Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hard Eight BBQ – Dallas, TX

When you’re in Texas, you need to eat as much BBQ as you can. And I did.

One of our friends recommended Hard Eight. It popped up on a few of the “best bbq in Dallas” lists I looked at, so that was all the vetting I did. We showed up and could find the entrance to the place. Someone literally snuck us in a plastic flap behind the stage where a band was tearing down equipment. We went through every door we could find and kept discovering we were still not in the right place, but we eventually made our way to the front. And then waited in line for a while.

But, the waiting in line at a BBQ place isn’t like a normal wait in line at a restaurant. It gives you tie to really decide what you want to eat. See what other people are getting. See what they’re running out of. See what you don’t recognize, but are sure you need to try. This snake-y line walked you past the grills multiple times, so it really helped you get dialed into what you wanted to eat. They also had a manager standing near the line asking if people were first-timers and needed help with how things work here. SUPER smart. If you want a steak, you can bypass the standard line and get one cooked to order. Otherwise, things in this line are generally by the pound. So you tell them you want a half pound of X, and a quarter pound of Y, and a third of a pound of Z. Simple.

Well, it’s only simple if you don’t want everything. Hahaha. I got half slab of ribs, a quarter pound of brisket, and some chicken poppers. Then I headed inside to pick up the sides I wanted. They give you some white bread if you want it, and you can pour your own sauce. Inside, there’s a sort of cafeteria line with all kinds of crazy sides. Potato salad, cole slaw, corn bread, mac and cheese, onion rings, jalapeno sweet corn, and a bunch of other stuff. I had my eye on that mac and cheese, so I picked some up.

We paid for our food and then headed to the dining room. Near the fountain sodas, there’s a HUGE pot of baked beans where you can scoop as many as you want, as many times as you want. I’m a bean fan, so I got myself a dish.

The ribs here are fantastic. Seriously great. The meat, like most Texas joints, is served dry, so you can sauce it or not. I like it both ways, so I was pretty pleased with that. The ribs were extremely tender with just a little bite to them, and pretty good bark. Great actual smoke flavor, as well. The sauce is a welcome addition, but definitely not necessary. I was glad I tried it, but it definitely isn’t a crutch like at some places.

The brisket was also good – actually, quite good. Really moist with good marbling throughout, without being gristle-y.

The chicken poppers are like little pieces of chicken wrapped in bacon. I thought they’ve have some sort of jalapeno or cream cheese aspect to the, but they didn’t. They were fine, and tasty, but I don’t think I’d get them next time – just to save on stomach real estate.

The mac and cheese was some of the best I’ve had in Texas, however. Everyone at the table was raving about it and for good reason. It wasn’t from a box or from frozen. It had multiple cheeses in it and was cooked really perfectly – not always easy in such huge quantities. Totally worth getting this again.

Overall, this place was fantastic. I like the winding line where you keep changing your mind on what you’re going to get, but you can see it all being cooked in front of you (and you smell like BBQ, which is always a win). They have a lot of sides, and the staff are actually really helpful here. I’ll be back, if I’m in Dallas again. Great work, Hard Eight!

Monday, October 16, 2017

MRE lunch – Dallas, TX

While we were at the Dallas Arms Gun and Knife Show in Dallas, DreadPirateNick wanted me to try an MRE – or Meal, Ready-to-Eat – a military super-calorie meal ration used by soldiers to keep them going. DreadPirateNick would waffle between telling me how terrible they were and how much he wanted me to try one, knowing I write about food-type things. He found one that we could both agree on eating, although he was trying REALLY hard to find the gross ones – something about omelets or other things that I hope to never eat out of a bag. We knew we were going back to the hotel, so he offered to cook me a gourmet MRE lunch of Beef Ravioli!

The whole thing is self-contained in a bag and is intended to be heated up, although DreadPirateNick assured me there were times where there was no possibility of heating it up and you gulped whatever was in your bag down your throat and tried not to gag it up. Inside was usually most of the following:
  • Main course
  • side dish
  • dessert or snack
  • crackers or bread
  • spread of cheese, peanut butter, or jelly
  • powdered beverage mix (fruit flavored drink, cocoa, instant coffee or tea, sport drink, or dairy shake>
  • utensils
  • flameless ration heater(FRH)
  • beverage mixing bag
  • accessory pack: xylitol chewing gum, water resistant matchbook, napkin/toilet paper, moist towelette, seasonings (salt, pepper, sugar, creamer, tabasco sauce), and freeze dried coffee powder

Our other friend M.Butterfly showed up and joined us poolside for some delicious lunch, with DreadPirateNick giving us the play by play, like a cuddly Julia Childs. It was a special moment for all of us, I assure you. DreadPirateNick started by dumping everything out on the ground so we could see it.

Then, he showed us the bag that you dump water into to heat up whatever your entrĂ©e is – in this case, Beef Ravioli. He told us that sometimes these things emit some smoke as they heated up, so it’s better that we didn’t do this inside the hotel room. He put the ravioli pouch in the other pouch, dumped in some water and set it aside to heat up. Kind of cool.

He then gave us the appetizer – Osmotic Raisins. We had to look up what osmotic raisins were, but it wasn’t anything aside from they added some sort of sweetener to them to make them more palatable. That did raise some red flags. We tried them and they were pretty disgusting. Even more disgusting than raisins usually are. They also had some sort of coating on them that stained whatever it touched, including your skin and clothing. Just ewwww.

DreadPirateNick showed us the wheat snack bread and then cheered loudly when he saw that it came with the cheese spread with jalapenos. Apparently, this was the best of the bunch. He opened up the bread which was similar to those weird sandwich slices kind of bread that’s like a smushed-down actual slice of bread. The flavor isn’t really there, and the texture didn’t help. With the addition of what appears to be expired EZ-Cheese (aerosol cheese), it helped a little bit. It was pretty dry all around.

Since we were parched, DreadPirateNick giggled as he opened up the kool-aid pouch (but that’s a trademarked term). He dumped the red powder into the mixing bag and shook it for a while until it resembled a blood donation bag. I’ll be honest, this fruit punch wasn’t terrible, however, drinking out of a super flimsy plastic bag was more of a challenge than any of us imagined.

Our ravioli had heated up and was ready to be served. We all passed it around and shared it. I was surprised to find it wasn’t terrible. It tasted like a super generic version of Chef Boy-R-Dee Ravioli. I’m glad it was hot, as well. Those water-powered heaters worked pretty good. You could tell it was meat-flavored and the sauce wasn’t great, but it was edible. I’d guess after eating these every meal for a few years, you’d be ready to eat a shoe.

And speaking of shoes, there was beef jerky!!! It was, without a doubt, the worst beef jerky I’ve ever had. It tasted like they had dropped it in the dirt before they packaged it. It was like chewing leather. I would not recommend this jerky.

And finally, for dessert, there was a frosted brown sugar toaster pastry. Now don’t get your hopes up about it being like a pop-tart. It looked like a pop-tart, but it tasted like you accidentally ate the box instead. Not good.

Honestly, I’m glad DreadPirateNick was so adamant about sharing one of these with us. I had heard horror stories about some of the meals the military eats, and this was apparently one of the better examples of the field training meals they get. There are better options in the mess halls, but when you’re out in the field, you have to pack light and eat fast. This was all of those things – just remove the flavor.

Thanks for being a good sport DreadPirateNick and M.Butterfly. I probably won’t rush out to buy a case of these, but I now know what to expect if someone busts one of these out while camping or I get into an apocalypse situation sometime soon.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dallas Arms Gun and Knife Show – Dallas, TX

When you’re in a new city that’s known for things, you generally try to do them, right? Well, I was in Dallas and I’ve never been to a gun show before, so I thought I’d better check it out. My friend DreadPirateNick is a military guy who owns a lot of guns and knives, so I was happy to have him along for my own personal tour guide. I also realize this is a controversial topic, so I’m sure this post is going to ruffle a few people, but will also make a few people laugh. It’s a world I know nothing about and these truly aren’t “my people”, but I would be remiss if I didn’t step out of my bubble once in a while to try to observe and try to understand other people’s passions. At least give me THAT much, friend-os.

Before we even made it into the show, they had two offers to get free admission: Donate blood OR sign up for an NRA membership. It’s an interesting marketing tactic, but I guess I’m not surprised. It seems like an appropriate scenario to get people more on board, since they’re already (probably) on board, I guess. I opted for the $10 admission to see what I found out was 1,500 tables (1.5 miles) full of guns and gun accessories on 4.5 acres of showroom space.

This show is put on by the Dallas Arms Collectors Association or DACA (founded in 1975), which I haven’t decided whether it’s irony or some sort of intentional or unintentional (or cosmic) dig that the Obama administration created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – or DACA – in June of 2012. It just struck me as “interesting”.

I’m not sure who I expected (or who YOU expected) to be at these things, but it is mostly men, more women than I expected, and even more children than I expected. There were some well-dressed rich-feeling folks, a lot of older veterans and current military, a lot of apocalypse/doomsday/zombie preppers, and a handful of hunters (far less than I expected). For those of you that think these things are filled with bubbas in overalls, you might be surprised to know that I only saw one person wearing overalls the whole time I was there. Also of note, I saw a handful of people that appeared to be of Latino descent, one Native American, one person of African descent (selling religious t-shirts), zero people of Asian descent, zero people of Middle Eastern descent, and no identifiable LGBTQ folks.

Here are a FEW notes from the event – obviously not all my notes, due to how long this post is already turning out to be. I’ll even start with the more light-hearted stuff before I ramp up to more heavy topics.

One guy working a booth told us, “I used to work at Dollar General, but now I get to play with guns all day. This is way more fun.” That WAS what I expected to see, but did not expect to get such blatant confirmation, to be honest.

Don’t ask the booth owners about the giant mousepads. Apparently, these aren’t mousepads, but rather TACTICAL GUN CLEANING MATS. DreadPirateNick told me not to joke with folks unless they joke first. Some of these guys have no sense of humor and are unable to joke about even the smallest of things – and by “small”, I mean a giant mat made out of the same material that mousepads are made of. …which now I want for my office at work.

The librarian in me was amused by the booth which offered books with the insides cut out to hold a gun. Of course none of them have a lock or any child-proofing built in, but I guess these people aren’t concerned about things like that. I’m not surprised that many of the book titles were religious - to, presumably, fit in with your home library’s existing contents.

There is a LOT of homophobic and racist/bigoted t-shirts, bumper stickers, and patches, over and above confederate flags. I thought there might be one or two stashed away or buried in a pile like a left over joke, but there were many, MANY, brand new and shiny ones in approximately every booth selling t-shirts, stickers, or patches. I can’t even bring myself to write down the messages in this post. They were NOT funny – they were serious.

There was a lovable nerd who had built and painted custom Lego® figurines in an impressive array of military-themed outfits. Things I had never considered being an actual THING, like Viet Cong soldiers, Taliban fighters, and ISIS executioners (complete with all the misspellings you’d expect). Something for ALL the kids to love. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess this “artist” is using the term “Logo Compatible” to hopefully avoid any sort of cease and desist order that I’m guessing the Lego Group would love to enforce.

I was honestly NOT surprised that there are a handful of Nazi memorabilia collectors/displays at this kind of event. It isn't hidden in back rooms, and there are plenty of signs from the vendors up that they're always willing to trade things for more, if you've got some you're looking to offload. It ranges from medals and old photos to uniforms, helmets, and personally engraved honorary daggers and everything in between. No one was goose-stepping up and down the aisles at this show, but there are people collecting these "historical" items all over the place here.

There are booths that loudly advertise “silencers” or all shapes and sizes, however, when you talk to them, they are sure to explain that they are really “suppressors”, not silencers like they say in the movies. Illuminating.

There are tons of booths selling incredibly large capacity magazines (the things the click into the bottom of the gun that hold bullets). A “normal” magazine can hold 7-10 bullets, but the ones they are selling at this show go from 10 to like 200. It’s kind of crazy when you think about people complaining about handguns not ever needing more than a few bullets for self-defense purposes, and yet, they’re selling a device that holds a Rambo-amount of bullets for one handgun. Intriguing.

There is an overwhelming love of Jesus at these events. If there are too many racist shirts and bumper stickers here (i.e., more than ZERO), then there are exponentially far too many shirts with religious sayings on them, especially in regards to their god-given right to own guns. Again, I figured I’d see some, but I didn’t think it would be this many.

Remember, I said I was starting with the light hearted stuff? Despite the previous paragraphs being alarming, they aren’t as alarming as some of these next observations.

We walked past a gun that had a weird-looking butt (yes, feel free to add your own hilarious comments about that). It was like  soft rubber shortened butt, but it was hollow and had some straps on it. Neither of us were sure what it was for, so we asked the guy. The guy got super jazzed to tell us all about it. The butt is hollow so you can put your arm in it and then strap it to your arm. Why you need to strap one of these to your arm? Well, that’s the wrong question! It’s so you can strap one of these to EACH ARM and really light them up. Did he mean “them” like both of the guns or whatever object you might be battling. The image of him demonstrating this on the showroom floor without actually shooting, of course, was a little alarming. Then he continued to explain HOW TO AVOID A FELONY CONVICTION while using this gun. He told us the butt of the gun is not intended to be put against your shoulder, since that’s an automatic felony, including ten years in prison and a $25,000 fine. So if you aren’t tempted to put that tiny butt up against your shoulder, then you can claim self-defense and save yourself a felony charge in most instances. Helpful advice – thanks!

We walked by  a tall metal tripod with two large guns mounted to it, one on each side. There weren’t small guns. They were REALLY large guns. Like three times wider than a huge shotgun. There was a hand crank on the side that appeared to be mounted to the tripod. The booth person noticed us looking at it and he piped right in. He explained that his company builds these tripods and they can be custom fitted to absolutely any gun you want to put on it (it doesn’t have to be two of the same style gun). Then, you can turn the handy crank on the side and it continuously fires each weapon. I notice he didn’t say “automatic”. He did mention that you can just set this up and leave it and then run over to it and open fire as you run out of rounds in your other weapons. Despite this taking place a few weeks back, I NOW find it very interesting that the Las Vegas shooter had some sort of weapon mounted on a tripod in his hotel room. Let that sink in.

I saved the best for last because it’s sort of a multi-layered big deal. Towards the end of our visit, we walked past a booth for Tracking Point. There was a pretty intimidating really large rifle with a super fancy sight mounted to the top. When DreadPirateNick asked what it was, the booth person was oddly standoff-ish. So we walked away. He tried to get us to come back and it wasn’t until he said something about a “self-shooting rifle” – THEN we stopped. We walked back and he explained how this gun is a precision guided firearm. A “long-range, laser-guided robo-rifle” – a direct quote from the company’s website. A thousand yards away, and you can still make ethical kill shots. Basically, you get what you want to shoot lined up in your sight, then you click a button to lock it on to the target – like a mapping feature. Then, you can swing your gun all over the place, but as soon as your gun points at that exact spot you had locked on, it will FIRE ON ITS OWN. Apparently with 99.something % accuracy. It will take into consideration how fast your barrel is moving, and all sort of other factors to make sure it hits the target. Get this: the target can actually be moving around (no more than 7 mph) and the rifle sight will still lock on and shoot what it’s supposed to. We asked if this thing was actually legal. He replied with “OF COURSE IT’S LEGAL!” It’s seriously advanced technology like from a science fiction movie. I found myself wondering if it was technology better off in the hands of military or NOT in the hands of the military. It’s an interesting concept and one that I’ll admit is REALLY cool. But it’s also got a lot of potential problems and controversial stuff that goes along with technology like this. Then he said something that stopped me in my tracks. He said, “you could set this up on your back porch and shoot deer in the woods if you want.”  This was the first and only person at this whole event that spoke to me about shooting an animal. No one else even mentioned hunting animals in any of their speeches or presentations. I began to realize how disturbing this was - Not all guns are for hunting animals. In fact, I’d guess maybe 15% of the vendors there were explicitly selling duck hunting shotguns or game hunting rifles. Just an estimate, but people aren’t there to buy game hunting tools here. This isn’t a hunting show, it’s an ARMS show. There’s a huge difference.

I will say that I left smarter than I had entered. I have never been to anything like this. I’ve got relatives and friends who hunt. I’ve got relatives and friends who collect guns and weapons. I know a little bit about how these people think and they sometimes try to explain it to me. I’m not anti-gun, but I’d definitely feel a lot better if these things were registered and maybe have some sort of restrictions on them. I don’t have any problems with people building their own guns and tricking them out – I compared it to pimping out a computer or guitar, but I guess that’s a little bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison. I left this gun and knife show with a lot of questions (and some elk meat sticks that are delicious).

…And, the shootings continue.

…And, the gun control regulations don’t come.

…We’re not doing things right.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Republic Ranch – Dallas, TX

One of our regular activities while attending a roller derby tournament anywhere in the world is to find a tiki bar. Sometimes, they’re good, sometimes, they’re bad, but there’s always rum and fruit juices, so that’s good. I read a few articles about Dallas being severely lacking in the tiki department, but word on the street is that one of them had opened up recently - Pilikia. We decided to take a Lyft 30 minutes downtown and check it out.

…. And, then we were promptly turned away at the door because there is a dress code. The REALLY nice gentleman bouncer who wouldn’t let us past the ropes was very nice and apologetic and even jovial, but it was clear we weren’t getting anywhere near their Rum Runners and Giggle Punch. As it turns out, this place isn’t so much a tiki bar as it is a tiki-themed night club. Who knew there was such a thing.

Dejected, but optimistic, our group walked down the street and found a nice looking bar called the Republic Ranch. It wasn’t busy in the main restaurant part of the room, so we pulled up to the bar and ordered some drinks. The tiki-est drinks we could think of. The bar tender gave it his best shot and provided us with a couple of drinks that were tasty, but had zero juice in them. They did have these boozy sun-shaped lime garnishes that I hope my wife doesn’t ever force me to make for our drinks. They also have some sort of boozy slushy machine behind the bar containing something called the Drunk Tank – Shotty got one of those and confirmed that it DID, in fact, have a shitload of booze in it.

We had good conversation with the bartender, who was pretty rad. He said there were some parties going on all day and people were in the back. We didn’t know what that meant, but every five or ten minutes, we’d see someone literally staggering out from the back room and out the front doors. Like zombie-style incapacitated. The bartender just rolled his eyes and laughed. He said some folks had been back there all day hitting it hard. We poked our head around the corner to the back room and it looked like an empty wedding banquet room. All white chair covers and table cloths, but no one was in there. We saw a door at the back, but didn’t venture back that far. But the steady flow of obliterated people continued. We assumed they were coming out of some hidden entrance to drunk town, but never stopped to check it out.

We ordered more drinks. I got a mai tai and the bar tender looked up a recipe. I got this blue drink, which I’ve never had in mai tai form before. Thankfully, it was delicious, so I drank it all.

At one point, a girl came out from “the back” (which we still didn’t know what that really meant), and she was not in good shape. The hostess, who was an absolute dear, realized she needed help when she tried to get an Uber and typed in “home” for the destination. The hostess suggested that the Uber driver might NOT want to drive the girl all the way to Houston. Hahaha. So the drunk girl then typed in “hotel”, which apparently will not take you to the right hotel – just to you know for the future. It will take you to a random hotel, and whatever is first on the list in Uber. Hilarious. The hostess patiently helped this girl through the Uber process and miraculously got her into an Uber headed somewhere. I hope that girl made it.

So we ordered more drinks. I got a vodka pineapple just so I could pretend I went to a tiki bar, and it was tasty. But still not the same. Again, the bartender was cracking wise with us by that point and making sure we all had a good time. We continued to laugh at the people who tried to leave under their own power and ended up leaning on the back of our barstools for balance as they settled up their tabs. It was pretty amazing.

Just as we were about to leave, there was a hubbub in “the back” and our bartender, another bartender, a cook, and someone I think nicknamed “Fried Jesus” (possibly the owner) ran to help this belligerent fellow being “escorted” to the sidewalk. The workers handled it like pro, despite the drunk guy throwing punches and knocking people’s glasses off their faces. They got this guy out the door and he disappeared. All of the workers came back in and apologized for the disruption – I’m pretty sure they assumed we were leaving because of the altercation, not because of the late hour and stomachs full of booze. We assured them we had a great night and told them we’d be back if we were in town again. Really good folks at this place.

[Editor’s addendum: I looked at this place’s website and now I’m extremely upset about two things.
1. The food here looks absolutely magical. It’s a real bummer that we didn’t try to eat dinner here before our “show”. The menu looks great and all of the reviews of this place are really encouraging, as are all the photos of the food.
2. Shotty and OtherNick, be prepared to throw your computer across the room when you read this next part. Ready?... … … … … … … THERE IS A GODDAMN POOL IN “THE BACK” AREA.   A POOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!!! Why didn’t the bartender even think to mention that to us?? Now we really will have to go back there to fully capitalize on “the back” area. AAAGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!! I’m not sure this is why people were leaving on non-functioning legs, but it’s definitely possible. We have to find out. HAVE TO!]

Honestly, we didn’t expect much from this place, especially after being shamed for wearing tiki-appropriate attire and not being allowed access to our intended destination, but Republic Ranch delivered so much more than we expected. It was really fun, and ALL of the staff were friendly and happy we were there. Thank you for a great time!!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Mia’s Tex-Mex – Dallas, TX

When in Texas, I feel like you should eat Tex-Mex at least once. I did zero culinary research on this, prior to arriving in Texas, so I simply looked up Tex-Mex restaurants in Dallas and went to one that had “Tex-Mex” in the name. Just being transparent with my decision-making.

The inside of the place looks like a typical Mexican restaurant, so know that going in. It does have a pretty solid Mexican menu, however – this I was impressed with. I know I was supposed to get brisket tacos, which is about a Tex-Mex as you can actually get, but all I wanted was good Mexican food. (Let’s be honest – all I REALLY wanted was a big margarita, which I got.)

I wanted to try a couple of things, so I went with one of the combo platters – the Guadalajara Dinner. It’s got a beef taco, a bean chalupa (like a tostada), a chili cheese enchilada and a cheese enchilada. The taco and chalupa were good, but how good can those really be? You can find this kind of thing at most places. I was happy with these, and not disappointed at all.

That being said, the two enchiladas were pretty darn amazing. The cheese enchilada was a great mixture of cheese to form a sauce on top of the enchilada. The chili cheese enchilada was superb – great smoky flavor on the chili sauce and the cheddar cheese added a fun punch of flavor. This made me NOT regret skipping the brisket tacos that I was probably supposed to get. I really liked these two items a lot!

What I think I’ve discovered is that you can turn Mexican food into Tex-Mex by adding orange cheese instead of white cheese. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Pecan Lodge – Dallas, TX

While in Dallas for a big roller derby tournament, DreadPirateNick and I needed to eat some BBQ. A friend of mine from the Twin Cities. Fire Wally, said we needed to hit up Pecan Lodge. I did some additional checking and all of the lists recommended this place as one of, if not THE, best place for BBQ. The recommendations also came with multiple notes about waiting in line for two or three hours and you should bring water, especially if it’s hot outside (which it ALWAYS is in Dallas, apparently). We were worried about the wait, but we were willing to put in the time.

When we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to find the line NOT very long. So we got in it. We probably waited about 10 minutes, but by the time we got to the front of the line, the back of the line was out the door. Perfect timing.

This place has the usual suspects (although, they were sold out of pork ribs when we showed up), but there were a couple of unique items, including a deep fried rib. We were tempted to share “The Trough”, which has a little bit of everything they offer, but it seemed overwhelming at the time. I opted for a 3-meat combo plate. I got brisket, pulled pork, and a jalapeno and cheddar beef sausage. I also got a side of mac and cheese and another side of collard greens. Oh yeah, AND a deep-fried rib. Don’t judge me.

This place is well known and highly rated for a reason. It’s pretty darn incredible. Here’s how it stacked up. The beef sausage (something Minnesota is woefully lacking) was the winner of this meal. Delicious beef flavor with some jalapeno flavor, but not the heat. The cheese flavor was barely there, but every once in a while, you’d be like, “ohhhh yeaaaaaah, there it is”. So delicious.

The mac and cheese was second-best, and it was great. Lots of bacon on top, and not that cafeteria kind of cheese. They do it right here.

The deep fried pork rib was pretty incredible. Unusual, but really good. The fried parts made a very unique “bark” and the sauce they had on it was more of a glaze, almost candied. The blue cheese crumbles on top were a really fun touch and I’d definitely get this again.

The Pulled pork was some of the best I’ve had – tons of bark pieces without them being burnt. Super tender meat without being sloppy and saucy. Just tons of flavor.

The collard greens were top notch. Lots of meaty juice in here and the greens still weren't sloppy. Just tender and tasty. Love me some authentic southern collard greens!
Oddly enough, the brisket was the lowest on the totem pole for this meal, and please don’t think I’m saying it was bad. It would be head and shoulders above most BBQ places I’ve eaten, but stacked up against these other glorious meats, it didn’t stack up. Normally, I’m not a sauce guy with my brisket, but when I added the house BBQ sauce, it moved it up the rankings even more. But as it stands on its own, it was just really good. Hahaha. I loved it!!!

You’re going to have some tough decisions in line when ordering this food, thankfully, there is usually a line to give you some stall-time to help decide. This place is number one for a reason – so much flavor and generous helpings. Fire Wally was right – you DO need to go here.

I’m not going to do a Top and Bottom 5 since there really were not bottom anything. Just go here.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Muldoon’s Pasties & Gifts – Munising, MI

When you’re in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan, you need to eat a pasty (pronounced “past-ee”) – it’s a sort of lunch-time hand pie filled with chicken or beef, or they have vegetarian versions. They also throw in a lot of root vegetables like potatoes, turnips, carrots, and other things before they bake it. They’re delicious.

Muldoon’s is ranked highly in the grand scheme of pasties, so we thought we’d go check them out. These things are densely packed, but in a good way. D.Rough and I got a chicken one and a beef one, with gravy. I have heard tales that people know you’re an outsider if you get your pasty with gravy, but I don’t care – that’s one of the things I like about them. (They do have a special pasty sauce, which is sort of like ketchup, but I prefer the gravy.)  The chicken one has a chicken gravy and the beef one has a beef gravy. Both were served with coleslaw, as well – bonus!

These things are substantial. When you think it isn’t enough food, you’ll end up being wrong and having to pull your car over for a nap in about 45 minutes. That’s just science. Muldoon’s has some great flavor in theirs and I liked both equally. Packed full of veggies and perfectly baked. I really can’t go much into a more in-depth review, since the whole concept is simple, but it’s worth getting. Muldoon’s is a great place to grab a pasty!