this post I plan on speaking about some of Tony’s quotes that I hold dear to my heart.  His friend Jose Andres said it best in his latest book in the tribute;

To our friend Anthony Bourdain, who spent his life planting seeds

That man put a bunch of seeds in my head and I owe it to him to make them grow and experience some of what he got to see. Let’s be honest….the Cock Sucker had the best life in the world and I am so grateful that I can try to do as much as I can!!! Enough with the chatter. Here are my favorite Bourdain Quotes in no sequential order and some notes;

  • “Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you.” – Loved my trip to a small town in Switzerland. You don’t get the same experience in the larger towns. Here I was just an American who couldn’t speak French and didn’t know I needed to bring a bag.
  • “If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them — wherever you go.”Or if you are 49 years old do this and load up on the ADVIL! I am not going to lie, the travel I did to see Shawna was tough but I look back and loved every minute of it!
  • “The journey is part of the experience — an expression of the seriousness of one’s intent. One doesn’t take the A train to Mecca.”I landed at Heathrow exhausted but figured out the Tube Schedule, walked my ass through the rain and got to the hotel. I could have wimped out and paid a King’s Ransom for a Black Car but what is the point if you aren’t going to see and experience Rush Hour into London on a Friday?
  • “I’m a big believer in winging it. I’m also a big believer that you are never going to find perfect city travel experience or the perfect meal without a constant willingness to experience a bad one. Letting the happy accident happen is what a lot of vacation itineraries miss, I think, and I’m always trying to push people to allow those things to happen rather than stick to some rigid itinerary.”This was 100% Barcelona! I only had a list from The Notorious NFG but it was going to be a total wing it. I love that town. I want to go back and I want to go back now.  
  • “Drink heavily with locals whenever possible.”No Comment
  • “You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together.” – Loved our visit with English Mike & Ellie as well as our visit with The Tour Agent and Curly Sue in Switzerland. I know that our paths will cross again and when it does. I plan on picking up from where we left off.
  • “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”It is very well documented that I smoke cigars, drink alcohol on occasion, and need a cholesterol pill. Sure, I try to keep myself leaning towards the cleaner side of life but what’s the point of living if you can’t slide down butt naked on a sheet of ice. Yes, I ordered the damn goose liver and I loved it!
  • “I learned a long time ago that trying to micromanage the perfect vacation is always a disaster. That leads to terrible times.”I am hoping she never reads this but I so disagree with Z-Squared and her guerrilla vacation tactics. I love her to death and will be that “3AM phone call guy to come bury a body” guy but I can’t vacation with her. Let that shit roll off the back.

And will I finish with this one. I will always have the deepest respect and love for Ernie and Lynn Mellor for giving an out of work carnie a job.

  • “Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.” – Nothing is better than standing over a hot smoker busting balls and or discussing life. I am always appreciate of the visits with the Asian Fireman in Woodlawn.

So, if you have not figured out by my already 900 words this is telling you to go out and explore. It doesn’t have to be in a different country. It can be in a different part of your home town.

All you have to do is be friendly, be respectful and always be humble.

How cool would it be if you were having a lunch on this beach?

Rest in peace Tony. I am still pissed I didn’t get to drink with you at Billy Mark but that is more for a selfish reason.

To honor you I will try to see as much of this world as you did.

Geranium and I had a blast this past weekend. Hope you did too. Pictures from this past weekend

22 years of marriage on Saturday, Momma got home on Thursday, and we had a 3 day weekend – Maya and I were happy! This is going to be more of a Friday Picture post. That being said;

We went to EWR to meet Momma when she got off the plane. Maya was pissed naturally!
Congrats to the Lady Killer on graduating from St. Dominic School for Boys.
Made some MoJo Coffee for Momma on Saturday with her new Keurig
Went into the city on Saturday to get some shirts. I was nice and didn’t curse anyone!
Two cuties right there!
Brilliant – The bar we frequent on occasion in Dekalb Food Market is a stroller destination for the families nearby. I always wondered why they had kids movies on the TV. The tables are full of the kids in highchairs and they are glued into the monitors with headphones on linked via Tunity. The parents are getting their drink on happy as clams. Like I said – Fucking Brilliant because not a child was screaming!
Holy Shit! I feel pretty good about myself considering I am the same age!

Hope you have a good week folks. Be thankful that it is only 4 days. Oh and Geranium is leaving my ass to head to Seattle today as well. She gets back on Friday and she is going to meet me at Andi’s bar at Baker Street in the UES.

Jose Andres – Are we still keeping score @GrainbinGirl?

So my good friend GrainbinGirl and I share a little obsession together. We stalk the F out of chefs and try to garner seats at restaurants that are the talk of the town. Every January we kick ourselves that we did not attend the Caymen Cookout with all the celebrity chefs but in fairness the price tag does make that a hard trip to swallow. Please note that before we moved to New York she had a sizeable lead on me with regards to chef sightings. That immediately changed

When we moved to the UES it was actually her who figured out that Eric Ripert was one of my neighbors and right after that discovery I ran into him. No seriously, Monkey Head Maddy blind as a bat, actually walked right into him on E71st street. As you can imagine he was petrified that he hurt her and picked her up and petted her. Since then we dined at a couple really cool joints and I rubbed it in to her but not to be a complete dick I did get her a book from Ripert.

When I found out that Jose Andres was going to be signing his new book at his new joint in Hudson Yards I messaged the Murphranks to see if they wanted to join. This was right after my return from Barcelona and Mr. 3 First Names responded that I must have really enjoyed Spain since I was now “Everything Spain”. I booked the tickets and last night we headed down to Hudson Yards to check it out.

To say that Jose Andres is a huge celebrity is not an exaggeration. To say that Jose Andres is a humanitarian doesn’t scratch the surface. To allude that Jose Andres isn’t passionate about life and about food you must have never watched of Bourdain’s shows. And what I also love about him is that he is one of the only chefs in the world to currently be sued by a sitting US President. Yeah, he hates Trump as much as I do. Actually who carries a red wine on tap at his restaurant in Hudson Yards called “Democrat”? But of course Jose Andres does.

Adam Rapport from Bon Appetite was the moderator but was more of a “keep things on track” and the back and forth between Andres and Matt Goulding was hilarious. When I say that you really should have been there it is an understatement. I mean who else can total a rental car in Barcelona and say to the rental car employee who is having a come-apart “But I am Jose Andres and I must get to Madrid” and they are thanking him? Jose did mention Anthony Bourdain during one of the questions but I loved this comment the best;

“I am a vegetarian, I mean look at me. I am as big as a cow and I got this way from eating only vegetables.”

I am betting he isn’t tweeting FAKE NEWS or advising anyone not to show up to a congressional subpoena
Adam Rapport on the left, Jose Andres center and Matt Goulding on the right
He spoke to every person and took every selfie. My kind of a guy
Oh did I mention that Tom Colicchio the co-founder of Gramercy Tavern and a slew of other restaurants was there too?

And don’t worry GrainbinGirl. There is a FedEx delivery heading your way tomorrow. #RoboCares