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Food Glorious Food Featuring Ronald James

 

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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. 11934910_937489516309166_506512056_n

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.

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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!

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 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.

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 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 ronisunthawed@instagram.com. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ANDY SAYS:

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

Art: Down With the Symptom

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I do collage art. This is called Down with the Symptom, because it fits the theme of the piece and amused me when I thought it up. It was featured in my college’s literary journal, not necessarily because it was “good” or “spoke of the human condition” at that time, but by virtue of me being friends with the journal’s art editor. . . O.k.. it is pretty dope.

Short Story Reading @ Cafe Universel in Paris

I’m reading the first half of a short story about how Delta airline lost my luggage and I had to walk around Paris, in the same outfit,me mic for a week.

Watch Here

ART IN BARS: Mt. Royal Tavern

Ben Franklin's Mona Lisa Smile.
Ben Franklin’s Mona Lisa Smile.

In the hospitality industry proprietors will invite local artists to display their art and sell it. This helps the artist gain exposure, confidence, and a little cash, plus the owner doesn’t have to waste money littering the walls with abandoned thrift store folk art.

At Mt. Royal Tavern, in the Bolton Hill section of Baltimore, art is ubiquitous. A replica of the Sistine Chapel adorns the ceiling, earning the tavern it’s nickname as “The Dirt Church”. A 4′ x 6′ painting of a group of naked rubenesque women of various skin tones hang behind the bar. The walls are decorated with vintage neon beer signs, classic lager print ads, and loose drawings of drunken ephemera. The heavy art influence takes a cue from the Tavern’s close proximity to The Maryland Institute College of Art located across the street. The casual vibe and familiar revelry between patrons are a byproduct of the Tavern’s diverse crowd and staff which include: painters (house, canvas, and Curtis), inner city school teachers, World War II veterans, fire-dancers, carpenters, guys who wear sunglasses at night, ghostwriters, undergrads, Smooth Jazz enthusiasts, grad students, and directors. John Waters drank at the Tavern back in the Cry Baby days.

Every month the tavern curates a new exhibition which hangs along a plastered brick wall, adjacent from the bar, next to a vintage cigarette machine. I recently had the opportunity to be apart of one of the tavern shows and during the reception I spoke with head bartender and show curator, Ben Franklin.

Is there always a new show every month?

We do a new show every month with an opening every first Thursday, except during July which is always the Foodscape show and their opening is always the Sunday before Artscape.

You bartend on the MICA campus and you also graduated from MICA. Can you tell us a few differences between the scene from then and now? 

First let’s clarify. MICA does not have a campus. They have many buildings on a city street (well streets now) and the Tavern just happens to be the only non-MICA building on this block. As far as then and now, back then MICA was the Maryland Institute College of Art and was much smaller. I believe there were about 82 or so students in my freshmen class, compared to the more than 500 students they’re bringing in each year, not counting grad students — and the focus back then was more on the fine arts.

The Tavern over the years . . . I’ve been here for 18 years now –22 if you count the Christmases. Back in the nineties, the bar was wall to wall every night of the week. It was full of people from every walk of life. Sadly in the new millennium the economy dropped off and business dropped off; then the smoking ban came. I can think of hundreds of people who used to come in that I haven’t seen since. That really hit us hard considering 90% of our customers were smokers. Fortunately things have improved these past few years.

What did you major in at MICA and who were some of your influences?

I got my BFA in Sculpture. I was into a lot of different stuff: Donald Judd, Andy Goldsworthy, Jasper Johns, Ralph Steadman, Rothco,just to name a few.

How did you come up with this salon show concept? How long has it been running?

When I originally started the salon show it was kind of inspired by an Artscape rejection show that I was apart of 15 years ago. I thought it’d be an opportunity to show a lot of art by many different artists. This show marks the 14th year.

The Mt. Royal Tavern is located at 1204 W. Mt Royal Ave. They are open everyday from 8a – 2a and are cash only although there is a cash machine in the bar. The salon shows feature local artist of varying skill levels.To find out more about the salon shows or how to participate in them please stop by the Tavern and speak with Ben Franklin or an associate bartender. All photographs and video clips for this article were retrieved via Google and You Tube. 

Smooth Talk With Silky

Smooth Talk With Silky is a late late night talk show in Baltimore City. Silky is a television host, back up singer, and private detective. This week Silky interviews comic Dawud Shabazz. They talk about Dawud’s interesting hobby, NFL bad boys, Prince and drinking laws for toddlers. Theme Song: “Stretchin’Out” Provided by Little Sonny.

Free Comedy Show Thursday

camden pub meme

Featuring Kiragu Beauttah Sam Kelly Ronald James, Walker Hays, Alexander Scally, Chris Colletti, Talia Hammen, Morgan Thomas

Hosted by: Mike Smith

Kate MacKinnon discusses her highly stylized approach to painting.

Kate MacKinnon composes high gloss minimalist paintings that re-imagine natural landscapes and objects in a two dimension-representational style. Click the link and find out how she makes her paintings shine .

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