Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Talking With Your Mouth Full Of Certainty

"Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity."

I'm going to talk about food now, with apologies to Jax and Rhonni. For people who talk about food because of their food knowledge, not in spite of it, seek out these admirable ladies. Also, they're my pals.

A series of bests:

Pizza: Mark Anthony's, Onset MA
Lamb: Sir Edmund Halley's, Charlotte NC
Breakfast: Hell's Kitchen, Minneapolis MN
Thai food: House of Thai, Marion MA (recently moved from Wareham)
Middle Eastern food: Zaytoon's, Brooklyn NY
Mexican: El Camino Real, Kansas City KS
BBQ: Red Bridge's, Shelby NC
Sushi: Mottsu, New York NY
Fish: Mama's Caribbean Grill, Charlotte NC
Soul food: Mert's, Charlotte NC
"Home Cookin'": Cracker Barrel (I'm sorry, but I swear to god)
Burger: Bob Mcdonald's, Bessemer City NC
Ice Cream: Tony's, Gastonia NC
Bloody Mary: Loring Kitchen and Bar, Minneapolis MN

Special mention must be made for Firebird's, who makes their own Caesar Salad dressing and it is heavenly. Also, Zada Jane's in Charlotte is a runner-up in both the breakfast and Bloody Mary categories.

I encourage using the comments section of this blog to post dissenting opinion, and have a lively discussion. If you feel particularly passionate about a specific resturant, I will gladly accept gift certificates.

Obviously, any list like this is incomplete, limited by exposure and experience, to say nothing of how subjective the topic is. And there are always caveats: Loring is a second for fish, and some of the appeal of Mottsu lies in it's laid back atmosphere. For a trendier, more upbeat sushi adventure, there's Ru-San's in Charlotte and Atlanta. Including chains, Like Firebird's and Cracker Barrel (and c'mon, I was half joking) is blasphemy to some, par the course for others. So all is to be taken with a grain of salt. And this is all pertinent no matter what you're listing.
    So I guess on some level, I'm also thinking of great films right now, because that's what's really on my mind-the act of ranking and listing. I love few things more than the heated defense of great art. But to rank such things with any conceit of universal agreement is just silly. I can tell you my ten favorite films, but it must be understood you might just revile them. There's a new kind of survey of sorts floating around facebook. It isn't new precisely, but the wording of these things is what captures my attention. Usually, the reader is asked to list around ten or twenty entries: authors, movies, books, or songs. But the point isn't to list favorites, just any 15 or so which had an impact or jump readily to mind. Isn't that charming?
    I had a conversation recently with two friends about a film that two of us rather adore and the third in our party very much disliked. The discussion turned to argument because while we were excited to defend the film, our friend could for about half an hour only manage to condemn it as "stupid". once he was able to expound on this, it was again a lively exchange of ideas and opinions. And that's all I ever want, really. Let's all get together and chat, articulately and with zeal.
    I leave you another quote:

"Now is the time to get absolutely drunk! On wine, on virtue, or whatever you may please."
-Charles Baudelaire

Again, I hope to see a lot of new recommendations and such. If you're familiar with one of my entries, and hate it, tell me why. If they excel at something else, let me know, I'll order it next time!

Also, for fun: Email me, (Jon@TortugaTwins.com) suggesting my next blog topic. I'll try and have it up by Sunday.


  1. I can't agree enough with Cracker Barrel & Firebird's.

    As for the rest, I need to venture out and try them.

  2. Brother Bruno's makes the BEST pizza I've ever had in my life. The best one is in Middletown, NY. it's roughly a half hour from the NY Ren Fair. :)

  3. I had a meal at Mert's 2 years ago and never went back. It was dense, heavy, gained me 5 pounds and absolutely soul-less.

    Ilios Noche on Providence below I-485 is still a stand-out. Excellent Greek food without the ersatz Greek statuary.

  4. Hey...when I'm in GA, Cracker Barrel is the ONLY place Riki and I go to eat. We both loves us some meatloaf, green beans and mac n cheese. Seriously!

  5. Yes! I will too will swear by Cracker Barrel, anytime, anywhere, even during the long hours I devote there, brown aprons and all! Hell's Kitchen is what I've heard said, "To die for" for me it is exactly what they claim, just darn good food and nothing too fancy or fuzzy. Just come as you are and the servers there are too funny and kind! The deco is awesome...go, eat and be merry, or gay or whatever, just go and enjoy!