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Chris Cognac

Time to let the cat out of the bag

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I personally don't see Annapolis as part of the DC experience, but I'm sure that others here may disagree.

Geographical aside with mass transit content from an outsider who is nonetheless familiar with the region's geography:

For statistical purposes, Greater Washington and Greater Baltimore are now one single metropolis, like Dallas-Fort Worth. But just as no one in the Metroplex would confuse "Big D" for "Cowtown", so Baltimore and Washington remain distinct places.

Annapolis is part of Greater Baltimore.

You can get there from downtown Baltimore on buses run by the Maryland Transit Administration, the agency that runs Baltimore's mass transit system. You can't get there from Washington on buses run by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority.

Think of Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis as forming the end points of a right triangle. The hypotenuse runs from Baltimore to Washington, and Annapolis is the base of the right angle. Baltimore to Annapolis is 17 miles, and Baltimore to Washington 39. 'Nuff said.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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To all my friends in Philadelphia:

Any opinions on these restaurants?  Are they the "best" in their ethnic category?  If you have eaten at any of these, what do you remember about them?

Dwight’s Southern BBQ (best BBQ in Phila?)

Merion Station: Hymie’s Merion Delicatessen (Jewish)

Lakeside Chinese Deli (best dim sum?)

Old Brauhaus Restaurant (German)

Thanks, Andrew

Lakeside serves my favorite Dim Sum in Philly, but it's not really the traditional Dim-Sum experience, it's just a small, plain, bordering on dingy, restaurant where one orders from a menu, not a huge, festive place with carts. Sadly the dim sum scene here is just nowhere near the level of San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, or NY.

...

Sorry....joining the party a bit late.

I agree with Philadining about Lakeside (you can see some pics of their Dim Sum here).

Looks like you have the Cheestake and Roast Pork covered.

How about some Sichuan at Sichuan Tasty House or Chung King Garden?

Cheers

Percy

P.S: Congratz on the show...can't wait to see it. Are they giving the pilot any air time?

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Still planning to visit Charleston? I highly suggest Bowen's Island. It is an out of the way shrimp shack that sits on the marsh near Folly Beach. Every inch of the building is covered with graffiti, and there is a faint smell of urine - that might just be the mountains of oyster shells surrounding the joint - but the shrimp is fresh and fried crispy. It's cheap and it's original.

O.K. I guess its time to let the cat out of the bag. I have been a member of eG for a number of years and have had the pleasure of meeting many of you in person. I am a big fan of food, foodies, bloggers and the like and think that an entire new era of food journalism has arrived.

Now I will cut the the chase, for those of you who do not know, I am a Police Officer in Los Angeles and also write a food and wine column in the Daily Breeze newspaper. I have a "few friends" at the food network and have been a judge on Iron Chef America and a few other projects...anyway....Its been in the works for a few months and I was dying to tell people about it (although not eager to get my every move disected by some people here) so here goes...

I have been given a 10 episode prime time show from the Food Network that will focus on "off the beaten path" places and things to eat in the cities of America. Its actually just a giant version of my newspaper column..anyway, I am flying to NYC on Sunday to meet and discuss the cities we will visit etc....I would love to include eG and the fantastic folks here in the research and production of the show (some of you will be in it).

I will have the list of cities we will visit next week and would like to start a thread on each city to discuss and figure out where in fact we can shoot, visit, feature etc....

I am putting myself out there and trusting the eG community to be honest and helpfull. I can take  constructive critisism but am not lookin to be "bashed".

The folks at Food Network are taking a chance and listening to what "we" as a community of food enthusiests,eaters, amatuer and paid food writers have to say,  so with your help this can be a great show and we can feature some worthy and truely fantastic chefs, writers and just great people.

So what do you think, anyone want to help?

Thanks in advance.

Chris

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We are looking int the polish thing ....dive bars....could work as I got a drink in the pilot...but we need a good one with cheap grub or a really cool drink, home brew beer, something like that....

A Philly dive bar with excellent food... Tritone. I wouldn't call it a gastropub (ala Royal Tavern, Standard Tap, etc), but a really great dive bar with cheap, phenomenal eats: fried pickles, gumbo, grilled gator, mac and cheese, and fried candy bars for dessert! Because it doesn't open until 5pm and there's usually some sort of crazy rock and roll that starts around 9, most people would never think that there were good, inexpensive eats to be had.

Plus it has the added benefit of serving "the special" (also served across the street at Bob & Barbara's), a shot of jim beam and a can of PBR for $3!

Best of luck with the show!

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Hello there.  Congrats on landing your own show.  May I humbly nominate a rather out of the way Indian restaurant, the ever humble, inexpensive and tasty Delhi Dhaba.

I haven't been to the one in Va. but the ones in DC and Bethesda aren't great. There is much better Indian around than those two. If you want to do Indian let me know, we should get Monica Bhide involved.
I am kinda unsure about he whole DC area thing....people tell me that MD and VA are all right there....I just dont understand it.....

What sort of thing are you planning re: the Secret Service? I'm sure it would make for interesting tv, but as a native Washingtonian it doesn't seem like the best way to get any kind of authentic DC experience. I mean would you be accompanying them as they retrieve Official Presidential Snacks a la the Jelly Bellies the SS used to buy for Pres. Reagan? Also, re: MD and VA, it really is all right there via the Metro. You're only a few stops away from downtown DC to Arlington and Alexandria, VA and Rockville, Bethesda, and Silver Spring in MD so no worries.

DC is in the shape of a diamond with most of the bottom left quadrant missing. Back when it was founded Maryland and Virginia both gave land to create the city. (The missing part of the diamond went back to Va.) Therefor DC is surrounded by Md. and Va. depending on what area of DC you are in. The Capitol is in the middle and the division for the city's 4 quadrants: Southeast, Southwest, Northeast and Northwest.

The Secret Service thing would be cool-but it's not your standard DC experience. You might have trouble finding an agent who is willing to go in TV since they are not supposed to be recognizable.

I personally don't see Annapolis as part of the DC experience, but I'm sure that others here may disagree.

I agree-Annapolis is part of Baltimore, not DC. Yes, many people commute from out there but that is due to urban sprall and absurd real estate prices here. Annapolis would be a great spot for your second season though, when you hit cities that are smaller.

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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I am kinda unsure about he whole DC area thing....people tell me that MD and VA are all right there....I just dont understand it.....

I think we are trying to do a thing with the Secret Service or some other white house entity....I brought up Annapolis (even though it is NAVY) and think that might be a good thing to see where the cadets eat....how far is it from DC proper?

Indian could work, how humble is your little place diva?

If Annapolis is in the mix, Chick 'n Ruth's and Cantler's - if they've not been done to death.


Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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the secret service thing would work into the "eating w local cops" type segments we are doing in each show....since I am a cop its a natural thing.....We might use the DEA or local guys....but I think the secret service would be neat cause you never get to see them as "human"....only the guys in the sunglasses with the blank looks on theyre faces....I think DC will be a good show.

The pilot we shot in Vegas will be airing with the rest of them for a total of 11 shows....And that place in S.C.. I think we are going there....Holly Moore turned us onto it....


Edited by Chris Cognac (log)

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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OK...stuff in Atlanta....Silver Grill and Silver Skillet...got that from some APD Cops....anyone got info, opinions etc...

Both have been around forever. Neither are 'off the path' geographically, but I'm not sure how much that matters to you. I'm sure the old-timers know about them, but the younger generations probably don't even notice them as they drive past.

I'm pretty sure that they are both only open for breakfast and dinner, and they're actually fairly close to one another. Silver Skillet is actually down the road from Kool Korners.

-Greg

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OK...stuff in Atlanta....Silver Grill and Silver Skillet...got that from some APD Cops....anyone got info, opinions etc...

Both have been around forever. Neither are 'off the path' geographically, but I'm not sure how much that matters to you. I'm sure the old-timers know about them, but the younger generations probably don't even notice them as they drive past.

I'm pretty sure that they are both only open for breakfast and dinner, and they're actually fairly close to one another. Silver Skillet is actually down the road from Kool Korners.

-Greg

Thats perfect...just what I want!


Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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Don't mean to put down either Philadelphia or Boston - but neither is in my opinion a culinary mecca - and you have to have a critical eye when figuring out what you have to offer to the outside world that's both excellent - and unique - and not yuck (think scrapple  :wink:

Philadelphia is indeed a culinary mecca, and not just for scrapple, cheesesteaks, pork sandwiches, hoagies and pretzels - although Philadelphia excels in all of these. Consider our last three years of BYO's, the Reading Terminal Market, Carman's Country Kitchen, even many of Steven Starr's operations. Quite a few publications rate Philadelphia as one of the top dining destinations in the country.

It's nice to be a booster of the city where you live (better than putting it down) - I do it too (although I'd never say food is our strong point) - but I respectfully disagree with this assessment. And - if it's true - can't you do anything more creative with the Philadelphia segment of this show than cheesesteaks? I moved from Philadelphia over 30 years ago - and it was supposed to be "cheesesteak/pork sandwich/hoagie/pretzel city" then. The dining scene has changed in 30 years - and if Philadelphia is a top dining destination - I'd assume it has more to offer now.

By the way - as someone who enjoys good wine/spirits at dinner - I find that BYO's are usually restaurants that are too marginal or cheap to get liquor licenses (or sometimes they're in places that are cursed with ridiculous liquor laws). And - when you're a tourist - it is usually inconvenient - or very inconvenient - to find a place to buy booze - and to schlep it to a restaurant. And that's doubly true in a state like Pennsylvania - which (I think) still has state liquor stores. Is it possible to buy even beer or wine in a grocery or other normal type store in Pennsylvania these days (last time I looked - Pennsylvania wasn't in the Bible Belt :wink: )? Robyn

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P.S. to Chris. My husband and I were ADAs in Philadelphia. He - more than I (he was in felonies/homicides - and I did appeals) - spent a lot of time with cops (mostly waiting for juries). He doesn't recall a single decent meal. But he does recall a lot of heavy drinking in places with the right atmosphere for heavy drinking. As former prosecuting attorneys - we have the utmost respect for cops - but not necessarily respect for their taste in dining establishments.

I still think this show needs a better focus - a theme. Something distinctive. Not simply "out-of-the-way" places which reads as 2nd and 3rd rate Chinese food in cities not noted for Chinese food. And today - with the internet - nothing that is really good is off the beaten track unless you're dealing with huge cultural/language divides (e.g., I can find the best BBQ restaurants in Texas but had difficulty in Japan because not much in Japan is translated into English).

Maybe a show about places that cops like to eat and drink - good - bad or indifferent. Why they eat there (time constraints - etc.). Whether you're talking about doughnuts or pizza or BBQ or beans and rice. LA cop meets Philly cop - or Miami cop - and they compare notes. Throw in a little law enforcement stuff. People like cop shows - they'd probably like "cop goes out to eat at 3 am shows". What do you think? Robyn

P.P.S. Forget about the secret service. Find a regular cop in DC.

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Don't mean to put down either Philadelphia or Boston - but neither is in my opinion a culinary mecca - and you have to have a critical eye when figuring out what you have to offer to the outside world that's both excellent - and unique - and not yuck (think scrapple  :wink:

Philadelphia is indeed a culinary mecca, and not just for scrapple, cheesesteaks, pork sandwiches, hoagies and pretzels - although Philadelphia excels in all of these. Consider our last three years of BYO's, the Reading Terminal Market, Carman's Country Kitchen, even many of Steven Starr's operations. Quite a few publications rate Philadelphia as one of the top dining destinations in the country.

It's nice to be a booster of the city where you live (better than putting it down) - I do it too (although I'd never say food is our strong point) - but I respectfully disagree with this assessment. And - if it's true - can't you do anything more creative with the Philadelphia segment of this show than cheesesteaks? I moved from Philadelphia over 30 years ago - and it was supposed to be "cheesesteak/pork sandwich/hoagie/pretzel city" then. The dining scene has changed in 30 years - and if Philadelphia is a top dining destination - I'd assume it has more to offer now.

By the way - as someone who enjoys good wine/spirits at dinner - I find that BYO's are usually restaurants that are too marginal or cheap to get liquor licenses (or sometimes they're in places that are cursed with ridiculous liquor laws). And - when you're a tourist - it is usually inconvenient - or very inconvenient - to find a place to buy booze - and to schlep it to a restaurant. And that's doubly true in a state like Pennsylvania - which (I think) still has state liquor stores. Is it possible to buy even beer or wine in a grocery or other normal type store in Pennsylvania these days (last time I looked - Pennsylvania wasn't in the Bible Belt :wink: )? Robyn

Yup, I am a "booster" - but a booster based on the facts, not based on blind loyalty as might have been implied. Beyond "booster," perhaps someone who has a broad knowledge of Philadelphia's restaurants and I suspect, a far more current knowledge. Despite my HollyEats persona, I have managed to dine rather well on my occasional non-cheesesteak days. Hopefully you will have a chance to return to Philadelphia one day and see for yourself how things have changed since your ADA years which I calculate to be the mid 70s.

Philadelphia's recent crop of BYO's are anything but marginal. As to being too cheap to purchase a license, it is expensive to get into the restaurant business. Liquor licenses can cost as much or more, depending on area of a city, than a restaurant's kitchen installation. In Center City Philadelphia often the only way a talented young chef can open his or her first restaurant is as a BYO. And if a restaurant can flourish as a BYO, without relying on liquor profits, it is indeed a very capable restaurant.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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OK...stuff in Atlanta....Silver Grill and Silver Skillet...got that from some APD Cops....anyone got info, opinions etc...

Both have been around forever. Neither are 'off the path' geographically, but I'm not sure how much that matters to you. I'm sure the old-timers know about them, but the younger generations probably don't even notice them as they drive past.

I'm pretty sure that they are both only open for breakfast and dinner, and they're actually fairly close to one another. Silver Skillet is actually down the road from Kool Korners.

-Greg

Thats perfect...just what I want!

I've eaten at the Silver Skillet within the last couple of years (as well as similar places in other cities). It's southern breakfast - which is usually very good when you're in the mood for it - but this place is nothing extraordinary (most southern breakfasts are southern breakfasts - think Cracker Barrel - on the other hand - the 12 course brunch at the Four Seasons this last trip to Atlanta was extraordinary - creative and delicious).

Again - I think you need more of a "hook" than going over places that everyone has known about for the last 20 years. Places that now are simply ancient stereotypes (there are many places like that where I live - everything from BBQ places to "fish shacks" - and they are almost uniformly mediocre). Robyn

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Don't mean to put down either Philadelphia or Boston - but neither is in my opinion a culinary mecca - and you have to have a critical eye when figuring out what you have to offer to the outside world that's both excellent - and unique - and not yuck (think scrapple  :wink:

Philadelphia is indeed a culinary mecca, and not just for scrapple, cheesesteaks, pork sandwiches, hoagies and pretzels - although Philadelphia excels in all of these. Consider our last three years of BYO's, the Reading Terminal Market, Carman's Country Kitchen, even many of Steven Starr's operations. Quite a few publications rate Philadelphia as one of the top dining destinations in the country.

It's nice to be a booster of the city where you live (better than putting it down) - I do it too (although I'd never say food is our strong point) - but I respectfully disagree with this assessment. And - if it's true - can't you do anything more creative with the Philadelphia segment of this show than cheesesteaks? I moved from Philadelphia over 30 years ago - and it was supposed to be "cheesesteak/pork sandwich/hoagie/pretzel city" then. The dining scene has changed in 30 years - and if Philadelphia is a top dining destination - I'd assume it has more to offer now.

By the way - as someone who enjoys good wine/spirits at dinner - I find that BYO's are usually restaurants that are too marginal or cheap to get liquor licenses (or sometimes they're in places that are cursed with ridiculous liquor laws). And - when you're a tourist - it is usually inconvenient - or very inconvenient - to find a place to buy booze - and to schlep it to a restaurant. And that's doubly true in a state like Pennsylvania - which (I think) still has state liquor stores. Is it possible to buy even beer or wine in a grocery or other normal type store in Pennsylvania these days (last time I looked - Pennsylvania wasn't in the Bible Belt :wink: )? Robyn

Yup, I am a "booster" - but a booster based on the facts, not based on blind loyalty as might have been implied. Beyond "booster," perhaps someone who has a broad knowledge of Philadelphia's restaurants and I suspect, a far more current knowledge. Despite my HollyEats persona, I have managed to dine rather well on my occasional non-cheesesteak days. Hopefully you will have a chance to return to Philadelphia one day and see for yourself how things have changed since your ADA years which I calculate to be the mid 70s.

Philadelphia's recent crop of BYO's are anything but marginal. As to being too cheap to purchase a license, it is expensive to get into the restaurant business. Liquor licenses can cost as much or more, depending on area of a city, than a restaurant's kitchen installation. In Center City Philadelphia often the only way a talented young chef can open his or her first restaurant is as a BYO. And if a restaurant can flourish as a BYO, without relying on liquor profits, it is indeed a very capable restaurant.

We are doing a "cop thing" in NYC, Miami, Chicago and of course L.A.. its about checking out some fo the gritty places....but we still have a formula that has been agreed upon by the food net execs.....let me tell you where we ate in Vegas and that might help.....#1 a BBQ place with a brewery in a super 8 motel, #2 a family run Italian place in a strip mall next to a check cashing store (2 of Vegas's top chefs went along) #3 an amazing chinese place in a little chinatown area....the owner and chef is also the exec at the MGM Grands chinese place #4 chicken fried lobster in the old Binions casino downtown and #5 deep fried twinkies and hot dogs with the Vegas cops.....none of which had ever been featured on food network (or any other that I know of). it was a great show and tells people that if they venture off of the strip there is great food to be had for much less money...just give it a chance!

The show is not about high end dining (like Holly, I do dine high end when I can and was even a judge on Iron Chef this season), but the show is about good real food for regular folks and families that can be found in every city if you just take the time and look for it....I want to do some stuff with wine but that is another show ( I write a wine column as well in the paper out here)...


Edited by Chris Cognac (log)

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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By the way - as someone who enjoys good wine/spirits at dinner - I find that BYO's are usually restaurants that are too marginal or cheap to get liquor licenses (or sometimes they're in places that are cursed with ridiculous liquor laws).  And - when you're a tourist - it is usually inconvenient - or very inconvenient -  to find a place to buy booze - and to schlep it to a restaurant.  And that's doubly true in a state like Pennsylvania - which (I think) still has state liquor stores.  Is it possible to buy even beer or wine in a grocery or other normal type store in Pennsylvania these days (last time I looked - Pennsylvania wasn't in the Bible Belt  :wink: )?  Robyn

Holly's taken care of the BYO angle. As for the state-run liquor stores, yes, they're still around, but they're light years better than they were when you last lived in the state. All are now self-service, brighter and more attractive, and many--especially the "superstores" and "Premium Collection" stores--have great selections of outstanding spirits and wines--some of the latter, thanks to the "Chairman's Selection" program, at jaw-droppingly low prices.

You still won't find the loss-leader pricing on the regular stuff that you will find in neighboring states, partly because Pennsylvania prices still include such absurdities as the Johnstown Flood (1936) Relief Tax (this is now rolled into the shelf price). But you will find some supermarkets now with "Wine & Spirits Shoppes" (what the PLCB would rather you call the State Stores now) inside them and unified checkouts. Beer you still can't buy in supermarkets, and the state's beer laws still make buying it less convenient than it ought to be. And even though Pennsylvania is far from the Bible Belt, it is the conservatism of much of the state's interior--combined with the clout of the State Store employees' union in Harrisburg and, to be frank, the revenue the state makes off the system--that keeps the system around.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Please, just say that, maybe, you might consider possibly getting near the city of Montreal, for once. I lived there for four years, and am still sampling the seemingly infinite number of good bistros, holes in the wall, and restaurants. From haute cuisine to the best damn sandwiches you have probably never tried, from chocolatiers to prototypical quebecois burgers and true cafe au lait that will ruin other coffees for you forever, montreal is full of great food, and most of it is irresponsibly (and luckily) placed far from the admiring eye of society. Yet because most montrealers have a good taste, these places still thrive, while the whole city has this inexplicable 'small town' feel. So, unless all members of food network have outstanding parking tickets in that city, you have no excuse for the recent neglect poor Montreal has enjoyed. Even that doesnt serve as an excuse; I still go. So go, dammit.

P.S. - Sorry to be inappropriately adamant, but this is food we're talking about, not something inane, like politics.


Edited by Gustibus (log)

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Welcome to the eGullet Society, Gustibus! Uptopic a bit, Chris explained that his cities have been chosen by FTV and that he has little room for tweaking. Perhaps next time, eh?

Poor Montreal...she will have to wait. But it is in the nature of the Quebecois to feel overlooked, so I trust she'll survive.

Cheers, and thanks for the correction, I suppose I was a bit impatient to say it.

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I would love to get to Canada....as well as Jamaica and Mexico...but I think I will have to have some pretty good ratings this season in order to get them to let me go international.....I am also dying to go to Tokyo....like a giant godzilla, I could trounce around finding all the good stuff....plus my "vending machine obsession"!

Oh yea, as it stands now....first shoot will be July 26th in Philly, then on to Boston from there...


Edited by Chris Cognac (log)

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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Yup, I am a "booster" - but a booster based on the facts, not based on blind loyalty as might have been implied.  Beyond "booster," perhaps someone who has a broad knowledge of Philadelphia's restaurants and I suspect, a far more current knowledge.  Despite my HollyEats persona, I have managed to dine rather well on my occasional non-cheesesteak days.  Hopefully you will have a chance to return to Philadelphia one day and see for yourself how things have changed since your ADA years which I calculate to be the mid 70s.

Philadelphia's recent crop of BYO's are anything but marginal.  As to being too cheap to purchase a license, it is expensive to get into the restaurant business.  Liquor licenses can cost as much or more, depending on area of a city, than a restaurant's kitchen installation.  In Center City Philadelphia often the only way a talented young chef can open his or her first restaurant is as a BYO.  And if a restaurant can flourish as a BYO, without relying on liquor profits, it is indeed a very capable restaurant.

I have been in Philadelphia since I moved (family events). Nothing to write home about. But I was in all cases "geography/time limited".

I'm curious about the liquor license thing. Sure going into the restaurant business is expensive. But just about every place here in the Jacksonville FL area (hardly a culinary mecca or a wining and dining spot for high-rollers) that's not a "family restaurant" - however humble - has at least a beer and wine license. And our state liquor laws/regulations are anything but lenient. What's the deal? It can't just be that all your terrific new chefs are poor and have no backers (perhaps that's true but if young chefs can get backing here - I would have thought they could get backing anywhere). I know this isn't a PC thing to say - but do you have to pay people off to get a license? Or are the licenses restricted in number - like taxi medallions - where you have to pay huge amounts of money to buy one from someone who's died?

I don't question that you and Chris have had fine dining experiences. That wasn't my point. My point was - what's the point of the show? I am a potential viewer and I want to know (or - at a minimum - I at least want you to think about it). I was cooking today - and since Wimbledon was over - and the markets were closed - I turned on the Food Network and caught perhaps the 100th episode I've seen featuring Versailles in Miami. What a yawn.

So what's your focus when it comes to the show/Philadelphia? As a potential viewer - I am not interested in the best BBQ in Philadelphia - or the best dim sum (unless both have gotten a *lot* better since I was last there - there are probably a dozen or more cities in the US where you can get better in those categories - I don't see any reason to do "best of this or that" in cities where the cuisine isn't a contender for a national category killer). The best greasy spoons/local dumps that everyone has heard of? I suppose there's an audience for that (although I'm not part of it). New upcoming serious chefs - as long as they haven't been mentioned in the national media yet - even if their places don't have liquor licenses (that's something I'd be interested in - but I don't know whether enough people share my interest to get ratings). Or something else?

I think a non-cooking food TV show should have a theme that you can articulate in 6 words or less - like Rachel Ray's $40/day. Even though she got to $40 by giving lousy tips in a lot of cases - I thought it was a decent theme - something that tied all the shows together.

So what's your theme? Robyn

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Finding the clues to great food!..I dont know how else to explain it...we have to make the show that the food network gave the green light to and is paying for...that show will feature out of the way, off the beaten path....how ever you want to desribe it...restaurants and food....we are also featuring chefs and where they eat....you will not be seeing Versailles for the 101st time...but you might be seeing lechon asado at a small cuban place run by a family from Gamaguey Cuba....

remember its a TV show.....It needs to play to a broad audience, one that buys products and all that...since its going to be prime time, its going to be family and budget friendly (but thats not saying we wont do a nice dinner or drinks)...Show featuring new and upcoming chefs would be great...but they are not this show...we had to be specific in what we filmed for the pilot, then screen tested, then reworked w food net execs....its a long and stressful process....If the show goes well, I will be able to do other projects..but for now, this is what we are doing and what the food network wants us to do....its not the same old thing....trust me....if it was, this thread would not even exist and the people making the show would not know what e gullet, chowhound, hollyeats or any others were....and they would not care!


Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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We are doing a "cop thing" in NYC, Miami, Chicago and of course L.A.. its about checking out some fo the gritty places....but we still have a formula that has been agreed upon by the food net execs.....let me tell you where we ate in Vegas and that might help.....#1 a BBQ place with a brewery in a super 8 motel, #2 a family run Italian place in a strip mall next to a check cashing store (2 of Vegas's top chefs went along) #3 an amazing chinese place in a little chinatown area....the owner and chef is also the exec at the MGM Grands chinese place #4 chicken fried lobster in the old Binions casino downtown and #5 deep fried twinkies and hot dogs with the Vegas cops.....none of which had ever been featured on food network (or any other that I know of). it was a great show and tells people that if they venture off of the strip there is great food to be had for much less money...just give it a chance!

The show is not about high end dining (like Holly, I do dine high end when I can and was even a judge on Iron Chef this season), but the show is about good real food for regular folks and families that can be found in every city if you just take the time and look for it....I want to do some stuff with wine but that is another show ( I write a wine column as well in the paper out here)...

What hasn't been featured? Deep fried twinkies - or where to find them in Las Vegas? We have deep fried twinkies in every 2 bit county fair in the south. And if they haven't been shown on the Food Network before - I'll eat my golf hat. And I am sorry - fried twinkies and hot dogs are not great food. And I'm sure that any BBQ in Las Vegas is not great BBQ (sorry - that's the southerner in me - I am not a huge fan but I know a bit - and I know enough not to try it in Las Vegas :wink: ).

I have been to Las Vegas in the last few years - and I think it's somewhat uneven (particularly at the high end). However my benchmark is the lunch buffet at the Bellagio - which is an amazing value considering what you get and what it costs. Don't know what it costs these days - but it was less than $20 last time I was there. So judging from what you're saying - you're going for the people who want to eat lunch for 2 for $15-20 or less. If that is the Food Network demographic - so be it. In a way - it's kind of sad. I had always hoped that Food Network would elevate peoples' tastes. And there are people there who do that (e.g., despite all the "bam" stuff - Emeril has hundreds of very good recipes on the site). But fried twinkies.....

BTW - I don't think that bringing good chefs to to these places (as opposed to them discovering them on their own and bringing you along) elevates the places. I think it degrades the chefs (particularly if they're getting paid to go along).

Anyway - no need for answers. This is more "food for thought". Robyn

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So what's your focus when it comes to the show/Philadelphia? As a potential viewer - I am not interested in the best BBQ in Philadelphia - or the best dim sum (unless both have gotten a *lot* better since I was last there - there are probably a dozen or more cities in the US where you can get better in those categories - I don't see any reason to do "best of this or that" in cities where the cuisine isn't a contender for a national category killer). The best greasy spoons/local dumps that everyone has heard of? I suppose there's an audience for that (although I'm not part of it)

Philadelphia's best out-of-the-way barbecue and dim sum. I'm saving the local dumps for Bourdain if he ever makes it to Philadelphia. :wink:


Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Robyn, we are having the Chefs show us places they eat at.....and the BBQ was quite good in Las Vegas...and for 6.95 for a half rack of ribs and a half chicken, people will enjoy seeing it.....they loved that segment ini the focus groups in Atlanta as well as in NYC...

I have never seen or had a deep fried twinkie until I ate the one in Vegas....I guess this show will never live up to what you desire in a food network show. I have alot of pride in it, I worked very hard to create it and see it through to production which was not an easy feat! I am going to feature lots of fun people and make it a nice time for all...plus I can help some people that can use the exposure....and by the way, the Chefs or any other guests do not get paid.....

you have had nothing postive to say about my show and that is ok cause thats your opinion and you have a right to it....but just give it and me a chance ok...

Thanks Chris


Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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Robyn, we are having the Chefs show us places they eat at.....and the BBQ was quite good in Las Vegas...and for 6.95 for a half rack of ribs and a half chicken, people will enjoy seeing it.....they loved that segment ini the focus groups in Atlanta as well as in NYC...

I have never seen or had a deep fried twinkie until I ate the one in Vegas....I guess this show will never live up to what you desire in a food network show. I have alot of pride in it, I worked very hard to create it and see it through to production which was not an easy feat! I am going to feature lots of fun people and make it a nice time for all...plus I can help some people that can use the exposure....and by the way, the Chefs or any other guests do not get paid..... 

you have had nothing postive to say about my show and that is ok cause thats your opinion and you have a right to it....but just give it and me a chance ok...

Thanks Chris

I didn't realize Chef Blais spent a lot of time in Miami. Unless he does - better he should show you around his home stomping grounds in and around Atlanta (there's a lot of good food there - although today's NYT article about Quinones and the like is really yesterday's news).

Perhaps you suffer from "west coast syndrome". You have so much in the way of terrific locally sourced foods - and such terrific depth in some ethnic food areas - prepared in frequently excellent restaurants - that you look at deep fried twinkies or probably mediocre BBQ as delicious exotica <rof,l>. How about a trade? You send your local food here - and I'll send mine there (except for the local shrimp - I'll keep those :wink: ).

On a more serious note - what I would like to see on the Food Network is some digging that gives exposure to local chefs who are TRYING TO DO SOMETHING INTERESTING OR CREATIVE. The next Quince (San Francisco) or York Street (Dallas). Not the latest place you can spend over $500+ for a celebrity chef clone restaurant. Or any place that specializes in $6.95 ribs and chicken. I am proud to say that I try to find those places before they get nominated for James Beard awards (even if they don't usually win) - and I wind up eating at some places that deserve nominations but don't get them (those guys from the Beard foundation don't tend to find places that aren't located in major airline hub cities). And - in digging - I probably wind up with as many losers as winners. Such is life.

In a city like New York - there are dozens - maybe hundreds - of media and non-media places where everyone talks about just about every place in the city. But once you get out of New York - there's almost no coverage at all - except perhaps in the local newspaper - or by word of mouth. Now Las Vegas may be a somewhat strange place for dining all around. But when you get to places like Philadelphia and the like - if Holly (or similar people in similar cities) says there are places - even BYOs - with young chefs doing creative things - try a few. Don't fall back on the the tired cheap junk food thing. Slumming to find the best burrito etc. (AB has done that already - and he is probably more masterful at it than anyone else can be - OTOH - he did a great job on his French Laundry meal too). Showcase the up and coming talent in America's restaurant kitchens. We lose promising restaurants in smaller cities every day because they're not on anyone's radar screen - and they don't get any publicity. So those of us non-left coast people wind up with the restaurant equivalent of fried twinkies. It's just a dream of mine - which probably won't be fulfilled. But at least I can ask. Robyn

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