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Cuisine - Articles


Lobster is the right amount of self respect

Posted On: 9/14/17
Written By: Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC, PC-3

Lobster is the right amount of self respect I have two sides when it comes to lobster; the first says “Self, you have way too much self-respect to spend that sort of money on food.” Then the second side kicks in, as though mirroring the first from the other shoulder as you see portrayed in so many devil/angel skits on TV and in movies: “No, Self, you are way too good not to spend the money on yourself.” The struggle tears at my very core. Which of my little sides do I listen to? The side that knows that a $12 lobster is really costing me $48 in actual meat yield? Of course, this scenario doesn’t consider me using the shell and scraps for stock, bisque and the like, but I stray from the argument. I guess at this point I’ll just listen to the side that lives its life in a state of mayhem – the restless side. I tire of lobster readily, so I imagine a little indulgence won’t hurt. Luckily, my kids do not like lobster, so I can just make some pizza for them and everyone is happy. W...
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From Luc Besson to 90201 to pork tacos

Posted On: 9/7/17
Written By: Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC, PC-3

From Luc Besson to 90201 to pork tacos St. Augustine of Hippo wrote quite some time ago – paraphrased – that people can’t help “but to watch a man crushed under a cart’s wheel, knowing the outcome, but not able to stare away nonetheless.” I remember having a senior honors class on the dude at Loyola back in the 90s, and that was the one thing that I took away from all of those readings. Nowadays we coin this human phenomenon “train wreck,” something that kids first say when they open their mouth full of food to show off to their friends on the other side of the ubiquitous octagonal lunch table. It progresses from there to full-on train wrecks, whether they be the drama between friends and foes, reality TV or the silly things we see on local news. The evening hours are creeping up on me, and I’m getting ready to watch “La Femme Nikita” – the original French version with subtitles, with the inimitable Anne Parillaud. I’m excited, as I haven’...
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Discovering the best in liverwurst mousse

Posted On: 8/31/17
Written By: Paul Suplee,MBA, CEC PC3

Discovering the best in liverwurst mousse This column originally ran in an Aug. 21, 2014 edition of the Gazette When the sun rises on the last day of travel, we recognize as we open our eyes that we have to say goodbye to our impermanent abodes; the escape intended to inspire and refresh.  The destination typically meant to bring forth a new vision on old ways, and hopefully to rekindle the flame-within that pushes us through this business. There are very few places that I have visited that I couldn’t wait to get out of.  I try as hard as I can to find something unique, interesting or ubiquitous in a city’s culinary landscape.  I could write volumes on the Muffaletta of New Orleans, Hawaii’s Poke, the BBQ in Kansas City, Savannah or Abilene, the lobster rolls of New England, the scorched conch in Nassau, the blood sausage in Heidelberg, Sauerbraten in Landstuhl, the street foods of Baja, California and the fried bologna sandwiches of Cleveland.  I can remember them all as though I was ea...
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Don’t skirt the issue; let them eat steak

Posted On: 8/17/17
Written By: Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC, PC-3

Don’t skirt the issue; let them eat steak I’m sitting in a small Latin restaurant in Hudson Valley, New York. At least that is how I feel as I read the menu at Our Harvest while grabbing a beer. It never ceases to amaze me how food can transport us back in time as it launches our memories that are triggered by certain dishes. It was 10 years ago when I had my first yuca frita, but as I look at this simple small plate of grilled skirt steak and mashed avocado, I immediately reminisce on a challenging part of my career. It was early 2008, and I was at the Culinary Institute of America for the final round of testing for ProChef Certification. One of the competencies was Latin American Cuisine, and I decided to head out the night before the exam and find a Latin restaurant to pick up a few ideas; to get in the right mindset. Not able to remember the name of the place, I dug around online and found nothing, so perhaps the place has closed since that memorable evening. All I know is that, while what I had tonight did not ha...
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Fresh, local ingredients set this BLT apart

Posted On: 8/10/17
Written By: Paul Suplee, MBA CEC PC3

Fresh, local ingredients set this BLT apart Never one to do things the easy way, I decided to get a little exercise before a shift at the Reel Inn for White Marlin week. I figured that I would loosen up the ankles and the knees after the first two days behind the grill. The old joints were stiff, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Yeah, exercise; about that. Let’s just say that my stint in the emergency room on Monday didn’t take too terribly long. Now I’m trying to gather my wits as to whether I should finish the week out or let this knee rest. What was the size of a respectable grapefruit on day one is now down to a baseball-sized knot with some commendable hues of blues and purples that I’m pretty sure shouldn’t be associated with anyone’s knee. But this is what happens when we, the aged, try to keep up with the young. If I had to be brutally honest with you, as many of you readers insist that I be, I’ll be right back at it as soon as I am up and able; and well after this...
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Sous vide or not sous vide, that’s the question

Posted On: 7/27/17
Written By: Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC, PC-3

Sous vide or not sous vide, that’s the question Oscar Wilde once wrote that life imitates art far more than art imitates life, a sound reversal of Aristotle’s millennia-old tenet. Standard irreverence on the part of Wilde, his simple statement (a part of a much grander piece) holds such a profound meaning for me this evening. Fiction is a powerful tool, and in the original sense of this idiom it is simple to grasp that art is merely a representation of our surroundings. Bob Ross’ paintings of happy trees were certainly the blissful flora that he personally saw in the mountains. He merely managed to make it look easy and make us contented just watching him. In the present age, everyone is an “artist” with their cellphones, many of which have as high a resolution as some respectable DSLRs. What once was a snapshot that would have taken considerable time in post-production is now computer-generated and an unappreciated gift to the phone-artist who really hasn’t done anything, but take a picture after cli...
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On Denny’s, road trips, Slim Jims and GMO

Posted On: 7/20/17
Written By: Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC, PCIII

On Denny’s, road trips, Slim Jims and GMO I am back from national convention and settled in to the point that I can truly reflect upon the past week-and-a-half of travelling, educational seminars, Disney World, four fidgety kids in the car, southern fireworks stands and chicken fried steaks at roadside Denny’s. I did not eat any of the latter simply because heavy food makes me fall asleep behind the wheel. As I was hauling precious cargo, I had no interest in taking that chance, so I just stuck to Red Bull and Slim Jims. As soon as I returned to my little paradise on the Eastern Shore, it was time to get back to the grind – helping my amazing green-thumb mother-in-law with the backyard (she gets all of the credit on that), catching up on laundry and cleaning. I installed a safety railing in the pool and today will be a day filled with cleaning the house, gutting the refrigerator (God only knows what I left in there two weeks ago stashed behind the Kefir and eggs) and vacuuming. Well, at least all of that is on the...
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Grilled steak done well, not steak well done

Posted On: 7/6/17
Written By: Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC, PCIII

Grilled steak done well, not steak well done Years ago I helped open a new restaurant. On the menu, we offered a dry-aged 10-ounce New York Strip for $42 and a 12-ounce CAB New York Strip for $26. We decided on the choice as many people would not want to spend that much on dinner. The soft openings went well, and it was finally time for the grand opening. Excitement was buzzing in the air as the first orders came back to the kitchen, but before I could read the modifiers on the six-top rising out of the printer (which makes an unmistakable noise to any cook), the server came back to the line. “Chef, don’t yell at me,” she said. “This is exactly what the guests wanted.” Curious by her fevered statement, I read the ticket to find out that they wanted “2 NY Dry Steak” with the modifier “Well, well, well done. Extra crispy.” Confused I just looked up. The server told me that those were their exact words, and they were very clear about it. She continued, “They said they...
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Bacon jam key to ‘the best burger ever’

Posted On: 6/29/17
Written By: Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC PC-3

Bacon jam key to ‘the best burger ever’ There is nothing quite like having a place that you can go to just to hang out and enjoy a beverage and a plate of food after a long day of work. No pressure; no incessant need to try to maintain any pretenses. Just you, a couple of bites of food and an ice-cold Narragansett. It has been a long week at work; truth be told, it has been a long four weeks of fun as I work through a side project that I’ve had on my docket. Luckily, my summer will begin on Saturday and I will be more than happy to sleep in a little bit, go to bed a little later and just start to relax. As I sit at the bar of Our Harvest in Fenwick Island, I meet a lovely couple named Ty and Jenny. We compare notes on our dogs at the beach (both apparently less-than-intelligent, amazing well-bred designer dogs made for the ocean), our kids (none of them ever slept in infancy, and I mean never), and the bags under parents’ eyes that never seem to go away and the joys of living at the beach or working towards th...
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No punches pulled for this pulled pork

Posted On: 6/22/17
Written By: Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC, PC-3

No punches pulled for this pulled pork As my playlist jumps from Locash to Lagwagon, I ponder the many strange and wonderful things that happen in life. Who knows? Perhaps my musical taste is a metaphor for the ambiguity and freneticism that penetrate our everyday existence. If you could only know what is in my record collection (yes, I’m old enough to have one, albeit a fairly limited one due to my parents, but that’s a story for another day), you might be a touch concerned, but I don’t care. My brain likes to jump around a bit, and I for one like to go along for the ride. Tonight was one for the books; the tiki bar is open, the fire pit is blazing and the pulled pork was on the money. There was nothing difficult about the latter, but I guess there is a bit of the fabled gestalt that lends itself to a simple dish. After all, with an evening of good friends and the kids of aforementioned friends splashing around in the pool and making s’mores, it’s not hard to make anything taste that good. I...
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