Writer's Block and Other Random Thoughts

What can I say? When I started this blog I promised myself I would post at least one entry per week. That has not been the case. I have been struggling with a review of Latitude 41 for the past three weeks. It is my first official review and I think I am being too hard on myself. I want it to be perfect, even though I know that it won?t be. Even though I know I will get better with time. I promise I will get it done.

I also have reviews of Thom’s on Grandview and The Clarmont in the works. These will not be full-blown reviews, because we didn’t have a full-course meal at either place. Rather we did a progressive dinner starting at the bar at The Clarmont, and ending over in Grandview at the bar at Thom’s. My intention is just to provide an overview of the atmosphere and cuisine, and talk about my reactions to both places.

I also have several story ideas about my life in the restaurant biz, for instance, how in my very first job as a busboy at the impressionable age of 15 I got to meet Vincent Price. No doubt this early brush with celebrity contributed to my growing love of the hospitality business.

I also intend to post primers about wine, spirits, and artisanal cheese, as well as information about dining etiquette, service skills, and what defines the ultimate restaurant experience.

The best part about actually writing these posts (if I can get off my lazy ass) is that good content might actually attract readers who aren’t my immediate family

Culinary Homesick Blues

I’m not going to lie. Moving to the midwest was an adjustment for me. I spent my formative years mostly in the hectic Baltimore-Washington corridor, them moved to the sprawl of South Florida at age 24. Things are different here in Cowtown. People are friendlier, for one thing. And practically everyone drives below the speed limit.

Last December when we arrived, I was excited to explore my new hometown and uncover its culinary treasures. Instead, I quickly began to miss many things I had once taken for granted. Great seafood, for instance. Neighborhood taverns that serve food you’d actually want to eat, not food that comes frozen or out of a number-ten can. Having three fantastic sushi restaurants within two miles of the house. Being able to get a fresh-dough pizza with homemade sauce until four in the morning. More than one Whole Foods Market in the entire metropolitan area. Sunday afternoon dim sum for which I’d drive an hour to enjoy.

Things haven’t been all bad, though. I discovered the meaty, tender ribs at the Hickory House. The wife and I had a memorable dinner at Barcelona, including a sublime dish of gnocchi with shrimp in a paprika-laced cream sauce. We were thrilled to learn that Rossi in the Short North serves delicious food well past midnight. The ride to the Whole Foods Market on Sawmill is only ’bout 30 minutes from my house, and last week I had sushi at Hama in Easton—Toro so rich it made my head spin, and a Japenese style oyster shooter with ponzu, quail egg, scallion, and tamago.

This year I hope to uncover more of Columbus’s treasures. I hope you’ll come along for the ride. I still haven’t found a good Jewish Deli, but am told that Katzinger’s is excellent. If anybody has a line on good New York style pizza, or dim sum, let me know.