Allison has long contended that the worldwide phenomenon of Dîner en Blanc -- a paid ticket event that requires you to bring your own food, tables, chairs, and decor while dressed entirely in white -- is incredibly dumb. On this episode the organizers of this year's Baltimore DEB, Kimberly Shorter and Candice Owens, join the podgang to convince her otherwise. They may have sold out of 2,500 tickets almost immediately, but they don't understand Allison's hatred of white pants! Those are dumb, too!
Even though you're too late to get tickets, check out the official website for Dîner en Blanc in Baltimore to get on their mailing list for next year. You'll have to act quickly once 2020 goes on sale, because this bitch is a whole thing. Follow along with the fun on Instagram with the hashtag #DEBBaltimore2019, and be sure to follow @dinerenblancBaltimore for more about the small businesses helping to turn that mother out!
As you may have noticed this is not a podcast episode, but this page functions as a blog and I have very important things to say!
A few days ago I was contacted by a publishing company called Reedy Press, who asked me to write a book about nearly 100 restaurants in Washington DC for free. It would be part of their Unique Eats and Eateries series, which has been published for cities all over America. When I asked if there was at the very least a budget to eat at all these restaurants, I was told that I should ask them for free meals as a thank you for all the exposure they'd be getting from this book. I made this offer public on Twitter, which was widely shared by members of the creative community.
You should click through and read the entire, hastily written thread. It's full of rage and has lots of awesome details about how the publishing industry works. And please share all that info with current and aspiring writers you know: all of this is common knowledge among published authors, but for the most part we've all been too scared to say anything for years. We've now hit rock bottom in this industry, and it's time to speak out.
In the event anyone thought my tweets were hyperbole or a complete fabrication, I also published the specifics of what they asked me to provide, as well as their author guidelines. Neither the email nor these documents had any sort of written confidentiality clause, so it was cool to share! They also have the contact information for everyone in the company, in case you want to inquire about working for them for zero dollars yourself.
The tweets also share lots of the fun parts of our emails, like how they said publishing costs were so high they couldn't afford to pay me, and how I should beg restaurants for free meals so I could get Reedy the content they needed to make money off these books.
I spent a day thinking about how I would respond to their offer. I have sent this email, and decided to share it all with you as well. Feel free to use it any time someone asks you to work for free and frames it as if they're doing you a favor.
This line in your last email stuck out: “Due to production costs of the book, we are not able to afford any advance. I totally understand if this is a concern on your end.” You’re right, I am concerned. I’ve written three books before and am a very experienced writer, and I know how much production costs are — currently you can get paperbacks printed for about .90 per book. Factoring the salaries of the small staff list you gave me, and taking into account the average overhead of such a business, I’m incredibly concerned for your company. If you guys are barely scraping by on production costs, especially when you’re retailing your books for $20 and are seeking authors to write for “exposure”, you’re in a lot of trouble.
Then I had an absolutely brilliant idea: you guys are struggling so hard you need to ask for free goods and services, yet you’re kindly offering all these authors and restaurants “exposure” through your books. You also need to beg me for marketing contact lists, and to do free work as a sales rep and PR agent. You guys must really be in trouble. As you noticed from my website — the one you found very impressive — I am very well connected in this industry. So I figured for once someone could be as kind as you all are and help you with exposure!
Yesterday I posted the entirety of the deal you offered me on Twitter, as well as the documents you sent in full — since they weren’t marked confidential, I thought it would be cool to share to help you acquire more talent. I also shared it in multiple professional groups I belong to, which include editors of almost every major food publication in America, as well as thousands of respected food writers all over the world. I’ve also made sure the terms of your contract have been shared with professional restaurant associations in Washington DC, Baltimore, and New York City so people can be prepared to offer your writers free meals and photography in exchange for all the exposure you’re giving them. Want them to be on their A-game!
As I write this, the thread I wrote about Reedy Press has been retweeted over 350 times by authors, editors, agents, and even big name celebrity chefs. I’ve even been contact by two journalists about your contract, who are going to do stories about Reedy Press! SUCCESS! You’ve got so much exposure now, which I’m sure is going to be fantastic for your company.
Unfortunately I will not be able to write your book for free, because I have bills to pay and children to feed. I don’t have the time to do you any more favors than the one I’ve already done for you. Hopefully soon you’ll be in a position to pay your writers and photographers. Good luck! "
Have you every participated in or been a casual observer of potato salad Twitter? It is a very real thing, and it is intense. On this episode, we fulfill the request of Brian Koppelman, creator of Showtime's Billions and active potato salad theorist. The podgang each bring their personal recipe to the table, we eat, we discuss, we yell. Also discussed: why Allison and Matt pronounce capicola as "gabagool" and why The Sopranos can go fuck themselves.
Visit our special guest John Houser at his podcast page: Rouxde Cooking School (and subscribe/listen, goddamnit!). Follow him on Twitter @Rouxde, too! And most definitely try his signature potato salad at home. Why not try making all of our potato salads and eating along while you listen?. They were entirely excellent, and this entire episode was top to bottom was a fantastic idea.
Matt Robicelli's Italian Potato Salad
4 large russet potatoes
3 artichoke hearts
6 sun-dried tomatoes
6 slices pepperoni
6 slices hot capicola
6 slices Genoa salami
6 slices provolone cheese
1 small red onion sliced
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 cup mayo
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup of hots
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Peel potatoes, cut into 1" chunks, and add to the pot. Reduce heat to a low boil and cook until potatoes are just tender. Drain, then immediately toss in red wine vinegar. Allow to cool completely.
Finely chop pepperoni, Genoa salami, hot capicola, provolone cheese, artichoke hearts, pepperocini, and sundried tomatoes. Mix the mayo with hots and olive oil.
Toss the meat mixture, then add dressing and fold gently to combine.
John Houser's Classic Potato Salad
•1 cup mayo
•1 cup sour cream
•1/4 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
•6 harboiled eggs- yellows separated from whites and whites courtly chopped
•zest of one lemon
•juice of 1/2 lemon
•1/2 tsp msg
•1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
•2 tsp Morton’s kosher salt
•1 packages fresh dill (approx .75 ounces) stems and all finely chopped
•3 stalks of celery and all of the levels from the stalk- small dice (approx 1/4”) leaves finely chopped
•1 large onion-small dice (approx 1/4”)
•4 pounds cooked red potatoes- large dice (approx 3/4”)
Allison's German Potato Salad
1/2 pound small gold potatoes
8 slices thick cut bacon
1 large onion, roughly chopped into large pieces
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons German mustard
1/4-1/2 cup grapeseed oil
Salt & pepper
Use kitchen scissors to snip bacon into 1" pieces. Place in a medium saucepan and add water to just barely cover. Bring to a hard boil, stirring occasionally, until all the water has evaporated. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until brown and crisp. Strain the bacon grease into a spouted measuring cup, and place the bacon bits in a small bowl.
Put onion and butter into a small saucepan over medium-low heat and cover. Poach onions in the melted butter for 10 minutes. Strain the butter into the measuring cup with the bacon fat, then mix the onions with the bacon.
In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard and apple cider vinegar. Slowly stream in the reserved fats, whisking vigorously the entire time. Slowly stream in some grapeseed oil, again whisking hard, until the dressing looks like a loose mayonnaise. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cut potatoes in half, the slice into 1/2" half moons. Boil potatoes until just tender, then drain. Immediately toss in the dressing, then fold in bacon and onions. Serve warm or room temperature.
Make sure you check out this week's episode of our sister podcast The City That Breeds, which is a "part 2" of sort that segues from potato salads to watching your parents die, which is totally a logical progression.
A few weeks ago we got a DM from Keith Chow (co-founder of Nerds of Color & host of the Southern Fried Asians podcast) saying he had opinions on Americanized Chinese Food, and absolutely had to be on the show to share them with all you good people out there. And share them he did! We also talk about the magical event that was Wicomicon, abortion, making sci-fi inclusive, gerrymandering, and argue about the best items at an Asian buffet.
Visit Keith at NerdsOfColor.org
Follow him on Twitter @the_real_chow.
Technically, this is a "food podcast", though if you've ever listened you know it gets off the rails pretty quick thanks to Allison's ADD and Noah's....whatever Noah's deal is. In episode 20 the podgang is joined by Peter Shankman: author, entrepreneur, 2x Ironman, Class-B skydiver and host of the #1 ADHD podcast Faster Than Normal. They argue about too many things to type up. Does Evan Quit? Does Matt throw himself out the window? Tune in to find out!
After an absolutely spectacular argument between Evan and Noah on the merits of astrology, Allison decided to invite improv comedian and amateur astrologer Justin Brashear onto the show to read everyone's (but mostly Evan's) charts, because that's what good friends do to each other. Does Evan become a believer? Does the universe hold the secrets to Allison & Matt's successful partnership? Does Noah grace us with so many Noah-isms that he may have unlocked the meaning of life? You'll need to listen to find out!
Visit Justin at The BIG Theater, where he performs and teaches. All shows are FREE and make a great (and hilarious) cheap date!
God has truly blessed us all with his gift of Myka Fox: a viciously hilarious comedian, a writer for Comedy Central, and a very sweet piece of ass though you really should love her for her mind. She joins the podgang to smoke a blunt and have a conversation about junk food, and then everything quickly devolves into a discussion about female body hair, donating our bodies to science, finding appropriate jobs for the elderly and other highly important topics that you should all be on top of.
Experience the magic of Myka Fox by following her on:
This week we welcome Sheila McMenamin: tree person at The Baltimore Tree Trust and moonlighting comedian at BIG Improv! Our goal was to talk about urban gardening and the flora of native ecosystems. We actually did some of that, but we discussed killer birds, walrus vaginas, and goat semen (like, a lot of goat semen). It's informative?
Chef Carlos Raba makes the best goddamn Mexican food we have ever tasted. We have eaten at beachside shacks and late night-only trucks and Michelin-starred restaurants -- nothing comes close to what we've tasted at his restaurant/mezcaleria Clavel. Better than his food is the story of how he got here -- murder, corruption, political asylum and Whole Foods are all major plot points! We also talked about Noah hurting his balls in a parasailing rig, because we try to lower the bar just a little each and every week.
Follow Carlos on Instagram:
Learn more about his jiu-jitsu project for disadvantaged youth:
Follow his restaurant Clavel:
Light a prayer candle, then try your luck at getting a table. (It's worth it)
225 West 23rd Street
Baltimore, MD 21211
Daniel Gritzer: Sheep testes, kalimbas & horse domination with the culinary director of serious eats
Holy sh*t guys, this is a good one. Probably our best, ever. Maybe not just our best....it may very well be THE best food podcast episode in all of existence. We knew inviting Daniel Gritzer into the studio was going to make for great radio -- he's the culinary director of Serious Eats, a chef with serious pedigree and experience, and a damn good time of a man on Twitter and in real life. We sat down ready to have an argument, but it was impossible once we asked Daniel to tell us a little bit about his background and we learned that this man's story is absolutely insane. There are horses and useless sheep, shirtless Australians and Nelson Mandela's (possible) best friend, and if that wasn't enough THERE ARE FREAKING LUTES. LUTES, PEOPLE! THOSE FUNNY LITTLE GUITAR LOOKING THINGS THAT ARE ONLY PLAYED BY OLD TIMEY MINSTRELS AND STING!
If you're a chef who wants to know what goes on in the mind of a food writing VIP, an aspiring writer who wants to know how to make it to the big time, or just someone who wants to know what happens when you shave a sheep's balls, then this is the podcast for you! If you enjoy it, kindly leave us a review and tell your friends -- the more people who hear this story, the more beautiful the world will be. And follow Daniel on the socials and all that jazz!
Website: Serious Eats
Episode 14: gramercy tavern, impostor syndrome & serbian luxury butter with pastry chef miro uskokovic
This week we welcome pastry savant and all around spectacular human being Miro Uskokovic to the studio! Not only is Miro very popular on Instagram, but he is also the pastry chef of Gramercy Tavern, which is, like, super impressive. He shares his incredible journey -- from his childhood in rural Serbia to one of the most prestigious and influential pastry kitchens in the world -- and the podgang makes up dumb jokes and gets into arguments about important things like the KGB, augmented reality, and how to find one night stands through Instagram stories. As always, this show is a hallmark of professionalism.
For more hot Miro action, follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
To try his desserts (which should be on your bucket list because holy shit guys he is so fucking good), visit him at Gramercy Tavern in NYC. Hot tip: there are separate menus for the bar and dining areas, so you should visit both rooms and order all the desserts. I'm sure the regular food is probably great, too.
The authenticity of Authenticity: Chinese food, white people & petting zoos with the chinatown collective
This week the Robicelli Argument Clinic manages to stay on topic, and oh what a topic it is! We invite Leandro Lagera and Steph Hsu of The Charm City Night Market & Chinatown Collective to the show to discuss white people's relationship with "authentic" Asian foods. It's funny! It's informative! It's not super racist! Everyone learns a lot and has a damn good time, and we sure hope that you will, too.
The next Charm City Night Market is on September 21st, so mark your calendars and follow our guests to keep on top of things:
Charm City Night Market
The Chinatown Collective
This week we let 39 year old Evan and 19 year old Noah start the show, and they chose to spend ten minutes talking about boobs vs. butts before seguing into the hot topic of "nipple sizes". We let your sidekicks spread their wings a little, and this is how they repay us. There's plenty of quibbling about Trader Joe's, quitting pizza, birdwatching, bagel sandwiches, astrology, and other terribly non-important stuff that will act as a lovely distraction to the fact that society as we know it is collapsing.
This week we welcome one of our closest personal friends and personal dessert heroes to the podcast: David Alima of The Charmery! For those of you who don't know Allison's second favorite dessert is ice cream, and The Charmery is her favorite ice cream shop in America (it may have played a part in the decision to relocate to Baltimore). Join us as we discuss (and argue about) the ice cream science, price of vanilla, how to juice meat, flavor inspiration, Raven-Symone, waffle cones, library security guards and, as always, a bunch of stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with the topic we had planned for.
This week on the Robicelli Argument Clinic it's a near-death extravaganza! Join Allison (stage IV cancer survivor), Matt (9/11 first responder with an unclassifiable autoimmune disease which attacks his organs), and Evan (he's okay) as they talk to chef Doug Wetzel, who shares one of the best stories any of us have ever heard. You'll learn why you should never participate in triathalons, why chihuahuas should be respected, and why Katy Perry may have supernatural powers (we have evidence!). The gang also argues about what a last meal actually should be, liver transplants, and Matt's highly limited list of adjectives.