Much of the Southern experience revolves around food. The gathering of it, preparing it and the consumption of it. It isn’t a solitary endeavor. From the talking over family dramas in the kitchen to the playing of them out at the table, Southerners consider food to be an important social activity second only to football.
Capturing a great drink picture is all about the light. Unless the drink is served in a paper bag. Then it’s all about the paper bag. Because. So Southern.
It is a privilege for me to be allowed into restaurant kitchens. Every part of a restaurant must work together for a successful experience for customers, but what happens in the kitchen is the foundation and if things go wrong here, there’s only one way to go thereafter.
I first had Zipitios in the alley behind Celis Produce. Until Ricky and Niria opened up at Grandview Public Market, I would chase these tacos from Elizabeth Avenue Station to Tacos and Hip Hop.
I should have brought a wedge of brie with me when I went to Bread by Johnny. Absolutely amazing bread.
Located in the revitalized Mid City section of Baton Rouge, White Star Market is fast becoming a fixture on the local food scene.
Located in the White Star Market, Chow Yum Phat has already moved on from this location to a larger space within the Market.
With the zeal of the newly converted I encourage you to get to Reve Coffee Roasters as soon as possible.
there will be tacos.
South Florida doesn’t really “do” Fall. Someone told me the other day “I haven’t been cold since 1977”. But, we can still celebrate the season. Creatives in the community got together to put on a Fall inspired dinner.
Dan “Danny” Catalfumo, Sr, 88, learned to be a cobbler from his father starting when he was 7 years old in his family shoe repair shop, F&C Repair in Brooklyn. F&C is now in it’s 111th year operating out of the same building. The second to last child out of a family of nine kids (“I’m the only one left”), he spent three years in Korea before moving to South Florida in 1961. He met his wife while he was on furlough and married her 17 days after they first met. She passed away 11 years ago. Danny said that his priest told him that God must be keeping him around so that he can keep aggravating people.
Even though he was so far away from family, he and his brother (who took over the family business) stayed close, often helping each other out when something was needed in their respective shops. The machines he uses today are irreplaceable. A couple machines he pointed out were from 1941 and 1963. He repairs them himself and will not use what is being made today as he says they are mostly made out of plastic. Working with Danny in the shop are Annette Candiano and Tony Piraino, both of whom have been with Danny for years.
Danny uses leather from Italy and gets shoes mailed to him from places as far away as California and Arizona. He, jokingly told me, “I fix broken hearts.” It seemed to come true though when a guy in his thirties came in while I was there. He had two pair of shoes. About one pair, I overheard him tell Danny “These are my favorite shoes.” About the other pair he said that he had gotten married last year in Savannah and instead of renting shoes to go with his tux he had bought these shoes. (Danny replied “At least you got something out of it.”) Later a lady came in to drop off a Louis Vuitton bag from the 90’s. She and Danny recognized each other from the early days of the shop. She said that she had moved here in 1961 from Cuba. After they hugged they caught up on family, births and deaths and Danny showed her his wall of pictures of his family.
It seemed to me in the short time that I was there, that through people sharing bits of themselves with Danny that he was, in fact, fixing broken hearts. It just looks on the outside like he’s fixing shoes.
E.J. Schrader Mattress Company was founded in 1956 by Enoch Schrader. It is located on Norton Avenue alongside the railroad that cuts through Palm Beach County from north to south. Today it’s an interesting contrast between a company that has been in operation since the 50’s and the Brightline trains that race past the open factory doors.
The first time I visited the factory it was January. The sliding doors on the east and west sides of the building were open and a refreshing breeze was blowing straight through the building. Walking around the space was like stepping back in time. The walls are covered in years and years worth of memorabilia. The most interesting of which were label after label of other mattress companies. It seemed a little like an opposing team capturing an opponent’s mascot. When I commented how wonderful and refreshing the factory was, one employee chuckled and said, “You should come back when it’s hot.”
On any given day, the seven employees at EJ Schrader are working on mattresses in a variety of stages. Everyone who works there knows how to do every job. Diane Schrader, daughter-in-law of the founder told me that E.J. would load up his station wagon with miscellaneous hardware and drive over to the west coast of Florida to sell items out of his car as well as make cold calls. Some of the clients he got then, they still have today. E.J. Schrader specializes in custom made mattresses, many for the boat, rv and interior designer trade. From start to finish, everything is done right here in West Palm Beach.
On the day that I was there, it was warm. Not September warm but warm enough. As I was finishing up taking pictures, that same employee that I spoke to in January, caught me wiping the sweat off my face with my shirt. He said “Hot, right?” I just shook my head yes, too exhausted to say anything. I left with a great deal more appreciation for what went into making, inarguably, the best mattresses in town. I own one so I should know.
Louisiana has a cultural identity unlike anywhere else in the United States. From our love of food to love a good party, it is easy to see that what makes Louisiana special is community. From the groups of old men meeting for beignets and coffee on a weekly basis or families setting up chairs and tents for a parade, people are visiting...and eating..and eating and visiting. For me, Louisiana is a roll down the windows and smell the sweet air kind of place that I will never tire of returning to.