After 15 years and too many burns and cuts to count my longtime friend/chef/pal/brother/drinking buddy/browns fan.....Frank Rogers has moved on. I can not even begin to put into words how much he has meant to Liz and I over that time period and I am quite certain that I will never again find a employee with his fierce loyalty and work ethic. In all of that time I don't think he ever called off sick or bitched about the brutal hours. He always was there for me with a smile on his face and ready to go to war... but after getting married and pumping out 3 kids in 5 years he needed a change. About 6 months ago we talked about him getting out of the biz and finding a job that was a little more family friendly. Two weeks ago was his last day and I must admit it is plain weird to walk into Lola in the morning and not see him there. There have been and will be better cooks, managers..etc..but I dont think there will ever be a better employee. Im gonna miss you buddy.
On the lighter side of things I have made it to the final 5 of the James Beard Awards for the Great Lakes Region. This is a huge honor and quite flattering. As usual the competition is very tough and loaded with Chicago chefs. No matter what happens I am happy that Ctown has gotten some much deserved recognition and can only hope that soon even more chefs from here get their due recognition.
Liz, Doug and I got out to Vegas last weekend and had some good meetings with a couple different casinos. Nothing really on the horizon in the immediate future but it is always good to see what is out there. Vegas, never ceases to amaze me. The mass of people is quite mind blowing and the amount of restaurants and chefs there just boggle my mind. We had a couple great meals with the highlights being Mesa and Carnevino.
Mesa was just flat out solid with big flavors and food that was just perfectly balanced. Bobby has a great ability to mix the heat and the sweet in a way that just makes his food pop. It blows my mind that people will sometimes bash him. His food is always consistent and packs so much flavor. Not to mention he was doing Southwest cuisine long before it was considered cool. I know this may sound weird based on his celebrity status but I think as a chef he is very underrated. Next we headed to Marios new place Carnevino. It has been open for about 2 months but you would never know it. The food and service were spot on and the place was packed and running like a fine oiled machine. I love how even if they are not there you always feel the presence of Joe and Mario in their restaurants. We had a bone in rib-eye and Porterhouse for 2 that were aged a 100 days and quite frankly I think they were the best steaks I have ever eaten. The pastas were perfect as were the sides which included some spring peas with walnuts that were off the hook.
We all agreed that it was probably our best steakhouse experience ever.
live to cook, ms