About C.E.

Hi, I’m C.E. Like many people who take singular pleasure in cooking and eating, I grew up in kitchens — the well-stocked kitchen in my family’s home on the Southwest Side of Chicago, the bustling kitchens of the local restaurants my mother owned, and the welcoming kitchens of my friends in our culturally diverse neighborhood.

Since I also fell in love with words at an early age, I’ve straddled the worlds of journalism and food for most of my life.

As an arts & culture reporter and editor, I’ve written about music, pop culture, nightlife and food for the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Wausau Daily Herald, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and a number of other newspapers, magazines and websites.

As a restaurant employee and owner (I opened an eatery specializing in regional Mexican cuisine in Milwaukee back in the late ’90s), I’ve done every job in the business, from devising a dinner menu to cleaning out a clogged grease trap.

I moved to Tallahassee in the summer of 2010, and the unique cuisines of Florida and the Deep South have been a revelation for me. I’ve relished Gulf shrimp caught just hours before it landed on my plate, zesty key limes picked from a tree down the street and collards and turnips grown at a local farm. And that’s just for starters.

I’m looking forward to sharing my adventures in food here at Tallahassee Bite By Bite, and I’m eager to hear about your culinary explorations, as well. You can email me at tlhbitebybite@gmail.com

The best thing I’ve ever eaten:  Fresh-made guacamole, pico de gallo and carne asada tacos at Maravillas, the little taqueria just a few blocks up the street from the house where I grew up. This meal always tasted even better after midnight. Maravillas isn’t around anymore, but there’s still no place I’d rather eat than at an authentic taqueria.

I couldn’t cook without: Chili peppers, in fresh, dried and powdered form. I love them all, from the commonplace jalapeño to the exotic chiltepin. Poblanos and their dried counterparts, anchos, are my all-time favorite chiles.

My favorite place to eat in Tallahassee: Kool Beanz in Midtown. The creative, eclectic dishes on the menu change often to reflect what’s currently in season, and the restaurant supports local sustainable agriculture by purchasing fresh produce from nearby farms.

I’d love to learn how to make: Bread. There’s something magical about transforming flour, water and salt into a fresh-baked loaf.

My guiltiest gustatory pleasure: Frosted Cherry Pop-Tarts. I’ve said farewell to most of the processed foods of my youth, but once in a while I just can’t ignore my craving for Pop-Tarts.

C.E. Hanifin is editor-in-chief and owner of Tallahassee Bite By Bite. She lives in northwest Tallahassee with her partner, known as the Professor around these parts, and their two persnickety tabbies, Tigra and Cheetara.

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