T-Pain Directs The Blue Collar Foodie To Kimchi Mama

If you are a true foodie, seeing a new and interesting restaurant open its doors in your neighborhood probably makes you about as happy as a trippin’ hippie at a Dead concert.  The other day I was driving home from work and took an unexpected detour to avoid a huge accident, thanks to my navigator T-Pain on Waze, and I passed a sign I did not recognize.  My foodie radar began to ping and the bleeps, sweeps, and the creeps directed me to further investigate this new eatery.  As I drove past I was able to catch the name of Fair Lawn’s newest establishment, Kimchi Mama, and I knew I would be eating there in the near future.

A few days later Kat and I were tired and hungry after a long hike in the Ramapo Mountains and we decided that we needed to eat something before we continued the rest of our day.  After a brief discussion it became apparent that Kimchi Mama would be the perfect restaurant to fill the void in our bellies and we were excited to give it whirl.

Welcome to Kimchi Mama

Welcome to Kimchi Mama

Parking is slightly rough because Kimchi Mama is located at 7-09 Fair Lawn Ave., Fair Lawn, NJ and there are several other businesses that are located on that stretch of the road.  However, since we had our pups in tow and it was stupid hot that day, Kat stayed in the car with them, so I could park in the Chase parking lot, across the street.

As I entered Kimchi Mama I noticed that there was no seating in this restaurant, so plan to take your meal home with you or drive a few blocks to the park and chow down alfresco style.  I was greeted immediately when I entered by, who I can only assume, is The Kimchi Mama, and she was very personable and welcoming.

Furthermore, she was extremely knowledgeable, considering there were a few things on the menu that I not only could not pronounce but I would have had to google the shit out of to find out if they were vegetable, animal, or mineral.  She was very good at recognizing that although I was adventurous, I needed some assistance throughout the ordering process, and she was patient to boot.

After speaking to her for a brief period of time, I contacted Kat and like a coach devising a plan during a timeout, we quickly mapped out our meal.  By the way, I want a white board with the outline of a belly on it so at a restaurant I can huddle up my friends and devise a true food play.   Patent Pending, don’t steal my ideas you jerks!

We decided to rock Dukbokki, Pork KimBap, and a Vegetable Pajeon Pancake for our appetizers and a large order of Dwaeji Galbi (Korean Spare Ribs) for our main meal.  Since it was our first time there we were unaware of the portion size and we had the hike hunger, so we decided to go big.  Don’t judge us!  Think of our gluttony as your research!

We knew we were ordering big, but we did not realize just how big.  The amount of food that was handed to me from THE Kimchi Mama was unexpected and extremely appreciated.  When we arrived home we began to unpack the two bags of food that were wafting a wonderful smell throughout my house.  I had to fight the urge to attack the first thing out of the bag with a fork with a determination that few have ever summoned.

Doo-Dads, Whazits, and Awesome Sauce!

Doo-Dads, Whazits, and Awesome Sauce!

Not only did we receive all the things we ordered but there were several small containers of pickled doo dads and spicy awesome sauce, scattered throughout the bag.  Not to mention the rice, Miso soup, and of course the Kimchi that also made an appearance.  Altogether, Kimchi Mama hooked us up with quite a spread for under 40 bucks, and that is how we like to Roll!

Pancakes... Pancakes...Pancakes! The Rockland Boulders fans know what I am talking about.

Pancakes… Pancakes…Pancakes! The Rockland Boulders fans know what I am talking about.

We decided to take the pancake for a test drive first.  If you like the Scallion Pancakes that are on the menu at your local Chinese Take-Out spot, you need to order this immediately.  The texture was a perfect combination of crunchy and chewy, and the heaps of vegetables contained in the pancake added a wonderful roasty and earthy flavor.  When paired with the sauce that we believed it should be dipped in, a dark soy-like liquid, all the flavors melded together to create an umami grenade of sheer delight.

Porky...Pork...Pork... I love Pork!!!

Porky…Pork…Pork… I love Pork!!!

Next up, in our marathon of eating was the Pork Kimbap.  Basically, this tasty treat is a pork sushi roll, but have no fear the pork was cooked.  As you can see from the picture above this dish was beautiful, what you can’t tell, is just how tasty this treat was.  Stupid future, get on that stuff, Edible 3-D Printing, make it happen.

Miso Hungry!

Miso Hungry!

As our bellies began to fill, we decided to clean our palates and take a breather from solid food before continuing this ambitious feast.  We slowly sipped our Miso Soup and discussed our battle plan to destroy the rest of the food that littered our table.  The soup was a wonderful intermezzo and was on par with most Miso that one could procure from a high-end Chinese Food Restaurant.

When in doubt...Try it out!!!

When in doubt…Try it out!!!

We moved on to the Dukbokki, and with limited knowledge on what we were about to eat, we deiced to forego the Googling and dive right in.  I fell in love at first bite!  On the menu this dish was described as Rice Cakes, Fish Cakes, and Onion stir fried in a sweet and spicy Korean pepper sauce.  This cup of amazing, was slightly fishy, slightly spicy, and when poured on top of the rice was all sorts of awesome.  Each forkful brought new flavors and interesting textures that made this dish my favorite thing we tried, thus far.

Adam would have never given up one of these ribs! #SorryEve #NoMoreHumans #MoreRibs4Adam

Adam would have never given up one of these ribs! #SorryEve #NoMoreHumans #MoreRibs4Adam

I had to put the stipulation of thus far in the paragraph above because we tried our main course directly after the Dukbokki, and holy hell I was impressed by these meaty bone-in tidbits of yummy.  By themselves they were tasty, but when wrapped in the provided lettuce and slathered in the sauce we were instructed to pair them with, they entered a whole new level of flavor country. A region of savory that I do not believe I had ever visited before.  It was as if Kat and I were Lewis and Clarke, and this dish was 100 miles west of the Mississippi River.  If you venture to Kimchi Mama, and you should, make this dish your first choice and I guarantee you will return.

The moral of this story is, when T-Pain tells you to make a left, you make a damn left, because you never know where the road may take you.  My detour directed me to Kimchi Mama and for the foreseeable future, I will be taking this detour quite frequently.  The service was wonderful, the food was amazing, and you can’t beat the price point.  “In a quarter of a mile, Amaze-balls!”

Kimchi Mama’s menu can be found on their Facebook page and on GrubHub.

Kimchi Smoke: It’s Not Fusion, It’s Innovation!

There is one type of food in this world that makes this Blue Collar Foodie squee like a fangirl meeting Justin Bieber. This particular cuisine epitomizes the Blue Collar Foodie movement and if I could, I would nominate this delicious gastronomical cooking method as the one, true, American Fare. I am of course talking about the meaty, saucy, smoky, and absolutely intoxicating art of Barbecue.

Kimchi Smoke

[Disclaimer]

–The following article is written by a food lover that does not discriminate! I am an equal opportunity foodie and I will not tolerate hate mail from the fascist barbecue Nazis that troll the internets. I love all types of Barbecue, even the ones spelled BBQ. Smoked, Grilled, Charred, Texas, Carolina, Kansas City, or Memphis. I don’t care about the method or the region, they are all invited to my belly and I love them all the same. –

[Disclaimer]

The North East may not be known for its amazing Barbecue, but that does not stop our region from attempting to copy, mimic, and impersonate the wonderfulness that is the BBQ subculture. Now, I agree that imitation is the best form of flattery, but I also yearn for originality and creativity. So, even though I thoroughly enjoy visiting my favorite barbecue spots, i.e. Dinosaur BBQ, Bourbon BBQ, and Hot Rods, I feel obligated to inform you about a joint that is attempting to innovate rather than imitate.

This relatively new restaurant should already be on every foodie’s radar, considering the owner Rob Cho, has been tirelessly showing off his culinary prowess from the back of food truck for quite some time. However, following food trucks can be an exhausting endeavor and we don’t live in a land of perpetual 75 degrees and sunny weather, #FULosAngeles, so the fact that KIMCHI SMOKE now has a brick and mortar is amazeballs.

Kimchi Smoke Logo

That is right, Kimchi Smoke, the award winning barbecue masterminds behind the Chonut, a smoked brisket sandwich with bacon, cheese, and smoked kimchi on a freaking glazed donut, has finally found a home in Bergen County. Their new address is 49 W.Church St. Bergenfield, NJ and you should enter that into your GPS right now and drive your ass there immediately.

Oh… You’re still here? I hope you are not reading this in the car.  Looking at food porn and driving is the leading cause of car accidents in foodies ages 18-35. If you are in the car heading to Kimchi Smoke, put the phone down, you will see the awesomeness in person soon enough and you can Instagram the hell out of it. However, if you still need some convincing, keep reading.

Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads.

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

I recently visited Kimchi Smoke during their soft opening period and considering I have chased their food truck around more than once, I knew I was in for a treat. Kat and I placed an order for pick-up, there is very limited seating, which consisted of the Korean Redneck Tacos, the Austin Cho, two ¼ racks of the Championship Ribs, and of course a freaking-fracking CHONUT!!!

Our food was prepared and packaged quickly and by the time we arrived it was ready to go. The drive home was excruciating. The wondrous smells that wafted from the bag and filled the cockpit of my ride were taunting me. As the drive progressed I found myself driving faster and faster, trying to get home so I could sink my teeth into all the awesome sauce that is Kimchi Smoke.  I would have gave my left pinky toe to be in Mario Cart, armed with unlimited red turtle shells, so I could remove the army of people on Rt. 4 obeying the traffic laws, with no remorse.

Finally we pulled into our driveway and rushed inside with the goods. For just a second I hated all of you! I realized in that moment, I had to take photos of everything we ordered before we stuffed it in our waiting food holes. However, my hatred diminished rather quickly, and I took the requisite shots.  You’re welcome America! We then began our epic feast, starting with the Red Neck Tacos.

Tacos 2.0

Taco flavored kisses never tasted so good!

The Redneck Tacos consist of 2 tacos chock full of Smoked Pork Shoulder topped with Fatboy Sauce, Korean Slaw or Kimchi all wrapped in a 6″ Flour Tortilla. The regular price for this item is $10, but I recommend upgrading to the Smoked Brisket for a $2 supplement so you can experience euphoria, one beefy bite after another. The brisket is just the right amount of tender and delivers an immense smoky flavor that pairs perfectly with the crunchy and umami laden kimchi. The Fatboy sauce packs a punch without destroying your palate, thus allowing you to thoroughly enjoy each lovely morsel of taco goodness.

♫♪♫Austin Cho you taste so good!♫♪♫

♫♪♫Austin Cho you taste so good!♫♪♫

Next up was The Austin Cho, a Smoked Brisket sandwich topped with Fatboy Sauce and Smoked Kimchi. According to Kimchi Smoke’s website this is their most popular sandwich and it is easy to see why. Kimchi Smoke’s Brisket is the LeBron James of smoked meats, it is not only the best there is, it makes every other thing around it better. The smoked kimchi and Fatboy Sauce may not be the star of this show, but their presence is felt, and even better, tasted throughout the experience. Even the lowly scallion, which on most sandwiches is merely a garnish, is lifted to another level by this magical meat.

I love Ribs. Riby, Ribs, Ribs. Here it goes down, down into my belly...

I love Ribs. Riby, Ribs, Ribs. Here it goes down, down into my belly…

Brisket may be the most difficult meat to smoke (TWSS), but the holy grail of the BBQ world, is the one and only pork rib. Before you send me hate mail, read the disclaimer above once more and in the immortal words of Aaron Rodgers  R-E-L-A-X. Ribs exemplify barbecue in a way that no other meat can. There is something primal and oddly satisfying about eating a hunk of smoky goodness off a charred bone. The flavor, the feeling, the lack of utensils embody what BBQ is all about, and each and every time I sink my teeth into any kind of rib, I fall in love with Barbecue all over again. What I am trying to say is, if brisket is Lebron, then ribs are John Cusack holding a boom box over his head.

Kimchi Smoke’s Championship Ribs are covered with Karis Dust, hickory smoked to perfection for 4-6 hours, and then slathered with Fatboy glaze. They have just the right texture, meaning they are bite off the bone, not fall off the bone, and the flavor…Ohhhh the flavor. I could write poetry about these ribs. Come to think of it, I will. Roses are red, Violets are blue, Flowers aren’t ribs, MMM Ribs Woo Hoo!

Brisket and Bacon and Donuts oh my. Brisket and Bacon and Donuts oh my. Brisket and Bacon and Donuts oh my.

Brisket and Bacon and Donuts oh my. Brisket and Bacon and Donuts oh my. Brisket and Bacon and Donuts oh my.

Once we licked all the rib sauce off our digits, we set our sights on our dessert, the Chonut. The aforementioned, pièce de résistance, is a must try for Kimchi Smoke virgins. To reiterate, this magnificent beast, is a Smoked Brisket sandwich topped with Smoked Kimchi, Cheese and Bacon all resting on a glorious glazed Donut! Before I had this sandwich, I was skeptical, but now that I have tasted it, if it ceases to exist a small piece of my soul with die with it.

You hear that Rob, don’t kill a piece of my soul, keep rocking the Chonut. Furthermore, you as readers of this blog should go forth to Kimchi Smoke to not only experience some of the best barbecue in the Tri-state area, but to save what little soul I have left.  I assure you, you will not be disappointed!

We Love Hangi! A.K.A. So You Want to Put Your Meat In a Hole

Once a year, in the backwoods of Sussex County, an invite-only Pig Roast occurs that is so fucking epic it is known throughout the State as “The Pig Roast.” This soiree is an underground four-day foodie fiasco that includes bands, pot luck style dining, drinks of all kinds, a gigantic Pig roasted on a spit, and experimental food preparation.

THE PIG ROAST

THE PIG ROAST

I have had the distinct and greatly appreciated privilege to attend this event for the past two years. This year, however, my connection to the gathering wanted to prepare something special for the party and asked me if I wanted to assist him in this endeavor. Attending this affair is one thing, but cooking, on a large scale, is a whole other level of crazy. You see, some of the best and most eclectic amateur and professional chefs in the area ascend the mountains of New Jersey to concoct dishes that are not only tremendously appetizing but also prepared in exotic and daunting techniques, so when my cohort dropped the bomb that we might cook, I was wondering what the hell he was smoking.

Three Days of Pigs, Love, and Music.

Three Days of Pigs, Love, and Music

With a smile on his face, he asked me bluntly, “What do you know about Hangi?”

Thinking my friend was in trouble, I immediately asked him if he smelled burnt toast. He retorted that he was not having a stroke, and that Hangi was the New Zealand method of cooking in an Earth Oven.

I was intrigued, fascinated, damn near titillated about this unique cooking method, and I immediately signed onto the google machine to find out more.   Sure as shit, Hangi is a traditional New Zealand Māori (Indigenous New Zealanders) method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a damn hole in the ground.

From that moment on, we began to hash this plan out over the course of the next month. It seemed like every time we had a pint in our hands the conversation would switch to Hangi. We read articles, watched Youtube clips, scoured the internets, and even asked Reddit for help in the form of a post on R/NewZealand. It appears the old adage, “the best ideas are imagined in the minds of the sober, but it takes some lubrication to implement them,” is correct.

What started as half a joke, had now consumed us. We were going to put down a Hangi at The Pig Roast, and we were going to do it fucking right!

Don't sue me!

Don’t sue me!

Listen closely as this is as close as I get to a disclaimer. I am a fucking American, so this is in no way a definitive guide to Hangi. Furthermore, if any of you try this at home, please use common sense considering not only are you playing with fire, but you are playing with fire, next to a hole full of 1200 degree bricks! With that said, I hope this illustrated guide will give you a general idea of what cooking with an Earth Oven is all about. A huge thanks to the many Reddit users that assisted me in this endeavor, especially MurrayMcScurrilous.

The following is a list of the materials you will need for this endeavor, and I will explain each one in detail so you don’t fuck shit up! Pay attention, some of the details will make the difference between meat that gives you an orgasm and meat that gives you an organism. Don’t worry after the list of shit you need, I will explain how the whole thing comes to together.

Meat me at the Hangi pit

Meat Me at The Hangi Pit

Meat: There are a few things to consider here. How much meat you will need will of course depend on how many freeloading friends you have invited to your shindig, and whether or not they eat like birds or Joey Chestnut sitting outside a Nathans.

Another very important element is the type of meat that you choose to bury in your pit of awesome sauce. We did two Pork Shoulders, two Beef Rump Roasts, and two Whole Chickens. Honestly, you can throw what the fuck you want in the hole, but I would stick to boneless meats that contain a lot of collagen.

*Note (Even though we tried the Chicken, and it wasn’t half bad, it was not the best and was slightly under cooked, requiring us to cook it further on a grill. Since the whole idea of you reading this fucking thing is to learn from our stupidity, do yourself a favor and replace the chicken with Boneless Lamb, you and your guests will be happier.)

Why did the potatoes argue? Because they could never see eye to eye.

Why did the potatoes argue? Because they could never see eye to eye.

Vegetables: To be honest, no one walked past our table that night and said, “Oh shit look at those vegetables” or “Dude, I want to dip my balls in those carrots.” However, it is tradition in New Zealand to cook vegetables with the meat when putting down a Hangi, so if you want to experience the whole shebang, you should use the likes of potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and carrots. Stay away from anything that would disintegrate in say a stew or a chili.

Clean Cabbage Is The Best Cabbage.

Clean Cabbage Is The Best Cabbage

Cabbage: This is used in place of the traditional banana leaves because it is what we can find in the states. You will use it to wrap the meat and to line the baskets so buy enough to do both jobs. Shit, buy some extra fucking cabbage it is $0.59 cents a pound, you cheap fuck.

Wrap it up be!

Wrap it up be!

Aluminum Foil: My Comrade and I had delusions of grandeur of rocking the Hangi ol’ school until we talked to some real life Kiwis. They told us that we would be dumber than a sheep in heat, if we did not use Aluminum Foil to wrap our meat rather than the traditional plant leaves and mutton cloth. Neither of us were 100% sure on the meaning of this insult, but we understood the context clues in the sentence enough to know that we would be wrapping all of our food in this food science wunderkind and so should you.

Warning!  Dropping a Hangi can make you a Basket Case.

Warning! Dropping a Hangi can make you a Basket Case.

Baskets: Considering if you are reading this you are from the States, you will most likely have the same issues as we had in acquiring Hangi Baskets. Apparently in New Zealand, you can run to the corner store and buy these fucking integral apparatuses, but here in America, you will have to be industrious and build your own. These baskets will have to hold all the meat and vegetables and will have to withstand a tremendous amount of heat so don’t skimp. We fashioned ours out of Chafing Dish Frames and NON-GALVANIZED Chicken Wire.

*Note (Notice the CAPITAL LETTERS IN THE PREVIOUS SENTENCE. For all of you that are internet disabled, that means I was yelling those fucking words. Galvanized metal will make people sick, and you don’t want to kill any of your friends, so don’t be a douche and buy the right chicken wire.)

Hole in one!

Hole in one!

Hole/Pit/Earth Oven:   Most people think the first step to laying a Hangi is crafting the hole that will act as your Earth Oven. HEY YOU! STOP! COME BACK HERE! Damn A.D.D. generation. Don’t just grab a shovel and rip up your Wives’ begonias… that right there is how divorces happen. In this case, much like penises, SIZE MATTERS!

Your Hangi hole size should be directly proportionate to the size of your baskets, the amount of food you are making, and the size of your stones. The larger the Ho’ the harder it will be to heat it. According to my extremely helpful New Zealand Hangi brethren, a solid hole should be deep enough to fit the Hangi Paraphernalia listed above, as wide as the bottom of the baskets and slightly flair out to the sides, similar to a wok.

Much like real estate the key to Hangi is, Location, Location, Location!

Much like real estate the key to Hangi is, Location, Location, Location!

Location: The pit should be on flat ground for the safety of both the meat and yourselves. Remember, you are going to be maneuvering/running around it carrying scolding hot bricks and eventually reaching into it to retrieve heavy stuff.   Pay attention to the wind in the area of your pit too, rain is tolerable, but wind is the enemy of your Hangi.

Pick a tool, any tool!

Pick a tool, any tool!

Shovel: I suggest at least three of these bitches, unless you want to do all the heavy lifting yourself. You will need this ever important tool for digging the hole, carrying the stones, burying the meat, and unearthing your buried meat treasure.

USE THE RIGHT STONES!!!

USE THE RIGHT STONES!!!

Fire Bricks: THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!! You will be heating these sons of a bitches to well over 1000 degrees, and if you do not pick the right stones, they will explode sending white hot shards of stone in every direction if you don’t want a money shot full of lava, pay the fuck attention!

One is supposed to lay down a Hangi using volcanic rocks and in New Zealand finding these is like finding a douche at the Jersey Shore. Unfortunately, we have douches a plenty, but we lack volcanic rocks. Once again we had to improvise. We decided to use fireplace bricks which are designed to endure a massive amount of heat without making us all look like JPP’s mangled hand stump.

In the immortal words of Beavis... FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!

In the immortal words of Beavis… FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!

Fire: I am not talking about a tiny little city fire either! I am talking about a ragin’, big ol’, country fire. This fire will have to fit all of your stones and burn for about 3-5 hours.

Hangi gives me wood!

Hangi gives me wood!

Wood: You are going to need more wood than Ron Jeremy on a four day binge of snorting Cialis and Viagra so act like a Boy Scout, and Be Fucking Prepared!  

Burlap sections

Burlap sections

Burlap: You can find spools of this material at Walmart or Home Depot. It is used to separate the layers of the Hangi and to add moisture to the mix.

Insert Cheesy Joke Here!

Insert Cheesy Joke Here!

Cheese Cloth: Enough to cover each of your baskets.

Let's Do This!

Let’s Do This!

Bucket: You will need at least one bucket to soak the burlap sheets in which will allow the burlap not to burn and add extra moisture to the process.

Yous a hose!

Yous a hose!

Garden Hose: This is optional, but you will need to moisten the Hangi hole one way or another, and a source of water is never a bad thing to have handy when you are playing with fire.

Some say Summer is the best season, I say the best season is Hangi season!

Some say Summer is the best season, I say the best season is Hangi season!

Seasoning: Since you found this page, you have no doubt been bouncing around the interwebs in search of guidance on how to season the meat that you are about to bury in the earth. I was surprised to find that most websites simply don’t talk about this element of the process. However, upon speaking to many people that have participated in Hangi before I soon found out why. New Zealand has some weird ass herbs and spices that you or I have never fucking heard of. For example, Piko Piko, Piri Piri, Kawa Kawa, and Horopito.

Furthermore, we found that most Hangi meat is simply seasoned with a little bit of canola oil, salt and pepper. We decided to add a little ‘Merica into this bitch, and concoct seasoning rubs for each of our meats that we felt would not only taste fantastic but give a slight nod to the Mauri people by adding as many fresh herbs and spices we could get our hand on.

A-Roid would like this part

A-Roid would like this part

Marinades: We toiled and labored over the keyboard to find the perfect marinades for our meat, only to find out that wet marinades are horrible for Hangi, which makes sense since we are essentially cooking with steam. However, not to be deterred, we decided to use injectable marinades instead, which we did the night before, and let the juices sink into the lovely meat overnight while chillin’ out maxin’ and relaxin’ in the fridge.

Cheers to good times and good friends

Cheers to good times and good friends

Friends: In New Zealand they are called Mates, in America we call them friends, and you are going to need a lot of them. Putting a Hangi down is a social\team event from start to finish, and believe me, the more the merrier!

Who you choose might be your down fall!

Who you choose might be your down fall!

Foreman: Most likely if you are reading this, you have already assumed this role, but this is a must for a successful Hangi. This does not give you the license to be a dick, but as I will explain the last step, putting down a Hangi is intense and time sensitive. Decisions will have to be made that will affect the outcome of the food, and these decisions should not be questioned because those questions will eat away precious seconds.

Sit, Ubu, Sit.  Good Dog.

Sit, Ubu, Sit. Good Dog.

Seats: What are you going to do? Stand up for 12 hours?

Be Responsible You Jerks!

Be Responsible You Jerks!

Beer: Every single guide I read and person I talked to clearly stated that beer in some quantity or style was an absolute must when you are laying down a Hangi. Be responsible though, you are playing with insanely hot shit and the fate of the food lies solely on your shoulders.

Protection is important!

Protection is important!

Gloves: Holy Fuck the fire pit gets hot, and you are going to need some gloves. Not gardening gloves either you wanker. Get yourself some diesel BBQ gloves or even better Fireman gloves!

Saucey... Sauce... Sauce... I Love Sauce!

Saucey… Sauce… Sauce… I Love Sauce!

Sauce: I love sauce like Ron Burgundy loves Scotch, so I put sauce on EVERYTHING. If you are looking for a traditional sauce, I will include an amazing recipe at the very end of this tutorial; however, you can use any sauce that you think will taste good with the meat you selected.

Dirt Holder

Dirt Holder

Wheel Barrel: This will hold the dirt that you remove from the ground, so you can dump that shit back in the hole when the time comes. Remember time is of the essence, so this will come in handy later.

Pick a wood!  Any wood!

Pick a wood! Any wood!

Mesquite or Hickory Wood Chunks: These pieces of wood will be added to the whole after the bricks to add a bit of good ol’ fashioned smoke flavor.

Don't sleep on the Hangi

Don’t sleep on the Hangi

Step 1

The Meetup: Wake up really fucking early and meet up with your Hangi Homies. Make sure you have all your gear, a box of Joe, a cooler full of solid craft beer, and set up your seats.

Building a big ol' fire

Building a big ol’ fire

Step 2

The Fire: This ain’t Naked and Afraid, and the fire needs to be hotter than Ronda Rousey and bigger than Chris Christie so use as many fire starters as you need. To paraphrase Jim Morrison, come on baby light your fire.

Just keep digging, just keep digging!

Just keep digging, just keep digging!

Step 3

Can You Dig It: While a few of your mates tend the fire, grab a few others and start digging. By now I hope you have already scoped out the location of the pit and planned the dimensions, so this should be as simple as scooping the dirt out of the ground and into the wheel barrel.

In the immortal words of Beavis... FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!

Use your Tetris skills here!

Step 4

Burn Those Bricks: Strategically place your bricks or stones into your now hopefully roaring fire. Your friends always said that all those years of playing Tetris instead of banging chicks and getting drunk were a waste of time, but now is your chance to show off your skills. BE CAREFUL!!! Use gloves and tools if necessary to stack the bricks in the fire. Now that your bricks have been placed in the hell fire you created, drink some beers, and take a breather. You need to get the bricks stupid hot, so they will sit in the fire for between 4 to 6 hours depending on the stones and the size of your fire. Just remember to tend the fire and make sure your bricks don’t fall out.

We can build it, we can make it stronger.

We can build it, we can make it stronger.

Step 5

Basket Weaving 101: Now that your hole is all holey and your bricks are on the barbi, it is time to turn your attention to your meat holders. If you found something that will work without any tweaking, more power to you, but if you need to build the DIY version, now is the time. All you have to do is wrap the chicken wire around the Chafing Dish trays and connect the two of them by folding the end of the wire over the frame. *NOTE* You might want to use gloves during this step too, Chicken Wire is sharper than your douchey cats nails, and you will poke yourself a lot.

It's Peelin' Time

It’s Peelin’ Time

Step 6

Peel Out: When you have about an hour left of cooking time on your bricks, you should start peeling and cutting your veggies. Before you start peeling them though, remove your meat from the fridge and place it to the side. Peel everything and cut the vegetables into large chunks, not too small so they fall apart, but small enough to allow them to cook. I know that is pretty fucking vague but stop your whining, I told you this shit ain’t scientific, you are cooking in a hole for fucks sake.

Rub your meat!  Rub it real good!

Rub your meat! Rub it real good!

Step 7

Rub Your Meat: Unwrap your meat and rub it down like a 16 year old that just found porn hub. Make sure to cover every square inch of your fleshy dead animal.

Wrap it up!

Wrap it up!

Step 8

Wrap it up: Pretend you are about to score with a Las Vegas hooker and triple bag your meat and Veggies. Wrap it first in your cabbage leaves and then in two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. Don’t be a fucktard and use some bull shit off brand aluminum foil either! Remember the foil will protect your food from the pile of earth you will throw on it in about 15 minutes so don’t be cheap!

The wetter the better!

The wetter the better!

Step 9

Soak Your Sacks and Wood: Throw your large burlap cuts, your cheese cloth, and your wood chunks into a big pot of water and let them soak for approximately one beer.

Stacks on Stacks!

Stacks on Stacks!

Step 10:

Meat and Veggie Jenga: Place your meat on the bottom of the baskets and the veggies on top. Make sure that everything is stable because you will have to maneuverer these bitches in the hole and then out again.

The Calm Before The Storm!

The Calm Before The Storm!

Step 11:

Final Preparation: This shit is about to get real and now is the time to go over your plan one more time with your team and bring everything over to your Hangi hole. This is your last chance to make everything just right before you take the first stone out of the fire and the clock starts ticking, so don’t fuck shit up.

GO TEAM HANGI!!!

GO TEAM HANGI!!!

Step 12:

GO TEAM GO: Time is of the essence!

  1. Use a hose or a bucket to wet the hole slightly. Don’t make a puddle, you are not making soup, just add enough to dampen the dirt.
  2. Transfer all the bricks into the pit faster than an eight ball disappears during a bachelor party. Use your shovel and your gloves because those stones are going to be hot as fuck, and don’t just throw them in all willy-nilly either, you are going to need a flat surface to place your baskets on.
  3. Throw the chunks of wood on top and around your stones.
  4. Put the baskets on top.
  5. Place the Cheese Cloth on top of the baskets.
  6. Throw some dirt on the sides of the pit to protect your stones from touching the layer of burlap that will go on top.
  7. Place a layer of wet burlap on top of the baskets. Don’t let the burlap touch the stones or it will burn and ruin the flavor of your Hangi.
  8. Add some more dirt to the pit and fill it up about half way.
  9. Add the second layer of burlap.
  10. Pile the dirt into the hole and seal it up tight. The rule here is, NO STEAM CAN ESCAPE! Keep adding dirt until you no longer see any steam wafting from your Hangi Pit.
  11. Place the last burlap sheet on top of the hole and exchange several high fives.
Hang on Hangi we are almost done!

Hang on Hangi we are almost done!

Step 13

Mind the Gap: Now that your food is in the pit, the craziness is over. Stay close though because as your food cooks you may need to tend to the Hangi Hole. As the magic happens, the dirt in the hole may shift, and some steam may try to escape. If this happens, immediately cover that spot with more dirt.

Boom!

Boom!

Step 14

Low and Slow: As I stated earlier, I am just a stupid American, and I have only done this once so as far as cooking time goes, your guess is as good as mine. I let mine cook for about five hours, and it came out awesome, I checked each cut with a thermometer, and I suggest you do the same. Best case scenario, everything comes out epic. Worst case scenario, you have to throw your Hangi in the oven for a few to complete the cooking, but at least everyone will be alive at the end of this experience.

I did not get a picture of us making the sauce.  Fucking Deal With It!

I did not get a picture of us making the sauce. Fucking Deal With It!

Step 15

Make the Sauce: If you are making the sauce I mentioned earlier, and you fucking should because it is pretty damn amazing, now is the time. Follow the directions and improvise as you see fit.

X marks the spot!

X marks the spot!

Step 16

Dig up Your Buried Treasure: The nice thing about the burlap cuts is that you can slowly lift them out of your hole to remove layers of the dirt that you threw on top of your baskets. Be careful stabbing your shovels into the ground as you don’t want to hit your meat. Ruin your Hangi at this stage would be a catastrophe. Once you hit pay dirt, use your gloves to remove the baskets from the hole and bring them to your carving station.

THAT IS FUCKING PORK!!!

Hangi Ninjas

Step 17

The Moment Of Truth: Unwrap your first cut of meat and stab that bitch with a thermometer. If you are rocking a Hangi I assume you are not a novice chef, so make sure your meat is cooked to a safe temp and then start carving. Carve and plate all the meat and the vegetables.

Our first Hangi!

Our first Hangi!

Step 18

Sit your ass down to a true New Zealand Mauri FEAST!!! You are fucking welcome!

Hangi WIN!!!!

Hangi WIN!!!!

Our Hangi Slideshow

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 Our Hangi Video

The Maori Sauce Recipe

2 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Onion

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

1 Cup Chili Sauce

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 ½ Teaspoons Garlic Powder

½ Teaspoon White Pepper

¼ Cup Pineapple Juice

1 Small Bay Leaf

¾ Cup honey

1 Cup Tomato Sauce

½ Teaspoon Salt

2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

1 ½ Teaspoon Chili Powder

1 Tablespoon BBQ Spice

1 ½ Teaspoon Liquid Smoke

1 Tablespoon White Vinegar

 

Sauté onion in vegetable oil until golden brown. Combine with remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about an hour. Makes three cups.

The Evolution Of Morris Tap & Grill

Most restaurateurs and Chefs are content with resting on their laurels and patting themselves on the back about past successes. They use their meteoric rise in the foodie subculture as an excuse to become soft and complacent. These actions cause most of them to quickly fall from the pedestal they have placed themselves on and return back to the middle of the pack as they are replaced by hungry young culinary minds, eager to prove their worth.

Luckily for the New Jersey food scene, Chef Eric Levine has never been this kind of Chef. Since the beginning of his career, he has knocked down one barrier after another, barely pausing to bask in the greatness of his accomplishment.

Chef Eric traveled the world gathering culinary techniques at every turn. He worked in France, Italy, and Japan at world-renowned restaurants alongside of highly acclaimed Chefs before returning to his hometown of New York City to become Chef de Cuisine at the famed Marriott Marquis in New York City.

Was this enough for Chef Eric? Nope! Chef Eric continued to take the restaurant world by storm collecting accolades like Justin Bieber accumulates haters. In 2011, Chef Eric appeared on Food Network’s Chopped and his personality and talent left the competition on the chopping block, as he was declared the champion.

Morris Tap & Grill

Morris Tap & Grill

This illustrious victory was parlayed into the opening of Morris Tap & Grill located at 500 Route 10 in Randolph, NJ. Chef Eric busted into the New Jersey Restaurant scene with reckless abandon offering an innovative menu paired with a beer list that could make a Cicerone weep.

Still not satiated, this gastronomic juggernaut refused to take his foot off the pedal. As Morris Tap & Grill was creating a name for itself in the Pantheon of New Jersey eateries, Chef Eric and #TeamKickAss opened up Paragon Tap & Table located at 77 Central Avenue in Clark, NJ.

One would think that operating two of New Jersey’s top restaurants would earn Chef Eric a reason to sit back, relax, and watch his hard work simply flourish. If this is your thought, you apparently don’t know Mr. Levine.

Instead of allowing his establishments to become stale in the ever-so finicky restaurant market, Chef Eric immersed himself in his passion once again and decided to unveil a new menu at his flagship restaurant Morris Tap & Grill.

Last week, Kat and I were fortunate enough to be invited to Morris Tap as Chef Eric’s guests amongst several other writers, bloggers, and foodies to taste the exciting offerings that will populate the new menu, which is only one aspect of the evolution of Morris Tap & Grill.

Wasabi, Truffle, and BBQ Oh MY!

Wasabi, Truffle Butter, and BBQ Oh MY!

The first course we were introduced to was the Trio of Popcorn appetizer that featured three unique and fun flavors that are not usually associated with this movie theater staple. Barbecue, Wasabi, and Truffle Butter seasoning topped the perfectly popped kernels of corn that made Orville Redenbacher’s old school offerings taste like stale matzo. This casual yet witty preparation breathed new life into a forgotten dish, creating a boldly flavored appetizer ideal for the barroom hero that has refined his palate since shotgunning PBRs in a college dorm room.

As I was daydreaming of Magnitude from Community reciting his famous line, “Pop! Pop!” about the trio, Chef Eric hit us with the second course of the night, a tempura fried broccoli and asparagus platter paired with crispy carrot shavings and a scallion ginger dipping sauce.

I will dream of these carrot shavings and it might not be the driest dream I have ever had.

I will dream of these carrot shavings and it might not be the driest dream I have ever had.

I am not usually one to rock appetizers, but this dish very well may convert me. The tempura battered veggies were light, crunchy, and flavorful, and when combined with the dipping sauce, it created a party in my mouth. However, the true star of this plate was the deep fried carrot tidbits that flawlessly walked the line between salty and sweet. Not only was this dish enormously tasty due to the fact that it was mostly comprised of vegetables, it made me feel like I was trying to eat healthy.

Up next was the Smoked Shrimp paired with a Fennel salad topped with a garlic pesto dressing. Chef Eric informed us that the new menu is littered with items that will be prepared via the in-house smoker that will be cranking at damn near full tilt around the clock.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em!

Smoke ’em if you got ’em!

When most people think about smoked dishes, images of heavy, sauce-laden entrees like ribs, brisket, and pork shoulder immediately come to mind. As we discussed earlier, Chef Eric is not like most people, and therefore, this avant-garde offering was a welcome change to this thought process.

I thoroughly enjoyed the delicate smoke flavor that was imparted on the shrimp that was finished on the grill. Furthermore, the fennel topped with a pesto garlic sauce, which boasted a hint of chili oil, was a flawless and healthy substitute for the traditional pasta that would be served with a dish like this.

Mmmmmmm Buttery!

Mmmmmmm Buttery!

If this expertly prepared Shrimp was not enough to solidify our opinion on Chef Eric’s seafood skill, the next course dropped the hammer. The next offering was Seared Scallops served on top of a Corn Risotto. Separately these components were magical, but when married together, each forkful was simply divine. The buttery scallops combined with the creamy risotto were a better match than Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski.

At this point in the tasting, my cohorts and I were feeling as if we were a Thanksgiving Turkey in the 1960’s…Stuffed! Some of us were even thinking about waiving the white towel and tapping out, that is until the next dish hit our tables. A beautifully presented braised oxtail entrée that was served on an herb crostini paired with a chorizo sausage and poblano cream topped corn pudding.

This dish had it all!  I could eat this everyday.

I could marry this dish!

This was by far my favorite meal of the night! The Oxtail was prepared in the traditional fashion, which allows the fatty nature of the meat to deliver an immense flavor and a wonderful texture. I was under the impression that after shoveling a few pieces of the oxtail into my craw, nothing was going to compete with the amount of happy my taste-buds were experiencing, but then I tried the corn pudding and chorizo tag team, which conveyed a spicy, sweet juxtaposition that was delightful.

This dish could be my Mistress.  Shhhhh don't tell the Oxtail!

This dish could be my Mistress. Shhhhh… don’t tell the Oxtail!

Just when I thought Chef Eric could not top the previous meal, the House Cured Pork Belly and Tomatillo Salad was brought to the party. When reviewing my notes for this dish, I noticed that I wrote three words that I still feel describes this dish flawlessly, “Holy Hot Damn!” This was Kat’s favorite, and I can see why. The tomatillo salad was exquisitely spicy and the House Cured Pork Belly was nothing short of perfection.

So sweet and yummy!

So sweet and yummy!

The crew at Morris Tap & Grill wowed us all with their innovative, fun, and playful new culinary creations that would soon grace their everyday lineup all night, and just when we thought we were done, dessert was served. A Caramel Trio concoction composed of caramel chocolate mousse, caramel cake, and a chocolate bar topped with dulce de leche and a play on a traditional Mirepoix, served as a Dessert, featuring carrot cake, fig onion marmalade, and a lichee sorbet hit the table. Although both desserts were great, I am a sucker for chocolate and caramel and therefore this dish reigned supreme in the dessert round!

MTG Mirepoix

Go ahead you can look up WTF a Mirepoix is… I had to.

If the 1300 or so words of praise that I just spewed on this page combined with the crap load of food porn that I uploaded don’t sway you to visit Morris Tap & Grill, maybe this last little bit of information will. MT&G is also adding several original cocktails that were created by a serious mixologist to their already insane craft beer list. Perhaps you are a math person instead of a verbose foodie like me, so let me explain it in a way that you might understand. AMAZING FOOD + TOP FLIGHT BOOZE = SHEER AMAZEBALLS

Regulars at Morris Tap & Grill should refrain from mourning the death of the classic dishes they have grown to love over the years. Chef Eric ensured us that these new menu items would not replace the crowd-pleasing fare that Morris Tappers have been enjoying since the restaurants inception. However, I implore each and every one of you to give these contemporary meals a whirl next time you decide to visit MT&G. Just please don’t take my reservation!

Morris Tap and Grill on Urbanspoon

The Ultimate 2015 NYC Restaurant Week Survival Guide

NYC Restaurant Week

Well, it is that time of year again folks. Old man winter is being his normal douchebag self and the rich folk are hibernating or vacationing. We can all put on our Grumpy Cat sweat shirts, hunker down in our houses, and hate them as hard as Yankee fans will soon hate A-Roid or we can embrace one of the few perks that accompanies this frigid season.

Since this is a food blog it should be quite obvious that I am referring to the bi-annual event known as Restaurant Week. From February 16, 2015 until March 6, 2015 we, the commoners, can dine like royalty for a fraction of the normal damage that these heavy-weight gastronomic contenders would normally do to our wallets.

Instead of bills that are larger than the New York Mets budget for 2015, if you visit one of the 340 restaurants that are participating in Restaurant Week this year (The most ever by the way), you will only pay $25.00 for Lunch and $38.00 for Dinner. To make things even better, those prices include an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert.

As with everything else in life, you should always be wary of deals that sound too good to be true, and there are a few things one should know before you venture out to the great city of Gotham, in search of foodie gold.

1: Friends Don’t Let Friends Binge Drink and Dine

This ain’t college anymore Jockey Mc. FratPants. At this fine establishments the hooch is expensive and the fare is skillfully seasoned. If you still answer to a nickname such as Drunk Tom, The Slutbuster, or Senor Tequila, this event may not be for you.

Furthermore, if you are from New Jersey you are probably used to BYOB establishments that help alleviate the cost of dining out at most local restaurants. In New York, however, liquor licenses are easier to get than the internet clap from a torrent file. The liquor bill at these eateries can quickly and inadvertently surpass the price of the food, thus negating the savings you expected. I suggest meeting your party at a local bar in the neighborhood for a little pregame, drinking a moderately priced wine with your meal, and then finding an inexpensive night cap location before heading out of the city.

2: Do Your Homework

With 340 restaurants to choose from, follow the phrase, “know before you go.” A restaurant that is participating in Restaurant Week but does not display a menu on their website is not an automatic no, but it does raise a red flag. Think of your Tinder account here guys, would you meet that random horny cougar without at least seeing her slightly blurry, ten year old photo that was taken from an angle that only the Hubble telescope could actually capture. In other words, do your research and you will not be disappointed.

3: Suit-Up…Maybe

A lot of these establishments have a dress code and these rules are strictly enforced. You are not going to White Castle after a Tigerman show at the Clash Bar. Always check the website of the eatery of your choosing to find out what the required level of dress is for both males and females. I love jeans and a t-shirt, but nothing is worse than arriving at one of these restaurants with your lovely significant other in tow and being turned away at the door because you are rocking the wrong gear.

4: Arrive On Time

Most of the participating restaurants add extra tables and bring on additional servers for this epic event because they are booked solid for the entire duration of Restaurant Week. This means if you are late for your reservation they will give your table away without a second thought. The excuses that normally work at most eateries, simply won’t fly. Telling a New Yorker you got stuck in traffic will get you as much sympathy as telling your girlfriend that you cheated on her because you were drunk, and you thought you were playing the bongos on her ass. Do yourself a favor and get a late reservation so your on-time arrival is guaranteed and you can get your pregame on properly.

5: Eat Outside Your Comfort Zone

Restaurant Week is all about expanding your culinary aptitude and foodie street cred. This is not the time to order a safe meal that you can acquire at any old eatery. In other words go big or don’t go at all. I assure you, everything you eat at these restaurants is going to taste good, so why not try the grilled octopus instead of the Caesar salad or perhaps order the Foie Gras as opposed to the French Onion Soup. Your Instagram followers and your belly will thank you.

Since the number of restaurants that are involved in Restaurant Week can be slightly intimidating, I have decided to do you a solid. I have scoured through this year’s participants and have chosen what I consider to be the best of the best. The following are The Blue Collar Foodie’s Top Picks for each most of the culinary styles that appear on this massive list. This is by no means an all inclusive list and if you are a seasoned NYCRW veteran, I urge you to explore the directory on your own. However, if you are new to this game these are a few of the restaurants that will impress even the most persnickety epicurean.

American New

Park Avenue Winter

Park Avenue WinterWhere:

360 Park Ave. South (Park Av So/26 St)

Manhattan, NY 10010

212-644-1900

http://www.parkavenyc.com

Why:

This trendy eatery changes its name, design, and menu along with the seasons. Even if you were to eat at this spot four times a year, you would never get bored.

What:

Appetizer: Steak Tartare Rossini Foie Gras & Black Truffle ($5 supplement)

Entrée: Everything-Crusted Branzino with Smoked Cream Cheese and Pickled Onions

Dessert: Salted Pistachio Sundae with Orange Marmalade and Dark Chocolate Caramel

American Traditional

21 Club

21 ClubWhere:

21 West 52nd Street

New York, NY 10019

(212) 582-7200

http://www.21club.com/

Why:

Once a Pimp Ass speakeasy, this now upscale restaurant is not only celebrated but it is a celebrity favorite as well. If you are a TMZ fan, this one is for you. Some of the A-listers that have dined at this spot include; Harrison Ford, Bill Fucking Murray, Bill and Melinda Gates, Bo Jackson, Ernest Hemingway, and Frank Sinatra. Hell, the last time I ate at the 21 we were sitting two tables away from Geraldo Rivera and his super stashe.

*DRESS CODE: No jeans or sneakers. Jackets are necessary for gentlemen.

What:

Appetizer: Head-On Maya Prawn – Tomato Eggplant Chutney, Picholine Olives, Lemon Preserve, Chili Oil

Entrée: Lamb Bolognese – Garganelli Pasta, Roasted Tomatoes, Basil, Chili Flakes, Manchego

Dessert: Caramel Banana Sundae – Cookies and Cream Ice Cream, Whiskey Caramel, Banana Slices

Asian Fusion

Spice Market

Spice MarketWhere:

403 W. 13th St. (13 St/9 Av)

Manhattan, NY 10014

212-675-2322

www.spicemarketnewyork.com

Why:

This Meatpacking District gem focuses on Asian inspired street food the Chef fell in love with while traveling throughout South East Asia.  

What:

Appetizer: Soy Cured Salmon with Cilantro Crème Fraiche

Entrée: Roast Pork Steamed Buns with Yuzu Pickles and Chili

Dessert: Sweet Potato Ice Cream with Pomegranate and Condensed Milk

Brazilian

Fogo de Chão Churrascaria Brazilian Steakhouse

Fogo de ChaoWhere:

40 W. 53rd St. (53 St/6 Av)

Manhattan, NY 10019

212-969-9980

www.fogodechao.com

Why:

Fogo de Chão is a Churrascaria. In English, that roughly translates to MEAT! Holy Hot Damn, MEAT Everywhere! With unlimited trips to the salad bar, bread and side dishes served at the table, and endless cuts of Sirloin, Leg of Lamb, Pork Sausage, Pork Ribs, Pork Loin, and Chicken Breast wrapped in Bacon you better wear your buffet pants.

What:  

EVERYTHING YOU GLUTTONOUS BEAUTIFUL BASTARD!!!!

Chinese

Hakkasan New York

Hakkasan New YorkWhere:

311 W. 43rd St. (43 St/8 Av)

Manhattan, NY 10036

212-776-1818

www.hakkasan.com

Why:

It is one of only a few Restaurant Week Participants that is rocking a coveted Michelin star.

What:

Appetizer: Hakka Fried Dim Sum Platter – Sesame Prawn Toast with Foie Gras, Crispy Fried Prawn Dumpling with Plum Sauce

Entrée: Tofu, Aubergine and Shiitake Mushroom Clay Pot with Chili Black Bean Sauce

Dessert: Mango Parfait – Pink grapefruit & Szechuan Sorbet with Coconut Dacquoise

Continental
Petrossian

petrossianWhere:

182 W. 58th St. (58 St/7 Av)

Manhattan, NY 10019

212-245-2214

www.petrossian.com

Why:

If you are looking to impress, this is the spot to take that someone special. Quiet, extravagant, and romantic are adjectives that have been used to describe this French influenced foodie haven. I am usually against a large supplement cost but Petrossian is so well known for their Caviar, I suggest you shell out the extra $12 bucks and eat some serious Fish Eggs.

What:
Appetizer: Transmontanus USA farmed caviar 12 g presentation ($ 12.00 supplement)

Entrée: Pan Roasted West Coast Sturgeon with Cauliflower Ribs, Zucchini Pearls, and Stewed Eggplant

Dessert: Flourless Chocolate Mousse Cake

French

Benoit Restaurant & Bar

BENOIT NYCWhere:

60 W. 55th St. (55 St/6 Av)

Manhattan, NY 10019

646-943-7373

www.benoitny.com

Why:

Since most of us can’t jump on our G6 and float over to Paris any damn time we want, we rarely get to experience an authentic French Bistro. That is until Benoit opened its doors in 2005. The highly touted Chef Alain Ducasse is in charge of the Kitchen and each dish prepared in this classy joint illustrates his immense skill and training.

What:

Appetizer: Escargots

Entrée: Roasted Pork Loin with Creamy Polenta and Prune Sauce

Dessert: Soufflé glace a l’orange

Greek

Kefi

Kefi NYCWhere:

505 Columbus Ave. (Columbus/85)

Manhattan, NY 10024

212-873-0200

www.kefirestaurant.com

Why:

With two huge culinary names involved in this venture, Chef Michael Psilakis and Donatella Arpaia, you know Kefi is going to deliver some serious eats. This is one of the few restaurants I will recommend without seeing the Restaurant Week Menu because that star power holds weight!

What:

Game time decision.

Indian

Junoon

junoon nycWhere:

27 W. 24th St. (24 St/5 Av)

Manhattan, NY 10010

212-490-2100

www.junoonnyc.com

Why:

Junoon means passion and after one visit to this sophisticated Indian restaurant you will understand why they named it that. Junoon is not only gorgeous but it very well may serve the best Indian Cuisine in NYC. Not to mention the fact that it is also a Michelin Star recipient.

What:

Appetizer: Murgh Bhut Jolokia – Chicken Tikka with Spaghetti Squash, Pistachio, and Ghost Chili

Entrée: Kashmiri Rogan Josh – Lamb Shank with Cashew Yogurt Gravy

Dessert: Dark Chocolate Blood Orange Ras Malai Terrine

Italian

Trattoria Il Mulino

Il Mulino Trattoria Where:

36 E. 20th St. (20 St/Park Av So)

Manhattan, NY 10003

212-777-8448

trattoriailmulino.com

Why:

Leaving New Jersey for an Italian joint is like exiting New York City to score a slice of Pizza. If you are however in the mood for Italian, I highly recommend this trendy Trattoria with an industrial twist. This may not look like Uncle Sal’s corner eatery; but this hip, edgy spot knocks out the classics, just like Nonna used to make.

What:

Hipsters don’t post Menus!

Japanese

Nobu Next Door

Nobu Next Door Where:

105 Hudson St. (Hudson/Franklin)

Manhattan, NY 10013

212-334-4445

www.noburestaurants.com

Why:

Much like its sister restaurant Nobu, the fare served at Next Door is world renowned and delightfully prepared. The design and environment of Next Door adds a dash of culture to the overall meal experience that is well worth the wait.  You can try to call ahead but they rarely take reservations.

What:

Appetizer: Black Cod Miso on Limestone Lettuce

Entrée: Assorted Sushi

Dessert: Chef’s selection dessert

Korean

Bann Restaurant and Lounge

Bann NYCWhere:

350 W. 50th Street

New York, NY 10019   (between 8th & 9th Ave)

Phone: (212) 582-4446

http://www.bannrestaurant.com

Why:

You will notice that there are two Korean restaurants that landed on this list. I honestly could not decide which one of these jaw dropping spots to suggest so after a great deal of hemming and hawing, I decided to declare the battle a draw.

Bann, the first of the two, is a unique and interactive restaurant that calls upon your skills as a Chef by allowing you to cook your own meals on their smokeless tabletop grills. Of course, if you are reluctant to participate in this endeavor the actual Chef will prepare your meals for you, because you are lame. The cook your own option at Bann adds an element of fun to your evening and may even cause the members of your group to actually put their cell phones down at the table.

What:

Appetizer: Bossam Bun – Roast Pork Belly, Spicy Daikon, And Sweet Soy on Steamed Buns

Entrée: Korean Barbecue

Dessert: Carrot Cake – Asian Spiced Carrot & Yuja Pineapple Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

Gaonnuri

GaonnuriWhere:

1250 Broadway, 39th fl. (Broadway/32 St)

Manhattan, NY 10001

212-971-9045

http://www.gaonnurinyc.com/authentic_korean_restaurant_nyc/

Why:

Gaonnuri is located in a 39th floor penthouse in Koreatown and offers awe-inspiring views of the greatest city in the world. To be honest, Gaonnuri could serve  McDonald’s in a dining room like this and still make a killing.  However, they choose to serve some of the best Korean Food in the city, only adding to the appeal of this spot.

What:

Appetizer: Bossam – Braised Pork Belly with Kimchi made with Octopus, and Perilla Leaves

Entrée: Duck Breast BBQ

Dessert: Chef’s Choice

Mediterranean

Taboon

taboon NYCWhere:

773 Tenth Ave. (10 Av/53 St)

Manhattan, NY 10019

212-713-0271

http://www.taboononline.com/

Why:

Taboon combines the vibrant spices of the Middle East with the alluring flavors of the Mediterranean to create innovative dishes that will awake your taste buds.   This may not be the most expensive restaurant on the list, but the food they are cooking in their wood fire oven is equal if not better to the big dogs.

What:

Appetizer: Black Tuscan Kale with Feta Cheese, Shaved Fennel, Cucumber, Apple, Sunflower Seeds, Lemon juice, Olive oil and Sumac dressing

Entrée:   Pressed Lamb Belly Moussaka with Tomato and Eggplant Puree, Fingerling Potatoes, and Kashkaval Cheese

Dessert: Silan – Vanilla Ice Cream layered with Puffed Rice and Date Syrup, sprinkled with Caramelized Pistachios & topped with shredded Halva

Mexican

Empellón Taqueria

Empellon TaqueriaWhere:

230 W. 4th St. (W 4 St/10 St)

Manhattan, NY 10014

212-367-0999

www.empellon.com

Why:

Empellón Taqueria opened their doors in 2011 with the intention of treating tacos with a high level of respect and serving them in a fun environment. They have accomplished that mission and then some. If you are a Taco lover, like my wife Kat, this is the spot for you. For all the haters that are reading this thinking, “Tacos can’t be classy,” stuff a burrito in your pie whole and check out the sick menu they are offering for Restaurant Week.

What:

Appetizer: Ceviche – Octopus, Parsnip Pumpkin Seeds, and Salsa Papanteca

Entrée: Shortrib Pastrami Tacos with Pickled Cabbage and Mustard Seed Salsa.

Dessert: Milk Chocolate Flan

Pan-Latin

Yerba Buena

yerba BuenaWhere:

23 Ave. A (Av A/2 St)

Manhattan, NY 10009

212-529-2919

http://www.ybnyc.com/media/yerbabuena.html

Why:

I had a rough time choosing a Pan-Latin representative for my list because I have not visited very many of them in the city. Then I read the menu that Yerba Buena is offering for Restaurant Week and my belly had a foodgasm. I dare you to read the menu and not hit this Latin inspired eatery up… Go ahead, I will wait… Told you so!

What:

Appetizer: Empanadas de Pato – Duck Confit Tinga, Salsa Mexicana, Crema, and Queso Fresco

Entrée: Lechon – Suckling Pig Carnitas, Habanero-Orange Salsa, Cactus Salad, and Chicharron

Dessert: Tres Leches – Crema de Cajeta, Tres Leches Sauce, and Vanilla Ice Cream

Seafood

The Sea Grill

The Sea Grill NYCWhere:

19 W. 49th St. (49 St/5 Av)

Manhattan, NY 10020

212-332-7610 | fax: 212-332-7677

www.theseagrillnyc.com

Why:

The Sea Grill is another prime example of how Restaurants are a lot like Real Estate. Location, location, location! If you are looking for some relationship points, bring your beau Ice Skating at the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink before walking hand in hand to this absolutely stunning seafood eatery. Watch as they Instagram the night away and each LIKE those filtered photos garner you will earn you one more cool point! You’re welcome!

What:  

Appetizer: Montauk Baby Calamari a la Plancha with Patatas Bravas and Chimichurri sauce

Entrée: Maine Monkfish ‘Osso Buco’ with Creamy Polenta and Wild Mushrooms

Dessert: Vanilla Caramel Panna Cotta with Valrhona Chocolate Sorbet

Steakhouse

MarkJoseph Steakhouse

MarkJoseph Steakhouse Where:

261 Water St. (Water St/Peck Slip)

Manhattan, NY 10038

212-277-0020

www.markjosephsteakhouse.com

Why:

Restaurant Week is usually not the best time to visit a Steakhouse in NYC.   The truth is, if you want a slamming steak in the Big Apple you normally have to bite the bullet and pay out the nose. However, MarkJoseph Steakhouse is the exception that proves this rule. They are offering a 20 oz. sirloin or an 8 oz. Filet Mignon on their dinner menu.  Get your meat on!

What:

Appetizer: Sizzling Canadian Bacon

Entrée: Sirloin Steak 20 oz.

Dessert: Cake

Vietnamese

Le Colonial

Le ColonialWhere:

149 E. 57th St. (57 St/3 Av)

New York, NY 10022

212-752-0808

www.lecolonialnyc.com

Why:

Le Colonial was once a bustling haven for OG foodies in the NYC area and then for some reason lost its place in the culinary pantheon of Gotham. Instead of closing up shop and admitting defeat, however, this restaurant found a new Chef that seems to have set Le Colonial back on the path of Gastronomic greatness.

What:

Appetizer: Suon Nuong – Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Lemongrass and Sweet Soy

Entrée: Bun Trio – Grilled Prawns with Beef Brochettes & Cha Gio Herbed Vermicelli Salad

Dessert: Banana Tapioca Pudding

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

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

 

 

 

 

The Q-Crew BBQ Catering Company Rocks Out With Thier Hog Out!

So, you want to throw a backyard Barbecue that will make one of Andrew Jackson’s epic White House parties seem like a lame Jack and Jill shower, but even though Yan Can Cook, You Can Not.  You may think that you have no options and sheepishly accept your fate as merely a party attendee and not the host with the most, but you would be wrong.  Perhaps you can cook with the best of them, but you are lazier than a freshman in college after partaking in your first all night weed and fast food festival. Not that I condone that sort of thing, I mean fast food is horrible for you.  Maybe you are not lazy or gastronomically challenged but just want to be able to enjoy the legendary soirée that you are planning without having to man, or woman, the grill all night while your friends enjoy the giant bouncy castle and life size wrestling Ring full of Jell-o shots that you rented for this event.  If you fall into any of the aforementioned categories you need to request the Q-Crew to come to your next event!

Andrew Jackson sure did love to party!

Andrew Jackson sure did love to party!

Recently, I had the honor of officiating the wedding of two of my friends, one whom happens to be a fellow blogger. (Check out his humorous child rearing blog by clicking here.)   You read that right, I not only have a 9-5 job and write about some of the best Blue Collar Food I can find, but I also happen to be an ordained Reverend!  I thoroughly enjoy performing marriage ceremonies, and I have a blast at every wedding that I get the chance to preside over, although, this wedding had something that made this member of the cloth salivate like never before.  Instead of a pretentious indoor, five course meal, offering the same menu that has been served at receptions for 35 years, this couple made the executive decision to call in the Q-Crew to cater their special day.

Whole Pig Roast

Here Piggy Piggy Piggy

The Q-Crew is not your stereotypical catering company.  Instead of chasing stuffy white gloved waiters throughout a banquet hall, creating a live action Pac-Man like game that ends in you eating three shrimp and one pizza bite that you had to wrestle from your Great Aunt Bertha, you get to watch the Q-Crew in action as you mingle with the other guests during the cocktail hour.  Q-Crew does offer many different packages for any event that you could imagine, but by far their most impressive is the roasted whole pig complete with Pre-dinner photo ops.

Grilling

The Q-Crew hard at work!

This particular event not only featured the whole roasted pig, but the privileged guests of this amazingly meaty shindig got a one way ticket to flavor country courtesy of the Bride and Groom, via the Q-Crew express.  The menu for this grand affair consisted of St. Louis Style Ribs, Pulled Pork, Barbecue Chicken, Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Grilled Vegetables, and a plethora of fixings that paired perfectly with this meatgasmic offering.  Although the Bride was beautiful, the Q-Crew spread gave her a run for her money as the most stunning attendant of this fine affair, but since she was the one who brought this eating orgy to my world, I will say she beat the pig by a snout.

So much meat! TWSS

So much meat! TWSS

Once the food was ready, I was like Alex Rodriguez in a Performance Enhancing Drug store; I did not know which wonderful concoction to try first.  Since there was only limited plate space and I am a carnivore at heart, I decided to fill my first plate to capacity with the tantalization flesh of my most favorite farm animal, the pig!  As I was scooping the hearty portions of this fantastic meat onto my plate, the wafting aroma overwhelmed me with so much joy and happiness; I could barely make it back to my table before shoveling copious amounts of this picturesque BBQ into my drooling mouth.  Before I damn near ran to my table, I hit up the sauce bar to dress my swine properly before eating the hell out of this masterpiece that I created.  Not knowing which sauce was going to be the best on the pork I added a small amount of each type strategically so they did not comingle and contaminate each other.

Plate of Pig

Meat my plate of pig! See what I did there?

My first plateful consisted of two ribs, a generous helping of the roast pig, some pulled pork, a piece of corn bread, and a few pickles.  Considering I had been peering at Wilbur throughout the afternoon much like a 12 year old boy studies the first playboy he finds hidden in his father’s garage, I decided that it was the most logical starting point for my adventure down BBQ lane.  As I took my first bite, all I could think is if I were Zach Braff in Scrubs, my favorite pork memories would be playing in my head in slow motion with a horrible 80’s ballad added in for good measure.  Alas, I am not Zach Braff, although I think Kat would not be opposed to it.

Divine Swine

Divine Swine

Even though there was no divine swine montage, the pig was uber tasty.  It was moist, yet firm, with the proper bite that should be associated with good, wait check that, great barbecue.  The smoke flavor was not overbearing but still created that slight wood cooked twang that barbecue aficionados search near and far for.  I also loved the fact that the meat was not over seasoned or over sauced. The Q-Crew allowed the meat to speak for itself and not only did it talk but it sang!

Ribs of plenty

Ribs of plenty

After demolishing the pile of roast pig I had liberated from the buffet table, I moved onto the ribs.  When most people discuss ribs they rave about the meat falling off the bone but not I and much to my euphoric joy not the Q-Crew either.  In my opinion, ribs should have a slight firmness that requires a small amount of effort to remove the succulent meat from the bone, which perpetuates the primal sensation one gets when eating a bone-in cut of meat. The Q-Crew’s rib was not only expertly prepared in this fashion, but it also had a flawless smoke ring that added to its esthetic appeal.   As for the taste, the sweet smoke flavor paired perfectly with the tanginess of the barbecue sauce and spices creating a cacophony of flavor that made me want to create a Facebook page for these ribs simply so I could become friends with this rib for real because we all know you ain’t really friends with someone until you are friends on Facebook!

Pulled Pork

Pork that is pulled makes me happy!

The pulled pork, which had been waiting patiently as I fell in love with the pig and then cheated on her with the angelic ribs, was finally ready to be devoured.  I created a sandwich with the pulled pork and topped it with a liberal slathering of BBQ sauce, because that is how I roll.  See what I did there, sandwich, roll, get it, get it… Oh to hell with you, that was funny.  Once again this pulled pork was not drowned in sauce but instead the Q-Crew let the natural flavors of the porky goodness be the star of the show.  Don’t get me wrong, this pulled pork had some righteous flavor, but the predominant taste was good ol’ fashion pig and that is just how pulled pork should be.

Hamburgers

Just in case you’re a traditionalist.

I would be remiss as a card carrying member of the foodie community if I did not try everything the Q-Crew had to offer, so as I explained to Kat, it was my civic duty to say to hell with our diet and rock some seconds. On this trip up to the buffet line, I had to try some of the Q-Crew’s chicken because I had yet to sink my teeth into that BBQ favorite, but I simply could not pass up the opportunity to grab some more pig, pulled pork, and ribs.  Once again, there just was not any room for sides or the hamburgers and hotdogs, but I was told by other guests that they were mighty good.

Corn Bread

Mmmmmmm Corn Bread!

As for the chicken, at this point if you expected anything lower than stellar marks for anything that graced the Q-Crew’s grill, you have not been paying attention to this review very closely.  The flavor profile on the chicken was simple yet palatable, and it was cooked impeccably.  Chicken can be tougher than Howard Wolowitz’s Mother’s brisket, to cook properly on an open flame in large quantities, but the Q-Crew’s professional staff made it look about as easy as finding a celebrity who has a drug problem.

If you are looking to be the envy of the entire Social Media community that was not invited to your next backyard bash, you need to contact The Q-Crew BBQ Catering Company at 908-256-1198.  I warn you though, whoever can’t make it to the event due to a prior engagement will have to be put on suicide watch after they read all your friends’ status updates.  Furthermore, if I was you, I would warn my neighbors that the Q-Crew will be cooking at your function so they don’t think that you rented your house to a purveyor of cinematic filth when they hear the sounds of pure ecstasy escaping from your guests’ mouths after they take their first bite of the serious barbecue that the Q-Crew will deliver.  The Q-Crew slogan pretty much sums up the awesomeness of hiring these BBQ connoisseurs to bring their epicurean treats to your next jamboree and that is, “You Chill…We Grill.”

Grilled Veggies

BTW, Their Grilled Veggies were pretty good too!

The Cloverleaf Tavern: Come For The Beer, Fall In Love With The Food

The Cloverleaf

Most Blue Collar Foodies would rather have a cool refreshing craft beer paired with their meal rather than a hoity-toity glass of wine. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for wine, and I do enjoy a goblet of grapes every now and again, but my heart belongs to the hops and barley that can be found in every mug, pint, or stein of carbonated class in a glass. There are only a few spots in the North Jersey area that stimulate craft beer enthusiasts better than a pill of Viagra at the Bunny Ranch, and there are even fewer that not only have a remarkable beer menu, but also a food menu that is worthy of praise. It is my goal as The Blue Collar Foodie to find these institutions of higher inebriation and shout their accolades from high atop my soap-box, known as the interwebs.

Welcome To The Clover

Welcome To The Clover

One such location is The Cloverleaf Tavern, located at 395 Bloomfield Ave., in Caldwell, NJ. Considering that The Cloverleaf Tavern has been continuously operating for over 75 years, this extraordinary establishment should not be a secret to any craft beer connoisseur that rests his or her rump within the Tri-State area. What these pint professors may not realize, and neither did I at first, is that The Cloverleaf Tavern, or The Clover, as it is known by the regulars, not only offers an awe-inspiring beer menu, but also serves up some serious eats as well.

First off, I feel that in order to properly discuss The Clover’s true appeal I will need to approach their exuberance for craft beer and their epicurean prowess separately. This way I can guarantee I will devote enough verbiage to each of these astonishing contributions that the Clover is making to the foodie community on a daily basis.

Mmmm Beer

Mmmmmmmmmm Beer

The Clover doesn’t just serve craft beer; they embrace the very notion of its very existence and attempt to house as much variety as they can possibly fit within their beer centric structure. Their ever changing beer menu reads like the phone book of Hop City, USA and is constantly updated via their website. The Clover is one of the first beer lists that I peruse as soon as the interwebs get all twitterpated about a specialty beer that has a limited release, because odds are not only will they have it but they will be throwing an event in its honor.

Lots of Beer!

Lots of Beer!

Furthermore, they have a free to join program known as the Masters of Beer Appreciation, MBA that now has over 1550 Alumni whose names adorn the walls on plagues that are updated with each new graduating class. This beer aficionado’s dream come true, escorts the participant in a veritable world tour of some of the best brews that can be procured on a regular basis by the Clover. To add to the charm of this intoxicating self-guided tour, after you earn 15 and 30 credits, you receive a $15 clover gift card. After you earn 45 credits your name will be added to the wall as an M.B.A. graduate and you will be entitled to a 20oz pour instead of the standard 16oz pour the common folk receive. There are also accolades for completing multiple MBA programs, like receiving your Doctorate, but don’t get ahead of yourself sparky, one degree at a time.

Masters of Beer Appreciation

You know you want it!

As for the Cloverleaf’s culinary prowess, I have to say I was initially surprised with the caliber of food that I was served the first time I ordered one of their insanely good burgers. Not to say that pubs serving decent food are unheard of but, the food that the Clover is offering to its patron is not just good, it is “shiv your best friend for looking at the last bite of your food” good. I am not just talking about the burgers either; I have thoroughly explored their menu and have not been able to find one thing on it that was not excellent. On top of their regular tasty menu, the Clover offers a weekly specials menu that allows even the regulars to indulge in something different.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Pulled, straight from the heavens, Pork Sandwich

On my most recent visit to the Cloverleaf, I was in the mood for some good old fashioned American Barbecue, and since it was lunchtime, I decided to go with the Pulled Pork Sandwich served with homemade coleslaw, a pickle, and I opted to swap the fried for their jaw-dropping beer battered Onion Rings all for $10.99. One of the best things about The Clover is that even though they serve prodigious food and astounding beers they consistently keep their meals affordable for us Blue Collar folks that still want great tasting grub.

Onion Rings

Crispity Crunchity

When it arrived, the smell was utterly divine, and the pulled pork was blended with a BBQ sauce that was unearthly. Each bite of this sandwich sent shock waves of flavor from my mouth to my stomach, which in turn sent hate mail to my brain for only ordering one. After forcing myself to put down a sandwich that could only be described by using a made up word such as, amazeballs, I tasted one of the Onion Rings that were recommended by our awesome waiter, whose name I can’t remember because I am a horrible person, and I was in love… With the Onion Rings, not my waiter, I don’t think Kat would have been amused if it was the other way around. To add to these crispy and tangy fried rings of yummy, I dipped one into the Maker’s Mark Gourmet Sauce that the Clover places on each and every table, and I thought I had died and went to Texas, which as everyone knows is what BBQ heaven is called.

Maker's Mark Gourmet Sauce

Saucey Sauce Sauce

The moral of this article is that if you like food and/or beer and have not entered the hallowed walls of The Cloverleaf Tavern then you should be removed from the foodie guild immediately. Luckily, as a card carrying member of both the Clover and the Foodie Guild of America, or the FGA, which I just made up and am imposing an instant trademark on, I have talked both organizations into an amnesty program. They both agree that if you take it upon yourself to get your ass to the Cloverleaf before the summer is over; you will still be allowed to be a member of the FGA. Seriously though, all it will take is one visit to the Cloverleaf Tavern, and you will be sending angry emoticons to all of your Facebook friends and Twitter followers, for not alerting you to this food and beer sanctuary earlier.

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