We have a smoker in our backyard. We use it maybe three times every summer, mostly for special occasions. When I heard that a smoke house was a standard home furnishing in Johnny Cash's home town of Dyess, Arkansas, it seemed surprising that the Federal government would have seen fit to devote expense and energy to what I consider an inessential though nice-to-have appliance. I should not have been surprised.
Claims of "authenticity" can be one of the laziest and most uniformed ways of talking about food. The authenticity conversation is worth having, of course, especially with people who know what they're talking about. So often though, claiming authenticity seems a way of sanctioning a food without really talking about how tasty it is, what makes it so good, or what, finally, it is.
Why in the world doesn't the Onion Roll serve a good onion roll? My heart sank when my lunch arrived: the pastrami and chopped liver looked fantastic, and the fries were perfectly crisped, but the onion roll…oy.
Both Jerusalem Café and Luo's Peking House let you bring a bottle to dinner, but this BYOB policy is unadvertised. Perhaps the reluctance to advertise the BYOB policy reflects a temperate sensibility that goes back to Oak Park's dry days.
According to Carnivore co-owner Brad Knaub, "We're selling the non-toxic species of puffer fish, and it's totally safe. You would not believe how thoroughly this fish inspected before it's sold to the public."