Will one of our own become the next Iron Chef?

It's true, Celina Tio is staring on The Next Iron Chef this season. Personally I don't think she will go very for on the show. I'm rooting for Ming Tsai and Marc Forgione.


Good Pizza is Better than Good Art?

Maybe not... But the Crossroads pizza joint known as The Art of Pizza ( does a great job of making a spot on pizza pie. And it boasts some hipster art if you are into that sort of thing (like the "hands" extending from the wall).

The Art of Pizza is located across the street from its much publicized pizza cousin, Pizza Bella. While I had been to Pizza Bella at least a dozen times, I had always gazed towards The Art of Pizza and wondered what that place was all about. Sometimes as I munched on my Pizza Bella Brussels Sprouts I had even chuckled at that neighboring "red headed step-child" of local Pizza joints.

But this past week I decided to give it a try. And I was pleasantly surprised. In fact I was downright excited about the "find" I had made.

First of all, please know that this place is not, and does not attempt to compete with, their more upper crust pizza neighbor. This is pure NY style pizza with real ingredients like sausage as opposed to fennel sausage or ground beef as opposed to prosciutto. The atmosphere is much more laid back. The pie is super tasty. The price is super swell. And the friendly owner will pull up a chair and talk about anything from the weather to making beignets (which are also on the menu!).

I've only been to The Art of Pizza once and I am usually reluctant to review a place without multiple visits. In this case, I'll be making additional visits. And the place was just all around solid.

Also, The Art of Pizza is opening a Westport location in a week or so. Hopefully it will take off with the same standards that the Crossroads location has been putting out.


So overdue it's embarasing

When Thai Place opened in Westport some time ago (8 years?) I had no idea the impact it would have on my life. I'd eaten many Thai meals prior to Thai Place so I was delighted when I noticed they had taken over the space that was occupied by The Classic Cup in Westport. I raced in and haven't left yet.

I ate there constantly and quickly became friends with most of the employees, and the owners Ted and Pam. The food at Thai Place is always very, very good and super consistent. I've had most of the menu items and love them all. In my opinion Ted and Pam make the best Thai food in town. The dinning room is classy, dark and elegant. The kitchen is unbelievably clean and organized. They hire wonderful, efficient people who seem like they are all family.

If you haven't been to Thai Place, get your ass in there. If you have been there before, get your ass in there again. You will enjoy your visit, I promise. Thank you Ted and Pam for being so good to me over the years, I look forward to many, many more years sharing food with you and many more years of friendship.

Mystery trader buys all Europe's cocoa

What do you do with all the cocoa in Europe? I guess we're going to find out.

"It is unclear which person, or group of traders, was behind the deal, but it was the largest single cocoa trade for 14 years."

"The cocoa beans, which are sitting in warehouses either in The Netherlands, Hamburg, or closer to home in London, Liverpool or Humberside is equivalent to the entire supply of the commodity in Europe, and would fill more than five Titanics. They are worth £658 million."


A New Take on Mexican?

Well, Caliente Grill is no more. The 39th street Mexican joint finally bit the dust after a long struggle to establish a foothold on the Midtown Mexican landscape. As Pangea before them, Caliente was unable to generate enough business in their 39th street strip mall location to stay alive.

However, plans are being made to open a new restaurant at that (cursed?) location. Last week I was invited to a special tasting of some of the items which will be featured at the new eatery. It is also Mexican. I mean really Mexican. It will feature fresh flavors all around. From home-made mexican soups to hand cooked pork dishes, the yet to be named new grub spot will attempt to distinguish themselves from the rest of the crowded Mexican food lineup in K.C.

Overall, the food I sampled was really good. But... it's one thing to cater for a group of 20-25 people as opposed to running a restaurant. In the true spirit of an annoying food critic I will withhold judgment until the doors open. But I'm definitely excited. The potential is there. Just please don't start serving food until the liquor license is approved (why does every new place in K.C. think it's a good idea to open three months before their liquor license is approved?).


The dim lights of a shining star in L.A.

Back in May I posted about a place in L.A. called the Edison. I said in the post that I was sure to visit when I was going to be out there later in the summer. The next day (seriously the next day) I received an email from their PR guy (Dan) saying, "Thanks for the Edison post!  Let me know when you’re in town, and ready to check out our space.  We’ll make sure you have a great time!" Last week I did, and they did.

Out of total coincidence, my blog co-writer Midtown Food Guy (MFG) was out in L.A. on a family vacation. Weird. I asked MFG if he would join me on my visit to the Edison, we agreed on Wednesday. I totally spaced off notifying Dan about our visit until about 3pm the day of. I texted Dan and let him know that we would like to come out that night and experience the Edison. Within like 4 minutes he texted back and said that we were set for reservations at 7:30 and the evening was on him! Man, this guy is good. If you ever need a PR guy, Dan is the man.

MFG, his lovely wife, and I arrived on time and were quickly escorted to our reserved table. We sat for 10-15 minutes (seemed longer) before we saw anyone that resembled waitstaff. When we did spot someone, she walked passed us to a table next to ours. With their order she strolled by again. She then walked passed us a third time several minutes later to attend to the table next to ours. I stopped her (Jacquie (sp?) pronounced Jackie) this time and asked if we could start off with some drinks. She stated, "I'm sorry, I didn't see you guys". I said , "You walk passed us three times, how did you not see us?" "What can I get you to drink?", she says, and then under her breath, "This is going to be fun." WTF? What kind of shit was that? 

After the initial glitch in the evening, everything was great.

The Edison is stunning! I've never seen any place like it. They spared no expense taking an old power plant and converting it into a beautiful bar and restaurant. It was like stepping back in time. The space is very dark and classy with attention to every detail. Check out the virtual tour here.

The menu is small and unpretentious, good solid bar fare. We shared several appetizers including; Blue Dates, Deviled Eggs, Bavarian Pretzel, Shrimp Cocktail, Squid, Singapore Wings and a Charcuterie Platter. All of the food was very good and perfectly prepared. Yes, the food was good, but looking at the Edison's menu it is easy to discern that this place is all about the the tasty booze!

The Edison has over 50 types of gin. Are you kidding? Right on! First, I had an awesome specialty drink prepared with gin called Southside Fizz. I don't remember the order of the next five, but I know there were some Manhattans and Old Fashions in there somewhere. Super classic mixology at it's finest! Since I had never tried Absinthe, and they had several choices, I ended with it. I woke up naked in an alley near Silver Lake. I'm kidding, everything was fine.

To summarize, the Edison is a must visit in L.A. (rumor is that they are planing one in NYC). The atmosphere, food, drinks and attention to detail are brought together in a manner rarely seen. I would like to thank manager John Bakalar for being attentive, classy and genuinely interested in our experience and the circumstances that brought us there. Also I can't say enough about Dan Cox. Thank you Dan for the unforgettable evening, you truly did make sure we had a great time!