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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Flatulence and Sushi in New Jersey

OK, so Spicy Food Guy, for reasons best left unknown to the American public, traveled from New York City to northern New Jersey late last week to wrap up some unfinished business.

For lodging, SFG elected to stay at a nondescript Marriott.  And to get his daily workout in, Spicy Food Guy elected to work out in the Marriott fitness center.

That's when the trouble began.

First, SFG is obligated to point out that the Marriott fitness center is not a fitness center, per se.  Rather, it is a converted hotel room or suite that can comfortably hold about six people.  And that's about how many were there that fateful day last week.

Early in the morning, SFG decided to do some ab crunches.  Bad idea.  Halfway into the set, SFG experienced some, how should we say this?  Flatulence.

Or rather, for Spicy Food Guy it was more like:


If you get SFG's drift. 

Everyone froze for like three seconds.  What to do?  There really is no appropriate response in this situation, either for the flatulence producer or the startled innocent bystanders who are deciding whether to flee or fight through it, so to speak.

Spicy Food Guy, however, was in the midst of silent prayer:

"Please Lord," implored SFG, "let this be the light-misty-morning aroma.  Please don't be the rare and dreaded rotting-dead-mammal cloud of poison."

Of course it was the dead mammals.

In business parlance, there was no upside here for SFG.  Time to crawl away and die of mortal embarrassment.  But Spicy Food Guy did not die of mortal embarrassment.  Instead, he decided to go out for sushi with some colleagues.

(Pause here.  SFG recognizes the inherent awkwardness in the above transition from gym flatulence to sushi, but the gym thing was funny, and Spicy Food Guy needed to weave it in the story somehow.)

Now to establish context, Spicy Food Guy is a reasonably seasoned sushi eater.  SFG has eaten a lot of good sushi in a lot of places, east coast to west coast.  So let it be known here that SFG found the Sushi Lounge in Morristown NJ to be among the finest sushi dinners he has ever had anywhere.

SFG knows your response.  It weirds him out, too.

Let's say you are a fan of sushi.  Let's say you are a fan of Chilean Sea Bass.  The Sushi Lounge has combined the best of both into the Chilean Sea Bass Roll, marinated in a yuzu and soy glaze and as fabulous a sushi roll that SFG has ever put into his mouth.  There is also a Tempura Sea Bass Roll.  The flaky tenderness of the sea bass combines with the crunch of the tempura so that the whole roll is a culinary explosion of texture and taste.

SFG and his colleagues also enjoyed the Lobster Crunch Roll, which combines lobster, crab, wasabi, toasted almonds, and endamame.  Who thought of this?  They should win an award.  Several awards.

And what of the Baja Roll?  Soft shell crab and shrimp tempura, guacamole, roasted red peppers and served with a mustard dressing.  Does SFG really need to explain how delicious this was?

So pleasantly surprised, Spicy Food Guy filled his belly with some of the most interesting and tasty sushi rolls he has ever had.  And the atmosphere of the Sushi Lounge is both light yet intimate, so it has a quirkiness that lends itself to good company and conversation.

Go to the Sushi Lounge.  Stay at the Marriott.

Spicy Food Guy will see you in the gym.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tasty BBQ in Times Square

As usual, for reasons best left unknown to the American public, Spicy Food Guy found himself on the road again last week.  Destination for this trip?  Times Square, baby!

Spicy Food Guy is a huge fan of Times Square, largely because it allows him to participate in radically disparate activities in a very confined geographic area.

Typical evening outing for SFG and his buddies in Times Square:
  • Go to an Irish Pub for a quick 'lube and oil change, if you get SFG's drift.
  • Amble over to ESPN Zone to watch multiple sports games on multiple huge screens.  Sip on a beer and munch on some wings while yelling random animated coaching tips for said sports teams on said screens.
  • Stop by the M&M Store (of course there's one!) and buy a gift for the family.
  • Go back to Irish Pub.
  • Go to a random diner (open 24 hours) and eat eggs, bacon, pancakes, toast.
  • Go to hotel and sleep.
A hundred bucks says there is no other place in the world where SFG can do all that within 2 city blocks.  You gotta love the Big Apple.

But Spicy Food Guy digresses.

On this particular trip, SFG was in the mood for some good old fashioned BBQ and Southern Comfort foods, so off he went to Virgil's BBQ on the corner of 44th and Broadway.  Spicy Food Guy was arriving at Virgil's after an hour or two at ESPN Zone, so he was ready to chow down.

And chow down SFG did.  SFG ordered two meats, memphis ribs and a texas sausage link.  The ribs had a fabulous smoke ring and a really nice dry rub crust on the outside.  The outside char was offset by the tender and delicious pink meat on the inside.  The sausage link had garlic and chile pepper spices and was a juicy mix of pork meat and fat.  And the condiments!  Three or four different bbq sauces, several hot sauces, mustard.

To make sure SFG had some daily servings of "vegetables", he ordered baked beans (with big chunks of maplewood bacon) and cheese grits.  The cheese grits were creamy, not lumpy, and served steaming hot.  

As an indication of how much he enjoyed the meal, SFG texted the Boy (SFG's son) with the following message (true story):


Elegant prose.  Brought to you by Spicy Food Guy.  And next time you make it to the Big Apple, get to Virgil's.  Go hungry.  Stay late.

Peace out.
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