Good Eats

The Backstory…

In the early ’90s, I was tossed into the exciting world of restaurant writing for a magazine in Washington, D.C. Actually, my beats were restaurants, nightlife and shopping – and I thought I had it tough! But restaurants were always my favorite.

Once I remember counting the number of restaurants I had dined at during the course of a month. That is, between my magazine work and a second gig as a private eye with my boyfriend-soon-to-be-husband’s company (he was hired by many of the chefs who were dealing with employee pilfering or marital problems). Anyway, I lost count at 40 restaurants.

But first, some background. I grew up mostly in the military town of Fayetteville, N.C., as the daughter of a German immigrant mother and a soldier father from the hills of South Carolina. Our sizeable family didn’t have the means to frequent restaurants. On my 18th birthday, I went to work as a waitress in a fine-dining establishment and learned such skills as the art of serving lobster (which I loved from the first-ever bite) and how to uncork Champagne. Other restaurant jobs followed as I worked my way through college, and, then in my mid- to late 20s, I was fortunate to be introduced to some acclaimed restaurants in the U.S., thanks to travels and a fantastic friend and mentor. Still, my palate was far from adventurous. But I knew what tasted good – and I guess my years writing about food and fashion for newspapers kind of qualified me.

So, I come back to the D.C. adventures. There I was, a virgin to Thai, Korean, Indian, Turkish, Lebanese, Spanish, Moroccan, Caribbean, Ethiopian food … and so many other cuisines. I soon learned that dining out wasn’t just about the food, but also about the experience. And I often got to see the masters at work. It was the rise of celebrity chefs in America, and I was fortunate to have a seat at the table. Or in the kitchen. I could observe James Beard award-winning chefs such as Jean-Louis Palladin of the Watergate and Roberto Donna with his growing restaurant empire. I soaked up every detail as they created, digging deep into their psyches and honing their creative skills on the spot, sometimes using salty language to drive it all home. I would reap the rewards (most of the time), sampling everything from foie gras to rooster testicles.

After moving to Sarasota, Florida in the late ’90s, I enjoyed writing about restaurants for a few magazines over the next several years. As I recall, those years included a lot of amazing seafood – especially stone crab claws and crab cakes. My mouth simply waters just thinking about it.

Fast forward to early 2020. In a wave of nostalgia, my mind kept wandering back to how much I missed writing about restaurants. The timing was right to approach an editor friend about contributing a monthly feature to my hometown’s city magazine. I’m grateful that she saw the value and agreed to let me run with it.

After a month or so, the need became even more apparent to me as COVID-19 hit. Suddenly, restaurant owners and managers were forced to “pivot,” as we learned to say. To sanitize, mask up, limit capacity and hours, prepare for increased takeout, get more innovative with services such as delivery, and fight for every dollar. My passion grew by leaps and bounds. To promote eating local. To shine a spotlight on the best places to experience wonderful food, even if it’s to-go. To help.

With every new assignment, I am inspired by the resilience of restaurant folks, the thought processes and the perfect mix of ingredients to create something special. I’m also reminded that turning people on to great experiences is beyond fulfilling. From 5-star dining to mom-and-pop establishments, some things will never change. Food is life itself.

The Art Of The Sandwich

Pan

CityView Magazine, September 2022

View the article in CityView Magazine


Chilling Out

Feena’s

CityView Magazine, August 2022

View the article in CityView Magazine


Salad Days

The Salad Box… and more

CityView Magazine, July 2022

View the article in CityView Magazine


‘Build Your Own’

Archway Burgers, Dogs and Beer

CityView Magazine, June 2022

View the article in CityView Magazine


In Plane Sight

Low and Slow Smokehouse

CityView Magazine, May 2022

View the article in CityView Magazine


Soul Food Revival

Henley’s Vintage Kitchen

CityView Magazine, April 2022

View the article in CityView Magazine


Willkommen!

Max & Moritz German Restaurant & Bakery

CityView Magazine,March 2022

View the article in CityView Magazine


Sharing Is Caring

Nona Sushi Asia, Sammio’s, Burney’s Sweets & More

CityView Magazine, February 2022

View the article in CityView Magazine


Drink In A Rainbow

Prima Elements Holistic Wellness Center

CityView Magazine, January 2022

View the article in CityView Magazine


Making Memories

Chris’s, Luigi’s, Fried Turkey Sandwich Shop, Mr. K

CityView Magazine, December 2021

View the article in CityView Magazine


Kindness & Kabobs

Afghan Kabob

CityView Magazine, November 2021

View the article in CityView Magazine


Let’s Dish

My personal favorites

CityView Magazine, October 2021

View the article in CityView Magazine


You Won’t Leave Hungry

MaryBill’s Cafe

CityView Magazine, September 2021

View the article in CityView Magazine


Food Truck With A Purpose

Cooking With Miller’s Crew

CityView Magazine, August 2021

View the article in CityView Magazine


Still On A Roll

Hot Diggidy Dog

CityView Magazine, July 2021

Click here to read the article in CityView Magazine


The Little Thai Restaurant That Could

PJ Thai Cuisine

CityView Magazine, June 2021

Click here to read the article in CityView Magazine


Foodie Dream Town

Local Restaurants Satisfy Cravings

DestinationFAY Magazine, Premier Issue, 2021-2022

Click here to view the article in DestinationFAY Magazine


Soul Food Seafood

Riverside Seafood

CityView Magazine, May 2021

Click here to view the article in CityView Magazine


Like a Fish Outta Water

Deep Creek Grill

CityView Magazine, May 2021

Click here to view the article in CityView Magazine


Island Time

Latitude 35 Bar & Grill

CityView Magazine, April 2021

Click here to view the article in CityView Magazine


A Taste Of Home

Guatemala Centro America Restaurant

CityView Magazine, March 2021

Click here to view the article in CityView Magazine


Isn’t It Romantic?

Antonella’s Italian Ristorante

CityView Magazine, February 2021

Click here to view the article in CityView Magazine


Bowls! Bowls! Bowls!

Mezeh Mediterranean Grill, Bowls On A Roll, Clean Eatz, CoreLife Eatery

CityView Magazine, January 2021

Click here to view the article in CityView Magazine


‘A Little Something Extra’

Luigi’s Italian Chophouse and Bar

CityView Magazine, December 2020

Click here to view the article in CityView Magazine


Turkey Time Is Any Time

The Fried Turkey Sandwich Shop

CityView Magazine, November 2020

Click here to view the article in CityView Magazine


Winner, Winner…

Fabe’s Charcoal Roasting Co.

CityView Magazine, October 2020

Click here to read the full article


Prelude To A Taste

Bombay Bistro

CityView Magazine, September 2020

Click here to read full article in CityView Magazine


The Hunt Leads To El Cazador

El Cazador

CityView Magazine, August 2020

Click here to view the full article in CityView Magazine


‘Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Scrub Oaks Contemporary American Pub

CityView Magazine, July 2020

Click here to view full article in CityView Magazine


New York Restaurant

Maria Drakos with her parents Nick and Selena Drakos at the New York Restaurant , 201 N. Eastern Blvd. Fayetteville.

Click here to read full article in CityView Magazine


Slow Food, Done Right

Saigon Bistro

CityView Magazine, March 2020

Click here to read full article in CityView Magazine


Perfection On A Platter

Pharohs Legacy

CityView Magazine, February 2020

Click here to read full article in CityView Magazine