As hard as it might be to believe, a career spent writing humor columns did not prepare me for the rigors of restaurant ownership. Shocking, I know, but true. Yet restaurant ownership remains the dream of many a deluded soul out there in the world. So as the owner of Gracious Bakery + Café and its subsidiaries here in New Orleans, I would like to share with such interested parties my keen insights gleaned from the past three years of proprietorship. Learn from my mistakes so that you in turn do not make them. Or better yet, open up a traveling cat circus. That would be the safer bet. Continue reading Humor— Tips and Pointers for Opening Your Own Restaurant
Earlier this year my wife and I decided that, since we didn’t already have enough problems, we should open yet another bakery. But, unlike our other locations, this one would have a secret ingredient to boost the bottom line — booze! We lucked into a prime location in the Garden District on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. Being the only writer on the Food & Dining staff not actually based in Louisville, some context might be helpful. Down here we have this thing called Mardi Gras, which is sort of like our version of the Derby. And as the Derby has its buildup of events like Thunder Over Louisville, Pegasus Parade, etc., Mardi Gras builds to a similar crescendo over the three-week period leading up to Fat Tuesday. Continue reading Humor — Our First Mardi Gras
I write to you today to bring your attention to a terrible plight, one that exists in plain view, yet remains unquestioned by many in our great nation. I speak to you of the AntiGluten Movement. As you may or may not be aware, a vast rightwing AntiGluten conspiracy threatens the existence of these remarkable creatures. We ask you today to do what you can to help correct this before it is too late, thereby restoring balance to the Force while simultaneously saving the polar bears. Girded with the facts below, you can make a difference. Continue reading Save the Glutens — A Public Service Announcement
I am not, as they say, a “Disney Person.” The waits that rival Soviet-era bread lines, the Malthusian crowds … such things give me the heebie-jeebies. I swore in college I would never go again unless I could afford to rent the whole place out and throw a giant acid party.
Then I had a kid. Continue reading Humor: Happily Ever After… The Mouse that Hurled
I’d like to see more movies about the restaurant world, but when I think about films in that genre most of what comes to mind is art-house fare (Eat Drink Man Woman, Tampopo, etc). Pixar’s Ratatouille managed a decent crossover draw, but despite even the vocal styling of Patton Oswalt and an animated cameo by Thomas Keller it never rose above the perception of being a children’s movie. What is needed, clearly, is some blockbuster muscle. Therefore, Hollywood, I pitch to you the following. You may direct any option or royalty checks to firstname.lastname@example.org Continue reading Humor: 2015 Movies with a food lovers twist
When my wife first got invited up to Providence by the National Honey Board to attend a Honey Summit as an all-expense paid guest chef, I thought it was some kind of trick. Nobody is that lucky, I said. They probably want to sell us time shares in Rhode Island or advertorial space in an obscure, bee-related trade publication. Out of an abundance of caution I decided to accompany her despite the fact that I was not, technically, “invited.”
As it so happens I had my own ulterior motives. I love honey in ways that would shame a bear. So my suspicion of them was merely a projection of my own insecurities and the Honey Summit was exactly what it professed to be — a professional outreach program to promote the use of honey as a natural sweetener in bakeries across the US. It was held at Johnson & Wales in a lecture hall overlooking the Providence River. Such a beautiful setting might give the aspiring culinary student the misimpression that a restaurant career involves academic workshops and PowerPoint presentations rather than chefs throwing pots at one’s head and pointing out one’s physical shortcomings, I joke to my wife, who ignores me. I kick back at our table, systematically gnawing my way through the honey-flavored lollipop centerpiece as I soak up the nuances of various grades of honey. Then I hear the dreaded phrase, “We will now assemble in teams for bench time.” Continue reading Honey Do
In the last issue of F&D, humor columnist Jay Forman expatiated whimsically on food truck ideas he would like to see. One of his amusing musings suggested that perhaps it was time for a food truck devoted to provisioning pets.
He started this bagatelle with the joking caveat that he had not checked out the listings in New York or Portland, places most likely to actually have come up with such a venture, but it turns out he did not reckon with the entrepreneurial spirit of Texans.
An item on WDRB.com reports on just such a pet food truck operating in Houston. It serves doggie treats, including ice cream, to pampered pets, and even carries a selection of doggie toys. The treats are all-natural of course, and a percentage of the profits are donated back to the “pet community.” Continue reading He’s not just funny–he predicts the future
I recently went to the International Baking Industry Exposition in Las Vegas to spec equipment for a planned commissary for our bakery business here in New Orleans.
While I was indeed looking for some “next level” kind of stuff, I was not expecting robots and fully automated production lines with pass-through ovens boasting more interior space than my first apartment. Continue reading Humor: Vegas, baby!
It is no secret that guys avoid eating fruits and vegetables whenever possible. And who can blame them?
Frankly, eating produce can be extremely dangerous. Nature has spent millions of years equipping her plants with horrifying ways of protecting themselves from animals seeking a snack. Since modern humans have only been around for 150,000 years or so, plants have the home-court advantage when it comes to self-defense. Continue reading So why shouldn’t veggies glow in the dark?
The Thankspigging Manifesto.
On November twenty-something, most Americans will sit down to a Thanksgiving dinner. They will eat turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, dressings and casseroles. They will finish with pumpkin pie, wipe their mouths, and push back from the table, thinking that they have had a good meal. They are wrong!