I was thinking about Joe today...in the midst of our economic downturn/recession whatever. The news reports list the previous recessions: 1978, 1987, 1990, 1992......I don't know, I am just making up numbers....but I never noticed recessions before this one. In many of those recession years I actually opened restaurants and started businesses and everything worked out.
Why? There was a buzz. There was a guy who had the inside scoop, who didn't lie....well, much....and if he did he had a way of telegraphing it so that you knew that he knew that you knew....
Every morning there was a column about restaurants and food and who was who. It got people up off their butts and out in public....spending money. If you wanted to be where the action was....you went to places Joe wrote about.
There are lots of great restaurants and bars that start up and are great for a short while.....but no one hears, no one notices....and they fade away. And there are other great restaurants and bars that are there for you every day, day in day out....and you all forget about them because no one hears what is going on. Joe would have loved Mundaka...loved Christopher's. Loved Dametra. Joe would have loved Passion Fish. Joe would have loved Taqueria Garcia.
Joe would have loved a bunch of places that could really use his help right about now.
The last time I saw Joe was at Safeway at mid-Valley. He was clearly struggling. Moving slowly. Joe was tall, and old age is harder on tall folks. We talked and cracked some jokes....shook hands carefully....and Joe shuffled off to his car. A bright red Porche Boxster. Fuck yeah....Go Joe!
Joe and I share a space on the wall of the Rio Grill....that association gives me great honor. Bert and Ted, Billly Quon, Tony Tollner, Csaba Ajan, Kenny Fukimoto and all the other old restaurant souls should commission a statue of Joe. Me too, come to think of it.
Only problem...the statue would have to be portable.
Joe wouldn't want his memory to stuck in a place that sucked.
RIP buddy....you were a long time coming...and you will be a long time gone.