Monthly Archives: January 2012



I was at Resi’s and I heard a man ask a couple what they were doing next Saturday. The woman replied, “We are celebrating Christmas with my family.” It was late January. I thought she must be kidding. I had a bratwurst sandwich and a side of German cole slaw, and read in the paper about Newt Gingrich’s plan for a new U.S. state on the moon.


The tigerman called me in to host Saturday morning. I was nervous. It was my first breakfast at Xoco. Carlos and I stood by the door and talked. He noticed how the color palette of a female diner’s outfit matched his own. “But she is wearing leather pants and high heels,” he noted. “If I wore leather pants and high heels it would totally change how people perceive me.”

Beyond Boughetto

Aisha McKenzie 3rdarm

It’s our shampoo, beyond blow dry, our flat-ironing techniques. Everybody gets three shampoos and, you know, we’re stimulating the scalp. We’re like hair doctors. You know, so, we treat your scalp, we treat your hair.

Next episode tabatha steel magnolias

It’s boughetto. You have your ghetto side, which is basically what you saw yesterday, and then you have your boughie side. Some of us are a little snooty. We’re straddling the fence. We’re boughie sometimes, and we’re ghetto sometimes. And where they meet… we’re boughetto.

-Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, Season 4, Ep. 3, Beyond Hair Salon & Spa, Cherry Hill, NJ

Jungle Eagle

male chick jungle eagle 3rdarm

He’s strong on the wing. I suddenly think this could be the last time I see him, maybe for weeks. And then, it’s the most extraordinary surprise. Look, look, look, look! He’s just come in to land. The chick. The male. Can you see him? He’s just come in, up on that branch. He’s up there.

jungle eagle 3rdarm

When I look at him through the binoculars, his sight is so good he’s picking something up, the reflection of the lens, and he’s looking right down the barrels at me. It’s quite alarming. I’m glad I’m not a capuchin. He is the most beautiful bird, absolutely beautiful. He’s so curious. What does he want? It’s compelling.

-from the 2011 Nature documentary, Jungle Eagle, by Fergus Beeley


panquecito 3rdarm

In a dream, I was helping two ladies drag their pet young alligator down a hallway. It’s nails scraped and dragged across the floor. I explained to one lady how even at my lowest weight, I still have a band of fat around my midsection. It just won’t go away. Don’t worry about it, she replied. It’s a place where you can store your good fat forever.

As a child in Mexico, my friend Saul had a pet baby eagle. He let it go be a bird of prey and moved to the United States. I read about a trained bald eagle that soars around stadiums while the national anthem plays. That bird works for shrimp.

La Cacahuata

green sleeves marcia mello 3rdarm

I have been listening to Doug Sahm, Marcia Mello, the Violent Femmes, Austin Leonard Jones & Pals, the Tornados, the Texas Tornados, Newt Gingrich (that voice!), the Barbarians, Los de Abajo, Mickey Newbury, Wild Flag, and Terry Gross. It snowed and Etta and I walked to get German food. We ate a giant pretzel with cheese, a chopped salad with bacon dressing, goulash, chicken schnitzel, beef roulade, spaetzel, etc.

rockeee doug sahm 3rdarm

My cat ate non-cat food for the first time. It was Greek yogurt.

Charles Osgood Parrot Eye

cbs sunday morning 3rdarm

The Mesoamericans revered the seed-filled pods of the cacao tree. Aztec king Montezuma demanded his tribute in cacao beans. Ancient Mayan drawings depict ritual consumption of a chocolate drink.
Yes, more than two thousand years before the Hershey bar, the original way to enjoy chocolate was as a beverage.

“They thought of it like we think of black coffee,” said reknowned Chicago chef and restaurateur Rick Bayless. “It was a beverage that was sort of a bitter and very complex in its aroma and very special – bitter not sweet. Sometimes they would even add chilies or herbs to it.”

Bayless has made it his mission to introduce Americans to authentic hot chocolate – the Aztec way. Consider this a kind of edible archaeology.

the aztecs 3rdarm

Using a stone-grinder, Bayless unlocks the oils in the cacao beans to prepare a drink that’s creamy, yet is made with nothing but water – plus a hint of sugar and spice.

“It’s sweet, it’s savory,” said Altschul.

“Savory, because of that little bit of chile” said Bayless. “You can see how it fits the bill for all your dessert needs.”

The secrets of hot chocolate, CBS News Sunday Morning

Wildcat Country

wildcat 3rdarm

My friends in NYC, Ethan and Annie, sent out the following tweet recently: “We can be sure that if we know a story well enough to tell it, it carries meaning for us. -Robert Filford #storytelling.” The first night in 2012 I slept in an Elvis themed motel room, across the street from Graceland. My companion and I journeyed a six cylinder Saturn down the Mississippi River, navigating by smartphone.

Reimer ranch 3rdarm

We came to the sixth largest pyramid in the world. It was being converted into a Bass Pro Shop.

Alligators and Frogs

austin and etta 3rdarm

Dead things Etta accumulated: three alligator heads, two claws, a buffalo skull, two bunches of red chiles. I bought a dozen Hubig’s pies from the back of a truck in New Orleans and an 8 pack of Dublin Dr. Pepper from a gas station in Texas.

Austin and Shenandoah

austin leonard 3rdarm

In Austin, Tx, we met up with my friend Austin. He was born in Texas, and has a dog named Shenandoah. We all went swimming in Barton Springs, with the salamanders.

Shenandoah 3rdarm

At the age of 18, 19, and 20 Austin and I both lived in Chicago. When Austin turned 19, his mom mailed him a package from the Salt Lick. It was full of ribs, brisket, pulled pork and sausage. That was the first barbeque I ever ate. At the age of 28, almost 29, it felt good to take a trip down to Texas, eat at the Salt Lick, and complete the circuit.

Brisket and Rebecca

cochon new orleans 3rdarm

In New Orleans we met up with Etta’s friend from Provincetown who took us out for a wild night in the French Quarter and my friends from Cambridge who took us out to dinner at Cochon.

with 2 cats 3rdarm

I ate fried alligator and almost 2 cats.