Stop wasting time and start eating.

“The trouble is, you think you have time.”

Jack Kornfield

What is Fat, Drunk & Fancy?

We get this question a lot.

It’s about food, obviously. We love eating it, talking about it, cooking it, sharing it.

And really, what’s a meal without a glass of wine…or a beer…or a cocktail? As they say, no great story started with someone eating a salad. Am I right?

But, more than anything, Fat, Drunk & Fancy is about time.

It’s the one thing we wish we had more of, and yet when we have it, we take it for granted.  Or worse, recklessly waste it.

With each meal, we have an opportunity to stop the pattern of flying time, slow down for an hour or two with our partners, our friends, our children and create the memories and experiences that will be with us long after we’ve retired, our kids have grown and all of the other daily activities that consume our days are over.

Fat, Drunk & Fancy’s purpose is to inspire people to plan random date nights, throw a dinner party, host a holiday or simply sit down at the dinner table a couple of times a week with your family or friends.

We want you to realize that your time is your greatest commodity, and we want you to spend it with people who bring joy to your life.  

The memories you will create during these moments will be what brings meaning to your life, and for that they are invaluable.

“Vinny Boombaats” and the story of Tim Kohlheim, owner of Shore Fire Grille

Last July, on our way to an event on Long Beach Island, NJ, we discovered a great little foodie gem called, “Shore Fire Grille”.

Kim and I stumbled upon SFG when looking for a place to have lunch and were drawn in by a menu destined for any foodie’s dream. Within seconds of us sitting down, this random guy walked on over, slid right into our booth and started talking.

At first Kim & I gave each other this side glance like, “who the hell is this dude?”, but within minutes we knew we liked this guy.  He was super comfortable to be around and just guided us through the menu, pointing out his greatest hits.

Before too long, we realized that this guy wasn’t some random, but the owner, Tim.

We hit it off immediately, drawn right into his love for what he did, his family, the island, all of it.  Tim was a straight shooter with a rad vibe, fun energy and a genuinely great guy.  His use of the word “vicious” to describe food was both hilarious, heart warming and somehow perfect to label anything off of his menu. Especially the “Vinny Boombaats” hot dog, loaded with “Mutzadell” and “Madinad”; in other words, quintessential New Jersey.

Throughout the rest of the summer and into the off-season, we began conversing on social media.  We went back to visit a couple of times, even taking a detour on our way to Cape May.

Each time it wasn’t, “hey, let’s go to Shore Fire Grill” it was, “hey, let’s go see Tim.”  That’s how it was, we went to see Tim.

Two weeks ago while on vacation with our family on the island, we would once again go see Tim when the rest of the crew wanted to go somewhere else.

Once again, Tim saddled up next to us, talking for awhile about the hectic summer, missing his girls and his wife, and the latest and greatest breakfast menu. We were there almost until closing time, but not before he got us a Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake. We had a few more laughs and then went on our way, telling Tim that we’d see him again soon.

Then over the weekend, we learned that on Thursday evening, Tim was tragically killed in a car accident.

We, along with the rest of Tims community, are stunned.  In an instant, our day changed.  In a similar instant, so changed the lives of Tim’s wife, his children, his family and friends.

This happy, hard working, charitable man; this loving father and husband, was gone.  We didn’t know him well, and yet we find ourselves still trying to process this news.

Being a father, I can’t imagine the sadness and confusion that his children must be feeling, wondering why daddy isn’t ever coming home again.

As a husband, I can’t imagine his wife, wondering what happened, where he was, or how the news of his death was delivered.  Just like that. Their lives are changed forever.

Live your life. Do what makes you happy. Stay in touch.  Love hard.  Make sure the people that you love know it beyond a shadow of a doubt, because it can all end in an instant. It’s what Tim would want.

We didn’t know Tim well, but we knew he loved life.   We also know his impact.  This was a man you wanted to know.  This was a man who would help anyone in need. Sadly, this was a man who was taken far too soon.

Tim leaves behind his wife Samantha, two beautiful little girls, countless family, friends, employees, customers and so many more lives that he touched.  He wanted to help anyone he could, so now is a great time to pay him back.

There is a GoFundMe site established to help Tim’s wife and children.  Do whatever you can, even if that’s just to learn more about Tim and his impact. It’s what Tim would do for us; for anyone, really. And so, we’re doing it for him.

The Kitchen Pass at Common Lot

We’ve never sat so close to a proper restaurant kitchen until we ate at the “Kitchen Pass” at Common Lot. The experience can best be described as first row seats at a flawlessly choreographed ballet, if said ballet was set to the music of Cage the Elephant.

The food is sophisticated and elegant, but not in the “I’m afraid to touch this” or “where the hell is the rest of it?” sort of way. No, no, this is properly portioned sophistication and elegance. This is amazing food.

It also makes you want to jump out of your seat with delight, when the flavors of the homemade sauerkraut and perfectly crisp mushroom hit your tongue.

Or when one of the most perfect slices of duck to ever come across your plate is served, and you and the other 3 people who have joined you at “the Pass” are having the “eyes rolled back in your head” experience before all saying “Oh my God”, at nearly the same time.

There’s something about being part of that quiet energy, as the chef’s move so fluidly around the kitchen creating these gorgeous plates of food, that is both soothing and full of excitement. From every corner of the kitchen there is movement, and the assembly of each dish is a work of art, balanced in both flavor and appearance.

If you can get the reservation at the Kitchen Pass, which is worth the effort and patience to obtain, it is truly a unique experience. We could have sat there all night, glass of wine in hand, and just watched. Alas, the wine eventually ran out, and the kitchen started to slow down. This time did afford us an opportunity to talk more with the chef and rest of the crew, which only heightened our excitement to return. Outstanding food, warm and exciting atmosphere, a meal best shared with friends. That’s Common Lot, and it quickly has become one of our favorites.

The Heart of a Winemaker

Nick, Jean Hoefliger and Kim at the 2019 Alpha Omega ERA Event

“Enjoy the moments that truly matter, with those who matter most”

Jean Hoefliger

Every so often, you meet someone who’s energy is infectious.  Their personality blows through the door even before they wrap you up in a big hug.  It’s who they are.  As we sat in the tasting room at AXR Winery, we anticipated this energy, wrapped up in a six foot six inch frame.

To meet Jean Hoefliger is to experience him. Of course he’s a brilliant winemaker, with countless wines under his belt. But what you don’t get unless you meet him, is just how passionate he is about his craft. He breathes wine, the vines, the soil, aging and blending. It’s an endless energy, the ability to put together the words and stay just ahead of how fast his mind is moving because he loves this work. But as you talk to him, you learn quickly why this passion is so strong in him.

He knows wine is about people, it’s about experiences, it’s about the importance of sharing these moments with the people we love, creating memories and connecting in a way that only wine, food and shared experiences can.  

Jean is one of us.  He has a passion for life, for people, and for creating wines that will be enjoyed by future generations.  That is his purpose.  To make something that will continue to bring people together even after he and the rest of us are gone.

It’s the most noble of missions, and having spent time with him and having enjoyed his wines for years, he is succeeding in his mission and creating memories, including the memories we will hold forever thanks to the time we were able to spend with this hero of his craft.

“That Veal Dish”

Me & my Dad – September 22, 2108

“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.”

Alan D. Wolfelt

I saw this photo of me and my Dad the other day, and it’s been on my mind ever since. It was taken on September 22, 2018 when my family gathered to celebrate my grandpa’s life on the 5th anniversary of his passing. Time with family, no matter how you came into his life, was what my grandpa always loved most.

I wanted to serve a dish that I remember my grandpa always loving; veal cutlets that are lightly fried and served over linguine with artichoke hearts, capers, crispy prosciutto and a lemony sauce. I distinctly remember my grandfather, sitting at the head of the table at my Dad’s house so many years ago with a goblet of red wine in front of him. Our family was gathered around the table and there was a large, shallow bowl in the middle of the table with so much veal and prosciutto on top that you never would have known that there was linguine underneath.

At some point in time, my Dad stopped making this dish and my Uncle Ben picked up where he left off, carrying the recipe on through the years. In the weeks leading up to the anniversary dinner, I consulted with both my Uncle and my Dad on the veal recipe. Truth be told, I was most looking forward to having them both there with me on the day of the dinner to help me finish the meal. To be cooking with them, making a dish that was theirs – one that my grandpa loved so much – was almost too much to handle.

All of that emotion floods back into my heart when I look at this photo, and you can see all that I was feeling that day when you look at my smile. Happiness. Love. Respect. They don’t even begin to cut it.

It’s that smile on my Dad’s face though that really just gets me. Quite honestly, there’s more that I see; more that I feel in that smile, than I could even begin to describe. It’s a matter of the memories in my heart that I will always hold on to.

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