Don’t break your arm patting your own back.

Well now, this was a fun letter to receive!

December 12, 2014

Hi Lisa,

Yesterday in NYC at a morning banquet, FOLIO announced the winners of the 2014 Eddie and Ozzie Awards. The winners comprised some of the biggest and most influential titles across the entire publishing spectrum, from b2b to consumer, association/non-profit to regional to apps and websites.

Washingtonian took top honors for best COVER DESIGN (consumer- under 250K circulation) for our June 2014 Burger cover! I just wanted to reach out and say thank you for your help in making this cover a winner!

It truly takes a village to create an award-winning magazine like ours, and I’m blown away by the dedication of so many people to consistently put out such a great product.


Diane Rice
Photo Director
Washingtonian Magazine

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Climate Collision Salad Sandwich

A little something sunny to get you through the dark days. The solstice is next week and ,yes, we will make it through December
2 silky mangoes, peeled, sliced off pit and cubed
1 Granny Smith apple, pitted and chopped
1 avocado, pit removed, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 juicy limes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Toss all together. Spoon into flatbread.


Pardon me, there is a piece of toast stuck to the ceiling.

Thanks hundreds to Mike Rhode Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 8.26.05 AM

 of ComicsDC for the fabulous paper and electronic clipping services!

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One En-Xoco-ed Evening

Several years ago, in Chicago for a culinary history conference, (on foods of the Great Depression, no less. Cheery!) damp and chilly though it was, my mother, 85 at the time, and I walked out one foggy twilit evening for a sandwich at Xoco, one of Rick Bayless’ outposts, the one we felt most at ease affording.

I’ve learned, from travels past with my mom, that she wants to go anywhere and do anything. Eagerly. The slice does not fall far from the loaf.

To illustrate my point, a few years previous we were in Stockholm together in June – midsommer in fact,  for another culinary history conference (topic: feasts and famine, including starvation in Sweden when people resorted to eating shoes. Cheery!), wearing, even at high noon, every item of clothing we had packed, layer upon layer, against the wet and cold. Yes, high noon. (Not too much further north, Lapland, our chief destination, there was still snow on the ground.) Anyway, to make my point, there we were one evening, snuggled in our cozy Stockholm room, my mother in pajamas, comfortably reading, ostensibly settled in for the night. “I’m going down to the bar,” said I. “I’ll join you!” returned my mother, hopping up and grabbing a pair of slacks.

She’s a fantastic traveler, always game, never complains, even when walking a long distance in Delhi with a heel missing from one shoe.

We stayed along the river, near Marina City, one of Chicago’s fine architectural jewels. My mother had been in it when it was new, not too long after 1964. Fancy!

This is my picture of the sensational torta we shared. Atrocious picture, simply proof that we were there. I should be embarrassed to post it. I’m not.

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And the photo I grabbed from Xoco’s website so that you might be enticed to go. Tortas are, to my knowledge, one of the lesser known sandwiches outside of their place of origin. Nice sometimes to eat something with which you have not been beaten over the head first by television.

Chicago, rich in treasures,  is truly beautiful in all weather.  Rick Bayless is one of the city’s gems. Thank you, Mr. Bayless, for creating spots a person can pop into any old time, on any old dreary evening and get something genuinely good to eat.

Gotta Love a Scanwich

I have read that Oprah orders fries, smells them and sends them back. And I covet a particular photo of “George (Harrison) Smelling Soup”. Before we know it computers will be odiferous. Can we handle that? Me, I don’t want to and will take a pass on that feature. If I can’t taste it, I don’t want to smell it.

That said, we’ve become enured to looking, looking, looking at pictures of food. Much ink, air time and screen space has been devoted to discussions of why, why, why we take SO many pictures of what we eat, or don’t, and why we love -even truly horrid – photos of food.

I could venture some guesses – basic dissatisfaction with daily life, our constant quest for more-better-faster-bigger, a search for connection on the most basic, publicly acceptable level, pure bragging for the sake of our vanity. Or maybe we simply like food – in any form. Our appetites drive us – often into ridiculous realms such as smelling fries and waving them off,  or scanning our sandwiches. Purely harmless, though, and will not lead to car wrecks, broken marriages, public humiliation or jail time.

Anyway, without pictures of food, I would not have a job. Hurrah to desiring that which we cannot have. Without it, Buddha would not have a job.

Scanwiches again…and still.

Scanwiches has been quiet since June. I do hope everything is okay over there!

Do the Math and Make It Geometry – Grilled Cheese

by Hot Rod Girl » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:17 am


Ms. Snack, there is a restaurant/bar up the street from us whose menu is largely made up of grilled cheese sandwich variations. It’s called the 44th Ward Dinner Party. Overpriced, but tasty. (Sadly, now closed.)

And they do understand the first rule of grilled cheese sandwiches, which is that they MUST be cut on the diagonal. PBJs, on the other hand, must be cut straight across. That’s just the way it is done.

Yes, indeed! That is just the way it is. Understood.

Gladly, Grilled Cheese and Company, is alive and well and grilling their hearts out. It’s a franchise, I see, but have only seen one myself. How bout you, Lunch Encounterers, have you seen em?

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Good to Go takeout: Grilled Cheese & Co. in Catonsville, Md.

Grilled Cheese, with variety

Shameless Self Promotion Number 140 Degrees F

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It’s always a blast to create photos for the Food Network with the well-oiled machine of  Sara Levine RosenblumRenee Comet, Audrey Weppler, Carolyn Robb Schimley and Steve Redfearn. We work hard and produce a lot of pictures. And we have a lot of fun along the way.

For me it’s a treat to work with current recipes, to see what’s going on in the TV land of cooking, and to feel as though I am contributing in some way to getting people into the kitchen.

Jeff Mauro’s sandwich recipes raised all our eyebrows, as well as the numbers on our scales. Did that slow us down for a nano-second. Um, no. In fact, I wish I’d thought of the mac and cheese sandwich. Could I offer you a little pasta with your bread. Um, yes.

JeffMauro_CrunchyFriedPBAndJ_V - Version 2

Crunchy Fried PB and J


Mac and Cheese Grilled Cheese with Bacon Two Ways

JeffMauro_AllAmericanDownHomePatrioticMeatloafSandwich_H - Version 2

All-American Down-Home Patriotic Meatloaf Sandwich

All photos by Renee Comet