April 3

It’s Always Gully In British Columbia

What does a man, some pepperoni and three dozen seagulls have in common?

It’s a dreary Tuesday here in Baltimore. I’m sitting at my desk (day jobs suck) reading the news while I wait for a new pile of work to come in when I see the most random title on The Takeout:

If You Read Nothing Else Today, Read How Seagulls and Pepperoni Got A Man Banned From a Hotel

This led me to a CBC link with far more information than Kate Bernot had supplied. Seventeen years ago, a man was staying in British Columbia, at a hotel called The Fairmont Empress for a business meeting. Like all us kindhearted foodies, Nick Burchill brought a suitcase full of Brothers Pepperoni along with him for his friends who don’t get to dine on the cured meat regularly. Thinking that the meats would spoil without refrigeration, Nick placed the pepperoni near an open window in the hopes that the cold air would provide some sort of support. What happened next is like something out of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie ‘The Birds” if it had been directed by Mel Brooks.

Burchill left only to return several hours later to a room full of hungry hungry seagulls, ravaging the Nova Scotian delicacy. The room was destroyed, the gulls were belligerent and at least one member of the cleaning crew went home feeling queasy. Burchill was allowed to stay for the remainder of his trip but his boss received a letter a few days later explaining that his employee would not be allowed to stay at The Empress again.

Now, seventeen years later, after making an in-person apology and a gift of Brothers Pepperoni, the ban has been lifted and Mr. Burchill is allowed to stay at The Empress once more. I imagine the new management made a crack about how many guests he’s allowed to have stay with him.

To read the whole story in all of it’s silly glory, here is the link to the CBC article. What do you think? Personally, I’d rather have gulls in my room than a flock of no good pigeons.


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March 26

Crown City Cooking | Uncle Matt’s Chicken Parm

Uncle Matt will put your mom’s chicken parm to shame.
As far back as I can remember, my Uncle Matt has always been a king among chefs. He practices simple, easy to do recipes that leave you craving more. Now, for the first time ever, we want to share one of his crown jewels with you: a simple chicken Parmesan recipe that will satisfy the entire family!

-Four to Six Chicken Cutlets

-Breadcrumbs (I prefer San Giorgio brand)

-Fresh Sliced Mozzarella Cheese

-Three Eggs

-Tomato Sauce (dealer’s choice)

-Salt and Pepper

-Grated Parmesan Cheese

  1. Brine your chicken a minimum of one hour.
  2. Remove chicken from brine using paper towels to dry them off.
  3. Butterfly the chicken and use a meat mallet to pound the chicken until it’s good and flat.
  4. Crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk until the yolks are thoroughly beaten. Add a pinch to two pinches of the grated Parmesan to the egg mix, whisk one final time. In a separate bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with salt and pepper.
  5. Prep your cast iron pan (or any regular pan), this way you can go from dredging directly to cooking.
  6. One by one take your chicken cutlets and dredge them: dipping first in the yolk (allow the excess egg wash to drip back into the bowl before proceeding) and then the breadcrumbs and then place directly in the hot pan. If you flattened your chicken, the cooking process should take between 10 and 15 minutes.
  7. There are two schools of thought when it comes to sauce: you could either cook the sauce in the pan with the chicken or cook it in a separate pot all together. If you choose the former, make sure the chicken has been flipped at least once on both sides. You want the chicken to be near done before adding the sauce to the pan since the sauce won’t need much time to heat up.
  8. Add slices of mozzarella cheese last, allowing a few second for it to melt on top of the chicken before removing it from the pan.



Be sure to follow me on social media:

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March 23

Robservations | The Finer Things

Hey man Rob Lee here and I have something on my mind – the finer things. That’s right, fancy shit, caviar dreams and Moet wet dreams. Bong! Luxury can be doable – it’s hard but we have to treat ourselves. When I worked for Verizon as a Marketing Analyst all I did was work. Work, Work, Work like Rihanna or Meek Mill. I rarely enjoyed what my large paycheck afforded me. I bought shit to keep up with the Joneses – turns out I hated them. I would go on a family trip with my girlfriend’s family and otherwise “Save Dat Money”.

Over the years, my sending habits have changed and I became more materialistic – some might say. I just like nice shit. I usually don’t get super excited for things, but for experiences – whether it’s wearing something nice to an event – for example: this year I wore an oversized long coat – I call it my Ric Flair robe – I feel great wearing it. The cost didn’t matter – just how I felt. That’s something I was lacking in spending money earlier, when I had more. It’s like it matters more.

Finer things

So, my girlfriend’s birthday is two months after mine. We have a practice of treating each other well – it’s service of the relationship; doing something nice for a person you care about. My girl and our friends went out for a night on the town in January in Fells Point. During our stroll for ice cream, we saw the Sagamore Pendry. My girl made an off-hand comment about how much a place like that would cost. A few weeks later she told me she wanted to stay there for her birthday. I told her no problem and I made it happen. I looked up the place and got some of her input and made it happen. The suite we had was pretty expensive but worth it. This place is the definition of a luxury hotel.

The Experience

I went to the hotel with plans of meeting my girl who was coming back to town. She was flying in and would arrive later that night so I checked in to enjoy some of the amenities and get comfortable with our room.  I arrive and noticed a few things – the place was packedpeople spend money on nicetiesour room was enormousthe suite was bigger than my first apartment – and, the service was exemplary – I’m a stickler for good service, some people take jobs and demonstrate shitty customer service despite working in a job which life’s blood is customer service.  With some time to kill so I started watching Silence of the Lambs on Cinemaxthey had premium cable to my surprise.

I wanted a drink so I go to the Canon Room and have a killer drink call Shibuya which is made with Suntory Whiskey. I was lit! After some time, I returned to my room to watch Monday Night Raw. By the end of hour 1, my girl texts me to inform me of her flight landing and she was headed over. I was very excited. Excited for her potential excitement of seeing how dope the Pendry is and how good our room is. She arrived and we ordered dinner and drank wine – a bottle of a Rose she’d been looking for. We had a nice dinner of Spaghetti Pomdoro (Me) and Swordfish over a Vegetable Crudite (her).

Final Thoughts

From all accounts she enjoyed herself, taking pictures and enjoying the waterfront view. This is a memorable day for me and as she told me a memorable birthday for her. I’m happy to have been a part of it and to spend money on something meaningful, the finer things. I was happy to spend what I spent (it’s pretty gauche to say the amount, wouldn’t you agree?) for one night with my favorite person in the world.




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