Inside the Foodie Matrix, Or: Why Food PR People Are Worthless

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David C. Mau
This is how restaurant people spend their days....

Twice a month, legendary bartender/chef/restaurant insider Dave Mau pops by Stick A Fork In It to chime in about a random OC food or drink musing of his choice. Enjoy!!

Winter here in the OC may lack the simple charms of a New England one but it does have its advantages. We don't get many snowball fights, sleigh rides or other such trappings but we are granted a great time to surf. When the water warms up just a tad and that wind turns around with just the right swell, truth be told, I'll trade all the mittens and hot cocoa in the world for that. Awhile back one of those perfect days materialized and suddenly it was like mid-July at The Cliffs in HB and I found myself in the company of a couple other chefs along with one pal from outside the industry getting ready for a weekday paddle out. It was a rare, random gathering with a couple buddies who cut fish, a long-time server, one who works the line at a high-end steak joint and another that owns his own hipster restaurant in central OC. My non-industry friend was stoked to tag along. He's a desk jockey but considers himself a bit of a "foodie" and was excited to hang with us and pick our brains.


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From SanTana to Santorini: Travels through Greece With a Lot of Retsina

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David C Mau
Damn straight.......

Twice a month, legendary bartender/chef/restaurant insider Dave Mau pops by Stick A Fork In It to chime in about a random OC food or drink musing of his choice. Enjoy!!

I know it's trashy but I love Retsina. If you've never had it don't feel bad, it's pretty hard to come by here. It's kind of hard to describe and I have the sinking feeling it's considered the Boone's Farm Kountry Kwencher of Greece but damn it's good on a hot afternoon there. It's a dry white wine, with a healthy dose of what tastes like Pine-Sol due to the addition of Aleppo Pine resin during the manufacturing process. It's been made for at least 2000 years, the origins being a bit cloudy but it appears the unique flavor started from the pine sap used to seal wine jars in ancient times. I'll drink myself silly on it while stuffing my face with fried sardines in a seaside taverna and it's just one of a thousand things I love about Greece-and I love it a lot.

Now, Athens can be kind of sketchy if you get too far off The Plaka, but the Greeks Isles are a joy to visit. It's a cliche for sure but damn they are stunning. Even more beautiful are their inhabitants and I'm not talking about physical appearance either (although compared to the sunburned and speedo-clad chubby German tourists there just about anything looks good). The Greeks have gorgeous souls and a wacky, obsessive hospitality that is hard to pin down. It's more than caring for caring's sake, it's sort of a one-upmanship on who can be more hospitable.

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Last Dinner with Dave Tonight! :-(

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David C Mau
Grub's on!!!!!
Every second and fourth Wednesday night of the month, legendary bartender/chef/restaurant insider Dave Mau hosts Dinner with Dave at Memphis at the Santora, where he treats drinkers to a free meal and live music as the evening progresses. To remind ustedes of this great night, Dave treats us that week to a random OC food or drink musing of his choice. Enjoy!!

You will never read that again....

It's not that I'll stop writing this humble column, because I won't. But tonight is the last Dinner with Dave (at least at Santora) and the aforementioned introduction will no longer be relevant. I was really flattered when Gustavo wrote that intro a year and a half ago when I started contributing to The Weekly. "Legendary" can be hard to live up to but I'll take the compliment; it's been a long road and maybe I've paid my dues. I can't believe it has been almost 8 years and some 20,000 plates of food served for free (I did the math). What a run and little did I know that an otherwise innocuous comment from my friend Steeve Jacobs many years ago would lead to such an event. If it wasn't for him mentioning there were more people hanging out at my house on a Wednesday night than in DTSA it never would have prompted me to put two and two together and start serving up free grub like I did at my pad. Yep, it was slow mid-week 8 years ago.


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Dave Mau Appears on John and Ken Show to Talk About Ridiculous CA Law Requiring Bartenders to Wear Gloves!

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Photo by John Gilhooley
Don't try to Mau-Mau the Mau
When our columnist Dave Mau told me he had been invited to appear on KFI-AM 640's John and Ken Show, I congratulated him--and then told him not to mention my name. See, the show don't like me because I constantly call the two out on their anti-Mexican bigotry...but they sure as hell like OC Weekly in general, always giving shout-outs to our coverage of various matters 'cause everyone except me kicks ass. And I sure as hell didn't want me ruining Dave's fun.

Thankfully, that didn't happen yesterday at the 6 p.m. hour. JohnKen interviewed Dave about his recent column ridiculing California's new law that requires bartenders and chefs alike to wear latex gloves.

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OC Bartenders Smell The Glove! We'll See...

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All photos by Dave Mau
Every second and fourth Wednesday night of the month, legendary bartender/chef/restaurant insider Dave Mau hosts Dinner with Dave at Memphis at the Santora, where he treats drinkers to a free meal and live music as the evening progresses. To remind ustedes of this great night, Dave treats us that week to a random OC food or drink musing of his choice. Enjoy!!

You can find yourself in some strange situations in The Biz, thus it was when a good friend of mine (you can probably guess who) found himself cutting fish and making sushi to order at a giant swinger party in a seedy industrial space off the 73 a few years ago. What had been initially billed to him as a "gathering of a few friends" turned out to be an epic sexual free for all of Sodom and Gomorra-esque proportions. My buddy was stuck behind the sushi case wondering how the hell he got drafted into this one but the money was good so along he went with the program, as dismayed as he was. In the middle of said gathering was, well, how should I put it? Let's just say an attractive young lady was being kind enough to ("ahem") be entertaining several gentleman caller friends while she was on her knees and the banco de la boca was open for business.

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Six Things You Should Know About Restaurant Managers

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Okay, so he's a bartender...but he might double as a manager, too!
Every second and fourth Wednesday night of the month, legendary bartender/chef/restaurant insider Dave Mau hosts Dinner with Dave at Memphis at the Santora, where he treats drinkers to a free meal and live music as the evening progresses. To remind ustedes of this great night, Dave treats us that week to a random OC food or drink musing of his choice. Enjoy!!

Running a restaurant in the OC is a challenge. The bigger the shop, the more headaches, heartaches and unexpected disasters will be a normal part of the program. Being at the helm of all this entropy is difficult, to say the least. Put the people factor on top of everything else and it adds an epic wild card to the situation. Restaurants aren't like surf shops or gas stations where you have a fairly straightforward product and delivery system with not many types and/or numbers of employees. Good news for most restaurant managers is people are generally easy to deal with (except in Corona del Mar) and usually don't go out of their way to act like selfish jerks (also, except in CDM). If you're wondering what it's like to do their job and the best way to deal with them, here's some things to consider.

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A Son of California Tours New York's Pizza Scene

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Every second and fourth Wednesday night of the month, legendary bartender/chef/restaurant insider Dave Mau hosts Dinner with Dave at Memphis at the Santora, where he treats drinkers to a free meal and live music as the evening progresses. To remind ustedes of this great night, Dave treats us that week to a random OC food or drink musing of his choice. Enjoy!!

Pizza is an art unto itself and if you start diving into intricacies of regional versions, that is a whole new level of minutiae. The term "New York Style" gets thrown around pretty freely here in OC but it's a rare bird for sure and I don't think it migrates very far from its nest. The one thing you can say is it's great. I'd be the first one to start blowing holes in faux perception but it's a fact of life as certain as gravity that the ubiquitous pie there is one of a kind. That crust is reminiscent of lavash but with flavor: mineral, carbon and the taste of the oven, looking demure, but possesses a dash of malice that makes it bite back a bit. Like the subtle poetry of true al pastor rings in your mouth, so does the pugilistic rantings of New York pizza and that pie cooked at the right temp/time blooms like a flower poking up through the cracks in a Brooklyn sidewalk.

I'm a tough sell on the whole NYC thing. I think there is too much of everything there and not nearly enough nothing. San Francisco is about as urban as I can handle for any length of time. But there are pockets of humanity in all the inhumanity if you know where to find them,

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Food Film Fiesta: Revisiting "Big Night"

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Every second and fourth Wednesday night of the month, legendary bartender/chef/restaurant insider Dave Mau hosts Dinner with Dave at Memphis at the Santora, where he treats drinkers to a free meal and live music as the evening progresses. To remind ustedes of this great night, Dave treats us that week to a random OC food or drink musing of his choice. Enjoy!!

I've been meaning to make a timpano.

There have been many years of threatening to do so for the holidays but it's a pretty formidable undertaking even by my standards and, to be perfectly honest, I'm scared to death of screwing it up. It's a massive, San Onofre reactor-shaped beast of a meal. Within its baked shell lie pasta, eggs, sausage, cheese and/or a hundred other variations of ingredients, depending on whose kitchen gospel you adhere to. You really need a ridiculously big ceramic bowl to pull it off and so far that's been my excuse not to build one. And that is a total cop out.

The timpano came into our popular American culinary lexicon back in 1996 with the release of Big Night. Upon Google-ing it you can experience the varying levels of success by the do-it-at-home crowd. The movie itself is a cult fave, both the food and indie film crowds ate it up (pun intended) but it didn't move very far into the mainstream aside from the above-mentioned main course.

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The Peppermill: Vegas' Best Worst-Kept Secret

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Dave Mau
OLD SKOOL!
Every second and fourth Wednesday night of the month, legendary bartender/chef/restaurant insider Dave Mau hosts Dinner with Dave at Memphis at the Santora, where he treats drinkers to a free meal and live music as the evening progresses. To remind ustedes of this great night, Dave treats us that week to a random OC food or drink musing of his choice. Enjoy!!

The Busstop Hurricanes are all but a memory now. They disbanded seven years ago and scattered (quite literally) to the far corners of the earth like an OC musician diaspora, never to reunite again. I still maintain they were the best band I ever saw at Linda's Doll Hut and possibly the best band I ever saw live. Period. The Hurricanes playing the Doll Hut was like something from the Old Testament, with writhing, partially clothed bodies clutching at gilded effigies whilst being consumed by flame.

The band itself was a gathering of misfits worthy of Kelly's Heroes status, a group where (as Aristotle put it--or was it Sid Vicious?) "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts". Too dynamic for words, whether it was The J Edgar Hoover slapping that doghouse bass or that guitar-shredding knockout strawberry blond Twisty Lemons, they were doomed to implode and I'm surprised it took as log as it did. Now, Sammy Tonic, their front man was one of a kind for sure--screwball doesn't even begin to describe it. As the Reverend Gary Gomez put it "God threw away the shovel after he made that guy," and it's the truth.


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Mixology is Dead; Long Live Mixology!

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Douche
Every second and fourth Wednesday night of the month, legendary bartender/chef/restaurant insider Dave Mau hosts Dinner with Dave at Memphis at the Santora, where he treats drinkers to a free meal and live music as the evening progresses. To remind ustedes of this great night, Dave treats us every Wednesday morning that he's on to a random OC food or drink musing of his choice. Enjoy!!

My wife just loves it when I'm wrong. She's kinder about it than most and would never admit it anyway, but I can tell. When I put my foot in my mouth she cradles my idiocy like a warm cup of coffee on a crisp fall morning, savoring every molecule of my shame.

The good news is I'm not wrong very often but, when I am, look out, 'cuz it's usually a doozy..... So what have I been wrong about most recently? I was wrong to think what is currently termed "mixology" was bad for cocktail culture. It isn't....completely.

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