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Showing posts from August, 2013

gastroLab Dinner with Chef Jeremiah

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There's a difference between "clever" and "smart."[1] Clever may make you giggle. Smart makes you think. The difference is sometimes overlooked in what was called "molecular gastronomy" five years ago, then was redubbed "modernist cuisine" a couple years back, and now, according to ponderous dipshit shnorrer John Mariani, is already passé. Some of the criticism is fair: in manipulating form and texture, and disregarding flavor, some chefs were more clever than smart. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do something - in particular, it doesn't mean it tastes better.


Going back to one of our first Cobaya events, I've enjoyed several dinners with Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog (perhaps better known as the pilot of the gastroPod food truck) over the years. His latest "gastroLab" dinner was the smartest meal I've had with him - one where everything on the plate had purpose and focus, one where the thought b…

Spiceonomics - Navigating Miami Spice, 2013 Edition

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With August upon us, it's that time once again: Miami Spice. Now in its twelfth year, Miami Spice remains something of a culinary version of Russian Roulette: you might have a very good meal that's a great value at a restaurant that's excited to offer it to you; or you might have a mediocre meal that's not very different from the restaurant's regular prices, served by a resentful and begrudging waitstaff who are not impressed by your 15% tip on a $33 per person tab.

How to tell the difference? Over the years I've repeatedly proposed and refined three basic rules by which to approach Miami Spice:

(1) there's no reason to bother with restaurants where the Spice menu is not a meaningful discount from their regular prices (though, by all means, go to them if you like them; just don't do so because they're offering a Miami Spice menu);

(2) the infamous chicken breast / farmed salmon / churrasco (or substitute short rib) "trifecta" is usually a t…