Travel Writing

ROADS & KINGDOMS
5 O'CLOCK SOMEWHERE
IF YOU’RE GOING TO ORDER A NEGRONI IN JANUARY IN PARIS, JUST DO WHATEVER YOU WANT

Apéritifs are a serious concern in Europe; they are meant to be consumed during a specific time of day and for a specific purpose, and they serve as a benchmark for the continent’s long-established and sophisticated drinking culture that is heartbreakingly lacking in North America. So when my wife and I strolled into a Paris bistro around midnight and ordered two Negronis, we were already conspicuously out of place.

It wasn’t only that it was well past the appropriate hour for apéritifs, but the cool, early-January rain that had been falling all day suggested almost anything but a refreshing, crisp tribute to summer. It’s one of my true failings as a drinker; when I’m in the mood for Campari, it’s all that will satiate my palate, situational relevance be damned.

We had been in Paris over New Year’s Eve, and the tangible reluctance to reverie surrounding the holiday so soon after the November terrorist attacks certainly made an impression. What I hadn’t anticipated was that so many restaurants would still be closed on the Monday after New Year’s weekend. The bar just a few short blocks from our rented apartment in the 3rd was chosen more out of necessity than anything else.

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Profiles

MOORE WOMEN ARTISTS
CERAMICIST, DATCHUK LIVES THE MESSAGES IN HER BEAUTIFUL WORK

Perhaps in this politically stratified climate where a fear of otherness threatens to undermine the values of a free society, inclusivity has become a drastically underrated concept. Ceramicist Jennifer Ling Datchuk thinks so, and she strives to create work that has meaning for an audience that is inherently diverse, be it racially, ideologically, socioeconomically, or by gender.

For Jennifer, it’s hard not to exist as a professional woman artist without the weight of representation on your shoulders. Instead of letting such a weight drag her down; she uses it as an opportunity to create pieces that evoke all-encompassing themes for her audience. “I’ve lived the messages in my work, and those are the messages I strive to convey to the world,” she says. 

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Food Writing

ROADS & KINGDOMS
BREAKFAST
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO WAFFLE HOUSE HASH BROWNS

Hash Browns in Pensacola

WAFFLE HOUSE. Those ubiquitous yellow-and-black block letters that populate the landscape of American highways are a beacon to those who want to order steak and eggs before dawn without being judged.

Both an exhilarating freedom and a paralyzing dread take hold when you face the prospect of ordering at a restaurant where everything on the menu is available 24 hours a day. Will I regret eating this patty melt at 9 a.m.? What will sustain me more after a night of revelry: a pecan waffle slathered with margarine and imbued with the essence of high-fructose pancake syrup, or a plate of scrambled eggs garnished with two limp slices of pale-orange pasteurized cheese product?

Despite the menu’s vast possibilities, it’s the hash browns that stand alone as the symbol of America’s unofficial diner. Waffle House claims to have served over 1.8 billion orders of hash browns, surpassing even the number of cups of coffee. They come with staggering amounts of topping combinations, ranging from diced tomatoes to a heaping ladle of chili. Mine are always scattered, well done, smothered with onions, and finished off with a double portion of pickled jalapeños that have some char from the griddle. The misguided among you can keep your American cheese and grilled mushrooms.

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Contact Andrew Durant here or at
andrew dot durant at gmail dot com

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