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THANKSGIVING IS OUR NATIONAL DAY FOR GIVING THANKS. AND EVEN THOUGH IT WAS A WEEK AGO, I THOUGHT I’D USE THIS TIME TO LAND SOME SHINE TO ALL THAT’S GONE ON IN OUR CORNER OF THE FOOD WORLD. AND SINCE WE’RE AT THAT TIME OF YEAR….I THOUGHT I’D FOLLOW THAT WITH SOME WISHES TO GO WITH MY CHRISTMAS CHEER.

FIRST, LET’S GIVE THANKS FOR THE MINI-GOURMET REVOLUTION THAT’S TAKEN PLACE OUT WEST SAHARA AND CHARLESTON. I DON’T KNOW WHY IT TOOK SO LONG….BUT ANYONE WITH EYEBALLS IN THEIR HEAD OR TASTE BUDS ON THEIR TONGUE CAN’T HELP BUT NOTICE THE PLETHORA OF PRE-EMINENT EATS NOW AVAILABLE ON THESE BOULEVARDS. WHY SAHARA GETS ALL THE LOCALLY OWNED PLACES AND CHARLESTON THE FRANCHISES IS ANYONE’S GUESS—BUT THANKS TO CLASSY CAFES LIKE BERGIN’S PASTRY SHOP, ELAVIE, THE GOULASH POT, AND BELLA LUNA, YOU CAN NOW SAMPLE FIRST CLASS FOOD OFF THE STRIP AT A NUMBER OF LUNCH AND DINNER PLACES THAT OVERWHELM THE EVIL FOOD EMPIRES. ONCE BERGIN’S AND LITTLE JOE ORDUNA’S TEXAS BARBECUE GET THEIR SERVICE ACTS TOGETHER, WEST SIDERS WILL EAT WELL AT BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER FOR A LONG TIME TO COME. ARE YOU LISTENING GREEN VALLEY? PROBABLY NOT.

ANOTHER THING I’M GRATEFUL FOR IS THE PHO PHENOMENON WHICH HAS GRIPPED OUR DINING SCENE. I MEAN EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK THESE DAYS VIETNAMESE NOODLE PARLORS ARE SPRING ROLLING UP…BRINGING THIS TASTY AND LIGHT ASIAN COOKING TO THOSE BORED WITH THE SAME OLD KUNG PAO PABULUM.

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MY GRATITUDE ALSO GOES OUT TO THE NUMEROUS SUSHI BARS AND PSUEDO-JAPANESE RESTAURANTS POPPING UP LIKE SAMURAI SOLDIERS. EVEN IF MOST ARE OWNED BY KOREANS ….AND FEATURE THOSE RIDICULOUS ROLLS…AT LEAST THEY’RE GIVING RAW FISH LOVERS MORE ACCESS TO THE TENDER TUNA OF EVERYDAY LIFE.

GOOD WINE SHOPS AND …GOD HELP ME, BETTER ACCESS TO FINE TEA HAVE ALSO BRIGHTENED AND BROADENED OUR FOOD HORIZONS OVER THE PAST TWELVE MONTHS. THAT LAST ONE WAS LISTED ONLY UNDER DURESS….BUT EACH OF THESE POINTS OUT HOW FAR WE’VE COME SINCE WE WERE CONSIDERED THE PRIME RIB AND CHEAP BEER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD. Next week, my Christmas wish list…..tijc

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