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Chefs Tough As Nails? We Don’t Think So.

Never confuse the size of your talent with the size of your paycheck. – Marlon Brando

All wish to have knowledge, but few are willing to pay the price. – Juvenal

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ELV note: Chef John Tesar’s feud with restaurant critic Leslie Brenner of the Dallas Morning News has been getting a lot of traction lately. In response to it all, a certain anonymous Dallas chef posted this missive on line, siding with Tesar (complete disclosure: JT is a Facebook friend and a chef we hold in high regard), and calling out Brenner in a number of ways. Both it and our response are probably a bit over-the-top, but both he (the anonymous Dallas chef, NOT John Tesar) and Eating Las Vegas have some rather strong, contrary opinions which we at ELV thought you might enjoy agreeing or disagreeing with. So, without further ado, for your elucidation and delectation, we give you the following war of words:

Dear Go to Hell,

Chefs tough as nails? Maybe some of them, but you sir are a big baby. A small-minded, fragile little girl who objects to someone’s tone of voice. What are you? Twelve? Man up…and admit that you and your ilk get your feelings hurt very, very easily.

A chef is a craftsman who is trained to put out food, in volume, with a minimum of health concerns to those eating it. That’s all you really are. A cook. Not a humanitarian or a philanthropist. “Anyone can write about food,” you say. Well, I suppose so,  just the way anyone can heat up food. Even an idiot can make a pot of stew and fill people up with it. And you sir, I fear, are a stewcook. If you truly had game, I suspect you wouldn’t take critical words to heart like sappy teenager.

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Sipping and Savoring Santa Barbara (County)

This article first appeared in John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet a few weeks ago. Click here to read it in the original format, or continue as you wish with the text below.

Solvang, California used to be a paragon of kitsch, corny architecture and lots and lots of butter cookies. When last we visited a little over ten years ago, it was at the tail end of its “outlet store phase” (as one local put it to us), and the Danish bakeries barely outnumbered the vacant storefronts – which is really saying something. These days, a great ableskiver, cheese Danish, or thin, Danish pancake accosts your waistline on almost every corner, but the real reason to come here is that this (formerly) sleepy little hamlet – known affectionately for decades as “Little Denmark” – has quietly become the wine capital of central California.

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PIZZA AGONISTES by John Mariani

ELV note: This article is from the current edition of John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet and originally appeared on Esquire.com. We re-publish it here on the slim chance that a few of our loyal readers do not already subscribe to Mariani’s essential Web publication. Read away in either format and prepare to get hungry.

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It’s been a bad month for bad pizza. First, Sbarro announced the closing of 155 of its 400 U.S. stores, then declared bankruptcy. Again.  Then, in one of the few conservative judicial decisions I actually applaud, Justice Antonin Scalia, born in Trenton, NJ, declared that Chicago-style deep-dish pizza “shouldn’t be called pizza. It’s very tasty, but it’s not pizza.”

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