Saturday, January 14, 2012


But don't worry, we carried all the old shit over to the new house.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Hello hungry fockers. We'll be back in January. We're busy building a new site, with nice shiny pictures and new content for your pleasure. Eat something in the meantime.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Week 40: Saluting, Swinging, and Santa Fe, Baby.

Calling all over-achievers, we’re here in Washington D.C. for the running of the 36th Marine Corps Marathon. In this sea of perfect health sits my chubby ass, huffing and puffing, from literally chasing my boyfriend across town as a spectator. That’s right. Ryan is running, in addition to our friends Rolando and Shannon. I’m apparently the only one who does not have “running a marathon” on their bucket list.

As I stand at the finish line awaiting the arrival of Ryan, Rolando and Shannon, I notice there’s a common look of anguish across every runner’s face. Despite being inches away from the finish, very few look “happy.”   Although running a marathon is pale in comparison to all that Marines (who look fantastic in uniform) have sacrificed to serve our country, I just can’t imagine myself accomplishing something of this nature. 

Ryan passes with a forced smile and while he may look in desperate need for Tylenol and a jacuzzi, I know he’s beaming inside. Shannon passes shortly after looking like she’s on her way to a casting call for Platoon. And when I refer to the movie Platoon, I’m not talking about hot fearless men in combat. I’m talking about the men that have already been shot several times and are being filmed dying in slow motion. I scream at her to continue and let her know she’s “kickin f’in ass!” But, the mother to the right to me doesn’t appreciate my language, and the guy to the left of me refuses to believe Shannon is my friend based on the hideous face she just gave me.  Because I’m only a mediocre friend with a lack of dedication, I disappear before Rolando crosses in order to redeem the free beer ticket I just found laying in the mud. I believe these beers were reserved for runners only, but something tells me I deserve a beer as well.

Rolando and Shannon truly are great friends. They moved to Indiana from Florida about a year ago and I’ve missed them every day since.  If I were ever to explore swinging I believe they would be the perfect match for Ryan and I. Ryan and Shannon share a common interest of running and are both very smart, and Rolando and I are both light brown people who get ashy in the winter if we don’t keep up on our application of lotion. I believe a partner swap would work just fine.

(Insert fast forward button here).   It’s Meatball Chronicle time, the following morning, and I’m the only one capable of walking. D.C meets Sante Fe, baby. We’ve found a nearby restaurant that the runners are capable of hobbling to, and its name is Santa Fe Café. I envisioned the day being full of “ahhhs” and “ouches”, due to the hell/26.2 miles the runners put their bodies through yesterday; which is why I have filled everyone’s coffee cups with wine. A buzz before noon never feels bad.  It’s like we never parted ways. The old crew together again, finishing off our faux coffees, throwing back a few beers, discussing segway accidents and debating over how disgusting of a city Cleveland is.

Santa Fe Café is buried underground in a chamber-like poorly decorated establishment that somehow manages to get enough sunlight to illuminate the place. Located in Arlington, Virginia, they serve authentic New Mexican cuisine from hand-packed hamburgers to quesadillas to New Mexican explosions in bowls—which I further define as “everything Mexican in the kitchen thrown into one bowl that will make you shit.”  They are very reasonably priced.

I wasn’t craving Mexican and randomly ordered a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich from the breakfast menu. The way I see it, if the New Mexican chef cooks it, it’s still authentic. I added lettuce and tomato to let my fellow marathoners know that I too care about health. Side of home fries, okay I’ll have those too.

Everyone else ordered Mexican dishes and once the food came out I found myself regretting my decision. Mexican looked delicious. In an attempt to turn my home fries into a Mexican cuisine, I dumped chili sauce all over them, completely destroying them. Those firey bastard potatoes were so hot that one bite resulted in suffering.

In my short visit to Santa Fe Café, a visit never to occur again due to its lack of geographical desirableness, I can say I enjoyed my time spent there. I think it was more about reconnecting with old friends than it was the food, though. And, my food critiquing was slightly off due to the solid buzz I had following my wine packed morning and ice cold beer, but if you’re in DC it’s worth a visit. And, order from their authentic menu, not the breakfast chalkboard.  Despite being delicious, sausage always seems to find me at moments of weakness.   

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Week 39: B-B-B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets

It’s Sunday again and for some strange reason I want to explore Brandon. Neighboring town of Tampa, Brandon, offers two things: A TJ Maxx and a Marshalls. And they are even within the same convenient shopping complex. Since I’ve drifted off into my own entrepreneurial spirit and direction in life, I’m not actually planning on buying anything. I’m like a starving artist these days, but not actually an artist. Or starving….. Because I’m still finding the time and resources necessary to dine out.

Across from this wonderful shopping complex is the Brandon Mall but I’ve only been there once (many moons ago) to resize a diamond ring an ex-boyfriend had bought me. We later broke up and I sold it on Craigslist so I could have some cash for fine dining with a few new boyfriends. I considered regifting it so everyone would think I was a gracious gift giver, but there just aren’t any girls in my family. I take that back, there are girls. But not anyone I’d give a diamond ring to. And when you buy a gift for one, you’ve gotta buy gifts for the others. I think I’ll stick to my short list of Mom-Dad-Brother each holiday season. Sometimes Nana and Papa get a framed picture or a hand drawn card.

Before hitting up Marshalls and TJ’s, we’re on our way to Ben’s Family Restaurant in Brandon and it isn’t our first choice. Buddy Freddy’s was our first choice and had raving reviews but upon arriving there we realized due to the hardships of our shit economy Buddy Freddy’s is now a ghost town. Closed down forever with a graveyard view (the restaurant actually sits directly on a graveyard). So sad. And creepy.

Most restaurants will admit that the economic trickle-down is hurting business, yet, you still see people eating out all the time. Let’s live and learn people. Recent trends designed to make eating out affordable such as the proliferation of special fixed-price bang for your buck buffets or weekly specials are winning. If you don’t have a gift card on, you sure as hell better have something sweet. Like Wednesdays at Bonefish, $5 Bang Bang Shrimp… do you know what happens? People like Ryan and I are sucked in because there’s an orgasmic dish for $5, but once we’re seated that turns into one more order of the Bang Bang Shrimp and two dinners, and then we walk out with empty wallets. Ploy the people, people; that’s how you stay in business.

I’d be good at that. I have a long distant goal of opening my own tiny beer tent in Ybor some day called "The Dollar Dixie" Feel free to steal this idea because I don’t have the financial means to act upon it. Anyway, The Dollar Dixie will sell shit beer in Dixie cups for $1 each. Every day. Sounds like a great idea, right? Well, what the Ybor rats won’t realize is that they’ll actually consume 10-15 tiny beers and tip me more the drunker they get. With a ½ keg costing approximately $85 and yielding 165 12-oz beers, which is approximately 198 10-oz Dixie beers, you do the math. I’ll still be making money after I rob the people of all their tips. Now, this isn’t going to make me millions, but you know what they say, slow and steady wins the race. People love shit for a dollar.

Here we are at Ben’s Family Restaurant, a type of establishment I’m not all that accustomed to seeing in Florida and for lack of a better term I’ll call it the Florida Ski Lodge. No snow suits, no snow, no skis, no snowboards. Just high timber ceilings, old tacky décor, a brick interior, a cafeteria type feel despite the sit down service, and warm hearty meals.

Once we’re seated we get our own thermostat of hot coffee. That’s what I’m talking about! There’s nothing worse than a waitress aggressively walking by and refilling your coffee every 30 seconds, throwing off your cream to coffee ratio over and over again. Fall has me craving a Pumpkin Spiced iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts and unfortunately there’s not a D&D kiosk in here. I do however have a Dunkin Donuts gift card with me and I’ll make sure to grab one on the way home. Wait a minute, that’s the third great thing Brandon offers: Dunkin Donuts.

Ryan orders country fried steak and gravy, eggs over medium and home fries. I order eggs and hash. I’m a hash animal. My dish comes with two sides so I go for grits and a single biscuit with gravy. There is a rather large couple next to us and I await their order. I can’t wait to see what their Sunday brunch will include. "We need to cut out carbs this week, we just started the South Beach Diet. Can you recommend anything?" WHAT? Not what I was expecting. Good for them. People like to rag on South Beach, but boy does it get you results. I participated in a little South Beach diet action in college, but my timing was all off. I had just cut off all my hair and donated it to Children’s Cancer. My thought was, "No pretty hair, let’s work on the body." Wrong. My weight loss came with a boney curveless body and I was stuck looking like a tiny John Stamos until my hair grew back. It’s hard to handle your liquor with a lack of carbs in your life as well. So I quit (dieting).

Food’s here. Delicious. I rarely go wrong with ordering hash, it’s just so damn good. Not many people care for grits but I love its flavorless grainy texture. It reminds me of pastina for some reason. I like both dishes plain and flooded with butter. Ryan’s not enjoying his country fried steak. It’s not pounded thin enough, it lacks salt and there’s too much breading. Sucks for him. My biscuit and gravy is good. Although, I always wonder why everyone fails to serve a sausage-heavy sausage gravy. There are always miniscule bits of sausage in the gravy that leave you begging for more. How come nobody sticks a bundle of Jimmy Deans in there? (Insert light bulb here). I’m doing it next time.

We probably won’t be back to Ben’s. Not because we don’t like you all, but because we’re rarely in Brandon and the search needs to continue--- the search for an un-f*cking-believable brunch. Somewhere out there, are tons of tiny sausage links drowning in a thick white gravy.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Week 38: Screw You Fauna, Nicko's is the Chronic

So we’ve taken a couple weeks off. I’m sorry, really. We were trying this thing called romance. Last Sunday we biked to the bay, and had a picnic in the waterfront park on Davis Island. Ryan surprised me with bottles of champagne and pomegranate juice for a spectacular day of pomegranate mimosas and all things quixotic. With country music playing softly, the sun shining bright, fruity champagne, a spread of great food and a beautiful sail boat belonging to Japanese terrorists, you can easily understand why I may have mistaken this for our engagement day (approximately 8 separate times). It was not until Ryan received a text message from our friend that said “OH MY GOD, YOU’RE DOING IT TODAY, AREN’T YOU” and then read it aloud, laughed, and said “nope absolutely not”—It was then I realized this was just in fact a picnic.

A small plane flew by and Ryan showed fake interest in owning one of his own someday. “We could take it to your parent’s house in the Cape babe.” Well, no we could not. My friend Savannah who likes to refer to my family as the Kennedys has warned me several times never to take a plane anywhere with Ryan or my extra Caucasian family.

So here we are, a week later, back to the grime… I mean grind. Ryan’s got a Bucs game to attend and I’ve got a long day of couch lounging ahead. Where to? The only glorious “in-out, get your fix, save your money and get on with your damn life” diner- Nicko's on North Florida. The actual name is Nicko's Fine Foods… but let’s be realistic. You can’t charge $3.50 for a breakfast sandwich and call it a fine. 100% delicious, but let’s call it cheap comfort.

I’ve never sat at the bar at Nicko's, I always opt in for a booth… but, we’re starving. There’s no time for that. We seat ourselves at the bar next to two friendly boys and I immediately strike up conversation. This is out of sober character for me. They don’t have any cash and Nicko's is a cash-only establishment. It just so happens that their ATM is out of cash today too. Wait, no it is not, the owner is restocking it with bills as we speak. I didn’t even know that was legal. I wish I had a money machine in my home, but I would definitely need someone else to stock it.

As I pretend to review the menu (I order the same thing every time), the owner of Nicko's comes out to do some magic. He does some amazing card tricks and makes a few things disappear. I haven’t had my coffee yet so I fall for every single trick. Perhaps he really is magic. I bet that makes stocking the ATM a bit easier.  This place is strange, but for all us odd birds who may live in the outskirts of the hood, it’s home.

We order. Sausage, egg and cheese with lettuce and tomato on wheat bread. Massive side of hash. Slap in on me, bitch. Ryan gets biscuits and gravy and pancakes. Pancakes? This is a first. You can’t go wrong at Nicko's, everything is amazing so I say “Go for it champ!”

I’ve stumbled across some pretty hasty reviews of Nicko's, including this one from “Fauna” on Urban Spoon: “This is coming from an inside source: Don’t go to Niko's. It's dirty. They (the owners) let their dog run around and even put it up on the bar. They smoke indoors; you can smell the reek from the front. The food is all frozen and bought at Sam’s club. Seriously. Nobody actually cooks there. They just throw things on the griddle or in the deep fryer. Nobody there cares about cooking or anything concerning the business, to them it’s just a way to support their lavish lifestyles.”

Well, FAUNA. Niko's is dirty? So is sex and I bet that doesn’t stop you from doing it right on roof of your trailer. Lavish lifestyle? We’re on North Florida Avenue, how lavish can you get? And if the owners do in fact go home to a nice pad with an indoor pool and a few pure bred dogs, good for them. They were smart enough to fire you – assuming by “insider” you meant past employee. Considering I had to correct every piece of punctuation and grammar in your “review” on Urban Spoon, I’m going to go ahead and call you a dumb ass. Sounds like jealousy to me, princess. 

Speaking of jealously, my new friends next to us got served before us and I need to stop staring. So I look at the other patrons: body shop workers, bedazzled old ladies, a lady in slippers, bicyclists, a slightly fatter John Travolta (1978 Grease John Travolta), some blonde diner ladies, a little kid… I love this place. I’m still angry about “Fauna.”

Food. Glorious food. I’ve never added lettuce and tomato to a breakfast sandwich but I wanted to mix things up today. It adds a nice, crisp, cool texture to an otherwise steaming sandwich, and I may do this again in the future. And the hash. Heavenly hash. Crisp on the top, warm in the middle, and a faint hint of dog food as it slides down my throat. I don’t love dogs, but I LOVE hash.

Ryan has too much food in front of him for everything to stay warm, so by the time I dig into his biscuits and gravy (with permission) they are room temperature. Nicko’s biscuits and gravy definitely has a hint of cream. Now whether that’s cream of mushroom, cream of celery or cream of chicken I don’t know. But something screams “can of cream.”  I still like it. I’ve rarely met a plate of gravy I didn’t like. Fortunately, I missed our family Thanksgiving a few years ago where my grandmother accidentally put red food coloring into the gravy, thinking it was gravy master. I heard from some "insiders" that it was a tragedy. A blood gravy tragedy. 

I truly believe that a pancake is a pancake until you’ve covered it in butter and syrup and taken it to an entirely new level. And that is exactly what Ryan did. In fact, the highlight of the dish was the syrupy butter combination. The pancakes served as more of a side item. But that’s okay with me.

Next week we are going to be in Washington D.C…do you think there is a Nicko’s there?  I sure hope so. Join us for our Halloween brunch, we may even wear drag. I’ll try to have it written in a timely manner as well. Until next time...