Beau Simmons, exec chef of Jonesy's, to Matt Selby: "Chef, you need a dishwasher?"
Part one of my interview with Beau Simmons, exec chef of Jonesy's EatBar, ran yesterday; below is part two of our chat.
Favorite restaurant in America: Longman & Eagle in Chicago, whose motto is "Eat, Sleep, Whiskey." They use local farms, and I've never had a dish that's disappointed me. They do fried chicken and waffles with a can of PBR for brunch -- who doesn't love a place like that? Plus, they have thirty different whiskeys for $3, and they even have rooms upstairs where you can crash if you get too tipsy.
Favorite junk food: Little Debbie Nutty Bars. When I was a kid, I was fortunate enough to have four parents. When I stayed at my mother's house, I had to have wheat bread and turkey sandwiches with carrots and a cup of yogurt in my lunch box. At my father's house, I had white-bread peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with chips and a Nutty Bar. I got the best of both worlds, but nothing sparks up nostalgia for me like a Nutty Bar.
Favorite dish on your menu: My duck-confit posole. I asked my Puerto Rican, Spanish, Mexican and Cuban friends to get me their family's posole recipe, then took a little bit from each version to make my broth, and then added my duck confit with a little touch of white boy and a lot of love, and -- voilà -- you have happiness in a bowl.
What are your favorite wines/beers? Does tequila count? My old man told me a long time ago that if I was going to do something, I should do it right. So why take your time to get a beer buzz when you can get a tequila buzz much faster? I do think that Colorado has a sweet selection of breweries to choose from, and at Jonesy's, we've started a monthly beer dinner with local breweries where we pair five beers with four courses for $45. I've been fortunate enough to work with some great brewmasters in the last few months, and, like chefs, they have so much passion for what they're doing. I like Boulder Beer Company, which has some very unique flavors and creative names for their beers. I use their Kinda Blue for my blueberry white-balsamic dressing that's on the spinach salad. If I actually drink a beer, it's usually something from Oskar Blues. Founder Chris Katechis knows his stuff, and his beer pairs very well with my food, especially the Deviant Dale's IPA.
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: Zebra. When I was in Africa, we went to a restaurant called the Carnivore, which was a wild-game place -- and in Africa, wild game consists of wildebeest, zebra, crocodile and ostrich. They had a huge coal-fired pit, and all the sides of meat were strung up like they'd be in a meat locker, and there was a chain-link system that moved the meat manually, so when it was done, they served it on a sword and sliced it off on your plate, serving it with sides of veggies and potatoes. Contrary to popular belief, the meat is not black-and-white-striped.
Weirdest customer request: The one who said, "I brought this from home. Can you microwave it for me?" When I was working at Ocean in Cherry Creek, a woman sees me walk from the host stand back to the kitchen and stops me, so I introduce myself to the table and tell them about the specials, including a wonderful mako shark with Okinawa sweet potatoes and seared baby bok choy. Everyone at the table orders the special except for one lady dressed very elegantly in a evening gown. She turned and looked at me with the most serious face and said, "I brought this from home. Can you heat it up for me in the microwave?" With a fake smile, I said, "Sure, no problem at all. Do you mind if I ask what it is?" She replied, "No, not at all. It's SpaghettiOs with meatballs, my favorite." I looked at her and then at the SpaghettiOs and said with the same fake smile, "I'd be happy to."