Sylvia, Queen of Soul Food, RIP

Approximately three decades ago, I had the pleasure of going to Sylvia’s for the first time with Gordon Parks. Suffice to say, it was a great meal, great conversation, and Sylvia was just so warm and beautiful. Two years later, American Airlines called me to do a photoshoot at Sylvia’s. I walked in; she not only remembered me, but gave me a hug and a kiss. Over the years, I’ve sent hundreds of my friends from all over the world to Sylvia’s. But I was a bad boy; I hadn’t seen Sylvia in over twenty-five years. I walked in with my son Dylan and Dylan’s close friend. They were on their way to Vietnam, so I thought I’d take them out for dinner before going to the airport. I walked in, I didn’t see Sylvia, and my heart stopped. I went to the young lady behind the counter and asked “Is Sylvia here” she said “Yes, she’s sitting in the back.” As I walked over to Sylvia, I smiled and said “Sylvia, you probably don’t…” she stopped me and said “Hi Joe, how are you? Haven’t seen you in a long time.” Hugs and kisses for everybody, including Dylan and his friend Moe, and of course, a great meal. I planned on seeing her in about a month, but I guess that’s not going to happen now. Maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll see her on the other side. Sylvia, have a great trip.

Joe D.

Barbuto and Tommasos

It never ceases to amaze me how small the world really is.  JoAnne had an assignment in Manhattan the other day and I acted as her chauffeur.  We make it a practice of never going on one another’s assignment unless the client hires both of us.  That’s the only time we work together.  She had a long, difficult day, but a great one.  We were very close to a new restaurant to us called Barbuto‘s.  JoAnne knew the chef from back in the day and the food was magnificent.  Here’s something you need to know:  There was no salt, no pepper, and no condiments on the table and I doubt anyone would ask for them.  The reason is simple, they really know what they are doing.  Everything was fresh, well seasoned and off the charts.  At the end of the meal Jonathan Waxman, the owner of the restaurant, came over and wanted to make sure our dining experience was everything it should have been.  Many chefs and many photographers get a bad wrap about egotism, but Jonathan was simply a sweetheart.  We mentioned something about the west coast and I said to him “If you’re ever in San Francisco you need to visit one of my favorite restaurants, Tomassos.”  He informed me that he went to Berkeley and has been going to Tomassos for decades and it is one of his favorites.  Carmen, he loves your restaurant!  So after a long day of photography, film-making, or just a casual stroll in one of the two greatest cities of the world, stop by either restaurant and mention my name.  Who knows, maybe I’ll get a free glass of wine next time I’m in!  To all the ships at sea, 2.8 and be there.

© JoAnne Kalish MMXII

©Joe DiMaggio MMXII