In June of 2008, Neil Pasricha launched his 1000 Awesome Things website. I, along with much of the internet addicted world, was turned onto his site soon thereafter. The backstory and premise is this: Neil was reeling in the after effects of some serious emotional gut punches. Rather than wallow in his sorrow any more than he had to, Neil decided to pick up the pieces and share positive tidbits with the world. If you want to hear the story, you can watch Pasricha’s TED.com talk.
So there’s this ex-wrestler. He’s a big hulking African man and he’s here to serve us some Deep South style barbecue ribs. Though he’s a Canadian ex-pat, this fact alone seems representative of the man’s upbringing during a time when stereotypes were more freely exchanged. While he’s at it, he might as well throw in ‘anything but native’ Chinese food. Okay, scratch the preconceived stereotypes fluttering about!
His name is Larry Shreve and you almost certainly know him as Abdullah The Butcher and the proprietor and founder of Atlanta’s Abdullah the Butcher House of Ribs and Chinese Food. The 70-something Hall of Fame wrestler ended up as one of the most highly reputed yet brutally physical WWE professionals of all-time. On the back of broken chairs and broken spines (okay – I don’t think he ever broke a dude’s back … but I stress the use of the work think here), Abdullah became a poster child for the ‘go hard or go home’ mentality. His nickname I believe is the “Madman from Sudan.”
In addition to his animalistic reputation in the ring, Shreve garnered a good bit of head swiveling on account of his circus-like culinary adventures; which were not exactly the culinary training worthy of mention in an article in the NY Times. Most of them to this point seem to be passed around as fact, but whether or not his lore is true (did he bit a chicken’s head off?), it seems to fit him like a glove. Quite the resume builder for the guy serving your food. But anywho, what’s important is that his gregarious personality has lead him down a most unusual path and the two of us finally intersected, at least in spirit, just a short time ago.
So I’ve just done something I never thought I’d do … deleted and blocked a commentator. The deleted content included an opening from the person, a retort by me, and a follow up to that by the person (probably a dude) in question. I think the point the person was trying to make is that I don’t have the guts to open a restaurant and I’m mad at those that do and that “fact” undermines everything I’ve ever written.
Truth is, I do have the guts. I just don’t have the interest and even if I did, I don’t have the talent to produce a top quality experience. Well, maybe with the right team in place but … blah blah blah – it ain’t happening is the point.
I’m not going to go into any more detail about what was said. I’ve posted my comment policy on here numerous times and it’s time to make it clear and readily available. So unless you’re reading this moments after the original post time, if you scroll your eyes over to the right ever so slightly, you’ll see it listed under my pages section. If you happen to be reading this many years down the road, the link to the comment policy has been repositioned to somewhere else on the page – not yet determined at this time! Oh, if you keep showing up to tell me how much you don’t read me … well then …
So after yesterday’s post during which I took the opportunity to question restaurants, restaurateurs, and chefs motives and decisions to out anonymous folks, it’s only fair that we discuss the impact on the average diner, their need to expose someone, and where I fit in on all this. It’s not that I’m at the crux of the debate, more so, I’m just sick of people in the media referring to the media in the third person. It’s only fair that I acknowledge my role in this and why I happen to have the feelings that I do. Continue reading…
The debate between those who wish to remain anonymous (like me) and those hell bent on exposing us rages on. Seemingly everyday, more and more anonymous journalists, critics, and bloggers are being ousted from their bat caves and into the limelight. Many, whether they are directly affected or not, seem to have an opinion on this topic. As with most every debate I’ve ever come across – there are different perspectives, each often valid in their own right, and this is no different. These points can be argued, and we can easily turn this into the slippery slope that it is. But for now, just hear me out if you’d be so kind.
I’m on my way out of town for a few days to a land where internet access will be at a premium (if even available). I have a few things in my draft box that I’ll try and wrap up on the plane, but in the event that you don’t hear from me over the next few days … please don’t be offended. I return during the early part of next week, so worst case scenario – that very interesting rumor substantiated by a very reliable source will have to wait until then!
If you don’t mind, I’d like to take a moment to step away from our regularly scheduled program.
Yesterday, Music Midtown officially announced that it was reinventing itself. That news was met with a great deal of excitement … except amongst one Atlanta couple. You see, the date for the upcoming music festival is September 24th, 2011 and the location is set for Piedmont Park. Trouble is, that aforementioned couple had scheduled their Wedding that day. Understandably frustrated, they took to facebook and setup a page appropriately entitled Music Midtown Ruined My Wedding.
The not so happy couple shared the details of their dilemma on said page:
Our wedding was originally scheduled for September 24th, 2011 at Greystone at Piedmont Park. After the deposit was paid, caterers were hired, DJ’s were booked, and Save the Dates went out, we were informed that there was a "probable live music concert in Piedmont Park, which may occur on [our] wedding date." The city apparently planned this "probable" music concert without first informing the Piedmont Park Conservancy. At 12:00 on July 6th, it was announced that Music Midtown was returning to Atlanta, on September 24th, 2011, at Piedmont Park, just in time to ruin our planned nuptials. It’s too late to book another location for that date at a reasonable price. How can we change the date this far in advance? This is an absolute calamity brought upon by a music festival that Atlantans thought was long gone. Thanks a lot Music Midtown. You ruined my wedding.
Despite being alerted to this snafu in several places, Midtown Music has remained silent. Now, I’m sure this could spurn a huge debate (the least of which being that I am friends with the couple, hence this post), but let me offer a little perspective on some important points.
a) Music Midtown was quick to post a facebook page and establish a twitter account. Companies are so quick to utilize engagement tools but then don’t utilize them properly. I’m sorry – but if you’re going to get on twitter and ignore your followers (or anyone who mentions you for that matter), you’re not doing things properly.
b) And more on point … The vowees (or whatever you call people ready to take vows) are reasonable people. Though I haven’t specifically asked them, my guess is that they aren’t expecting a music festival to relocate on behalf of them. Bad things happen and there is always collateral damage. However, what they are looking for is some help. So far, the performance of Music Midtown has been a resounding flop on this front.
So while we all cross our fingers and hope that “the right thing” is done without much public pressure, I would love it if y’all would make sure that Music Midtown hears about this via @MusicMidtown and Music Midtown on Facebook. Oh, and in case you didn’t already, you can also go give the Music Midtown Ruined My Wedding page a like.
And now off of my soap box and back to our regularly scheduled programming!
NOTE: I do have a comment policy and I have just had to delete a comment. If you happen to have some access to information relevant to this situation and you want to comment on it … signing in as firstname.lastname@example.org won’t cut it. Carry on!
Saw this awesome suicide doughnut from my favoritest, bestest, craviest doughnut dude … Kamal Grant of Sublime Doughnuts.
This round mound of doughnut down contains Bavarian crème, butter toffee, vanilla crème, strawberries, Reese’s cup, raspberry, powdered sugar, peanut butter, marsh mellow, Oreo, coconut, and Butterfinger! I feel a doughnut rap coming on!
Oh and for those of you assuming the title is a reference to some morbid fantasy of death by doughnut … it’s not. It’s borrowed from the term “suicide drink.” In my more formative years, I enjoyed taking my soda fountain cup and pouring every possible varietal into my container. It’s a common, yet somewhat underground, behavior.
[via Sublime Facebook]
While executive chef Eddie Hernandez may not be a household name, his restaurant chain sure is. Ask someone to get tacos in this town, and there is a good chance that they’ll suggest one of the three Taqueria Del Sol locations as their destination du jour. Started a few years back with a single location over on the Westside, the restaurant now stretches across Atlanta’s waistline like Orion’s Belt. With locations on Cheshire Bridge and in Decatur, this taco bar empire has even showed up in Athens.
At the epicenter of this tortilla fest is founding chef Eddie Hernandez. Along with Mike Klank, the duo opened the Westside location way back in 2000 [Holy Crap! That’s 10 years ago]. You may have caught wind of that; this past month TDS celebrated their anniversary with a handful of events. They also made an appearance at the Souper Jenny Food Truck Extravaganza. If anyone is capable of handling all the running around, it’s Hernandez. The politically inclined gent once served as the mayor of Rosebud, TX. How’s that for a career change?
In any event, Hernandez has turned in his pen and paper and taken up a knife and tortilla maker. Thankfully, he found some time to join us for a little Q&A on this week’s edition of Inside The Chef’s Kitchen. Taqueria Del Sol is as popular as ever, and Hernandez is the reason. So get your Mint Julep (it’s Derby Day after all), kick back … and welcome to ITCK!