I just stumbled across this absolutely scathing review of Guy Fieri’s new restaurant in New York called Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar. Sad to say, that even with the bad review from The New York Times, placed firmly in the trendy Times Square area it will probably survive with a combination of name recognition and tourist dining.

Somewhere within the yawning, three-level interior of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, is there a long refrigerated tunnel that servers have to pass through to make sure that the French fries, already limp and oil-sogged, are also served cold?

By no means do I frequently read restaurant reviews, but based on that quote alone I’d say it was an unpleasant experience. Read the full review if you want a full two pages of sharp-witted comments. I’m a little wary of the review, wondering if the critic has a dislike of Fieri’s personality or if the food and service were actually that bad. As a celebrity chef, you certainly set yourself up for heavy critiquing. People familiar with your product (food and persona) certainly expect something and could be disappointed if you don’t deliver.

I remember watching Guy on The Next Food Network Star and thinking he was entertaining. From the 8 seasons of Food Network Star, Guy is certainly the most successful winner and could also be the most hated Food Network chef celebrity. I remember reading a lengthy article about him on CityPages. If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Disasters” is well worth reading. It’s a lengthy interview with Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives series creator David Page regarding the fall-out he had with Fieri and the Food Network.

Everyone can form their on opinion of Fieri. There’s no doubt he helped shine the spotlight on many small restaurants serving excellent food that needed the promotion. Perhaps along the way he let his personality take over.

Conrad Celebrates

Conrad Celebrates

The Atlanta Braves announced yesterday they non-tendered Brooks Conrad. While the moved surprised me, I’ll admit that it makes sense. Doesn’t mean I have to like it and it doesn’t mean I won’t miss seeing Brooks in the on-deck circle in the bottom of the ninth, getting ready to bat by rubbing the dirt from the field on his hands. There’s a story to my family’s affection for Brooks and it all goes back to May 20, 2010.

If you’re a Braves fan, you likely know the story of what happened on that day, so bear with me. The last game in that series against the Cincinnati Reds was an afternoon game. Outside of Sunday, 1 p.m. games are few and far between. However, living almost 4 hours away from Turner Field, they’re perfect for a quick trip down and back to see our favorite team play ball.

So, on that Thursday morning, my wife and I surprised our oldest son (then 6-years old) by telling him he wouldn’t be going to school that day. Instead we were going to watch the Braves play ball. Who wouldn’t want to skip school and go to a ball game?

This was our second game at Turner Field and it was a rough one. Tommy Hanson was having a bad day and late in the game the Reds were leading 9-3. We discussed leaving early, but decided since we drove 4 hours we wouldn’t leave early (a decision that would haunt us in 2011 – but, that’s another story).

In the bottom of the ninth, things started to fall apart for the Reds. Troy Glaus, Eric Hinske, Yunel Escobar, Nate McLouth all got hits. After David Ross was walked, Martin Prado loaded the bases when the Reds third baseman couldn’t get the ball cleanly out of his glove.

You could feel the electricity in the air when Jason Heyward stepped to the plate. After his opening day homer, Braves fans were expecting a lot from this rookie left-fielder. While he did deliver a few walk-off wins in 2010, he struck out and left the bases loaded for Brooks Conrad.

I can’t say we were familiar with Brooks Conrad that day before he hit the game winning, walk-off grand slam. I can say that after that he became someone we enjoyed watching every time he stepped to the plate or took the field. From the time the ball got lost in his shirt to his 3 errors in the NLDS, we rooted for Brooks.

Every time we saw the a few seconds of his walk-off grand slam in commercials in 2011, we would always look at each other and smile. My wife, son and I have all told that story to countless people and I’ll always tell it to anyone willing to listen.

Brooks Conrad and Kris Medlen

My favorite time telling that story had to be September 3, 2011 when we participated in the Atlanta Braves Family Field Day. It just so happened that Brooks was one the six players participating that day. At the autograph session afterwards I made it a point to thank him personally for creating a memory my family and I will share and remember forever.

So long Brooks Conrad and thanks for the memories. You may not be an Atlanta Brave anymore, but you’ll always be one of our favorite Braves.

Brooks Conrad

There’s no doubt that we like the Atlanta Braves. Everyone has their own favorite player. Carter likes Schafer or Heyward, Jill likes Chipper (and so do I). But, just like the Braves themselves, we all like Martin. It was a little disappointing to see him move to the outfield this year and we’ve missed him with his recent stint on the DL. If there was any doubt how important his is to the Braves franchise, their promotional materials for this year should let you know.

The Atlanta Braves filmed several commercials for this season during Spring Training. They debuted one featuring Jason Heyward first and it was especially funny since it dealt with a partially true Spring Training story. Chipper’s commercial was next and the content and attitude embodies Chipper (it’s also one of Jill’s favorites). The third commercial released featured Huddy and Lowe showing off their new pitches – which look like they were developed by Bugs Bunny. The fourth commercial featured Brian McCann in a deadpan performance in his catcher’s gear. I had heard the final commercial featured Prado and was the best of the bunch. After we saw it the first time, there was no denying that it was the best.

Although Chipper is having an outstanding year and I hope he returns for the 2012 season, I would love to see Prado take over 3rd base when Chipper retires. Various outlets have stated that Prado is the heart of the team, so I can’t wait to see how they perform when he returns (hopefully after the All-Star break).