An ample Dowry

MADISON, Wis. – Even though it stands very little chance of happening, I support the idea of a college football playoff with semifinal games at campus sites because of one glorious possibility. If schools host the games, then there is a chance that some SEC power (Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, you name it) will have to play at Wisconsin. Continue reading

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Biscuits, bees and guilt

The Mountaineer.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As I stared up toward the top of the hill, one thought thundered through my head.

You brought this upon yourself. Continue reading

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Barbecue in The Bywater

NEW ORLEANS – Even Tom Robbins would admire the way I ate my way through NOLA to keep the leg-humping hunger beast at bay. I consumed Po’ Boys, gumbo, boudin, rabbit, lamb, alligator and the porcine delicacy the French call cochon de lait. But those who have followed this little endeavor for any length of time know that no matter how delicious a city’s local cuisine, I always want to know how that town treats my first and true love. Continue reading

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Heaven’s backyard

Steak, strawberries and duck fat. Don't question it. Just eat it.

NEW ORLEANS – The sun started its descent as the cab rolled alongside the Mississippi River through the Marigny and into the Bywater. A soft breeze kissed us as we stepped out onto the sidewalk on Poland Street. The evening was perfect, but when we saw the peeling paint and the sagging wood, we had to wonder.

For all the breathless promises of a one-of-a-kind dining experience, Bacchanal didn’t look like much. A modest house long past its prime – if it ever had a prime to begin with. Then we stepped into the backyard and understood. Continue reading

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Trolling with grits

NEW ORLEANS – NOLA-based scribe Brett Michael Dykes is a friend to hungry sportswriters. He never steers us wrong when we visit his city. Friday night, a few of us got a direct message on Twitter from Dykes that he would be imbibing at Sylvain. If we were thirsty, we should join him. If we were hungry, even better. The food, he said, was incredible.

I hadn’t planned to eat an official dinner. I had been grazing at some schmoozefest and figured I’d had enough. Then Dykes introduced me to Sylvain chef Alex Harrell.

Continue reading

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It always knows

Pork belly sandwich with mint, cucumber and chili-lime aioli.

NEW ORLEANS – It was New Year’s Eve 2009. I had just landed in NOLA, and I needed to find a place to eat. I checked Urbanspoon, but in a city as gastronomically dense as this one, a list of hotspots only complicates matters more.

So I decided to follow my nose. Continue reading

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Just following orders

Apple pie with cheddar cheese top crust

NEW ORLEANS – I don’t usually write about places that require a collared shirt to dine. Shoot, many of the places I frequent barely require pants. But when the boss lady is picking up the check, you steam your blazer, and you remember to use the forks from left to right. Continue reading

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A shrimp and an alligator (sausage) walk into a cheesecake

Duck season? No. Wabbit season. Panee rabbit over shrimp pasta.

NEW ORLEANS – A bunch of us went to Jacques-Imo’s last night. Mere words can’t describe the place. All you need to know is that five heterosexual men have never shared so much food in one meal.

So look at the pretty pictures, which would have been prettier if I had packed a light box and a strobe. Continue reading

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Feeding the beast

NEW ORLEANS – Wrote Tom Robbins in his beet-tastic classic, Jitterbug Perfume: Continue reading

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From pop star to pulled pork star

ATLANTA – Barbecue gets pigeonholed as a regional cuisine enjoyed by people with provincial tastes, and that stereotype exists because it is at least partially true. Every time I mention a joint on my Twitter feed, I get responses from people in other states claiming that beef/pork/mutton isn’t real barbecue and that mustard-based/vinegar-based/dry-rubbed is an unacceptable dressing for said meat.

This is foolish. It’s all barbecue. Continue reading

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