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Daily Archives: July 15, 2009

Court challenge to Tennessee allowing guns in alcohol-serving establishments

First of all, I’m against concealed carry permit holders bringing their weapons into my restaurant or any other restaurant. Alcohol and guns don’t mix well. And I’ve heard all of the arguments.

Basically, the law states that a permit holder can bring a weapon into an establishment that serves alcohol but can’t drink while carrying.  The article that I’m linking to implies that Tennessee might be the only state out of the 37 states that allow concealed-carry permits to specifically allow guns in bars and restaurants (27 forbid it outright). Tennessee has also recently passed a law that allows guns to be toted in public parks as well, which seems rather insane to me. Governor Bredesen vetoed the guns in restaurants bill but it was overriddenby the Senate. Bredesen was resigned to signing the second guns in parks bill doe to the political realities currently in the Legislature.

Fortunately, opponents to the bill in the state legislature demanded an opt-out clause to both pieces of legislation. Municipalities are now free to pass local ordinances banning weapons in public parks (Davidson,home to Nashville and neighboring Williamson County and Shelby county, home of Memphis) are among the first to rush to beat the Sep. 1st  start of the new state law.

Furthermore, many restaurant owners are now posting “No Guns Allowed” on their front doors, including Randy Rayburn, one of the leaders in the fight to have the new guns in restaurant law declared a “public nuisance”. Rayburn, owner of venerable Sunset Grill, Midtown Cafe, and newish hot spot Cabana is willing to risk the wrath of the gun lobby and the more rabid elements of the gun ownership population. He fears that public safety will be compromised, employer liability increased, and tourism possibly hurt. Even the police seem queasy about the possibilities inherent in allow guns and alcohol to mix.

Here’s one article about the challenge to the law.

BTW, I was a .50cal gunner and Track Commander in my Mechanized Infantry platoon, so I’m pretty well-schooled and familiar with guns of all types.  I qualified not only “Expert” with the M-16 and M-60, I was also “Sharpshooter” with a Colt .45 (just didn’t have much need to get “Expert” with that one since I didn’t carry one like my hot-shot 2nd Lt. did). 

And now, a gratuitous and obviously staged shot of a gunshot victim being helped by a manaical Clive Owen (I decided that a real picture of a gunshot victim would be too graphic.


Recipe of the day – Fried fish batter

Perfect for making fish and chips, this batter is very simple and  has a surprising ingredient – Guinness. It makes a very light and fluffy but crispy crust and gives the crust the most wonderful golden brown color . We had a visiting corporate chef that gave me the very simple recipe. It works best if you chill the flour first, but that’s not necessary. You can also find variations of this recipe on the web – you might experiment to see which one you like best.

Two bottles ice cold 12 oz bottles of Guinness

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Liberal dash of salt

Small dash of pepper

Reserve one bottle of Guinness in the refrigerator. Combine dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add Guinness.  Let sit for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. At the 20 minute mark, remove the reserved bottle of Guinness from the refrigerator and place on counter. 

When you use it, dust your fish filets in flour and dredge.  Immediately before dredging, open the top of the reserved bottle and pour into a clean pint glass. Tilt glass 45 degrees and fill 3/4 of the glass, pouring at a moderately slow speed. Return to fish and dredge your first fish.  Fry in 350 degree oil. Try to cook them in enough oil to totally submerge them. This will keep you from having to flip them over with a spatula which can tear the delicate batter. When the first batch is  about 1 1/2 minutes in, top off the glass of Guinness slowly, allowing the head to stay intact. At this point, the head should be a little over an inch tall. Stop as the head is just short of the rim. Wait a beat and then dribble the remaining beer on top. This should give you a slight dome.  Take an appreciative look at the glass that you’ve poured and take your first sip. The fish filets should be close to done  If you did have to cook it in less oil in a skillet, now’s about the time to turn them –  just make sure that you don’t turn them until the bottom side is almostthe final color). If they are floating in a deep fat fryer, give them a quick flip with a wooden spoon or spatula.  When you turn the filet, just be really careful flipping it. First of all, you don’t want to mess up the beautiful batter. But more importantly, you don’t want to splash oil on yourself and you definitely don’t want to get your glass of Guinness tainted with hot oil. this will destroy the carefully constructed head that you’ve built.

Some recipes add an egg. I found that the lightest, crispiest batter doesn’t use egg. So try it first without egg. But if you like a firmer, thicker batter, or you think the batter is too light, feel free to add an egg the next time. 

Try to choose firm white fish like cod or haddock and make sure that the filets are around an inch thick and fairly uniform in thickness. Make sure also that you haven’t used your last two bottles of Guinness because you’re going to need at least one more per person being served (I like to assure that I have 3 per guest, but your mileage may vary).

Thanks to Jeff, the corporate training chef who gave me this recipe.