It’s the latter half of the early Aught’s. I’m in a car with Underwater Star a.k.a Bathtub Tsunami. We’re on 83, driving 20 miles over the speed limit, listening to M.I.A coo over the sound of antique spastic drum machines and a wailing sample of fire trucks sirens so realistic, for a second, I think we’re in the way of a burning building. She tells me of a melody she’s cooking up and a hook she’s been letting percolate in her cabeza for some time, now. Usually she’s guarded with her songs, but she can trust me because I’m so real, I’m surreal. It’s a dance song called “Chicken Box”. The subject of the song is simple but it’s not a simple song. It’s foundation lies in it’s throbbing Baltimore club beat and mellifluous call to action: In this case the song’s demand is to ” Go down to the store and get me a chicken box and make sure my front door lock(ed).” As she explains the song, I immediately imagine a video concept involving action, intrigue, romance, and chicken–you know, the typical heroes journey, but with a side of ketchup and french fries. I’ve never produced a video. I’ve never filmed anything before. I’ve seen movies and I basically grew up on MTV; Kevin Smith and Purple Rain are the touchstones I rely on to help me convey a lucid story of fried food and foolin’ around. Looking back, I believe the video is about a man who just wants to have sex with his woman and get a good nap in, but there are an increasing amount of obstacles that get in the way of a simple activity. His life . . . such as life, is needlessly complicated. However, he accepts each obstacle, and deals with them head on, so he can get some head later on. This, I feel, in essence, is the meaning of life. Hit the link HERE to view the video Fried Chicken Weekly called, Yummy!!
I’m never hungry, but I’m always ready to eat. I’m also not a very discriminating eater. I’ll eat anything you put in front of me and it doesn’t even have to be based on a dare. I’ve eaten snails in Paris, chitterlings in a church basement, and pigeons in China . . . town. I’m the type of guy where when you’re eating something and it tastes funny and you turn to me and say “This is gross. Try this.” I’m just gonna go ahead and eat it.
I’m a little food savvy. But for the most part I keep it simple yet tasteful. I don’t do McDonald’s; I cook out of boxes more than the dirt. From time to time I been known to bake pies: beans, strawberry, oyster. I’m not an adventurous eater; I’m a gluttonous eater. I’m less a foodie and more a chubby. However, when it comes to epicurian expertise comedian, Ronald James, is a master masticate. His tastes are sensational, unpretentious, and easily accessible. Ronald has fun but he also eats his food with a philosophy.
You flood your timeline with many exotic foods. Would you consider yourself a foodie?
I try not to use the “F-word” too often, in public. In fact, I try to only use it around other “F-bombs”. Yes, I am . . . that.
What is a foodie?
I once read the quote: “We all eat and it would be a sad waste to eat badly.” on someones Facebook post. The screenwriter Anna Thomas said that. It’s that philosophy personified. Passion for food. Extreme passion for food. I don’t expect any level of expert knowledge from an “F-bomb” but I do expect some good suggestions for dishes from them. That’s the currency!
Please explain this baller ass sushi burrito.
This sushi burrito comes from Shoyou Sushi in Federal Hill. It’s crab meat, shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, avocado wrapped in some sticky rice. Delicious!
Do you cook at home? What’s a simple delicious dish anyone can make at the crib?
I cook at home a couple of times a week. Favorite thing to fix is tuna steak sauteed in onions and mushrooms. I’ll usually saute some spinach in olive oil and lightly salt it for the veggies. If I’m feeling like 2 million dollars in singles I might fix some mashed potatoes. Oddly enough, A1 steak sauce goes really well with tuna steak.
Where are some dope below the radar places to eat in Baltimore?
Tapas Teatro for tapas in Charles North: grilled calamari with a pepperoncini vinaigrette is my absolute favorite! I usually get that with some sauteed spinach. I go once every two weeks. I get the same thing. I’m addicted. Neopol Savory Smokery in Belvedere Sqaure– Smoked everything. Do not sleep! He’s on point about that all smoked everything. Their smoked muscles are $0.75 a piece and I pair a half dozen of them bad boys with everything I eat there. Joann’s Kitchen in Fells Point: cheesesteak subs, great Korean food . . . Bibimbap is amazing! Breakfast is served all day!!!! Food Market in Hampden– Everything is unreal. Brunch served Friday-Sunday. Puerto 511 in Mt Vernon–Ceviche is amazing!
Terra Cafe in Charles Village–Southern comfort food. Venue also does music and poetry stuff! China House in Canton– Best Chinese in the city. If you’re going to eat terribly, eat terribly here. It’s worth triple bypass surgery. Broadway Diner–Diner food done right. Huge portions!
What are some food spots you looking forward to checking out in 2016?
I have yet to visit Iron Rooster and Gertrude’s. I can’t think of others but there are others. *squints eyes* THERE ARE ALWAYS OTHERS!
How did you develop your unique pallet?
My pallet is a testament to the diversity of my life circumstances. I have a ton of friends of all ages, races and sizes. The meals that I learn about are things that I’ve picked up along the way. In a way, eating them celebrates my relationships with them. It’s weird.
Chittlings, you ever try em’? For or Against?
I became a pescetarian when I was 21 so I eat a lot of vegan, vegetarian, and seafood dishes. However, my family is from the south and prior to 21, I used to have tons of it. Even Chittling sandwiches (heavy on the hot sauce).
What was a food trend in 2015 that got played out?
Brussel sprouts and oysters. Every place that I went to served the two. I hope that either don’t get “played out” per-se but a terrible version of one of those can ruin your day.
What’s an under appreciated food stuff?
Grits. I love grits. Spinach. I love spinach.
Ronald can be seen Mondays at Side Bar Open Mic Comedy Night. 218 E Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21202. Ronald can also be seen featuring at Camden Pub Comedy Night this Thursday Jan. 28th. No cover. 647 w Pratt St. Baltimore, MD. 8:30p. All photos courtesy of Ronald James from his account email@example.com.