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I’ll Have What Phil’s Having

I'll have what phil's having

Last night I watched the final episode of I’ll Have What Phil’s Having, a food and travel show on PBS. I recorded it on the DVR as it aired a few days ago. In the six episodes that comprise season one, Phil Rosenthal, a creator, writer and producer who is best known for his work with Ray Romano on Everybody Loves Raymond, traveled to and ate the cuisine of many cultures included that of Tokyo, Japan; Hong Kong, China; Paris, France; Barcelona, Spain; various locations in Italy; and lastly, Los Angeles, California, his adopted hometown.

I don’t want to do a review of this show but wanted to share a few things I find fascinating with this series. Phil is great. He comes across as an everyday kind of guy, one to which viewers can relate. He isn’t pompous about the places he visits and the food he eats and genuinely enjoys the company in which he finds himself. On top of it all, he is a very funny individual.

Last night, Phil highlighted Homeboy Bakery in Los Angeles, a well-known bakery that is run by and helps former gang members and at-risk women. They are producing excellent breads, rolls, sandwiches, and many other confections while learning new skills and keeping themselves out of harm’s way. Phil was genuinely humbled to be visiting their production site, working directly with the bakers and other workers, and allowing them to share their life experiences with his viewing audience. Phil was emotionally touched by the good that Father Greg has done with his flock of former gang members and former miscreants turned humble, successful, and thriving members of society.

Phil has one of my dream jobs; traveling and eating. I have been to all of the places Phil has traveled to except Hong Kong but would love to go back to all of these locales and retry the food about which Phil is so passionate.

So get out there and travel, eat, and if you can do good for someone else less fortunate than you, all the better.

If you’d like to check out the six episodes of I’ll Have What Phil’s Having, click HERE.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Close But Far From Modernity

A few weeks ago I visited Tombstone, Arizona. Have you been there? It is a sleepy place that at first seems like a town stuck in time. Horse-drawn carriages roam the street; Wood planked sidewalks creak underfoot and one must dodge the horse manure in the dirt streets. The permanent residents of Tombstone, of which there are approximately 1,300, have taken great care in preserving the town made famous by Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and friends and will forever be known as ‘that place where the gunfight at the OK Corral took place.”        Tombstone, AZ stagecoach20140915_162712

On second glance however, the townsfolk have turned the dusty, sleepy middle-of-nowhere town into a tourist trap. All the old saloons, brothels, movie houses, restaurants, thrift stores, etc. have been converted to gift shops with most of the items made in China and t-shirts saying “I shot the sheriff.” Nothing but class. Living on the strength of a 30 second event in 1881. In fact, in two weeks, it will be the 133rd anniversary of the gunfight. Oh sure they’ll have major reenactments and all the kids in town will want to be Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday for Halloween. But it is still a dusty, sleepy place that would be part of the desert if tourists didn’t leave their dollars behind to prop up the local economy.

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What I took from my visit to Tombstone was the fact that 1881 Arizona was only about 20 years from in the invention of the automobile and the airplane and modern medicine that may have saved the lives of several of the characters after the gunfight was over. Yet the OK Corral was still a place where grown men killed each other if another looked at them in an odd way or if another tried to pick up his girl. Let alone that prostitution was legal and rampant, everyone in town had a gun, or two or three, and that Tombstone is close to Mexico and rather hot, desolate, and dusty making all the inhabitants of town all a bit cranky. 20140915_161603

Yet some things don’t change. Men still get mad with each other over silly things and the sign above could apply to today’s politicians.

But at the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves “Did we do anything worthwhile today?” Wyatt Earp thought so. “What can I do tomorrow that will be worthwhile?” And whether it be New York City in 1881 with all its modern conveniences or Tombstone, Arizona  in 1881 during the time of Wyatt Earp, the sun will still set and another day will begin tomorrow.

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Keep Traveling!!

 
 

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Life in Brookline…realizations.

Returning to Life in Brookline after a magnificent summer spent in London was almost a letdown, almost.  Getting back into the mundane tasks of life is always a letdown after an exciting trip/adventure. I am sure you can understand this feeling. It is a good think Jessica was there with me during this time.

I returned to my studies and my night job at the Boston Beer Works across the street from Fenway Park in Boston. I began a year earlier as a door man checking IDs, primarily before and after Red Sox games. This was a fun job to work as I got a moment or two with everyone who came in or out of the restaurant. Sometimes, on a slow night, we would stand out front and fling Beer Works coasters at a green metal sign on Fenway Park. If we were lucky, the coaster would fly the 50 feet and make an audible “ding” as it hit the sign. Of course there were always people walking by and we had to make sure the boss wasn’t watching, but we had to pass the slow times making only $8 – $10 an hour.

After my London summer, I worked at Beer Works as a waiter and bar tender.  The best part of my sometimes late nights, was having Jessica come in to visit. I would use my employee discount and order her dinner. If I was lucky, she’d stay until my shift was over when my smile broadened just knowing someone cared enough to stay and wait for me. We spent the next 10 months traipsing in and around the Brookline and Greater Boston area. Afterall, I did not have a car, just a T pass. Jessica was the one with the 1996 Ford Explorer that took her everywhere. Some of our favorite spots were Kupel’s Bakery where we would get freshly baked bagels on Sundays and eat in the park nearby. We would also head to Zaftigs and enjoy anything from pancakes, waffles, eggs, corned beef to “The Essex” sandwich or the Cobb Salad.  Sometimes we still crave those dishes knowing we can’t have them at our fingertips like they used to be when I lived around the corner. Another favorite spot was the Village Smokehouse in Brookline Village. This is a place you take a date when you know you and your date are comfortable with one other. It’s called the BBQ Rib Test (I made this up). If you can feel comfortable sitting face-to-face with a date and not mind having bbq sauce all over your face and hands or watching your date make the same mess as you, then the awkward stage of a relationship and getting to know one another is over and you’ve moved into a comfort stage. Can we all agree on this?

One of our more memorable outings was to the top of Mount Major in Alton, NH.  We packed a lunch and stopped at a roadside farm stand to get some fruit and water for our hike. Helping each other get up the mountain and then reaching the top together was fantastic. I remember feeling tired, but relaxed, happy and free. We ate our lunch and I proceeded to fall into a food-induced nap with Jessica nearby, closing my eyelids with the sound of the whistling wind to sooth my senses. What a peaceful feeling atop a mountain with the one you love.

Ok…here comes the revelation. In April of 2003, Jessica and I were to take a road trip to Montreal for her birthday. Jessica arrived at my apartment and watching her come up the driveway, seeing the big smile on her face, the red bag slung across her shoulder, the long dark brown hair blowing from under the soft shearling hat that perfectly framed her face, I realized that this was the gal I was going to marry. I wanted to continue the adventure, regardless of destination, as long as we traveled together.

It had been less than a year that we were dating but at this moment, I remember, I was struck. My heart and my mind were in unison. I wanted to grow old with Jessica and go on many more adventures across the country and across the world with her. We had fun together. Sometimes the best adventure was doing nothing…and we still had a good time with each other.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2012 in Personal Dissection

 

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