French fries, French toast, French press, French onions, French dressing, baguettes, foie gras … any idea where I’m going with this? Probably not; none of these things originated in France (WTS: Wikipedia that shit).
Tonight I’ve decided to go the five-star route and roll into Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. I want to revisit the food of a legend—Alice Waters, star chef —known for using organic, locally grown ingredients and for pioneering California cuisine with the opening of Chez in 1971.
Sub note – You may want Jeremiah Tower (who opened Stars restaurant in SF after leaving Alice) to chime in about that statement, he would probably tell you it was his restaurant, not hers. Anyway, a story for another time.
I talk about Asia a lot, its culture and its food, but I have an above average knowledge of Europe as well. Great French food exists in your backyard, and it’s been a huge part of my global edification. Think Vietnam, home of my favorite food on the planet, heavily influenced by the French.
You simply can’t live one-dimensionally with friends, environments, travel, and food. It’s the Five Star to Dive Bar philosophy. My grandparents, who were poor farmers from Arkansas, would probably argue with me over this fact if they were alive (love you both), but, well, they lived on a farm in Arkansas, and variety basically didn’t exist. Baptists, pulpits, rigidity, and conformity. I learned a lot from them.
Today I’m fortunate in having a choice. Choice for me is the gateway to life, and I abuse it like the bridge to Tijuana: get in, do damage, and then get back to your safe spot. Lemme in! I’m from ‘murica!!
Just remember if for a second you think I’m refined about food, culture, and travel. You don’t know me. I’m educated, feisty, and no dummy. I speak from a ton of experience, lots of reading and my x-factor—no fear—but I define myself by my fuckups rather than my accomplishments. I’ve built a beautiful wall where it’s displayed. It’s a place where you can spray paint your shit, but you’re just painting over my own graffiti.
So … as you read my rants, remember, I have a fiddle, a banjo, and voices screaming “Boy, you gotta purty mouth,” rolling in my head at all times. I own my space and am very proud of it.
I love food, and I love French food. I mean, what culture has been able to take duck fat and goose liver from dirty vintage porn to refined opera? Think about it. The food is incredible because they use copious amounts of fats, with high quality produce and growing regions designated for their animal protein sources.
French food is a broad subject, and I can’t cover it in just a few stories. Tonight though, Alice presented something reflective of herself, as a woman I would guess. When you’re served bread in the shape of a vagina, c’mon. I mean, I blushed. Is the chef trying to get a reaction or making some kind of statement? This is a woman’s kitchen mother fucker! I have ever seen dick bread before? Yet…… I just stared at the bread, admiring it for what it was—or could be. I thought to myself wow this is pure … “Culinarylingus.” A pinnacle for me … no, an experience, yes, aroused … maybe. Waiter, more butter please. . . .
If you enjoyed this story on a restaurant, check out my story about the 28th ranked best restaurant in the world, Nahm in Bangkok, Thailand.