It’s good to enjoy your food

Go ahead, lick the plate, you know you want to. Unfortunately, the ambiance of most restaurants and polite company do not always allow that primal food lover’s instinct to take over. However, if the meal you just devoured leaves you wanting to lick your plate, there is a good chance you enjoyed it.
Hence, the name of my new column for The Coast News Group, “Lick the Plate.”
I’ve cooked for many a dinner party where I encouraged my guests to lick their plate and the response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. So, restaurateurs of North County, how about encouraging this practice and lifting this social taboo once and for all? And diners, if you just can’t get enough of that demi-glace, go ahead and give that plate a subtle lick. Tell your server I said it was OK. I see the next hot culinary trend taking shape here, and you saw it in Rancho Santa Fe News first.
OK, enough about plate licking. Let me start by detailing how I developed my passion for all things culinary. Growing up in suburban Detroit, there was a great variety of ethnic food, from the Polish restaurants to the Jewish delis and, of course, the ever-present Coney Islands. Add a smattering of world-class eateries in the ritzier suburbs and my lowbrow and highbrow exposure to food was taking shape, more so on the lowbrow end of things. That is until I scored the ultimate summer job as First Mate on a corporate yacht in the Grosse Point Yacht Club. Guest chefs imported from exotic locations every summer catered our day trips with the best gourmet food available. This was combined with a monthlong trip around the Great Lakes with a yacht full of Detroit socialite foodies whose mantra was to pack light to save room for the Dom Perignon and Stags Leap. I could have easily become quite the food snob after three summers of this culinary hedonism, but all that gourmet food on a daily basis actually made me crave White Castles and stacked corn beef sandwiches even more.
My evolving food passion was fueled by a stint as a personal assistant/chef in Steamboat Springs, Colo., years of business travel that took me around the country and world, good friends immersed in the culinary world as chefs and educators, and working as the restaurant writer for the Surf City Times. This all lead to the formation of my marketing firm five years ago, that I named Artichoke Creative, which always counts culinary clients among our favorites.
I’ve lived in Encinitas for 12 years and I’ve seen somewhat of an evolution of the dining scene in North County over the past few years. Besides the bizarre proliferation of Italian restaurants, it’s been a positive thing. Overall, it’s a good place to be for food right now and I only see it getting better.
My passion for food is a reflection of my eclectic tastes in everything and my job as a marketer and storyteller. “Lick the Plate” will tell the stories of area restaurants and the people behind them. Since I am just as at home in a dive bar serving killer burgers as I am in the latest hotspot dishing up some hot new culinary trend, expect variety from this column. And remember, it’s OK to lick the plate!

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