The flavors Iliana De La Vega shares at her "humble" food truck in Austin, TX, are far from HUMBLE. There is NOTHING Humble or modest about what Iliana does. I say that in a good way. Her food has a personality that SHINES. A taste that SINGS Clearly, with HIGH Notes, deep LOW gut-pleasing tastes and pleasurable middle, side and any and all notes, flavors and sensations that come together bringing forth a culinary discovery, that speaks of a kitchen alchemy that needs to be savored, shared, celebrated and perpetuated. The only thing Humble about the experience Iliana shared with me last night, was perhaps the concept of savoring Haute cuisine around a food truck.
The Brussels Sprouts at Butcher, the casual spot by Donald Link in the Warehouse District in New Orleans, were so delicious that I ordered a second serving after I arrived at our table, having answered a call from John Currence. John my dear man is the other Southern Food God completing the Trifecta with Donald Link & Susan Spicer as far as DEEEEEEP South chefs go. Butcher is a sibling to Cochon. It is also easy to be at. Has a wonderful energy. Of course Charlie saw the operation and wondered how things would change if the chefs had Korin knives to use. I ate the Mac 'n' Cheese so quickly that I had none left by the time I felt inspired to use the iPhone to photograph. Charlie of course missed Gael Greene's favorite Mac & Cheese from American Masala that I make and gave me not-so-discreet hints about making it soon after our return to NYC. LOVE the energy, love the concept, and love the simple and honest feel. Also loved the very mixed customer base it was serving. Heaven to my ecumenical and secular mindset. Donald Link was in the kitchen, at least chatting and leading, and I got to say hello to him. Though neither one of us knew the other. Our lunchmate identified him for me. I had to say hello. He seems rather modest, kind and decent. It was stamped on his face. That alone makes him a man I would respect for long years.
While brainstorming ideas for my hard-to-shop-for mother-in-law's 50th birthday--some four months away--I told my sister-in-law (Mary, photographed above with Suvir, Bret and Bob), "I'm going to write Suvir!" She looked skeptical. "I'm just going to write him! What can he do? Say no?"
After our delicious meal at the Chocolate Mill, (click here if you missed that post, you should go see it even if you've already read it, as I've updated it a little bit), it was time for the main event of the day: Lake George.
The days adventures began with a bowl of cereal and some Chocolate Milk from Battenkill Valley Creamery. It wasn't exactly yesterday's life-changing meal, but sometimes even professional chefs get lazy. We ended up in Lake George by late afternoon (look above), and those adventures shall be shared in next post.
Before arriving at the farm, my mom would tell endless stories about Suvir and Charlie, as she had the privilege of spending a week with them at the Floating Island Writer's Workshop. And within an hour of being here, I told my mom that they were better than I ever could've imagined.
Of course, it took a while for the Dobrez-Tiggleman's to get to Hebron from Grand Rapids, Michigan.