Biker Jim on where he'd eat if had only 24 hours in Denver
Favorite dish on your menu: Right now it's the Azteca dog, a carnitas-marinated wild boar sausage with smoked poblano corn salsa and chile-lime mayo. Last week, though, it was our fennel and red-pepper sausage with Blue Moon Dijon cream and red-cabbage sauerkraut. The week before that, it was the rattlesnake-pheasant dog with the harissa-roasted cactus, Malaysian curry jam and onions two ways. I'm so damn fickle.
Biggest menu bomb: Blood-sausage sandwich. Talk about a bloody mess.
Rules of conduct in your kitchen: Pay attention. You're part of a team that includes the people on both sides of the grill. Customers want to eat your food, and you want to help them feel like they've made a good choice coming here to eat. Feed them good food and they'll help you take care of your kids. Let them know you appreciate them being here and they'll buy you a car, or sell you a car, or cut your grass. Care for your crew and they will love you for it -- and pay your rent.
What's never in your kitchen? I don't tolerate rudeness. I've seen chefs who can't get anything done without being pushy or shouty (You know who you are, Mr. TV Guy), and I've seen chefs who do miraculous stuff with a smile and an attitude of accomplishment. I'll take door number two every time. Door number one? Fuck off.
What's always in your kitchen? We have an open kitchen, so there tends to be a lot of showing off. Our crew is a fantastic mix of raw talent and skill, which means some have raw talent and some have skill. Putting the two together can make for a pretty interesting show. We've evolved to the point where the routine duties are simple, so now comes the fun part. Who can make a really interesting topping for our fries? What is a new marinade for a wild boar sausage? Is a corn salsa appropriate on an alligator brat? Well, yes it is. Can you deep-fry avocado? Damn right you can. The creativity and passion that these guys have for making good hot dogs better is a great thing to be part of. My kitchen always has people thinking about how to make our place and our food better. And, of course, we have plenty of wiener jokes.
Weirdest customer request: A group of customers were once so thrilled with our wieners that they all wanted to marry me. Fortunately, I was able to tell those dudes I was already married.
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: A bouillabaisse milkshake. It was fishy, creamy, cold and delicious. So unexpected and so good.
Best recipe tip for a home cook: Don't be intimidated by something that looks difficult. That's why people write cookbooks. Someone has already made most of the mistakes, so you don't have to. Grab Julia Child's The Way to Cook and make yourself the best damn Wellington ever, or a floral arrangement made out of puff pastry. I have tons of cookbooks and have read every one, and while I'm not a trained chef, I can cook some things really well. I have about 150 cookbooks and fifteen years of Bon Appétit magazine to thank for that. Besides, if Isaac Hayes can write a cookbook, you sure as hell can read one -- and make some damn fine food, as well.