I'm from sw Pennsylvania farm country, spent four years loving living in Pittsburgh during my college years, and now live in Flagstaff.

  • Location: Flagstaff, AZ
  • Favorite foods: eggs.

Latest Comments

What dish best represents the food of your region?

Back home, Primanti's sandwiches for the city, and pepperoni rolls in the sticks where I grew up.

Here in Flagstaff, I'd go with Navajo fry bread/Navajo tacos.

gin & tonic with lemon

Order it with the grapefruit, no decent bar would charge you extra, they'll just use the rest of the can in another drink.

Ask the Critic: Best Murray Hill Eats; How Much Do I Tip a Bartender?

Also, I kind of want to start a band just so I can call it "quarters on the table."

High Altitude Lasagna Help.

I live at 7,000 feet and most recipes work just fine. In general, water boils at a lower temperature, so it can take longer for things to cook. Check out high altitude baking for a more detailed but easy to digest (hah!) explanation of how altitude affects cooking and baking. Welcome to high country! Also, beware that alcohol hits harder/faster at altitude until your body acclimates. It doesn't take that long usually, but it can take you by surprise.

Ask a Bartender: What Behavior Gets Someone Kicked Out of Your Bar?

I work at a historic hotel/restaurant/bar downtown where I live, and I'm often cocktailing the bar on the third floor. Throwing/spitting/etc anything off the balcony is an instant ticket out (ice, chew, spit, popcorn, anything). We also had a guy who was so drunk he was eating the decorative plants. That one was just a cut-off/escort out ... until he got very crass and rude with the bartender who was walking him down to the door. The last few sentences toward her got him 86'd for good.

And to everyone wondering why bartenders hate bloodies after noon, it's because the bar tends to be quieter in the morning hours, allowing the time it takes to make your bloody. In the evening, they're more slammed/less time to spare for it. They should make it regardless (it's their job!), just remember it takes a few more minutes to make a good bloody than to pull a draft.

Best Smoothies?

I try to keep dairy away from being a main ingredient in my meals, but my go-to breakfast smoothie lately has been:

1.5 c baby spinach
3/4 c canned peach and/or pear slices
1/2 banana
3/4 c simply apple juice
1 t vanilla
enough water to adjust for consistency

Favorite (and preferably easy) desserts?

A great simple desert is strawberries macerated in balsamic vinegar or chambord. Ice cream or fresh whipped cream optional.

Why do grocery store cashiers 'throw' my food?

I'm another who's never seen this happen. I'd describe it as more of a shuffle than anything, or they'll roll round-ish things. Maybe you look as grumpy as you sound in your post and they're reacting to that? Not that that's good customer service by any means, though.

Tips for repurposing vegan sour cream? It is otherwise inedible.

Of course it seemed weird, you tried to sub it directly in a way that you would notice the difference. Use it as you would sour cream in ways that do not showcase it, such as making sometime creamy. I've gone back to dairy, but when I was off it for a little while, I used the better than sour cream in saucy breakfast burritos. I never noticed much of a difference in this type of application and still got rave reviews from anyone else who was around for breakfast in my several-months-long breakfast burrito phase.

What's your best hack for store-bought food?

Season frozen creamed spinach, serve as a florentine sauce for store-bought ravioli or other pasta, with any meat on hand and some extra cheese.

Nuke creamed spinach, season to taste. Maybe add some drained, chopped artichoke hearts. Fry an egg or two, maybe a little bacon. Serve egg on veggie mixture.

One box frozen spinach, nuked and drained well. One can of beans, drained well. 1+c of salsa. Cook these things together in a large skillet, season to taste, remove from heat and allow to cool somewhat. Scramble 8-10 eggs separately, then fold into veggie mixture. Cook a package of flour tortillas one by one, making and individually plastic or foil wrapping each. Mark and freeze, best if thawed 12-24 hours before reheating. Reheat on one of "those" days.

French and saute some onion, shred a good amount of cabbage. Whip up asian-style sauce of your choice, black bean sauce, thai-style spicy peanut dressing, whatever. Add cabbage to onions, stir in sauce, coat vegetables. Place frozen, store-bought potsticker/gyoza dumplings on top of the cabbage/onion/sauce mixture, cover and steam until done. Toss dumplings to coat with sauce.

Cook 1/2 lb. bacon, drain and cut into small strips. in a medium bowl, make a thai-style spicy peanut dressing (soy sauce, sesame oil, splash of fish sauce, peanut butter or satay sauce, rice wine vinegar, a touch of mirin or honey, and plenty of fresh lemon juice. Open a bag of pre-cut broccoli slaw (which is actually cheaper than the veggies, at $1.69/bag at my local stores) and dump into a large bowl. Use kitchen shears to chop slaw veggies into desired length in the bowl. Stir in the dressing, then the bacon.

Keep small (~5 oz) cans of seafood (tuna, salmon, crab) in the pantry. Next time you spy a loaf of bread you know you can't finish before it gets moldy (because we're bachelors, right?), cube it and toss it in a freezer bag and into the freezer. Or have bread crumbs on hand. Make tuna/salmon/crab cakes: can + egg + bread + mustard +seasonings. Serve with whatever else you have laying around the house, like perhaps a potato cut into wedges and roasted for 12 minutes on each side at 425F.

Biggest dining-out letdown?

Roka Akor in Scottsdale a few years back. A foodie friend gushed about it to me and my then foodie-bf, so we joined him on our way through town one night. He started ordering before we got there, which was fine because we were starving and he has good taste. However. The food was good, but the rest of it was overkill. The waiter in my face prattling on about the fresh grated wasabi on shark skin (or whatever). The sushi chef pressuring me into lobster tempura (sorry, but if I'm paying for lobster, you're not deep-frying it). Good food should be about good food, not being seen at the right restaurant. I never expect sushi to be cheap, nor do I *want* cheap sushi, but when the bill hit $500 for three of us ... I wanted to strangle my friend, who I was unfortunately not surprised to see literally buying into the hype and glitter of the scene.

Wine question

Not sure anything I drink would help with that, but perhaps a wine tasting gift certificate? Or go to a good local wine store, tell them your budget and your needs, and let them guide you.

How do y'all stay thin?

Varied diet/portion control + exercise. Yes, lots of things change as we age, but it's not a giant mystery.

Gluten free and vegetarian

Frittata with a side salad, black bean soup with tortilla crisps, huevos rancheros, tacos, enchiladas (all on corn torts, obviously), rice- or rice noodle-based Asian dishes (though do check ingredients for wheat, as others have noted).

Cocktail 101: How to Make Cocktails for a Flask

I burned through a few bottles of Aberlour 16 way too fast last ski season that I had stocked up on in flusher times. A bit of water and any decent whiskey should do, but I'm considering going manhattan-in-a-flask this year given my newfound affection for bitters.

canned hominy??

Roast a few poblano chiles, chop and set aside. Cut a head of cauliflower into florets, steam to al dente. Mash a block of cream cheese and about a cup or so of cheddar into the cauliflower with some of the liquid from the hominy. Stir in the hominy and poblanos. Top with buttered bread crumbs and some crumbled bacon if you like. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350F.

The day before ...

Email autoresponder, written and set.
Ten days in Barbados? Best Thanksgiving yet!

Airport Food That Doesn't Suck

I'm flying into MIA on Thanksgiving - the Cuban place looks like a nice treat to keep my eyes peeled for. Thank you!

5 Colorado Beers To Drink Right Now

Left Hand milk stout nitro. Heaven in a glass.

Weekend Cook and Tell: Freezer Friendly Meals

I beefed up a delicious rajas con crema recipe by stirring in some white hominy, cooked chicken, and other compatible leftovers (a little bit of beans and rice), then baked for 25 minutes at 350F. Still haven't worked the kinks out of that recipe yet (might have to chop up the rajas to match size with the rest of the ingredients), but it froze and revived beautifully.

Cook the Book: 'The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook'

Rajas con Crema, from Simply Recipes. The mushroom bourguignon from smitten kitchen (same recipe in the book as on the blog?) is also a personal favorite, but I haven't made it recently so I can't claim it for this, I supposed.

12 Delicious Zinfandels to Drink This November

I like Klinker Brick old vine zin. Very tasty and usually somewhere in the $15-20 range.