Friday, October 18, 2013

The Palmetto Haberdasher Eats!

     I love to EAT - GOOD!  I love great clothes.  These two things are the reason for

The Palmetto Haberdasher Eats!

Jack and Me
I love my wife and kids unconditionally.  I love the beach and my dog Jack (Boykin Spaniel) and Layla (Dachshund) too.  I think you should respect "old fashioned values": Thank your mom for cooking chicken and dumplings, thank your dad for advice ( even if he's not with us).

I like a good hat, a good dove dog and a good dove hunt.  These things make me smile.  Pheasant hunting in Aberdeen, SD is the ultimate trip for my psyche.  Sparkleberry swamp is my refuge.  A catfish is a jinx to many but fine by me.

Red fish and red wine - a good pair.  I got turned on to Bourbon, because I got turned off by Scotch - that's a funny story within itself (save for later).

I have a recurring dream.  I own a clothing store, which is not a dream, and within the store is a deli counter with the finest meats and cheeses - Old World Italian. Sopressata, dry cured capicola, prosciutto, fontinella,

Heirloom Tomatoes
tomato and olive spreads, genoa salami, marinated eggplant, fresh mozzarella - you get the picture.  The fresh smells emanating  from within are incredible and they don't seem to bother the clothing.  In real life it would not be good for the clothes, unless, you understood.

I sold clothes for many years before I tried my hand at being a chef.  I was a sous chef for a low country inspired chef who was professionally schooled by a James Beard chef from Charleston.  Sous chef means that you do the prep - from cleaning fresh whole tuna, salmon, filets of beef, prime rib, mussels etc.  I never sickened to the task because I was in a constant state of Zen, a trade, which I thought would be my future.  I was wrong.  I missed a solid year of my kids' and my wife's lives.  I worked ridiculous hours, which you have to do to make it in the restaurant industry.  My days flew by like abandon, 7 AM to 1 AM with the click of a finger. 
I learned mise en pois, sauces (which I use every day), roasting, foie gras, duck confit, wine pairings, wine dinners, it was an endless learning experience every day and I soaked it up.  I really did love it so much that 16 hours would fly by my radar.  I did learn how to run a kitchen and I also learned that it would be almost as rewarding to cook for friends and family and to see the smile on their faces than to cook for 200 and not have time to see the smile on their faces.
I eventually went to work for Sysco foods as a Sales Representative and continued to learn about everything from aged steaks to coffee & tea.  Also learned that I'm not a "corporate kind of guy."  So, I trended back to clothes - owning a menswear shop called C. Anthony's, derived from my first and middle names, Charles Anthony.  It has been a rewarding, gut-wrenching and satisfying career for the last 8 years.  Not so different than running a kitchen.  I've learned from both, that I put heart and soul in a lot that I do in life.  I derived that from my Dad who put heart and soul in to raising 4 successful children. 

Good food has been a staple in my life ever since I can remember from making my first loaf of bread at age 5.  I had mono, so I was restricted to home for weeks.  My Mom put me to work and when my sisters came home they had fresh bread and loved it.  I've been cooking ever since.

After my freshman year in college, I refused a meal plan - disgusting inedible food, so I learned to cook.  I devoured cook books and food and wine magazines.  My first big influence on cooking came from the Cajun Cook, Justin Wilson and the French inspired Julia Child.  These were the masters of Saturday morning PBS.  Justin and Julia are still on my bookshelf - no other - just these two.  I gave up all other cookbooks without realizing.  For inspiration its Justin & Julia.

I cook most days of the week.  Normally a full meal around 8 or 9 PM.  That's how I grew up in an Italian household and I cherish the two hours of cooking that relaxes my brain and gives me peace of mind.

We eat out some: I'm real picky.  The Palmetto Haberdasher Eats is a culmination of my experiences as a chef, haberdasher and diner.  I will be talking about atmosphere, service, fashion, appetizers, desserts, travel, cooking, spirits and new dishes.  In other words, we're going to mix fashion and food.  I'm going to critique restaurants and also try to recreate what I ate.  Take the journey with me and comment as you see fit.  We will be linked by, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and

Happy eating & dress well!  Cheers!

Chip Bracalente - T.P.H.E.


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