Thursday, January 11, 2018

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Tony Piazza, Author of Murder is Such Sweet Revenge

Dining with Tom Logan, Hollywood’s Premier Private Investigator

They say an army marches on its stomach. The same could be said about a private detective, especially during these hard times ushered in by the Great Depression. The 1930s was not the best era to be out of work. However, that was exactly my situation after being cashiered out of the Los Angeles Police Department on a trumped-up charge of police brutality. Nevertheless, with some help I was able to get my own private investigation business going in Hollywood, but not without sacrifices.  Times were lean, and I had to cut corners where I can, and that included my meals.

My earlier detective jobs (Murder Will Out) had me munching on hamburgers and sipping on rich, black coffee, usually from some greasy spoon. During the odd times, I would get an opportunity to get a free meal as a perk of my investigation, like during the case where I was protecting a Chinese girl from the mob. Her friends had a restaurant in LA's Chinatown. Here I sat down for a sumptuous lunch of Egg Drop soup with steamed buns, and later a dinner of roasted duck with Mandarin orange sauce, fried rice, and stir-fry vegetables.

Again, a meal like this was an exception. During another case later in 1930 (Anything Short of Murder), it was back to grilled cheese or pastrami sandwiches and five cent Cokes at a local drug store or deli. It wasn’t until a slinky blonde with a million dollar figure and a bank book to match approached me with an offer to protect her from a killer. She had received a note threatening death unless she kept her mouth shut. The trouble was, she had no idea what it was all about. She was a movie actress working on a film. Did she see or hear something she wasn’t supposed to? In any case, that was my job to find out, and with the payola from that case, my dining habits became more in tune with the Vanderbilt’s. How much may you ask?  By the end of the case, I was sitting at the Cocoanut Grove with my special lady enjoying a feast amongst movie actors and the who’s who of Hollywood, all gathered to dance to the scintillating music of The Gus Arnheim Band and listen to a new crooner called Bing Crosby.

Dinners at the Grove didn’t come cheap. An appetizer of lobster cocktail followed by fresh thick turtle Soup, and an entrée of braised northern goose with red cabbage, applesauce, finishing with a dessert of caramel pecan custard pie and coffee could run you as high as four dollars! It was a night to remember.

During the late summer of 1931 (A Murder Amongst Angels) I was sitting pretty thanks to the cash earned in that earlier case. Enough in fact that I was able to get a bigger office, hire a receptionist and start frequenting some better eateries. Places like Musso and Frank’s Grill on Hollywood Boulevard, the Pig N’ Whistle, and the best French dip sandwich west of the Pecos at Philippe’s. This famous sandwich was made of prime-cut roast beef served on a freshly baked French roll which has been dipped in the natural gravy. I usually ordered homemade potato salad, a hard-boiled egg pickled in beet juice, and a large kosher style sour dill and pig’s feet to accompany the sandwich.

In this particular case, a famous movie actress/comedian was found murdered behind a café she had co-owned with her producer, lover. A California style adobe building on the beach in Malibu. It was a classy joint, and as such, attracted the unwanted attention of a big mob boss who wanted to turn the third-floor storage area into a casino. She wasn’t interested, and this may have been the ticket to her demise… or was it?

By 1933 life had changed for me (Murder is Such Sweet Revenge). I found myself with a new wife and a Cocker Spaniel, and it was off with the two of them on a honeymoon that we were likely never to forget. We’d booked a suite at a Victorian beachfront hotel on Coronado Island. First, there was a storm that left us isolated, then murder, which the management coerced me into investigating. It was indeed no way to spend a honeymoon. There were distractions galore, including a nosey woman mystery writer and a resident ghost who haunted the halls of this establishment.

The hotel, however, did have its benefits. Like the Crown Room, where my bride and I enjoyed our meals. For example, at dinner, I began with a shrimp cocktail followed by a consommé royal soup, hearts of iceberg lettuce sprinkled with French dressing, and for my entrée, Supreme of Halibut in caviar sauce accompanied by California asparagus and whipped potatoes.

By the end of our ruined honeymoon we were given a chance for a “do-over.” A stay at the honeymoon suite at the El Tovar on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The dining room menu caught my eye, and one particular entrée caught my fancy. A hand-cut grilled natural Black Angus New York Strip Steak topped with a smoked mushroom compote, served with roasted fingerling potatoes and seasoned vegetables. But, alas, dinner may have to wait. I’d like to deck the clown who’d said that lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice. A person was discovered dead, lying on a ledge along the canyon wall, and guess who the management approached to see how it got there.

So, it’s time to tighten my belt, for dinner’s going to be late, because I’ve got a crime to solve!

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Tony!

Friday, January 5, 2018

FOODFIC: Reading Menu for the New Year!

Okay, the book stack by my bed is now officially making it hard to navigate my side of the room, so my New Year's Resolution MUST be to read it down. In the spirit of staying reasonable (and with the admission that several of the titles were on LAST year's list), I have moved 10 tomes to the top. 

So this is what I will be reading in 2018, come Hell or high comforter:

Please let me know what's on YOUR 2018 TBR list!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Tricia Shiu, Author of Please Hold

About four years ago, on a searing Southern California afternoon, I came out to Tricia Stewart Shiu. It was a workday. There was nothing out of the ordinary about the event except for one small detail, which I’ll get to in a second.

She was driving on Pico Blvd. and making a left-hand turn into the Fox Studios Lot, when I sent out the news flash. As the information settled in, she managed to make her way to her parking spot, plod through the echoing NEB (New Executive Building) lobby and up to her reflecting fishbowl of an office. Wandering into the makeshift kitchen, her mind still abuzz, she filled the stainless steel electric kettle from the water cooler, pressed the button and waited for the rumbling boil.

Coffee had always been our ritual. In fact, it might have been one of the first things we did together. Every high-level executive assistant needs her “outlet” and that was ours. We’d chat for hours about all things work-related. It was during such conversations that her most prolific writing occurred. This time, though, she had no words.

Maybe I should have been more compassionate about my timing.

She silently grabbed a small coffee grinder, a bag of French roast beans, unfastened the clip, stuck her nose right into the bag’s opening and took a deep breath. Aside from the aroma of coffee, this was her favorite scent. The beans bounced into the grinder as she poured the oily darkness into the grinders container and held the button down, shattering the administrative quiet for exactly twenty seconds.

I’d noticed that Sarah had been a bit upset. It was probably because she sensed that I was holding something back, and well, I was. But from my perspective, timing is everything and Tricia just wasn’t ready for the information. Which brings me to the small, miniscule really, detail about my coming out to her. I, Sarah Marks, am the main character in her book, PLEASE HOLD. The coffee thing was our thing and this thing…I mean, finally telling her the truth…was a long, long time coming. Eight years to be exact.

She wiped the coffee grounds into the trash, then moved to the sink to meticulously wash and rinse the glass carafe and mesh plunger.

Damn, still no words! I hope I didn’t break her. I’m sure it’s happened before with other authors, why not Tricia? Maybe she thinks it’s all in her head? If that’s true, she will have sorely missed the point of “truth telling.” Within each of us we have a core Truth. As we uncover the layers, we slowly open up to our own knowing and, eventually, by telling those closest to us, we encourage others to uncover their own Truth.

After all these years of friendship and hard work invested, I can’t imagine she’d scrap the book.

She slowly counted the scoops as she inhaled in the nutty brown scent. Then, in a perfectly timed, “pop,” she grabbed the kettle and poured the steaming water into the french press. With a loud exhale, she stirred the mixture with a metal spoon before placing the plunger into the press and pushing it down. The remainder of the boiling water went into her usual white mug.

Ten minutes can be excruciating when you can’t read someone’s thoughts.

No timer needed. Tricia tossed the water out of the mug and poured the steamy brew into her pre-heated mug. During my wait, I had a lot of time to think. Screw her if she was blind to my Truth! Just because she is heterosexual doesn’t preclude her from kindness, understanding and acceptance.

Holding the mug up to her face, she inhaled the warmth and took her first sip. Savoring the experience, she exhaled and whispered, ever so gently, “I’m so proud of you, Sarah.”

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Tricia!

You can find Tricia here:

Thursday, December 14, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Jean Knight Pace, Author of Grey Lore

Grey Lore is really not at all about baking. It’s about a girl whose mother dies so she’s whisked away to live with an aunt she’s never met. It’s about a boy who’s lived in fourteen states in the last three years. It’s about wanting to fit in and not fitting in at all. It’s about trying to find your place with people who care. Also, it’s about werewolves (because you were totally getting that from the rest of my description, right?) It’s about a sleepy little town buried in secrets--a town that starts to wake up as Ella and Sam discover things about their pasts and themselves.

But a lot of cookies get baked, too. That’s because one of the main characters, Zinnie, seems to subsist only on cookies and herbal tea. In my first book, Grey Stone, she brought us some amazing Cinnamon Oatmeal Crispies. Here's that snippet from the book:

She got up and hobbled to what looked like a very old stove to retrieve the next batch of cookies. “You may call me Zinnie,” she said, even though Sam hadn’t tried to call her anything. “Now, what is your name?”

“Sam,” he said, clearing a spot for the cookies she was carrying.

The cookies were thin little things, like puddles on the pan. If Sam had pulled them out of the oven, he would have thrown them all in the garbage. But the old woman didn’t. She handed Sam a dish towel, which he put on the table so Zinnie could set down the hot, flat cookies.

“Help me out, dear,” she said. Expertly, Zinnie took a cookie and, using the handle of a wooden spoon, she rolled the flat cookie around the handle so that it formed into a small cone while it was warm. She looked at Sam, waiting. “Give it a try,” she said, handing him the spoon. “It’s not that hard once you get used to it. And after we’re done, we’ll fill them with cream.”

In the companion book, Grey Lore (just released December 7th!), Zinnie is back, albeit somewhat changed. Her cookies are back too, although you can see they’ve altered over the years as well.

Some things grow even better with time. :)

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Jean!

You can visit Jean here:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Assaph Mehr, Author of Murder in Absentia

History, Fantasy, and Food

Take one of the greatest empires the world has ever seen. At its peak it controlled vast swathes of land and many different cultures – and their associated cuisines. But what happens when you add a fantastical element to the mix?

Hi all. I’m Assaph Mehr, and I write historical-urban-fantasy – or, as I like to call them, Stories of Togas, Daggers, and Magic. Though set in a fantasy world, the background tapestry is based on the culture of ancient Rome, and to give this world authenticity and richness I do a lot of research in to ancient daily lives.

This, of course, covers food. My protagonist, cheapskate that he is, never passes on the opportunity for a free meal. And when invited to a feast, he very naturally, notes what delicacies were served – together with his somewhat deadpan reaction to them.

This leads us to the meat of this article (pun intended), namely, Fantastic Beasts and How to Cook Them. The world, being based on ancient Rome and Greece, hosts some mythological beasts.

Apicius et al already mentions dishes with ingredients that may sound strange to us. Patina is a Roman dish, somewhere between an omelette and custard. Asparagus and quails may sound like reasonable toppings, but how many of us would join Lucullus when dined on dined on jellyfish patina? Or join my protagonist when he has his favourite, childhood-memories-inducing, brains-and-pine-nuts sausage?

Drizzled with fish-sauce, of course. I always wanted to explore the production of Roman fish sauce – or garum – and, luckily, in the course of one adventure it so transpired that my protagonist – Felix – had to visit just such a factory. Garum, for the uninitiated, is made from salt-fermented fish-guts. As one modern recreator described it, the smell is akin to nasal napalm. Yet the Romans used it as we use ketchup, sprinkled liberally on everything. I sometimes think that writing is just my excuse to study about a period in history I love, from the olfactory-safe haven of my study.

The Romans also had a very practical outlook on life. What do you do with a captured gryphon? Why, you pit it against a bestiarius in the circus arena, naturally! The crowds were well pleased. It was a show to remember for years to come.

Of course, once the beast was slain, there was still a huge carcass to dispose of. Enter Felix again, with his epicurean tendencies. For reasons we shall not go into here, he required some of the tail feathers and sample internal organs of the gryphon. Being a tad loose in the morals department he ended up conning his way into the kitchens to gain access to the beast. He got what he wanted, but that cost him assisting the cook in the preparation of that night’s feast.

Which featured, you guessed it, the unique delicacy of gryphon meat:

The cook walked in after the beast, carrying his knives, and a train of slaves followed carrying plates. He proceeded to carve out bits of both the bird and animal parts and lay them on the plates. The first plate went to Aulus Paulinus who, after the briefest moment of apprehension, smiled and tasted the meats. He looked pleased, and raised a toast to his guests. I was certain some hapless slave had been force-fed this meat before it got to us though, just to make sure that the cook and I had indeed removed all traces of poison. Our turn came, as well, and a slave girl put down the plate with cuts of meat before us. While my little charmed wine had done the trick and the beast was well roasted, I have to say that the lion part was a bit gamy and the bird parts, while nice, tasted remarkably like chicken.

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Assaph!

You can find out more about Assaph and his
culinarily curious protagonist Felix here:

Assaph has been a bibliophile since he learnt to read at the age of five, and a Romanophile ever since he first got his hands on Asterix, way back in elementary school. This exacerbated when his parents took him on a trip to Rome and Italy - he whinged horribly when they dragged him to "yet another church with baby angels on the ceiling", yet was happy to skip all day around ancient ruins and museums for Etruscan art. 

He also loves to cook, and says he will eat almost anything at least once. Though his family has curtailed some of his more experimental endeavors, he hopes some of dishes – in addition to his books, of course – will go down in the annals of history as an achievement worth repeating.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Carole Brown, Author of The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman

Country cooking for Caralynne Hayman is as common as the West Virginia mountains. A method to keep her sanity in a difficult environment and provide her girls with healthy, homemade food.

Caralynne is angry and bitter over the death of her eleven-year-old daughter, but when Dayne MacFarland re-enters her life, Cara is torn between her determination to render revenge upon the murderer and Dayne's love. Can she have both?

When Dayne returns home, determined to bring the truth to the people he’s known all his life, he rediscovers Cara and realizes the love he once felt for her is still deeply embedded within his heart. But can Dayne's love for Caralynne bridge the gulf of anger and bitterness that divides the community? Or will Caralynne's deadly secrets prove too high a price for her redemption?

Amid all the angst and trouble in this small community, Caralynne's cooking is a gleam of hope. Even when some of the ladies belittle her cooking abilities, Cara knows jealousy is at the root of their problem. For her? She has people like Dayne who sample and enjoy such temptations as her apple pie and cherry cobbler.

Here's the recipe for Caralynne Hayman’s Cherry Mountain Pie . . .

Melt one stick of butter in round pan (I suppose you could use square, but I can’t see how that could improve the flavor!)
Pour thickened, sweetened cherries (you can use canned cherry pie filling, but really? Who doesn’t want the “real” thing? We’re not talking easy! ) into the pan

Stir one cup sugar, 1 ½ cup of self-rising flour and ¾ cup milk together. Pour batter onto top of cherries.

Bake till brown 350 degrees.

Caralynne received this recipe from my mother. We children thought it was divine! The only problem? I wasn’t crazy about cherries so I always requested “no cherries” (the juice was okay), and my patient mother dipped out nice chewy crust with lots of juice onto my plate and topped it with ice cream.  Hmmm. Delicious. 

And to prove to you that Caralynne Hayman's an excellent cook, here's a short excerpt where Dayne MacFarland, the preacher, praises her apple pie. And since he'd always adored her, that was an easy task. :)

Chapter 15 Excerpt on Cara's apple pie:

“What shall I do with this?”

Kathy Raymond popped from behind Ruby Simmons and sniffed. “What did you bring?”


Another indignant sniff. “Common.”

“And cherry cobbler,” Cara offered. Nothing she did ever pleased Kathy Raymond.

“Ruby brought cherry cobbler. Two of them. You know very well our men love her pies. You should have brought something else.”

“Can you ever have too much pie?” Cara ordered herself to smile. Sticking out her tongue seemed way too childish and improper and would let them know she was miffed. “My pie is different. The preacher liked it.”

“Liked what?” Dayne stepped up beside her.

“My cherry cobbler.” Cara allowed her eyes to twinkle at him.

Dayne strolled away but tossed over his shoulder. “Delicious stuff. Best I've ever eaten.”

Tempted to try it? Dayne sure was! I think it might have sealed the deal on the love between them—at least for him. :)  Check it out at the link below and see for yourself why The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is a best seller!

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Carole!

You can find Carole here:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Jessica Knauss, Author of Awash in Talent

Awash in Talent welcomes you to Providence, Rhode Island, where ten percent of the population can move objects telekinetically, set fires with their minds (or extreme emotions), or observe your thoughts as if they were a TV series. Although this Providence is a fantasy, it’s based on the real capital of Rhode Island, a place I love for all its uniqueness.

You couldn’t experience Providence without Rhode Island cuisine. To start with some of the lingo, Rhode Islanders call milkshakes “cabinets” and pronounce quahog (a local clam; try it stuffed) as if it were spelled “co-hog.” They drink coffee milk made with a special syrup that’s sold right next to Hershey’s, the bread comes from Portugal and is lightly sweet, and some of their best pizza comes from bakeries!

Awash in Talent is made up of three stories, and the one that pays most attention to food is told from the point of view of native Rhode Islander Kelly. She’s recently and unpleasantly discovered that she’s pyrokinetic, and has been sent to an obligatory school to control her Talent for making flames with her mind. In spite of all her worries, Kelly has time to enjoy cold and hot snacks at the outdoor festival WaterFire:

At the bridges, there were a couple of vendor stands. One had soft drinks and lemonade ice, which were probably a big hit during the summer, but didn’t really appeal now. My hands were frozen and my nose was starting to run.

“Want anything?” Brian asked.

“I didn’t bring any money,” I said.

“I did,” he said with that sweet smile.

The ice vendor also had t-shirts, bags, hats, and prints of WaterFire, and I desperately wanted to own one of those items with the logo (Is it water? Is it fire?), but I couldn’t let him buy something for me. It didn’t seem right.

“No, thanks.”

“Okay, but I’m getting some Red Hots.”

I looked, and the other vendor was all about fire. Hot chocolate, jalapeños, Firebrand chili, and Red Hot candies. His stall was pretty popular, and we waited in line for I don’t know how long. I watched the people, listened to the eclectic mix of music, and inhaled the fragrant smoke that wafted over from the river. All while holding Brian’s hand, by the way.

Kelly also has time to delight in a magnificent Thanksgiving spread at her boyfriend’s house:

I have no idea how they were planning to fit more food anywhere, but they did. When it was dinner time, at about four, everyone gathered in the dining room. Through the crush of people—there must have been thirty of us all told—I could see the giant turkey, all the fixings you could imagine and some I’d never seen before, and ten—I counted!—kinds of pie for dessert. Imagine the cacophony of sweet, spicy, salty, and meaty aromas.

This scene is based on some large New England holiday gatherings I have sweet memories of. Sure, New Englanders can be hard to get to know. Once you’re in, though, you’re family.

Pick up Awash in Talent if you’d like to live high on the (qua)hog!

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Jessica!

You can visit Jessica here:

Friday, November 10, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Peggy Chambers, Author of The Apocalypse Sucks

Molly and Sandra couldn’t be more different.  They were once just co-workers, but found themselves relying on each other for survival after the virus took out almost everyone they ever loved.

At first, they lived off the vending machines in the basement of the fifteen-story building where they used to work, and now lived.  Of course, it didn’t take long for the supply of Twinkies and Dr. Pepper to dry up.  They had to find real food.  The shelves were emptying in the stores, and that meant there were other survivors. Soon, they had to get out and find them.

During a trip to what was left of the mall for lip gloss and bras, they ran across a couple of survivors they might like to meet.  And the girls were invited to dinner.  Cute guys and dinner?  What post-apocalyptic girl could say no to that?  And they were served fresh strawberries – and wine.

What was left of the town looted until there was nothing in the stores and then they had to restore the food supply. They might even have to learn to cooperate.  Some gardens were popping back up in the spring with perennials, and living in the wheat belt meant there were reserves in the grain elevators.  But it had to be ground into flour and what was left of the population had to learn to take care of themselves.  Food delivery trucks were a thing of the past.

If all else failed, there was always Goulash, a mixture of whatever was available in the form of leftovers, etc.   Here is a version you could make after the Apocalypse:

1 can of Green Beans
1 can of other beans or corn
1 can of any type of tomatoes you can find
1 can of Corn Beef Hash or chopped Spam
Salt, pepper and any other spices you can find (they will help a lot)

After scrounging the grocery stores in the area that still have non-perishables left, mix the above ingredients together and warm in large pot over a campfire. Serve in any container you can find that is reasonably clean or wash it in the community pond.  If no canned goods are available in the grocery stores, break into the houses that are now vacant.  (Be careful to step over the dust outlines on the floor, they are what is left of your neighbors.)
Serve with any good red wine or bottled water if available.  Twinkies make a good dessert for this or any other meal. Serves as many as are sitting around the fire. Can be eaten cold if necessary.

The Apocalypse Sucks is a fun romp through a post-apocalyptic world through the eyes of two young, single women who no longer worry about pantyhose and date night.  Survival is the goal. But if you can’t make fun of the apocalypse, what can you make fun of?

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Peggy!

You can find Peggy here:

Thursday, November 2, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Debra Chapoton, Author of SHELTERED

Preparing lavish dinners never happens in the old haunted house Ben provides for four homeless teens: Cori, Chuck, Adam and Emily. In the suspense novel, Sheltered, a taste for freedom, acceptance, or revenge is on their tongues more than any other flavor. Packing school lunches with plain old peanut butter sandwiches is a chore left to Emily. Her heart is breaking over Ben when he rents the last room to pretty little Megan. Megan should have been thinking about formula and baby food and how she could regain custody, but that ends up on the stove’s back burner when she falls for Ben.

Spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, and of course pizza are the staples when you have an unwed mom, schizophrenic twins, and a Goth teen taking turns cooking. With so many problems in one stitched together household mealtime can be the most stressful of all, even if they stick to comfort food.

Strange things begin to happen, not only in the kitchen, but in the attic and the basement. Maybe the ghosts or demons or whatever are preparing their own feast. Any ideas what they’d want to devour?

And then there’s the vending machine at school. When Emily spots Chuck—or is it Adam?—hiding out there she stops thinking about chocolate, the weird things she’s seen at the house and even her own self-inflicted wounds … because something worse than the paranormal happenings at home is about to happen.

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Debra!

You can find Debra here:

Monday, October 30, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Eldritch Black, Author of The Book of Kindly Deaths

Unearthly Delights

Greetings, my name is Horasmythe Spindlecleft, also known as the gourmet of gourmets. If you've ever dined in my modest little Inn "The Fat Cobblefoot", situated on the side of the Foggypeake mountains, you'll be well aware of my extensive knowledge of food and of the finer things in life.
By now you've no doubt heard of my infamous twice-fried bat wings and hair of Hackthin tart, creations of exquisite beauty, though I say so myself. Not to mention my highly regarded Doormouse eye on toadstall and very-berry-sherry sauce.
So it's with great pride that I can announce I've been appointed chief scribbler of food reviews for the Grimwytch Gazette. Below are the first of many pearls of wisdom concerning places where weary travelers may sip and gorge upon unearthly delights. Outside of The Fat Cobblefoot, of course. And of places that should be be avoided like Fungal-throat plague.

The Malady Inn
A Fairly good stock of Old Catwhist, shame about the clientele.

The Malady Inn is a worn old building on the side of the Eastern Blackwood Road. Inside is a cosy, dingy room and its fairly affable landlord, Mr. Barrow. His bar is well stocked for the most part, although not to the scale of The Fat Cobblefoot.
I chose a dish of sainted duck, goat-foot soup and a pint of Old Bramble's Tipsy. It was an adequate meal until a table of Babbleslithers sat beside me and ruined the meagre ambience. Upon finishing their food, one of the more portly among them threw up his entire course through his left eye.
An unpleasant, vulgar end to a mediocre, but serviceable evening.

Never Again!

I'd once visited this once-quaint little town in my youth. Gone were the cozy little houses and groves of apple trees, and in their place, ash, charcoal, rot and ruin.
There was nowhere to eat on account of the whole town being burnt to the ground and on top of that I had to deal with a Hoardspike. She managed to consume two of my servants right in front of me and it was only upon offering her my vast collection of dried trotters that she let me go.
A once enchanted town, now a foul, dismal place.

The Midnight City Uncle Horace Eiderstaark's Fabulous Pie Stand, Greshtaat District
As dull and flaky as dandruff.

I'd heard many tales of Uncle Horace's pies. It was with great caution that I entered the hodgepodge Greshtaat District. That caution was well placed. A revolting, stinking pile of bricks and dribbles.

Upon finding the Pie Stand, manned by the bald, sweating wreck of Uncle Horace himself, I purchased a pie. It only took two mouthfuls before I was forced to spit it out, such was its monstrous blandness. Unfortunately, one of the maggots used to garnish the pie struck Horace in the face as I expelled my food, bringing forth the rancor of the Eiderstaarks. We fled and escaped, asides from one servant who I last saw being dragged into a ramshackle building.

The Midnight City Vashhaal Wharf
Fine food, peasanty atmosphere.

Yes, the Kishspick stew is indeed delicious, were it not ruined by the lowlife teeming in from the boats. I thrashed two with my cane for their sheer ugliness, before a vulgar crowd formed and chased me, hacking to death my remaining servants. I only just escaped by the skin of my back teeth and bid a hasty retreat.

The Twisted Entrails Inn*
Two putrid turnips for the food, a rotten onion peel for the atmosphere.

This public house has somehow stood in the heart of the Midnight City for centuries. Upon entering, I was almost certain the place would fall down around my ears.
The ambience could be described as raw and *bloody*. A dense crowd of locals, most as thick as treacle, stood swaying at the bar as broken broken refrains from a derelict piano filled the sour air. I made the mistake of ordering the soup of the day, something that appeared to be a broth of grease containing chunks of indeterminate liver. And thumb. My soup was as cold as a serpent's tooth on a winter's evening. I sent it back at once and called the owner over and–**

* Please note the Grimwitch Gazette found this last review spattered with blood and sitting below a table in The Twisted Entrails Inn.
** Of Mr. Spindlecleft, there was no sign.

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Eldritch!

You can find Eldritch here: