Wednesday, August 11, 2010

life is short

I have had the most incredible year.  But it hasn't been without darkness.  I just returned home from a week with my dad.  It's been so hard watching someone you love slowly fade.  It's just another reminder of how quickly life passes.  Do what you love.  Love what you do.  Love those who are in your life because you never know how long they will be with you.
I feel blessed.  I have had so many wonderful people in my life.  I cannot thank them enough.  I am dealing with a lot of mixed emotions now and it is so good to know there are people I can rely on.
My dad is one of those wonderful people.
I have gone a long time without truly connecting with him.  As in all families, there are issues.  Mine are no exception.  So now I try and make up for some of that lost time.

But I have never doubted his love.

Monday, August 9, 2010

how do people blog every day?

This is the question I keep asking myself.  
Or maybe I just wish I could find the time to do it....
Anyway, a lot has been going on in the past few weeks.  Mainly, I have started a new venture:  strEATchefs!!!
I have been working on this every day from sunup to sundown and not much time for blogging (or anything else for that matter).
Laura Rice, my partner, and I dreamed up this superfly airstream idea about a year ago.  We thought that Boulder/Denver needed more quality street food and that the trend in cities like Portland and LA were fast becoming mainstream.  Why not be the fist in Boulder to do something like this?  And if someone else does beat us to it, then we want to be the best.  
So fast forward a year, a lot of travel, a lot of brainstorming, and a lot of meetings later and behold:  Rosie!
She's sleek, beautiful and ready to cook up the goods.

We have a full kitchen inside - grill, fryer, huge griddle, burners, and tons of refrigeration.  There is a ton of counter space, a hood, POS, storage.  But the most important piece is the crew.  I've got a handful of eager, experienced, and good-natured cooks to help me realize the vision.  

So now we are hitting the streets.  The lines have been long and the response has been fantastic!
Thanks to everyone who has visited us and who is helping us get started.  I see a big, bright, shiny future for strEATchefs!

Friday, June 25, 2010

deep thoughts

I feel like Jack Handy right now sitting on the beach in Florida watching the waves roll in.  I'm here for a couple of cooking demos at Publix grocery stores (well, actually its' at their cooking school called Aprons).  I've been fortunate enough to get put up at the Boca Beach Resort.  So I'm relaxing by the beach waiting for my next demo to begin.  It's perfect here - very warm, nice offshore breeze, clear waters and great sandy.  However, I can't stop thinking about what's happening a few hundred miles in the other direction.  BP and the oil industry in general have put us all in danger.  The oil has been flowing into the ocean for over two months now.  It is the most upsetting thing that has happened in our lives, in my humble opinion. The impact will not only be felt by the cleaning crews, the fishermen, the fish, the ocean-dwellers, the property owners, the oystermen, the tourist industry, the deep sea fishermen, the pelicans, the turtles, the dolphins, etc. etc. etc....  BUT BY EVERYONE ON THIS EARTH.  So much oil has spewed that it will make it out of the gulf, around Florida, up the East coast, across the Atlantic and over to Europe and beyond.  Many migratory fish and birds use the wetlands and the deep ocean just off the Louisiana coast to breed and hatch their young.  Sharks, whales, large predatory fish, etc. all need these waters to survive.  I predict a domino effect that will last decades.  I am so disillusioned with our government, big industry and the New American Apathy that seems to be imbedded in every bit of our lives now.  If it doesn't directly impact people, they just don't seem to care - or at least have the energy to do something about it.  Maybe we are all so busy with our crazy lives, debt, and fear that we can't offer any emotion to something this important.  But this keeps me up at night.  I have fallen in love with New Orleans and the state of Louisiana over the past year.  I feel like someone just shot my new love in the heart and nobody is slowing down to offer help...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hong Kong - Day 1

It certainly takes some time do get from Boulder, CO to Hong Kong.  Like 24 hours door to door.  It is well worth the wait!
I flew in  on a dreary day (which could either be clouds or some seriously thick pollution - probably a combination) and touched down just after dawn.  After finding my way to the hotel, I hooked up with Josiah Citrin, chef and owner of Melisse Restaurant in LA.
We clambered our way through the streets of Hong Kong, trying to find our bearing.  We walked up what seemed like an infinite ascension of stairs to some really cool shops and alleyways serving dumplings, duck and many local offerings.
After cooling down with some cold beer we made our way to the Ferry Building and took a ride to Kowloon.  We checked in with Chef Jake and his crew at BLT Steak.  We got an idea of what we would need for the dinner the following night and how much prep would be involved.  Then it was back to Hong Kong to take a break and get ready for the evenings adventures.

We took a 20 minute cab ride to Lei Yue Mun, a crazy fish market on the Eastern Kowloon side.  It was basically a long row of fish purveyors packing aquariums and tanks with every type of sea creature you can imagine.  Each stall has a restaurant connected to it where they will slay and cook whatever critter you bring them.  After doing our best "bartering" and trying to get a feel for what kitchen would do the most justice, we settled in and chose our victims.  We ended up with a feast - way too much food for two people!  We ate:  snapper, prawns, clams, geoduck, cuttlefish, abalone, lobster, mussels, and one massive crab.

They put together a few different preperations and the food came out when it came out.  We also dove into some wonderful Chinese broccoli, noodles, rice and I forget what...  Oh, lots of beer...
Slowly and painfully we made our way back to the hotel to sleep and see what the next day would bring us...
Lobster, before and after

Geoduck, before and after






Monday, April 19, 2010

where indeed...

Hello people of the internet.
Sorry if you've been following a blog that hasn't seen much action in the past few weeks.  I've been a very busy guy and have forgotten to keep up with this whole blog thing.  I've got 10 minutes before I get on a 22 hour flight to Hong Kong - so I'm going to be brief.
A lot has happened since my last entry.  The most significant news is that my dad is starting to feel a little better with the treatment he's been getting.  It's been a very tough year for him, but now there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel.
OK.  Now to business.  Since my last post:
I did a few more local charity dinners.
I did a few test menus for StreatChefs (coming in June!).
I judged a cocktail competition for 42Below Vodka.  The winner ended up going to win nationals and then the WORLD CUP!!!!  Congrats to Happy's very own Mark Stoddard!
I cooked a Cajun food demo for Sterling Rice Group's "Culinary Summit"
I toured Seattle and Portland and had some amazing street food, sandwiches (BUNK!), and altogether amazing food.
I went to Des Moines, Iowa and participated in a "Pork Summit" for the National Pork Board.
I cooked a Tequila dinner at Zolo with some of Boulder's finest chefs.
I helped plan the School Lunch Project with fellow chefs and food magnates.
I participated in the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival.  Cooked a luncheon with Carla, Jamie and Fabio from Top Chef.  I also cooked 2000 portions of buffalo for the grand tasting.
I participated in the Scottsdale Food and Wine Festival and did a few cooking demos.
And now I'm headed to Asia.  I'll be gone for two weeks but plan on posting many wonderful recipes, photos and stories about everything you have just read about.
Thanks for still checking this page out and I will be back with more....

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wellness Initiative

I was honored to cook at Doug and Carol Bollman's house to help raise money for the Wellness Initiative.  Their mission is to help improve the physical health, social and emotional development, and academic performance of low-income youth.  You really can't deny that's a good thing.
I cooked a five course dinner for 30 people at the Bollman's.  Everyone in attendance donated to the fund and we all had a great time.  My new friend Emily (and daughter of the Bollmans) and her entire class signed an apron for me.  They also stenciled in a fleur-de-lis in honor of my recent trip to New Orleans.  Awesome!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mardi Gras

It's no secret that I love and adore New Orleans.  Everything about the city is special:  the food, the music, the traditions, the people and the parties.
I was very honored to be invited to ride with the Krewe of Orpheus for this year's Mardi Gras.  Not only do they have an incredibly impressive lineup of floats, entertainment and energy, but this year none other than Sean Payton was the king!   Yes, I got to touch the Lombardi Trophy... barely.
It's impossible to explain what happens during Mardi Gras without being there.  All I can say is that you haven't lived until you've experienced a few days of this kind of party.  And for the people that think it's all boobs and beads, you're dead wrong.  Of course Bourbon Street has it's fair share of strip clubs and open bars, but the celebration is so much more than that.  There are families lined down St. Charles - cooking food, celebrating life and having more fun than most people do anywhere at any time.
A big thank you shout out to Joyce Godbold who helped arrange everything.  I'm very much looking forward to this year's New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, of which she is director.  I also can't thank the Monteleone Hotel enough for the hospitality and by far my favorite rooms in the big easy.  Then of course there are the people who make is so fun to visit:  Preston for just being you, Susan Spicer for another perfect meal, Donald Link for fattening me up with the best andouille and boudin anywhere, John Besh for continuing to raise the bar, Molly for being an amazingly good sport, Cafe du Monde for the beignets, and Preservation Hall for the jazz music...
my best shot of drew brees

says it all


the krewe

loading the float

dressed to impress?

just good fun

my new friends

canal street

can't explain even when you're there

disco robot

happy people

in the spirit

cures anything

jazz at it's finest

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Paul Bartolotta is the man

I was in Las Vegas for the Super Bowl.  Yes, the Saints prevailed.  But that's old news.  The pictures below are all fresh fish that Chef Paul Bartolotta has flown in from Italian Mediterranean waters.  Every week.  In fact, multiple times per week.

If you ever find yourself in the Wynn hotel and are looking for something really special, make sure to dine at Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare.  Not to take anything away from the fantastic spots he and his brother run in Milwaukee - but this place is certainly a gem.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Home

Just a few pictures to share from my last trip home to Taos, New Mexico.  I feel very blessed to have grown up in such an amazing place.  One of these days I hope to return, open a small restaurant, and spend my days skiing and exploring the enchanted wilderness that surrounds Taos...
bottom of kachina lift

west basin ridge

winston bumps

the view from yellowbird's land

dirt roads

road to tsv

the house i was born in

taos mountain

el salto

cliffs of el salto