O’Kay then.

Dear Feastlings,

Not being Roman Catholic myself, nor keeping kosher, halal or following any other sort of diet besides keeping the soybeans I’m allergic to out of my diet, I’m not one to pay much attention to it, but I do get it. Despite the fact that there’s a broad selection of people who choose to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day who hail from other religions or lack thereof, I know that if you’re celebrating a saint’s Feast Day, the odds are good that you’re observing Lent just now. Here in Tucson, you’ve got it pretty good on the St. Patty’s front; if you live in Chicago,


or Rhode Island,


you’ll have to watch all the heretics scarf up the corned beef and cabbage that’s rightfully yours. Here in Tucson, however, you can do a little creative horse trading and postpone your fish fry until Saturday if your belief system allows for such a thing:


Here at Feast, where we tend to put food and drink ahead of other cultural priorities, we’ll be ready for you. As we have for years now, we’ve been conscientiously corning briskets for nearly three weeks now, getting ourselves ready for copious amounts of corned beef and cabbage.

Many of you know already that I suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder over our corned beef, and not because it was three years ago on Saint Patrick’s Day that we received the order to close up shop by 8:00 to make room for Coronavirus to plow through Tucson, and things haven’t been the same since. Rather, my PTSD comes from years of being beleaguered and bullied over our corned beef, so here’s my annual preemptive strike: We corn our own beef here, and consequently, it’s not like corned beef you’ve had elsewhere. Call it poetic license, or call us Luddites for failing to use the advanced technologies of saltpeter and nitrates, but we use neither in our process, so the corned beef you recollect from childhood, the bright red kind that makes you thirstier with each bite, won’t be found here. Our corned beef, like another other beef that’s cooked completely through, is brown. Likewise, the fact that we braise it rather than boiling it means that it won’t be chewy; rather, it will be quite tender and juicy.

I’ve literally had a guest yell in my face over it, and have been accused of not serving corned beef but roast beef (inaccurate) and brisket (accurate, but brisket is the cut used for the red and rubbery style as well, so I’m not sure what the problem was there.) Generally speaking, the sort of person who’s upset about our corned beef is equally upset that we’ve neglected to dye and of our beer green as well, and I don’t doubt that I’ll deal with one surly guest or another again this year, but I send this out in hopes of managing expectations. If this email lets me avoid even one such interaction, it will have been worth it. I do find myself bemused at the battles people choose, but I guess food is important to me, so why shouldn’t it be just as important to someone who profoundly disagrees with me?

In any case, what you can expect come Friday is brown and tender brisket that’s been brined for a couple of weeks, absent saltpeter and nitrates, served up in a proper broth with cabbage and potatoes, turnips and carrots, with a little caraway seed for good measure. It will be brown rather than red. It will be tender rather than chewy. And we’ll bake loaves and loaves of oat porridge bread, which, while it isn’t soda bread, is delicious and great for sopping up juices, and there’s that poetic license again. If your faith keeps you from eating beef on Friday, we’re making plenty, and you’re more than welcome to order some to take home. If you’re not an omnivore, I’m sad to report that Impossible Brisket is not yet a thing.

Mercifully, the Catholic Church hasn’t taken a position against tasting wine on Saturday, so you can celebrate spring with a tasting of refreshing Sauvignon Blancs with us this Sunday.


And, as long as we’re on the subject of the Catholic Church, you have to like what they’re doing at Sister Jose Women’s Center, helping women experiencing homelessness with everything from temporary shelter to clothing to food to medical supplies, with showers and toiletries, shelf-stable food and rolling suitcases, and help transitioning into housing and jobs and a return to the lifestyle that most of us take for granted. Last Monday, March 6th, we held a benefit dinner for the Center, and it sold out so quickly that we decided to do it all over again next month. If you’d like to join us for a dinner with food paired with local wines and help an amazing organization at the same time, here’s some information on how to go about that:

The good kind of sellout

One last bit of news as well for those of you who listen to or watch Arizona Public Media: your pal Doug will be on the airwaves tomorrow from 8:00 am to 10:00 am, which isn’t anything special in and of itself, but given that you’re reading this, you’re likely not averse to winning a gift certificate to Feast. Those who call in to AZPM during my two-hour stint will be entered in a drawing to win one of two gift certificates, so call in your donation to (520) 621-1600 or 1 (800) 223-7192, if I recollect correctly. I’ve been repeating those numbers for a lot of years now, so I feel fairly confident, but if you want to be sure, you can tune into 89.1 or 90.5 FM tomorrow morning and someone, likely me, will jump in with phone numbers and web addresses to get you entered to win a gift certificate and to thank you for whatever contribution you choose to make to another worthy cause.

Thanks, everyone.

Your pal,


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