Hat City Kitchen Fills Your Belly and Your Soul!

Back in the day, before I was The Blue Collar Foodie, while Michael Phelps was taking bong rips and Kanye was telling Taylor Swift that he was going to let her finish, I was driving across this crazy country of ours.  The year was 2009, Kat, her brother Benni, and I decided to jump in an SUV and drive from one ocean to the other, just ‘cause.  I got the zany idea to blog about our adventure and thus I was bitten by the blog bug, which in turn gave birth to the site you are reading now.  So, I guess Stan, Cartman, Kenny, and Kyle were wrong, it is not Canada that is to blame after all, it is California… and Kanye… Always blame Kayne!

Love and marriage, love and marriage It's an institute you can't disparage

Love and marriage, love and marriage
It’s an institute you can’t disparage

During our expedition westward we visited countless cities that contained locations that we never thought we would see with our own six eyeballs.  Some of them were the ordinary tourist traps, while others were happy accidents that were nothing short of spectacular.  One such surprise was in a little town called Chicago!  The windy city treated us right, gifting us with the fountain from the beginning sequence of Married with Children, a giant deep dish pizza from Giordano’s, a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, and a true Chicago Blues experience at a spot recommended by one of the natives.

While we were having our nightcap at this local after-hours joint, enjoying the live music and mouthwatering food, I remember trying to figure out why New Jersey did not have a spot like this.  Sure, New Jersey has a few local bars that have live music, but there was something about the energy and the vibe of this place that was utterly authentic.

It has been seven years and I thought I would never experience a place as real and raw as this tiny Chicago club in good ol’ Jersey.  That is, until I was turned onto a little place called Hat City Kitchen, located at 459 Valley Street, in Orange, NJ.

Welcome to Hat City Kitchen

Welcome to Hat City Kitchen

***Before my custom built D-Bag filter catches all your angry hate mail, let me add this little caveat. I am well aware that we live across the river from the music and food mecca known as NYC. I venture there quite often.  However, as a card carrying New Jersian, you can’t tell me that crossing those bridges and tunnels all the damn time doesn’t get F-ing annoying after a while.  Sometimes, hitting up a local, and epic eatery in this armpit we call our home, is just what the foodie ordered.***

Enter Hat City Kitchen, an eclectic eatery with live music six nights a week, a fully stocked bar complete with craft beers, and food that is so damn good it will make you sing.  The first time we visited this relatively new spot we were not sure what to expect, but as always we drove to the Restaurant with an open mind and empty stomachs.

Not a bad seat in the house!

Not a bad seat in the house!

The exterior of Hat City Kitchen is extremely welcoming and has an almost old school Saloon feel to it, which immediately set the mood for what we were about to experience.  As we entered, we were instantaneously greeted by the welcoming hostess and sat down within seconds.  The band was still setting up and the dining area near the stage was almost full, yet the service was still impeccable.  Our drink orders were taken within minutes of our arrival by our extremely vibrant waitress and we were left to peruse the menu and soak in the ambience.

Hat City Kitchen is decorated with numerous paintings of famous musicians that would have played at a venue just like this, when venues like this actually still existed.  We played the fun game of guess the artist with each painting in the room while we carefully read the menu in order to choose just the right meals for our night. To be honest, after tasting what we chose, I am not sure if we would have been disappointed with any of the selections we were hemming and hawing about.

We decided to go with an order of the Hot Buttered Mushrooms to prime our appetites before diving head first into the entrees.   Kat decided to heed our helpful waitress’ advice and order from the specials menu, which will soon become the New Fall Menu at Hat City, and went with the Braised Short Ribs whereas I could not help but order the Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken.  Since our entrées came with a side dish each we chose to go with the Garlic Mashed Potatoes and The Collard Greens.

As we ordered our food, our first round of beers arrived and soon we were left to our own devices to enjoy the band that was about to begin their first set.  In no time I was transported back to that bar in Chicago, as the room transformed into a scene out of a movie.  That vibe that I had been longing for quite some time slowly creeped into the city of Orange that night, all thanks to Hat City Kitchen, and I loved every second of it.

MMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmushrooms

MMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmushrooms

Just when I thought this spot could not get any better, our first course arrived.  At first, when the dish arrived I was a little under whelmed.  As I am sure you can see from the photo, this crock full of mushrooms did not look like anything special.  Once again, I failed to mind my Grandmother’s wise words about never judging a book by its cover.  Upon tasting this bowl for amazing, I realized that the mushrooms were simply a vessel for the sauce that if sold at a grocery store could most definitely rock the label, Awesome Sauce.  This lemony, garlic concoction was not only on the mushrooms, but had absorbed into the mushrooms during cooking and created the perfect juicy bite.  I am not ashamed to say that I literally drank the sauce from the bowl.  Although the people sitting next to us seemed to be judging me as I sipped the ramekin like the Queen at high tea, pinky out and all, like the majestic honey badger, I didn’t give a shit.

As we finished our appetizer, we ordered another drink and once again allowed the band to make sweet, sweet, love to our ears.  Yup, I heard it as I typed it.  That was a weird, weird sentence. Sorry for that internets.  Anyhow, the entrees arrived and the sheer size of the dishes took us by surprise.  Both of our entrees were ginormous, and I am not going to lie, their girth combined with the aroma that was emanating from them made me one happy foodie.

Nothing is better than a giant plate of meat!

Nothing is better than a giant plate of meat!

We decided to dig into the Braised Short Ribs first.  The meat was fork fight tender, which is what I look for in a good Short Rib and cooked expertly.  Even though, the meat was phenomenal, once again the sauce stole the show.  Not to mention the fact that when I dipped the Garlic Mashed Potatoes in the gravy, I took a one way trip to flavor town!

Holy Hot Honey Batman!

Holy Hot Honey Batman!

We then, at first reluctantly, moved on to the Fried Chicken and Collard Greens.  At this point in the meal I was starting to see a pattern.  The food at Hat City Kitchen is not only top notch, but it is drizzled, slathered, or swimming in dressings, sauces, or pastes that are otherworldly.  So, when I saw a small container of what appeared to be honey sitting next to my chicken I could not help but dip my fork in it and give it a quick taste.  I was not wrong to do so.  This bold, fiery, mixture was none other than homemade hot honey and it was glorious all by itself, but when paired with the juicy, dare I say the forbidden foodie word, moist, fried chicken, it was straight up tastegasmic.  Look at that chicken people!  Okay, stop looking, you are drooling on your keyboard and your co-workers are starting to wonder about you.

No Bread Pudding For Me, Said No Sane Person Ever!

No Bread Pudding For Me, Said No Sane Person Ever!

Somehow we managed to eat all the food that was placed in front of us and just when we thought we could not fit one more bite of food in our mouths, the waitress came over and said the words that always seem to fix our stomach capacity issues, Homemade Bread Pudding.  Kat and I both locked eyes and lovingly, yet somewhat begrudgingly said “yes, please!,” in unison.  Do yourself a favor and order this sweet treat when you go to Hat City, it is a legitimate contender for best bread pudding I have ever stuffed in my craw!  This unique dessert tastes like bread pudding and creme brulee did it like they do on the discovery channel and had a baby.  Then of course, Hat City Kitchen, takes this wondrous hybrid and plates it with a sauce that is both decadent and divine.

The next time you are looking for a new place to eat, drink, and be merry I highly recommend you jump on the Parkway and head over to Hat City Kitchen.  From first dates to dinner with friends this spot can accommodate all.  I mean if you don’t like great food, lively music, and drinking beer then by all means sit at home in your recliner and watch PBS. However, if you still have a heartbeat and strive for something fun and exciting to do with your evenings, do yourself a favor and get your keister down to Hat City Kitchen, you won’t regret your decision.

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The Essential Epicurean Guide To Restaurant Week in NYC: Summer 2016 Edition

This is not a drill people, Restaurant Week is once again upon us! Despite what the haters and hipsters have to say, I, for one, am super excited to head over to the greatest city in the world and chow down on some epic eats! This year’s Restaurant “Week” runs from July 25, 2016 to August 19, 2016 (I know that is more than a week, DEAL WITH IT!) and will run you $29.00 for lunch and $42.00 for dinner. Here is a link to all the participating restaurants; NYCGO.

Restaurant-week-2016-summer

However, if picking a restaurant seems more daunting than hitting a Noah Syndergaard fastball, then keep reading. To make your life easier, I have compiled my essential epicurean guide to this event once again. This time, I embarked on a mission to steer clear of the ordinary haunts and attempted to find the spots that are slightly off the beaten path, gastronomically speaking.

These restaurants might scare people off on a regular Monday, due to their rather adventurous cuisine and, let’s be honest, New York City price tags. However, thanks to the beauty of Restaurant Week, we can give these eclectic establishments a whirl without the worry of buyer’s remorse. So, without further ado, let’s take a Gastronomic walkabout around the globe, simply by driving across a river. (The following list is in no particular order, so make sure to scroll to the end)

The Cecil

Cuisine: African

Restaurant: The Cecil

Address: 210 West 118th Street at St. Nicholas Avenue New York, NY 10026

Why You Should Go: The Cecil has basically created a culinary style that is unique to their establishment deemed Afro-Asian-American. Pair that awesome sauce with their chic décor and hip ambience and you have a recipe for a memorable night out.        

What You Should Order: Collar Green Salad, Fried Chicken Fried Rice, and Triple Chocolate Cake

TenderSteak

Cuisine: American New, Japanese Sushi

Restaurant: Tender Steak + Sushi

Address: 130 West 47th Street, NY 10036  

Why You Should Go: This unique and modern eatery flawlessly combines a traditional American Steakhouse with an authentic high end Sushi joint. Tender made my list because of its culinary range, offering everything from burgers to sushi. This restaurant is great for the group that just can’t decide on one type of cuisine.

What You Should Order: Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice, Tender Wagyu Burger, and Crème Brulee

Distilled NYC

Cuisine: American New

Restaurant: Distilled New York

Address: 211 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

Why You Should Go: Distilled New York is a throwback to a near forgotten era where public houses, pubs, and bars were not just full of D-Bags looking to get drunk and laid. Back in the day, these establishments were home to impromptu town hall meetings and actual political discussions, based on informed opinions as opposed to what party you are affiliated with. Distilled is trying to harness that vibe and reinvent the old school Public House. Not to mention they have a standup beer menu and their food is pretty epic.

What You Should Order: Distilled Wings, Country Fried Duck and Waffle, Night Cap

Chefs Club

Cuisine: American New

Restaurant: Chef’s Club

Address: 275 Mulberry St. Manhattan, NY 10012

Why You Should Go: Brought to you by Food & Wine, this swanky restaurant boasts a collaborative menu from a rotating list of some of the world’s most renowned young Chefs. The Chef’s Club also offers eaters the unique experience of watching the drama of the kitchen unfold before their eyes thanks to their open kitchen, which is located in the center of the eatery.

What You Should Order: Calamari & Giardiniera Salad, Spicy Beef Ribs, and Chocolate Pretzel Whoopie Pie

Blenheim

Cuisine: American New

Restaurant: Blenheim

Address: 283 W. 12th St. New York, NY 10014

Why You Should Go: First and foremost this sexy eatery has just earned itself a Michelin Star, which should be reason enough to visit. However, that is only the tip of the romaine. Blenheim is redefining the term Farm to Table, by literally growing the food that appears on their impressive menu on their own farm, located in the Catskills. Plus, they are serving this amazingly fresh fare in a beautifully inviting atmosphere. Reservations are hard to come by, but try to score one of the outdoor tables which allow you to enjoy your dinner while participating in one of my favorite NYC past times, people watching.

What You Should Order: Poached Farm Egg, Roast Chicken, and Honey Semifreddo

smoke jazz club

Cuisine: American New

Restaurant: Smoke Jazz & Supper Club

Address: 2751 Broadway Manhattan, NY 10025

Why You Should Go: Smoke Jazz & Supper Club is one of NYC’s most distinguished Jazz Clubs and they just so happen to have a world renowned Chef playing her tunes in the Kitchen to boot. Let Smoke set the mood for your date night with their vintage décor, candlelit tables, soulful live jazz performances, and remarkable food. It is like the Barry White songs of restaurants, if you are picking up what I am putting down.

What You Should Order: Mousse of Foie Gras, Lobster Ravioli, S’mores Brownie

BurkeWillsNYC

Cuisine: Australian

Restaurant: Burke & Willis

Address: 226 W 79th St, New York, NY 10024

Why You Should Go: Visiting Australia has always been a dream of mine, alas the never ending plane ride has always scared me away. Thanks to Burke & Willis, I can now try traditional Southern Hemisphere food, without having to endure crying infants, stale air, and 3 inches of leg room for 21 hours twice in 2 weeks.  

What You Should Order: Kangaroo Ham (+$5.00), Australian Lamb Rack (+$10.00), Affogato

Resto_Logo

Cuisine: Belgian

Restaurant: Resto

Address: 111 East 29th Street New York, NY 10016

Why You Should Go: Resto’s attempt to replicate the quant bistros that are all over Paris and Brussels is spot on, and the food transports you to these foodie havens as well. Furthermore, Resto offers outdoor seating to add to the already wonderful dining experience.

What You Should Order: Country Ham, Chicken & Liege Waffles Bacon, Honey Panna Cotta

Vermillion

Cuisine: Eclectic

Restaurant: Vermillion

Address: 480 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10017

Why You Should Go: Sticking with the theme of this article, Vermillion’s culinary exploration of the intersection of Indian and Latin-American cuisine is distinctive and playful. The Restaurant Week menu was not available at the time that I published this post, which usually keeps a restaurant off my list, but I am a sucker for Indian Cuisine and their regular menu looked straight up fantastic.

What You Should Order: Your guess is as good as mine…

 Noreetuh

Cuisine: Hawaiian

Restaurant: Noreetuh

Address: 128 First Avenue Manhattan, NY 10009

Why You Should Go: Why shouldn’t you go? Unless you have access to a private jet and unlimited money, I would imagine that you don’t eat traditional Hawaiian food very often. Noreetuh offers a small slice of paradise in this otherwise brick-faced world. Plus they have a decent craft beer list and an impressive wine selection to get you into that serious vacation mood.

What You Should Order: Noreetuh Salumi, Mentaiko Spaghetti, and King’s Hawaiian Bread Pudding

KHE YO

Cuisine: Laotian

Restaurant: Khe-Yo

Address: 157 Duane St. Manhattan, NY 10013

Why You Should Go: I pride myself on rocking every single style of food that I can literally and figuratively sink my teeth into, and I have yet to have Laotian food. So, to be honest, I am not exactly sure what I would order or if it will be at the level of some of the other spots on the list. However, I am damn sure, that it will be an experience and just a quick peek at their website will show you that although I can’t guarantee anything, I am betting on Khe-Yo punching me right in the taste buds.

What You Should Order: Maine Lobster Dumplings, Steamed Red Snapper in Banana Leaf, Vanilla Rice Pudding

 Pig and Khao

Cuisine: Malaysian

Restaurant: Pig And Khao

Address: 68 Clinton St. Manhattan, NY 10002

Why You Should Go: It is not a secret here on the internets that I love pork more than the internets loves videos of cats. I have a rule whenever I am searching for a restaurant or bar and it is quite simple; follow the pig. While it may have been the name of this eatery that drew me in, it was the pork centric menu that landed it on my exclusive list of where you should eat. Oh, Pig And Khao, you had me at Pork Jowls.

What You Should Order: Grilled Pork Jowl, Pork Belly Adobo, Baby Back Ribs, Turon

Russian Tea Room

Cuisine: Russian

Restaurant: The Russian Tea Room

Address: 150 W. 57th St. Manhattan, NY 10019

Why You Should Go: For 80 years, the Russian Tea Room and its ornate décor has been wining and dining NYC’s elite. Much like a baseball fan walking into Wrigley Field, a foodie can feel the culinary history oozing from this legendary eatery. Not to mention they have, arguably, the best Russian Food this side of the Atlantic.

What You Should Order:  Team Room Red Borscht, Boeuf à la Stroganoff, Cheesecake

Root and Bone

Cuisine: Southern Fare

Restaurant: Root & Bone

Address: 200 E. 3rd St. Manhattan, NY 10009

Why You Should Go: Southern food is not for everyone, I respect and acknowledge that. However, I assure you, Southern food is for me and that is why Root & Bone lands firmly on my short list of must visit eateries in NYC. Root & Bone combines high end comfort food, southern hospitality, and culinary expertise to form, IMHO, one of the best true eating experiences the city has to offer.

What You Should Order: Grandma Daisy’s Angel Biscuits, Braised Short Rib Meatloaf, and S’mores

socarrat paella bar

Cuisine: Spanish

Restaurant: Socarrat-Paella Bar

Address: 953 2nd Avenue New York, NY 10022 / 284 Mulberry Street New York, NY 10012 / 259 West 19th Street New York, NY 10011

Why You Should Go: What is not to like about Paella? The math is sound folks! Handfuls of amazingly seasoned seafood, meat, and vegetables + perfectly prepared rice + gigantic portions = Hot Damn. Socarrat-Paella Bar brings this amazing dish to Restaurant Week in style with several variations available.

What: Pulpo a la Plancha (Grilled Octopus), Paella de Arroz Negro (Seafood Paella with squid ink), and Churros Con Chocolate.

Essex Junction Craft Kitchen and Bar Is Turning Heads, in Bloomfield and Beyond

“Find something you love to do, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”    There is a solid chance that we have all heard this idiom at one point in our lives.  As impressionable adolescents, wayward teenagers, or “struggling” college students, some “wise” old kook uttered this to us, in hopes of mending a wound that would eventually heal itself.   This phrase rattles inside all of our heads, like the lub-dubbing of the old man’s heart that tells a tale, every time we compromise on a life goal.  Gradually making us all believe that by not achieving this unrealistic and naïve goal, we somehow failed the main objective of this choose-your-own-adventure book we call life.

I happen to believe that this supposed failure is simply not the case, and this common expression is dead wrong.  I feel that once you make something you love your job, you will begin the slow painful descent towards loathing something you once got great joy from.  If you happen to have an influential role in a young person’s life, I implore you to throw out clichéd and quixotic advice such as this and stick to achievable goals based on real life experiences.

In place of this wide-eyed expectation, I tend to follow the rule of; working to live, as opposed to living to work.  I love to eat and I love to write, however I also love my freedom and integrity.  This is why I thoroughly enjoy being a freelance food blogger as opposed to being a professional food writer.  I have no deadlines, I have no allegiances, and most importantly, like Bernie Sanders, I can’t be bought!  My 9-5 affords me the opportunity to do what I love, and that is the reason I will never cease to adore it.  Furthermore, I have created a virtual foodie militia via various social networks that recommend eateries all over the East Coast that they believe will make my epicurean soul smile.

The anticipation was killing me!

The anticipation was killing me!

Recently, I was bombarded with messages from copious amounts of gastronomes singing the praises of the recently christened Essex Junction Craft Kitchen and Bar located at 90 Washington St. in Bloomfield, NJ.  I can’t visit all the establishments that are recommended by my culinary constituents, however, when a whisper turns into a clamor, which builds into a roar, effectively shouting a restaurants name from the top of the internets, I take notice.

Welcome to Essex Junction.

Welcome to Essex Junction.

Since the webernets was all abuzz about Essex Junction, I decided to make a reservation for Kat and I, as to not risk a longer wait to see what all the hubbub was about.  Good thing we did too because when we arrived at 7:30 P.M. on a Thursday, it was jumping.  We walked in and skipped ahead of the line, due to our forethought, and were seated in the dining room.

Before we even had menus in our hands, Essex Junction was racking up brownie points left and right.  First off the décor is… Listen, I could google some asinine decorating style like, modern industrial shabby chic, that in turn you will have to google to decipher its meaning, or I could tell how awesome it was in seven simple words.  It was like dining in Gotham City! That is right, I felt like I was Bruce Wayne eating dinner with some reporter/Model that I will eventually hook up with just before she gets kidnapped and her life is threatened for the rest of the movie.  Come to think of it, dating Bruce Wayne is about as safe as Tindering in Detroit, I wouldn’t recommend either of those adventures ladies… Just saying.

Nice F-ing Dining Room! Honk! Honk!

Nice F-ing Dining Room! Honk! Honk!

Adding to the ambience of the urban design scheme, we noticed a large movie screen on a wall in the dining room that was playing Bettlejuice!  That is right, YOU HEARD ME… BEETLEJUICE!  We were so intrigued by this concept that Kat and I actually sat on the same side of the table, so we could watch a bit of the movie while we perused the menu.  Don’t judge us!  You would do the same thing!  It was freaking Beetle…, better not say it three times, just in case.

Our first mission was to choose a drink to quench our thirst while we decided what to dine upon.  This was not an easy task, considering Essex Junction offers 15 draft lines full of rotating Craft Beers, a variety of beer and wine bottles, and their selection of Local Legend Cocktails.  We were in a beer mood, as it was Thirsty Thursday, so I chose a Boulevard Tank 7, and Kat went with a Dogfish 90 Minute.  However, next time we visit, we will have to dive into the Local Legends, because not only are these inventive cocktails created with New Jersey Celebrities such as,  Kevin Smith, Queen Latifah, and Steven Colbert, in mind, but 50% of the proceeds go towards the Bloomfield School System.  (As long as you hashtag the restaurant and @ The Celebrity via twitter after taking a selfie with it.)

As stated above, this hobby, turned part-time job has transformed into an obsession, so when Kat and I take a new restaurant for a test drive, we do more than just kick the tires.  In other words, we order a crap ton of food in order to get an accurate representation of the Chef’s repertoire and then we try to eat it all before the gluttonous guilt sets in.  This occasion was no exception to our rule.

We ordered four small plates to start; Sweet and Spicy Wings, Smoked Pork Belly, Duck Meatball Mac & Cheese, and Fried Brussels Sprouts.  Being the hedonistic mongrels that we are, we then ordered two large plates; the Bone-in Rib Eye and the Pork Chop.  Excited about the feast that was about to rain down on our table like dollar bills falling from MC Chris’s fat stacks, we sat back and sipped our hoppy goodness while we awaited the boom.

BACON ON BACON!!!!

BACON ON BACON!!!!

The first plate to make an appearance was the Smoked Pork Belly served with Pickled Vegetables and Candied Bacon.  I am not going to lie, this dish was getting a gold star no matter what in my book because the crazy bastards at Essex Junction essentially decided to put bacon on bacon, and that my friends is the type of decadence that I love to reward.  Furthermore, the dish was perfectly balanced and full of depth thanks to the sweet candied bacon, salty pork belly, and vinegary vegetables all playing off each other.  Not to mention the juxtaposition of the soft belly and the crunchy bacon created a stupendously unique mouthfeel.

I would sing Silly Little Love Songs to these magnificent treats. Get it?

I would sing Silly Little Love Songs to these magnificent treats. Get it?

As we were just getting over the recent demise of our Pork Belly dish, Mr. and Ms. Sweet and Spicy wings arrived to offer their condolences.  These saucy behemoths were cooked to flawlessly and had the perfect meat to fat ratio.  Not to mention, that when paired with the blue cheese sauce these pub food Privates were promoted to Sergeants at Arms…errrr…Wings.  You get my point!

Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck, MAC! AAAAAHhhhhhhhhhhhh

Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck, MAC! AAAAAHhhhhhhhhhhhh

Next on the food train was the Duck Meatball Mac & Cheese served with a Béchamel sauce.  I will reiterate, I am all about decadent food pornography and this dish gets is the equivalent of Hugh Hefner in the food world.  No!  Not because it has balls, you sick SOB, get your mind out of the gutter.  The luscious Béchamel sauce combined with the rich savory awesomeness of the duck meatball makes this dish a scrumptious win.  On a side note, they use my favorite noodle in this dish, Bucatini, which marries Ziti and Spaghetti to form the most flawless sauce carrying implement known to man.

To paraphrase Rick James, "Fried Brussels Spouts are a hell of drug! "

To paraphrase Rick James, “Fried Brussels Spouts are a hell of drug! “

Last but most certainly not least, the Fried Brussels Sprouts in Sweet Soy, Sriracha, served with Shallots, and Garlic arrived.  Kat and I were nervous about ordering these, not because we buy into the horrific PR nightmare that Brussels have suffered through over the years, but because we envisioned an over-battered ball of Brussely sadness.  WE WERE WRONG!  This was by far our favorite small plate of the night.  These delectable, lightly fried, crack-like morsels of amazeballs were chock full of Umami goodness.  The ingenious process of first pan frying and then baking them in a small crock with the Sweet Soy and Sriracha concoction created an exceptional texture and flavor tag-team duo that could whoop The Legion Of Doom’s ass.  Do yourself a favor and dig all the way to the bottom of the crock when you order this.  There is where you will find the brown bits, that are covered in this damn-near mythical sauce that conveys such supernatural flavor that one can only assume that Chef Justin Caldwell must have created it with the happy tears of Unicorns.

While we were waiting for our main course, our server Mike stopped by to inquire about a second round of drinks in preparation of our impeding meal.  Mike not only remembered what we had ordered (+1 point), but offered a few suggestions that would pair nicely with our entrees (+1,000,000 points).  This is commendable in a restaurant that is well established, but in a new spot like Essex Junction, this is extraordinarily impressive.  His suggestions were spot on too, so we ordered a second round.

Steakey, Steak, Steak, I love Steak!

Steakey, Steak, Steak, I love Steak!

As my Bone-in Rib Eye was approaching, I noticed just how lovely it looked sporting a duck egg like a yarmulke whilst sitting next to a basket of Parmesan Frites.  My first impression was that this steak was large enough to justify the price point.  I then cut into the flesh and realized that it was not just properly cooked, but it was cooked with the precision of a master.  A flawless sear on the outside and a deep pink core on this inside.  Finally, I dipped a slice of this mega steak into the bordelaise sauce, and transported to my mouth, and it was love at first chew.  My apparent fullness from the previous courses melted away as this delightful meat treat melted in my mouth.  (TWSS)

This little piggy went to my belly!

This little piggy went to my belly!

After seeing my dish, I thought the bar for beauty was set fairly high, but Kat’s Pork Chop served with Spicy Jicama Slaw, Brussels Sprouts, and topped with a Vermont Lardon drizzle sank my meat ship.  Her dish looked as if they stuck a Chef’s hat on Zombie Claude Monet and forced him to create food art.  Not only did her dish look amazing, it tasted just as good.  The slaw added a crunch and a kick that danced well with the sweet Vermont sauce that was drizzled over the scrumptious pork, while the lardons kicked this dish into 5th gear.

If my ferocious verbosity paired with the filthy food porn you just were witness to does not make you visit Essex Junction post haste, I don’t really know what I can say in these final words that will convince you.  Every detail of this establishment was not only taken into consideration but tediously worked on so it looks and runs like a shiny new machine.  The hostess greeted us with a smile, the wait staff took excellent care of us, and Chef Justin Caldwell delivered dish after dish of phenomenal food that not only looked fantastic but tasted even better.  In the restaurant world this trifecta is like meeting a down to earth Supermodel that cooks gourmet meals and does keg stands.  If you don’t want to feel like Batman, while imbibing a craft beer and watching a freaking classic movie, then maybe you should stay home.  Then again maybe you should get your head examined, because Essex Junction was all kinds of epic!

 

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to the Shep!

Welcome to the Shep!

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

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

The Shepherd & The Knucklehead Beer Taps

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

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

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

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

NO YELLING

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

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

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

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

Knucklehead's Steak

Look at that sear!

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

The Shepherd & The Knucklehead Pub & Steakhouse Steak

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

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

Shepard And The Knucklehead Paella

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

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

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

 

 

Shepherd & the Knucklehead on Urbanspoon

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

 

 

 

 

Taco Santo Cricket Chips

One Small Bite for Me, One Giant Leap for My Foodie Street Cred

I am not the type of person who believes in fate. You see, I feel that the rudimentary idea of fate makes people lackadaisical and unmotivated. If I thought that no matter how hard I pushed myself I would end up in the same place in the end, I probably would not burn the candle at both ends and wake up each and every morning physically and mentally sore, ready and willing to fight the day once again. I prefer the word consequence to that of fate, kismet, or destiny. The term, consequence, has a negative connotation for many, but for me it merely means the reward or punishment for an action that you committed, thus taking back the ownership and responsibility for one’s daily decisions.

Sure, sometimes you must take accountability for the monumental fuck up that occurred seconds after you put your big boy pants on and made a choice, but conversely you also get to claim your achievements, with a big fat smile and a specific finger held high toward everyone who doubted you. This feeling of accomplishment is why I battle through each day and strive to be the best at everything I do, even if sometimes I fall flat on my face.

I am sorry for the philosophical tangent, have no fear, I did not change my blog to The Blue Collar Buddha, although… (The Blue Collar Buddha is now a registered trademark of the Blue Collar Foodie, and other such legal mumbo jumbo so no one can steal my slightly catchy and pretty damn silly idea.) As I was saying before I went on a tangent from apologizing about my tangent, this theoretical debate about destiny and consequence is one that I think about a lot. I want to be the logical, scientific, type that never, not once falls down the rabbit hole, that is believing in fate, however sometimes I can’t help but think, “Was this supposed to happen?”

I had one of these occasions back in February when I was writing an article for this very blog about a restaurant that I had visited. I love words, as you can see from my verbose posts, but I mean, I love words like Tebow adores Jesus. (Yea that was a Tebow reference, it is a throwback joke, if it is good enough for your Facebook feed on Thursdays, it is good enough for my blog, deal with it!) I ain’t talking about just the same mundane words that anyone can spew forth from their talking hole either, I want, no I crave, a diversity of linguistic linguine. Unfortunately, I spell like a baboon clutching a crayon, so I am constantly searching the googles for the proper spelling of words that I mangle so much, even the fine folks in the spelling department at Microsoft can’t decipher what the hell word I just typed. The word I was forced to hurl into the Googles on this particular day was Gastronaut, and the results that I got were foodie life altering.

Gastronauts_LOGO

I stumbled upon a website for an adventure eating club known as The Gastronauts, and they just happen to convene in the greatest city on the planet, NYC! I immediately abandoned my writing task and scoured their webpage to learn more about this group. What I found made me instantly get a food-on that lasted long enough that if it was produced by taking a small blue pill, I would have had to go to the hospital.

The Gastronauts is an eating club that was founded by Curtiss Calleo and Ben Pauker back in 2006 when they organized a small get together in Chinatown. Their vision was to allow people to gather at one location and enjoy the outlandish and authentic food that New York City has to offer.   We are not talking about disgusting food either, but rather somewhat eccentric food that is out of the normal American Cuisine comfort zone.

Curtiss and Ben’s small gatherings rapidly began to develop into something that was bigger than they expected. Soon enough they found themselves inundated with press requests and applications to join their now growing club of adventure eaters.   Today, The Gastronauts boast more than 1,300 members and are the largest club of this kind in the world.

The moment I followed the link to the Gastronauts site I knew I had a new goal in my foodie life, and that was to become a member of THE GASTRONAUTS! Lucky for me there was an application link on the homepage. Since this is a slightly exclusive club, their application process is not as easy as getting a Facebook page, one must put actual thought into applying to be a Gastronaut.

I put my writing hat back on and clicked and clacked at the keys like a chicken hopped up on Vitamin C and Cocaine. When I finished my application, I read it and reread it, edited it and reedited it. I wanted to make sure that it was perfect. I did not want to be rejected!

I was rejected… Within minutes of hitting the send button, I received a prewritten robotic message that stated that The Gastronauts exceeded their maximum limit of foodie rocketeers and were not accepting new members at this time. This news saddened me deeply, sadder than all these dogs in this video.

My sorrow however was only short lived, because several days later I received a follow-up email from the ‘Nauts. This time, the message contained wonderful news. Apparently, they reviewed my application, and I was accepted into the foodie cult of my dreams! Furthermore, there was an upcoming dinner in late February that I could attend thanks to my new status in the Gastronauts!   I have to say, I think I might have squeaked a little bit like these sloths when I read the news.

With my new credentials in hand, errrr, phone, I did what every 30 something year old American would do, I immediately posted about my triumph on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit. I not only posted this foodtastic news to boast, although it was my primary reason, I also posted this to see if there was any interest from my friends in joining me on my first Gastronautic adventure.

You would be surprised how hard it is to find people that want to volunteer for an adventure dinner at an undisclosed location, that costs somewhere between $65.00 and $75.00 without seeing a menu, knowing that the food could potentially make them rethink the possibility of becoming vegan.   Fortunately, I have at least one friend that did not lose his testicles in the war, and he was on board with only a few questions asked. As soon as he agreed to accompany me to this experience, I bought two tickets before he could change his mind.

Taco Santo

Taco Santo here we come!

A few days before my first Gastronaut event, I received an email which contained the location, time, and price of this affair.  I have to admit, the clandestine, somewhat secret agent like aspect of this dining club only adds to their allure. The menu for this epicurean escapade was also attached to this email and it looked nothing short of Epic.

Menu line

A Dinner at Taco Santo

Guacamole con Chapulines y Guaje
Homemade tortillas and chips
Mashed avocados topped with roasted crickets and guaje seeds

Stewed cow stomach menudo

Tacos Surtidos:
Goat head
Cow tongue
Pig skin
Assorted organ meats

And lots and lots of:
Micheladas
Pitchers of Beer
Flight of Five Mezcals

 Menu line

On the day of the event my comrade and I embarked on our train ride from New Jersey to Brooklyn with a few road sodas in hand in preparation of the drinking and eating that was soon to commence. We traversed the rivers that separate New Jersey and Brooklyn like Lewis and Clark and arrived at Taco Santo, located at 669 Union St, Brooklyn, NY with plenty of time to spare.

Skull Lights

Skull Light, Skull Bright, First Skull I Have Seen Tonight!

As we entered the venue, I noticed the decor immediately, shortly followed by the astonishing smell that was wafting throughout the quaint eatery. The Gastronauts had procured the entire restaurant for this event so we were asked for our credentials, again I was happy to show them off, and shortly after we were seated, the evening began.

Micheladas

Micheladas, making bad beer taste wonderful since the 1940’s!

Right off the bat I could tell I was going to enjoy myself being a Gastronaut, considering the first item that came to the table was a Micheladas, which is basically a beer mixed with lime juice, assorted sauces, spices, and peppers and was served in a chili-salt-rimmed glass. My friends, there comes a time and a place that everyone must admit when they are wrong, and for me, that time was the moment I drank my first sip of this Micheladas. I always thought that beer was perfect, a diamond encrusted golden flower that simply was the pinnacle of excellence. The spice and delicious flavor of the concoction that rested in the bottom of my glass when mixed with beer that I normally stay away from because it is bland woke my taste buds up and delivered the perfect pre-meal slap in the face that one needs just before they eat a feast. This delightfully spicy, effervescent cocktail, was the perfect beginning to the food orgy that was about to go down!

Guacamole con Chapulines y Guaje

Guacamole con Chapulines y Guaje

Since this is a dining club and our table was full of food loving strangers, I took this opportunity, while we imbibed our Micheladas, to begin conversing with our table mates.   While we were waxing poetically about foodie related topics ranging from the food we have eaten to the food we were about to, the staff was busy in the kitchen preparing our first course. Guacamole con Chapulines y Guaje, which roughly translates into homemade chips, with mashed avocados topped with roasted crickets and guaje seeds, or really roughly translates into a whole big pile of awesome topped with some tasty bugs!

Taco Santo Cricket Chips

Rabbit Season! Duck Season! Rabbit Season! Bug Season?

Not only was the guacamole prepared expertly and had the perfect texture, the roasted crickets brought this already remarkable green goo to a whole other level of amaze-balls. The crunch that these bouncy bugs added harmonized nicely with the homemade chips and led to one delicious bite after another.

Mezcal

All spirits distilled from the agave plant are Mezcal, which are made in seven states throughout Mexico. Tequila, the most popular variation of Mezcal, can only be distilled from Weber blue agave.

After our table devoured the bowl of Guacamole, I guess that the fine staff at Taco Santo along with The Gastronaut administration were under the assumption that we may have become to sober while eating the delightfully fried chips, and once again went to the well to add more social lubricant to the party. This time however, they were not messing around! They dropped an inhibition destroying bomb, in the form of a Flight of Five Mezcals.

Mezcal Flight

Goodnight room, goodnight moon, goodnight cow jumping over the moon, goodnight light and the red balloon, goodnight bears, goodnight chairs, goodnight kittens, goodnight mittens,
goodnight clocks and goodnight socks, goodnight little house and goodnight mouse,
goodnight comb and goodnight brush, goodnight nobody, goodnight mush, and goodnight to the old lady whispering “hush”,goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere.

Now, Tequila and I get along about as well as me and Mezcal, which is to say that we like each other about as much as Itchy loves Scratchy, but you know what they say, when in Rome…errr… Mexico … err… Brooklyn. Even though I am not usually a huge fan of these intoxicating spirits, the flight went down somewhat smoothly, and I could tell this was not Jose Cuervo I was drinking.

Tripe Soup

This Menudo is so much better than the boy band from the 70’s!

Next up in the procession was Stewed Cow Stomach Menudo, A.K.A. Tripe Soup. Most people shy away from tripe because, well they know what it is and where it came from, but to that I say, Lobster! If you only ate things that looked and sounded appetizing, your meals would consist of the same 7 ingredients over and over again. I finished every last drop of this wonderfully aromatic meat gum stew, and I am proud to say that I would do it again.

TACOS!!!!!

TACOS!!!!!

After we polished off the tripe, it was time for the Main event, the moment all of us foodies were waiting for, the TACOS!!! By this time, I have to admit, my judgment may have been slightly impaired by the flight of Mezcal, but according to my notes, “Holy Hot Damn, these bitches were straight up fanfuckingtastic.”

Another Taco Santo Taco

These Tacos bring all the Gringos to Brooklyn
And they’re like, it’s better than ours!

The Goat Head surprised me and was not only chock full of flavor but amazingly tender. However, the fact that I loved the Cow Tongue Taco was no shock at all, considering my heritage, and the fact that I feel everything tastes better when wrapped in a shell. Furthermore, each and every one of these pouches of tacoey goodness acted as a canvas to the variety of sauces Taco Santo provided, and of course, I had to try them all.

What is a Taco without some color!

What is a Taco without some color!

Just when I thought that the caliber of this meal could not get any higher, Taco Santo took me to a place that only Cheech, Chong, Shaggy, and Scooby have ever been before. I rode to this whole new level of foodie enlightenment on rocket ship while holding a Pig Skin Taco in each hand thanks to my new foodie family The Gastronauts.

Pig Skin Taco

Holy UnKosher Taco Batman!

While all of us at our table began to hit the food wall that eaters and runners know all too well, we began to slow down our masticating and began to talk to each other once more. While we were discussing the finer points of the foodie culture and finishing up our cocktails, the last plate of Tacos arrived, and I was not about to let them go to waste. A few of us, “took one for the team,” and consumed the last few Tacos which were just as good as the first.

MORE TACOS!!!!

I really could not get enough of these things!

Even though I don’t believe in fate, destiny, or kismet, I do believe I was meant to be in that room surrounded by foodies just like me, all looking to not only taste food but to experience it. Groups like The Gastronauts and visionaries like Curtiss and Ben make events like this possible and should be applauded. I highly recommend putting in your application to become a Gastronaut, and if you know me personally, let me know when you want to go, as this will most definitely not be the last event I attend! If you do plan to attend a Gastronaut event you will need to know the ‘nauts golden rule, you have to at least try to try everything they serve you. I hope to see you all in the foodie stratosphere soon!

Thanks for the great time Taco Santo!

Thanks for the great time Taco Santo!

 

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