Category Archives: food

A deeper understanding of the game…

My I’m just grumpy this morning because my stomach is recovering from the ingestion of this barium concrete solution taken in order that the ‘cat’ scan folks can better view my inside-parts, .which fits in with my policy of celebrating Friday the 13th with a special viewing. I really do feel like a concrete mixing truck.

I was reading Sports Illustrated and ran across the interview with Joey Chestnut (the new hot dog eating champion) when I noticed that he was the 3-time winner of the freaking ‘Fried Asparagus Eating’ competition. WTF? Not only is there a ‘Fried Asparagus Eating contest, there is a damn GOVERNING BODY for eating contest (International Federation of Competitive Eating). I suspect they were created to grab their own piece of the competitive-eating pie.

The IFoCE actually has rankings of the top 50 eaters (world wide), including, my favorite – Crazy Legs Conti. The bio on Crazy L actually contains the lines:

Legs struggled in 2006 to maintain the momentum he showed in his early years. However, his perseverance has earned him a greater knowledge of self and a deeper understanding of the game.

In addition, he has shown himself to have an affinity for lobster eating, twice placing in the money in this difficult discipline.

Has the apocalypse begun and I missed it? Is there any better example of an over-fed greedy populace than the competitive ingestion of food (other contests include pancakes, gelatin, crawdads, pizza, and of course, pigs feet).

Do the folks down at Second Harvest get a little verklempt when they read this stuff?

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If you got bad news, you wanna kick them blues; morphine..or morphine is bueno bueno..

Actual conversation at Baptist Hospital between my wife and the charge nurse after i was moved from ICU* to a regular room:

Wife: My husband is in 7625 …could he have a cup of water?

Nurse: He’s not there yet.

Wife: yes, they brought him down a few minutes ago

Nurse: no, he’s not there yet.

I had been there for over 1/2 hour at this point.

Needless to say, they also forgot my lunch, which in retrospect was probably a blessing. I eventually got a snack at 3:30, three and 1/2 hours after I was moved to the room. Within minutes after the remains of the snack were cleared, supper was delivered. Is there some late night infomercial that features a device that positively drains any possible taste remaining from over-cooked broccoli? I’m pretty sure that Baptist Hospital got a really good deal on said device.

*Oh yeah, I guess I’ve been blessed with a stomach lining that enjoys the holi-ness of the occasional ulcer. I was feeling less than chipper last Saturday, loitering around even more than usual on a couch near the new TV. As long as I just laid there, equilibrium was at least a distant cousin. At one point after an extended phone conversation, I got up to go to the bathroom and realized that something was really wrong. You really do see star-like apparitions when you are about to black out! I achieved a familiar prone position on the hardwood floor and asked my wife to call for an ambulance. Sadly, I’ve been in such a state before and realized fairly quickly that blood was not circulating normally through the old framework, and instead had chosen a small aperture to spill willy-nilly into passages not intended for circulation.

I made it to the hospital where the nice folks filled me back up with blood and stuck a camera downward (believe me, the downward spiral is much preferable to the upward method). A small geyser was quickly noted and patched. Ironically for the next 24 hours much blood was taken back for testing, usually moments after I had fallen asleep. A stay in the hospital is not for anyone who really needs rest.

I’m also convinced that the insurance companies have conspired with the chefs behind the hospital ‘cuisine’ in the hopes that said foodstuff would encourage the patient to quickly vacate the premises in hopes for victuals with more than a passing acquaintance with a spice or even taste. At one point a breakfast tray contained a bowl of gruel that even David Copperfield would have refused.

My stomach really wasn’t that happy about very much – cuisine, unwanted apertures and general invasion. The pain became quite intense at times and I was offered morphine as a palliative. Not one to turn down my host’s offerings, I nodded intensely and before you could say Pacman Jones, the warmth of the blessed Code3 pharmaceutical was channeling through the bloodstream so recently off-course. I don’t know how most people react to morphine, but I saw things. I saw real food. I saw the Knucklehead with a side of ribs. I saw more nurses than actually exist in Baptist Hospital. I saw Drew Barrymore and I did wonder what she was doing there. And cruelly, I saw my daughter with her best friend sitting at the foot of my bed. They seemed as real as the heart monitor wires attached to various parts of my body. I actually conversed with them, even knowing that it was pretty amazing that Erin had actually made it all the way from Peru.

It was both a wonderful and mean Father’s Day trick of the drug. I never actually teared up from all the pain and the frustration of my utter helplessness, but I can tell you that I did cry when I realized she wasn’t there. But, I can also tell you that my cell phone rang late Sunday afternoon and miraculously enough I did hear her voice, and it wasn’t an illusion. The heart monitor wires were singing.

Visits from good friends and number one son were also quite the curative.

After two and 1/2 days of blood re-fueling and blood-letting with occasional side-trips on morphine, I was sent home, a weak, but blood-levelled man. I ‘get’ to sit around for a day or so here at home recovering. The blessed taste of real food and the unbelievably good fortune of being married to the most wonderful woman I’ve ever known and three kids I love more than life itself all pushes up against that tendency for me to feel sorry for myself and my stupid stomach lining. I’m luckier than I ever deserved.

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Filed under acute discomfort, food, friends and family, poor poor me

Don’t want to be meal-y mouthed here, 5 places I like to eat..

I”m IT! Couldn’t get away from the Newscoma tag*. Name five places you like to eat at your location.

Man, I love to find places to eat around town, so five is too low of a number..I’ll try to keep it down (the number, not my food).

1. Alleycats – best enchiladas in N’ville. Great patio. Funky vibe.

2. Mothership BBQ – of course this is on my list. I know the owner. I know lots of the clientele, but truth is, if the pulled pork wasn’t all that good, all the love in the world wouldn’t influence me to drive into the heart of Berry Hill. I eat LOTS of BBQ. This is the best pulled pork in Nashville.

3. Nola’s – love those chavitas sandwiches. Alexia, the chef, is passionate about her food, and enjoys chatting with the diners.

4. Samurai Sushi – sushi Nirvana. Funky hole-in-the-wall on Elliston Place make sushi magic. The Choo Choo Roll is a work of art.

5. Peter’s Sushi – out in B’wood, but worth the drive. In the expert opinions of my wife and I (we eat a LOT of sushi), Peter has caught up with Mr. Choo at Samurai Sushi, almost.

6. Greek Touch – in the arcade. You will not eat better spanokopita in the area unless you’re married to Chris Clark or Demetria K. Bill and Linda are entertaining behind the counter. Great souvlaki also.

7. Cafe Marche’ – best brunch in Nashville at prices a non-rich person can afford. Plus the place is damn good. Even their oatmeal rocks, and I’m not kidding. Best omelets around.

I’m tagging Busymom (I wanna hear where she eats around work) and Suburban Turmoil (the best rivalry in soccer mommy-hood, ever). This is part of my ‘secret’ strategy to have top-notch bloggers stoop to my level.

*There is a big long list of where this tag comes from on Newscoma’s link above. But, it is Sunday and I’m toooo lazy to type all those links.

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Filed under blogs about blogs, food

The strawberry capital of the world is WHERE?, or, Strawberry wields forever..

When I was a kid growing up in Nashville there were certain certifiable truths that we took for granted. Being a ‘member of the church’ (if you are, you know what I’m talking about) gave you a shot at heaven (sadly those other churches were rife with false doctrine and quasi-Satanic teachings (i.e. Catholics). I began to see through some of that when I reached my teens, but one certainty I would stand upon (as firm as the rock of Gibraltar) was that Portland, Tennessee was the ABSOLUTE strawberry capital of the world.

It was a given..you think strawberries..you think Portland. In my college years I drove down to Memphis to see the Stones. A sign on the highway almost caused me to doubt my very existence: Humboldt Tennessee: Strawberry Capital of the World!. Say what??? I knew those flat-lander West Tennessee types were backwards, but I thought they at least knew the verities of life, including the REAL strawberry capital of the world.

Now, thanks to Google, I’ve discovered an even scarier truth (almost like finding out there are people you know in those Santa Claus suits): Plant City, Florida is ‘Strawberry Capital of the World’…wait a minute: Oxnard, California is ‘Strawberry Capital of the World’…no, no..Ponchatoula, Louisiana is the freaking ‘Strawberry Capital of the World’.

So now, in a world over-ridden with moral relativism and confusion, I would like some certainty. I want to know the truth. Let’s have a ‘berry-off”. Let’s bury the contenders, and crown the champs. I want to know that at least one of those facts I learned as a child holds up, doubtlessly and surely (at least as firm as the Rock of Gibraltar).

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Learning to read, or, A VERY special cattle call..

This morning when I was perusing your and my Tennessean, I was reading the restaurant column and I came across a story about a new franchise heading into East Nashville called Hamburger Mary’s.   I thought I read they were serving gay-friendly hamburgers, and I must admit, my curiosity and general lack of knowledge about cattle farming let me to think that I had missed a whole new development in cattle husbandry.    I realize I”m not totally up on gay cultural evolution, but I began to imagine a straight-burger backlash, with Red Meat for Red Staters burger emporiums springing up in right-thinking neighborhoods everywhere, and then I realized (ok, I read the story again after that special second cup of coffee) that the restaurant  (Hamburger Mary’s) has a gay-friendly vibe.   The burgers themselves, I suppose, are neutral.

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Keepin’ it real with Karl Dean (candidate for Mayor)

I was invited to lunch by the Dean folks last week. Lunch was at The Flying Saucer and was paid for by the Dean folks (if you wanted to pay your own check you could – several people, including Bruce Barry of the Scene and Rob Robinson (Think Train) paid their own freight). I was not representing the great state of Tennessee or any organization other than the motley state of Salem’s Lots, so I took the lunch*.

I will post details about this lunch later, but I want to drop a few general thoughts now. I had lunch with David Briley a few weeks ago**. He’s also running (if you didn’t know already) and running based on his knowledge of Nashville (grandson of first Mayor of Metropolitan Nashville) and his experience as a councilman-at-large. Briley knows his Nashville and sounded at times absolutely passionate about public policy and how to make Nashville a better place.

Dean also wants to be mayor. Despite his late entry into the race, and the lack of name recognition (compared to a Briley, Dozier, Clement or Gentry), the man thinks he can be elected and run the joint. He does not come across arrogantly, but he did manage to convey confidence.

Dean can be self-effacing (‘I’m supposed to say WHEN I’m mayor instead of if I’m mayor..whoops’) while clearing exhibiting the fact that he has oodles*** of executive experience. He’s run the Public Defender’s office AND Metro Legal Services. The current mayor clearly believes in Dean, and probably (speculation warning!) has a lot to do encouraging the man to run for mayor.

Dean speaks like an executive. He knows that he has a certain amount of political capital as mayor and wants to expend it prudently: public safety and education were recurring motifs of the day.

Other themes were the reality of what a mayor can do and the budget and legal constraints under which a mayor serves. Dean isn’t going to promise the moon, nor Stilton cheese. He weighs the possiblities and understands the cost, both in political and financial terms.

Bruce Barry summarized the talk (Barry asked great questions, btw) in Pith in the Wind. One of the commenters stated that it sounded like Dean doesn’t stand for much of anything. I disagree. Dean is going to choose his battles wisely and put forth the resources to wage those battles well. The other stuff will have to take a back seat, not ignored, but not highlighted either.

Re the battle of Dean and Briley for the so-called progressive vote. Briley says he’s (Briley) better prepared based on his time on the council. Dean say’s he’s better prepared because he HASN’T served on the council, with the implication that his executive experience trumps legislative experience when it comes to running a city.

Personally, I like em’ both, and I want to hear more from both, and it really doesn’t matter if the lunch is paid for or not.

* I do not consider myself a journalist. I represent no media organization. If I was a journalist I would need to pay for my own food. And for what it’s worth, The Flying Saucer does good BRATS.

**The Briley lunch was organized by Sean Braisted, NOT by the Briley campaign. Sean did not offer to pay for lunch.

***oodles – i’m resorting to technical jargon I realize. No where in any point of the conversation with Mr. Dean did the word ‘oodles’ make an appearance!

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We don’t get too many Violent Femmes in these parts, or, you DON’T want fries with that?

Roughly two weeks ago, I heard the anthemic Violent Femmes tune, ‘Blister in the Sun’ used as an intro to a Wendy’s commercial. Considering that the Femmes music, and particularly THAT song have been the musical equivalent of ‘Catcher in the Rye’ for teenage (and beyond) angst, AND they are actually good, AND considering the subject matter of the song, I was saddened to hear that the Femmes had sold the song like so many burgers (the Stones for Microsoft Windows 95 was the first blow). So, like many things that lodge in the old lint trap, I wrote about it.

Gordon Gano, lead singer of the Femmes, ‘owns’ the song, and I don’t really know the circumstances that led to the tune being peddled with fries. I was not a little surprised when I received a new comment yesterday to the original post, not only because the post had passed it’s ‘sale-by’ date in the realm of blogging, but mainly because a guy named Brian Ritchie made the comment. Brian plays bass for the Femmes and apparently is not going to be going to Wendy’s for fries anytime soon with Gordon Gano.

….when you see dubious or in this case disgusting uses of our music you can thank the greed, insensitivity and poor taste of Gordon Gano. It is his karma that he lost his songwriting ability many years ago, probably due to his own lack of self-respect as his willingness to prostitute our songs demonstrates.

I see my life’s work trivialized at the hands of my business partner over and over again, although I have raised my objections numerous times. As disgusted as you are I am moreso

Ritchie also makes clear that he will not be darkening the door of Wendy’s (or any other chain food eatery). I do know that I’m not the only owner of a blog who commented on this story that carries a comment from Brian. But, hey, I was jazzed anyway. I’m still a fan.

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Filed under evil greedy bastards, food, music