I love movies and I love food and this summer gave us three delightfully funny films involving chefs & their passion for food. Why? Because we are all Foodies at heart. 1. Chef Remember my blog & video dealing with Cuban food? This is a great film where a father reunites with his son while imparting his passion for cooking. Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favearu) suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner. His love of cooking takes him back to his roots in Miami, where he is free to express himself with true Cuban cooking in a Food Truck. Most foodies have that same zest for life and love to enjoy their favorite foods even if it means traveling across country.
Labor Day 1890, in Grand Central Station, New York City, a Pullman porter named John Williams, assigned to station duty, put a piece of red cloth on his cap and asked people if he could help with their luggage. Thus Red Caps were born. For more than 100 years Red Caps have been helping people with their luggage FOR FREE. Leap ahead now to early 1943. A 2-year-old boy is on his way from Brooklyn to California to see his dad before he ships out to WWII. It was Cheyenne, Wyoming, and he, his mother, and brother were stretching their legs at a 10-minute station break. His mother turned her head, the boy quickly ducked inside the station and Mom panicked as the conductor shouted “All Abroad.” Just then, a man wearing a red cap appeared, holding the boy’s hand while saying, “Come on now, you got a train to catch.”
Dateline 1959: the New Castle, Delaware, Farmers Market. I am staring down at a slice of pepperoni pizza oozing cheese & oil. Cuddled next to it is a chocolate-covered, cream-filled doughnut. But there is something missing. I realized they needed a complement of a cold rum & coke. Genius! The experience was delightful and I promised myself to make this a weekly feast. Later that evening, however, this great feast, part of my small intestine, and the paint from a 1957 Chevy car door was left in a small pile on the side of Delaware Route 3. Rum & coke would not pass my lips again for more than 50 years! Fast forward to 2011, St. Augustine, Florida. I am seated in a great Cuban restaurant called The Columbia on St. George Street. We are enjoying its signature salad, the Original “1905” Salad, mixed tableside with gems of julienne of baked ham, olives, cheeses, and a special garlic recipe. Suddenly my wife says, “This is an authentic Cuban restaurant. We have to have a real Cuba Libra.” My inner voice says, “Remember 1959 & Route 3.”
Join me as I savor the flavors at the West End Food Truck Rodeo, sponsored by Alexandria, VA’s West End Business Association, the DC Food Truck Association, and Southern Towers Apartments. Taped on location, June 6, 2014.
© 2014 4 Culinary Adventures
In 1914, the second Sunday in May was proclaimed Mother’s Day nationwide. It was not until 1972, 58 years later, that Father’s Day become a national holiday. Not many people know it is the third Sunday in June. In fact, two TV shows last week stated it was this past Sunday. While Mother’s Day is planned weeks in advance, dad gets five prep days at most. Father’s Day is coming up (next Sunday for those still wondering). So, what do we get the “old man”? Gone are the days of underwear and ties. There is no time now to plan a culinary trip to New Orleans or Northern Italy this weekend. Those take more than five days to plan. But don’t worry. I have some suggestions. We dads have changed. We picked the winner on Chopped, learned how to save that Restaurant Impossible, and visited every Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in the USA. For years, we have known our way around a grill but now we even know what “Farm to Fork” means. The word “grill” is slowly being replaced with the word “cook.” Wait a minute. Let’s not leap that far. Both women & men are comfortable with men out by the grill, but having the man in the kitchen, well that’s different. Mother’s Day saw everyone taking mom out to dinner.
The Cooking channel & every chef on TV says, “Everything’s better with bacon!” Not so. The best beef served in the finest restaurants, as we’ll discuss later in this column, stays far from the pork. To be clear, I love bacon. My father cooked fried eggs and bacon every day of his life. I ate bacon and eggs for breakfast six days a week for the first 18 years of my life—and I loved it. He even cooked everything in the bacon grease he saved from yesterday’s breakfast. Why only six days instead of seven? Because on Sundays we ate bacon with pancakes. You see, I always have & always will love bacon. It fact, I have been a strong supporter of natural fat, even in this low-fat, less-fat, and fat-free world.
What do American cruisers like? a. Good service b. Comfortable surroundings & space c. Good food d. Price vs. value My wife and I recently sailed on the MSC Divina out of Miami to answer this question: Can this Italian cruise line known for its Mediterranean lifestyle relate to the American market? Historically, MSC has been on the waters of the world for more than five decades, mostly as the second-largest container shipping company. It started in the cruising market in the 1960s by buying older ships and providing “low cost” cruising for the European market. The next 30 years saw growth and disaster as it lost some of these earlier ships. Several name changes brought us to MSC Cruises in 1997 along with newer ships. In 2010 they began to build new large ships of 139,000 tons to carry about 3,500 passengers. The MSC Divina is one of those ships and let me say right up front, it is a beautiful ship. BUT, that 139,000-ton ship (built for 3,500) can sail with as many as 4,300 passengers. We sailed with more than 4,000 passengers. Might this be a space issue? The décor is delightful and the color scheme is, in most cases, perfect. BUT, they have the worst pillows
4 Culinary Adventures was founded on the proposition that travelers should immerse themselves in the culture & native food of their destinations. That begins with your lodging. On a recent trip to Southern California, my wife and I found lodging that fit the bill in a quiet neighborhood in West Hollywood. The Le Parc Hotel is a renovated four-story apartment building, which meant we had a large room that was once efficiency. It came with a fireplace, a kitchenette, and a large living area with a step-up bedroom. The icing on the cake, for my wife, was a separate dressing table and a walk-in closet. This was ultimate comfort for less than $220/night. PLUS free valet parking—you must have a car in California!
Join Patrick Barney as he explores his love of travel & food around the world & in his home town of Las Vegas.