The CEO/founder of Black Pearl Productions LCC, which is the parent company for Black Pearl Poetry Tempe Thursdays and Black Pearl Poetry Phoenix Fridays, as well as the home of the ASU Sun Devil Poetry Slam Team, the Phoenix Brave New Voices Youth Poetry Team, and the Phoenix Poetry Slam Inc. National Poetry Slam Team, hosts an open mike this Thursday, December 10 at MADCAP Theaters in Tempe.
What'd you eat for dinner last night? Stacy's Smokehouse-- the best in town! I don't know how they do it, but it's the only barbecue I've had that you can eat now, save half for later, heat it up in a microwave a day or two later, and it's just as good, if not better than, when you first ordered it. And their Arnold Palmer is crack Kool Aid for adults.
Favorite food: Crab Rangoon (crab puffs), though it's hard to find decent ones out here. And a good fettucine alfredo is hard to come by. I'm starting to appreciate the fine art of a properly cooked duck.
Least favorite food: All fruits, pies and mousse.
Favorite dessert: Yellow cake with chocolate icing, out the box is just fine, along with a glass of milk just above freezing temperature. I am so easy to please, that I'm complex.
Favorite local restaurant and meal to order there: As I get around more, this changes, but, for now, I would say it's a tie between Kincaid's and Nine 05. I'm a downtown kind of guy, and their great mix of food, unique items you can't get anywhere else (Kincaid's kobe sliders and Nine 05's ginger wings come to mind), ambiance and, best of all, the ability to burn off the meal with a leisurely stroll home or to the lightrail is the cat's pajamas.
Favorite local bar and cocktail to order there: Not really a drinker, but if you twisted my arm, I would catch sports at Coach & Willie's, meet with friends at the Hotel San Carlos or take someone special to District at the downtown Sheraton. The drink? Amaretto Disaronno and coke. Sweet and easy. I have never met anyone other than myself that drinks it, but every time I've ordered it for someone, they always want it again.
Favorite thing to cook at home: I can cook anything, really. No, really, I'm gifted. Jokes aside, a good salad with shaved salmon, stirfry for health and color and thinly cut pork cutlets or lamb.
Favorite memory involving food: As a child, it was waking up late on Sunday mornings back in Ohio, my mother and grandmother gone to church. My grandfather would be in the kitchen cooking a late breakfast for us to eat while we watched the football games. It would be catfish or perch, grits, biscuits from scratch, hot tea, eggs and sorghum or molasses. A simple meal, but for all my travels, I haven't had one better than that. Never.
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Recipe or food tip to share: Men should cook more. Don't wait for women. And don't be afraid to mix things up a bit--have seafood and beef, it won't kill you. Have more than one starch. Present your food well on the plate. It really does impact your dining experience, even at home.
Most of all, buy all fish, chicken, pork, and beef in thin, quality cuts. Thin is easier to portion, quicker to cook and looks better on the plate. The hardest part of cooking for family, loved ones or a date is getting your timing down on when everything should be started to ensure it all gets done at the same time. Side items always finish before your meat does, so purchase thinner cuts, and you cut your cooking time down.
And know your butcher. Find him, love him, respect him. He will teach you how to be a better cook.
I have no recipe to share, but I will say this--nothing is sexier than making a good breakfast. That said, French toast, pancakes, omelettes--only flip them once. Period. This is the law.