Been Around the World and Back

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Time does not change me.  I change time.

There's an picture of me that I will never forget - I am a kid, in a hallway in one of our temporary homes, it's Christmas.  I had just been given 2 dollhouses as presents.  I had a shit eating grin on my face that defied time.  Cut to 35 some-odd years later.  Now, I am in Istanbul, Turkey (the Asian side).  We've almost wrapped a new Arabic talk show I helped launch.  I've got cold champagne in one hand and that same shit eating grin on my mug.  I suppose not much has changed since old Misty girl was a kid.

Been getting lots of emails on where the heck am I and why is The Tooth not being updated. 

Well, I've been a busy bee - I sold my first show that I created from scratch straight to series to National Geographic Channel and worked on that for months down in Texas.  It will air in January.

Right after we wrapped, I drove all through mainland Mexico, and even did a 2 week stint in San Miguel de Allende, where I am most certain I would have been murdered if I'd stayed a hot second longer.

I just got back from a month in Istanbul, where a new talk show I was working on was one of the toughest (and funnest) of my career.  Americans, Turks and Arabs - what a lovely lesson in world politics.

Currently, I am now home on my boat in the marina with my dog, Minka, and watching the sun set - it's massive and golden orange and I cannot take my eyes off it - which is causing me loads of hotspots while writing this.

Bottom line, I'm back.  I'm going to create & sell more shows.  I'm going to make many more wonderful meals in my floating kitchen.  I'm going to get a 27' Airstream (upgrade from the 23').  I'm going to make it all happen, just like I always thought I would.  Same shit eating grin the whole way. 

Much to come - mst


The Farm at San Benito - Raw Foodies Heaven

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It ain't just carrot sticks.

The evolution of raw food has been something I've followed closely over the past few years.  Not that I ever thought I'd cook it; or go on a wellness retreat where it was front and center; or become slightly obsessed with it.

But, I suppose that time has come.  I'm over in the Philippines right now - at a wonderfully remote sanctuary called The Farm at San Benito.  It's an enormous coconut plantation that has been turned into a working coconut farm/luxe getaway from those needing to detox from all things dominant in their lives.  Like me - too much work, too little me time, too much wine and dairy and caffeine, not enough treks through the mountains.  Things like that.

So, I left.  I simply booked a ticket (OMG, using my FF miles, I scored a 1st class all the way ticket for $33 bones - can you just?)  and got on a plane.   Old school style.  Hate to say it, but I did no extra research, planned no other trips.  The goal was simply to spend 10 days on the farm.  Do a bit of yoga, rock multiple massages and other treatments, check out my blood with the Dr. on staff to see what is going on in my system (mjor allergies to wheat and dairy - I KNEW IT!), detox from constant internet/iphone monitoring, eat super well and clean and just really, grab a fresh sheet of paper and a nice pen + start over.

Simple.  I'm almost done with my stay here and I can tell you - though I didn't do their full on detox (all juices), I still feel pretty dang good.  I've done all the above and also just really learned lots about raw food.  I mean, the coconut crackers and nut cheese they make here rival sour cream & onion chips with cheesy dip.   For real!   I took the prep class in their open kitchen, bought their beautifully shot Alive cookbook, manage to inahle 3-4 courses at every meal and danggggggg....it's all just so, so, so good.  Well, then there's the late night soba noodle fiasco's that happen in my room:)

Just makes me want to go home and lay off.  I mean, I eat super good - but really rich.  Lots of cream, cheese, dairy - but at least it's all organic.  I need way more leafy greens and about 10x as much fiber.  Ditch the white stuff (sugar, salt, flour, etc...) as much as possible and instead, focus on more natural foods.  Which is really next to impossible when you are a foodie like me.   With a great kitchen, to boot.  Stick more to wine, less to the perfect old fashioned's I do so love.

But, I've been here and I don't miss a thing - not the coffee, not the bread + butter, not the daily cocktail(s).  I'm not saying I wont be right back on that train, but maybe I will be a little more aware - and even more judgemental of where my food comes from (home ain't the prob, it's restaurants).

Plus, it was really nice to be alone with just me and my thoughts.  And, to remember what MST real energy is.  I will be back!

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Wild River Oysters - Best Find of 2011.

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I first became obsessed and I mean FREAKIN' OBSESSED with oysters while hi-tailing across Mexico in my little solar trailer.  A spit of a village sprang up out of nowhere and row after row of crude tables were draped along the 2 lane road - each sporting piles and piles of fresh oysters.  Never had a better one since, though my cravings have taken me high and low. 

Now, I know for sure in these jaunts, I've never had wild river oysters.  At least that I know of.  So, to hear a waitress in a tiny seafood shack in Rhode Island rave about these just harvested wild river oysters was a bit of a revelation.  Wha??  Who knew. 

We ordered up a half dozen and tentatively sniffed, picked, poked, and were just generally suspicious of them for a good :15 seconds.  They were all gone in the next :15.  What a fly back to the past.  Now, I'm not saying they were as stunning as my plump Veracruz finds, but they blew away most oysters I've had round-the-world.

Nice to know the river can still turn out some wildly spectacular goods.

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Indonesian Food - Always Amazing

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See now, this is the food I'm talking about.  It's the kind that rural folks round-the-world whip up from whatever they have on hand.   Some would look at this pic and see the grease on the wall, the old dishes, the sheen of oil and be horrified. 

I, on the other hand, see joy.  I see the kind of food I would travel half way around the world to get a plate of.  I found an Indonesian restaurant the other day in LA that was unreal.  Tasted pretty much just like the above that's for real in Indonesia...in my fave village of all - Sembalun...on the island of Lombok.

I was going to try to make it over there before another season starts up - but with the travel time, it would take way too long and I'd have about 1 day in the village - so it will just have to wait.  Thankfully, lots of volunteers have been pouring into the village and teaching, creating and spreading the 4th World Love. 

I've got a countdown going already for the end of this season...til I eat proper again!


Montauk - South Edison - They Have Managed Perfection in a Bite

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Another season down...

It was the first time I'd been alone and away from TV Land in months and months.   Just a shortie pie trip to Montauk, land of endless sun and shine if you believe what all those in the know spew about. 

I just wanted to escape the bowels of New Jersey for a brief second.  Have a good meal by the beach.  I tried to roll out all summer long, but it never could happen - just too busy working myself into a frenzy day after godawful day.  Until one afternoon, I could stand it no longer.  Montauk had to be. 

3.5 hours later, I was at a divey fish shack in the marina drinking some sake.  One hour after that, I was half tossed, cruising around scoping out chippy hotels, deserted beaches, swaying sailboats and the sandy feet of happy people.  What a nice life.  Just a real nice life.

Slowly, I made my way to South Edison, a new joint just off the beach.  I'd been stalking it all summer long.  Make a rez.  Cancel.  Make a rez.  Cancel.  Finally...here.

Exactly my kind of place. Seasonal; organic looking elements; amazing locally sourced menu;  chill vibe; delightful cocktology going on.  I managed to drop about a buck fifty just on ME and MY BELLY.  I wanted it all...and had most of it.  Oysters, lobster roll, white shrimp, scallops, olive oil cake, margaritas.   I don't even have words to describe any of it besides perfection. 

We should all eat this way every day of our lives. 

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Next to Veracruzian Oysters, These Are Tops

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South Edison and their amazing food...

The whole time I've been in Jersey, I've been dying to make it to the small coastal fishing village of Montauk for some seafood.  Just a simple batch of oysters and something wildly spirited to wash it down with.  Of course, the search began online for where to chow and the #1 place that had the exact type of meal that I love (proper local ingredients peppered throughout, good names for dishes, mixology style drinks) was South Edison. 

My tale of the meal I had there will be a post unto itself, but until I get a minute, let me just tease with an oyster.  They were so plump, so meaty, so fresh and spectacular, I had to order more, more, more.  I've not had anything even remotely this good in the oyster fam since my backroad Mexico days a few years back. 

It's a trip worth taking, even if just for this one bite.  But, trust me, at this restaurant, the whole menu must be devoured to do it up right.

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Just Damn Good Bites - And the End of Resolutions.

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There go the resolutions.

Resolutions are a funny thing.  I make about 300 of them every single day.  Eat better, excercise more, have more patience, stop procrastinating, stop half-assin', drink less.   All the same jazz every time I let one slip a little.  Which happens all the time. 

This year, I'm calling a truce to all my resolutions.  I resolute to not resolute. 

Instead, I'm just gonna be real smart about my actions. If it makes sense to go into my bod, well, toss it in.  If it's bad for me, skip it.  If I feel like waking up at 5 am and going on a jog, do it.  If my muscles needs rest, skip the gym.  If I can knock it off the to do list, just crank it out and be done forever.  If I have to take a breather before I lose my patience, well...just close my eyes and reset my composure.   Try new foods - don't just eat the familiar.  Splurge on things that might make my life a little easier - like the new mega-tiny 11" Air MAC I just bought.  Cook more at home, and skip the sick feeling I get close to every time I eat out - not cause of the food, but because I get so excited I way, way overeat.  Travel new places - even if it's just a weekend flight somewhere cheapo (out of the country, of course).  Go camping and look at the stars.  STOP using the iphone in mid-convo, mid-dinner, mid-driving.  Engage more with every little thing around me.  See more.  Watch more.  Amp up the awareness level.  Finish a book - not have eight going.  Let my mind drift more.  Streamline all my belongings.  Structure my existence for how I live, not how others impact my world.

Basically, just keep on keepin' on.  Try flyin' in a small plane.  Give the bar method a go.  Practice different ways to get my sailboat into the slip.  Lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling (without feeling slightly weird).  Give peeps the benefit of the doubt.  Handwrite more stuff.  Give my eyes a break.  Walk and walk with no set destination in mind. 

And, mainly when it comes to food...realize and accept that it is my favorite thing in the entire world.  Massage it, let it flourish and use it for the good of mankind.  Yup, food.  Learn about it, don't fear it.  And, lastly - EAT IT ALL.

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I Once Traveled. Now I Eat.

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Once upon a time, I used to travel.

I'd take off on a whim and just hit the road to anywhere.  Could be old haunts, sometimes new lands.  Just anywhere but where I was at the moment.  The road is where I figure stuff out.  Where the lines between past/present/future merge together and I can finally, finally get somethings laid out into something proper.

Ah, but that was once upon a time ago.  Now, it seems I just work.  Work and work and work.  So, I must travel thru food.  Good food that is all so fun to track down and introduce to new peeps (namely the crew on this TV show).   Best new find as of late out here in the nowhere-land that is NJ is Pithara Tavern, a little Greek spot in Highland Park.

It's next door to a small grocery/liquor store that sells all Greek wines that ya haul over to the BYOB.  And, the proper thing to do is just order wild.  Plaki-style snapper (unbloodybelievable), spicy hummus with grilled pita triangles, charred octopus in a copper pan dripping with olive oil and tangy vinegar, chunks after chunk of salty feta,  soft gigantes with dill, homemade yogurt that is just silly good, rice stuffed tomatoes, branzino grilled whole.  Couple of bottles of Greek rose and you've got a trip straight to the baby island of Anti-Paros. 

Oh yah, I used to travel.

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Swinging Door in Texas...Home Sweet Home...

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Texas is just damn big.

We were just down filming in Texas for a few days and to me, the mighty state of Texas is all about Tex-Mex style Mexican food, freezing cold beer and massive plates of BBQ (thank you Swinging Door, which reminds me of home in TN!).  Not much else.  I found good stuff all the way around.  Backwoods BBQ, cold beer in little barrels + you just grab one on your way to a table, and Mexican food so good and cheap it's insulting.  I still couldn't wait to bolt though.  Bolt - back to New Jersey.  Could you imagine?

Who knows when I'll roll back thru Texas...though I do want to make it to Marfa one day (it's supposed to be an incredibly cool little town in the middle of nowhere with skies that stretch forever).  I also love Texas Hill Country, but sadly, I was in neither of those...I was holed up in the Hotel Derek in Houston managing my prosecco habit and trying to make a friggin' TV show.

Onto better drinks...

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Hamilton Grill Room - One of the Best Meals EVER.

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Not too many places in the world are worthy of the perfect rave. 

I mean - the absolute, 100%, hands down perfection rave.  But the place I ended up at last night gets it all the way.

Tucked way back down a short gravelly alley, and perched right on the river in Lambertville, NJ is Hamilton Grill House.   Open fire with a chef slinging on fresh seafood.  Champagne bought from the small bar across the way (it's BYOB).  Smiling staff full of spot-on recommendations.  Cookbooks for sale - the owner was just in last month's Food & Wine.  White tablecloth without being white tablecloth. Peachy light filtering if thru the trees that flank the river.  Romantic without being intimidating.  Table and bar seating around the firepit.  Outdoor patio seating with twinkly lights.  Luxe, but casual.

Crazy good grilled caeser salad (never had that before).  Tremendous oysters.  Reed thin pomme frites.  Giant prawns cooked in an anchovy butter sauce.    Whole branzino charred up on grill, deboned and then dressed with fennel slaw.  Grilled white tuna.  Cobbler with homemade ice cream w/ a caramel twist.

It's just one of those meals/experiences that I almost have no words for.  If I had a restaurant, it'd be along these lines. 

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