A Morning at Wagshal’s Market – Washington D.C.


Originally published in 2013:

I recently interviewed and then “shadowed” the head butcher at an exclusive butcher shop in Washington DC. I didn’t get the job by-the-way. I’m not at all sore about it, just a bit disappointed. Was I ready to make the move away from the South I have grown to love, maybe not but I had to check it out for the opportunity?

I shadowed the head butcher, Pam. She was impressive in her intimate knowledge and skill and as she said to me, “this isn’t a job it is my life.” It was immediately obvious that she deeply cared about what she was doing, her snide comments about the rest of the staff aside I felt there was a lot I could learn from her if given the chance. Which of course you know I didn’t get – but no sour grapes here. After a quick interview of my interest and knowledge of meat cuts, butcher experience, etc. (Ahem that would be none really, but I had bluntly told them I had never been professionally trained. They are the ones that told me they were interested in me due to my passion for the subject. Maybe I should mention writing a good cover letter is really a plus when applying for a job.) she quickly moved on to preparing the morning orders to be picked up.


I shadowed, which means I observed while I asked a few questions. I’m not sure if these were a nuisance in retrospect, but she appeared more than happy to answer any of my questions. One thing was obvious, she loved to talk, to talk about meat and maybe most of all how good she was as a butcher and salesperson. The first order of business that morning was to trim and tie a beef tenderloin and cut beef short ribs. It was riveting watching her work with such ease and grace. It was obvious she deeply cared about what she was doing as she told me with pride of her 103 day dry aged porterhouse steaks she had for sale. She did sell one while I was there, an inch and a half thick for a little over $80. The price seemed a little stiff to me, but what did I know about 103 day dry aged prime porterhouses. Better be a damn good piece of meat for that price and still needing to be cooked. I wondered how good of a cook the man buying the steak was, did he do the cooking? His wife? Did he have a private chef?

After the man left she turns, “I told you I’d sell all those steaks this morning,” she grins and she had told me so. I’ve never minded someone with a big ego as long as they have the talent to back it up which Pam clearly did. “I could sell ice to an Eskimo or sand to an Arab.” Okay I have to admit that comment was a little over the top, but what the hell she was proud of the sale and why not that is a damn expensive steak. I wonder how much the man is willing to pay for a steak at a fancy steakhouse. I wonder if that day was special or does he not even blink twice about paying that much for a steak.


“I’m the best butcher you’ll ever know. I won a butcher competition where there were 57 men and myself. I cut down a whole side of pork in twenty-five minutes. The guy next to me only had two trays done.” Ah, Pam I’ll miss your stories even if they are a bit self-absorbed. I highly recommend Wagshal’s Market for your meat procuring, so long as you have the unlimited budget to afford it. I hope to be back someday when I can afford a 103 day aged porterhouse, maybe then I can tempt my vegan relatives to try at least a bite.

Turkey and the Wolf – New Orleans, Louisiana

Of all the incredible restaurants in the South this sandwich shop in New Orleans makes my top ten of places I’d like to visit. I know they’ve made news being selected by Bon Appétit magazine as best new restaurant in America.  They only have five sandwiches on the menu and that is exactly what I adore a restaurant with few option, but all done with high quality ingredients and expertly made.


Peruse their sandwich menu and tell me you don’t want to try all five.  If you’re not swayed check out the video of them making their sandwiches it’s certainly drool worthy.


They are located at:

Turkey and the Wolf

739 Jackson Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70130

Dockside Seafood Restaurant – Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Dockside Seafood Restaurant (formerly Safe Harbor Seafood Restaurant) is perched along the east edge of the Jacksonville Beach Boat ramp where you’re entertained with views of the majestic marsh and lively boating scene.

Located on 2nd Street, Dockside Seafood Restaurant is perched along the east edge of the Jacksonville Beach Boat ramp where you’re entertained with views of the majestic marsh and lively boating scene. Experience a casual setting that boasts the high-quality, fresh seafood you expect from local restauranteurs Benjamin and Liza Groshell. Visit and enjoy a local icon!

If fresh fish and oysters awaken your taste buds, stop in today for an unforgettable lunch or dinner with lively atmosphere, knowledgeable and friendly service, and spectacular views.


2510 2nd Ave North,
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250



Storm Castle Cafe – Bozeman, Montana



Confession: My older brother is the chef and owner and runs the back of the house, while my sister-in-law runs the front of the house. A true farm to table where they raise the pork and beef on the family farm while growing a vast garden for the restaurant during summer months.

Storm Castle Cafe Philosophy:
We are an unpretentious restaurant that will make you feel welcome from the moment you walk through our doors. Our goal is to provide our customers with quality, affordable, comfort food and have a little fun along the way. We aren’t reinventing the wheel at Storm Castle, just keeping it alive! All of our dishes have a quality to them that many traditional American restaurants have left behind in search of an easier, more efficient way. The casual atmosphere, eclectic music and the friendly banter of our regulars, creates an authentic cafe experience, topped off with the most flavorful meals.


Storm Castle Cafe
5 Tai Lane
Bozeman, MT 59715

Tel: 406-586-0395


Husk – Charleston, South Carolina


An ever-changing menu of locally sourced Southern dishes served in a restored Victorian-era home:

“Centrally located in historic downtown Charleston, Husk transforms the essence of Southern food.  Executive Chef and Lowcountry native, Travis Grimes, reinterprets the bounty of the surrounding area, exploring an ingredient-driven cuisine that begins in the rediscovery of heirloom products and redefines what it means to cook and eat in the South.

Starting with a larder of ingredients indigenous to the region, Grimes responsibly crafts menus, playing to what local purveyors have seasonally available at any given moment. The entrance beckons with a rustic wall of firewood to fuel the wood-fired oven in the open kitchen, and a large chalkboard listing artisanal products currently provisioning the kitchen.  Much like the décor that inhabits this historic, late 19th century home, the food is modern in style and interpretation.”

~ Husk website

sample of its ever evolving menu (August 5th, 2019) depending upon what is fresh:


76 Queen St.

Charleston, SC 29401





Stephenson’s Apple Farm: Family Influence


I’m too young to remember going to this restaurant, but fortunately my family bought their spiralbound cookbook.  So many of the recipes have become family classics. It’s actually hard for me to imagine not having these recipes in my repertoire, sure I’ve made some subtle and some not so subtle changes to their recipes over the years though the inspiration iscompletely Stephenson’s Apple Farm.  Unfortunately the restaurant closed in 2007, but lives on in many homes.  My own thought are echoed here:

”I remember arriving at Stephenson’s and running down the stairs to the lobby where there was a barrel with ice cold apple cider and these little 2-ounce paper cups. I must have filled mine 10 times.

I remember walking into the Parlour, the first room to the left of the lobby, red velvet wallpaper and a little faux balcony, one of eight dining rooms at the Old Apple Farm Restaurant. I remember the paintings on the wall, the white tablecloths, starched napkins, candles on each table and the big glasses.

We sat down, and my father immediately ordered two dozen apple fritters and some chicken livers. All the boys were served cider in big chilled glasses, while Mom and Dad sipped apple daiquiris. They were served on little cocktail napkins with Stephenson’s logo and a bite taken out of the apple. Did I mention the bowls of fresh apple butter served with the fritters? How about the corn relish? Oh my …“

~ JASPER J. MIRABILE JR., “Kansas City Star”


The Grey – Savannah, Georgia


Johno Morisano and Chef Mashama Bailey partnered to build The Grey in Historic Downtown Savannah. Occupying a 1938 art deco Greyhound Bus Terminal that they painstakingly restored to its original luster, The Grey offers a food, wine and service experience that is simultaneously familiar and elevated. Bringing her personal take on Port City Southern food to a city of her youth allows Mashama to tap into all of her experiences to create dishes that are deep, layered, and soulful in their flavors. With a penchant for regional produce, seafood and meats, guests will find a melting pot of surprising and comforting tastes in all of Mashama’s cooking with something new revealed in each and every visit.










Photo Essay : Palm Valley Fish Camp & Marker 32 (Jacksonville Beach, FL)

Palm Valley Fish Camp Palm Valley Fish Camp

Palm Valley Fish Camp and Marker 32 are two restaurants in the Jacksonville area that I frequent.  They are both seafood restaurants owned and operated by the same owners.  Palm Valley is a much more casual restaurant, and usually my preference, but Marker 32 is a great date or special occasion restaurant.

Palm Valley Fish Camp

Broiled Oysters Broiled Oysters
Fried Green Tomatoes Fried Green Tomatoes
Cajun Crawfish Cajun Crawfish
Stone Crab Stone Crab
Flounder Pan Sauteed Flounder With Mashed Skin-On Red Potatoes And Sauteed Zuchinni & Yellow Squash
Fried Shrimp Fried Shrimp, Fries, Hushpuppies, Coleslaw
Bacon Butter Beans Bacon Butter Beans
Cod Roasted Cod with Blackeye Pea Succotash, Squash Puree over a Fried Green Tomato.
Lowcountry Boil Lowcountry Boil : Shrimp, Clams, Crawfish and Andouille Sausage for two.

Marker 32

Broiled Oysters Broiled Oysters Appetizer : with bacon, spinach & sundried tomatoes.
Crab Cakes Southern style Blue Crab cakes with caper dill aiolli, Crushed Portatoes & steamod Spinach
Fried Shrimp & Fennel Fries Fried local shrimp with celery root slaw, sweet fennel salt fries
Seared Scallops with spicy shrimp and corn broth, Grits, Collard Greens and House Dried Tomatoes Seared Scallops with spicy shrimp and corn broth, Grits, Collard Greens and House Dried Tomatoes
Herb grilled Snapper with basil pesto and Hoppin John Herb grilled Snapper with basil pesto and Hoppin John
Bouillabaisse Bouillabaisse