The Silent Epidemic Behind Nicaragua’s Rum - This piece was a monster to get through. Or rather a monster of a piece to write. It took more than a month to finally get it online…a lot of research, a l...
Saturday, January 26, 2013
A Taco Tour of Los Angeles-Come Take a Ride With Madeleine Brand, Val Zavala and Myself on So Cal Connected
This program was originally broadcast on Jan. 9, 2013
In case you missed it, catch me on KCET's SoCal Connected, guiding Madeleine Brand and Val Zavala on a taco tour of Los Angeles were we talk tacos de camaron, tacos de fritanga, and tacos de marlin.
Monday, January 21, 2013
The Taste on ABC Premiers Tonight, 1/22: Tony, Nigella, Ludo, and Brian's Blind Ambition Tour Promises to Bring a Fresh Approach to the Food Game Show
Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre, and Brian Malarkey were in town to have a casual meet and greet last week to promote The Taste , which premiers tonight at 8/7c, on ABC.
The show is generating considerable interest given it's line-up of heavy hitters, all riding the edge of the culinary world. We'll all be looking for some energy, chemistry, and attitude from this wild bunch--my money is on Nigella, who has the sass, and smarts to match her curves . Ludo and Tony B. are both riding a wave of success. Ludo is set to pop-up permanently at his much anticipated restaurant in partnership with Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook of Animal and Son of a Gun, that's rumored to mark a return to Chef Ludo's roots--oh, and Tony B. is just getting ready to rule the world with his new series, Unknown Parts, on CNN, that will boldly go where no food/travel television show has gone before. Malarkey is a star in his own right and has been a double threat in the food world as a restaurateur and Reality TV star.
The four mentors will be selecting amateurs, professionals, and hobbyists in the kitchen based on one blind taste--one bite. Chefs that are selected will then have one of these 4 wise men and woman to mentor them during the run of the show. They'll start out with 16 contestants with weekly dramas, challenges, emotions, and fierce competition until there is only one chef left standing.
Bourdain, and Lawson both indicated that this show will be a departure from the lame-ass reality show trappings, where jerks with toques are selected and prodded to manufacture controversy.
This might be the food competition we've all been waiting for. Tune in tonight for The Taste!
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Having a fried piece of California Gold, churros with Huell Howser at the Mercadito
There will never be another man like Huell--he was instantly your friend the moment he met you--he meant it. I was first called by the show to talk about nopales--I forgot the angle--but I remember telling them what they were looking for wouldn't be worth their while, then this donut thing came up. We talked about Latin American donuts--of course the churro came up--and then we decided on a date. I picked the Mercadito in East L.A. because of the excellent churros, but really I just wanted to see Huell trip out on the market--to do his thing.
I loved watching Huell work the segment--from the moment he arrived to the time he left he was that guy you see on T.V.--a little more edgy off camera--but pure CA Gold.
"Well, Bill, are churros donuts?" he said in that famous melodic, crescendoing voice, "why yes they are--it's fried dough--it's a donut", I replied.
After the shoot I had a chance to talk with this legend--talking to Huell was like being on an amusement park ride that kept you grinning--on the verge of laughter.
I'll never forget what he said next. "You know, Bill, at my age, I've done just about everything a GUY can DO, but I have one last request, one last trip to make--I want to try tequila and pulque in Jalisco."
"Are you serious?"
" I want to ride that train.."
"You mean the tequila express?"
"Yeah, that's the one!" "Now, I can't be getting all liquored up on camera, BUT, in the name of HIGHER research, I will have to put many shots of tequila up to my mouth over the course of this show."
"Yeah, I'll have to just keep on researching!" he laughed. "Do they have pulque over there--what is that stuff anyway?--I've been hearing a lot about that pulque."
"It's the fermented sap of the agave."
"Well, that sounds like we'll have a lot of research to do, Bill." "Why don't you arrange it and give us a call."
Are you fucking kidding me I thought? I'm taking Huell Howser to the motherland, to go drink tequila? This was a pilgrim asking to be taken to Mecca.
I went on a tour that summer with Chef Patricia Quintana and 90 other journalists, photographers, chefs, and publishers through 6 states in Mexico on a gastronomic tour. When I returned there was a voice mail from Huell, " Hello, Bill, I've been trying to reach you--you're harder to get a hold of than the president of the UNITED States--I've already talked to OBAMA twice, and I still can't reach you. Well, when you get this message, I'd sure appreciate you calling back--bye, bye."
I called his producer shortly after my return and was informed that Huell wasn't doing well, health wise, and would be taking some time off--Jalisco would have to wait. I checked back from time to time, but things were still on hold. I tried to track him down at the KCRW Pie Contest, but had just missed him by minutes, after Evan Kleiman walked me backstage to look for him. Moments before I arrived, he had just looked at everyone and said, "well, I'm just about PIED out", and then he walked out and went straight home.
I've driven through the lowlands and highlands of Jalisco, and had already planned our distillery stops, of course the Tequila Express, and even found a roadside pulque vendor that had a lid covered with drunk hornets. I wanted that to happen for Huell--I wanted to have him sipping tequila and talking to folks on the train--and the pulque, drunk hornet, and Huell? I think that might of been something Huell had never seen, and just maybe a magical moment would be caught on film. Huell loved nature, he loved culture, and he was a huge fan of Mexico.
I'm so sorry that you didn't make it to Jalisco my friend, but I'm glad to have worked with you on one of your last shoots, and saw you in all your brilliance. You'll be missed by many, but I'll personally miss your wit, humanity, and charm. Vaya con dios, caballero!
R.I.P. Huell Howser, 1945-2013
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Make your New Year's resolution to get out there and see the world--we are well into the 21st Century and many of us are still uninvested in this big blue marble. Go somewhere--go anywhere--go to San Diego, Big Bear, or go see the Great Wall of China. We all need this essential nourishment of cultural interaction--it's going to bring us closer, make our life richer, and destroy all prejudices, and misunderstandings we have about each other. And--travel tastes, smells, looks, sounds, and feels amazing--all your senses will be engaged in this show.
The Los Angeles Travel and Leisure Show 2013 is next weekend at the Long Beach Convention Center, January 12-13, and only $9 online and $12 at the door gives you access to a world of travel.
What I like to see at the show is who is really making a push to get some of our tourist dollars--look for the big booths--last year it was Taiwan, Korea, Turkey, and Ecuador--these larger booths will be reaching out with great prices on hotels and packages to get you on that plane. These are going to be hot destinations with solid tourist infrastructure. This year it's Turkey, Japan, and Indonesia pulling out all the stops.
There's entertainment for the whole family, guests speakers, cooking demos, seminars, and booths for every kind of traveler--from local getaways to global retreats.
I've been going to this show for years and highly recommend stopping by to receive the latest travel information, get discounts on guides and products, listen to travel pros, and have a fun afternoon with the entire family.
Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show 2013
Long Beach Convention Center
300 East Ocean Boulevard
Long Beach, CA 90802Tel: 562-436-3636
Adults: $9 Online or $12 at the Show Box Office
Children under 16*: Free
* All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. To attend the public conference sessions you must be registered for the expo with valid admission. No exceptions
Public Show Hours:
Saturday, January 12: 10:00am-5:00pm
Sunday, January 13: 10:00am-5:00pmTravel Trade Hours:Saturday, January 12: 9:30am-5:00pm (note: expo hall open 30 minutes prior to general public hours)
Sunday, January 13: 10:00am-5:00pm
Contact 203-878-2577 x100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org