Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lo mejor del Mar a Sa Paladar!

If you travel around Nashville long enough, you'll eventually pass a Las Palmas restaurant, which bills itself as the "Best Mexican Restaurant" in town. Las Palmas has adopted this sobriquet because the readers of the Nashville Scene have repeatedly chosen Las Palmas as the best Mexican joint in the Scene's "Best of Nashville" poll for several consecutive years.

I know full well that I've not dined in all of the Mexican Restaurants in Nashville, so I'm not prepared to anoint any of 'em the best. I will say, however, that I've found a place that has quickly become my go-to place for quality Mexican cuisine ... and it ain't Las Palmas.

If you want to eat some very good Mexican food, I urge you to try 7 Mares (Seven Seas) in Antioch. Located in the same strip mall as Your Choice Restaurant -- which has been mentioned several times on A Man's Gotta Eat -- 7 Mares' menu not only features classic Mexican dishes like chile colarado and carcinitas, but bold seafood dishes as well. I recommend the camarones a la diabla (spicy sautéed shrimp) or the caldo de mariscos (a delicious mix of shrimp, fish, mussels and scallops simmered in a saffron broth).

It had been a while since I'd been to 7 Mares when I made my last visit. I was fully prepared to order one of their patented seafood dishes until I spied the $4.99 Fajitas Lunch Special" sign in the window. "Maybe I'll give the fajitas a try" I said.

Now, I've had some dicey experiences with fajitas in Mexican joints over the years. The meat tends to be dry, the vegetables are usually über-wilted, and there's always the ubiquitous pile of canned refried beans resting to the side, rapidly hardening as the meal progresses. I started to re-think my "Maybe I'll try 'em" decision; but knowing that I'd never had a bad meal at 7 Mares, I figured their fajitas would be better than the worst fajitas I'd ever eaten. And for five bucks, well, at least I would've been able to say I got a deal.

I knew there shouldn't have been a doubt in my mind that 7 Mares' fajitas would be first-class. The chicken was well-seasoned and juicy. The onions and green peppers weren't overcooked. And - and this is a mighty important and - the refried beans are scratch-made. I'm not a big fan of refried beans - probably because I've eaten some terrible refried beans in my day - but I enjoyed 7 Mares' refried beans to the very last bite.

As much as I liked those fajitas, I'm still quite partial to the seafood dishes at 7 Mares. For me, that's really what makes the place stand out in a city full of Mexican restaurants.

7 Mares
957 Richards Road
Antioch, TN 37013

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Attention, s'il vous plaît

Just so you know, I will no longer publish anonymous quotes.

I'm not even going to read 'em.

Hell, if you're not smart enough to think up a clever fake name, I'm not gonna fool with you (as my Granny Ruby used to say).

You're always talkin' talkin' talkin' talkin' talkin' sh** now
But you will talk yourself out

-- Fugazi, "Bad Mouth"

Friday, February 26, 2010

A little Raz-mataz on the Food Network

My good friend Raz Ademosu, owner of Raz'z Bar & Grill, will be featured on the Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate program on March 9.

To celebrate, Chef Raz will be hosting a preview party at his Smyrna restaurant on March 6. Joltin' Django will be there. I invite you to join me.

(For the record, Raz'z serves some of the best scratch-made dishes in Middle Tennessee.)

Raz'z Bar & Grill
408 Sam Ridley Parkway
Smyrna, TN 37167

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Paging Mr. Jimmy

Now you know what you can get me for my birthday this year ...

Superior Scotch is always an indulgence, a spirit to sip and savor -- if only due to the golden elixir's premium price.

Still, you could bathe in a bathtub full of 12-year-old Glenfiddich for what you'd pay for the latest limited-edition release from Scotland's Highland Park. The Scottish distillery has always produced impeccable spirits, such as its mouthwatering 18-year-old release, but you best corral your loose change if you want one of the approximately 1,550 bottles of 1968 that will be unveiled this spring.

That's because the complexly rich Highland Park 1968 -- made from a blend of 40-year-old whiskies -- clocks in at a cool $3,999, or about the cost of a nice used car.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Nashville institution, I tell you what

Sometime in the very near future I'm gonna do a proper review of Wendell Smith's Restaurant, which is one of Nashville's finest meat-and-threes. Until then, check this out (and tell me it doesn't make you hungry):

Wendell Smith's Restaurant
407 53rd Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37209

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Catfish 'n' such

Just so you know, Uncle Bud's - which for many years was the place to go in Nashville for catfish, hush puppies, and white beans - has re-opened in Nolensville.

From now until March 28, you can get a free fried pie at Uncle Bud's if you tell 'em that you read about the grand re-opening on the A Man's Gotta Eat Interweb site. Maybe I'll see you there.

Uncle Bud's Catfish Shack
7215 Nolensville Road
Nolensville, TN 37135

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chuck you! (redux)

Back in '08, I said this 'bout Chuck E. Cheese's:

I can't tell you how much I freakin' hate Chuck E. Cheese's.

First of all, the whole damn place is basically a germ factory. And second, I was once forced - yes, forced - to threaten a pimple-faced Chuck E. Cheese's employee over a plate of salad.

If you want to know the full story 'bout me almost getting physical with someone over a plate of lettuce, you're gonna have to request it via e-mail. Needless to say, after that "threatening" experience, in 2002, I ain't been back to Chuck E. Cheese's.

That said, this article in the Wall Street Journal 'bout violence at Chuck E. Cheese's made me laugh, laugh, laugh ... 'cause I can [sorta-kinda understand how folks get all crazy at in the place].

Now comes word that a major, ahem, disagreement recently took place at a Memphis Chuck E. Cheese's. I ain't surprised ... and I'm very amused. To wit:

Police in Memphis, Tenn., arrested four people after a fight broke out during a kids' birthday party at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant.

It began with a dispute Saturday between two families at a photo booth, police said. A girl waiting in line complained about how long the family in the booth was taking, police and witnesses said.

"My sister and little brother were taking pictures," Juaneka Key told WREG-TV. "The girl said, 'Dang, how long y'all gonna be?'" Key, 18, had come to the restaurant to celebrate her 2-year-old daughter's birthday.

Key's stepfather, Terrence Dickerson, responded by punching the girl in the face, sparking a melee that sent other parents and their children scrambling to get out of the way of the escalating fight, police said.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

There's this little place I know

Down in the ville from which the majority of my kinfolk hail, there's a little restaurant called Marvin's. Marvin's main claim to fame is a buffet full o' country cookin' just like my - and if you live in the South, your - grandmother would put on the Sunday table.

If you're ever fortunate to walk down the buffet line at Marvin's, you'll be treating yourself to some of the best fried chicken, beans, taters, greens, and cornbread in Middle Tennessee ... hell, in all of Tennessee.

I went to Marvin's today. I didn't have time to sit and eat so I wheeled into the parking lot with a to-go plate on my mind. Fortunately for me, 'que was on the menu -- er, in the steam trays -- and that's just what I got to go.

As you can see, I went easy on the fixins, and heavy on the smoked pulled-pork. The slaw was creamy and crisp, and the baked beans were, eh, okay. The 'que, however, was juicy and full o' rich smoke-filled flavor. (I don't know who's in charge of smoking pork at Marvin's -- hell, for all I know it could be someone who's kin to me -- but he or she should be treated to all kinds of back-slapping for runnin' one hell of a BBQ pit.

One of these days I'll do a proper sit-down review of Marvin's Family Restaurant. Until then, you'll just have to look at the above pic and salivate. Like I'm doin' now ...

Marvin's Family Restaurant
4130 Thornton Taylor Parkway
Fayetteville, TN 37334

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ode to Pork

Crisply braised,
A paragon of fat and lean
Drips juicily upon the pit.
Sustainer of the South,
The Pig doth yearn to sacrifice
And serve.
I eat it lustily,
Sauce-stained and smiling.

-- Anonymous

Thursday, February 18, 2010

You know anything 'bout cuttin' meat?

Andy: You know anything 'bout cuttin' meat?

Gomer: You think they'll ask me that?

-- The Andy Griffith Show, "Gomer the House Guest"

For the record, a Henry County, TN butcher offered me a meat-cutting job back in '05, which I politely declined. After reading this, I'm not sure my turnin'-down was quite so polite ...

There was a time when only rock stars were rock stars. Then, sometime in the last decade, the public decided that chefs were rock stars, too. The latest profession to get the nod? Butchers. Yep, this unlikely profession -- a mix of blood, dead animals, and sharp knives -- is now, well, cool. East Coast hipsters eager to show off their adventurous side (and their food knowledge) started the trend, and recently, things have taken a turn for the weird: A slew of articles in the past year, including a splashy piece in the New York Times, have dubbed the profession "sexy."

Julie Powell, of "Julie and Julia" fame, is partly responsible. Her recent book, "Cleaving," chronicles her eight-month apprenticeship at Fleisher's Meats in upstate New York in between her descriptions of her torrid affair with an ex-boyfriend. But Powell's voice is only one of many. Butchers have a cult following, fans eager to learn the trade and pick up some of the foodie credibility it suddenly provides. San Francisco butcher Ryan Farr's shop, 4505 Meats, doesn't bother trying to be coy. Their apparel line (Apparel! Butcher shop apparel!) includes a t-shirt depicting a curvaceous woman with a whip, along with the caption "Say it sexy: Chicha-r-r-r-r-r-ones." Another shirt quips, "Pork. The noun, not the verb." Farr's classes, sessions like "Whole Hog," where participants butcher a 250-lb hog and take home the spoils, routinely sell out.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Un excellent repas!

"Where can you get a good muffuletta in Nashville?" That question asked, my foodie-bud Pat and I headed to Ri'chard's in West Nashville in search of muffulettas, fine Cajun food, and good music. We found all three.

Let me just tell you, Ri'chard's is definitely off the beaten path. From south-South Nashville Pat and I had to get on I-24 and go 'round town and get on 24 again 'til we got to the White's Creek exit, and then we drove for a whilst wondering, aloud, if we were ever going to find the place.

Well, Pat and I did eventually find Richard's ... tucked away in an old Masonic building at the corner of Old Hickory Blvd. and White's Creek Pike. First thing we noticed was the number of cars that had spilled out from the small parking lot alongside the road and into a vacant lot across the street. A good sign, indeed.

Upon entering Ri'chard's you're immediately hit by the distinct aroma of creole seasoning and the sound of deep-fryers doin' their thing. Another good sign, I thought. (As an aside I'll also mention that Ri'chard's has some of the, ahem, comliest servers in town -- and they're damn friendly to boot.)

Now, the food. I've said it on this blog before and I'll say it again: I'm a nut for Cajun/creole cuisine. It's not hard to find a fern bar or Mexican joint in this town, but you really gotta look hard for good Louisiana cookin'. Ri'chard's has it in spades.

First up was a plate of crawfish étouffée and fried potatoes. The étouffée was full of plump crawfish tails and loads of onion, bell pepper, celery (the "trinity," as Cajuns like to say). The sauce was rich and the rice on which it was served was cooked to perfection. The fried potatoes weren't bad either. In fact, they tasted just like the fried potatoes my Granny Ruby used to make.

As much as I enjoyed Ri'Chard's étouffée, it was the "cup" of gumbo I ordered that almost, literally, knocked my socks off. It's obvious from the first bite of Ri'chard's gumbo that an expert hand stirred the roux that forms the basis of the spicy concoction. Full o' plump shrimps and vegetables, I'd rank it up there with some of the fine gumbos I've had in New Orleans -- or in my kitchen.

Oh, before I forget. The muffaletta that was the impetus for the journey? It wasn't half bad, either (I know 'cause Pat let me have a small bite of his sammich). As big as a hubcap, it featured an olive salad that's every bit as good as the olive salad served in the famed Central Grocery in New Orleans. Maybe I can get Pat to elaborate on it one of these days.

Ri'chard's Café
4420 Whites Creek Pike
Whites Creek, TN 37189

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My prediction: Pain

Caveman Circus tells us about The Source Hot Sauce, the hottest hot sauce on the planet:

Clocking in at 7.1 Million Scoville units, The Source Hot Sauce extract is undoubtedly the hottest hot sauce known to mankind. Let me put 7.1 Million Scoville units in perspective for you ...

A Jalapeño Pepper – 2,500–8,000 Scoville Units

A Red Savina Habanero – 350,000–580,000 Scoville Units

Law Enforcement Grade pepper spray – 5,000,000–5,300,000 Scoville Units

It's no secret that Joltin' Django likes spicey food. Joltin' Django also likes hot sauce, a lot (how many other people do you know who nip hot sauce directly from the bottle?). After watching this, however, I'm not sure if I'd try The Source:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hike up your Bloemer's

Gettin' free stuff is just one of the perks attendant with being a foodie blogger of local-slash-world renown. From hundreds of single-serve packets Duke's mayo to large packages of Pilgrim's Pride chicken breasts, I've been on the receiving end of some fine, fine free stuff. I'm not braggin'; I'm just tellin' you. (Wait, maybe I am braggin' just a wee bit.)

My latest gratis acquisition is a bunch of packets of Bloemer's Chile Powder. For the record, Bloemer's chile - or chili, or however you wanna spell it - powder is the the most heaped-with-flavor chile powder I've ever tasted.

About six weeks ago, I enjoyed a chili, er, chile dinner at a good buddy o' mine's house. Oh, it was good. When queried, he told me that Bloemer's Chile Powder is his secret ingredient.

Upon returning home from that incredible supper, I dispatched a your-****-is-the**** e-mail to the folks at Bloemer's -- six weeks later, bang, a box of free chile powder packets. Okay, I may have said something about me having a blog upon which I can either blast or bless various food-folks (!). Nevertheless, a big box o' free stuff was the result.

It's good to be a bloggin' foodie, indeed.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Burger, burger, burger *

An old saying says pizza is like sex: even when it's bad it's good. I often think about that nugget o' wisdom when I'm eating a hamburger.

Now, I've had some subpar hamburgers in my day. But I've been able to find something redeeming in, and on, each of the darned things. If the burger itself was too hard, I enjoyed the bun and/or toppings. If the bun and/or toppings were less than fresh, I enjoyed the burger. Or, less often, I simply enjoyed the burger 'n' bun 'n' fixins as a conveyance for large dollops of yellow mustard and mayo.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: I love hamburgers. Fat ones, skinny ones; cheesy ones, sans-cheesy ones; veggie and condiment-topped ones, and just plain, well, plain ones ... mention hamburgers in my presense and you'll bring out my inner Wimpy, indeed.

That said, check this out, from

"The hamburger isn't just a sandwich; it is a social nexus," proclaims burger expert Josh Ozersky, casually armed with a shot of whiskey during his burger seminar conducted at New York City's RUB BBQ on Tuesday.

Heralded by the American public and arguably the most quintessentially American of dishes, the hamburger tends to be quite a polarizing issue. Ozersky, passionate eater and author of The Hamburger, provided his insight on what makes a good burger, throwing in pertinent background info on the topic.

Backed by a BA in literature and a PhD in American history, it is perhaps Ozersky's appetite and analytical spirit that spurred his interest in the burger's role in the history and culture of the good old U.S.A. Having trekked across the country devouring the carnal bite -- even overcoming a case of gout -- there's one mandate he insists upon: No matter what the fixings, the burger should support a "visceral delight."

Read the rest here.

* Who gets that reference?!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mi pollo es muy bueno!

Something that's become an essential staple in my pantry is Goya Sofrito. It's a tomato and cilantro sauce perfect for use as a "base" for making hearty soups and stews. I used it tonight to make a chicken stew that was lip-smacking good. Here's the recipe ...

Joltin' Django's Chicken Stew


5 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 green peppers, diced
1 jar Goya Sofrito
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 14.5-ounce cans low sodium chicken broth
1/2 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes


Heat oil in heavy-bottomed pot. Cube chicken into 3/4-inch portions and season with salt and pepper. Brown chicken in oil 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from pot and set aside.

Add onion and green pepper to pot and cook until onions become clear, 3-4 minutes. Add chicken broth and scrape up any brown bits from bottom of pot with a wood spoon. Return chicken to pot and add Goya sauce and tomatoes. Season with chili powder, cumin, oregano and pepper flakes.

Cover pot and simmer for 35-45 minutes. Serve over white rice.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Remember to drink sensibly

Joe Queenan has a great take on all the ads from this year's Super Bowl. My favorite passage:

The beer ads, admittedly more clever than most of the other promos, encouraged America to get drunk. If an asteroid is about to hit, get drunk. If you're stranded on a desert island, get drunk. If the bridge outside town has collapsed, form a human viaduct so the beer truck can reach town and everyone can get drunk. Or maybe I am exaggerating here. Perhaps the ads were suggesting: If an asteroid is about to wipe out planet Earth, remember to drink sensibly.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Me and Mister Jimmy down by Osborne's Bi-Rite

Every so often I run across an eatin' place that's so good -- so groin-grabbingly good, to borrow a phrase from Homer Simpson -- that I hesitate to tell anyone about it lest I have to stand in a long, long line the next time I eat there.

Osborne's Bi-Rite. Ain't no secret about it. Go there for lunch and you're gonna be standing in a long, long line ... 'cause you'll find a bunch of folks waiting to get a big-ass plate of fine country cooking at a low, low price.

It ain't often that I find myself agreeing with the Tennessean about anything. Back in June, however, Nashville's daily rag published a story entitled "Eat like a prince, pay like a pauper" in which Osborne's was given mad props for its cheap plate lunches. Mad props, indeed.

That said, here's what the Tennessean said 'bout Osborne's:

It may not technically be a restaurant, but the back counter at this Belmont-area grocery serves a big plate lunch daily between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The price is usually under $5, and you'll find traditional meat-and-three centerpieces such as meatloaf, pork chops, fried chicken and catfish on the menu.

The Tennessean was 100 percent correct 'bout Osborne's "big plate lunch," er, lunches. But the Tennessean got the price wrong - go figrure. An Osborne's plate lunch will actually set you back $5.50 ... but, oh, what you'll get for five dollars and two quarters.

I recently met up with my ami/co-worker/fellow blogger Mister Jimmy for a quick lunch at Osborne's. He and I both ordered up the same thing: beef tips, mac-'n'-cheese, green beans, and cornbread. To wit (that's Mister Jimmy's hand holding up my plate):

As you can see, that's a pile o' food for $5.50. For me, that was two meals for $5.50 ... I ate half of it for lunch and ate the other half for dinner. What a bargain, indeed. But what about the quality of the food?

Groin-grabbingly good -- that's how I would tastfully (!) describe what you see in the above pic. The beef tips were tender; the gravy was rich and, well, beefy; the mac-'n'-cheese was full o' creamy cheddar flavor; the green beans were seasoned with just enough ham flavor; and the cornbread was pitch-perfect for sopping up purposes (meat-and-three afficanados will know what I mean by that).

There's another Osborne's Bi-Rite less than two minutes from my place of employ. Tain't not plate lunch counter at said Osborne's. That's a good thing. If'n I worked closer to the Osborne's Bi-Rite on Belmont Blvd., I'd soon find myself tipping the scales at 300 lbs, or more.

Yes, it's that good ...

Osborne's Bi-Rite
3116 Belmont Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37212

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Soup of the Devil

I response to my chili post, A Man's Gotta Eat fan Rebecca sends us a wonderful article about "the soup of the Devil":

Frank and Jesse James reputedly downed a few bowls before pulling some of their heists -- and supposedly spared one town because of it. O. Henry spun a short story around it, and Will Rogers allegedly judged a town by its quality. It's said Eleanor Roosevelt tried -- without success -- to get the secrets of one recipe, and that Lyndon B. Johnson remarked that the kind concocted outside his home state of Texas was "usually a weak, apologetic imitation of the real thing." Not even Elizabeth Taylor was immune -- she had whole quarts packed in dry ice and shipped to Rome while she was filming "Cleopatra."

Read the rest here.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

"This needs something"

When I have a hankering for chili, I usually make it from scratch. I had a coupon for a Carroll Shelby's Original Texas Brand Chili Kit, so I decided to give it a shot. From now on, I think I'll stick with makin' chili from scratch.

My bowl o' Carroll Shelby's chili wasn't bad -- it certainly made a pretty picture:

But the entire time I was eating it, I kept saying to myself, "This needs something." In fact, it needed a lot of something. It might be the blandest chili I've ever had ... and I've had some bland bowls of chili in my day.

If you do decide to buy a Carroll Shelby's chili kit, I suggest you pick up some extra chili powder and cumin to add to it. You might want to pick up some fresh garlic and some jalapeño peppers (for extra heat) as well. Hell, if you're going to go through all that trouble, you might as well make your next pot of chili from scratch.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: don't waste your money - coupon or no coupon - on a Carroll Shelby's chili kit.

So there.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


According to Y'all, the Magazine of Southern People, you're "so Southern" if ...

I guess that makes me pretty damn Southern, n'est-ce pas?!

Learn more about Duke's here.

(HT: Mister Jimmy)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Wanna come wit?!

My bud Pat and I are getting together a road trip to Boudreaux's ...

Who's comin' with us?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

This is ree-dicurous

I like a good hamburger as much as the next man who's gotta eat ... but this is ridiculous:

Well this should be interesting to watch. Two restaurants that unapologetically do harm to their patrons are now trying to do harm to each other.

The owner of an Arizona restaurant called Heart Attack Grill, an eatery that dishes up artery-clogging burger-and-fries, including the so-called Quadruple Bypass Burger (pictured), has filed a federal lawsuit against the owners of a Florida restaurant called Heart Stoppers Sports Grill, accusing them of stealing his idea for a heart-attack-inducing menu. ...

"Heart Attack Grill is the originator of the medically themed hamburger grill and restaurant," the South Florida Sun-Sentinel quoted Basso’s lawyer, Robert Kain, as saying. "It sells high-calorie food products and we have had very extensive media coverage, including numerous shows on the Travel Channel and the Food Network."

Kain told Slashfood that the Heart Stoppers owners had been in talks to acquire a Heart Attack Grill franchise license before they broke off negotiations. In December, they opened their own restaurant instead.

The lawsuit outlines a handful of ways Heart Stoppers is allegedly similar, including signs with EKG heart monitors on them, waitresses dressed as nurses and offers of free food to patrons weighing more than 350 pounds.

But a lawyer for Heart Stoppers claimed the restaurants were different. "It’s not the same concept," Eric Lee told Slashfood. "The Arizona restaurant’s concept is high-caloric food that is bad for you and will basically kill you ... My guys have a restaurant that is medically themed ... My clients’ restaurant seems more like an actual medical facility."

Here's my question: Wouldn't it make more sense to offer free food to really, really thin people? Watching a flyweight feller tackle that big-ass hamburger would be far more amusing that watching some fat tub gorging on it.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Self-righteous jackassery

Remember when I told you that much of the contempt - ah, hell, most of the contempt - I have for vegan/vegetarian types is because of their "insufferable self-righteousness" ...? Well, here's that insufferable self-righteousness on full display:

[Andrew] Hunt is a devout vegan who, according to Ontario's The Record, has written [Sarah] Palin a letter extolling the virtues of a vegan lifestyle, which is a diet devoid of any and all animal products, including cheeses and milk. The Republican Party's 2008 Vice Presidential candidate is a very public hunting enthusiast.

But wait, there's more: A professor of history at the University of Waterloo, Hunt promises cordial, weekly letters to Palin about animal rights, vegan recipes, and his experiences as an ex-carnivore.

Hunt hopes to compile these letters into a books, with the proceeds going towards animal sanctuaries in both the US and Canada.

Not a damn thing that Andrew Young says or does is going to convince Sarah Palin to stop hunting -- and he knows it. Thus, the whole letter-writing exercise is nothing but self-righteous jackassery.

Now excuse me while I finish making a ham sammich ...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I don't like eggs, but ...

This man would probably enjoy the hell outta this ...

When mixed with dynamite, bacon makes a powerful explosive but when it's mixed with eggs, it creates a taste explosion. If your mouth hasn't exploded in a while, give it a TNT taste bud blast tonight with some bacon shell tacos. It'll satisfy your hunger cravings until Thursday and it will make your colon finally give you the respect you deserve.


4 packages of bacon
2 ilbs of carne asada
diced tomatoes
1 bag of lettuce
1 container of sour cream
1 bags
[sic] of monterey jack shredded cheese
6 eggs
1 jar of hot salsa


Weave 8-10 strips of bacon tighly into the shape of a taco shell

Create two aluminum foil sculptures in the shape of taco shells and place the pieces of woven bacon onto them

Cook in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes

Start grilling the carne asada on the grill and cooking the eggs at the exact same time you put the bacon shells in the oven since it takes generally the same amount of time to cook all three of them.

Fill the bacon shells with carne asada, egg, the toppings of your choice and eat them.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Not bad at all

Before my grandmother entered a nursing home, my mother and I often took her to our local Shoney's after church on Sundays. I was never a big Shoney's fan, but my Granny Ruby absolutely loved the Shoney's Breakfast Bar.

From 1997-2002, I reckon that I ate at Shoney's well over 100 times -- no kidding. It wasn't bad at first, but over time I started to notice a distinct decline in the quality of most of the food served there. Not only that, but the dining room's floor was often very dirty, and the bathroom floor was even dirtier. Furthermore, I would often quip that if the entire staff of servers got replaced by a gang of monkeys, customers probably would've enjoyed better service.

When my grandmother could no longer get out and about, I vowed that I would never, ever go back to Shoney's -- unless I was starving to death and that was the only place in which I could find nourishment.

I broke my vow a couple of weeks ago. I joined my bud Pat at Shoney's -- the same Shoney's in which I made my won't-go-back vow -- for a leisurely dinner and lots of talkin' about politics. Gone were the dirty floors, inept servers and bland, from-a-can food. Instead I found a spruced-up dining room, a friendly and attentive wait staff, and a buffet full o' tasty grub.

You can tell a lot about the quality of a restaurant by how well, or how badly, it prepares macaroni and cheese. Shoney's mac and cheese was creamy and had hints of sharp cheddar. For that right there Shoney's is to be commended.

The baked chicken and baked fish were first class as well. The baked chicken had a crispy skin with moist, tender meat underneath; the baked fish was flaky and well seasoned.

The standout dish of the evening, however, was the boiled cabbage. A lot of restaurants tend to overcook cabbage (Luby's Cafeteria comes to mind), but that's not the case with Shoney's. The cabbage was crisp - but not too crisp - and laced with lots of ham and black pepper. A few dashes of Tabasco and it stood right up there with the boiled cabbage at Dandgure's Cafe -- for me that's a mighty big compliment.

Now, there were a few things upon which I think Shoney's can improve. The salad bar, for instance, was short on fresh fixins, and the lettuce was kinda wilted. In addition, the buffet lacked rolls or cornbread for soppin' up purposes. I can let salad stuff slip by, but if you're gonna serve mac-n-cheese and boiled cabbage and such, you really need a soppin' conveyance!

Overall, I was very pleased with my Shoney's experience. The only vow I made upon leaving this last time was a vow to go back soon. Lemme know if you want to come with.