Sunday, September 15, 2013

Legendary Guerilla Dining

The Legends Series. Maybe you have heard of it...maybe not. That is the nature of guerrilla dining...elusive, spontaneous, transient. The Legends Series began in January 2012. The experience was magic. Over the past year and a half I have had the luxury of enjoying each subversive feast with the special designation of a chef's wife. It is a unique perspective...a really beautiful thing watching people indulge and ravage your love's art. These events are unique, because it is one of the few places where Chef and his friends can express their creative genius in a space where anything is possible, free from the menu confines of their restaurants. It is fine art, that can only be experienced in a specific place in time. Unlike a concert where you can buy a recording of the performance, or a gallery opening where you can re-visit the art at your leisure...culinary art is only meant to be experienced in the moment it is placed before you. It is truly existential, ephemeral in that way. A once in a lifetime type of thing.

Here is a montage of some of my favorite shots from the past year of dinners. I don't have any pictures from Legends III because it was housed in a secret private car collection and cameras were not allowed.  Enjoy!

Legends IV : The Florida Theater

Held in January, this feast had a holiday theme. 
It took place on the stage of the historic Florida Theater. 

Chefs were challenged to create dishes that revolved around holiday food. Here is Chef Sam Efron's play on turducken. A roulade of turkey stuffed with chicken mousse and duck confit.
For dessert we moved from the stage to the balcony for a live opera performance. 
It was extraordinary.

Legends V
 This dinner was staged at the Dee-Dot Ranch. It was a collaboration between iconic local artist Jim Draper and his recent Feast of Flowers exhibition. Each menu was a limited edition signed screen original artwork for each guest to take home.
 This was one of my favorite dinners of the series. 
It was one of those nights where there was a spark in the air.

 The entertainment included a modern dance troop that performed in canoes on the water, accompanied by a live cellist.

 I love this shot. It is the chefs working in the barn kitchen. All of the food had to include an ingredient that was sourced from the property by a duo of foragers from Asheville, NC.

Legends 6
In celebration of One Spark, the world's first crowdfunding festival, this dinner was held in a parking garage in Jacksonville's urban core and the entertainment included a rocking DJ and break dance group. I had a series of killer pictures of this event, but alas lost them in a disc burning fiasco. 
The picture above survived. It was of Chef's dish,
Potato Crusted Sable with Creamed Leeks, Benton Ham and Pinot Butter.
It was one of the most amazing things I have ever put in my mouth. And I was not alone in that sentiment. People approached me throughout the evening to tell me that this dish was unforgettable.

Tickets go on sale next for the 2013 Fall Legends Series Dinner.  Go here to learn more: legends
Best of luck. Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day

Labor Day. I can't think about Labor Day, without thinking about actual labor. As in laboring to bring a child into the world. As in laboring to raise said child into a bright, kind, beautiful being. As in the most intense work I have ever endeavored. Labor Day.

This is my youngest...within the first minutes of life. She was a seven hour labor. Born on March 17th at 7:17 pm. She is so freaked out. Who can blame her? Why not swaddle her in a warm blanket? Looking back on it...the heat lamp is an intense experience to have right outside the gate, if you know what I mean? I had nursed her, and then the nurse swooped her up to clean us both up from delivery. I will never forget that cry from across the room. 

Work is relative.  Last week, I was researching for a lesson plan on Ancient Egypt, when I came across the fact that the Egyptians were the first people to ever strike against unfair labor conditions. It happened during the reign of Ramsey III in 12 B.C., and you can actually read the documented record of the strike here.

Here is a snippet:
"The two chiefs of police ... Pharaoh, the accounts scribe Hednakht, the god-fathers of this administration (came out (?)) to hear their statement. They said to them12: "The prospect of hunger and thirst has driven us to this; there is no clothing, there is no ointment13, there is no fish14, there are no vegetables. Send to Pharaoh, our good lord, about it, and send to the vizier, our superior, that we may be supplied with provisions.""

There is no fish.  When was the last time you were paid in fish? Not a bad idea. There are many Americans who labor full time and find themselves struggling to put food on the table. Labor begins with life. Work it.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Summer Salads


Simple seasonal salads. This is a salad I made earlier this summer...when cucumbers were still plentiful in this godforsaken sweltering state. I am on a mission this year to develop a repertoire of super delicious ridiculously easy salads.  This is a take on a traditional Greek salad (minus olives and feta). It is fresh, easy, and low cal. Might make a nice side for Sunday Supper.

1 pint/ 1 lb of small tomatoes cut in half (cherry, campari, roma taste best) 
1 medium cucumber cut lengthwise then quartered
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon teaspoon of dry oregano
salt and pepper to taste.

If you want to go Greek with it...throw in a handful of good kalamata olives and feta


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chicken Shit

I can't believe it has been so long. It makes me sad. Life just grabbed me by the boobs this year, and I just couldn't figure out how wrestle them back and be here. My heart missed here. I am going to try harder, starting today. This lil' blog may be a bit more photo driven, but it will be. That's all that matters.

This lovely lady above...her name is Ginny. Ginny owns Ginny's Little Long Horn Saloon in Austin, Texas.  She took it over after her husband passed away in the early 90's. After spending three days in Austin trying to find that bar that made me feel like I lived in Texas, like I was a local...not a local going out for craft cocktails...but a local that drinks cheap beer and remembers when Stevie Ray Vaughn used to play in town. I found the real deal in this shoebox dive. Ginny, on Sundays she hosts this little game called Chicken Shit Bingo. This little closet of a bar fills with folks until they spill out into the street to watch chickens poop on plywood. All the while, Ginny and her daughter sling cheap beers and collect piles of cash. Did I mention it is cash only? These women are genius.  This is a picture of her daughter and a fella who bought me and my friend a drink for a conversation. I love this picture.

Watching Ginny, in this honky tonk living her life and enjoying every minute of it, taking every rowdy "Can I get a beer?" in made me think about how I live my own life. Just look at her shirt. She is a bad ass. This year, I am going to channel Ginny. Her energy. Her smile.

Her chili dogs. Did I mention that she makes chili dogs and sets them up free for anyone who wants to mow down.

This is her prepping the buffet before the rush. Putting everything out there for anyone to enjoy...or not. Life is about putting yourself out there...and not giving a chicken shit about what happens. Because even chicken shit can raise a laugh and land you a fist full of dough. Ginny is living proof.