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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Best Twist on a Philly Cheesesteak

So it's spring break week. Spicy Food Guy, Beautiful Spouse of Spicy Food Guy (BSOSFG), Curious Stepdaughter of Spicy Food Guy (CSOSFG), and Wild Child Stepdaughter of Spicy Food Guy (WCSOSFG) load up the car with pillows, stuffed animals, ipods, and various toiletries and head off to Washington DC for a little sightseeing.

On the drive into DC, Spicy Food Guy makes the command decision (after checking with BSOSFG) to stop for lunch at the Waffle House.

Spicy Food Guy looovvves the Waffle House. He finds it authentic, gritty, real. More American, let's say, than the International House of Pancakes, which sounds sophisticated, worldly, and incredibly pretentious.

So Spicy Food Guy and party enter the Waffle House at the same time the computer goes out, the shift changes, it gets busy, or all of the above. Hard to tell. A bit chaotic, a bit confused. Kind of like Spicy Food Guy's own life, so he feels very much at home.

Spicy Food Guy orders the Texas Bacon Patty Melt, which of course he doesn't get. What he gets is the Texas Cheesesteak Melt, which is about ten times better, not to mention it represents a major step forward in innovation as it relates to the Philly Cheesesteak. Same juicy chopped steak and cheese, except rather than being served in a big old sub roll that mutes the juiciness, it comes in texas toast, which actually brings out the cheesesteak flavors in a kind of buttery goodness. Spicy Food Guy was in heaven, joined there by his hash browns that he ordered smothered and covered (onions and cheese).

CSOSFG, she of the sophisticated palette, spoke highly of the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Wraps she ordered. Not surprising, given they disappeared within minutes. Not that Spicy Food Guy casts any judgment -- the girl knows her food. Just one of many reasons Spicy Food Guy loves her so much.

Best Burger in DC

So it's the end of Day 1 of Washington DC sightseeing and Spicy Food Guy and weary family head back to their hotel near Dupont Circle.

But Spicy Food Guy's day is not over just yet. Acting on a tip from, Spicy Food Guy is driven to try a burger from the famous Five Guys, which has won numerous awards and has been declared DC's best burger by Washingtonian Magazine every year since the Jurassic era.

Spicy Food Guy is here to say that, despite making boneheaded decisions to fight wars in wretched foreign countries, ruin the economy, and destroy the environment forever, the people of the District of Columbia know how to spot a good burger.

Spicy Food Guy ordered the Bacon Burger with all the toppings (which he now in the know orders "all the way"), and he got the girls some French Fries. Spicy Food Guy thought the burger actually exceeded his expectations, which is technically never allowed to happen on a family vacation. The burger itself reminded him very much of an In-N-Out Burger ordered animal style. Curious Stepdaughter of Spicy Food Guy (CSOSFG) declared the fries some of the best she had ever eaten. We immediately agreed that further investigation was needed, and a future trip was hastily planned.

Next trip Spicy Food Guy ordered the Cheeseburger, and each of the Stepdaughters ordered a burger as well. CSOSFG clearly enjoyed her bacon cheeseburger, but young Wild Child Stepdaughter of Spicy Food Guy (WCSOSFG) was very suspicious of a freshly prepared non-frozen patty grilled right and juicy. And no steamed bun. She is a child of the McDonalds generation, but someday she will shed her bonds.

So declares a very full Spicy Food guy.

Best Greek Restaurant in Washington DC

So Spicy Food Guy and Family are getting close to the end of their DC trip, and a little weariness sets in. Lots of walking required to see stuff in DC. Lots of walking. Of course the founding fathers really didn't think of the aerobic requirements they were placing on future generations of citizens when they founded this city. Spicy Food Guy is inclined to give them a break given that they (the founding fathers) were trying very hard not to get hanged by the British.

Plus they had horses. Lucky bastards. Had Spicy Food Guy and family had a few horses, we could have really made up some time in our travels. But Spicy Food Guy digresses.

Hungry bunch, we were. And Beautiful Spouse of Spicy Food Guy (BSOSFG) decides it's time for a cultural experience (and no more Five Guys) and steers us to Zorba's Cafe for some Greek food. That decision alone, decides Spicy Food Guy, is reason to have married BSOSFG. That plus she's hot. But again Spicy Food Guy digresses.

Washingtonian Magazine declares Zorba's one of the best bargains in DC. Washingtonian is spot on. Spicy Food Guy and Family ate heartily for about seventy bucks, and it would have been less had not the friendly folks at Zorba's randomly added a grilled chicken salad and a plate of olives to our order. The folks at Zorba's might indeed offer a bargain, but they could use some work on their organizational skills.

In any case, Spicy Food Guy ordered the Combination Plate, which he was told is the most popular item on the menu. The kefte and slices of yeros were first rate, but Spicy Food Guy most enjoyed the creamy homemade hummus. BSOSFG loved the flavor in her chicken shish kabobs, but by far and away the Spanakopitta was the biggest hit. Spinach and feta in a flaky pastry, it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Only the Delmades fell flat, all of us a bit unfamiliar with the pickled grape leaves.

Zorba's Cafe in Dupont Circle. You heard it here from Spicy Food Guy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Really Great Diner in Woonsocket

For reasons best left unknown to the American public, Spicy Food Guy found himself in Woonsocket, Rhode Island this week. The town motto of Woonsocket is "A city on the move," to which Spicy Food Guy would add "but not exactly in a big damn hurry".

Nice place, Woonsocket. According to knowledgeable sources, Woonsocket comes from a Native American word for "thunder mist", a reference to the waterfall in the center of town. Also, Woonsocket is almost 50% French-Canadian, which is very cool with Spicy Food Guy, who is a major fan of Canada.

Anyway, one morning for breakfast, Colleague Friend of Spicy Food Guy (CFOSFG) suggested Patriots Diner, a classic chrome and aluminum trailer style diner. Spicy Food Guy would show it to you, but it turns out the millions of people who have posted pictures on Flickr and Google have never thought to snap a photo of the old Patriots Diner.

Too bad, really, because Patriots Diner is a classic comfort food diner (open 24 hours on Friday and Saturday) serving terrific food at great prices. Spicy Food Guy ordered the breakfast sandwich: two fried eggs, bacon, and cheese on whole wheat toast, at the steep price of $5.50. When served, the dish actually arrived as two open faced bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches, which secretly delighted Spicy Food Guy. SFG then slathered some Tobasco on the top of each sandwich and snarfed it all up, possibly inhaling much of it. Spicy Food Guy's side of corned beef hash was nice and filling as well.

Spicy Food Guy had a great experience at Patriots Diner and his appetite has been whetted to see more of Woonsocket. He plans on returning.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Best Bobby Flay Restaurant

Spicy Food Guy loves to make fun of Manhattan, but Lord knows he loves to eat there.

For the past 10 years, one of Spicy Food Guy's favorite haunts has been the Mesa Grill, Bobby Flay's restaurant located near the corner of 5th Avenue and 16th Street.

Before Bobby Flay became "the" Bobby Flay, everybody loved Mesa Grill. Nowadays, it always seems to get bad reviews for not meeting expectations; as if every diner expects to get a culinary experience similar to being a judge on Iron Chef America.

Spicy Food Guy doesn't get why everyone is in a huff. Spicy Food Guy has had nothing but fantastic meals at Mesa Grill, and he has eaten there dozens of times.

The Goat Cheese Queso Fundido, with its creamy and full flavored dipping cheese topped with roasted chilies and served with blue tortilla chips, is one of Spicy Food Guy's favorite appetizers of all time -- from anywhere. And the Blue Corn Pancake with barbecued duck and habanero chile sauce is scrumptious, spicy, and melt-in-your-mouth tender. For lunch (which is when Spicy Food Guy usually eats there) try the grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos with the lemon-habanero sauce.

Spicy Food Guy is no supporter of fancy pissy overpaid chefs who are full of themselves. Bobby Flay is not one of them and his southwestern style food is damn good. So says Spicy Food Guy.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Fabulous BBQ Sauce and the One Way to Order It

Spicy Food Guy discovered 3 A.M. Bobby Que Chipotle Sauce at Zestfest 2007.

Actually, the Bobby Que Sauce sat around for a while with the 50 or so other sauces, salsas, and spices that Spicy Food Guy shipped home from Dallas, Texas.

Once opened, the 3 A.M. Bobby Cue Chipotle Sauce quickly rose to the top of the elite few BBQ sauces Spicy Food Guy identifies as "his favorites." The 3 A.M. is not so much spicy as flavorful in a smoky and tangy kind of way. Spicy Food Guy loves the dark flecks of chipotle peppers that float around inside the bottle. For a first class culinary expeience. slather Bobby Que on leftover roasted chicken stacked between a toasted bun. Eat at the kitchen counter while reading the comics. Trust Spicy Food Guy when he says it doesn't get much better than this.

Bobby Davis, the presumed creator and owner of Bobby Que, has won himself a couple of awards. The 3 A.M. Chipotle won 3rd place in the American Style BBQ Sauce division of the Scovie Awards. The 4 A.M. Cipotle Sauce, which can't be found even on the BobbyQueProducts website order form, placed 2nd in the Chipotle BBQ Sauce Division.

As far as Spicy Food Guy has been able to determine, printing out the order form on-line and mailing a check to Mr. Davis is the only way to acquire a few bottles of Bobby Que. And the 4 A.M may not be available at all. This is a shame. Write to Mr. Davis at and encourage him to widen his distribution.

Years from now Bobby Que will readily be found on the shelves at Wal-Mart. Prescient is Spicy Food Guy.
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