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  1. D'Bronx can be good if you tell them exactly what you want. For me that means use a little less sauce, half of the cheese, cook it about two minutes longer, and don't sprinkle it with dried oregano when it comes out. Personally though, I hate being that guy, so I don't go there anymore for pizza. 715 in Lawrence was serving beautiful looking pizza when I was there, but we had already ordered a lot of food and didn't try it that night. It looks more Neapolitan than NY, but I am really excited to try it next time I'm out that way. I would also try the other crossroads pizza places (the Art of Pizza and Pizzabella, both on Baltimore) if you haven't already, and maybe Bella Napoli in Brookside, but I'd say they're comparable to Grinders so they may not be what you're looking for. Good luck.
  2. I've got pretty mixed feelings myself. I worked a couple of restaurant weeks in NYC and it was brutal. People tended to be rude, impatient, tip poorly, and a lot of them seemed to have a chip on their shoulder about critiquing the experience. At the same time, it was very successful, very busy, and if it benefits harvesters then that's good. I do think its weak to include chains, but the people who go to chains go to chains, and if it gets some of them to check out independents and compare and contrast, then I feel confident that our guys will do well. The economy is still stagnant and if this helps the industry and Harvesters, its good. I hope it does well and it will definitely be interesting. But as diners, please... -remember that this is only a taste of what each restaurant has to offer. It is not a typical experience there, and it will almost never be an example of them at their best, hitting on all cylinders -you should really tip on the amount it might have been at regular prices. The owner has chosen to participate and is hopefully reaping a long term benefit, but the servers are working harder for less money and that isn't really fair. -do not make substitutions and special requests. You're getting a great deal. The kitchen is getting slammed and not making much money so please eat what they've prepared and are offering, and don't try to bargin or re-write the menu.
  3. There's a great article in the Star's Preview section today about the series of farm dinners they're putting on this summer. Check out the picture of the guests sitting at the long table in the barn - you have the farmers/cheese-makers standing at the end with a glimpse of the outdoors through the open barn door behind them, and two guys in the foreground reaching out to shake hands across the table. Good stuff, we need more of this. At the end of the day, a farm is a business, and in too many cases it is a back-breaking, high risk, low return one. I love seeing small farms like GDF finding creative ways to market themselves while raising awareness and building community.
  4. Ok, so when I first posted I thought I was speaking mainly to KC residents who were likely to be in to both BBQ and sustainability. A relatively small group of (somewhat) like-minded people. Since this post has found a broader audience and generated a mix of replies, I thought I should respond, clarify, and elaborate on a few points... First of all, if I've offended anyone (Jaymes) I'm sorry. I tend to get a bit preachy on subjects I'm passionate about, and food is very high on that list. But in this case, I was deliberately trying not to sound judgmental, and I was not in any way trying to tell anyone what to do. Quite to the contrary, I think my original post was clearly in favor of featuring KC barbecue restaurants at the Heartland Gathering, and was asking for other people's opinions, not attempting to force mine on them. But regardless, Jaymes, I hope you don't speak for "most pitmasters" when you say I was "militaristic", "bullying", and "insulting", because they are people I respect very much. Secondly, a couple of posts have discussed the idea that humanely raised, sustainable meats and produce are prohibitively expensive to most people. This is a valid point under our current agricultural and economic model, but as moosnsqrl reminds us, the factory farmed alternatives are artificially cheaper since they depend on government subsidies and other "false economies". When you factor in the tax dollars you've already paid to these agribusinesses, and the environmental and health costs that we are all going to be paying for for years, they are not cheaper then a local farm. Every dollar you spend in your own community with a responsible sustainable farmer saves you and everyone else money on fossil fuels, health care costs (swine flu anyone?), and environmental cleanup. Next, people have mentioned the historical/cultural nature of barbecue as a great, delicious and important American regional cuisine. I think at this point it is important to take note that when (for the most part) poor people were developing bbq here - just as they developed coq au vin, osso buco, mole, pho and feijoada elsewhere in the world, they were using 100% local, organic, sustainable meats and produce. It is not a new thing or an upper class elitist thing. It's our history. It is the way animal husbandry and agriculture have been practiced for millennia. I may have the dates wrong, but I think Arthur Bryant's and Rosedale, and maybe other KC barbecue places have been around since the early 1930s. If you ate there then you did not have factory-farmed pork. No one had yet conceived such a thing. So to the purists, the real barbecue is made from real pork. It does not contain hormones and antibiotics. Those pigs lived outside, not in concrete and wire cages, and they ate food that pigs want to eat. And while it was before my time, I feel quite certain that they tasted better. If you don't know your history, you can see the sustainable food movement as a new, liberal, elitist preoccupation, but that's simply not how it is. It is for the people and from the people, and it always has been. When my mother was born and raised in a small village in a third world country in a house with a thatched roof and no walls, she ate "free-range chicken", and "humanely raised pork", and "organic" produce everyday, and she never even knew it. Anyone want to call her elitist??? But enough history, lets talk about the future. I think that we throw around the term "sustainable" a lot without thinking about what it means. It means something that can be sustained, something can last. And the flip side that we don't mention often is that things that aren't sustainable cannot last. They can be propped up for years or for generations, but they cannot keep going indefinitely. And like it or not, barbecue (or any other) restaurants that serve CAFO meat can not last. They depend on 1.) subsidies from a now hugely in-debt government, 2.) dwindling, very limited, and exhaustible supplies of fossil fuels from a region of the world that is volatile and largely hostile to us, and 3.) not insignificantly, the ignorance of a widely educated, good, kind and just people (That's us damnit!). None of these things can last, and when any one of these three runs out, there will not be CAFOs. That may sound dramatic, but I take solace in the belief that time will prove it to be true. Finally, on to the subject of elitism in the sustainable food movement, and the broader green movement in general. I have already touched on this earlier, and people far more eloquent than me (please read Van Jones, Pollan, and Eric Schlosser) have discussed this in detail. It is a valid concern. Definitely. As a person who deals with people from all walks of life on a daily basis, from the millionaires I cook $42 entrees for, to the immigrant dishwasher I might give a ride home to, I am very much aware of "the gap". I think it is a huge challenge for all of us to make sure that healthy, sustainable, and delicious food is available to everyone. In Jones' book The Green Market Economy he lays out ways to do that. And even in (mainly) rich, white, liberal, Berkley, it is a topic of much discussion. We can't all afford to shop at Whole Foods, or eat at Chez Pannise, not the way things are here and now. But for many people in other parts of the world, whole foods are all they know. And they shouldn't be out of reach for a modern, urban American. And we can change that. And if I come off as preachy or intolerant, or whatever, again I apologize. But I'm everyday people. And I have the burns and cuts and calluses (not to mention the beer buzz and barely constrained anger) to prove it. I worked 76 hours this week and drove home in a 16-year old Honda. And I love, really love, the cooks and dishwashers who do it with me, and the only people I come into contact with often who work harder than me, the family farmers, who make it all possible for me. That's it. Please take this seriously, because I think it's really important, and I'll take your comments seriously too.
  5. [Moderator's Note: This has been split from the Heartland Gathering 2009 topic. - CH] I'm really sorry to be missing out on most of the gathering, but its for good reason - I'll be in NY helping Big Country with his Beard dinner. I will be back in time for the brunch though and helping Dave with the cooking. The mention of "Berkshire goodness" above reminds me that I'm two months into a lardo cure that should be ready to debut at the brunch. But the mention of Berkshire pork also brings up something that has been troubling me and I'd like to hear what you all think about it... Why do so many of us who support sustainable local and regional food systems and oppose factory farms look the other way when it comes to barbecue? I love KC barbecue passionately; I think it is a defining characteristic of our city's culture and who we are as a people, and I think it needs to be a feature of the Heartland Gathering. But I'm also increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of recommending CAFO pork to out of town visitors when it is something I would never serve them myself. At Lydia's, Bluestem, the farmers markets you visit saturday, and certainly at the Crum's farm you will be eating humanely raised, hormone and anti-biotic free meats and locally grown, mostly organic vegetables, so why do we expect (and accept) less of barbecue joints? Why do we give them a pass? And Stroud's too for that matter- how good would their food be if they used real free-range birds. How good would LC's and Bryant's and OK Joes be if they served pork from heritage breeds raised naturally on family farms from our region? And how much better would we feel about eating it? Anyway, I've been wanting to say something about this and I hope some of you will chime in with opinions/ideas/solutions. Thanks to the planners for representing KC so well, and I look forward to meeting you all out at the farm.
  6. Again, sorry I'm no good at creating links, but I just read on Eater that Alice Waters, Ruth Reichl, and Danny Meyer have written to Obama volunteering to serve as his "kitchen cabinet" and to advise him on White House chef selection, organic gardening, etc. Sounds like he's got some great people talking to him - let's hope he's listening!
  7. I don't know if he is or not, but I sure hope so. He's about to be in a position to bring much needed attention and change to our food system. If anyone is interested in this issue or would like to sign a petition urging our next president to choose a Agriculture Secretary who supports sustainability please check out fooddemocracynow.org (I'm sorry I don't know how to make that a link )
  8. Very sad for the KC diner, but I know we'll be hearing more about him for years to come. Best of luck, Chef West. You will be missed. ←
  9. I've only got a second but I'll fill in some of the gaps... the thirty-five minute egg had truffle vinaigrette on it too the pork preparations were 1. Bacon-wrapped Berkshire striploin, 2. Sous vide belly, and 3. boudin blanc another side dish was roasted patty-pan. the dessert was a pear trifle Wines were a muscadet and a Beaujolais, but I regret to say I can't be more specific. The dinner was excellent, with a fun group of people, a beautiful setting, and perfect weather. Thanks so much to the Crum family!!
  10. Congrats Joe! We all knew you were going places, and I'm sure this is just the begining. Enjoy this success and keep striving for the next one!
  11. Well that makes sense! I see the chocolate workshops are full, but we will be at the taste pavilions on Sunday afternoon, so we'll track you down and introduce ourselves. This should be an amazing event. Have fun, good luck, and we'll see you there.
  12. I assume you already know about it (and it may be the reason for your trip?), but in case you don't I will mention it. Slow Food Nation is taking place in and around SF with events from Thurs the 28th through Labor Day. If you want more info go to slowfoodnation.org. My fiance and I are going and besides several workshops and a lot of looking around at the marketplace and the taste pavillions, we have dinners planned at Incanto, Ame, and Boulevard. We won't have much time to spare, but I will watch this thread closely - it looks like there's already been some interesting suggestions. Also, since I see you are a chocolate maker you may want to check out fellow chocolatier (and fellow Missourian) Christopher Elbo's new shop.
  13. I just heard (unofficially but from a good source) that Bella on 39th street will be either closing or drastically changing their concept. I never got in there for dinner (they're always closed when I'm off), but I really liked what they were trying to do. If what I've heard is true, there is a new owner or new partner who wants to make it less of a restaurant and more of a bar. And a sports bar at that.
  14. Wow, this is one time when she really got it right. Congrats!
  15. What??? Can anyone confirm or deny this? One of my best friends is a Spotted Pig sous chef who's from KC, and she doesn't know anything about it. She's off today so she wouldn't have seen April anyway, but she was surprised when I asked her about this. I'd love to meet April, and I trailed D Chang a couple days when he was working garde manger at Craft back in '02. I'd love to see him - he's certainly come a long way since then. Anybody know any details of this trip?
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