Tommy Jacomo opens with a joke:
Trump’s got the pope on his yacht. The pope’s hat flies off. It’s in the water. The Secret Service is trying to get it. All the pope’s people are trying to get it. Trump goes, “Hang on, hang on.” He walks across the water, bends over, picks up the hat, walks back across the water, puts in on the pope’s head—the pope’s baffled. Next day’s newspaper headline reads, “TRUMP CAN’T SWIM.”
Last weekend my father-in-law just happened to mention to me a line from Saint Paul.
The first thing to remember is the name of the restaurant. It’s called BLT Prime by David Burke and not BLT Prime by Donald Trump. At the restaurant’s homepage, the address is listed simply as 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, with no mention that this is the location of the Trump International Hotel—formerly the Old Post Office Pavilion. I imagine this is all intentional.
Toms River, N.J.—Suppose I were to tell you a story about a simple burrito, the kind that contains ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles, dressed in a light queso sauce and wrapped snugly in a warm flour tortilla. You’d be the first in line, wouldn’t you? Why take a chance on a Chipotle burrito when you can have something so light and fresh at the low, low price of $3.99?
I last saw Michel Richard a few months ago at his eponymous restaurant, Central Michel Richard, in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, D.C. He didn’t look well. He was barely managing his diabetes and his memory seemed to fade from time to time. He also had a bit of a temper—at least more than usual. We sat outside for lunch, surrounded by his clientele, although I doubt these diners, some of whom looked like tourists, knew who he was. He started mindlessly banging a spoon on the table, which led his publicist Mel Davis, to chide him about the noise. “I can do whatever I want,” he said, and banged the spoon with a definitive whap! The diners at a nearby table snapped their heads in his direction–they looked annoyed. I felt like saying, “Do you have any idea who this man is? What a genius he is? What a legend?”
On December 16, 1773, members of the Sons of Liberty, disguised as Mohawk Indians, boarded three British ships docked in Boston Harbor and dumped overboard their entire cargo of black tea. This event, of course, became known as the Boston Tea Party. But did you know just prior to the raid, these war-painted colonialists were mustering their liquid courage at the Green Dragon Tavern down the road? And afterward, the men returned to the Green Dragon, composed a song to stick it to King George, and, I’m just guessing here, got wrecked.
He almost became a waiter. When Eric Ripert was finishing his first year at culinary school in Perpignan, France, his instructors were so impressed by his front-of-the-house skills that they were planning on ending his kitchen studies to have him focus fully on service. But even as a 16-year-old, Ripert knew his passion was cooking, not waiting tables.
“This appetizer is meant to be shared.” I kept remembering those words by Elizabeth Watts, director of media and community relations for Bloomin’ Brands, Inc., when the piping-hot dish arrives. And, in fact, I enlisted my family to help tackle this feast of golden goodness—a creation of culinary genius made from a kitchen where there are no rules, just right. I am, of course, referring to the Outback Steakhouse Loaded Bloomin’ Onion.
According to historian Antony Beevor, during the battle of Stalingrad, the Wehrmacht issued a memo concerning soldiers of the Italian 8th Army: You should treat them politely, and a political and psychological understanding is necessary.
Reading Susan Cheever’s Drinking in America: Our Secret History reminded me of an exchange between Elaine and Jerry on Seinfeld. Jerry insists that only 4 to 6 percent of the population is attractive.
Elaine: So basically what you’re saying is 95 percent of the population is undatable?
Elaine: Then how are all these people getting together?