THE STORY OF WOLFMAN…
Taken From The Valley Scene Magazine Cover Story Written By Pam Froman
Hungry? Craving a cold one? How about you just want a quick smoke to help you relax? Turn to “Wolfman Raymond’s” “Burgers, Brews, and Buds.” “Burgers, Brews, and Buds.” is a Facebook group and on social media and represented on the Wolfman Presents YouTube channel. It is currently being revamped as a TV show and podcast.
Wolfman gained his infamous moniker back in the 90s. While in college in Gainsville, Florida he decided to go to a Gothic show. He was dressed to the nines – eyeliner, a goatee that was about two inches long, nail polish, and wearing all black. But his friend had asked him to drop some stuff off at the bar where he worked. So Wolfman stopped by and left it with the bouncer. The next day Wolfman’s friend asked the bouncer about his stuff, and the bouncer could not explain who he was. Frustrated, the bouncer finally said, “You know…the guy that looks like the Wolfman!” And that’s been how he’s been styled ever since.
Wolfman got his start as a DJ for a Gainesville radio station hosting the rock and alternative music shows on Saturday nights. When he got kicked off the air, he wanted to recreate that vibe only rauncher and for TV accompanied by events and concerts. That’s when created a show on UDTV – Underground Downtown Television in 2003. He booked shows on over a dozen venues working with over a thousand bands. It was aired on paid programming on the Fox network and Cox Cable. He would book the band, promote it through the show then cover the live show – a whole cycle. That way when a band came into town they reached a following. Then Wolfman decided he wanted to jump ship from music and go into food. So he began one of the most popular segments in UDTV – “Munchie Madness.”
The end of the UDTV journey took him to Backstage Lounge, in 2012, where he managed the bar and did the booking for the bands and promotions.
Wolfman had started as a dishwasher at the Copper Monkey/Panama Joe’s Billiards in NW Gainesville and within a year, went to the sandwich station, the fry, the saute station, the grill, and then ended up managing the place in the morning and bouncing at night.
“That got me really into food and that’s what started the idea of the ‘Munchie Madness’ cooking show – just me and a buddy the kitchen manager, Chad Nelson, who was actually on the first couple segments of Munchie Madness. He was part of a the most popular two part episodes called “Wolfman’s Way to Get Some Play For Under $20.”
The “Munchie Madness” cooking show was also inspired by Wolfman’s grandmother. She was his main influence on cuisine. “I learned a lot from my grandmother,” he says. “She operated one of the original soup kitchens in Brooklyn.”
When his grandmother passed on, Wolfman took all her dresses and did a camp Julia Child-esque motif on the show. Every time he did an episode he would wear one of her dresses or shirts as an homage to her. That wasn’t the only time he dressed up for the part though. When working at the Backstage Lounge, he dressed up as a reverend at an open mic night and called himself “Reverend Wolfman at the Rock ‘N’ Roll Church.” This was then followed with “Sunday School” on Sundays, with a menu including waffle burgers, beef brisket sandwiches, quesadillas, and more. “It was cool – I got to create the whole menu so that’s what got me into food,” he says.
When he came to Los Angeles, he started Wolfman Presents which is the hub of all his foodie projects: “Burgers, Brews, and Buds,” “The Hunt For The Tastiest Food,” “Wolfman Food Hunts” and more.
Wolfman is a huge burger guy. That was how the “Burgers, Brews, and Buds” podcast was born. He created an unreleased episode one podcast for Burgers, Brews and Buds with a segment called the upcoming national food days. It didn’t quite fit the Burgers, Brews and Buds format, dated the show very quickly, and segment was standing out on it’s own, so Wolfman decided to move full throttle on the National Food Day Podcast while he reformatted and perfected the Burgers, Brews and Buds show. Both will be brought to you by Wolfman Presents. ”I was like, wait a minute, why don’t I just do National Food Days quick and simple, and it’ll be really fun to do?”
The “National Food Day” podcasts have aired three episodes as of now and they truly have a life of their own. They have received great feedback, and have a lot of potential! Plus, Wolfman started the whole thing to help our local businesses because right now places are struggling. Now is the time, he thought!
Burgers, brews, and buds are three of Wolfman’s favorite things. The main idea of the pilot – and the podcast – began in the idea of his search for the tastiest burger. Then it got to the point where he was pairing burgers and beer. “I was like this should be a whole thing, and if we are going to pair this with a beer we should pair with weed too,” he says. So Wolfman and his friend started filming by visiting a grow facility in Seattle and talking to a grower who then showed them around. Then they took the weed grower to a restaurant, got a local beer and a burger, and talked about how great all three paired together.
You can currently follow “Burgers, Brews, and Buds” on Facebook and through clips on the web. The “National Food Day” Podcast is on Itunes and Google Podcasts. It explores and shares the national food holidays with all the folklore, facts, and personal stories, experiences, and recommendations. Visit www.wolfmanpresents.com to gain access to the Facebook group, and all current podcasts and videos.
Daily World Calendar on Instagram is partnering with the “National Food Day” Podcast. Daily World Calendar celebrates the world days all over the planet so they are incorporating that information into the show.
“I can see this thing growing and also becoming its own show. We’ve talked to some restaurants that want to collaborate so I see the ‘National Food Day’ podcast being the proof of concept for ‘Burgers Brews and Buds,'” says Wolfman. “I have this vision for it – I want it to be really good.”
The main focus of the “National Food Day” podcast is to educate people about food, help local businesses, and to get those local businesses to celebrate these food days as well. For National Cuban Day you should get specials at Cuban restaurants. Go to a wing place for hot wings on National Hot Wing Day. There’s even a National S’mores Day.
“I just see so much in this that people aren’t doing and that’s honestly how I always felt about burgers and weed,” says Wolfman. “Weed was misunderstood and there are so many good benefits for it. These are passion projects that turned out to be more. I get emails all the time saying I didn’t know it was this day or that day – it’s a good conversation in these crazy times.”
So where is the best burger? Wolfman’s two favorite places are Cassells in Korea Town and the Bowery on Vine in Hollywood. Both places have plenty of beer options and a full bar. The Bowery has got New York style and both of the spots have a nice blend of meat that they do right there on the patio. “Those are the freshest burgers I’ve ever had,” Wolfman says. www.cassellshamburgers.com, www.theboweryhollywood.com
His favorite place in North Hollywood is The Federal. They have themed nights such as Macaroni and Cheese where you can add things like fried chicken. They also have upscale burger nights. www.thefederalnoho.com
Wolfman also has tons of recommendations for the tastiest pizza in Los Angeles. His favorite is Blackbird Pizza Shop on Melrose, which features a unique Chicago-style white pizza topped with asparagus. www.blackbirdpizzashopla.com
Show some love to the Sunset Grill in Hollywood, Wolfman recommends! They have amazing burgers and some of the coolest people out there. www.sunsetgrillhollywood.com
“Burgers, Brews, and Buds” is just the beginning for Wolfman. He also enjoys exploring weird and off-menu items that he hasn’t had before. Try All About The Bread in Los Angeles! They have a dish where they put a meatball on the bottom of the bowl with homemade potato salad, marinara, and thick-sliced mozzarella. They also throw a little Ricotta in there and let it melt. www.allaboutthebread.com
There are also some great spots to grab a beer and some grub here in Los Angeles. “A pub that I just got into in North Hollywood is called The Fox and Hounds,” says Wolfman. “That place is amazing. They had great stuff on draft, stuff you normally only get on bottles.” www.thefoxandhounds.com
As for purchasing weed, Wolfman suggests avoiding the brand name stuff as it is expensive. Going online is a better alternative. Check marijuana websites every day to check out their sales and promotions. They also deliver it, sometimes within the hour. You should also do your research with WeedMaps, Yelp, and WeedMarket which are like flea markets for pot.
“One of the biggest reasons I started the podcast was to educate about different strains of marijuana. I just made a post on the group page and it got a lot of attention,” says Wolfman. “It was about how you can tell by looking at certain buds if they are using cheap chemicals because the laws aren’t there yet and there’s a lot of crap product out there.”
Wolfman wasn’t always such a foodie. “I was from New York so I was very much pizza, bagels, no vegetables. I was doing radio and Thomas Teet was one of the guys that did the radio show with me. He was given the name Sushi Boy as his on air persona because he made me eat sushi on the air for the first time. So he brings me to Mongolian BBQ and I had never been there or heard of it. We go in and you get all your stuff and of course, it’s raw. We put it all in the bowl and my buddy is watching me – he was reading the looks on my face, so he took it on himself to mess with me. Instead of showing me what to do he follows me to the table and sits down. So I look at him and I look at the food and he was like ‘it’s really good man you should try it and you’ll like it,’ And I said ‘Yeah,’ and he said ‘I don’t know about you but I eat mine cooked.’ I was like ‘Oh thank God!’ That was the first time I was like, ‘Oh! Culinary!'”
Food-themed days that are coming up are National Cheeseburger Day, International Bacon Day, National Cheese Pizza Day, and National Beer Lovers Day.
You can find “THE HUNT FOR THE BEST STREET ART, ” “Burgers, Brews, and Buds” and a UDTV documentary named “Where Ya Livin’?” and more upcoming projects on www.wolfmanpresents.com and on YouTube @WolfmanPresents YouTube Channel