Let’s get right to it.

Since the inspiration for this blog struck about a year ago, I’ve been to a LOT of new places. Some were local; some were across the country. I’ve eaten bisque cooked inside a coconut, tasted my first ghetta, and even had my first brussel sprouts in decades. However, through all that, I didn’t have this forum to talk about them.

Some of those adventures and others will be detailed in my “Past Feasts” series. I want to keep this series focused on new experiences. So I’m creating my first invitation to anyone who visits. I’m looking for suggestions for great places to check out. I live in Chicagoland, so most of my outings will be in the area, but I’d love to have a list of places around the country to keep in mind, should I venture out and about. Given my wife’s dietary restrictions, I’d especially love to hear about places with great gluten-free options.

Here’s the only catch. Only suggest a place if you’ve been there, and please tell me specifics about why it’s worthy of the trip. Dining is very subjective. Anyone can tell me a place is great, but until I find out for myself, I won’t really know for sure. So thanks in advance for helping me make your Past Feasts some of my Latest Eats. I can’t wait to share them with you. Enjoy!

Eyes open and mouth shut!

When it comes to Facebook, more and more I try to adopt the above philosophy. When the site helps me keep track of past friendships and present family, it’s great. When my feed gets inundated with political rants and religious fervor, it’s not so great. Plus, I never feel comfortable when someone’s post has a mix of comments that are so left or right of center that they make me squirm in my seat reading them.

I’m a moderate, diplomatic fellow with a strong bent toward common sense and open-mindedness. I’m intelligent and eloquent. I can present a good argument with wit and charm. Yet, I don’t do it on Facebook because I like most of my friends and family and don’t want to stop.

So, if I get fed up enough or inspired enough, I’ll post it here. It’s my forum and my voice, so I’ll keep Facebook for dialogues and do my monologing here. Enjoy!

Thanks for the memories…

When I talk about past meals, it’s because they stuck with me. I remember them. Many times, I remember meals better than most other events in my past. I’ve often said it’s because eating can create the strongest memories by combining all the senses.

If I go to a museum, I usually only see the displays and hear the sounds around me and feel the air and floor. I might even smell the age of the display or catch a whiff of someone’s perfume or cologne. So I might max out at four senses in almost anything I do. Eating is a full sensory experience. So great meals with great company can stick with me better than almost anything else.

That’s why my business trip to China back in 2006 left me with more food stories than anything else. It’s also why at the very least I like to have a beverage in hand at all times when getting together with friends. It’s why nearly all my first dates with women in the past involved food or drink. I recognize my connection with food and want to have the best chance to make a memory when I’m somewhere new with new people.



To kick off my Kitchen Feats category, I think I’ll start with an overview of my approach to cooking.

In most cases in the past, I’d mess up some detail about the recipe. That was my most common mistake, and sometimes still is. For example, there was the time I tried to make an enchilada casserole and forgot to grease the baking pan. The only thing that saved me that time was having switched from corn to flour tortillas. Thankfully, flour tortillas are less clingy when it comes to metal. Or the time I read “1 canned chipotle pepper” as “1 CAN chipotle peppers” and made the hottest posole known to man.

Along the way, I’ve learned a few important tips about cooking. Read the recipe. Prep the food before you turn on a single burner. Read the recipe again. Learn the basics of cooked food appearance so you’re not such a slave to the cooking times. Don’t just watch the cooking shows for the recipes; look at how they set up their kitchen and pay attention to the little utensils.

Because sometimes you won’t have everything the recipe calls for and sometimes you’ll want to use a different ingredient. Once you understand some of the basics, breaking free from the confines of the recipe can be very liberating… and successful. More on that later. Enjoy!

Nothing here yet…

… because I haven’t had any new adventures yet.

I first envisioned this site over a year ago. I’ve had a number of food adventures since then, but this category is for new experiences. So as soon as I have something new to post, it’ll show up here. In the meantime, check out my other stuff. Enjoy!