Still Not Comfortable In Our Own Skin

A fascinating article from the Chronicle this morning about Houston-area chefs on a mission to New York City at the Ultimate Food Lover’s Taste of Houston:

Over two nights, the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau will attempt to convince New York journalists and meeting planners that Houston is an emerging culinary destination.

“Without a doubt, this is the largest event we’ve done focused on dining,” says Lindsey Brown, GHCVB’s marketing director.

Houston annually promotes the city’s dining scene in New York, but usually through a single chef or eatery — and never with a brigade of 17, including Voice, Ibiza, Shade, Mockingbird Bistro, Mark’s American Cuisine, Kiran’s, Armandos, Max’s Wine Dive and Pesce.

With the recent release of The Ultimate Food Lover’s Guide to Houston, edited by Teresa Byrne-Dodge (Lazy Wood Press, $18), the bureau saw an opportunity to do something bigger by providing an overview of the city’s diverse dining scene and culinary talent.

“We hope to develop relationships with the attendees to work on future Houston stories, book a convention or develop a travel package with a tour operator,” Brown says. “So, just like with everything — (we’re) creating buzz.”

*sigh*

Part of me is happy that our chefs are displaying their many talents to the world.  They deserve credit and praise for their skills, creativity and hard work.  But the bolded part above really bothers me.

When are we going to stop cronying up to New York City (and Chicago and Los Angeles and any other major American city…) and begging them for recognition and approval?  WE DON’T NEED IT.  We don’t need New York City’s culinary elite to tell us that we’re good enough, we’re smart enough and — doggone it — people like us!  PLEASE.

We ARE good enough.  We’re better than good enough.  Houston is a city of amazing culture and diversity, with regard to our arts community, our business community, our residents and — of course — our restaurant community.  If other cities don’t recognize that, WHO CARES?  It’s all about being comfortable in our own skin, not sucking up like that desperate hanger-on we all remember from high school, constantly acting the sycophant to the popular crowd and always seeking external validation to assuage their multitude of internal flaws and issues.

We don’t need validation or approval from anyone, much less New York City.  This is Houston; it will never be New York.  It will never be Paris or London or Miami or Rio or Tokyo or anything other than welcoming, friendly, exciting, different, dynamic Houston.  And that is WONDERFUL.  Embrace it, folks.

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Kentucky Fried Nonsense

Seriously?

Colonel Harland Sanders’ handwritten fried chicken recipe blending those 11 herbs and spices is going to be moved from its home in a locked file cabinet inside a vault to an undisclosed location. After KFC headquarters in Louisville, Ky., modernizes the recipe’s permanent hideaway, it will be returned.

The recipe has been in the file cabinet for more than 20 years.

Ex-New York City police detective Bo Dietl has been hired to protect the age-yellowed sheet of notebook paper that holds the recipe, which will be tucked away in a briefcase handcuffed to him when it is whisked away by armored car.

From WNBC.com.

KFC isn’t taking any chances when it comes to their secret recipe of “eleven herbs and spices,” it would seem.

The brand’s top executive admitted his nerves were aflutter despite the tight security he lined up for the operation.

“I don’t want to be the president who loses the recipe,” KFC President Roger Eaton said. “Imagine how terrifying that would be.”

So important is the 68-year-old concoction that coats the chain’s Original Recipe chicken that only two company executives at any time have access to it. The company refuses to release their name or title, and it uses multiple suppliers who produce and blend the ingredients but know only a part of the entire contents.

From the AP.

KFC, I got news for y’all.  My momma’s fried chicken is better than KFC’s could ever hope to be.  And I bet that every other Southerner can say almost the same thing (my grandmother’s fried chicken, my wife’s fried chicken, my aunt’s fried chicken, etc…).  I’ve had your fried chicken, and it’s almost the polar opposite of what I would call “great.”  I said almost the polar opposite, so I’m not saying it’s disgusting.  It’s just…not that good.

That stuff may go over like hot cakes in places like China or Quebec, where they don’t know any better, but down here?  Yeah.  You need to get over yourselves.

Jake’s Philly Steaks

And one more review to round out John’s contribution for the week: Jake’s Philly Steaks.

I recommend not reading this review if you match any of the following descriptions:

  1. My mother
  2. My grandmother
  3. Any member of my family, for that matter
  4. Just ate breakfast
  5. About to eat breakfast
  6. Just ate lunch
  7. About to eat lunch
  8. Young and impressionable
  9. Easily offended
  10. Baptist

You’ve been warned.

Pizzitola’s BBQ

…and now back to our regularly-scheduled programming.  The last few days have been filled with melons, high-fructose corn syrup and evil Futurama-style vending machines.  But now we’re back to basics.

John has a new review of Pizzitola’s BBQ at XYZ (what? you hadn’t forgotten about XYZ, had you?).  You can catch the entire sordid tale here.  Scroll down to the bottom — it’s Review #4.

…okay, so it isn’t sordid.  But there are loaded baked potatoes involved!  And you know what troublemakers they can be.

The Saga Continues…

The pizza vending machine saga is far from over.  In fact, we have only begun to plumb the depths of machine-vended atrocities.  Wallstreetfighter has additional information on the rise of the machines, and has captured one of these diabolical monsters on film:

New Levels of Culinary Repugnance

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into your office breakroom…