What does a cookbook collaborator do? Meet J.J. Goode. He’s become the go-to guy for chefs who want to write cookbooks with panache. He’s collaborated with April Bloomfield on “A Girl and Her Pig,” Morimoto on the Morimoto Cookbook, and–most recently–Andy Ricker on the Pok Pok Cookbook, which is already having quite a debut. A curious fact is that J.J. does all of this with radial aplasia which, for all intents and purposes, means he tests all of these recipes with one arm. How does he do it? And how does one get a career like J.J.’s? Listen in and find out.
To understand my Mexican food expertise, consider this: when I was younger, I took several cruises with my family that brought us to Mexico. Cozumel, mostly. Upon arriving in Mexico, my family would immediately trek to the center of town where my mom would shop for jewelry and my brother, dad and I would stand around impatiently. Then it was time for lunch and, without fail, we’d almost always go to the same authentic Mexican restaurant, The Hard Rock Cafe. I even had the Hard Rock Cozumel t-shirt to prove our devotion. Which is why, when it comes to Mexican food, I’m as gringo as they come.
Before I returned to New York this fall, I started a little folder in my browser called NYFood. I read my EaterNY, my Grub Street, and then bookmarked in my special folder any place I felt like I had to visit. Most prominent among my selections were Mission Chinese Food and Pok Pok NY.
Both restaurants are transplants from other cities: Mission Chinese from San Francisco, Pok Pok from Portland. Both are phenomenons. Both have enormous lines. Yet I told myself these were places I had to visit before returning back to L.A. or I’d be forced to hang my head in shame. Now I can go back to L.A. with pride because I Mission Chinesed, I Pok Poked and lived to tell the tale.