Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Coupla weeks back I was privaleged to be a guest on the international radio phenomenon, "Time Out With Phillip Silverstone" which airs around the world on TuneIn radio. I've known Phillip for almost 30 years now, and our paths have crossed so many times at food and wine and other social events we've both lost track.
Phillip produces and hosts “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” a weekly two-hour entertainment and lifestyle podcast heard exclusively on TuneIn radio anytime and anywhere worldwide either on the free TuneIn app for all smart phones and tablets (Search: Phillip Silverstone) or online on Tunein at: http://bit.ly/1gY2Ht4.
So we had some recorded fun, Phillip, wine archaeologist/aficionado Jill Weber and me, and now you can hear about the beers we tasted and the stories we told, on the latest edition of "Time Out With Phillip Silverstone". Let me know what you think!
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Yesterday was a sad day for Philadelphia journalism, for its Jewish community and for me.
The nearly 130-year old Jewish Exponent, the second oldest newspaper of its kind in the country, decided to turn its editorial and production operations over to Baltimore-based Mid-Atlantic Media, resulting in the layoff of 15 editorial and reporting staff at the paper and its companion magazine, INSIDE.
In an official statement on the Jewish Exponent's website, officials from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia,who published the Exponent and all of its companion publications, wrote:
We are proud to announce a new affiliation with Mid-Atlantic Media, a growing media company centered in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., corridor with which we have contracted for the Jewish Exponent’s editorial and production operations. Readers of Jewish newspapers in three large regional Jewish communities already benefit from the expertise of Mid-Atlantic Media, which today publishes the Baltimore Jewish Times, Washington Jewish Week and Pittsburgh’s Jewish Chronicle.
What can we in Philadelphia expect from Mid-Atlantic Media?
- A commitment to more local content, with less reliance on wire services
- A thriving, vibrant online presence that augments our print edition
- A website optimized for viewing on smartphones and other mobile devices
- A greater commitment to social media content by our journalists
- A newspaper that remains for many years the voice of Philadelphia’s Jewish community
I wrote for INSIDE magazine and a couple of those companion publications for the past 4 years, and I enjoyed every minute of those 4 years. The magazine was offically discontinued yesterday in the transition over to Mid-Atlantic, and I will dearly miss working with its terrific editor, Greg Salisbury.
4 years ago this month, Greg asked me to fill in for one of his columnists, our mutual friend, Katie Loeb, at her suggestion, and write an article about beer. He had been the recipient of more than a handful of press releases from me over the years, and knew I could write, and he knew of my beer pedigree from my years of running the Golden Age of Beer in Philadelphia Tours. But in truth I had never written an article on beer before. Greg had the story angle ready for me: asking various restaurateurs and tavern owners where they would go to have a beer and who some of their favorite bartenders were. It was the easiest article I've ever written.
Two months later, he asked me to pen another article. "Explore the idea of Jews and baseball," he wrote. At first, I was confused; I had been a food writer and editor in all of my journalistic pusuits, going back to high school. And, well, I thought, I'm not Jewish.
"You're a good writer, though," he said. "You'll figure it out."
He then directed me to request a copy of a relatively new video entitled "Jews and Baseball" from its Canadian producer, and to use the video as a springboard for the article, adding the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY and the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia as places I should contact. That was the kind of editor Greg was. Intensely creative, strategic and supportive. I dove into the material and wrote a respectable piece for INSIDE. He was effusive in his praise of the piece, maybe a little too effusive, but he knew that I had been in unchartered territory. That's the kind of editor he was.
Months before I worked for INSIDE I had written Greg about a friend of mine who had become something of an adventurer, mountain climber and ice wall climber, who recently made the ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Greg suggested that I tackle that story myself for the magazine. "You already know most of the story anyway," he told me, and he gave me the name of another person, a local female tennis instructor, who had also recently made the climb. "Give me two articles, side by side, about 1,000 words each," he instructed. "You can do that."
And for the next three years, Greg gave me assignments that had barely anything to do with food or any subject with which I was familiar, a risky gambit for any editor, but Greg plied me with confidence in my abilities as he plied me with unfamiliar subject matter to write about. I wrote about medical weight loss, superstitions (for which I was nominated for a journalism award), unusual wedding venues, Hurricane Sandy's aftermath at the Jersey shore, charitable giving, hard cider, re-purposed industrial buildings, beer cocktails, a Three Stooges museum (!), Kosher Spanish wines, local craft distillers, eau de vies, a drink advice column, and lastly, for the magazine pictured above, the final issue of INSIDE, artisan coffee roasters in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Every article for INSIDE was an adventure, and every one of them, except for the coffee piece, was a Greg Salisbury idea. And for that I am very grateful. Greg expanded my journalistic bandwidth, helped me polish my writing style and gave me confidence to write outside of my foodie comfort zone, which helped me in a big way to tackle the articles I have written for The Trentonian.
This blog post sounds like an appreciation of Greg Salisbury, something you write after he passes or retires, but I am sure he is quite alive and no where near retirement (he's more than a bit younger than me actually). Greg WAS the magazine, and this screed started out as an obituary for it, but this is what I should have been writing about all along. He would probably have suggested that I not write about him at all. But I chose this story all by myself.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Things have been moving rapidly here in Lawrenceville, and it's slowed just long enough for me to celebrate some good news. My hard work at The Trentonian (and to a certain extent, INSIDE Magaziine) has caught the attention of a major news network, and, after weeks of negotiations and counter-negotiations, the meticulous vettting of my resume and even a brief trip to Australia, I'm prepared to announce that I will be joining Fox News as a Senior Editor and Commentator.
To those of you who think you know my political bent, let me assure you that I will be as fair and balanced in my reporting and commentary as one could ever hope for at Fox News, which, of course, means, hopefully a fresh new voice at the network. Diversity is very important there.
At first I will join the team at Fox and Friends, adding to the roster of Steve Doocy, Elisabeth Hasselback and Brian Kilmeade and helping them with daily corrections, news facts and current events such as ethnic stereotypes, gay/LGBT culture and celebrities reported dead that are very much alive. I will soon after move around the broadcast day's schedule at the network, joining Gretchen Carlson in her time slot, then Tucker Carlson on Red Eye and any of the other Carlsons working at Fox News (turns out there's a LOT of them!).
I've been told by none other than Chairman Rupert Murdoch himself (well, through Roger Ailes, the News Director, but he said Mr. Murdoch was talking into his earpiece at the time) that I will eventually make my first contributor appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, but I will need to exercise patience until the network can ascertain if Mr.O'Reilly has concluded his raw meat diet. I don't have the complete details on that yet, but I know that interns aren't even allowed near Mr. O'Reilly before mealtime. I'm certainly no intern, but I can wait. I have a lot to live for.
I will also become a part of Sean Hannity's universe as well, and will initially be tasked with guest appearances of "total agreement" (the network's term), so I have to brush up on the birth history storylines of the current President as well as the pending Democratic presidential candidates for 2016, as well as learn how to polish Mr. Hannity's hair. I'm a team player, believe me.
So wish me luck; I'm as excited as I've ever been, believe me. The commute to New York every morning at 4AM will take some getting used to, but hey, that's show biz. I mean, the news biz. I mean, Fox News.
Friday, March 20, 2015
Well I finally have something in common with our Commander in Chief, The Big Kahuna, The Prez, Mr. POTUS himself.
We've picked the same NCAA Basketball Tournament bracket. And we're tied. Precisely. We're in the 72.9% percentile of winning brackets, which is tantamount to 37th places losers. Our rank? 3,131,506.
I feel so proud. Hail to the Chief.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
We're not even more than a few hours into the NCAA Men's Tournament, and already a couple of huge upsets, with UAB eliminating heavily favored Iowa State, 60-59, and Georgia State winning by a single point as well, bumping off 3rd seed Baylor, 57-56. Even Notre Dame barely escaped with a wine against Northeaster, 69-65.Yeah, my bracket is likely ruined (I had Baylor going to the Elite 8, so there ya go), but that's why this is the best sports tournament on earth. Upset City can happen at any moment. Wow.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
You know what this is. It's the universally recognizable symbol for college basketball insanity. It's the symbol for dogged research by late-comer college basketball afficionados (like me) to fill out countless numbers of brackets on countless websites, office pools and other friendly gambling venues to see whose powers of prediction reign supreme.
Well I'm in the mood to win this year and I've officially lost track of how many brackets I've filled out so far. But here's my ESPN entry: http://games.espn.go.com/tournament-challenge-bracket/2015/en/entry?entryID=3028182
How does yours compare?
The Madness is here!
Thursday, November 20, 2014
And I thought the day would never arrive.
Today, the 3rd Thursday of November, is traditionally "Beaujolais Nouveau Day", when the fresh pressed juice of the Gamay grape is rushed into bottles and shipped from Beaujolais around the world to celebrate this year's harvest and to portend the quality of the traditionally aged and bottled Beaujolais yet to come.
I will report back here as soon as I've secured a few bottlings to sample. I'll be roasting a turkey tonight for dinner, and making some of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes to go alongside, to test this year's Nouveau's legs in advance of next week's big food orgy. So check back here later today and tonight.
And now that the dust has settled after the evening meal, let me tell you about this year's Nouveau. First of all, buy it. It's going to be a good year for Beaujolais. Lots of strawberry and blueberry in the nose, and some of that green vineyard aroma that makes you think of a walk in the vineyard. I personally love that about Nouveau, that you taste the entire cycle of the wine from earth to vine to grape to drink. So few wines ever give you that gift, unless you get to visit a winery and taste a new wine from the siphon.
But the drink is what is so worth it this year: blackberries, wild blackberries right up front in that first sip, wild Oregon blackberries like the ones I found alongside the highways outside of Portland, big blasts of juice. Then nice, round jammy grapes, nicely sweet with a little tang. The wine bounced nicely off my herb-roasted turkey, nicely counterpointing the sage and marjoram pepper, salt and oregano that I rubbed all over the turkey. Married well with the oniony, celery stuffing I made as well. A nice finishing dryness to this year's Nouveau, too, cutting nicely through the buttery mashed potatoes and gravy.
Sipping a glass now, after dinner, this year's wine has enough to pair with a nibble of cheese, maybe a medium to sharp cheddar, nothing complicated.. But you will definitely be able to enjoy this wine on its own, long after you've basked in the compliments for pouring it at Thanksgiving. It's that good.