Chef Elmo: 'If you make it Mikey, they will participate'
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
Somewhere in my recent history I took a medical professional's advice and began a routine of walking for an hour or so daily -- or almost daily -- for health reasons.
These hour diversions are a good time to think about things. All kinds of things.
Today I was thinking about the Kevin Costner movie 'Field of Dreams.' You know the movie where he makes a baseball field in a corn patch and all the old baseball player's ghosts show up to play ball one more time'
Until recently my walking/exercise schedule included a weekly trip to the Swamp to climb the stadium steps. I hadn't done the steps in a while so I wasn't sure what was compelling me to the top of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium today.
That said, reaching the top of the steps gave me the usual good feeling from my heart unit pumping harder and my breathing becoming more deliberate.
Looking down in my aerobic trance I followed the lattice work of the concrete steps into a descending perspective until I noticed a snake-like line of runners working their jog of syncopated intervals on the lower section of the stadium steps.
Then out of the corner of my eye I noticed someone coming down the aisle toward me in a floating, measured pace.
Suddenly that someone was standing next to me.
A broad smile projected from a scruffy beard. There was a familiar presence to this pony-tailed, gentleman with horn-rimmed glasses, a twinkle in his eye, and dressed in a chef's smock.
It was long-time friend -- and deceased -- Sovereign restaurant owner, Head Chef Elmo.
"Mikey," Elmo exclaimed. "You know what I like about you''
Sure I was surprised. I've never talked to a dead person before. Alright I've had a dream or two that included dead people . . . but this was a first.
"Chef Elmo!'" I replied, not really believing what was happening. "What do you like about me'', I answered, "I'm alive and you're not''
"Don't waste my time with the obvious Mikey," Elmo said sitting down next to me. "I've been given the task of overseeing all things epicurious here in Gainesville and I hear you're starting a lunchtime blog for people to check out their lunch plans, ideas, what's for lunch questions," Elmo said leaning forward, looking at the new end zone scoreboard.
"That's correct chef. I'm hoping to create a website where folks can interact, communicate what's on their minds about their lunch world," I said starting to enjoy the idea of running the Gainesville Lunch Out Blog idea past a food industry pro like Chef Elmo Moser.
"Where to find the best pizza lunch special."
"Letting Lunch Outers know where they can find a sausage dog and a soda for a $4 lunch."
"There's a 'Stinky Tofu' shop opening up west of I-75," I said to Elmo trying to explain how the GLOB idea would appeal to all noon-time lunchers.
"That's a good idea Bubba," the Chef said propping his feet up on the bleacher in front of us.
"A good food blog would hit chefs in the two places that should be most important,' Elmo continued. "Their stomachs and their egos,' he added smiling, leaning back, lacing his fingers behind his head.
'Are you aware that I have my own personal cloud to rest on like this every day of the week" You could join me Mikey,' Elmo said. 'But first we would have to do a background check on you," the Chef continued raising an eye brow and peering into my eyes.
"Thanks for the thought chef. But I'm not ready yet," I replied steering our conversation back to the GLOB.
'I'm a little anxious Elmo," I said. 'I know the social networking idea surrounding lunch is a good idea. And having the GLOB become a resource for restaurants to share Gainesville food, restaurant news, is an even better idea' Trying to explain my start-up reluctance, I continued, 'The conundrum is that here I sit on row #98 hoping to start an every day Gainesville lunch party and my only participant at this time is a dead chef . . ."
"Aw, don't worry Mikey, said Chef Elmo standing up and facing me. ''If you create it, they will bite," Elmo said with a smirk on his face.
"Now I have to be going,' Elmo said. "I'm also over seeing the Alachua I-75 exit ramp this afternoon. Do you want to ride up to Alachua with me Bubba''
"Thanks for the offer Elmo," I'said unsure if he was making a joke. "I think I will give this GLOB idea a little more thought up here on 'ol row #98."
"Have it your way," the chef said walking toward the steps.
The chef stopped and turned back to me as a light bulb appeared above his head illuminating his presence.
"Have it your way,' the Chef said, again raising his eyebrows. "You know, you might want to use that phrase for the GLOB Mikey." Chef Elmo laughed and vanished into thin air.
Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Gainesville's Lunch Out Blog. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments where appropriate. - THANKS!
Latest from Mike S. GLOB Master
Just discovered the GLOB. Good idea!
Many years ago, living in Pompano Beach, I received an unexpected and sizable bump in my salary. It didn't take me long to figure out that this windfall could justify my long held desire to eat at restaurants instead of brown-bagging it for lunch. From then on, I've made it standard policy to dine out for lunch during the work week. Never regretted that decision. Of course, the selection in Broward County was greater than it is here in Alachua, but so were the prices. Even though I live out in the boonies near Earleton, I still get into G'ville often and love dining al fresco when the weather cooperates.
Patrick Friday, 11 November 2011 07:59 Comment Link
fast food lunch junky. no choice unless wanting to spend a billion dollars for lunch. for just under five bucks I discovered a great deal. very tasty. nicely done entree and sides. Pollo Tropical. 1/4 grilled chicken and two sides 4.89 including tax. fresh chicken cooked on a grill. a real grill with smoke coming up off of it and everything. I say to myself hey thats a grill. cole slaw is great sweet and creamy the way I like it. and I can have another side. black beans and rice no less. very good. I am stuffed for five bucks. me likes. who needs Sonnys.
Kathy Johnson Friday, 05 August 2011 11:38 Comment Link
Mike: There was no one better than Elmo to give his insight and blessing to your blog about food in Gainesville! As long as I live I will always remember his food, laughter and that tantilizing aroma that surrounded him when he gave me a hug...was that his cologne or Beef Wellington??!! Both I think! He passed on his wonderful Oyster Stew and I think of him everytime I make it. Keep up the good work Mike and enjoy your summer. See you at the Gator Games!
judyskinner Friday, 11 March 2011 10:26 Comment Link
Received this note from a friend in Newnan, GA. "I enjoy my connection with the Daily Glob and Mike Sanford's editorial on what's happening there." Pretty neat Mike!
Carmen Thornton Monday, 23 August 2010 21:29 Comment Link
Thanks, Mikey for giving my dad props. I will be checking out your blog now that I know about it. People always want to know where to get some good food. I was thinking about him this morning when I was having Eggs Benedict at Peach Valley. They do a very good job there. The eggs were perfectly poached and the Hollandaise was almost as good as my dad's.
Jules Gollner Monday, 23 August 2010 10:14 Comment Link
So Mike, I came upon this story today, just as I am prepping lunch for Lupe.
She is making the long drive out to the river house on the mighty St. John's.
She and Elmo have been here many times.
Today we are having crab salad, cheese souffle, and Peach sorbet for dessert. I'm sure I can find a bottle of Chalone chard around here somewhere also.
When Lupe arrives, I will let her know I have been reading GLOB, and that we must add to the mix.
White Apron Catering,inc.
Vaughn Thursday, 19 August 2010 13:37 Comment Link
Mike, I think you may have found your calling. Was it you or one of our other tail gate buddies that provided the fried chicken feet several years ago? I’ll have to hop on my Harley and come have lunch with you soon. Good luck, I think you have something here. :)v