Friday, May 16, 2014

Sinful Sandwich in Savannah

We visited mom over Mother's Day in Savannah, Georgia. When you're from the South and you go back to the South, you realize how much great food you're missing by living in the Northeast. I mean we have great Italian food here. Lots of food from other parts of the world, like my new local fave Royal House Cambodian Cuisine

And then you go to Sunday brunch at the Savannah Golf Club and they have fried oysters, collard greens, pimento cheese and pecan pie. Really it's just overwhelming. You wish, in the remote recesses of your coagulated gall bladder, that you could grow a second stomach like a cow, and then fill that one too. Sadly, I did not grow a second stomach and I resisted the temptation to start squirreling food away in my handbag. Really only to save face for my mother -- because she has to go back to the club some day and face my would-be accusers.

"JoAnn, was that your daughter stuffing fried seafood in her purse?"

On our last day in town, we stopped by a little burger joint on Broughton Street. Even though this is Savannah, I really wasn't expecting much more than the usual hamburger. My mom ordered a BLT. Then the waiter asked slyly, "Would you like to try the B&D Loaded BLT?"

Here is a description of the B&D Loaded BLT:
We gave this classic a B&D twist. Apple smoked bacon, green leaf lettuce, homemade fried green tomato and pimento cheese.
Oh yes, we tried it. My mom and I split the B&D Loaded BLT and it was worth every ounce of fattening, carb-laden goodness.  Now, after two run-ins with pimento cheese in just two days in Savannah, I'm on a quest to find it here in Fairfield. 

I told my mom, and she was horrified at the thought of my ingesting store-bought pimento cheese.She said, "Beck it's just grated cheese, pimentos and Duke's mayonnaise." I didn't have the heart to tell her, I don't think we have Duke's mayonnaise in these parts. I'm going to look. But I don't recall seeing Duke's brand. 

So I emailed my neighbor this morning to ask her where in the world, or in the the great state of Connecticut, could I find pimento cheese -- because she knows all the best places. Her response, "What's pimento cheese?"

This does not bode well for my quest. 

There's a weird little grocery store in Bridgeport called like Food Bazaar. I'm going to look for Duke's mayonnaise there. In the meantime, I googled recipes for pimento cheese and found this one featuring what main ingredient? Duke's mayonnaise.

May the fork be with me!

NB This image is a map from the Duke's Mayonnaise website that shows availability in the US. Look at this. It literally stops at Connecticut.

Friday, May 2, 2014

DC Redux: My Return to Capitol Hill

It's a Tuesday night in 2014 and I'm sitting here in a Capitol Hill apartment just one street over from where I used to live in 1992. I lived on the Hill for about 4 years give or take with Lou Lou and Peggy and then eventually by myself. 

I was thinking about how I got here in the first place. Lou Lou and I were working in the City. I was at a big law firm -- Willkie Farr and Gallagher. Lou was working in finance. We both wanted out, so Lou called her sister Rosey who was living in DC and going to Catholic U. And off we went.

At first we were both waitresses. I found a job with a company that catered big events like the Kennedy Center Honors. Lou eventually landed at the Dubliner, a purportedly IRA-financed, yet incredibly fun bar across the street from Union Station. I remember the catering manager for this company I worked for had a brother in soap operas. I'm going to look him up. Anyway, I thought he was so cool, even though now I realize he was like a skinny Jack Wagner from Melrose Place. But it was the 90's, so what can I say?

One day I was working at a luncheon at The Washington Post. As a waitress mind you. The Katherine Graham (then publisher of the paper) stood up to give a speech and she was so easy and funny and cool, I thought I don't want to cater parties here. I want to work here. I was lucky enough to have a connection through a friend of a friend from Connecticut. He was pretty high up in finance I think. Again need to find his name because boy do I owe him. His daughter's name was Missy. Maybe Cannistraro? (Nicholas Cannistraro Jr, SVP Sales and Marketing).

He got me an interview with HR which was basically fairly grim, aka apparently there are a lot of young people who would like to work at the Post. Then I got a call about a job with Herb Block, the paper's editorial cartoonist. Finally! I'm in. Or not. As it turns out, I was not their first choice. But when their first choice didn't work out, I was their second choice. 

I still have my Post ID card including a freaking perm that I was rocking at the time. As a young person, you often don't realize the spot you're in, until you no longer are. Such is the case with me. Man I had fun. That was the most fun working I ever had. 

Mr. Block was a hard worker but he also loved to joke around. And such a nice man. You would never know he was a Pulitzer and Peabody winner (more than once). His long-time assistant Jean and I became friends too, and remain so even after his death. Lucky for me because Jean is a great friend to have.

Tonight I am attending another Herblock Foundation Lecture and Prize ceremony. Bob Woodward is speaking. Like THE Bob Woodward from All the President's Men. But there have been many great speakers at these events, for example Barack Obama, Tim Russert before he died, Ben Bradlee and so on. 

Here's a confession. After Washington, I lived in New York briefly. One day I was walking through my neighborhood in the West Village and I spied Woodward's partner in crime, Carl Bernstein. I followed him down West 4th Street. I really don't know where I was going with this but I had become such a news hound at the Post that I couldn't help myself. Plus he was married to Nora Ephron whom I adored. This went on for a few blocks and then I realized I'd never get the courage to say something so I stopped. 

That's okay. Tonight I get to hear what Bob has to say in person. Should be entertaining. (It was!)

NB. I know I should've chosen some dignified picture to accompany this post about DC swanky journos but I chose instead this image of the Tune Inn, a bar about 3 blocks from my old place. Lou Lou and I spent so much time here the bartender would take messages for us and store our stuff, like ice skates and backpacks. His name was Chris. I remember him too.