Sunday, July 26, 2009

Grub Street Contest

Grub Street, the foodie blog of New York magazine, is giving away tickets to a special screening of Julie & Julia. The tickets will go to the person who submits the best casting choices for a roster of New York chefs and food personalities. Here are my choices...

Dan Barber = John HannahJohn Hannah, an established character actor, has the intelligence and unique countenance.

Mario Batali = Philip Seymour HoffmanPhilip Seymour Hoffman has proved time and again that he can pull off any character--Batali isn't much of a stretch physically.

Anthony Bourdain = Matt King (aka 'Super Hans')At first I considered a sped-up Jeff Goldblum for the role of Anthony Bourdain but ultimately I felt that Matt King, who plays the ideological stoner Super Hans on the British sitcom "Peep Show," best matched Bourdain's feral demeanor.

Tom Colicchio = Evan Handler
Harry Goldenblatt from "Sex and the City" matches Colicchio's cue ball, plus he can scowl with the best of 'em.

Padma Lakshmi = herself
Because I don't think that Padma would allow it to be any other way.

Wylie Dufresne = Anthony Edwards
Anthony Edwards has played a number of nerdy heroes throughout his career, making him well-equipped to take on the bespectacled champion of molecular gastronomy.

Lidia Bastianich = John TravoltaWith Hairspray, John Travolta proved that he is great in drag.

Rachel Ray = Brittany Murphy
Brittany Murphy has the bubbly, off-kilter thing down and, as she did in "Drop Dead Gorgeous," she would be able to inject a little irony into the role.

Danny Meyer = George Clooney
I went a little Hollywood with this one, choosing Clooney for his suavity and his ability to pull off Meyer's ringleader quality (as he did playing another Danny--Danny Ocean in the Ocean's franchise).

Eric Ripert = Joaquin PhoenixJoaquin Phoenix has the right ethereal air to play the French master of seafood.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

John Garlic

The New York Times ran a piece in its Dining section this week that examined the history of gyro meat. While there are a handful of men that claim to have invented the method for mass producing the peculiar meat cone that is shaved onto pita bread to become a gyro, the article arrives at the conclusion that it was one John Garlic from Wisconsin that truly invented the process.

Inspired by this larger-than-life character--a man with an amazingly fitting name and a unique interest in dolphins--I created an "artist's interpretation" of Mr. John Garlic. As well, I've included some choice excerpts from the Times article...

There is little about John Garlic in news archives, aside from a 1978 story in The Milwaukee Sentinel, in which a John J. Garlic discusses his plans to keep trained dolphins in a former municipal pool he’d bought in the city and wanted to turn into a restaurant with a kind of Sea World sideshow.

Unfortunately, Mr. Garlic is no longer around to discuss matters; he died of kidney failure in 1994. But his wife, Margaret Garlic, can provide answers.

So, who was John Garlic?

“He was this big guy,” she said, “like 6 foot 2 inches tall, dark curly hair, couple hundred pounds. A former Marine. A super intelligent, super entertaining man. My brother used to say, ‘When John Garlic enters a room, you know you’re going to have fun.’ ”

And he was Greek?

“No, no,” she said. “He was Jewish.”

Where did he get the idea?

“From me,” Ms. Garlic said. “One afternoon, I was watching ‘What’s My Line?’ and there was a Greek restaurant owner on the show, and he did this demonstration, carving meat off a gyro. I immediately called an operator and asked for the number of a Greek restaurant in New York. The owner I got on the phone said, ‘Go to Chicago, there’s a huge Greek community.’ ” At the time, Mr. Garlic was a Cadillac salesman, in his late 30s, but he quickly saw his future in gyro cones. After finding a Chicago chef willing to share a recipe, the couple rented space in a sausage plant and cranked out history’s first assembly-line gyro cones. They were a hit. More...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kid Vicious

Yesterday, I was walking down St. Mark's in Manhattan's East Village and saw these two kids playing music. On a stretch of NYC that has fostered the talents of such musicians as the Ramones, New York Dolls, and the Velvet Underground, there were two young boys with a snare drum, mini electric guitar and amp playing rock n roll. One boy wore a Superman t-shirt, the other wore a t-shirt with the image of Spiderman.