Aug 092013

Craig Giesecke

This marks my 78th and final column for Uptown Messenger as Kim and I pack up and move back toward the West Coast. She was raised in the San Diego area and we feel it’s time to tighten the circle, pulling family closer and seeking new opportunities. Besides, I am long overdue for a good, no-time-schedule road trip and the adventure it brings.

In a perfect world, we would have time and money for one last, great tour of New Orleans favorite haunts and to try to get around to a few spots we haven’t yet tried. But we don’t have much of either, so such an event will have to wait until we return, which will be as often as possible.

Over the nearly a decade we’ve lived here, I have operated a small specialty food production company, worked at several different restaurants and, of course, run my own. I’ve been lucky, unlucky, blessed, cursed and sometimes maligned. The positives far outweigh the negatives and the list of folks to thank is far too long to possibly remember or accurately list. But there are a few who stand out…

Polly Watts at The Avenue Pub has been a springboard, a supporter and a solid friend since we began working with her in the spring of 2009. Though an overload of business forced us to part ways, she has never stopped ringing the bell in our favor. Thank you, Polly – you’re class.

Attorney Jonathan Shushan has the distinction of being our first customer in several of our operations and has also remained a solid friend and supporter. I’ll miss our long conversations about both food and history.

The local culinary media: Ian McNulty, Todd Price, Lorin Gaudin, Kim Ranjbar, Leslie Almeida, et al. Your reviews, while happily favorable, have also been honest when we fell short of the mark. Thank you for your candor and professionalism. I can only hope the food writing is half as good in Southern California.

Rouses. This company has employed me three times in the past 18 months, giving me a paycheck when badly needed and, for the most part, giving me a little creative space. Special thanks yous to Melissa Montero and Marc Ardoin.

IberiaBank. When times got tough, they stood by and understood until we could make it right. Most folks hate their bank. I’ve loved mine.

Finally – Robert Morris and the Uptown Messenger. Thank you for the platform, the patience and the encouragement. This is journalism how I knew it in my 30+ years in the business.

I frankly have no idea what I’ll be doing once we get to Escondido. I can always work in a kitchen and I can always write, but it remains to be seen how well either of those might pay some bills. My disadvantage is I’ll be a new guy, and an aging one at that. My advantage is I survived and even prospered a little with good reviews in New Orleans – one of the great food cities on the planet. I and we are truly, truly blessed.

…and thank you for reading. The greatest thing about the readers of this page is their intelligence and critical appraisal of what’s here. It’s easy to throw stones anonymously on some website, but that has rarely been the case here.

It is difficult to leave, but we must. Again, thank you.

Craig Giesecke has been a broadcaster and journalist for over 30 years, including nearly two decades at the AP and UPI covering news, sports, politics, food and travel. He has been the owner of J’anita’s for five years, serving well-reviewed upscale bar food and other dishes. Comments are encouraged and welcomed.