The Spicy Food Lover’s Media Tour, Part 3

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By Dave DeWitt 

The Spicy Food Lover’s Media Tour

Media Recipe:

Avocado Herb Omelet with Hot Chutney


    Part 1: From Scottsdale to Long Island

    Part 2: The Left Coast

 Part 3: Wrap Up, Credits, and Media Tour Awards

Thanks to All

A media tour of such duration is a production that requires the cooperation more than 100 professionals, all working together to make sure that no one has egg on their face, so to speak. I was impressed by the coordination of the project, led by Stewart, Tabori & Chang publicist Ron Longe. You read about travel problems these days, but there were no real screw-ups on this tour–except the flare-up in Seattle–and that was my fault. I appreciate the hard work by everyone involved in the tour.

California Redwoods

A redwoods tour provided a break in the action.



Behind the Scenes

My publisher and the Sur La Table people really took care of me. I had perks like media escorts, Town Car travel to airports, on-time flights, excellent hotels, and great restaurants. I felt like a rock musician, traveling from city to city and performing for two hours nearly every night. Right in the middle of the tour, all the previous locations started blurring together in my memory, but I had my new iBook for word processing of my notes and Web access.

Gregg, my media escort in Scottsdale told me that he liked assisting so much that he wanted to continue the tour with me to Dallas. I reminded him that he had a real job, but at least he will be assisting on future Scottsdale Sur la Table cooking demos. It was great to see old friends like him and Sallye Broome.

Dave with long-time high school friend Sallye

That’s Sallye, my long-time friend from high school.



Several humorous things happened. In Newport Beach, when I commented on the beauty of the local women, Jeff Silverman told me: “In Beverly Hills, you can tell if a beautiful woman has had cosmetic surgery. In Newport Beach, you can’t tell.” In Seattle, Roz Bell warned me that if I went to sign the stock of my book in a bookstore, the manager might ask me for some identification. It seems that some jokester went to Seattle bookstores claiming to be Virginia Woolf, and some of the clerks let her sign a bunch of books.

Toward the end of the tour, my show and tell spices started to disappear, so I guess the culinary students felt that they were “show and take.” But all’s well that ends well, and there were no plates dropped, no one got cut or burned, and only one student complained about the food being too spicy.

The DD Media Tour Awards

Here’s my take on my favorite tour highlights.

  • Best Market: San Francisco Farmer’s Market, CA

  • Best Garden: Copia, Napa, CA

  • Best Hotel: Sofitel San Francisco Bay, Redwood City, CA

  • Best Shopping: Scottsdale, AZ

  • Best Bar: Jake’s Famous Crawfish, Portland, OR

  • Best Restaurant: The Martini House, St. Helena, CA

  • Funkiest Restaurant: Salvador Molly’s, Portland, OR

  • Best Demo Kitchen: Copia, Napa, CA

  • Best Bookstore: Powell’s Books for Cooks and Gardeners, Portland, OR

  • Best Media Coverage: Dallas, TX and Washington, D.C. (tie)

  • Most Raucous Audience: Sur La Table, Santa Monica, CA

  • Largest Audience: Sur La Table, Portland, OR

  • My Favorite City: Portland, OR

Melanie Yunk and I in the vineyard at Copia.

Melanie Yunk and I in the vineyard at Copia.




Special thanks to: Mary Jane Wilan, who kept it all together; Scott Mendel, agent extraordinaire; Marisa Bulzone, top-notch editor; Dr. BBQ, Ray Lampe, who’s been doing similar things; Harald Zoschke, with daily support from Germany; and Wayne Scheiner for his tech help.

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Avocado Herb Omelet with Hot Chutney

Here is the infamous omelet that I nearly burned on live TV. This recipe is based on a wonderful omelet Nancy was served at the Hotel Jaguar in Cahuita, Costa Rica when she and Dave and their spouses were exploring the habanero industry for a magazine article they were researching. This chutney doesn’t uses sugar, instead the flavor of fresh fruit is used to naturally sweeten the chutney. The red skinned avocado is used in Costa Rica, but since we’ve not seen them outside of the country, use whatever type is available and ripe.

  • 1 large avocado, peeled and pitted

  • 1/4 cup finely minced onion

  • 4 eggs

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

  • 2 fresh cayenne-type chiles, stems and seeds removed, minced

  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

  • Garnish: Cilantro leaves and avocado slices


  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped

  • 3 cups diced papaya

  • 2 tablespoons raisins

  • 1 habanero chile, stem and seeds removed, minced

Combine the ingredients for the chutney in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over a low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce has thickened.

Place the avocado inn a small bowl and mash the avocado with a fork. Add the onion and stir to mix, and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together 2 of the eggs with half of the cilantro and chiles until well combined.

Heat an omelet pan over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the butter and tilt the pan to ensure the butter covers the entire pan. Pour the eggs into the pan and continue to stir, while moving the pan, until the mixture starts to thicken. Add the avocado mixture and allow the omelet to finish cooking.

Run a spatula or knife around the edges of the omelet to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan. Slide the eggs to the front of the pan and fold over the top.

Turn the omelet onto a plate, garnish with avocado slices, a few cilantro leaves and serve with the chutney on the side.

Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Yield: 2 servings

Heat Scale: Medium to Hot

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Sponsored by:

Sur La Table  Stewart, Tabori & Chang

Special Thanks to:


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