I feel so lucky to do what I do. You know when your were kid, and you would have these dreams about being a firefighter, quarterback, pilot, tax attorney.... (maybe not the last one, but hey go for it... these are mostly guy things huh?) When I was a wee lad, I wanted to be a chef. I wanted to play with my food... all the time. People would come to our house and freak out seeing this little mohawk blazin' 10 year old making Rosemary and Thyme Crusted Pork Roasts or home-made beef jerky. Im not sure how or why this obsession with food started, but it's in my blood now. I get so excited when a gorgeous Tuna Tar-Tar find its way into my belly, and when I use Ramen Noodles to make a bangin' Stir-Fry.... Awesome! I suppose I'm a funny kinda dude though, so its fitting for me to be a chef, well, at least this kind of chef. I catch myself laughing on set every once in awhile thinking, "I actually get to play with food!" I hope you guys all find what you love to do... if you already have, go get it. Dont wait!
Roasting is an excellent way to prepare your veggies. I was playing around in the kitchen the other day and made these mushrooms, asparagus and tomatoes. I like to buy the tomatoes on the vine... it doesnt change the flavor, I just think it looks pretty cool. Toss the mushrooms and asparagus in a large bowl, pour over a bit of oil and salt and pepper, then toss around until they all get coated. Place them in a roasting pan with the tomatoes and add a touch more Salt and pepper. Put them in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. They come out a little caramelized on the bottoms and juicy on top. If you want to get a little more nuts... add a few whole garlic cloves and a sprig of rosemary to the roasting pan. ROCK OUT!!!!
I went out to Anna Maria Island, FL this weekend to see some rad fireworks and to enjoy some deliciousness. There is something really cool about the 4th of July celebration, aside from being patriotic, I love the atmosphere. It seems like everyone is completely content with having a good time. I pretty much always want to have a good time, but its so much sweeter when every one around you shares the attitude. Plus the smell of "CrawDads", corona and a hint of gun powder makes for a great time! I ordered the Steamed CrawFish and a few coronas with a side of Fried Calamari and Jambalaya Rice. It was pretty awesome! Later,
Its hard to define "Florida" or "Beach Fare." I grew up on the beach most of my life and it is still a bit of an enigma to me. Some of my favorite food memories take place on the beach, toes in the sand, salty hair, a bit sunburned, chowing down on some tasty crab or shrimp. I recently went to "Gators" on Treasure Island just outside Tampa. It was such a dope place! I pulled up in a boat with a bunch of friends... you know its gonna be chill and laid back when they have parking in the water for your boat. I had the Gator Nibblets (Deep Fried gator tail) and a Grouper sandwich. The food was great and the atmosphere was very "Nate", we all had a great time. So to answer the question of "Florida Fare"...I don't think it gets more Florida than Gator and Grouper.
I spent the last fews days in LA and had an awesome time. I went to this super rad place in Beverly Hills, Nate n' Al's. It's an old school deli joint in "Tinsel Town." I had a bowl of Matzo Ball Soup and a bangin' Pastrami sandwich. It was one of the best Pastrami sandwiches I've had since NYC. The walls were covered with Hollywood memories of old. Franky and the Rat Pack on one side and an old waitress uniform from one of the original staff members on the other. There was a neat sense of history and comfort around the place. It felt like I stepped into a bit of a time capsule, kinda like I was sitting where Marilyn, Bogart or Dean would have. If you guys get a chance you have to check this place out www.natenal.com