Archive for August, 2012

Aug. 19, 2012

The third and final part of the survey has arrived. We first took a look at the best eateries in Orlando, and then broadened our horizon with the best in the world. Now we get a little specific by touching on a subject called “Press Box Meals.” Working in sports, I cannot control the result on the field. But what I can control is how much grub I can stuff in my belly before games. And during my travels, some press boxes deliver a lot better than others.

Question No. 3 – What is the best meal you have ever consumed in a press box (or at an athletic event)?

Starting my career in college, it was always a strange pregame meal at Michigan State. We sat in a very old, crowded room on a middle level of the press box tower, and it was usually cold and dark as well (MSU renovated the tower as soon as I left, of course). Things on the food front would vastly improve, though.

I first answered this survey question by going with the barbeque in the East Carolina football press box. But then I realized my memory was completely failing. For my answer, as well as several others, here is the list:

-Isleworth Golf & Country Club. OK, this isn’t your typical sporting event since it’s the home of an incredible number of multi-millionaires. And when I drive through it’s clear someone like me doesn’t belong there. But I still get to work a college golf event inside its gates every now and then. And on my first visit I was eating lunch a table over from Arnold Palmer. My focus was not on possibly the greatest golfer who ever lived; it was on the food buffet. Gourmet burgers. Different types of French fries including the waffle variety. Sandwiches. Cake. And this past year they added a portable ice cream cart filled with my favorite: ice cream sundae cones. Being in a picture with Arnie and Mark O’Meara as we tried to find a golf ball was great, but that doesn’t compare to the breathtaking food offered by a place whose back-of-the-house dishwashers probably make more than me. – BO

-Corky’s BBQ (not a press box meal) – JF

-Tie – McNeese State where the jambalaya was amazing. And Liberty Bowl when Rendezvous went over the top. – MD

-UCF baseball 2009 – Tailgaters brought fresh grilled fish – mahi mahi – DB

-Citrus Bowl subs – JG

-Georgia Dome for the 2007 SEC Tournament and for the 2007 Final Four. I still remember overloading on cookies. – JM

-Penn State had a huge spread w/ 3-4 entrees, numerous sides, 2-3 desserts. – AS

-Anything at MSU’s Spartan Stadium – third floor of the club level (after the renovations) – KM

-Florida baseball – Those garlic knots were out of this world – ED

-Georgia Southern had some mean BBQ in their press box when I was there. – BS

-Probably 2008 or 2009 – Isleworth chefs had a make your own pasta day – DR

-What bothers me most about press box meals is that no matter what is being served, there’s always got to be some bitching and moaning from someone about the free meal they were just dished. – JC

-I assume that brats and tots isn’t an option (in reference to UCF baseball the last three years). The Washington Nationals treated us to Amici’s Italian food in Viera, Fla., each game during the 2012 Spring Training season. Their garlic knots and baked ziti helped me add 15 lbs. in that one month but it was worth it (not really, I’m expecting a heart attack any minute now). – JH

-Oy! The chowder at Boston College, the all-encompassing buffet at UTEP, the Rendezvous ribs in Memphis, the Cajun fiesta at LSU, the uniqueness of the lamb at Kansas State, South Carolina’s southern spread, Virginia Tech’s BBQ, Georgia Tech’s sweet tea… And one recent addition is the stuff that Holy Cross served at NCAA hockey in Worcester in March. Beef tenderloin and all sorts of good stuff with it right down to a NCAA hockey themed red velvet cake for dessert. – LT

-(A fantastic, four paragraph answer!) Most memorable has to be the buffet at UTEP. They get all of these little places around campus to donate food, so it’s very eclectic. You might find a couple of Domino’s pizzas sitting next to a big pan of tamales from some mom-n-pop place sitting next to a tray with a dozen subs from some little local place. The food is all pretty good, but it’s crazy all of the different things from different places. Needless to say, the Mexican items from the little taquerias are probably the best things.

Best in C-USA has to be Memphis… When UM moved from the Pyramid to the Fed-Ex Forum they had time left on their catering contract with Rendezvous.  It’s carried over and each time we’ve been there it’s been Rendezvous BBQ in the press box. The ribs are good (dry rub), but my personal favorites are the brisket and the smoked sausage.

Another great one was UL-Lafayette… Cane’s chicken fingers as an appetizer before the game followed by fantastic shrimp etouffee. Sometimes the least likely places have the best food, I’ve found.

But the overall best I think I’ve ever had… And I hate to give you this one… Was at Michigan State in 1989. It was one of those days they were honoring a few agricultural/food producers in Michigan. They had lamb stew over fresh homemade mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, and handpacked ice cream. Wow. Although you also have to give a strong honorable mention to Boston College for their fresh prepared pasta and Legal Seafood Clam Chowder. – JK

I first want to say, that I do not have cable. There are a couple of reasons for this, such as money and that most channels annoy me. There are only a few channels I would really want, and that includes the Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Game Show Network, MLB Network and the Food Channel.

But when I do have the ability to watch cable, I usually stop on shows which feature great restaurants from across the country. So when I was introduced to this website, TVFoodMaps.com, I immediately had to save it. For all of the times I say, “boy I really wish I was eating that too,” this site allows me to look back state-by-state and show-by-show to see where I should take my taste buds. I suggest you do the same.

I also was informed of two eateries which need attention as well. For anyone visiting Pennsylvania, head to Lancaster’s Miller’s Smorgasbord. My friend explained after he ate so much that he “had never been in that condition my whole life.” Meanwhile, in Oregon there is a place called The Diner, and the major highlight includes pancakes the size of beach balls. The good thing is that I’m not exaggerating that at all.

Aug. 7, 2012

After discovering some of the best food establishments in the Orlando area in part I of this survey, it’s time to reveal some of the best restaurants across the globe.

Question No. 2 – What is the best eatery you have ever visited?

A lifelong wish of mine is to embark on a food journey, one which takes me to places I dare not dream about. During my regular travels, the most memorable joints have been the hole-in-the-wall restaurants that the USDA inspectors will shut down the next time they visit. However, if my taste buds rapidly explode, and the establishment has bar shuffleboard, then I’ll rank that place pretty high no matter what.

To indulge in a wide variety of answers to this question, check out the below list (although descriptions were not asked for, they were appreciated):

-My personal answer to this is Melt Bar & Grilled in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. I will share reasons behind this in a future blog post. – BO

-The Dillard House in Dillard, Ga.  – JF

-Emeril’s in New Orleans. Emeril himself served the UCF radio crew. – MD

-Twin Oaks in Cranston, R.I. – DB

-Dos Coyotes in Folsom, Calif. It isn’t a fancy restaurant, the food there is consistently fantastic, and the portion sizes are huge. Always fresh, always delicious and very reasonably priced. It’s great. Or The County Line BBQ in Austin, Texas. Probably the best BBQ I’ve ever had, hands down (although if I ever make it to 4 Rivers, we will see). – KH

-Duffy’s Sports Grill in Jupiter, Fla. – JG

-Osteria de’ Peccatori in Florence, Italy. In the U.S., Vito’s Deli in Hoboken, N.J. – JM

-Gates BBQ in Kansas City. – AS

-Texas de Brazil in Orlando. – CP

-Chipotle. – MK

-This is really tough because I’ve visited places all over the country, so picking one is hard. I’m a big steakhouse guy, so Abe and Louie’s in Boston is pretty high on my list with a great cold seafood tower appetizer and a nice selection of steaks. I was a huge fan of Rainwater’s on Kettner in San Diego, but they’re out of business now. Their massive cowboy ribeye and their chocolate cake were magnificent. I’m also a huge fan of Bohanon’s Prime Steaks and Seafood in San Antonio, Texas. You can’t have a list of favorite steakhouses unless you have one in Texas… It’s a law. – JK

-Amerigo, an Italian Restaurant in Tennessee. – KM

-Iron Works BBQ in Austin, Texas. – ED

-Rosebud in Chicago – BS

-The best food place ever…oh wow. I’m gonna go with Whole Foods Market. Don’t laugh, but it has absolutely everything I could ever want. – SN

-Rocco’s Tacos (South Florida locations and a new one opening in the Dr. Phillips area now) or Rok:Brgr (down south). – BF

-Town Spa Pizza in Stoughton, Mass. – DR

-The Brass Monkey in St. Pete Beach. – LP

-Mongolian Grill. – EW

-Not one place in particular, but I do get a kick out of visiting local eateries whenever passing through different places. I’ll always choose a spot with a good craft beer selection and a corned-beef reuven sandwich with extra dressing on the side. – JC

-There is a little restaurant in Dublin, Ireland, known as the Tasty Hut. We discovered it while walking down the street at 2 a.m. There was a fantastic smell of gyro meat radiating from the doorway. For a mere 6.5 Euro we received one of the most delicious meals in my lifetime.  – JH

-Voodoo Donuts in Portland, Ore., Antonio’s Pizza in Amherst, Mass., and Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ in Kansas City, Kansas. Honorable mention to Huey Magoo’s and the Pancake Pantry in Nashville. – LT