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Posts Tagged ‘Bobby Flay’

Me & Bobby Flay

Why yes, that IS me with Bobby Flay

It was a harmonic convergence of sorts. I noticed last Friday that I had a hefty amount of time that should be taken off before the end of the year. Then I received an email alerting me that Bobby Flay–Iron Chef, Food Network Star, author, and restaurateur–was coming to town for a book signing. The signing began at 5 pm, so clearly the only thing to do was take the afternoon off and go see Bobby.

So I did.

Vikki met me at the bookstore where we purchased our books (Bobby’s new Throwdown cookbook, packed with stories and amazing recipes) and received the coveted green wristbands that gave us entree into the first group.

wristband

Don't you love that ring? Dallas Symphony Store.

At this point we still had several hours before himself arrived, so we wandered and shopped and returned. We chatted with a nice woman who had just had brain surgery(!) and was an expert on all things Flay. The crowd grew and we learned all the green wristbands were gone; they were into the pink group, then the silver.

The people in line were all happy foodies with the exception of one self-important twerp who tried to pitch a fit, nearly got himself thrown out of the store by a burly policeman, and generally made a fool of himself trying to look important. Note to snarly man: it didn’t work. You just looked like a jerk. We were not impressed.

This little girl in front of me brought a hand-made card for Bobby, how cute is that?

Girl with card

It was glittery and everything

Then the man of the hour arrived. There were a few friendly jabs about the TX Rangers/NY Yankees playoff game, and the signing began. While the preliminary organization left something to be desired, the process at the front of the line was slick. And before I knew it, there I was, chatting with Mr. Food Network himself.
Bobby & Me

I wasn’t sure what he would be like in person—some “personalities” are nothing like their TV personas. But I was delighted to find that Bobby was absolutely the warmest, friendliest person I’ve met in a long time. If there is a school for celebrities on how to behave in public, Bobby should teach it. He was charming. I mentioned that I followed him on Twitter and had been drooling over his tweet about the pumpkin bread pudding currently on offer at Bar Americain. Which led to this exchange:

Bobby & Me

Bobby: Do you cook with pumpkin?
Me: Yes.
Bobby: What would you say pumpkin tastes like?
Me (to myself): Crud! I didn’t know there was going to be a test! Quick, what’s the right answer? Uh….uh….
Me (to Bobby): Well, it’s kind of a fall flavor…
Bobby & Me

Bobby: No, I don’t mean pumpkin pie or pumpkin with seasonings. Just the plain pumpkin.
Me (to myself): Who eats plain pumpkin? I don’t know. Ack!
Me (to Bobby): It tastes . . . orange.
Bobby (laughing): ORANGE! That’s a great answer!

Whew.

He went on to explain that in his opinion, pumpkin actually tastes like nothing. We agreed that it was an excellent vehicle for seasonings and went our separate ways.

Oh, and Vikki also got her books signed, although she did not have to take a pop quiz.
Vikki & Bobby

The cookbook is awesome, btw. A gazillion recipes to try and stories to go with all of them. Terrific pictures, too. Plus it got me the chance to talk pumpkin with one of America’s best chefs and what more could you ask from a cookbook, really?

I have to go cook something now.

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One might think a morning at the National Museum of American History would be enough. One would be wrong. There’s still so much to see here! Like this: Abraham Lincoln’s hat. (He would’ve been 200 this year, you know.) People looked up to ol’ Honest Abe. Literally. He was 6 foot 4. And when he added tall hats like this one, he must have seriously towered over people. I imagine that was all by design, don’t you? A President needs to have presence. This particular hat is the one he was wearing the night he died; I daresay it looked better at the time.

Lincoln's Hat (image courtesy National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution)

Lincoln's Hat (image courtesy National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution)

Check this out (it’s SO cool!): the Smithsonian has Lincoln’s watch. They’ve had it for, I dunno, a hundred years or more. But just this last spring, a man contacted the Museum and said, “There’s this legend in my family that my great-great-grandfather, who was a watchmaker, was repairing Lincoln’s watch when the Civil War broke out and he engraved a message behind the dial. What do you think?”

So on March 10, 2009, they looked—and sure enough, it says, “Jonathan Dillon April 13, 1861 Fort Sumpter was attacked by the rebels on the above date J Dillon April 13, 1861 Washington” and “thank God we have a government Jonth Dillon.” (There’s a video of them taking the watch apart here.) But here’s the thing: Lincoln never knew he was carrying around this message. And neither did anybody else (apart from family legend) until a few months ago. Kind of makes those National Treasure movies seem a little more realistic, doesn’t it?

The Secret Message (Image courtesy National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution)

The Secret Message (Image courtesy National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution)

How can you not love a place that has exhibits like this AND Kermit the Frog? I’m not sure one day is enough…but I can’t dally here forever, it’s Monday, which means it’s $10 mussels night at Granville Moore’s!

Described as “A Gastropub with a Healthy Belgian Fetish”, Granville Moore’s is one of those European-feeling restaurants with exposed brick walls and a teeny-tiny kitchen. I saw Executive Chef Teddy Folkman kick Bobby Flay’s butt on a Mussels Throwdown and this place immediately went on my ‘must eat there’ list. Their specialty is “moules & frites” which is “mussels & fries” to us Americans.

Here they don’t have just any mussels, they have a “fromage bleu” version with applewood smoked bacon, shallots, mild creamy bleu cheese, lemon juice & chardonnay. Drool. The crispy fries come topped with herbs & sea salt and are served with European mayo. It’s so good I may have to come back here again before I leave town.

Joyce Carol OatesFinally, I’m heading to the Freer Gallery tonight to hear author Joyce Carol Oates talk about her career. Her books are not exactly my favorite reads, but she’s an amazingly talented writer and I expect her story to be fascinating. Plus, it’s always interesting to hear how writers approach writing. So ta-ta for now…see you tomorrow!

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Here’s what I’m talking about: one evening I was cleaning the kitchen with the Food Network on for company when I happened to glance up in time to see Bobby Flay taste a piece of cheese. Bobby (I’d call him Chef Flay in person, but I feel braver in print) is a celebrity chef, restaurateur, television personality, and author of multiple cookbooks . . . in short, someone who knows his food. And there he was, tasting cheese. Now, I love cheese. It makes me happy. But after listening to Bobby expound at some length on the subtle flavors, top note, bouquet, and so on of this specific chunk of cheddar (or whatever it was), I came to the conclusion that I had never tasted cheese in my life. Apparently, I didn’t know how.

           

What does that have to do with God?

 

Everything.

 

The Bible says to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8 ) What does that mean? It boils down to “try it, you’ll like it”. In other words, give God a chance.

 

And many of us do, on some level. But I wonder . . . could it be that when God says “taste”, He means something more akin to Bobby Flay’s examination of that bite of cheese than, say, my propensity to scarf down an entire bag of salt and vinegar potato chips in 5 minutes flat?

           

What’s the difference?

 

 

The quality of the experience.

 

Now, when it comes to food, you may not much care about squeezing every last iota of flavor out of each bite. Food just isn’t that important to some people and that’s OK. But what about God? Do you want to limit your experience with Him to the spiritual equivalent of swallowing a handful of vitamins just often enough to stay alive? You don’t have to, you know. There’s a banquet waiting, with more courses than you can imagine and a vast array of dishes to nourish your soul.

 

 

And you’re invited.

 

 

(c) 2009 Susan Ellingburg 

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