Qdoba Craft Two

Qdoba Mexican Grill Marches Into The Fair Lawn Promenade

Qdoba LogoI know I might catch some flak for writing this review because it is on a chain restaurant, but as the Yolo generation says, Haters Gonna Hate! The truth of the matter is that I believe that there is a time and a place for chain restaurants, and as long as they are serving food that doesn’t look and taste like it fell out of an animal’s hind quarters, I am willing to pay them a visit, especially when one moves in down the street from my current homestead.

When the luxurious Fair Lawn Promenade was erected, not only did this new construction provide high end apartments located in the wonderful town of Fair Lawn, it also brought with it several dining establishments. If you follow my blog you probably noticed that I have already visited and reviewed the Habit Burger Grill which is located in the Promenade, and now I have decided to review Qdoba, in the same plaza. For all of you that are not familiar with Fair Lawn the actual address that can be placed into the googles is 23-31 Route 208, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410.

To clarify my aforementioned comment, I do sincerely believe that there is a time and a place for chain restaurants as they provide casual dining at an inexpensive price point in a quick and efficient manner. I am not talking about the McDonalds and Burger Kings of the food world, I only eat there when I have had a little bit too much to drink, and I assure you, I regret it more than most people regret their one night stands. I am speaking of franchises that still care about the quality of food they are providing to their customers, and I feel that Qdoba is truly one of those establishments.

First and foremost, what drew me into the Promenade to experience all that Qdoba had to offer actually had nothing to do with their food. If you are a Bergen County resident like me, you know that avoiding Route 4 and Route 17 is more important than eating, sleeping, and on Saturday you can add breathing to that list too. So the addition of a causal dining Mexican Grill like Qdoba moving into what is basically my backyard, thus allowing me circumventing the need to travel on those above-mentioned horrendous parking lots that Bergen County calls highways, was a gift from the Traffic Overlord ConeZilla!

Welcome To Qdoba!

Welcome To Qdoba!

Since my commute was five minutes, and I was only cut off once on my way to Qdoba, when I entered the restaurant with Kat, my foodie partner for the evening, I was much calmer than I have ever been at those Burrito shops located in the 7th ring of traffic hell known as Paramus. To add to my elation, as soon as I walked into the building, I noticed a sign that simply read, “Extras Aren’t Extra!”   Could this be true? Is this a Dream, I thought to myself. They can’t just give stuff away for free, right? Or could they?

Qdoba, Extras Aren't Extra!

If it is free, it is for me, I’ll take three!

Since Kat and I are experienced restaurant reviewers at this point, we knew to peruse the online menu prior to our arrival so we were prepared to order the perfect meal. Qdoba is set up like most of the Casual Dining Mexican Grills that are sprinkled throughout our fair land, so the actual procedure of ordering was simple. When you enter, you walk into the queue and wait for an employee to assist you in constructing your epic meal.

This is my favorite part of the experience people; you literally get to build a custom Burrito, Taco, Quesadilla, Burrito Bowl, or Taco Salad that is chock full of everything that makes you happy. I know this method of serving customers has been around for quite some time now, but every damn time I venture to an establishment that uses this system, I can’t help but smile like an infant that has just farted!

As you can see from the menu, Qdoba offers quite a few entree options that can be fully customized, but I decided to go big and order the Craft 2 which is two perfectly sized portions of Qdoba’s most popular dishes. My two choices were the Mexican Gumbo with chicken and a steak taco and a pulled pork taco, one hard and one soft. (TWSS) Kat on the other hand was trying to maintain her girlish figure and opted for the health conscious burrito bowl with shredded beef. Since we both love guacamole and Queso, we made the decision to both order chips with a side of each. We rounded out our order with two medium sodas and called it day.

Our creations were assembled by a very helpful and cheerful employee that explained each step in the process making sure we did not miss any of the delicious ingredients we could add to our dishes. I could list all of the yumminess that can be added to your meal, but it would be about as boring as watching Seabiscuit, a movie about a freaking horse that does not even talk!

Once our concoctions were finalized, we paid, filled our soda cups from the awesome Coca-Cola Freestyle machines which dispenses 146 different flavors of soda, and sat our keisters down in a nice comfy booth ready to begin our feast.

Qdoba Chips

I love Queso more than most people love their significant others!

In hindsight, we may have ordered with our eyes and not our stomachs. The amount of chips provided with a single order would have been more than enough for Kat and I to share, and we will remember that for next time. Although some establishments provide free chips with your entree, Qdoba’s chips do seem to be better than the free ones, and the Guacamole and the Queso were much better that the competition’s offerings. The Guacamole is bursting with flavor, and the hint of garlic makes it very pleasant on the palate. The Cheese Sauce is also flavorful, but unlike most Queso, there is not an abundance of salt, so when the chips come into play, it is the perfect marriage.   We had to muster up some serious willpower to stop dipping these crunchy bits of corn into these enjoyable sauces.

Qdoba Craft Two

A Mexican Food Marriage Made in heaven!

When I was finally able to force myself to stop demolishing the giant pile of chips that was in front of me, I turned my attention to my main course. The Mexican Gumbo, which is described as a unique dish that combines tortilla soup, cilantro-lime rice, beans, salsa, and cheese, intrigued me, so I tried this first. I fell in love with this cardboard cauldron of savory goodness at the moment that spoonful hit my mouth. I made Kat try this dish immediately, and she confirmed that it was rather amazing. The slight smokiness of the tortilla soup and chicken mixed with the heat from the salsa and the calming effect of the cheese and rice combined forces to create a depth of flavor that is hard to achieve.

Qdoba Gumbo

Gumbo is not just for swamp people anymore!

The tacos were on par with the rest of the Mexican Grills that I have visited with the added bonus of the Queso Diablo sauce, which I found extremely tasty. I do recommend eating the Hard Taco relatively quickly because the juicy awesomeness that the no cost extras provide is no match for the structural integrity of the shell. In other words, eat the hard taco first or it will crumble faster than a game of Jenga being played by a T-Rex, The Incredible Hulk, and Mike Tyson.

Qdoba Burrito Bowl

YAY!!!! It is Nakey Burrito time!

Weighing in at just under 700 Calories, Kat’s Burrito bowl was not only tasty but somewhat health conscious. Is it a side salad and a fruit cup? No, but this bowl O’ burrito was also much more filling than your common diet fare and tasted delicious to boot. The fajita vegetables were the star of this dish as they appeared to be fresh cut and sauteed in house and treated with a very pleasant spice profile.

I am not going to tell you that Qdoba is the next Orale in Jersey City, but as far as Casual Dining Mexican Grills are concerned, I feel they are a strong contender for the leader of the pack. I thoroughly enjoyed the plethora of choices Qdoba offered when I was creating my perfect meal. I also have to say I was very surprised that the Extras were actually not extra. I was almost sure that when I reached the cash register the receipt tape was going to start to fly as the cashier nickled and dimed my meal way up past the regular price, but they didn’t. Furthermore, the ingredients that were served to us seemed fresh and were seasoned quite well.

Qdoba Smothered Burritos

Smothered Burritos + The Blue Collar Foodie = One Happy Tummy!

If you need another reason to visit Qdoba, they just introduced their newest permanent menu item, The Smothered Burrito! These are dubbed, “Smothers,” and include one of three sauces that each offer their own unique flavor. The Tangy Verde is the Mild version, The Bold Red Chili is a robust toasted chile sauce with a dash of sweetness, and the Smoky Chipotle Cream is the hottest variety which is said to pack quite a wallop. I just missed the release of these alluring sauce covered bombshells and can’t wait to head back over to Qdoba to taste test these bad ass burritos.

Overall, I would recommend checking Qdoba out if you have not done so yet.   If you do plan to visit this location, I suggest signing up for their rewards program to earn free swag and coupons!

Qdoba Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

The Blue Collar Foodie Is Down With DTTB! Down To The Bone BBQ

Have you ever seen the bumper sticker, “I Brake For Animals?” Well, I have decided that I need to create a bumper sticker for my car that reads, “I Travel For Food.” Most people create this imaginary 10 mile radius around their house and refuse to venture outside of it when it comes time to grab a bite to eat, but I call shenanigans on that mentality. As my now trademarked bumper sticker will eventually read, I TRAVEL FOR FOOD!

I don’t mean one town over either folks; I am talking, “pack a freaking snack, because we are going over the river and through the damn woods to munch on the best Taco, Slice of Pizza, or BBQ that the Tri-State area has to offer.” Hell, I will even travel to different states to feast on the local fare if a foodie friend of mine tells me it is worth it. This approach to eating food, drinking adult beverages, and life in general has taken me down innumerable trails and created countless memories. This zeal is also to blame for my sometimes hectic, but always adventurous life.

Now depending on your age, you may already know that as you get older, your small tight knit circle of friends begins to expand like the paint on a Spirograph. After college, some of them choose the convenient yet somewhat costly suburbs, others yearn for the excitement of the uber expensive city, and others will choose the wildly inexpensive yet slightly inconvenient rural areas of the State.

Once these decisions are made, they are not always final, but I will assure you they will cause some tension in your group. No sane human being leaves the 4 A.M. last call, no need for a car, bar on every corner, City Life to come to the suburbs to hang out. Furthermore, the Suburbanites refuse to admit that they need to enter the city to have fun because they have everything the city has offer; they don’t, but they won’t listen to reason. Lastly, the rural folks were hornswoggled by low property tax and much bigger houses which convinced them that an hour drive to their nearest friend that did not join the cult of the cow, won’t be an inconvenience but some fantastic alone time where they can clear their head; it isn’t, it sucks, and they will soon figure it out!

Luckily though, most of my friends are foodies and follow the same aforementioned principal that I do, so it is somewhat easy to “trick” them or me into hanging out after not seeing each other for quite some time. All one of us has to say is, “Dude, you have to try this (Fill in the Food Here), it will change your friggin’ life!” Works every time, and we all know it, but as Spiderman once said, “With great power comes great responsibility,” so we are careful not to abuse this power.

While at Eleventh Hour Rescue’s Puptoberfest we happened upon a table that was giving out free samples of pulled pork. As I did not want to lose my ‘Merica card, I walked up to the table and tried some of this sauce laden miracle meat. My taste buds rejoiced as I devoured the shot glass of meat and asked the supplier of this magical concoction where I could purchase some of this magical pig. It turned out that Mr. Jeff Feldstein was working the table that day, which happens to be the mastermind behind Down To The Bone, located at 1594 Rt. 10 & Sussex Turnpike in Randolph, NJ 07869. Jeff saw the delight in my eye and simply said, “If you enjoy that, you have to visit my restaurant, Down To The Bone because our food will blow you away.”

I have to admit, I was slightly skeptical about the bold statement that Mr. Felstein just tossed my way. The pulled pork that I had just consumed potentially could have secured a spot in my Top 5 in the Pulled Pork category, but Jeff seemed confident in his claim.

A few days later, Jeff’s statement haunted my foodie day dreams, shut up you are reading a food blog, you know you have them too. Soon I knew that I had to visit Down To The Bone, and see if the food that they were serving at the brick and mortar was really that much better than the pulled pork I chomped on at Puptoberfest. I put my plan into action and contacted a couple that Kat and I have not seen in a while and said, “Dude, you have to try this (Insert obscenity) BBQ Joint, it will change your friggin’ life!” Whamo-Bammo a date was set and my food shakes were finally at ease.

Welcome to Down To The Bone!

Welcome to Down To The Bone!

When we pulled up to Down To The Bone, we were slightly confused because this particular restaurant is attached to The Clubhouse Golf Center. Do not let this peculiarity scare you away though, in fact we found it to be a bonus, and vowed to return when the sun was out and work up an appetite with a rousing game of mini golf.

This is where the magic happens and that right there is the magician.

This is where the magic happens and that right there is the magician.

When you enter Down To The Bone, the fantastic aroma of smoked meats is wafting through the air and instantly causes you to salivate. When we were seated, we were offered our menus as well as any glasses that we would need for the adult beverages that we brought with us. This establishment is a “bring your own bottle” restaurant, and I highly recommend that you bring beer; because, well beer goes with BBQ like bacon goes with everything.

Alpha Dog

I said a hip hops, Hippie to the hippie, the hip, hip a hops, and you don’t stop, a rock it!

As the frothy head of this bold IPA slowly dissipated, we perused our menus to decide what magical meats would grace our plates this evening. I should probably preface this review by saying that I am not a rookie when it comes to BBQ by any means. I have traveled quite extensively and feasted on a plethora of slow cooked meats, and if there is any specific genre of food that I would consider myself an expert of, it would be the glorious gastronomic classification of Barbecue.

A Divine Plate Of Swine!

A Divine Plate Of Swine!

It did not take long for me to come to a decision, which is rare, but I tend to follow the same basic rules the first time I dine at a BBQ joint. Firstly, I find the largest combination of meats that I can order; in this case it was a Three Meat Combo, then I order the three things that every BBQ place worth the wood it is burning should be able to make. Ribs, Brisket, and Pulled Pork. In my opinion, any spot that can’t make these three staples of the BBQ world shouldn’t be allowed to sully the name of BBQ!

This was more like corn cake than traditional corn bread which I found surprisingly tasty!

This was more like corn cake than traditional corn bread which I found surprisingly tasty!

As for side dishes, I also have a few select items that I use to judge a BBQ joints worth. These sides should be, and most likely are, on every BBQ menu from here to Texas and back, and I want to try every last one of them. My go-to sides are none other than, Baked Beans, Collard Greens, and Corn Bread. The rest of our contingent followed my lead and ordered a combination platter as well. My BBQ brother from another mother went with the three meat combo; whereas our daintier, and slightly less gluttonous, wives opted for the two meat combination.

There is something delightfully Southern about a bowl full of greens.

There is something delightfully Southern about a bowl full of greens.

We ordered our meal from the owner/waiter/host Jeff Feldstein and after he relayed our order to the kitchen he came to our table to officially welcome us to his restaurant. I want to stress that he had no idea that I was there to review his establishment; he merely wanted to talk to his customers. His passion for not only the food that he serves, but the charitable events that he participates in, was immediately apparent. He spoke to us about the history of his restaurant, his homemade sauce, which he allowed us to try (spoiler alert, it was awesome), and invited us to come back on November 2, 2014 for The Wing Challenge that will benefit local charities.

If there was such a thing  Brisket Ball, this Brisket would be the Lebron James of that sport!

If there was such a thing as Brisket Ball, this Brisket would be its Lebron James!

When are food arrived at our tables, I, of course, took the photos that you have been drooling over for about four paragraphs. That drool is not misplaced my friends. As I stated earlier, I am no BBQ Virgin, I am like the Paris Hilton of BBQ, if you get me, so I don’t just throw compliments around all willy-nilly when it comes to smoked yumminess. With that said, the brisket that Down To The Bone placed in front of me is hands down the best friggin’ brisket that has ever melted in my mouth and traveled into my belly.

Eating this chicken can cure any fowl mood.  See what I did there?

Eating this chicken can cure any fowl mood. See what I did there?

Don’t get it twisted, everything was spectacular, even Kat’s chicken which is not always my favorite dish at barbecue places, but holy hell, the brisket was good! I mean, I still have dreams about it good. The chicken was extremely flavorful with a perfectly crispy skin and the meat wasn’t the slightest bit dry. Dry meat is the scourge of BBQ, and unfortunately Chicken tends to fall into this trap all too often when cooked using the traditional barbecue approach. Furthermore, Kat had the brilliant idea of dipping her chicken into Down To The Bone’s Homemade Buffalo Sauce which only enhanced the already tasty chicken’s flavor.

There ain't nothing wrong with a bowl of swine!

There ain’t nothing wrong with a bowl of swine!

I will once again mention that Down To The Bone’s pulled pork potentially could be in my top five pulled pork dishes of all time, but that would necessitate a blind taste test, an excel spreadsheet, and ain’t nobody got time for dat, so let’s just say it was damn good! The tender and succulent meat was left rather chunky which made for an excellence texture. The sauce that these tidbits of divine swine were tossed in was simply heavenly; a perfect melody of tangy and sweet leaving me wanting more after each and every one of my bites.

BACON!!!!!!!!!!

BACON!!!!!!!!!!

Not only were the main dishes tender, juicy, and downright delicious, the sides did not disappoint either. The beans were chock full of delightful bacon nuggets as you can see above. The bacon was sharing this vessel with expertly prepared beans, and they both were swimming in a slightly sharp sauce that made B&M Baked Beans taste like someone forget to place the ampersand in between those two letters. (For those of you that are slightly slow, that was a poop joke.)

Furthermore, the Mac and Cheese that Kat ordered had tremendous depth of flavor and was the perfect texture, not too gooey but not too firm. It tasted as if fifty different types of astonishing cheeses from all over the world attended a love-in, invited some noodles, and this was the epic offspring. I probably stole too much of this from Kat, but she loves me and luckily did not stab me with her fork.

What they say is true, once you eat this mac, you will never go back!

What they say is true, once you eat this mac, you will never go back!

We all literally demolished our plates, leaving nothing but a graveyard of rib bones, cornbread crumbs, and empty plates with finger smeared sauce lines. After our meal was complete, Jeff once again visited our table, and we pelted him our praises. It appeared that this was not the first time Jeff was told that his food was absolutely amazing because he took the approval in stride. When we were done complimenting his fare, he made mention of the damage Kevin and I had done to our Three Meat Platters and informed us of The Epic Down To The Bone eating challenges. If you win said challenge, you win a Down To The Bone T-shirt and a place on the now empty Hall Of Fame!

Now that is a sandwich!

Now that is a sandwich!

I understand that food in general is all about personal preference. To promise that Down To The Bone makes the best BBQ that you have had, or will ever have, is a foolish thing to guarantee. I will not make that hubristic mistake, however, I will state that it is now MY GO-TO BBQ. I feel that this endorsement should be at least enough to make you visit this relatively new restaurant. If you are a regular reader of The Blue Collar Foodie, you know that I have reviewed several BBQ joints that are much closer in proximity to me than Down To The Bone and loved each one of them for their own reasons, but I will now travel close to 45 minutes to sit my butt at Jeff’s tables and devour whatever he places in front me. I TRAVEL FOR FOOD!

 

Down To the Bone on Urbanspoon

The Shepherd & The Knucklehead Pub & Steakhouse Serves This Foodie Up A Slice Of Nostalgia Pie

If you are like most people, you probably enjoy nostalgia. It allows us to reminisce about times that we hold dear and memories that make us smile. Even though when you were living those moments you were inevitably thinking back to an even simpler time, ruminating about the past is always an amusing endeavor. This feeling of joy and serenity when recalling past occurrences is what makes Throw Back Thursday so much fun on Facebook. Well, that and the fact that your friend’s Mom constantly posts pictures of him at the age of 7, dressed up like Jem! #TrulyTrulyOutrageous!

A large majority of people tend to embellish and exaggerate stories from their past, even when discussing them with friends that were there as well. As the memory gets older the tale gets bigger and better, I call this phenomenon, Legend…wait for it…Darism. Think of a game of telephone, but everyone is in on it, slightly altering the story each time it is told, to make their past lives seem somewhat more epic.

Much like that abstract memory of the dude that ate his own dingleberry in college for a buck 25 and a loosie evokes the highest of high fives amongst friends, there are certain establishments from your past that will always arouse emotions of happiness. Unfortunately, these emotions are usually misguided by the aforementioned illness. That sandwich place with the best sandwich in the world when you were 18 was only good because it was two pounds of food for 3 bucks, and you were stoned; the band that you swore was going to be the next Beatles was called Sum 41, and that sentence sounds just as dumb now as it did back then; and the beer you drank in college was horse piss, and I don’t care if it won a blue ribbon in1893, it still tastes like the dingleberry our friend ate!

Rarely, however, you get the chance to return to an old haunt that exceeds your expectations of awesomeness, and this is what I experienced a few days ago. I was feeling nostalgic, so I suggested to Kat that we go visit our old watering hole that got us through college one beer at a time, The Shepherd & The Knucklehead Pub & Steakhouse, located at 529 Belmont Avenue, Haledon, NJ 07508. Kat must have been feeling sentimental too because she instantly agreed, and we were on our way.

Welcome to the Shep!

Welcome to the Shep!

I am well aware that The Shepherd & The Knucklehead should have been posted on this blog a long time ago, since they have been making waves in the local craft beer market for a while now. With 90 microbrew taps, a menu that would make any foodie squee, and an atmosphere perfect for a laid back beer snob like myself, I have somewhat failed my audience and this establishment by taking this long to visit what was once my go to bar. My explanation for this monumental gaffe is quite simple; I was petrified I would not like it. I was nervous that the bar that existed in my head that was connected to so many wonderful memories was going to be tarnished by what the bar had become.

To make a long story short, I am an asshole. The Shepherd & The Knucklehead is not only as good as I remember, but it is even better. Their beer selection is second to none in this area, if not in this state. Did you read the sentence above? That was not a typo, 90 Mircrobrew taps that are constantly changing as they kick. The beer menu for The Shepherd & The Knucklehead is almost as thick as the menu for the Cheesecake Factory! Furthermore, the wait staff and the bar tenders actually know what they are talking about when it comes to craft beer, so if you can’t decide exactly what to drink, they will talk you down off the ledge and make sure you choose the right beer.

The Shepherd & The Knucklehead Beer Taps

…And this ain’t even all of them people!

It took us some time, and some serious deliberation, but eventually Kat and I were able to choose our first beer. While we awaited its thirst quenching arrival we perused the food menu. The Knucklehead’s kitchen offers a variety of food options for the different social situations that could occur at a bar and/or a restaurant.   There are quite a few appetizers that are perfect for sharing amongst the table if you and your friends get a little noshy during your stint at the bar, such as the Knuckle-head sized Wings, The Shep’s Pork Poutine, or the Beer Mussels. If you are a bit hungrier, are a germophobe, or just a selfish twit, they have a myriad of soups, salads, wraps, burgers, and sandwiches, such as a Half-Pound Angus Burger, BBQ Pork Sliders, a Philly Cheeseburger Wrap, and even a Vegetable Curry Wrap for you veg-heads.

However, if like me, you were on a date of sorts and wanted to dine on something a little more refined, have no fear the Shepherd has you covered. After some serious hemming and hawing, I decided to order the Shep’s Paella which was described as Shrimp, Mussels, and Chorizo served over saffron rice; whereas Kat did not think twice about ordering the 12 oz. NY Strip topped with Bourbon-glazed onions paired with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli Rabe.

With our orders placed and our beers at the table, we were free to reminisce about the small hallway of a bar that the Shepherd and The Knucklehead used to be. Back in the day when we would open and close this small local tavern they had 20 taps and no food. Yet we kept coming back. Why you ask? The atmosphere was amazing. There were board games you could play, books that adorned the walls begging you to read them, a dart board, craft beer, and some of the nicest drunk people you would ever meet. It was a Hippie bar through and through, all the way down to the cardboard sign that hung on the wall that read, “If you yell or anything no coming for 2 months.”

NO YELLING

By the way this sign can still be found on the Shep’s website, which leads me to believe that they agree with the wise words of H2O, Don’t Forget Your Roots!

Funny thing about The “New” Shepherd and The Knucklehead was it felt the same, just larger and more spacious. There were still board games, books, craft beer, and great people, but now there was food and room to roam like the free range hippies we always wanted to be.

While Kat and I continued to go story for story about The Shepherd and our college years like prized fighters, we could not help but bask in the wonderful feeling of being home. You know the feeling I am referring to. That sensation you get after traveling for an extended period of time, when you walk through your door and are greeted by your animals and splash into your own bed. The calming and friendly atmosphere that we fell in love with at The Shepherd & The Knucklehead all those years ago, surprisingly is still alive and well. I was ecstatic to see that even though the walls have been expanded, The Shepherd still feels cozy.

Meanwhile, as Kat and I were bar dreaming, the kitchen was apparently working fervently to prepare our meals because in no time our meals were being placed in front of us. As the food was being placed down, the delightful aroma of our entrees sent food chills down my spine, which elicit similar symptoms to the douche chills you get from seeing Bryce Harper, but are much more enjoyable.  I almost could not wait to dig into my meal, but alas, I have to make sure to get the perfect food porn shots, and of course another beer had to be ordered. While I was snapping photos our waitress was kind enough to help us pair our dinner beers perfectly with our meals.

Knucklehead's Steak

Look at that sear!

After the obligatory photographs were taken, we slowly but surely devoured our dinners. I, of course, got to taste a portion of Kat’s entree because she is the best foodie wife ever! Not only was her steak expertly seasoned but check out the preparation. This masterpiece had the perfect cross pattern sear which gave the outside of the steak an amazing char broiled taste, while the inside… well see for yourself. I assure you it tasted just as good as it looks in this photo; it was juicy and absolutely delicious.

The Shepherd & The Knucklehead Pub & Steakhouse Steak

I don’t care if foodies don’t like this word to describe food, this steak was f-ing moist!

I also was afforded the opportunity to try the side dishes that Kat ordered. The Broccoli Rabe was not immensely bitter but still had the tried and true minor bitter bite that a fan of the side dish looks for. Furthermore, the texture and seasoning of these veggies was spot on, and I am convinced the Chef must have had a Nonna that taught them to respect the Rabe. I will confess that I am a sucker for sweet potatoes. So, I may be a little biased when I say that I thoroughly enjoyed the Shep’s mashed sweets but Kat seemed to like them too considering her plate was clean by the end of the night.

Shepard And The Knucklehead Paella

Paella may be hard to spell, but this dish was easy to eat.

After taste testing Kat’s wonderful meal, I was nervous that I was going to have food envy. That is until I took the first bite of my Paella. Holy freaking flavor country Batman! The saffron rice was tender and extremely tasty thanks to the world’s most expensive spice, proper cooking, and the deliciously spicy chunks of magnificent chorizo that were floating around in this dish like savory depth charges. Furthermore, the mussels were some of the best mussels I have eaten in quite some time, and I have had some pretty serious muscles, my friends. Not only were they flavorsome, but the consistency was perfect, not a hint of rubber to be found. The entire dish was a fantastic marriage of flavor, texture, and aroma, so much so I forgot Kat’s dish even existed. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, her steak was freaking awesome!

I am pleased to say that my preliminary trepidation was completely unsubstantiated, and The Shepherd & The Knucklehead Pub & Steakhouse remains a force to be reckoned with in the Craft Beer Nerd Realm. Furthermore, they have now broken into the foodie world as well. If you are looking for a serious Craft Beer spot with a menu to match, I highly recommend you come visit The Shep. The nicest thing about going there for dinner is when you are done eating; you can retire to the bar and have a nice nightcap without even stepping outside. Considering we live in the good ol’ Garden State, I feel obligated to quote Bon Jovi here, Who Says You Can’t Go Home!

 

 

Shepherd & the Knucklehead on Urbanspoon

Holy Hell, Habit Burger, May Be Habit Forming

I am what some people might label a food snob. Although, we prefer to be called Foodies, Epicureans, and Gastronauts, I have accepted that there are individuals that see my chosen perspective on food to be mildly pretentious. To be honest, I am sure those D-bags in Fedoras, fashion glasses, and tight jeans would rather not be called hipsters, but if the ironically worn croc fits…

As with any personality quirk that some people perceive to be annoying, once you accept it and embrace it as part of how you are, it seems to grow exponentially; hence the unequivocally maddening progression of the selfie.

My growing love affair with the foodie realm has an unfortunate price though, and that price is my increasing abhorrence for the gastronomically challenged grub that is served at almost every chain restaurant in the good ol’ U.S. of A. I know what you are thinking, “Mr. Blue Collar Foodie that does not seem like a problem at all.” It may not seem like an issue at first glance, but there are two reasons being on this epicurean soap box which is teetering on the fence of smugness is not the best place to be.

The first issue is most of your friends enjoy restaurants such as The Olive Garden, T.G.I.Fridays, Chili’s, and all the other flair wearing, slop slinging, chains that litter the highways, and therefore you tend to alienate yourself from the group by shunning these establishments. Secondly, no one likes a hypocrite, and I don’t care how much of a foodie you claim to be on your website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page, every single one of us have a weakness. It may be a Big Mac, a Whopper, a Crunchwrap Supreme, or a 7-11 Taquito, but every now and again that craving hits and until it is satisfied, that Duck Confit Cannoli tastes bland and ordinary.

My edible Achilles Heel comes in the form of an infamous fast food hamburger so gastronomically filthy that by merely writing this sentence I could be thrown out of the League of Extraordinary Eaters for life. (That club does not exist, but it does now! Hit me up to Join!)

To paraphrase A Clockwork Orange , “And the thing that always flashes into my gulliver is that I’d like to have one, right down there on the floor, the old In-N-Out, real savage.” That is right; my foodie transgression is none other than an Animal Style Double-Double from In-N-Out Burger. Unfortunately, not only is In-N-Out a chain restaurant and dining there could get me black balled from every farm-to-table this side of Pennsylvania, the closest In-N-Out is in freaking Texas! So even if I decided to give in when the hankering hits, I am shit out of luck, and my only recourse is to visit one of the many east coast clones that fail to compare to MY PRECIOUS!!!  That is until NOW!

Welcome to Habit Burger

Welcome to Habit Burger

The Habit Burger Grill, another California based burger chain, just fell from the heavens and landed smack dab in my hometown! The address for this new burger joint is 3101 Promenade Blvd. in Fair Lawn, NJ 07410. When it first arrived, I have to admit it; I believed it to be just another trend following fast food chain serving sub-par, salty meat pucks to the masses one stale bun at a time. I honestly did not give them a second thought.   That is until the buzz began. Slowly but surely like the well-deserved hatred for Ray Rice that swept over America, a phrase was being uttered in Bergen County. A phrase that once bounced off my ear drums, made this uninformed Habit Hater enter the newly constructed burger spot and literally eat my words.

What was the phrase you ask? It was very simple but insanely incendiary, “Habit may very well be better than In-N-Out.” This sentence echoed in my head, rattled around like a bouncy ball in an elevator before snuggly resting in my frontal lobe. I pass by The Habit Burger Grill twice each day, and every time I drove past this utterance reverberated once again. Until one night I made the executive decision that Kat and I would visit The Habit for dinner.

Eventhough quite a few people with appetites that I trust were talking up Habit, I still had my reservations. In my eyes, comparing a burger to my Double-Double is like comparing a common man to Jesus Christ, or a comedian to Robin Williams, you don’t do these things lightly. However, as Kat and I entered The Habit Burger Grill, the wafting smell began to seduce us. It did not smell of grease and fat. There was actually a scent of grilling meat that permeated the air. Furthermore, the set up of the restaurant had a familiar Californian feel, with an open kitchen and simplistic yet diverse menu hovering above the cashiers.

I felt it was somewhat busy for a Monday night, but that will happen when a new restaurant comes to town. Even though the line was decently long, the staff handeled it with ease and kept us moving at a brisk pace. When it was our turn to order, Kat and I decided to try what The Habit Burger Grill was most famous for, their Char Burgers. Our thought was basically if we like their original creation then we will have an excuse to come back and try their other offerings such as the BBQ Bacon Char Burger, Teriyaki Char Burger, Veggie Burger, or Fresh Albacore Tuna Sandwhich.

The fixins'

The fixins’

I ordered a Double Char Burger with a side of Onion Rings whereas Kat decided to go a little smaller. She ordered the single Char Burger with the Californian flair of avacado and a side of Tempura Green Beans. You heard that right, Fresh Cut Green Beans, lightly battered and flash fried at a Fast Food Burger Joint. While waiting for our food to be made fresh to order, we grabbed a table, filled up our drinks, and visted the Fixins bar. The Habit offers various hot peppers and numerous different dipping sauces that we helped ourselves to while we awaited our meals.

Double Char Burger

Double Char Burger

When our buzzer, well, buzzed, we approached the counter and gathered our food. It was the moment of truth for The Habit Burger Grill in this foodies’ eyes. I quickly snapped a bunch of photos to utilize for this post and then without hesitation grabbed my Double Char and chowed down. My friends, it was love at first bite. In my head, the act of chewing on this sandwhich played out like a cheesey romance movie, where the couple runs in slow motion towards each other for their first embrace. The Mayonnaise, pickle, and carmelized onions joined forces with the melty cheese and expertly prepared burger patty to create a burger that was equal, if not better than the crack-cocaine that is my In-N-Out Double Double.

Onion Rings

Onion Rings

After almost demolishing my entire Double Char before even trying the sides we ordered, I was able to gain control of myself and put the burger down for a moment. My first stop was the capital city of Onlandia, the Onion Rings. They were battered and fried quite well and came with a ranch dipping sauce that paired nicely. The best part of these fried wonders were the onions that were choosen to be used. I believe it was a sweet onion, it may have been a Vidalia, but whatever it was, it was chock full of yummy goodness.

Fried Green Beans

Fried Green Beans

As per usual, my lovely wife was extremely generous and allowed me to sample her Tempura Green Beans.   Not only are these a healthier option than the sterotypical fries and onion rings that usually accompany a fast food burger, they were extremely flavorful as well. Furthermore, they only got better when dipped into the the Ranch sauce that I mentioned earlier.

Once our meal was resting ever so nicely in our bellies awaiting its eventual digestion, Kat and I began to discuss how The Habit Burger Grill faired. We both enjoyed the hell out of the Burgers and appreciated the variety of sides that could be ordered to compliment it. The fixins bar is always a plus, because you can, as the Defecting Monarch Of Burgers says, Have it your way. We also respected the history behind The Habit, which started out as a small endeavor by two brothers with big dreams.

Single Char Burger

Single Char Burger

When everything was said and done, we left The Habit Burger Grill happy and full. As for the burger and how it compares to my clandestine long distance love affair with the Double-Double. I give the Char Burger the highest praise I can bestow on a fast food burger, it is different than yet equal to my beloved In-N-Out, and I assure you, there is not enough Michelin Stars in this world that will ever bypass that endorsement.   RESPECT THE BURGER INDEED!

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Na zdrowie! The Blue Collar Foodie Raises His Glass To The Royal Warsaw!

When most gourmands speak of exotic food they are usually referring to Tibetan, Ethiopian, or perhaps even Lebanese fare, but not the Blue Collar Foodie. The problem with the stereotypical foodie is that they ooze pretentiousness like a beached Chris Christie, mid-August, secreting perspiration. This is one of the sad but true realities that cause a large percentage of tremendous eateries to go unrecognized in the epicurean realm. This lack of apparent gastronomic flair causes a chain reaction which results in the general public not seeing the delightful offerings from restaurants that don’t add Truffle Butter or Kale to every dish on their menu, which is of course printed on recycled paper that has been shat out by organic compost eating worms.

I, however, pride myself on attempting to never judge a book by its cover. I stress the word “attempting” in that previous sentence because to be honest, if a restaurant looks and smells like a Frat House on a Friday Morning, one is allowed to pass a quick and fatal judgment before exiting immediately. Barring any catastrophic foodie faux pas though, I will seriously try anywhere and anything at the very least twice before I come to a conclusion on whether or not I am a fan.

This method of hardly ever saying, “no,” to the phrase, “Dude you wanna go try (fill in the blank restaurant) tonight?” has allowed me to taste, savor, and appreciate dishes that some self-proclaimed connoisseurs will never get the chance to chew on. This has been my motto since I was young, and when a friend of mine brought up a restaurant by the name, Royal Warsaw, located at 871 River Drive, in Elmwood Park, NJ, that I had not been to in a while, I of course followed my foodie decree.

The Royal Warsaw serves Polish food. I know you are not a child, and if you are, stop reading this immediately, I curse like a drunk who stubbed his toe on another drunk. Since you are not 7, I assume that as you read the name of this restaurant you immediately knew it was a Polish restaurant, but I need you to think to yourself when the last time you went to a Polish restaurant actually was. No, Stanislaw the last time you went to your Babcia’s house does not count.

For most of us, the answer to that simple question is either never, or very rarely. Polish food is not the type of fare that brings the hype like some other highly sought after cultural culinary styles. However, I must inform you that if you have never been to an authentic Polish restaurant, you are missing some serious grub.

The Royal Warsaw has ample parking which wraps around the entire building, but that is not to say the parking lot does not fill up quite quickly. Even though you may have never heard of this joint, I assure you that the rather large Polish population of towns like Elmwood Park and Garfield sure have, and they tend to convene at this establishment regularly to taste a small bite of home and perhaps even knock back a pint or three. Furthermore, the Royal Warsaw also offers an outdoor patio so during the spring and summer; one can eat al fresco and usually avoid the somewhat long waits for a table in the main dining room.

On our journey to the Warsaw, we decided to dine outside because we had a group of six and were rather famished from our Sunday activities. Once we arrived, we did not wait at all, and we were ushered into the garden area where we were seated and handed our menus.

Na Zdrowie!

Na Zdrowie!

Here, my friends, is where the fun begins. First off, the menu is extensive and has a crap load of options so the first thing you are going to want to do is order yourself a beer. Not a domestic beer either you twit, order something that sounds or looks Polish. Now, hopefully you brought some friends with you so you can spend the next few minutes trying to pronounce half the things on the menu. This part is always hysterical considering that I am under the impression that I would have to rip out my tongue in order to pronounce some of the things that appear here. Don’t believe me, here is the test, pronounce this; Przekladaniec Zakopianski. Seriously, that is a thing!

After chuckling at the horrible pronunciation attempts of you and your friends, the next step in the ordering process at the Royal Warsaw is to read their English translations of the dishes they offer, which they are generous enough to provide.

Most likely your beer has arrived by now and the waiter is asking if you are ready.   Take this opportunity to ask him any questions you may have about the menu and ask if there are any specials, you will thank me for this later, and then ask for a few more moments to decide.

Now just like our group, you will have all the knowledge you could possibly want to order the perfect item off the slightly intimidating menu at the Royal Warsaw.

We decided that since we were ever so hungry, an appetizer was in order, and went with the Polish Style Plate which consists of Potato Pancakes, Russian Pierogies, and Grilled Kielbasa. With the appetizer out of the way, we one-by-one carefully selected our meals, with the occasional assistance in pronouncing the dish provided by our trustee waiter.

With a cold Warka or Zywiec in hand, my friends and I told stories of the weekend as if it was a battle, and we were the lone survivors. As we were joking and laughing about the hectic recent past, the kitchen staff was working feverishly to create our Polish Style Plate which zoomed out of the Kitchen at a speed that the Enterprise would be jealous of. Yes, that was a Star Trek joke! You got a problem with that?

Polish Style Plate

Polish Style Plate

Behold in all of its glory the Polish Style Plate, well one-fifth of its glory because the damn dirty apes that I was feasting with could not wait for me to take a picture before they started to dismantle this dish with their filthy paws. I highly recommend this appetizer for a group because it is the perfect portion size to tantalize your appetite when shared, without filling you up before your entrée even arrives. Not to mention the fact that each item on this dish tasted better than the next. I mean, how could you possibly go wrong with eating Pierogies and Kielbasa at a Polish Restaurant? The answer is you can’t, and that is why you need to order this plate of freaking yummy!

After demolishing the Polish Plate, we set our sight on the entrees that our waiter assured us would be out momentarily, after he of course filled our mugs with more tasty beer. Shortly after our waiter left, he returned with our meals in hand. I reminded my table mates that I am trying to inform you wonderful people about the amazing food that The Royal Warsaw offers. I further explained to them how intricate my food porn was to these articles. They were nice enough to afford me the opportunity to take one photo of their meal before they began eating.

Plate a la Warsaw

Plate a la Warsaw

I started with my wife’s plate because, well, “Momma didn’t raise no fool,” and Kat gets pretty Hangry sometimes. That comment is not going to go over well, but hey these are the sacrifices that I make for my readers. My wife’s dish, which was lovingly named the Plate a la Warsaw and contained Stuffed Cabbage, Polish Sausage, Mixed Pierogies, and Hunter’s Stew. The star of this dish was the Hunter’s Stew which is an amalgamation of sauerkraut and mixed meats; Mmmmmmmmm mixed meats! I suggest if you order this dish using this pleasant Polish porridge as a dipping sauce of sorts for every bite you take.

Schabowy Cutlet

Schabowy Cutlet

Tara ordered the Schabowy Cutlet which basically translates to Breaded Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes and Polish Salad. The presentation and aroma of her dish was utterly magnificent, and the flavor was nothing short of fantastic. The crispy exterior gave way to the tender meaty insides while the sauce blended everything together in style. This was hands-down one of the best pork chops that I have ever tasted, and for only $13.95, the portion size was out of control.

Polish Style Grilled Keilbasa with fried sauerkraut, onions, and garlic bread

Polish Style Grilled Keilbasa with fried sauerkraut, onions, and garlic bread

Next up was Steph’s Polish Style Grilled Keilbasa with fried sauerkraut, onions, and garlic bread. We already discussed how amazing this hot link of pig meat is, but I will further state that if you enter this restaurant and don’t at least try some Warsaw Keilbasa, I may have to rethink our entire blogger to reader relationship.

The Royal Warsaw Escargot

The Royal Warsaw Escargot

Steph believes in the theory, “go big or go home,” so she paired this monster meat stick (TWSS) with an order of Escargot. I know what you are thinking, what the hell does Poland know about snails. Well smart ass, if you look at a map, you will notice that Poland is only one former war mongering super power away from the capital of terrestrial pulmonate gastropod molluscs, France. These snails were the perfect combination of buttery, garlicky, and… ummmmm… snaily… deliciousness.

Schabowy Moskvian Style

Schabowy Moskvian Style

Marco decided to rock the Schabowy Moskvian Style which was described as Breaded Bone-In Pork Cutlet served with mashed potatoes and fried sauerkraut. This picture does not do this pork chop justice because there is nothing to use as a scale, but I assure you it was impressive. Once again the crispy outer coating was the perfect companion to the tender juicy pork that it was protecting. When this flavorful chop was paired with the lightly fried sauerkraut, it was a duet that Disney would have been jealous of.

I have accepted my short comings as a food journalist and so should you! Pretty picture though right.

I have accepted my short comings as a food journalist and so should you! Pretty picture though right.

Lastly, I photographed my wonderful dish. Unfortunately, by this time I was three Warkas in, and I had only ingested a fraction of the calories I had expended playing baseball that day.  Due to the combination of sun, hunger, and inebriation I forgot to write down what the heck I ate actually was. I remember it tasting like it was sent from the heavens and shit it looks beautiful, but I have no idea what the hell it was. My fellow bloggers might chastise me for even including this dish in my post, simply stating that I could have easily rewrote the day and stole a friend’s dish as my own.   To them I say, why? The only reason I can’t remember exactly what the dish was is because it was a special, and I remember it tasting and looking amazing so I felt that it was my duty to include this dish in my review.

The purpose of this post is to remind you to open your mind when it comes down to selecting your meal destination. Sure, you look awesome posting those photos of Fried Cambodian Spiders or South East Asian Snake Wine but sometimes this leads to the classics getting over looked. The Italian restaurant that is still making its own pasta, the local seafood joint that travels near and far to procure the freshest seafood, and the local Polish restaurant that believes in the philosophy of using, ”meat from healthy breeding, fresh field vegetables, garden fruits, and fish from clean waters to produce cuisine that is honest and simply tastes good,” need your praise and business too. I highly recommend that any foodie located near Bergen County follow my advice and hit up The Royal Warsaw for a great meal and a few drinks!

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The Gastronauts + The Blue Collar Foodie = Food Porn²

Gastronauts_LOGOIf you missed my first post about the epic adventure eating club known as the Gastronauts, you may not be aware that I am a super fan of this organization. However, if you have ever visited my page, you are well aware that I love food porn almost as much as Luis Suarez likes to do his best Mike Tyson impersonation while on the pitch.

Since each and every Gastronaut event contains more food porn than a sixteen year old’s Reddit feed has actual porn, I decided that it was my duty to not only take pictures of these epicurean gatherings but share them with all of you. This post will contain the last two gastronomic happenings that I attended with this epicurean society but from this point on I will make sure to post each on separately as to not overload you with foodtography.

Back in May the Gastronauts invited its members to join them at Phayul located at 37-65 74th Street in Jackson Heights for a Tibetan feast. The menu for this event was intriguing because the descriptions were very vague, unlike the other meals that I have attended. Unsure and slightly nervous, my friend and I ascended the stairs that lead to Phayul and placed ourselves at the mercy of the Chef.

A Dinner at Phayul

Churu
Tibetan cheese soup

 Chele Khatsa

Fried beef spicy tongue

 Gyuma Ngoe Ma

Fried blood sausage with onions & green chilli

 Dropa Khatsa

Tibetan style beef tripe

Fried Momos

Tibetan Dumplings

Tibetan Spices

The first thing to hit our table was a caddy that held two vessels which contained two different, slightly scary, spice concoctions that caused some minor whispering throughout our table. All of us were curious, but we were also a little apprehensive since the predominant color of these potions were bright red, and we were under the assumptions that they were going to either kill us or destroy our taste buds for the upcoming meal. Eventually, one of us dipped our fork into the evil looking spices and tasted what turned out to be an extremely pleasant sauce with a subtle yet lingering heat that was not offensive at all.

Cheesesoup

Next up in this food orgy was the Churu, or Tibetan Cheese Soup. Steph, my fellow gourmand for the evening, and I discussed this dish in particular length during the arduous ride from New Jersey during rush hour. Both of us were somewhat uneasy about eating this dish because the internets was pretty damn useless when we tried to find out what this cheese soup was all about.   It turns out that we were concerned over nothing and not only was this soup straight up amazeballs, we now crave it like Piper Chapman yearns for affection.

Beef Tongue

After conquering our first, seconds, and thirds of the Cheese Soup, Steph and I were ready for the Chele Khatsa or the fried spicy beef tongue. This dish not only looked breathtakingly beautiful, but it tasted absolutely amazing.

Beef Tongue Close

The combination of the fresh vegetables and the fried beef tongue created a sublime texture contrast and the flavor of the dish was superb. I added a small amount of the aforementioned hot sauce and savored each and every bite.

Beef Action Shot

Relax food police, before I ate the last bite, I asked my fellow table mates. I know that when eating family style there are certain rules one must follow. Unless of course you are eating with your actual family, then to hell with the rules and grab as many pieces of yummy you can before your gigantic Uncle Morty eats all the Christmas Lo Mein.

Blood Sausage

The next dish to arrive was the Gyuma Ngoe Ma or the fried blood sausage with onions & green chilies. I am pretty sure the actual translation for this Tibetan dish is THE BEST BLOOD SAUSAGE YOU WILL EVER FUCKING EAT, EVER, but since that is not politically correct, they go with the one above.

Blood Sausage Close

I am a huge fan of blood sausage, and I must say that everything that I ever knew about blood sausage was absolutely wrong and I am an idiot for every thinking it. I was under the impression that there was always a slight metallic, iron-esque flavor to blood sausage, and this was just a minor imperfection that one who eats this delectable treat had to accept and get used to.

Blood Sausage With Pepper

This blood sausage did not taste metallic at all; it had every single wonderful quality that I crave in blood sausage and none of the flaws. It seemed like witchcraft to me at the time, and now that I think of it, it still does. Furthermore, now that I wrote this paragraph, I want some right the hell now!

Spicy Tripe

Following the blood sausage was not going to be easy for any dish, but none the less the Dropa Khatsa or Tibetan style beef tripe entered the eating arena. Since the supposed death sauce was less killy than I thought it would be, I disregarded the bright red flakes and rosy glistening hue that appeared on the plate in front of us. That my friends, I can tell you, was not the best idea. Don’t get it twisted, this dish tasted amazing, but I should have taken a much smaller first bite. The heat slowly built in my mouth and set up camp on my tongue. Being a seasoned, see what I did there, professional with spicy foods; I did not go for my water or my beer and just waited the heat out as it slowly dissipated. I then of course ate more of the tripe because I can’t resist a nice kick in the taste buds.

Veggie Momo

Just when we thought we couldn’t eat one more bite of this delightful Tibetan fare, out came the PARADE OF MOMOS! And what a parade it was!

Veggie Momo Close Up

Momos are basically Tibetan dumplings, and they come with a variety of fillings. The first one we got to eat was the vegetable Momo. These were filled with a combination of potato and diced veggies. The crispy and crunchy exterior was the perfect companion to the soft center that was bursting with flavor.

Beef Momo

Beef Momos graced our table next and, in my opinion, were the best of the Grand Momo Show! If there was a momo Oscar, these tasty bastards would win hands down, and they would not even play that music in the background during his acceptance speech to kick him off the stage.   Beef momo gets all the time he wants!

Beef Momo

Hiding in the center of these pan fried pouches of dough was a succulent and flavorful morsel of meaty goodness that I could not get enough of.

I remember a time that I was not a Gastronaut, I remember a time that I was not fortunate enough to share in the experience of eating these astonishing meals, I remember those times, and I do not like them. The Gastronauts should be commended for allowing foodies like us to eat, drink, and take a thousand pictures of food without all the normies in the world staring at us with discontent and dejection. So, join the Gastronauts and in the immortal words of the sideshow performers in the movie Freaks, become, One of us! Gooble Gobble, one of us!    

A Lebanese Dinner by Naji

Kibbeh Nayeh

Raw Goat Pate

Lamb brains and Lamb testicles

Brain Salad and Testicles Served With Hummus

Beef Tongue Fatteh

Toasted Lebanese flat breads mixed with a garlic yogurt sauce and Beef Tongue

Moughrabiyeh

Large-grain couscous, served with liver

Ashta dessert

Prepared similarly to sweetened cottage cheese, and topped with fruit and crushed pistachio.

After partaking in the awesome sauce that was the Tibetan dinner you drooled over above, I was yearning for the next Gastronaut event. I was just hoping that it would work with my hectic schedule of work, writing, and studying.   Lucky for me, and I guess in turn lucky for you, I was available on the night in question and without hesitation reserved two seats for the Lebanese Dinner at Naji located at 160 Havemeyer Street in Brooklyn, NY 11211.

I may have agreed to attend without hesitation but upon further research, like reading the entire email, I was able to find my uncertainty quite easily. I neglected to read the menu for the evening and missed the eating testicles portion of the event. I had never eaten testicles before and I was concerned about the texture, the flavor, the potentiality of liquid bursting from the center as I bit into them, and a myriad of other orb related issues.

With that said, my adventure eating partner, Steph and I embarked on our journey to Brooklyn to eat the testicles and brains of a lamb that I assure you is much less happy to be attending this dinner party than we were.

Lebanese Side Dishes

Our wonderful and exceptionally helpful waitress delivered a plate of side dishes that were to be consumed with the meal as per the instructions of the chef. Steph and I both agreed that we are always a fan of instructions when eating a cultures food that we are not familiar with, so we were happy to hear that we would be guided on when and how to eat the chef’s preparations.

The Kibbeh Nayeh

The Kibbeh Nayeh, or Lebanese Goat Tartar, is considered the national dish on Lebanon and is served at feasts and festivals throughout the year. When this dish hit the table, everyone was a little nervous about eating raw meat because we are Americans, and we all know that eating raw meat could potentially cause the outbreak of zombies thus destroying the world as we know it. Although, we decided that when in a Lebanese Restaurant in Hipster Ground zero, we should all act like a Lebanese Hipster… That does not work at all. I got it when in a… Never mind, you get the point.

Plated Goat

We ate the raw meat according to the instructions that were explained to us by the staff and guess what? No Zombies! I know, I was slightly disappointed too. To be honest though, I was way too far from my house and wife for a zombie invasion to work out well for me anyway, so I was okay with the lack of brain eating, for now anyway, according to the menu.

Goat With Beer

The instructions of how to eat The Kibbeh Nayeh were fairly simple and created a lovely hand held flatbread of tastiness. We were to spread the raw goat on a plate and top it with the most amazing garlic spread I have ever eaten and fresh mint leaves. Then you take the concoction, place it on a pita, and take a bite which is followed by a piece of either an onion or a scallion. Needless to say, this did not help our breaths at all, unless eating raw goat causes vampires instead of zombies, then the whole garlic breath thing might work out for us.

Brain Salad

Perhaps raw goat does turn us into zombies because all of us were pretty freaking excited to eat us some brains. Damn Center for Disease Control, being right all the damn time, what the hell? Although, it might have been the fact that the brains smelled absolutely incredible and did not look too shabby either that caused the mental salivation.  The aroma of this lamb lobe was hard to place at first until we tasted it. There was a distinct cinnamon or garam masala flavor that was tremendously enjoyable. The texture could have been a problem, considering brains tend to be as appetizing as lumpy cottage cheese in the mouth feel category, but the chef expertly prepared this dish as a salad with a slightly peppery salad greens that created a flawless union of taste, texture, and spice.

Lamb Testicles

The moment of truth was upon us. Apparently, what separates the men from the boys in the world of food happens to be balls, which is pretty accurate in the real world too. In this case though, these balls were going to be in my mouth instead of between my legs. Go ahead… Get it out… I realize that I just typed “balls” and “in my mouth” in the same sentence. I tried to get around it, but there was no way to avoid it. When you are done laughing out loud, I will see you in the next paragraph.Lamb Balls

I summoned all of my culinary testicular fortitude and stabbed a lamb testicle with my fork and placed it on my plate with a small amount of hummus, a pomegranate seed or five, and some greens and took the requisite photos. This time I did not mind the delay, I sort of needed it to psyche myself up for what was about to happen.

Balls on a Plate

With one swift motion, I brought a small piece of these rather large lamb testicles to my mouth and ate it. I should know by now that if the Gastronauts feed me something, it is going to taste stupid good, and these spheres were not the exception to this rule. Not only were these testicles not bad, they were freaking good! The texture was nothing like I thought it would be and resembled a somewhat undercooked meatball and much to my delight; no liquid of any kind was released from the center of these balls of yummy. I ate several more after cleaning this plate, and I would definitely order them again.

Beef Tounge

With a belly full of testicles…Dammit… Go ahead… The next course arrived at our table. I was impressed with the presentation of the beef tongue fatteh because the colors were spectacular. I mean seriously, this vibrant brew looked like it should be in an art museum, not in a bowl about to be consumed. I fought off my tablemates as long as I could to make sure I got the perfect photos before it was devoured.

Tongue Close Up

This dish’s praise was magnified because it contained one of my favorite “bizarre” meats, beef tongue. Not to mention the fact that the garlic yogurt broth it was swimming in tasted outstanding and was full of tasty goodness.

Couscous

If the fatteh was not enough to get your taste buds dancing like Elvis on The Ed Sullivan Show, the Chef also sent out a serving of Moughrabiyeh, which is large grain couscous. He decided to add a little liver to the dish to add a little Gastronaut style to the mix which only added to the already flavorful combination of the spices that were having a party in the bowl.

Ashta

For dessert, we were given Ashta, which was described as a dessert that has a sweet and aromatic flavor which is often compared to the atemoya fruit. This would have been a great description, if I knew what the hell an atemoya fruit was. The good news was that we were about to find out. I thoroughly enjoyed this dessert; I appreciated the subtle melon like taste combined with the small amount of crushed pistachios that were placed on top of this pudding like dessert.

I really cannot express to you how much fun it is to hop on board one of these culinary expeditions and eat your way into the stratosphere with the Gastronauts. There really are no words to describe the feeling of apprehension, realization, and relaxation that occur at these tables, it truly is something special.

Casa de la Trova Rocks Authentic Cuban Food In Fair Lawn, NJ

If you read my blog often, you should already know how I feel about restaurants serving their final dish. Opening an eatery requires a tremendous amount of hard work and Rocky Mountain Oysters the size of Dolly Parton’s best attributes. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that within three years of realizing their vision almost sixty percent of owners are forced to close their doors for good. If you are a foodie, this statistic should be seared into your brain like the flesh of a perfectly prepared filet mignon. This figure quite simply haunts my dreams because I realize that at any given time one or more of my favorite epicurean harbors could disappear overnight, much like Paula Deen’s career.

This depressing statistic is one of the main reasons I got into blogging in the first place. I have made it my mission to not only climb on a soapbox and promote the local restaurants that make my taste buds dance like Shakira, but to additionally place this soapbox on a rooftop called the internets and shriek louder than these goats in order to keep remarkable eateries from failing.

Welcome to Casa de la Trova

Welcome to Casa de la Trova

One such restaurant that recently moved into my neck of the woods, taking over the location of a quaint crêperie that could not gain traction in the fickle world of food that is Bergen County, is Casa de la Trova Restaurant. This charming authentic Cuban Restaurant located at 12-56 River Road, in Fair Lawn, NJ not only serves some of the tastiest Cuban Cuisine in the area, but the wait staff is warm, welcoming, and super friendly to boot. Casa de la Trova is indubitably an eatery that every gourmand in Bergen County should visit and endorse because restaurants like these are about as rare as a Soccer player without a douchetastic haircut.

Casa de la Trova, being the new girl in town, has been getting slightly busy recently, so Kat and I made a reservation, which I recommend in order to avoid a wait. Another piece of information that you should know prior to making your way to Casa de la Trova is that they are B.Y.O.B., which is always appreciated by this Blue Collar Foodie. If you are reading this on your way there, relax, I got your back. Less than a block away at 13-05 River Road in Fair Lawn is a well-stocked liquor store named B & B Liquors that offers a great selection of wines and some pretty serious craft beers. As for the wait, I would not let it scare you too much, worst case scenario you can sit outside at one of their few outdoor tables and people watch until your table is ready.

BYOB!!!

BYOB!!!

Since we were good little foodies and had a reservation, we were seated and handed our menus as soon as we entered the restaurant. Kat and I take food pretty seriously, if you hadn’t noticed, and ordering can be a painstaking and perilous process when we go out together. Choosing what to eat is not a sprint with us, it is a marathon, and in order to shave some time off this lengthy procedure we have taken to doing some light research prior to visiting a new restaurant. Thanks to the interwebs, 9 out of 10 restaurants have their menu located on their website which allows us to narrow our dinner choices down before we even enter the restaurant and barring any specials that blow us way we are usually able to make a decision in the time that it takes a normal human being to choose their food.

Even though we did our homework, we always take one more glance at the menu just to be sure we did not miss anything. I know we are crazier than the Gary Busey tripping face on peyote while huffing paint, but if we can accept it, so should you, you judgmental prick! Satisfied with our choices, we ordered the Plato al trovador as an appetizer which was described as Croquetas, Papa rellena, pollito frito, tamal cubano, chorizo gallego & Carne frita tostones y maduros. Now if you are anything like me, and by that I mean a unilingual Caucasian that has failed every language course he has ever taken, the description above meant about as much as the following sentence would mean to Paris Hilton; Capitulation propagated by undeniably bureaucratic socioeconomic processes undoubtedly precedes collegiate admittance. Lucky for us, our trusty waiter was there to not only translate for us but to also ensure us that ordering this item was a wise decision.

As for entrees, I decided to go with The Pargo al Caribe which was described as a whole Red snapper cooked in a pot with jumbo shrimp & mussels topped with homemade wine & vodka sauce, and Kat chose the Pollo al Ajo, which was described as chicken on the bone sautéed with Spanish seasoning and lime juice topped with a homemade garlic sauce. With our order on its way to the kitchen, I poured a drink for my date, and we proceeded to have polite, mature dinner conversation about anything other than food while we awaited the arrival of our appetizer… who am I kidding, we talked about all the delicious food that was about to hit our table followed by a few minutes of off-colored jokes.

Plato al Trovador

Plato al Trovador

Within minutes, our appetizer arrived, and we were not only impressed by the extremely generous portion size but also the astonishing aroma that was arising from what appeared to be a gigantic plate of fried awesomeness. With the methodical, somewhat obsessive-compulsive, precision of Dr. Sheldon Cooper , Kat and I split each portion of every item and tried them at the same time in order to compare notes. Some of the highlights for this dish were the Tamale that was expertly prepared in a corn husk and delivered the perfect combination of texture and taste. Then there was the Chorizo which was bursting with flavor and amazingly crispy. We also thoroughly enjoyed the Papa Rellena, which is a potato ball stuffed with beef, and the small fried pork nuggets that tasted even better when dipped into the garlicky sauce that was served with this wonderful dish.

Are you ready for your close-up Mr. Plato al Trovador

Are you ready for your close-up Mr. Plato al Trovador

This appetizer was absolutely brilliant. I could write a paragraph on every single succulent morsel that appeared on that plate, but then this post would be 3,000 words long and no one wants that. What I will say is that this dish could easily feed a table of four, and if you find yourself looking for an appetizer when you visit Casa de la Trova, this is the beast for you!

Pargo al Caribe Close-Up

Pargo al Caribe Close-Up

After we devoured our appetizer, our entrees were served shortly after. As my plate was delivered, I was taken aback by the beautiful presentation of the whole fish, mixed seafood, and salad greens. Upon seeing this plate, I could tell that Chef Juan Ayala takes pride in each dish he prepares, which in a world full of cookie cutter chain restaurants, is a welcomed change.

Say Hello To The Pargo al Caribe

Look at that fish!

Not only was this dish beautifully prepared and plated, it was cooked to perfection. The flavor was spot on, and the small slots that were cut into the snapper made it tremendously easy to eat. Plus, the addition of the shrimp and mussels just added to the personality of this dish, not to mention the value.

Casa de la Trova Pollo al Ajo

Pollo al Ajo

 

I was too busy paying attention to my plate to realize that Kat’s dish nearly looked and smelled as good as mine. If you ever meet my wonderful wife, you should thank her, not only does she edit my pieces before I throw them into cyberspace, but she also lets me try every dish she gets in order to properly review the eateries we frequent. I am pretty freaking happy that this rule exists because not only was the chicken damn near fall off the bone tender, the sauce was good enough to make a politician tell the truth.

Casa de la Trova Salad And Rice

Casa de la Trova Salad And Rice

Each of our entrees came with a rice of our choice and a small side of salad greens. The rice by itself was good, but considering we were in a Cuban Restaurant I expected as much. However, Kat had the excellent idea to pour her chicken sauce on the rice, and it stepped the side dish to a whole new level.

If it was not obvious, or you just skipped reading the words of this article and looked at the food porn, Kat and I enjoyed our visit to Casa de la Trova Restaurant. The employees were simply wonderful from the smile we received when we entered the door to the helpful assistance we received when we needed it throughout our meal. In addition to the staff, every bit of food that we tried at this establishment tasted as good as it looked, and it looked as good as it tasted.

So grab a few comrades, sorry I could not go an entire article about a Cuban restaurant without any communist jokes, and a couple of cold ones and find your way to Casa de la Trova. The more we as a foodie community support the local eclectic restaurants that move into our neighborhood, the more unbelievable restaurants will call the 201 their home!

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The Blue Collar Foodie Visits Chatni

I occasionally get asked why I am so passionate about the food that I eat. This question usually follows a zealous discussion or argument if you ask my wife, about all things foodie. I explain to my inquisitors that my passion may originate from the food that I ingest, but it is actually the unique cultural experience of the meal that fuels my creativity and produces my hunger to explore cuisine on a global scale. This explanation usually provokes some chuckling and some skeptical glaring from my comrades and cohorts. You see, to some of them, eating is a necessity of life as opposed to a necessity of living.

Not every meal I eat is a lavish celebration of artistic culinary ethos; I don’t have that kind of scratch. However, because I am lacking the resources to be a true elite gastronomic adventurer, I attempt to locate restaurants that are situated in close proximity to where I rest my rump that can take me on an epicurean exploration, one forkful of awesomeness at a time. These extraordinary eateries can be somewhat hard to find, but are well worth the quest if you can’t afford to visit Bangkok for Pad Thai, Hanoi for Pho, Moscow for Borscht, or Mumbai for Curry.

So, instead of boarding my private jet, I hopped into my 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and drove down Rt. 46 West taking in all the breathtaking scenery that Clifton, New Jersey has to offer. Clifton, however was not my destination, my goal was a town that is rapidly becoming a foodie haven in Northern New Jersey, Montclair. Brimming with restaurants, cafés, gastropubs, and hookah bars. If I was going to find an eatery that was going to teleport me to distant land using the power of gastronomy, this was definitely the town.

Kat and I turned down Bloomfield Ave. and began our search for the rare parking spot on the main drag. Have no fear, there are plenty of spots off the strip at the ample municipal parking lots that litter Montclair, but when you get that perfect spot downtown, in any city, you feel like you won something. As we were approaching our journey’s end, we almost gave up on locating the golden space, but like kismet, a vehicle pulled out right in front of the restaurant we were headed to and not to toot my own horn, but I parallel parked serendipity, yea we name our cars, like a boss!

 Chatni Patio

The restaurant that brought us to this Foodie Mecca is none other than Chatni, located at 381 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair, NJ. Chatni is an Indian restaurant that is not only in the heart of downtown Montclair, but also offers a large outdoor patio perfect for dining alfresco. Furthermore, to make this eatery even more alluring, Chatni is also B.Y.O.B which always makes this Blue Collar Foodie smile larger than the Cheshire Cat in the midst of mischief.

With a bomber of Weyerbacher Double Simcoe, Double IPA in hand, we entered Chatni and were welcomed by the smiling hostess that offered us the option of sitting inside the beautiful dining room or venturing outside to the spacious courtyard. Kat and I debated this decision for a little bit because the dining room area was very inviting and looked extremely comfortable.   Ultimately, we decided to eat outside because not only was it the perfect night for an outdoor meal, but also because my food photographs come out so much better when being kissed by the setting sun.

Once we were seated, our waiter brought us two pint glasses for our delicious liquid appetizer, two glasses of refreshing water, and our menus. While I twisted the cage from the cork in the bottle, Kat opened the menu and let out an exclamation that I cannot repeat on this site, we are a family site after all, aren’t we? Wait a minute; that does not sound right at all. Never mind that. She said, “Holy Shit, there are a lot of choices.” After a quick glance around our table to ensure the lack of impressionable minds, I filled our glasses and took my own gander at the menu.

I soon realized that Kat was right and her choice of language was not unprovoked. We hemmed and hawed, sipped and swallowed, and discussed and deliberated for quite some time until we had hammered out the best possible foodprint we could use to fully experience our Indian food expedition.

If you have ever eaten Indian food before, you should know that it lends itself to plate sharing or family style eating, so this is exactly what Kat and I decided to do. To inspire our appetites, we decided to order the Fresh from the Garden Salad. Once the spark of hunger was glowing within our bellies, we thought two entrees would quell our craving. I ordered the Boti Saagwala with Lamb and Kat decided upon the Chicken Curry. As with any Indian food that I partake in, I had to order some garlic Naan as well.

To add to the variety that Chatni offers, each entrée can be served at a mild, medium, or hot spice level. We chose medium because we are always somewhat intimated of hot when that adjective is used to describe non-American cuisine.

Chatni Papadum bread

Chatni Papadum bread

Shortly after we ordered, our waiter arrived at our table with a basket of Papadum bread and a lovely triplet of sauces. If you follow this blog at all you know I am a sucker for sauces, and these fine specimens were each better than the last. Kat and I sat back in our chairs, embraced the long awaited spring air, soaked in the superb atmosphere exuding from Chatni’s patio, and devoured this crispy-crunchy bread-like cracker dipped in a trio of awesome… Wait for it…Sauce!

Chatni Salad

Garden Fresh Salad

Within minutes, our salad arrived, and it was dressed to impress. More often than not, when I order a salad these days, they are over dressed and end up being a soggy mass of green gelatinous goo. Not this salad though, it was perfectly dressed and with the addition of the lemon wedge, that it was served with, it tasted phenomenal. Not only was the array of vegetables crunchy and fresh, the portion size was just right for the two of us to start our eating engines.

With our appetizers merely a recent memory, the main event was on the horizon. I wish I could transfer the feeling that I get before a feast to the aforementioned inquisitors, because then they would never ask that silly question again. The combination of anticipation, expectation, and realization that accompanies eating innovative and stimulating food for me is only second to actually traveling to the distant lands that this food originates from.

Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry

The first entrée we dove into was the Chicken Curry, described as a traditional Indian dish cooked in savory tomato and onion sauce with the blend of Indian spices. With a layer of rice on our plates, we divvied up this thick and rich concoction that smelled as if it came from the land of Brahma, Ganesh, and Vishnu. This savory and somewhat spicy dish had immense flavor without kicking you in your, you- know-whats with heat. The chicken that was swimming in this delicious vat of yummy was fork tender and full of amazing.

Chatni Garlic Naan

Chatni Garlic Naan

As I was relishing in the rays of awesomeness that were emanating from the Chicken Curry and bouncing off my taste buds, I noticed the Garlic Naan was sitting on the table looking lonely, delicious and lonely, but lonely none the less. I reached for this appetizing slightly crispy disc of doughy garlic-ness and tore a small piece off, and dipped it right into the Curry. To bastardize the late great Jerry Lee Lewis, “Goodness, gracious, great balls of hot damn!” If the Curry was not tasty enough, the addition of the Garlic Naan as a garlicky canvas put this dish over the top.

Lamb Boti Saagwala

Lamb Boti Saagwala

Next up was the Lamb Boti Saagwala, which was described as tandoori baked lamb cooked with lightly spiced spinach in a cream sauce. I did not think the Chicken Curry could be out matched, I thought perhaps we had chosen the wrong one to eat first and everything else would pale in comparison. I was wrong! This dish was equally as spectacular! The sauce was well spiced but not over powering and the lamb was so succulent and juicy that at a point I questioned if Chatni had a chef in the kitchen or a sorcerer. Once again the Garlic Naan dipped into the sauce only added to the wonderfulness of this dish.

Chatni Meal

Chatni Meal

I know in some cultures cleaning ones plate can be construed as rude, but I could not think of wasting even a morsel of this fantastic fare, so Kat and I threw caution to wind and did not even google the etiquette before virtually licking our plates clean. I don’t want you to think that the portions were small or that we were still hunger which caused us to eat every speck of food that was presented to us either, we were full and content, yet we could not bear witness to this food failing to reach its ultimate potential of being eaten.

Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun

Even though we were satisfied, we simply could not say no to dessert. We opted to try something new and ordered the Gulab Jamun, which was described as a light pastry made of dry milk served in sweet syrup.   We were unsure what to expect but if the previous courses were any indication, we knew it was going to good. We were right! Imagine a lighter, not as sweet, zeppole swimming in a delectable simple syrup.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

To those of you who have ever been questioned about your foodie infatuation, I suggest that you forego attempting to argue with your interrogator, and merely invite them out to a restaurant such as Chatni. In a world saturated with places to eat, Chatni and its small group of equally astounding restaurants truly transport you to a far off land where burgers and pizza are not the only things you can order. Hope to see you there soon!

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Five Ridiculous Memorial Day Burgers That Will Make Your Neighbor’s Grill Weep

So, you have 20 friends coming over your house on Monday, huh? Are you going to serve them the same old boring ass hamburgers that every Joe American is going to be grilling? Or are you going to be a noble fucking beast and serve your guests something so ridiculously unique that each and every one of them will not be able to fight the urge to post pictures of your magnificent concoction all over the internets? If you decided to turn your ground beef into a glorious gastronomic powerhouse instead of a forgettable hockey puck then you have come to the right place my friend! I present to you five hamburgers that are more insane than Miley Cyrus²+Brittany Spears³, and those bitches be crazy!

Bitches do in fact be crazy.

Bitches do in fact be crazy.

The Deep Fried Doritos Breaded Burger

This burger is pretty easy to make as long as you have a deep fryer, a grill, and a bag of Doritos you mind turning into tiny bits of awesomeness.  First off, grill up a burger patty and let it cool for a few minutes.  Next coat the son of a bitch with flour, dunk it into some egg, and dip it into some crushed up Doritos.  Then just drop it in a deep fryer for about 30 seconds and BOOM!  I suggest adding some bacon,lettuce, and your favorite barbecue sauce to your masterpiece before causing all your guests to fall madly in love with you.

Doritos as fucking breadcrumbs people!  Why the hell did no one think of this sooner?

Doritos as fucking breadcrumbs people! Why the hell did no one think of this sooner?

The Luther Burger

This motherfucker should be named the unhealthy burger!   Weighing in at approximately 800 to 1,500 calories per burger this beauty is not for your friends that want to fit into their itsy bitsy teeny weenie yellow polka-dot bikinis.  Another easy burger to create but it is not a one your guest will soon forget.  Simply take your average grilled burger patty, with whatever cheese tickles your fancy, and bacon of course and insert it into a grilled glazed Krispy Kreme Doughnut!  That is right, your heard me.

Holy Hot Damn!

Holy Hot Damn!

Peanut Butter Burger

I know it sounds weird but so does drinking the liquid that comes out of an animals tit, but you drink milk all the time, so Man up, women up, child up, dog up, do what ever you have to in order to try this wonderful mix of all things yummy!  To build this bitch, slather some peanut butter on top of the burger about a minute or so before you take it off the grill so the peanut butter melts to an ooey gooey perfection before you top it off with some bacon and serve it in a bun.

Move over Jelly it is time for PB and Cow!

Move over Jelly it is time for PB and Cow!

The Jersey Brunch

If your guests are arriving somewhat early you can always turn to this wonderful brunch concoction.  What you are going to need to do to pull this one off is pancake batter, Taylor ham, cheese, maple syrup, ketchup, and a burger patty.  Start making your pancakes as you would normally but mid way through cooking the first side sprinkle the Taylor Ham and Cheese into the batter.  Next mix your maple syrup with your ketchup and cut your pre-cooked burger patty in half.  Once the pancake is ready construct your yumminess and watch your guests cheer.

Brunch ain't just for rich white folk after all.

Brunch ain’t just for rich white folk after all.

The ‘Merica

Are you tired of all that beef getting in the way of your Bacon?  If you answered  Yes to that question you need this burger in your life.  It is made almost entirely out of Bacon and your heart very well explode from the first bite of this beast.  But at least you will die with a smile on your face.

Cause it is your fucking duty!

Cause it is your fucking duty!

Go forth and grill my friends!  Happy Memorial Day from the Blue Collar Foodie!

 

 

A Drink A Day Keeps The Sober Away: The Blue Collar Foodie’s Daily Excuses To Drink Your Face Off!

A While back I was playing beer pong at a family barbecue, and a well-seasoned relative walked up to the table. He stared intently as the game progressed, and we could almost see the gears working in his head. Finally, I asked if he wanted to play the next game. To this our kin simply replied, I don’t think so. I then asked him why not. To that he said what will go down in the annals of our family as the single best response/rant that has ever been uttered by anyone that has ever climbed our family tree.

He once again gazed at the table and then glared back at us while he slowly stroked his gray and sparse beard. You see, he said, I have studied this game for quite some time, and I believe it to be not only dumb but a gigantic waste of time. We began to protest, but he merely lifted his finger, as if to say, let me finish, and we all allowed him to go on.

If I got the rules right, he continued, the team with the ball is trying to throw the ball into the other team’s cups. If the team on offense makes said ball into said cup then the other team drinks. So essentially, your idea of a drinking game, is not to drink, he asked with a smile on his face?

Once again we tried to answer this obvious rhetorical question, but the finger interrupted on more time. Let me show you booze toddlers the only drinking game I have ever played. It is far better this one of the countless others I have watched you play over the years…

Then he paused for a moment. He knew he had us on the hook. We all thought we were about to learn an ancient long lost drinking game that we could post to Reddit and gain thousands of Karma Points. The anticipation was killing us.

The silence was broken by our kinsman lifting his beer slowly to his mouth and taking a large sip from the cup. He lowered the beer from his mouth as slow as he raised it and began to speak. “I Win!” he said.

We all tilted our heads like a puppy who just heard a word that his owner had never uttered before. He slowly lifted the cup back to his mouth and took another long sip, and said, “I win again.” We all groaned, the others that started listening halfway through chuckled, and our dear old relative walked away while taking one last sip proclaiming under his breath and almost to himself, that he won again before releasing a slow soft snicker.

The moral of this story is that most Americans, at least the ones that were born in the 70’s or later need a reason to drink. Apparently, science has decided that drinking on a random Tuesday is called alcoholism, but drinking on a Tuesday because it’s St. Patrick’s Day is normal social behavior.

With that said, I have devised the perfect plan to not feel like a pariah for drinking on any day I damn well please. May I present to you, The Blue Collar Foodies’ 365 reasons to get CRUNK! Pick a day, any day, find it below, and celebrate whatever silly ass holiday is listed. Now drunken holidays are not only for the Irish and The Mexicans, but for the Americans as well! ‘Merica!

Craft Beer AmericaBorrowed From Here

January 1

Bad Hangover Day

Excuse to drink: To hell with science, hair of the dog just makes sense!

 

January 2

Happy Mew Year for Cats Day

Excuse to drink: Cats can’t, that’s why!

 

January 3

Women Rock! Day

Excuse to drink: If you are a woman, raise a glass to yourself and If you are a man, take a shot in honor of a woman that rocked your world!

 

January 4

Isaac Newton’s Birthday

Excuse to drink: I fucking love Science and so should you!

 

January 5

Bozo the Clown’s Birthday

Excuse to drink: Clowns are freaking scary, drink to forget their creepiness!

It is ScaryBorrowed From Here

January 6

National Smith Day

Excuse to drink: Drink a Samuel Smiths today! You are also traditionally supposed to hug anyone named Smith.

 

January 7

Fruitcake Toss Day

Excuse to drink: Lawn sports and drinking go so very well together!

 

January 8

Elvis Presley’s Birthday

Excuse to drink: Celebrate Fat Elvis by drinking your carbs one pint at a time. I suggest drinking Sweet Baby Jesus, a chocolate peanut butter porter.

 

January 9

Word Nerd Day

Excuse to drink: Scrabble and Scotch make you feel like a freaking aristocrat until you start spelling nothing but obscenities and sexual positions.

 

January10

Peculiar People Day

Excuse to drink: People are strange but drunk people are so much fun!

Strange DaysBorrowed From here

January 11

International Thank You Day

Excuse to drink: There is no better way to say thank you than giving the gift of booze.

 

January 12

National Pharmacist Day

Excuse to drink: Self Medication!

 

January 13

Blame Somebody Else Day

Excuse to drink: Nothing encourages unprompted finger pointing like tying one on.

 

January 14

National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Excuse to drink: Question: What is better than a pet in a costume? Answer: A pet in a costume while you are drunk!

Atata Dog Borrowed From Here

January 15

Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday

Excuse to drink: Everyone should pour a little out for this dude.

 

January 16

National Nothing Day

Excuse to drink: Ain’t nothing better than Drinking and doing nothing!

 

January 17

Ben Franklin’s Birthday

Excuse to drink: Ben loved himself some beer, and you should too.

 

January 18

Winnie-the-Pooh Day

Excuse to drink: If Christopher Robin can trip, you should be able to at least drink some booze.

 

January 19

New Friends Day

Excuse to drink: They don’t call it Social Lubricant for nothing.

 

January 20

Cheese Day

Excuse to drink: Cheese goes with Wine, Beer, and Hooch like NPH and awesome.

 

January 21

National Hugging Day

Excuse to drink: Drunk hugs are better than sober ones, and sometimes lead to naked hugging!

 

January 22

Answer Your Cat’s Question Day

Excuse to drink: Your cat is obviously asking, “why aren’t you drinking?”

 CatquestionBorrowed From Here

January 23

Spouse’s Day

Excuse to drink: Nothing says I love you like sloppy drunk sex.

 

January 24

“Just Do It” Day

Excuse to drink: The name of the damn day says so!

 

January 25

Fun At Work Day

Excuse to drink: The only way to have fun at work is to drink a few special lattes in the morning.

 

January 26

Australia Day

Excuse to drink: Aussie’s know how to drink and you need the practice!

Aussie Greg

January 27

Mad Tea Party Day

Excuse to drink: Celebrate Lewis Carroll by getting as drunk as the door mouse.

 

January 28

Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day

Excuse to drink: Apparently you have never played with bubble wrap while drunk?

 

January 29

Free Thinkers Day

Excuse to drink: Alcohol and free thinking are better friends than Hugh Hefner and Pfizer.

 

January 30

National Croissant Day

Excuse to drink: Mimosas anyone!

 

January 31

Jackie Robinson’s Birthday  

Excuse to drink: Baseball!

Jackie Robinson Borrowed From Here

February 1

National Freedom Day

Excuse to drink: Celebrate your freedom one drink at a time

 

February 2

Groundhog Day

Excuse to drink: If there are six more weeks of winter drink your sorrows away, if spring is coming it is a celebration bitches!

Ground Hog Day Borrowed From Here

February 3

Halfway Point of Winter

Excuse to drink: Doesn’t matter what Punxsutawney Phil said yesterday, winter is officially half over!

 

February 4

Rosa Park’s Birthday

Excuse to drink: Rosa Park was a bad ass bitch and she should be celebrated!

 

February 5

Peter Pan Day  

Excuse to drink: I will never grow up and neither should you!

 

February 6

Pay a Compliment Day

Excuse to drink: Compliments flow better when booze is being poured liberally.

 

February 7

Dump Your Significant Jerk Day

Excuse to drink: Lose the zero, and start drinking with a hero!

Jerk StoreBorrowed From Here

February 8

Mike Day internationally recognized focal point of month-long celebration Mikefest

Excuse to drink: Considering it seems like 75% of the world is named Mike, I am sure you can find one to drink in honor of. Hint: My name is Mike!

 

February 9

National Bagels and Lox Day

Excuse to drink: Best Brunch Food Ever!

 

February 10

World Marriage Day:

Excuse to drink: Whether it is your own or somebody else’s, raise your glass in honor of the love and commitment that makes marriage work.

 

February 11

Promise Day

Excuse to drink: Lower your inhibitions and make a promise to yourself that you force yourself to keep.

 

February 12  

Darwin Day

Excuse to drink: Beer and spirits are proof of evolution, drink to Darwin!

Evolution Borrowed From Here

February 13

Get a Different Name Day    

Excuse to drink: Sounds like a fun drinking name.

 

February 14

Valentine’s Day

Excuse to drink: Celebrate being loved, or drink your sorrow away.

 

February 15

Susan B. Anthony’s Birthday

Excuse to drink: Chicks can vote because of this brolick bitch, take a shot for her, hell take two.

 

February 16

Do a Grouch a Favor Day

Excuse to drink: Go to your local bar and by the grumpiest curmudgeon you can find a shot.

Cantankerous people need booze too.

 

February 17

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Excuse to drink: Buy a round for your friends and tip well.

 

February 18

Pluto Discovered (1930)

Excuse to drink: Drink one for our fallen planet homie.

 Pluto is SadBorrowed From Here

February 19

International Friendship Day

Excuse to drink: Here is to friends, without them we would never know when we are acting like a douche.

 

February 20

Love Your Pet Day

Excuse to drink: Raise your glass to unconditional love and constant affection.

 

February 21

Ash Wednesday

Excuse to drink: You have dirt on your head and everyone is staring at you.

 

February 22

George Washington’s Birthday

Excuse to drink: G Dub did not open a can of whoop ass all over the British so you could lollygag around and be useless. He did it so he could grow hemp and drink whenever the hell he pleased. Since the federal government still disagrees with the hemp part, drink up, because it is was our founding fathers would have wanted.

 

February 23

National Rationalization Day

Excuse to drink: Be honest, you are reading a blog to find an excuse to drink. Let’s use today to come to terms that you are a functioning alcoholic and move on. DRINK!

 

February 24

National Tortilla Chip Day

Excuse to drink: These Tortillas are making me THIRSTY!

 

February 25

Quiet Day

Excuse to drink: Drinking is quieter than chewing.

 

February 26

Tell a Fairy Tale Day

Excuse to drink: Drunk stories are always better than sober stories.

 

February 27

No Brainer Day

Excuse to drink: DRINK!

 

February 28

International Pancake Day

Excuse to drink: I smell Brunch!

Uncle Buck PancakeBorrowed From Here

February 29

Leap Day

Excuse to drink: You only get an extra day to drink once every four years!

 

March 1

National Pig Day

Excuse to drink: Always follow the pig!

Follow The Pig Borrowed From Here

March 2

Old Stuff Day

Excuse to drink: Time to break out the good stuff, nothing aged under 18 years today.

 

March 3

What if Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs? Day

Excuse to drink:   They would crack open a beer and so should you!

 

March 4

Hug a GI Day

Excuse to drink: While you are at it, buy them a shot too.

 

March 5

Mother – in – Law Day

Excuse to drink: With her or because of her, bottoms up!

 

March 6

Alamo Day

Excuse to drink: REMEMBER THE ALAMO!

 

March 7

National Be Heard Day

Excuse to drink: No one is louder than a drunk.

 

March 8

Aunt’s Day

Excuse to drink: We are not talking about Aunt Flow here either people; invite your favorite Aunt out for a pint.

 

March 9

Employee Appreciation Day

Excuse to drink: We are all employed by someone, this time we get to celebrate ourselves.

Dwight Awards Borrowed From Here

March 10

Harriet Tubman’s Birthday

Excuse to drink: Harriet Tubman was born a slave; escaped, used the Underground Railroad to save at least seventy enslaved family and friends, and was a Union Spy. If that is not reason enough to drink, I do not know what is.

 

March 11

Ezra Jack Keats Birthday (The Snowy Day)

Excuse to drink: Books are great! Drinking is great! Coincidence I think not.

 

March 12

National Organize your home office day

Excuse to drink: I guess, “move a few sheets of paper around every now and again so your significant other thinks you’re working, while you get drunk and play Playstation Day,” was too long of a title.

 

March 13

Planet Uranus Discovered

Excuse to drink: Drink in honor of the only planet that makes even grown adults chuckle every time someone says its name.

 

March 14

Pi (3.14159265…) Day

Excuse to drink: Seriously! Come on people, it is a day that is also a mathematical symbol! If you don’t know why you are celebrating today, I ain’t telling you!

Twisted Elm PiBorrowed From Here

March 15

True Confession Day

Excuse to drink: Nothing brings out a good old fashioned Catholic style confession like a bottle of hooch.

 

March 16

Everything You Do Is Right Day

Excuse to drink: If you do it, it is right!

 

March 17

St. Patrick’s Day

Excuse to drink: I will not dignify this with a response!

Pig BeerBorrowed From Here

March 18

Awkward Moments Day

Excuse to drink: As Big Bird would say, Today is brought to you by the Letters A.B.V.

 

March 19

Let’s Laugh Day

Excuse to drink: Everything is funnier when you are lit up!

 

March 20

Snowman Burning Day

Excuse to drink: Seriously people, read up on this day. Then grab some friends, some booze, a giant paper snowman, and some matches!

 

March 21

National Single Parents Day

Excuse to drink: Drink because they can’t!

 

March 22

As Young As You Feel Day

Excuse to drink: I see shots of Fireball and Jägermeister in your immediate future!

March 23

Near Miss Day

Excuse to drink: Back in 1989 a gigantic asteroid barely missed turning Earth into a flaming donut of death. Have one now because you never know when we are going to have to try to send Bruce Willis to outer space to save the world.

Asteroid Impact Borrowed From Here

March 24

National Family Day

Excuse to drink: Drink with your relatives!

 

March 25

National Waffle Day

Excuse to drink: BRUNCH AGAIN!

 

March 26

Make up your own Holiday Day

Excuse to drink: Now this sounds like a solid drinking game!

 

March 27

Michael Jon Arp’s Birthday

Excuse to drink: Your kids will be celebrating this day in the future; you might as well get a head start.

 

March 28

Something on a stick day

Excuse to drink: Nothing goes better with anything served on a stick than a nice cold beer.

 

March 29

National Mom & Pop Small Business owners Day

Excuse to drink: Fun fact: Most bars are small businesses and family owned. Furthermore, most family owned businesses are B.Y.O.B.

BIMS-Pizza-BldgBorrowed From Here

March 30

Pencil with Eraser Patented (1858)

Excuse to drink: Mistakes are meant to be made, keep drinking.

 

March 31

National Farm Workers Day

Excuse to drink: They work harder than you will ever work so you can have fresh vegetable in your salad. You better drink in their honor.

 

April 1

April Fool’s Day

Excuse to drink: You were had all day, you might as well have one.

 

April 2

Reconciliation Day

Excuse to drink: Patch up an old friend ship over a few drinks.

 

April 3

World Party Day

Excuse to drink: What is a party without booze!

Earth PartyBorrowed From Here

April 4

Walk Around Things Day

Excuse to drink: Might as well drink while you are walking around things.

 

April 5

Stories Day

Excuse to drink: You can’t tell a story about being drunk properly unless you are drunk.

 

April 6

Tartan Day

Excuse to drink: Tartan Day is the celebration of Scottish Heritage, so eat some haggis and drink some scotch. That is unless you are a racist.

 

April 7

World Health Day

Excuse to drink: Science says one drink is good for me, so several much be better.

 

April 8

Astronomy Day

Excuse to drink: Have a stargazing party. Party = Booze remember.

Arp GalaxyBorrowed From Here

April 9

Winston Churchill Day

Excuse to drink: That is Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill to you! Drink because he said so!

 

April 10

National Sibling Day

Excuse to drink:Have a drink with your sibling and act stupid, just like old times.  

 

April 11

National Cheese Fondue Day

Excuse to drink: Whether you choose to pair your cheese with wine or beer you will not be disappointed you celebrated today.

 

April 12

Reach as High as You Can Day

Excuse to drink: You will look stupid doing this if you are sober

 

April 13

International Plant Appreciation Day

Excuse to drink: Hops are a plant, Drink!

April 14

Ex-Spouse Day

Excuse to drink: If you left ‘em, drink to that. If they left you, here is hoping they get Nuclear Clap.

 

April 15

Tax Day

Excuse to drink: The Government sucks, that’s why!

Tax SeasonBorrowed From Here

April 16

National Eggs Benedict Day

Excuse to drink: I’ll give you one guess. It starts with a B and rhymes with Lunch! B R U N C H!!!!

 

April 17

Blah! Blah! Blah ! Day

Excuse to drink: BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! DRINK!

 

April 18

Pet Owner’s Day

Excuse to drink: Pets are awesome!

 

April 19

Patriot’s Day

Excuse to drink: If you don’t drink today, you are a communist!

 

April 20

International Weed Day

Excuse to drink: You can’t smoke all day, take a break, and have a beer.

Hemp AleBorrowed From Here

April 21

Big Word Day

Excuse to drink: Listening to your friends try to pronounce and then define words like Anachronistic is going to be funny as hell after a few drinks.

 

April 22

Earth Day

Excuse to drink: Mother Nature is the shit!

 

April 23

International Nose Picking Day

Excuse to drink: If you are drunk, you can blame your disgusting habits on the booze.

 

April 24

Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day

Excuse to drink: Beer and tiny hotdogs are a match made in heaven.

 

April 25

Arbor Day

Excuse to drink: Hug a tree and drink a beer!

The Tree Of LifeBorrowed From Here

April 26

Hug a Friend Day

Excuse to drink: You are out with your friend you might as well stop by the bar and have at least one drink.

 

April 27

Mule Day

Excuse to drink: Drink something that kicks like a mule!

 

April 28

Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day

Excuse to drink: When you get home you are going to need a drink

 

April 29

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day

Excuse to drink: After a nice calm, relaxing Tai Chi session a nice stiff drink will taste awesome.

 

April 30

National Honesty Day

Excuse to drink: Nothing brings out sincere honesty like a few cocktails.

 

May 1

Couple Appreciation Day

Excuse to drink: Have a drink with your significant other in honor of your tremendous union.

 

May 2

National Baby’s day

Excuse to drink: Have one for the baby’s in your life because the man says you can’t put a little whiskey on their teeth anymore.

Success!Borrowed From Here

May 3

Sun Day (Day of the Sun)

Excuse to drink: DAYTIME DRINKING!!!

 

May 4

International Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You)

Excuse to drink: Google Star Wars drinking games and then watch all six movies.

 

May 5

Cinco De Mayo

Excuse to drink: No explanation needed. This holiday was created to be on this list.

 

May 6

National Beverage Day

Excuse to drink: It would be disrespectful to not drink on Beverage Day!

 

May 7

National Tourism Day

Excuse to drink: Pretend you’re a tourist and drive into the city, do touristy things, and then finish the night off with a fancy dinner at Apple Bees complete with a few drinks.

 

May 8

National Teacher’s Day

Excuse to drink: I am sure you were the reason many of your teachers drank, so now you can return the favor and have one in their honor.

 

May 9

Tear the Tags Off the Mattress Day

Excuse to drink: You are going to need some liquid courage if you are about to violate federal laws.

DAMN THE MAN!Borrowed From Here

May 10

National Nightshift Workers Day

Excuse to drink: What shift do you think Bar Tenders work? DRINK UP AND TIP WELL!

 

May 11

Eat What You Want Day

Excuse to drink: This includes liquid bread.

 

May 12

Limerick Day (Edward Lear’s birthday)

Excuse to drink: Dirty limericks are hilarious when you are drunk.

 

May 13

Native American Day

Excuse to drink: Our ancestors were douchebags, the least we can do it raise a glass in their honor.

 

May 14

Crazy Day

Excuse to drink: Go ahead, Get Crazy… It is your duty!

 

May 15

Peace Officers Memorial Day

Excuse to drink: Even if you don’t like them you got to admit dying to protect others is pretty admirable.

Police Memorial Borrowed From Here

May 16

Wear Purple For Peace Day

Excuse to drink: To Peace!

 

May 17

World Telecommunications Day

Excuse to drink: If you are going to call your ex-girlfriend you might as well do it drunk.

 

May 18

No Dirty Dishes day

Excuse to drink: Only way to have no dirty dishes is if you go out to eat and while you are at it you might as well order a few drinks.

 

May 19

Armed Forces day

Excuse to drink: They suffer so you don’t have to! They fight so you can drink whenever you want to!

 

May 20

Flower Day

Excuse to drink: Flowers and a bottle of wine go a long way with the little lady.

 

May 21

National Waitresses/Waiters Day

Excuse to drink: Yet another excuse to go out to dinner and have some drinks, as always TIP WELL!

Mother Fucker

May 22

Buy-A-Musical-Instrument Day

Excuse to drink: If you are going to be a musician you gotta drink! All musicians drink.

 

May 23

National Pickle Day

Excuse to drink: Pickle Back Shot!

 

May 24

Scavenger Hunt Day

Excuse to drink: What is better than a drunken scavenger hunt? Nothing. The answer is nothing.

 

May 25

National Something day

Excuse to drink: Drinking is something right? Right?

 

May 26

Senior Health and Fitness Day

Excuse to drink: Raise a glass to the old folks in your life!

 

May 27

International Jazz Day

Excuse to drink: Listening to Jazz and drinking booze go together like a beer and a camp fire.

 

May 28

Morning Radio Day

Excuse to drink: I always need a drink when I am forced to listen to the Z-morning Zoo.

Morning RadioBorrowed From Here

May 29

Honor your Ancestors Day

Excuse to drink:   Make sure to spill just a little out for your descendants.

 

May 30

Hug your cat day

Excuse to drink: Alcohol is a great pain killer and Fluffy tears your skin up.

hug your cat day Borrowed From Here

May 31

National Meditation Day

Excuse to drink: While you are relaxed, why not relax some more.

 

June 1

American Zoo Day

Excuse to drink: Animals and Booze! Animals and Booze!

 

June 2

Leave the Office Early Day

Excuse to drink: Can you say Happy Hour!

 

June 3

National Trails Day

Excuse to drink: Hiking without beer is like Fishing without beer, boring and useless.

 

June 4

Socrates’s Birthday

Excuse to drink: He was one of the founders of Western philosophy, go find a bar and wax poetic about all things undebatable.

 

June 5

World Environment Day

Excuse to drink: Drink draught beer today because it is a renewable resource!

 

June 6

D-Day Anniversary

Excuse to drink: Cause Fuck The Nazis!

 

June 7

Freedom of the Press day

Excuse to drink: Extra! Extra! Read all about it! You should be drinking!

 

June 8

World Ocean Day

Excuse to drink: The Ocean is freaking amazing, and so is drinking.

Ocean DayBorrowed From Here

June 9

Best Friends Day

Excuse to drink: Drinking with your BFF is more fun than drinking alone.

 

June 10

Race Unity Day

Excuse to drink: Drink to diversity! Bonus points if your friend circle is a diverse as the cover photo of your local college’s website.

 

June 11

Abused Women and Children’s Awareness Day

Excuse to drink: To prove that not people who drink are abusive assholes.

 

June 12

Magic Day

Excuse to drink: Now you see my drink, now you don’t! We all like magic why not celebrate it.

June 13

Weed Your Garden Day

Excuse to drink: Because you earned it, toiling in the garden all day.

 

June 14

Flag Day

Excuse to drink: ‘MERICA!

Craft Beer Flag Borrowed From Here

June 15

National Photography Day

Excuse to drink: Drunk selfies are so much more fun!

 

June 16

No Orange Clothes Day

Excuse to drink: Today is a built in drinking game, if you spot anyone wearing orange, DRINK!

 

June 17

Eat Your Vegetables Day

Excuse to drink: Hint: Drink garnishes count.

 

June 18

National Splurge Day

Excuse to drink: Go ahead, splurge away!

 

June 19

World Sauntering Day

Excuse to drink: Drinking adds a swagger than simply can’t be matched.

 

June 20

Bald Eagle Day

Excuse to drink: The Eagle is majestic as fuck and it represents our country.

 

June 21

Summer Solstice

Excuse to drink: I hope you saved your Christmas Tree.   Light a fire, and burn that son of a bitch. While you are at it have a drink.

Christmas Tree FireBorrowed From Here

June 22

Stupid Guy Thing Day

Excuse to drink: Celebrate all the dumb shit guys do, including drinking!

 

June 23

Let It Go Day

Excuse to drink: The easiest way to forget about your problems is to drink them away.

 

June 24

Great American Picnic Day

Excuse to drink: Picnics are better with booze!

 

June 25

LEON Day

Excuse to drink: Six Months Until Christmas.

 

June 26

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Excuse to drink: Drink, because not drinking is torture.

 

June 27

Helen Keller’s Birthday

Excuse to drink: Drink until you’re deaf and blind.

 

June 28

World War 1 Commemoration

Excuse to drink: Drink to the soldiers that kept this world safe when wars had meaning and politicians have souls.

 

June 29

National Duck Day

Excuse to drink: The only day when Duck Face Selfies are not only justified but mandatory.

Epic DuckfaceBorrowed From Here

June 30

Meteor Day

Excuse to drink: Space is freaking awesome!

 

July 1

Canada Day

Excuse to drink: To Canada you Hosier!

 

July 2

I Forgot Day

Excuse to drink: Drink the day away!

 

July 3

PacMan Game Day

Excuse to drink: Sound like the perfect day for vintage video games and shitty beer.

 

July 4

Independence Day

Excuse to drink: ‘Merica!

Fireworks and BeerBorrowed From Here

July 5

Workaholics Day

Excuse to drink: To all of us that burn the candle at both ends.

 

July 6

National Fried Chicken Day

Excuse to drink: This day screams for some bourbon.

 

July 7

Father-Daughter Take a Walk Together Day

Excuse to drink: Depending on the age of your daughter, you will either need the flask because of what she tells you, or you can share it with her.

 

July 8

Be a Kid Again Day

Excuse to drink: Sneak out of the house through a window, meet up with your friends in the park and get shitty on some MD 20/20 and Jose Cuervo.

 

July 9

Air Conditioning Appreciation Day

Excuse to drink: Sit back, kick up your feet, and relax with a frozen daiquiri in your hand as the greatest invention of the 20th Century cools you down.

 

July 10

Don’t Step on a Bee Day

Excuse to drink: It is a rarity to find a bee in a bar.

 

July 11

Cheer up the Lonely Day

Excuse to drink: By buying them a shot!

Lonley DogBorrowed From Here

July 12

Swimming Pool Day

Excuse to drink: Summer is all about sitting in a pool with drink in hand.

 

July 13

Embrace Your Geekiness Day

Excuse to drink: Drink until your nerd comes out!

 

July 14

Pick Blueberries Day

Excuse to drink: Celebrate how many Blueberries you picked!

 

July 15

Be a Dork Day

Excuse to drink: Dorks need to drink too!

The Big Bang Theory Borrowed From Here

July 16

International Juggling Day

Excuse to drink: Go find a renaissance faire and take a shot with a juggler. If you can’t find a renaissance faire I guess a Juggalo will have to do. Yea that was an ICP reference!

 

July 17

POW-MIA Recognition Day

Excuse to drink: Honor those that have given everything to protect our freedom.

 

July 18

Cow Appreciation Day

Excuse to drink: You eat them all the damn time, the least you can do is take a shot to celebrate how awesome they taste.

 

July 19

Stick Out Your Tongue Day

Excuse to drink: Those selfies are going to be priceless!

 

July 20

Nap Day

Excuse to drink: You are a grown ass man/woman and you got to take a nap! High five yourself for being awesome, and then drink up because you obviously don’t have any responsibilities.

 

July 21

National Tug-Of-War Tournament Day

Excuse to drink: Grab your friends, a rope, and a keg! Tonight is going to be a muscle ripping, rope burn, getting frat boy drunk kind of night.

 

July 22

Summer Leisure Day

Excuse to drink: It is Summer Leisure Day, that means your ass better be in a tube on a lazy river with a beer in both hands.

 Two Cute Kittens In A HammockBorrowed From Here

July 23

Gorgeous Grandma Day

Excuse to drink: Drink every time you see a GILF!

 

July 24

Amelia Earhart Day

Excuse to drink: Drink a few airplane bottles in solidarity with this record setting Aviation Diva.

 

July 25

Candles on a Cake Day

Excuse to drink: It is always somebody’s birthday and if there are candles on a cake I am drinking!

 

July 26

All or Nothing Day

Excuse to drink: Go big or Go home!

 

July 27

National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day

Excuse to drink: Throw a few back for the old timers that are still around the fought in the Korean War because most of them can’t drink now because their doctor says so!

 

July 28

Accountants Day

Excuse to drink: Love ‘em or Hate ‘em, without them we would all have no idea where the hell our money goes. To the Bean Counters!

 

July 29

To the Moon Day (NASA founded in 1958)

Excuse to drink: Toast the dreamers that sent a few humans to the moon with less computing power that we all now carry in our pockets. Gotta love those crazy bastards!

A True Moon WalkJuly 30

Comedy Day (Make Someone Laugh)

Excuse to drink: Everyone laughs harder when they are drunk.

 

July 31

Harry Potter’s Birthday

Excuse to drink: Watch the movies and google a drinking game that coincides. There are so many to choose from.

 

August 1

Sports Day

Excuse to drink: Grab a few friends, a ball of any kind, and a case of good beer today a day for playing some sports.

 

August 2

Dinosaurs Day

Excuse to drink: Bring a flask to a museum, I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

 

August 3

National Watermelon Day

Excuse to drink: Have you ever filled a watermelon with vodka and then ate it. What are you waiting for, you need a watermelon and vodka STAT!

 

August 4th

Taxpayer Appreciation Day

Excuse to drink: Celebrate yourself if you are legit, but if you live on the other side of the law, take a drink in honor of those fools that pay Uncle Sam. I would drink something strong though because when you get caught you will have to drink toilet hooch and that shit is rough.

 

August 5

International Beer Day

Excuse to drink: Ummmmmmmm. Yea!

Beer IllustrationBorrowed From Here

August 6

National Fresh Breath Day

Excuse to drink: We all love fresh breath!

 

August 7

Purple Heart Day

Excuse to drink: Even if you don’t agree with the cause, you have to admit the recipients of this medal deserve your tribute.

 

August 8

Kat Day

Excuse to drink: Chicks named Kat are remarkable people and if you know one you should be drinking with them today!

 

August 9

National Hand holding Day

Excuse to drink: You should drink because you have someone to hold hands with.

 

August 10

Gals Night Out

Excuse to drink: Ladies tonight is the night to get your drink on with your bitches, Men the more they drink the better you look.

 

August 11

Kool-Aid Day

Excuse to drink: Ohhhhhh YEA! Vodka and Kool-Aid rules!

Oh Yea

August 12

Baseball Fans Day

Excuse to drink: Buy a ticket to the ball park and get your tailgate going!

 

August 13

International Left Handers Day

Excuse to drink: Drink with all your left handed friends today.

 

August 14

Wiffle Ball Day

Excuse to drink: Grab a Wiffle Ball, a plastic yellow bat, a chair, and a case of beer.   PLAY BALL!

 

August 15

National Failures Day

Excuse to drink: Drink until your failures are funny.

 

August 16

National Golf Day

Excuse to drink: 18 holes+24 beers= one great day!

 

August 17

National Thrift shop Day

Excuse to drink: Shop until you drop, then celebrate the awesome sauce that you found that someone else threw away 40 years ago.

 

August 18

National Homeless Animals Day

Excuse to drink: Adopt a dog and then raise a glass to its forever home!

Lilly BirdAugust 19

Potato Day

Excuse to drink: Vodka anyone!

 

August 20

Stay-at-Home with Your Kids Day

Excuse to drink: You are going to need a drink after today.

 

August 21

Poets Day

Excuse to drink: Celebrate your favorite wordsmith one sip at a time.

 

August 22

National Punctuation Day

Excuse to drink: A.K.A. Grammar Nazi day! You will need a drink to soothe your throat, if you are the one correcting people all day, for the rest of us that throw commas around like a drunken chimp playing darts, we will need a drink to calm the urge to punch these Syntax Soldiers in their face.

 

August 23

Hug Your Sweetheart Day

Excuse to drink: A hug is good, but a bottle of wine and a fancy dinner is better.

HugglesBorrowed From Here

August 24

Strange Music Day

Excuse to drink: Hijack the Juke Box at your local bar by slipping a $20.00 in and play songs like this.

 

August 25

Kiss and Make-up Day

Excuse to drink: You just made up with your significant other.

 

August 26

Woman’s Equality Day

Excuse to drink: Go shot for shot with your lady friends.

 

August 27

Just Because Day

Excuse to drink: Drink just because.

 

August 28

Dream Day

Excuse to drink: Discuss your dreams while getting crunk!

 

August 29

More Herbs Less Salt day (Eat Healthy Day!)

Excuse to drink: Order a drink with an herbaceous garnish.

 

August 30

National Toasted Marshmallow Day

Excuse to drink: You must drink when sitting around a camp fire, it is simply the rules.

 

August 31

Eat outside day

Excuse to drink: Grab a picnic basket and some booze to celebrate the great summer you just had!

PIG!Borrowed From Here

September 1

American Chess Day

Excuse to drink: If you think Chess is a great game, try CHESS the Drinking GAME!

 

September 2

Pierce-Your-Ears Day

Excuse to drink: Celebrate your mid-life crisis by tying one on.

 

September 3

Skyscraper Day

Excuse to drink: Pick your favorite building and go visit it! While you are in the city you might as well have a drink.

 

September 4

Eat an Extra Dessert Day

Excuse to drink: Booze is a dessert right?

 

September 5

Waffle House Day (Debuted in 1955)

Excuse to drink: Every Waffle House restaurant is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, so hit up a bar and have a midnight snack at a Good ‘Ol Waffle House.

Waffle HouseBorrowed From Here

September 6

Do It! Day (aka Fight Procrastination)

Excuse to drink: DRINK!

 

September 7

Google Commemoration Day

Excuse to drink: If it wasn’t for google we would still be using map quest, arguing all night at bars, and have @aol.com at the end of our email addresses. To Google!

 

September 8

International Literacy Day

Excuse to drink: Read a book while drinking some scotch Mr. or Ms. Fancypants.

 

September 9

Wonderful Weirdos Day

Excuse to drink: Fly your weird flag all over your local tavern.

 

September 10

National Boss / Employee Exchange Day

Excuse to drink: Happy Hour! Exchange beers with your boss.

 

September 11

9/11 Observances & Remembrances

Excuse to drink: Never Forget!

 

September 12

National Policewoman Day

Excuse to drink: If you can drink with them, if you can’t drink for them, just never… never… ever… hit on ‘em.

 

September 13

Barbershop Day

Excuse to drink: Get a haircut you hippie and then go out and show off your new do.

 

September 14

National Pet Memorial Day

Excuse to drink: Raise a glass to all the pets in your life that are no longer with us.

Dogs Last WillBorrowed From Here

September 15

National Thank-You Day

Excuse to drink: Say thank you with a few a drinks.

 

September 16

Wife Appreciation Day

Excuse to drink: Happy wife, Happy life, and my wife likes to drink.

 

September 17

National Constitution Day

Excuse to drink: Drink-up because the constitution says we can.

 

September 18

National Play-Doh Day

Excuse to drink: Drink because you made that awesome Play-Doh sculpture. You rock dude.

 

September 19

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Excuse to drink: And drink like one too.

              September 20

National Punch Day

Excuse to drink: Punch as in that giant bowl of liquid that your 17 year old self spiked in order to get to second base with Mary Jane Such and Such. Now is the time to spike that punch once again.

 

September 21

Miniature Golf Day

Excuse to drink: A few friends, a flask, and a mini-golf course, sounds heavenly doesn’t it.

 

September 22

Hobbit Day

Excuse to drink: Find some Barliman’s Best or your favorite beer and have a hobbit themed party complete with Middle Earth inspired food.

Frodo Drinking September 23

Checkers Day

Excuse to drink: If we are going to celebrate Chess we should probably celebrate its dumber cousin. At least it is easier to play when you are in the bag.

 

September 24

Eat Dinner with your family day

Excuse to drink: You are probably going to need to drink before, during, and after.

 

September 25

National Comic Book Day

Excuse to drink: Everyone loves comic books even if they don’t admit it.

 

September 26

National Food Service Employees Day

Excuse to drink: Here’s to everyone that brings and cooks you food when you don’t want to do it yourself.

 

September 27

Crush a Can Day

Excuse to drink: Gotta drink what is inside before you crush.

 

September 28

Ask a stupid question day

Excuse to drink: Do you want another drink? See what I did there.  

 

September 29

Happy Goose Day

Excuse to drink: Did you know that Geese will never let another goose die alone? How about that Geese mate for life and mourn the loss of their loved one when they die. Geese are pretty freaking cool, as long as they are not pooping on you! Here’s to geese!

 

September 30

Pumpkin Day

Excuse to drink: Pumpkin beer it is!

 

October 1

World Vegetarian Day

Excuse to drink: Booze goes great with Veggies too!

 

October 2

Charlie Brown & Snoopy’s Birthday

Excuse to drink: Celebrate everyone’s favorite Block head and his sarcastic puppy too.

Great PumpkinBorrowed From Here

October 3

Techies Day

Excuse to drink: Drink to all the nerds in your life, for without them who would you call when your computer gets the internet clap!

 

October 4

Ten-Four Day

Excuse to drink: If you are going to speak like a trucker or a cop you might as well drink like one.

 

October 5

Smile Day

Excuse to drink: It is hard not to smile with a drink in your hand.

 

October 6

Clergy Appreciation Day

Excuse to drink: Even if you are not religious it is pretty amazing that these men and women give up their lives in the name of service to their community.

 

October 7

National Frappe Day

Excuse to drink: Because you just drank a crap load of coffee and ain’t going to bed anytime soon.

 

October 8

Thanksgiving Day in Canada

Excuse to drink: If the Canadians are celebrating something so should you. Don’t let those floppy heads have all the fun.

 

October 9

Leif Erikson Day

Excuse to drink: That dude was a Viking and if there is one thing that Vikings liked to do more than pillaging and plundering it was drinking! Grab yourself a horn mug and drink up.

Viking FuneralBorrowed From Here

October 10

World Mental Health Day

Excuse to drink: The first step towards defeating your problem is to acknowledge its existence. The second step is to drink it away, unless of cause that problem is alcoholism, then I suggest a different route.

 

October 11

Coming Out Day

Excuse to drink: To understand the difficulty of being in the closet, one must try to comprehend fighting ever urge to be one’s self in front of everyone they love in fear that the truth will destroy the affection the hold so dear. Raise your glass to honor all of those who were brave enough to already take this step, take a shot for everyone that is still struggling with this monumental decision, and pour a little out for every misguided soul that thinks it is their business who someone else loves.

 

October 12

Moment of Frustration Scream- Day (scream 30 seconds)

Excuse to drink: …and have a drink afterwards.

 

October 13

It’s Train Your Brain Day

Excuse to drink: Beer is like a protein shake for your brain! Work it out and then drink it off.

 

October 14

Bald is Beautiful Day

Excuse to drink: Drink in honor of all the folically challenged people in your life.

 

October 15

National Poetry Day

Excuse to drink: Write a poem for your loved one, share a bottle of wine, and hopefully a bed.

 

October 16

World Food Day

Excuse to drink: You need something to drink with all the awesome food you are about to eat.

 

October 17

National Pasta Day

Excuse to drink: Pasta is freaking awesome!

Garlic Pasta and Kale Borrowed From Here

October 18

Alaska Day

Excuse to drink: Because all Alaskans do too.

 

October 19

Evaluate Your Life Day

Excuse to drink: You are going to need a few drinks after having this conversation with yourself.

 

October 20

National Brandied Fruit Day

Excuse to drink: Technically, I guess this should read excuse to eat your booze.

 

October 21

National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day

Excuse to drink: Nothing goes better with Pumpkin Cheesecake like a nice tall mug of Pumpkin Beer.

 

October 22

Make A Difference Day

Excuse to drink: Go out, do something awesome for someone and then drink to yourself you amazing son of a bitch.

 

October 23

TV Talk-Show Host Day

Excuse to drink: You going to have to be drunk to watch that rubbish.

 

October 24

Sour Day

Excuse to drink: Sour beers are making a comeback and I think this is the perfect day for you to jump on this bandwagon.

 

October 25

National Greasy Foods Day

Excuse to drink: If a PBR and a filthy cheese burger doesn’t sound f-ing amazeballs to you, you are reading the wrong blog.

White Manna BurgersBorrowed From Here

October 26

Mule Day

Excuse to drink: Dude, Science made Mules and that is awesome! A male donkey gets it on with a female horse and boom MULE! That would be like a human and chimp doing the horizontal naked time dance and creating a Humanzee! Oh holy crap I want a Humanzee right now!

 

October 27

Cranky Co-workers Day

Excuse to drink: A liquid lunch is just what those cantankerous bastards need to turn their frown upside down

 

October 28

Internet Day

Excuse to drink: Seriously, it is the internet! Pick one of the about 180,000,000 results that Google will find in about 0.36 seconds when you search drinking games and rock out.

 

October 29

National Oatmeal Day

Excuse to drink: I know what you are thinking, come on man we need a reason to drink booze not Ensure. Relax, I got your back… Think Oatmeal Stout!

 

October 30

Devil’s Night / Mischief Night/Cabbage Night

Excuse to drink: Someone has to protect the homestead from that little, pre-pubescent, egg toting doucheknuckles. What you will need is a bunch of booze, a really bright light, a gawking chair and a camera. Every time, one of those punks walks past and thinks about ruining your paint job just remind them that jury’s love to watch a good movie starring the criminal.

Mischief NightBorrowed From Here

October 31

Halloween

Excuse to drink: Booze is just treats for adults. Trick or treat, smell my feet; give me something good To drink. If you don’t, I don’t Care, I will pull down my underwear… And leave an upper deck in your toilet seat you cheap fuck.

 

November 1

Day of the Dead

Excuse to drink: Gather your family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.

 

November 2

Name your Car Day

Excuse to drink: Celebrate your noble steed.

 

November 3

Sandwich Day

Excuse to drink: Possibly the best food canvas in the culinary world, we have eaten them since practically birth, from the first peanut butter and jelly, our lovely moms cut the crust off of to the wild boar bacon, foie gras, and brie Panini that now tickles our fancy.

Primanti Bros.

November 4

National Skeptic’s Day

Excuse to drink: If you don’t your friends may become skeptical of your life decisions.

 

November 5

Guy Fawkes Night (bonfire night, fireworks night)

Excuse to drink: Fireworks and drinking are better than most things in this world. Be mindful though drinking and hospitals suck! Be careful and don’t say I did not warn you.

 

November 6

I love Nachos Day

Excuse to drink: NACHOS!!!

Nacho Helmet Borrowed From Here

November 7

Hug a Bear Day

Excuse to drink: After you are done hugging a bear you are going to need a hospital and some heavy duty liquor.

 

November 8

Try a New Recipe Day

Excuse to drink: Download a bartending App and make yourself a cocktail that you have never tried before.

 

November 9

National Scrapple Day

Excuse to drink: Some of you may have to drink a few before you gain enough courage to give scrapple a try. I on the other hand love this breakfast food produced by food gluing the parts of the pig that hot dog companies won’t even use. Mmmmmmm… Food Glue.

 

November 10

Lung Cancer Awareness Day

Excuse to drink: ‘Cause fuck cancer in its stupid face!

 

November 11

Veterans Day

Excuse to drink: Drink to the soldiers not to the politics.

Navy Veteran

November 12

National Pizza with the Works Day

Excuse to drink: Because Pizza!

 

November 13

World Kindness Day

Excuse to drink: Buy a shot for a stranger and explain why you did it. This will hopefully start a shot chain that will work its way around the bar.

 

November 14

National Guacamole Day

Excuse to drink: I don’t always drink Dos Equis, but I do on National Guacamole Day.

 

November 15

I Love to Write Day

Excuse to drink: Sit down with a blank piece of paper, a pen, and a scotch. See what comes out.

 

November 16

International Day for Tolerance

Excuse to drink: Because it will increase your alcohol tolerance.

 

November 17

Take A Hike Day

Excuse to drink: The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. Grab your wife, your dog, and your flask before hitting the trails.

Lilly Hiking November 18

William Tell Day

Excuse to drink: Take a shot of Apple flavored booze off someone’s head. It may sound silly but it is a hell of a lot safer than shooting an apple off your son’s head with an arrow.

 

November 19

Carbonated Beverage with Caffeine Day

Excuse to drink: Rum and Coke anyone!

 

November 20

Universal Children’s Day

Excuse to drink: Celebrate the wonderful children in your life and drink away the headache they give you.

 

November 21

World Television Day

Excuse to drink: Without Television how would you know what brand of booze you should be drinking.

 

November 22

Stop the Violence Day

Excuse to drink: Celebrate this global movement to end violence against women and girls.

STOP ViolenceBorrowed From Here

 

November 23

Buy Nothing Day

Excuse to drink: Stay home and drink!

 

November 24

National Espresso Day

Excuse to drink: Espresso and Baileys taste fantastic together.

 

November 25

National Parfait Day

Excuse to drink: Eat healthy in the morning so you can drink heavy in the evening.

 

November 26

Cake Day

Excuse to drink: When there is cake it is always a celebration!

 

November 27

National Day of Listening

Excuse to drink: Listening is always easier when your mouth is full.

 

November 28

Red Planet Day

Excuse to drink: Raise your glass towards the sky and drink one from our neighbor, Mars.

MarsBorrowed From Here

November 29

Throw out the leftovers day

Excuse to drink:   It is sad to see good food go to waste, make sure the leftover wine and beer does not meet the same fate. Drink up!

 

November 30

Computer Security Day

Excuse to drink: Before you being to make all of your online purchases for the upcoming holidays, crack open a bottle of something and take today to update all your virus protection and malware programs.

 

December 1

World AIDS Day

Excuse to drink: Drink in remembrance for all of those who have died by the dreaded hands of this disease.

 

December 2

Science Fiction Day

Excuse to drink: Science is awesome, but Science Fiction is that much better.

Storm Trooper Twerking December 3

Make a Gift Day

Excuse to drink: Put your bartending hat on a make someone you like a drink. While you are at it, make another one for yourself.

 

December 4

Cookie Day

Excuse to drink:   Cookies and Beer, cookies and beer, everybody loves cookies and beer.

 

December 5

National Commute With Your Baby Day

Excuse to drink: Because you were on the damn train with 100 moronic fledging parents that thought this holiday was a good idea.

 

December 6

Saint Nicholas Day

Excuse to drink: Celebrate Christmas early by rejoicing in the name of Good Ol’ St. Nick. Yea, that’s right St. Nick, like Santa Claus and shit.

December 7

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Excuse to drink: In memory of this tragic day.

 

December 8

Brownie Day

Excuse to drink: Brownies are denser than cake yet softer than cookies, they are really the best dessert out there.

Bacon Brownie Borrowed From Here

December 9

Christmas Card Day

Excuse to drink: Sit home crack a bottle of wine with the significant other and put stamps and addresses on 100 envelopes.

 

December 10

National Lager Day

Excuse to drink: Lager is a beer, this day is for beer!

 

December 11

International Mountain Day

Excuse to drink: Go climb a mountain, if you can’t climb a rock, and if you can’t do that walk up hill, then go to the bar and celebrate Mountain Day.

 

December 12

Gingerbread House Day

Excuse to drink: Nothing goes better with building a Gingerbread house than a glass of spiked nog.

 

December 13

National Cocoa Day

Excuse to drink: Make some Hot Cocoa for you and your Beau and sit next to the fire. The Cocoa should of course have whiskey in it.

 

December 14

Monkey Day

Excuse to drink: Whether you are celebrating The Monkeys of the furry primate variety or the Band, they are both really freaking cool and should be honored.

Monkey HugsBorrowed From Here

December 15

Bill of Rights Day

Excuse to drink: Drink because it is your right!

 

December 16

National Chocolate Covered Anything Day

Excuse to drink: Because come on, who does not love anything covered in chocolate.

 

December 17

Saturnalia

Excuse to drink: This is a roman holiday and if any culture knew a thing or two about Hedonism it sure was the Romans! It is basically Roman Era Christmas.

 

December 18

Wear A Plunger On Your Head Day

Excuse to drink: You will probably need a few drinks under your belt for this one.

golden retriever wearing a plunger on her headBorrowed From Here

December 19

Oatmeal Muffin Day

Excuse to drink: What a crappy holiday! Drink!

 

December 20

Go Caroling Day

Excuse to drink: Here we come a-wassailing, among the leaves so green. Here we come a-wand’ring, so drunk to be seen.

 

December 21

Winter Solstice

Excuse to drink: It is the shortest day of the year, that means you can drink well into the night.

 

December 22

National Date-Nut Bread Day

Excuse to Drink: Wash down some nut bread with some nice stiff nog.

 

December 23

Festivus

Excuse to drink: It is a Festivus for the Rest of us.

Festivus For The Rest Of UsBorrowed From Here

December 24

Christmas Eve

Excuse to drink: Santa is COMING!

 

December 25

Christmas

Excuse to drink: SANTA IS HERE!!!

 

December 26

Boxing Day

Excuse to drink: It’s like Christmas only British and Weird.

 

December 27

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Excuse to drink: To forget history is to invite a tragic reoccurrence.

 

December 28

Card Playing Day

Excuse to drink: Might I suggest a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity and a few pints at your favorite watering hole.

Cards Against HumanityBorrowed From Here

December 29

No Interruptions Day

Excuse to drink: Do not interrupt my drinking!

 

December 30

Relaxation Day

Excuse to drink: Relax with a drink or two and get ready for New Year’s Eve!

 

December 31

New Year’s Eve

Excuse to drink: IT IS A CELEBRATION BITCHES!

NYE NYCBorrowed From Here