Posts Tagged ‘Eating Authors’

Eating Authors: Maurice Broaddus

No Comments » Written on May 20th, 2019 by
Categories: Plugs
Tags:
Maurice Broaddus

As I’ve previously noted, May is an especially hectic month for me this year. This post is being prepared a couple weeks in advance, but if all goes as planned these words will go live mere hours after my return from the Nebula Conference in L.A. and I’ll already be repacking to travel to Beijing in another 48 hours. And yet, I’m already thinking ahead to July, which also promises to be a hectic month, beginning with the NASFiC in Utah and the qep’a’ cha’maH javDIch in Indiana soon after.

Stream of consciousness being what it is, thoughts of Indiana—and particularly Indianapolis—stir up other associations including GenCon, Starbase Indy, and this week’s EATING AUTHOR guest Maurice Broaddus who has long called the city home.

When not writing, Maurice devotes his time to community development, enhancing the lives of local residents. You likely know him for his short fiction and his Knights of Breton Court trilogy, though I first stumbled across his work with his brilliant novella Buffalo Soldiers.

Maurice is also the creative genius behind Mo*Con, which is less like a typical convention and much more like a gathering of industry professionals and über fans coming together for fine food, tasty beverages, and excellent conversation.

His latest Middle Grade novel, The Usual Suspects, comes out tomorrow.

LMS: Welcome, Maurice. What’s your most memorable meal?

MB: We as a people have notoriously short memories and notoriously hard hearts. We need rituals to drag our imagination back to certain things, to stir our affections, and to serve as reminders to what is important in life. Rituals around food play an important role in my faith (from Communion to Easter), culture (Kwanzaa), and family (especially my parents’ tradition of Sunday dinners), even going on to shape my writing community (with Mo*Con, the writing convention I host in May).

Buffalo Soldier

Writing this, I can’t help but reflect on our family meals. My dad was not one quick to say “I love you” when we were growing up. Nor was he an especially huggy person, that was just not how his generation expressed things. But he would make BBQ chicken wings. Our Sunday dinners, no matter how poor we were, were spectacles. We’d usually have a couple different meats, assorted side dishes, and something either from Jamaica or England where my family has its roots. Not all of these culinary adventures would be a hit with us kids (because, seriously, why is steak and kidney pie a thing?) However, my dad always made chicken wings and would set them in front of me for me to get first dibs on them because he knew I loved them. I always took that as him saying that he thought about me and loved me. In fact, the BIG display of love would be if any of the kids finished our plates and had eaten all of the food, but were still hungry. My dad would share the food from his plate. It was like a ritual of love and remembrance. So I obviously take meals quite seriously.

With food holding such an important place in my heart, it was more difficult that I thought it would be to choose just one memorable meal. On one occasion, the family (which included a close friend of mine, since we don’t distinguish between close friends and family) took a trip to England which culminated with a weekend excursion to Paris where we had a three-hour long meal. It started with cheese, bread, and wine, and … well, there was a lot of wine. I have a vague recollection of frog legs and something in a luscious cream sauce. There was the time me and some family went to New Orleans, where we had a meal involving crayfish, beignets, Hurricanes, and … well a lot of Hurricanes. I have a vague recollection of something spicy.

The Usual Suspects

But the meal that stands out was only a couple years ago at Palimino’s, in downtown Indianapolis during GenCon. Me and some fellow game writers had wrapped up a project. We had just finished a live performance of our game, playtesting it in front of an audience and decided to go out to eat to celebrate a job well done. Paid for by the publisher. Who started us off with two bottles of wine and by ordering all of the appetizers on the menu, so we knew we were in for a time. My meal included calamari misto, fettucine frutti di mare, chocolate tiramisu and crème brulee. That was the food I remember because the evening blurred into a flurry of shared plates, the way family does. It also marked the first time I became food drunk. No, seriously, the next day I had a food hangover so bad I couldn’t even look at a plate because I was still so full.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the relationship of food and community as Mo*Con is almost upon me again and I’m choosing the right caterers for our meals. To create the atmosphere, to set the table, for a memorable occasion. But such an affair boils down to a simple mix of family/friends (an occasion to deepen the important relationships in your life), drinks (which lowers guards, loosens tongues, thus fueling the sharing of), stories (the shared history of who we are). All on a stage set by great food.

Thanks, Maurice. One of these years I will make my way back to Indianapolis for Mo*Con. I can’t think of a better setting to become food drunk.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

#SFWApro

Eating Authors: E.M. Foner

No Comments » Written on May 13th, 2019 by
Categories: Plugs
Tags:
E.M. Foner

One of the things I’ve been working on this month (along with way too much travel) has been a relaunch of my Amazing Conroy series, complete with new blurbs and covers, all being handled by an experienced professional I brought in for the purpose. Along the way, I’ve been getting a good education. As part of her market research she introduced me to a number of works of light, humorous SF by Indie authors. Which is both explanation of how I discovered E.M. Foner, and a segue into his being this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest.

He’s most well known for his Earth Cent Ambassador series which he began in 2014. He claims to have started the first book as a break from his efforts on an SF epic that he’d been hacking away at for years. I’ve been unable to find any indication that he ever went back to the epic, and so we’ll all just have to wonder what might have been. It’s understandable though, he’s clearly been busy. The quiet humor and PG plot lines of the series has led to some seventeen titles!

A second series, A I Diaries, is up to three books. He’s also tried his hand at fantasy with Meghan’s Dragon, a stand alone novel. E.M. lives in Northampton, Massachusetts and is rumored to have an imaginary German Shepherd. How that rumor factors into the author photo he provided is left as an exercise for the reader.

LMS: Welcome, E.M. What stands out as your most memorable meal?

EMF: Back in 2001, I was sitting in a Jazz bar that had recently been opened by a Russian friend on Helene HaMalkah street in Jerusalem. Somebody entered and asked for a volunteer to come next door to the Swiss restaurant for a minyan, the ten Jewish men required by the orthodox for certain pubic prayers. I’m not a big fan of social occasions, but I figured they must be pretty desperate to be asking in a bar. In fact, the streets were empty for some reason I don’t recall, perhaps a recent bombing.

Date Night on Union Station

The only people in the restaurant were all part of the same party, sitting around a single line of tables that had been pulled together, and it didn’t take me too long to figure out that they were celebrating Sheva Brachos, the Seven Blessings that are said under the wedding canopy and in many traditions, repeated at a series of meals the following week. Friends at these dinners tell stories about the joys of married life, assumedly to convince the new couple that they haven’t made a terrible mistake.

I took the only open seat and ate a cookie at somebody’s urging, maybe I drank a coffee as well, and then they began benching, or singing the grace after meals. This I can manage without going too far off key thanks to having heard it enough times over the years. Then they got to the part where the guests actually start singing, the seven blessings. A full glass of wine is passed from hand to hand for the singer to hold, and I should mention at this point I’ve had a bad action tremor ever since my teen years, when I discovered I couldn’t keep a soldering iron steady.

Turing Test

As soon as the first blessing began, I had a premonition that they were going to give the last one to me as an honor for being a good sport and showing up. In addition to the tremor, I’ve always had a problem sight-reading Hebrew, especially if the vowels are included. This runs the opposite from most American Jews I know, who are taught to read with vowel markings (nikudot) and don’t necessarily know what they’re saying. In keeping with my idiosyncratic personality, I learned Hebrew primarily through reading newspapers, which are published without the vowel markings.

So I flipped ahead to the seventh blessing, which unlike the previous six one-liners, runs into a full paragraph of joy, and started muttering it over and over again under my breath to try to iron out the tricky words. Fortunately, the party also followed a tradition of adding a little nigunim, or wordless singing between each blessing, which bought me some extra time.

Independent Living

Sure enough, I ended up with silver wine goblet in my shaky hand, singing a paragraph-long blessing I’d never seen before in a tune I’d just heard to a group of French/Morrocan Jews who I’d never seen before either. When I got to the end without splashing anybody with wine, they gave me a round of applause, and I have to admit that for the rest of the night, I imagined myself moving on to bigger and better things, like maybe finally getting married myself since it looked like so much fun.

Alas, my participation in the meal that I didn’t eat represents the pinnacle of my social development, but I did learn my lesson about volunteering when a stranger comes into a bar asking for a Jew.

Thanks, E.M. I’m not sure what confused me more, having difficulty finding ten Jewish men in Jerusalem, or celebrating Sheva Brachos in a Swiss restaurant. Stranger than fiction indeed.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

#SFWApro

Eating Authors: R. R. Virdi

No Comments » Written on May 6th, 2019 by
Categories: Plugs
Tags:
R. R. Virdi

Welcome to May, or as I call it, Crazy Month.

Every year I say I’m going to cut back on my travel, and then opportunities fall in my lap. This month it’s two trips. First, next week I’ll be heading to Los Angeles for the annual Nebula Conference and my sixth trip to the nominees’ circle. This is my first time up for Best Novelette, so who knows? I’ll fly home the Sunday after the banquet, arriving just enough past midnight to make it count as Monday. Some time on Wednesday, I’ll get on a longer flight and head to Beijing, China, where I get to be one of the Guests of Honor at Another Planet Science Fiction Convention (aka APSFcon). I’ll linger in Beijing for a few days after the convention. Watch my social media feed for pics of me on the Great Wall and other touristy venues.

But before any of that can happen, I need to run another author’s most memorable meal past you. The timing being what it is, it seemed appropriate to introduce you to R. R. Virdi, one half of the team of Wijeratne and Virdi, whose novelette “Messenger” is vying with mine for THAT big, shiny, paperweight next week.

In addition to his recent Nebula nom, Ronnie has twice been a finalist for the Dragon Award. He has two urban fantasy series out there, The Grave Report and The Books of Winter. This past March he expanded into the sub-genre of space westerns with Star Shepherd, which should resonate with fans of Firefly, Han Solo, and even a bit of Cowboy Bebop.

If you’re going to be in L.A. for the conference, come on by. We’ll be drinking milkshakes together.

LMS: Welcome, Ronnie. Spare a few words regarding your most memorable meal.

RRV: Honestly, the most memorable meal of my life happened this year a few days before my birthday as an early treat. A dear friend took me out to a surprise birthday dinner along with my hero, Jim Butcher. They treated me to an amazing night out. It was a little hole in the wall, a bit literally, as we had to enter through a narrow phone booth like entrance and go underground. The place was Alice in Wonderland themed. Down the rabbit hole we went to find a charming little place. You couldn’t ask for a better place to eat if you were a book lover. Well, maybe an abandoned library, but part of that idea seems a bit sacrilegious. Maybe sacrilicious? Anyways, I ended up ordering a rabbit pot pie. It seemed fitting. I know the idea of rabbit might turn people off, but I was a French student in high-school and learned long ago that Peter Cottontail can be taste pretty nice.

Dangerous Ways

A perfect flaky and buttery crust gave way to this thick and creamy pie filled with tender rabbit meat. I tore it apart. But it wasn’t just the food. It was the company. I had people really close to me, and the person I look up to most in the world. We shared hilarious talk. Wonderful creative ideas. And, I got to celebrate my birthday with people who cared about me, believed in me. That meant the world to be honest. Everyone has a different story. Mine, for most of it, meant forgoing my birthday, at best, maybe just ordering something out to sort of pacify a family that’s never been to supportive of my dreams and ambitions. Here? I got to spend it with people that wanted to see me succeed. And at the end of the night, I was told a secret, something I’m still holding on to… that’s a dream come true. Even if it hasn’t happened yet.

I’ll always remember that Alice in Wonderland restaurant, that rabbit pie, the people, and what happened there. Best meal, and the best birthday.

Thanks, Ronnie. Who doesn’t love a bit of rabbit on their birthday? Now, about that secret. You can tell me…

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

#SFWApro

Eating Authors: Jennifer R. Donohue

No Comments » Written on April 29th, 2019 by
Categories: Plugs
Tags:
AUTHORNAME

Some weeks back, I was a day away from finishing a draft of a new Amazing Conroy story to round out a collection. I needed it to be between eight and ten thousand words, but it was coming in longer, a lot longer. I realized I might have a new novella on my hands. And just like that an idea for a separate story popped into my head, as if my unconscious mind was saying “Yeah, baby, novella time! Oh, and here, you can use this to write a different story.” Ultimately, that’s what I ended up doing, but before I put in that final day finishing the draft, before I started on the new piece, I shared this odd predicament with social media.

In response, over on Twitter, Jennifer R. Donohue, this week’s EATING AUTHOR guest, responded with support for the strategy of doing both stories even before I’d mentioned that solution online. That reminded me that Jennifer was a member of Codex, the online writing community, and that in turn led me to realizing that she’d published a book late last year. So, clearly, the obvious thing to do was to send her an invitation and find out what she considered her most memorable meal.

Jennifer grew up in New Jersey and now lives in central New York with her husband and a Doberman named Ulrike. Her short fiction has appeared in venues such as Escape Pod, Daily Science Fiction, and Mythic Delirum. She’s hoping to release a sequel to her first book before the end of 2019. She works at her local library and also facilitates a writing workshop there.

LMS: Welcome, Jennifer. Tell me about your most memorable meal.

JRD: One of the best meals I’ve ever had, I cooked myself. It wasn’t the “best” because I’m a chef (I’m not), but because of the experience that went into it. See, historically I’ve been a very picky eater. Like, a pasta with butter on it kid. Or American cheese, as cheddar was too much for my palate. Boxed mac and cheese, hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly, pierogies. Chicken fingers at restaurants (okay I still do this). But as I got older, I started to branch out, and by a teen, I was pretty cool with Chinese food in general. The ubiquitous takeout style, just to be clear.

My family, though, edges into foodie territory. A lot of us have traveled, a lot of us have just branched out into other culinary cultures to see what things were like, and this latter is where my best meal came from.

Run With The Hunted

I think it was my fifteenth birthday or sixteenth birthday. My Uncle Tim and Aunt Lisa lived near Philly, so they’re the ones who had to travel a little to the New Jersey party, gave me both a physical birthday gift, and also the gift of an experience. They gave me a little wok (to this day I’m not sure of the exact size. Eight inch, I guess? Ten inch?), a three-tool bundle of Joyce Chen bamboo cooking utensils, a Chinese food cookbook, and a hand-drawn certificate for one cooking lesson! They brought me back to their house, and we went into Philadelphia to go to the market there and get the ingredients for the meal that I would cook.

I chose fried wontons and pork stir fry, with carrots and snow peas. Vegetable pickiness still plagues me, and I do not like onions or mushrooms, things that tend to figure in dishes without actually being listed on menus. Under their watchful eye, I did my first meat cutting of any kind, and learned the pro tip: put meat in the freezer for a little bit, to make it easier to handle. I used the ingredients we purchased to make a marinade. I learned how to blanch vegetables. I saw my first rice cooker (and as an adult, I bought my own, though still mostly just cook rice on the stove). I learned how to fold wontons. I minced garlic and ginger, using the ulu knife that every household in my family has after my grandparents’ first Alaskan cruise.

And then, we heated the wok, and added oil, and I heated the aromatics. I added the pork and stir fried for the very first time. I don’t remember cooking the wontons, though I know we didn’t deep fry them, anyway.

Few things compared to sitting down to a meal you’d followed the steps for so meticulously, and I remember replicating it for my family once I was home, and my husband (then boyfriend) in the college dorm.

Thanks, Jennifer. Those wontons sound pretty tasty. I’m heading to Beijing in a month, my third China trip in three years. I’ve yet to eat anything there that resembles anything I find in “Chinese restaurants” here in the US. I’ll make a point of looking for fried wontons.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

#SFWApro

Eating Authors: Richard Fox

No Comments » Written on April 22nd, 2019 by
Categories: Plugs
Tags:
Richard Fox

The roller coast of life has picked up speed in the last couple of weeks. Less oblique references and more details can be found in posts to my social media feeds, but suffice it to say that I have been on the receiving end of a nonstop series of highs and lows. I’ll mention two in specific here, at either end of the spectrum: On April 14th the world lost Gene Wolfe, one of the greatest authors in our field. Over the years, I had the great pleasure to spend some time with Gene, even sitting down to a couple of meals with him. The man is gone, but the residue of his genius remains and if you haven’t read his work stop what you’re doing and go pick up a copy of my personal favorite, Soldier of the Mist. On the other side of roller coast, in a month’s time I’ll be headed back to China to be a Guest of Honor at Another Planet Science Fiction Convention (APSFcon) in Beijing. I’m blown away by this invitation and the chance to spend time with authors and fans on the other side of the world.

Closer to home, amidst the emotional rise and fall of life’s thrill rides, some things continue along more normal lines. That’s my official segue for introducing you to Richard Fox, this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest. Like me, Richard’s up for a Nebula Award at next month’s conference (though fortunately for me, he’s been nominated in the Short Story category and I’m in Novelette). He’s also a past winner of the Dragon Award for Best Military Science Fiction, which he received for his Ember War saga.

Richard is a graduate of West Point and spent ten years on active duty in the US Army as a Field Artillery and a Military Intelligence officer, receiving the Combat Action Badge, Bronze Star, and Presidential Unit Citation. Unsurprisingly, his fiction tends towards military SF, with forays into space opera, thrillers, and military history.

He’s a card-carrying member of that growing group of Indie authors (c.f., Michael Anderle and Craig Martelle) who’ve distinguished themselves with successfully financial careers, large back lists, and a talent for bringing other authors along for the ride as co-authors.

Last week he released Gott Mit Un, Book 5 in the Terran Strike Marines (co-authored with Scott Moon). I think that brings his total number of titles to around thirty, with at least one more due out soon.

LMS: Welcome, Richard. Please tell me about your most memorable meal.

RF: There I was, no kidding, at Camp Doha, Kuwait, in 2004. I was a 1st Lieutenant in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (3rd squadron, Wolfpack) and we had just crossed the border from Iraq after fifteen months in country.

The Ember War

We didn’t know it was going to be a fifteen month tour. We were the second wave of troops into the country and we secured parts of Baghdad as best we good. The original plan was for us to be there just a few months—or home by Christmas!—then head home. A couple months turned into six, which turned into a year. After the year, a new unit took over our old mission but did we go home? No. We were extended for another three months to put down a rebellion through central Iraq.

After fifteen months, we finally were sent south to Kuwait to load our gear up and send it back to the United States. We spent a dusty day on a road march out of our base in Diwaniyah and crossed the big berm into Kuwait, handed off some equipment and slept in the desert, the next morning we drove to Doha, where we parked our gear and were given a brief break as the senior leaders figured out what we had to do next.

I don’t know if you’ve ever done much off roading, but after a whole day and another night in the sand, we were filthy. Hours of sweat in Iraq summer heat and a fine coating of dust made for some foul soldiers.

Terra Nova

Another lieutenant friend of mine named Rob Brown had been stationed at Doha many years ago and knew his way around. We had a few hours until the brass got a plan together. While our soldiers hit the showers, Brown grabbed me and took me over to the PX (Post Exchange, the Army’s version of Walmart) where there was a food court. There had to be two of us, as one couldn’t take his rifle into the PX.

So, Brown leaves me at front of the PX to watch our rifles while he went inside to get us food. Real, honest to god, food. The last fifteen months had been MREs (Army meals in a bag), the best Army mess halls could manage in a combat zone and whatever we could get off the Iraqis.

I sat out there waiting, feeling rank from days of congealed sweat dried against my skin and through my uniform, and it took me a while to realize that me and my unit were really on the glide path home. We’d be back in the states in another few days, but this was the first time I was willing to believe it.

Brown came back with a whole pizza and a couple of these nasty Diet Cokes that are bottled in the Middle East and never tasted right. He sat it down and we proceeded to eat. Now, Anthony’s Pizza (which is the PX brand of pizza restaurant) is not going to win any quality awards on most days, but then…then it was something magical. It was a taste of home, of freedom and escape from the war.

Iron Dragoons

Brown was just as dirty as I was, but we didn’t really care as we sat there scarfing down grease wedges. Doha was home to thousands of soldiers that didn’t deploy to Iraq: logistics and support soldiers who would never see combat and would spend their entire tours on a base with plenty of creature comforts.

Some of these soldiers and USAF types walked by, and we got some looks. Very clean individuals, chubby from mess hall ice cream and regular trips to the PX for snack food. They looked at Brown and I like we were Mongol barbarians, sitting in the Chinese emperor’s court.

He and I had just finished a long combat tour, and we had that air of alertness and this ‘fuck around and find out’ attitude we needed when dealing with potentially hostile Iraqis all the time. No one complained about the two of us, with our rifles, polishing off a whole pizza between the two of us.

But that meal was something else. It was a victory celebration for finishing the fight. It was our chance to be almost normal after fifteen months of ‘the suck.’

I still love pizza.

Thanks, Richard. There’s something iconic about pizza as a metaphor for victory. But I have to ask, what were the toppings?

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

#SFWApro

Eating Authors: Rhett C. Bruno

No Comments » Written on April 8th, 2019 by
Categories: Plugs
Tags:
Rhett C. Bruno

I like April. Say what you will, but I don’t find it to be the “cruelest month” at all. Last week I celebrated my 32nd Doctoral Day (the observance of the anniversary of my successful dissertation defense), and later this month I anticipate beginning the relaunch — complete with shiny new covers! — of my Amazing Conroy series. So, yeah, a fine month indeed.

If things go according to the annual plan, all too soon, this blog will begin to fill with nominees for this year’s Campbell Award. For now though, let’s sneak in one more EATING AUTHORS guest drawn from this year’s list of Nebula Finalists.

Rhett C. Bruno is a USA Today Bestselling writer living in Connecticut. He’s proficient in both fantasy (Buried Goddess Saga) and space opera (the Circuit series), as well as more character-centric SF (his Children of Titan series). With regard to that last one, Book Two, Titan’s Son, was released just last month.

LMS: Welcome, Rhett. What’s the best meal you can remember?

RCB: The best meal I can remember… Wow. Me and my wife love going out to dinner, especially on vacations. And we spend way too much.

Titanborn

I’d say the best was in Fort Lauderdale. My family used to own a condo there, so we’d go every year for her birthday / our anniversary. One time we went to a Farm-to-Table restaurant called Market 17 by recommendation of my brother and my GOD it was good.

I had an Antelope Dish. Yeah, antelope. I had no idea how it would be, but it was just expertly prepared. Perfectly cooked, thinly sliced, and it tastes like less-gamey venison. But it was the dessert that blew us away. Market 17 was known for their milk and cookies dessert, which sounds ridiculous. So we had to try it, and dammit, they were the best cookies I’ve ever had. I can’t even explain them.

It seems the restaurant is closed now, which is a shame. It was probably too expensive. But the chef deserves an award! We ate at all the top restaurants in Fort Lauderdale when we used to go, and this one was the best.

Thanks, Rhett. We don’t get a lot of antelope meals here, but I’m sure everyone can relate to quality cookies. Yum!

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

#SFWApro

Eating Authors: Brooke Bolander

No Comments » Written on April 1st, 2019 by
Categories: Plugs
Tags:
Brooke Bolander

Regular readers of this blog know that Marco Palmieri was the editor on two of my novels in which elephants were prominently featured, Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard and The Moons of Barsk, both at Tor Books. What you probably don’t know is that he was also the editor of Brooke Bolander‘s novelette, The Only Harmless Great Thing, which also happens to feature elephants. Whether or not typecasting exists in the publisher world, it makes a good story and I like imagining that Marco will forever be known as the elephant editor. But, you know, in a good way.

Other than this connection, you’re not likely to mistake me for this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest. Oh, wait, there’s one other thing we have in common. We’re both up for the Nebula for Best Novelette. And much as I’d like to win, if I have to lose I hope it’s to Bo, because, elephants.

If you’re not already familiar with her work, crawl out from whatever rock you’ve been hiding under, because it’s powerful and compelling and raw. Brooke has two previous Nebula nominations, two Hugo nominations, a World Fantasy nom, and a Locus nom. So, yeah, it’s not just my opinion here.

LMS: Welcome, Brooke. Talk to me about your best meal!

BB: The best meal I ever ate was more honestly a series of meals at a restaurant that no longer exists in Dallas, Texas.

Dallas, as you’re probably unaware unless you actually live in Dallas, has one thing and one thing only going for it, and that is a rather amazing food scene. The nightlife is shaky, the museums are sparse, but if you want to drink like it’s still illegal, eat like an epicure, and purge like Roman nobility, spend a week in DFW. I currently live in Brooklyn, and the weirdest thing in the world about it is how lackluster the food seems after spending several years in Texas. I think it has something to do with how fast restaurants have to find their feet here–no room for risks–but that’s a story for another day.

The Only Harmless Great Thing

Our home was located off a stretch of East Dallas known as Lowest Greenville. For a long time nothing much was there. Then a little chain called Trader Joe’s decided to drop its first location about two blocks from our front door, and suddenly the area became restaurant central. Before TJ’s, the biggest food spot on the block was a Taco Cabana. I once saw a cockroach the size of a baby’s foot steadfastly tugging a discarded fry into a crack in the curb by the drive-thru. Anything would’ve been an improvement, but we didn’t get just anything, we got Remedy.

(Note: That Taco Cabana is still there, long after many of the newer joints have folded and moved on. I hope it stays there forever, if only to piss off the neighbors.)

Remedy was, at first glance, your standard “New American” hipster rigamarole. The concept was “upscale soda shop”. Their menu consisted of fancy gin fizzes, fried bologna sandwiches, cheeseburgers, mile-high slices of pie, and grilled cheese sandwiches–only, y’know, done fancy. My eyes rolled as hard as anybody’s. But here’s a rule people like to tout in writing circles that’s just as valid in every other area of life: You should never ever do a thing, unless you can actually do that thing. The rules only apply to you so long as you can’t pull it off.

No Flight Without The Shatter

Remedy did the Thing.

Everything head chef Danyele McPherson put her hand to came out so perfectly executed it made your teeth grind a little. Did bologna sandwiches need perfecting? I would have said hell no, but she made them a thing you would willingly pay twelve bucks for. I have been lucky enough to eat at Michelin-starred restaurants and fancy-schmancy paycheck-munching establishments all over the globe that couldn’t touch this place for consistent quality, inventiveness, and service. The staff became our friends. Every meal was completely satisfying. Do you have any idea how rare that is–that feeling of complete satisfaction after a meal? Let alone a series of meals?

The time came for us to move from Dallas. We were pretty damn happy about it for any number of reasons. One of the few things we mourned having to leave behind was Remedy. I think we hit them up about three times a week for the last three weeks we were there, and half the time the staff was comping items. Like I said, we were pals at this point.

Remedy Sundae

Our last meal there actually came a year or two later. They closed on New Year’s Eve 2016 to “reconceptualize” and we were in town for the holidays and managed to snag brunch on their final morning open. Their brunch, of course, was the kind of menu that only exists in my vivid technicolor dreams. It made the word “brunch” worth every sub-par Brooklyn joint shoveling stale brioche & undercooked omelette onto your plate after a two-hour wait the concept has resulted in. Flavorful fried chicken coated in batter that crunched audibly when you bit into it. Waffles that somehow maintained their structural integrity beneath the weight of those crispy-ass thighs and a stream of maple syrup. Johnnycakes that were less like the sweet corn pancakes many places like to attach that name to and more like thin, creamy slices of toothsome fried grits. Perfectly cooked bacon and eggs. And then there were the ice cream sundaes, which looked as close to the platonic cartoon ideal of a sundae as I’ve ever seen without tipping over into hammy Instagram-ready overkill. We had it all. We hugged the staff. We took photos and swore blood oaths never to forget that a meal like that was possible.

I’m still looking for a place that matches up, five years and a world-class city on. I’m afraid I may be looking for the rest of my life.

Thanks, Brooke. Recollections like this one are cruel — glorious meals from restaurants that only exist in memory, or, if we’re lucky, in an author’s fiction. Get to work on that, okay?

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

#SFWApro

Eating Authors: A.K. DuBoff

No Comments » Written on March 25th, 2019 by
Categories: Plugs
Tags:
A.K. DuBoff

As you know, Bob, I have the pleasure of being on the Nebula ballot once more. It’s a heady experience, not least because it typically introduces me to other writers whom I’ve never met and/or read before. This week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, A.K. DuBoff, is just such a writer.

Amy writes space opera. She does it so well that her readers have nicknamed her the “Queen of Space Opera” (which has me wondering if she has an orb and scepter, or at least a crown, stashed away somewhere). Her focus is on character-driven stories and her work often wanders into that fuzzy domain we like to call “science fantasy.”

When not writing the next book, she can be found binge-watching TV series, traveling the world, and indulging in wine tasting.

Amy’s YA novel, A Light in the Dark, book two of her Dark Stars trilogy, is a finalist for the Andre Norton award.

LMS: Welcome, Amy. Please tell me about your most memorable meal.

AKD: Note: Vegetarians/vegans and anyone opposed to alcohol may want to skip this one.

My favorite meal memory was a home-cooked dinner prepared by my now-husband. To be fair, Nick is a great home chef (one of the many reasons I married him), but this was a meal where some mysterious ‘X Factor’ came into play, and it went from ‘good’ to ‘we still talk about it years later’.

Mindspace: Infiltration

By all accounts, it was going to be a regular Saturday night. At the time, Nick and I lived in a house within the strange zone where the urban City of Portland transitioned into the southern suburb of Tigard, Oregon. I’d spent five years living in small apartments at the center of downtown Portland before we met, so I was still getting used to the pros and cons of residing in a house again. One of the clear pros (until moving, that is) was having ample room to stock up on things, which provided a gateway to a Costco membership. We’d gone to our local Costco warehouse earlier that day to pick up our regular months’ worth of supplies and a few food treats, most notably a pack of fillet mignon.

My parents had gifted us (read: pawned off) their old gas grill when we’d moved into our house, so we were often looking for excuses to use it. I won’t digress into the merits of propane versus charcoal (clearly my parents sided with Hank Hill), but I will say that we eventually ended up getting a supplemental charcoal grill. But anyway, grilling steak was in order!

I went about doing… something—probably writing—for the evening while Nick worked his magic in the kitchen and on the back deck.

Crystalline Space

At some point after dark, I was summoned to the kitchen/living area, where Nick presented me with a glass of wine (as all good meals should begin, in my opinion). The wine is of particular importance, as we credit it for making the meal such a transcendent memory. Both of us loved wine, and it was one of the things that had brought us together (we later got engaged in Napa and married in Oregon wine country). Nick had come to the relationship with a wine club membership to Dry Creek Vineyard, which had enabled him to purchase a couple bottles of 2007 Endeavor (a cabernet sauvignon blend), the flagship wine for the vineyard only available to club members. Since we were having a spontaneous fillet mignon night, clearly one of the ‘good bottles’ of wine was in order. Little did we know that the 2007 Endeavor would turn out the be the best wine either of us have ever had, to this day.

The first sips of wine hinted at great things to come, but it was clear it needed to breathe for a while. We chatted in the kitchen while Nick finished platting up the dinner of the fillet, garlic mashed potatoes, and asparagus. Since I love potatoes as much as I love wine, I was already in a great mood.

Architects of Destiny

We took our plates into the dining room and got settled in. The first bites of the steak were… wow. I don’t eat a lot of red meat, but this fillet reminded me why I hadn’t given up on steak completely. I still have no idea what Nick did during the preparation, but the steak was fork-cutting tender and bursting with flavor. Where it really came alive is with the wine pairing. The wine had opened up, and the combination was incredible. To the best of my recollection, we spent the whole meal in near-silence, only murmuring “Mmmmm” and “This is sooo good” between bites.

My favorite memory from the evening is what came afterward, though. We cleared our plates and then took the remaining wine to the couch, along with a bar of the Lindt cabernet-infused chocolate. Cozied up on the couch together, we sat in dimmed lights, letting the chocolate melt in our mouths between sips of the incredible wine. The buzz remains the best I’ve experienced—full body happy tingles. Completely relaxed, we were content to be in each other’s company, not needing to say anything to fill the silence.

“This is perfect,” Nick said to me.

“It really is,” I agreed.

I will never forget that feeling of complete peace and comfort. For that reason, it remains my best meal.

Thanks, Amy. I think you’ve described the early stages of the perfect food coma. What’s not to love?

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

#SFWApro