…on good food, questionable judgment, and making life work
So, I write a LOT of reviews for Yelp. And as it turns out, people generally like them. Unless it is a business owner that I am crucifying.
Yes, I have a tendency to be what some would call “an asshole”, but I prefer to tell it like it is. Look. not everyone deserves to run a business. That’s ok. There are plenty of other things to do in this life. And nothing pisses me off more than when I get a precious night out with my wife and some restaurant screws it up either through bad service, bad food, or both.
I started writing reviews for Yelp for two reasons. The answer I generally tell people is that I was raised foodie, and my parents had us poring through Zagat guides when we were in Elementary school. It’s a great creative outlet for me and allows me to help others find a great place or avoid a place that has burned me. The second, more petty reason is a few years ago I went to go get a shave and a haircut at a local barber shop, “Uncle“. The doofus working on me BUTCHERED my face, using 5 disposable straight razor blades, and two Gillette blades. Made me late for my flight because he took so long for the shave, and then I found out I just kept bleeding which wrecked a Brooks Brothers shirt. Afterwards, I felt like I MUST tell the world about this place, but the review I wrote got filtered out. Which is when I discovered that you had to have quite a few reviews to avoid getting censored – and thus began my never-ending quest for petty vengeance.
(Full disclosure, the owner offered to replace my shirt and give the shave another go, which I politely declined – nobody makes me bleed my own blood twice)
So, anywho, last winter I got contacted via Yelp. Now if you aren’t familiar with Yelp, there are really only three reasons you get contacted via a Yelp message.
1. You just pissed off a business owner
2. One of your pals is trying to get in touch (which really doesn’t work well, because the damn app never tells you that you have a message)
3. Someone is trying to sell you Viagra from Venezuela
Turns out that it was none of the above this time around.
Before I knew what was happening, I was working my way through Skype interviews starting with PA’s and working my way on up the food chain. By the time I had finished we were talking about my favorite places to eat in Nashville, along with my admonishment that under no circumstances that they should go to a restaurant owned by Arnold Myint. Which is kind of ironic, because… well, you’ll see in a later episode…
Anywho, I told them instead about the amazing food and beverage Renaissance that is going on in Nashville, with James Beard-nominations going up everywhere; for reference, I named dropped Rolf and Daughters (which has been nominated by both Esquire and Bon Appetit), Patterson House (not even going to touch that), its sister restaurant The Catbird Seat (it is too late), Husk, Lockeland Table, Number 308, Silo, City House (before they screwed me), Silly Goose, and the list goes on and on and on. I think that they mentioned BBQ, but I tried to explain to them that our two indigenous foods are “Meat and Threes” and “Hot Chicken”
When I mentioned Hot Chicken, that was the end. I mean, I am a pretty passionate devotee. So I get that, but I really didn’t see that being the focus of everything. But my friends, the pain and fury of Nashville Hot Chicken makes for great drama and television.
Several months later, after multiple delays and other adventures, I discover that they are on the way to Nashville to shoot an episode or two. Featuring my restaurateur arch-nemesis who failed out of America’s Top Chef, and… me.
At none other than my favorite place of all time, Bolton’s – but certainly not Nashville’s highest-class establishment.
So I met them there one day in May and we spent a good day shooting a segment – it was a blast. Eden, who I am pretty sure is MOT like me, is just a helluva gal and a lot of fun to talk with. Heard she got married this summer and wish her all the best, Her crew was a trip, and they did a great job navigating the tight quarters of Bolton’s and all that entailed.
We spent the first part of the segment shooting inside the shack, and I was pretty much getting everything on the first or second take – it felt good. When we went outside to eat there was this one dude who was eating there with his boo – kid was making MURDER EYES at the production team. I think they eventually got him to switch tables with us (and they bought his lunch), but the dumb bastard just kept staring at the camera no matter how many times they asked him not to.
Eventually the guys at Bolton’s served us up some stupid-hot chicken (partially because they knew it was getting filmed, partially because they love to mess me up personally), and I went through it like a trooper. It was fun to watch the crew try Eden’s and then try mine. They did well for rookies, but I’d love to hear about the aftermath… Wonder if they shot a bathroom clip? We finished the job and parted ways.
And there you have it – after a couple of delays they tell me I’m showing up on Cooking Channel’s newest show “Log On and Eat with Eden Grinshpan” – here’s hoping I don’t look too much like a schmuck…
What happens next? Tune in Tuesday. October 22nd @ 8:30PM CST and find out…
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