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Chris Cognac

Time to let the cat out of the bag

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Jay, can you pm andrew hurvitz and tell him about yourself...he has some posts up thread a bit and is part of the production team....I am only spending 2 days at home and am off to NYC for some promo shoots than off to atlanta, charelston and miami...whew

Chris, will you be only in Miami-Dade Co. area, or are you planning to go further north or south? If you're going to be in Broward Co. (next north from Dade) maybe I could be of help. I'm not working at the moment, so if a driver is needed, or a phone messenger or whatever, please let me know!


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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I am off at 6 am Tues to NYC and filming in Chinatown some promos for the network, then its off to Atlanta, Charelston and Miami...hope to meet some of you guys along the way....Saw the footage from Steve prince of steaks....that last shot through the window was so cool....eG folks have been awesome so far and we have manged to get 4 eG people in the first 2 shows....more to come!


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

The Hungry Detective

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We got into Atlanta today to film an episode of my new food network show and we need to find something "different"...We did "chicken fried lobster" in Vegas and the foood net execs loved it and want us to find something along the same lines in Atlanta....any ideas? We will be here for 4 more nights...

Chris


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

The Hungry Detective

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For Southern "different" try Restaurant Eugene(Buckhead) / Watershed(Decater). For interesting food and atmosphere try Imperial Fez in Buckhead. Downtown ,try Cafe Fleur de Lis for an interesting take on a Parisian setting in the dirty south.That's all I can come up with for now. Hope it gets you started.


100% right 50% of the time.

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Boiled peanuts?


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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head over to Son's Place off of Decatur Rd (near the MARTA station) for some serious fried chicken and the story behind the place (formerly Deacon Burton's) is wonderful. Watershed's in Decatur is probably a great idea--again a great story, owned by one of the Indigo Girls (Amy I believe), chef's relationship w/ Edna Lewis and formerly chef at the Governor's Mansion, &c. If you are on the fried lobster idea then the folks who initiated fried lobster in Atl are Pano & Paul's in Buckhead (Buckhead Life group). Of course Thelma's Kitchen, Mary Mac's Tea Room and The Colonnade have stories


in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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Appropos of nothing, here is a shot I took of Officer Cognac posing in front of the fabulous outdoor kitchen facilities at the Hawthorne, CA "cop shop."  Take note of how young and well-rested he looks in this picture -- given his schedule, it ain't gonna happen again any time soon. :wink:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=mo...md=si&img=62868

Argh! I "don't have permission to use" this link! :angry:

Well, silly me! I was trying to send this picture to a friend and just now noticed your reply calling to my attention that I hadn't checked the "allow others to view" box on the album. Sorry to have deprived everyone of this masterpiece of portraiture all this time :wink:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=mo...md=si&img=62868


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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Or Fat Matt's for barbeque and blues music....

Or what about a Buford Highway crawl... Korean barbeque, pho, dim sum, etc... not really what people think of when they think of Atlanta, but it sure is good!

Maybe Seeger's since it is closing?

Oooh, go to the Dome during the Falcons pre-season game (I think they are at home) and get some peach cobbler. It really is some of the best I've ever had.


“The secret of good cooking is, first, having a love of it… If you’re convinced that cooking is drudgery, you’re never going to be good at it, and you might as well warm up something frozen.”

~ James Beard

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We are going to both sons place and mary mac's...I think we found a place in "six feet under" with the "fried rats toes" (shrimp stuff, bacon wrapped jalapenos)....We just shot Ria's bluebird and Harolds BBQ today...whew, long 12 hr day at that..


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

The Hungry Detective

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and when you say "some thing different" what about chicken and waffles. Is it not "Gladys and Ron's" owned by Gladys Knight and Ron Waynans? Some one help me here as my memory is acting like my tennis game and double faulting.

As for Atlanta "institutions": Majestic Diner on Ponce, Evan's Fine Foods near Emory, and the place in Tucker whose name escapes me right now.

For that matter head up to Athens and hit Weaver D's and Wilson's Soul Food and tie that in to the Athens music scene.

(edited for clarity)


Edited by Lan4Dawg (log)

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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head over to Son's Place off of Decatur Rd (near the MARTA station) for some serious fried chicken and the story behind the place (formerly Deacon Burton's) is wonderful.  Watershed's in Decatur is probably a great idea--again a great story, owned by one of the Indigo Girls (Amy I believe), chef's relationship w/ Edna Lewis and formerly chef at the Governor's Mansion, &c.  If you are on the fried lobster idea then the folks who initiated fried lobster in Atl are Pano & Paul's in Buckhead (Buckhead Life group).  Of course Thelma's Kitchen, Mary Mac's Tea Room and The Colonnade have stories

Lan4Dawg,

I used to go to Deacon Burton's all the time when I was in college back in the 80's. I haven't lived in ATL since the late 80's (but I am moving back this year! Hooray!) What happened to Deacon Burton's? And who is/are the Son's? I was back in Atlanta a month or so ago and took my teenagers to Mary Mac's.....I was happy to see them appreciate it so much! I have really missed those Southern Meat 'n Threes!

Lori in PA

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Hialeah- try Koky's Barbecue Steak Ranch. California Steak with fries, fried plantains, or yucca, bread and a salad for $4.95.

Back when the track was still open, there were some jokes made about where said $4.95 steak had actually come from, all in good fun, you understand. Hey, we ate there all the time, joking or not.

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that is a great tip, Andrew, can you check this out for us? Our crew just finished Atlanta (best show yet) and are heading to the airport in 5 mins to go to Charelston...hope to meet some of you eG folks there...then its Miami baby!


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

The Hungry Detective

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So I finally got back from vacation, and I have a few thoughts I would like to share about my experiences working with this fine crew.

After much deliberation, I believe that the best thing I can compare to filming a TV show would be a catered gala with chefs from multiple restaurants. Each chef comes into a kitchen they've probably never seen before, using equipment they are generally, but not specifically familiar with. This parallel was evident from the first day at JP Licks. While the cameramen certainly had used the same type (and perhaps even the same model) cameras before, one of them had a bad audio input -- potentially as disastrous as an oven without a pilot light.

Television-making mercenaries that they are, however, the problem was quickly addressed and fixed. As other minor nuisances arose (like the door chime going off during filming, or people walking in front of the camera, or any of a plethora of other issues), they were quickly figured out and solved.

Now, this may lead you to believe that their expertise makes their jobs easy -- far from it. In addition to being responsible for taking care of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, they have to lug it around on their person. The day we shot the Boston Common, it was 104 degrees, and each cameraman was carrying a 45 lb camera on their shoulder. Even in such outrageous conditions, every single crew member continued to do their job with professionalism and determination.

The producers, bless them, have one of the toughest logistical jobs I have ever witnessed. I would compare it to walking into a different kitchen every night, with a different menu (but the same staff), and having to expedite. Not only do they have to do research for every location, but they have to make calls to get waivers, they have to get permits, make sure they aren't repeating themselves with locations, keep the crew fed, watered and clued in as well as making sure every shot fits in with the theme of the show. In addition, they have to worry about things like Chris wearing the right shirt for continuity, keeping the production assistants in line and active and making sure the crew acts both within the law and abides by the networks wishes.

Chris was doing a great job, as he had a tough position as well. He needed to stay both cool and ready at all times, and often had to do multiple retakes of the same shot to get it just right. Now, I know when I repeat myself more than a few times it gets exponentially more difficult to get it right, as the words quickly lose meaning in my head. Doing this with half a dozen people standing around you, and two cameras in your face is a whole nother ballpark altogether.

As for my experience with the whole thing – the hardest thing I found was not looking directly at the camera. When there is a lens anywhere near my frontal arc of vision, I have a very difficult time not looking at it, even if momentarily. This, however, causes a large problem, as no one other than the host is allowed to look directly at the lens. Finally I came up with a strategy; act like the camera is someone you’re furious at, and refuse to make eye contact with. This way, a natural and automatic feature of your brain is in play, and you don’t have to constantly think about not looking at the camera. At least it worked for me.

If the shows keep going as well as Boston did (and I’m sure they will, with the dedication and willpower this team has), this is going to be the freshest, most well-shot and thought out show on the Food Network. I am sincerely glad to have been a part of it, and hope to have the opportunity to work with such an outstanding team in the future.


Andrew Baber

True I got more fans than the average man but not enough loot to last me

to the end of the week, I live by the beat like you live check to check

If you don't move yo' feet then I don't eat, so we like neck to neck

A-T-L, Georgia, what we do for ya?

The Gentleman Gourmand

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Dude, tell em about the Mary Chungs dumplings...I am still craving those....even after shooting 3 restaurants today (and you know what thats like)!!!!

Are you going to be part of the NYC crew?


Edited by Chris Cognac (log)

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

The Hungry Detective

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Oh, can I ever. The location that I was on-screen for was the segment filmed at Mary Chung’s. Now, let me tell you an interesting tidbit about Mary Chung’s: it seems that it was the very first restaurant in the world to be on the internet. If this is accurate: http://boston.openguides.org/?Mary_Chung's "A major hangout for MIT geeks, and thus the first restaurant with a Usenet newsgroup, alt.fan.mary-chungs," then Mary Chung's was most likely the first dining establishment in cyberspace.

Mary Chung, the proprietor is an amazing woman. In one of my recent visits, I was so overcome with elation by the food, I stopped her as she was walking by. I told her, "Mary, your food is so good..." (I was at a loss for words, and looked her right in the eyes). "...so good." She stopped and gave me her full attention (something a restaurant owner/server/hostess/chef rarely gives), and said softly and almost bashfully, "I know... I know. Thank you." She gave me one last look, and whisked off to take care of a ringing phone.

Let me give you a little background. I had never heard of Mary Chung's restaurant before the filming of this show, and I'm kind of glad I hadn't. I say this because I was able to start my addiction late in the game. What addiction? Well, let me just say that Suan La Chow Show is without a doubt the best new dish I have had in months. Since the shoot, I have been there approximately 15 times. . .sometimes twice a day. Right now, they are closed (Mary's on vacation), and I'm going into some serious withdrawal.

So you don't know what Suan La Chow Show is, eh? Well let’s check wikipedia -- I'm sure they've got something on it.

Well now, what do we have here? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suan_La_Chow_Show

"Suan La Chow Show (suānlà chǎoshǒu) is a dish of Sichuan Cuisine that consists of a spicy garlicky peanut sauce over floppy steamed meat-filled dumplings similar to wontons. The name means sour hot wonton.

A popular restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts named Mary Chung's serves a dish called Suan La Chow Show, which are dumplings with a spicy soy ginger sauce on a bed of raw mung bean sprouts. This popular dish is slightly different from the authentic Suan La Chow Show."

Let me see if I can describe the dish to you, just in case that description doesn't work. Have you ever read about orlotan? The tiny bird, considered such a deviant delicacy that diners are encouraged to devour whole while wearing a blindfold to avoid being ashamed? Well, for those who can’t afford the outrageously expensive and seemingly cruel orlotan, I believe that Suan La Chow Show is the closest thing you can get to it. Listed under soups, the spicy, salty, sesame-y sauce in the bottom could easily be scrumptious orlotan “juice.” The fresh bean sprouts – the avian bones. Lastly, the tender, moist, perfectly cooked meaty morsels that are the dumplings obviously correlate to our favorite feathered friend.

Does this description discourage you? How about this one: these are the best dumplings in America. I challenge you to find better.

Like I was saying, I had my doubts about a Chinese restaurant outside of Chinatown from the moment Sean (the producer) mentioned it to me. When I arrived on the day of the shoot, I found an unassuming, 60 seat family-style, sparsely decorated dining room, and a fairly large packed and active kitchen. Mary immediately introduced herself, and offered me a beverage of choice.

After learning that I would be waiting for a while (and after five different customers had recommended it to me), Mary brought me a bowl of their world famous appetizer. I took one bite, and knew immediately that I was hooked. I get the same feeling every time I come across a dish that meets a few of my criteria for serious food addiction:

1) Unique

2) Cheap

3) Spicy or otherwise uniquely flavored

At just under $4 for a bowl, with a slow exponential heat and its hailstorm of flavor and texture, Suan La Chow Show is on the forefront of my mind nearly every time I get hungry.

I informed Mary that she would be seeing a whole lot more of me in the future, and headed out to meet up with Chris. After prepping him on just how awesome this place was (and meeting up with the MIT kids), Cognac got to try some for himself. I’ll let him comment for himself, if he wishes, but I will say that it’s probably best not to aspirate the soup.

After the kitchen shots, we realized that the we needed to re-organize the tables to accommodate the lights, the cameras, and all the action that was about to go down. We sat down in the middle of the restaurant, and began our rather short, strange and hilarious lunch. What you have to understand, to get a good idea of what our jobs were, is that anytime we had to stop for any reason, the food had to look the same afterwards. This means, if you had a bite almost in your mouth, and the action paused, you had to put the bite back. We also had to make sure our personal plates stayed relatively similar and that the serving vessels always appeared full. Another thing? Small bites. TV bites. . .not. . .big. . .bites. . .so. . .you aren’t stuck chewing for much. . .too. . .long. Other than that, all we really had to do was completely ignore the cameras, crew, lights, and just act naturally.

The scene went fantastically. Other than a few minor fits and starts, we generally just had a relaxing lunch with a little bit of dramatic talking and some amusing food adjustments.

After the shooting was through, Mary offered to give the crew some goodie bags to take back to the hotel (which I noticed were thoroughly enjoyed and quickly devoured). The next day was some B-roll shots, and the crew was off to the airport. It sounds like they enjoyed (and got some great scenes) in Atlanta. I know I’m not the only one looking forward to this show coming out.


Andrew Baber

True I got more fans than the average man but not enough loot to last me

to the end of the week, I live by the beat like you live check to check

If you don't move yo' feet then I don't eat, so we like neck to neck

A-T-L, Georgia, what we do for ya?

The Gentleman Gourmand

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I wanna know where you're eating in Charleston....not cause I can be there or anything, but just so I can be envious! Please tell us how the Charleston shoot is going.

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its going great..we went to charelstons cafe, blvd diner and bowens island yesterday and fig today....all are amazing, we are headed out for great bbq in the morning.....let me tell y ou bowens island was a trip...thanks to holly moore for that hot tip....amazing oysters and frogmore stew...plus the owner is the leading candidate for Lt Gov in SC....it was as low country as it gets...you guys will love it...the mix of food in the show is great!


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

The Hungry Detective

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Chris you should definitely try out this DC suburb a HUGE community of about 200 restaurants within 5 miles of 495!

It's called Reston VA, it also has an interesting city if you "wiki" it. We just moved here and I was worried about it being a bit of an outpost, was I ever wrong. I have always lived in NYC's shadow in Northern NJ (and on and off in TX) but this place has so many choices of restaurants as does nearby DC - it's simply amazing! :wub:


Stacey C-Anonymouze@aol.com

*Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads!-G. B. SHAW

JUST say NO... to CENSORSHIP*!

Also member of LinkedIn, Erexchange and DonRockwell.

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Oooh! I am definitely turning a pale shade of jealous green! I love, love, love the Boulevard Diner. If you tell me that you had the grouper sandwich or the cajun meatloaf, I may have to jump in the car and drive 6.5 hours for dinner! :smile:

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