Where it all began, in 1962
If you click on and look closely at the above picture, you will see yours truly settling in for his birthday dinner at Antoine’s in New Orleans last Friday night. The setting was chosen with particularity since it was at this fabled restaurant that I had my first food epiphany way back in 1962. (Over a silver dish of crab meat bubbling in a sherry-butter sauce, if memory serves. I still recall turning to my mother — Marcella Ruth Schroader Curtas – d.o.b. 08-10-24 – and asking, “Why don’t you cook like this?”).
As you may recall, I was in N’Awlins shooting another episode of “All Forked Up,” premiering this Spring on the Travel Channel. That gig has kept me traveling around the U.S.A. for the past four months (Philly, Seattle, San Diego, Chicago and New Orleans), with one episode left to go. After that, it’ll be all over except the shouting as we wait for the public to give its verdict. If ratings are good, we’ll hit the road for more episodes. If the public decides we’re not worthy of its viewing attention, it’ll be back to Vegas with a great experience under our belt and lots of stories to tell.
Truth be told, our delusions are less grand than you might think. Sin City Rules set a pretty low bar that succeeded only in reinforcing the shallow and stupid stereotypes that surround our humble burg. Insofar as it besmirched all things Vegas with its cast of spoiled lamebrains — and believe me, it made Hillbilly Hand Fishing look like Tennessee Williams — our show tries to edify and entertain….oh, who am I kidding? Mostly it’s just me and Mancini yelling at each other over everything from soup to nuts, hurling invectives and mining our insult thesauruses daily. But we love the cities and the food and the production is going to look MAH-VEL-ous.
Until the show airs — looking to be late April right now — our travel schedule makes covering the Vegas food scene impossible. But an un-posted blog is an unhappy blog, soooooo cue Mitchell Wilburn!
Yes, Mitchell Wilburn… a young, stylish fellow who is a spirits and suds fanatic looking to expand his coverage of our food and beverage scene. My staff and I have given Mitchell the keys to the kingdom, as it were, and you will now see occasional articles and postings from his passionate pen. (There may also be other guest writers popping up from time to time to keep all of us on our toes, and who knows? you may even see an occasional iconoclastic exclamation from moi!
Please be patient with Mitchell (and all young writers), as he’s still finding his sea legs. He won’t be as edgy and outrageous as the guy whose picture is at the top of the page, but he loves excellence in eating and drinking just as much as your favorite bloviating blowhard.
Speaking of edgy and entertaining blowhards, Michael Winner died yesterday and you could hear the sighs of relief go up from restaurateurs across Great Britain. He was opinionated, imperious and impossible, but his Winner’s Dinners column was always a great read.
R.I.P. Michael Winner.