Donna talked me into a little pre-holiday NYC splurge with Claudia and Michael (Chef Pardus if you’ve read Making of a Chef) this past weekend and we truly indulged, did nothing but eat and drink and nap for 24 hours, and oh man did I learn something from three of the city’s best restaurateurs. Our room was not ready when we got in, so Donna and I strolled over to Beacon where wood roasted oysters were the perfect accompaniment to a Hendricks martini.  The city air was cold and fresh, and the holiday lights made the dark afternoon feel festive and hopeful. Our first dinner was at Minetta Tavern, a place I’ve wanted to go to for months, being a huge huge fan of Keith McNally restaurants, Balthazar and Pastis especially.  Being in a McNally Read On »

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A year ago, I drove a couple hours south of Cleveland to a strip mall off Interstate 71 to film part of an episode of Bourdain’s “No Reservations” heartland episode, at a stellar Japanese restaurant called Kihachi (google map it, look at all the parking lots and new housing developments). During the meal Bourdain, I made an off-handed remark about how extraordinary to find a restaurant of this caliber in the heart of Applebee’s country.  That was it, that was all!  And it’s still how I still see it, namely that strip malls off interstates, miles from any actual metropolis, is, indeed, Applebee’s country. Regrettably, this episode of the show featured Columbus, Ohio, the state capital, home of OSU and the Buckeyes, and the good people of this heartland city, eager for the national spotlight Read On »

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