The Shil-Shul Diaries

The story begins in a cramped booth at the "faux" New York deli 'Noshville' in Nashville TN on a blustry day after thanksgiving November Friday day in 2008. In between my wife, Rachel, and my brother, Michael, I sat across from my "cooler than me" cousins Mark and Sarah, and Sarah's just as cool husband, Danny. Mark, who lives the awesome life being a lawyer living in San Francisco working for Facebook, with his only downfall being his SEVERE lactardation..which has never been medically or scientifically proven to exist in Mark.. Sarah and Danny are foodies from NYC who have tried every dive "chicken finger" hut and "curry on a stick" in the big city. Danny and Sarah had discussed that they were trying to go to as many places from Bobby Flay's 'Throwdown' show as they could, and that there was one in Nashville we had to try.....a place that I had never heard of in my 13 years of living there..I will get to that adventure later.

I got an idea from my cool cousins idea. An idea became a hobby. And the hobby became an obsession. And thus produced the list.....a world-famous spreadsheet...of every restaurant that has ever been featured on Food Network and Travel Channel....every restaurant from the famous shows like "Throwdown", "Man V. Food", "Man v. Food Nation", "Food Feuds", "Food Wars", "Best Thing I Ever Ate", and "Diners Drive-Ins and Dives" to the obscure "Best Food Ever", "Meat and Potatoes", and "101 Best Places to Chowdown", plus my additions of the restaurants of famous chefs and local places of legend. Names, cities, food they are famous for, and addresses. It was and still is an obsession. As of 9:37am on February 6th, 2014, THE LIST HAS 2,163 RESTAURANTS ON IT...WITH A FEW OVERLAPS HERE AND THERE. And then over Pastrami Eggs Benedict at Nate N' Al's Deli in Beverly Hills, Hannah and Andrew, our good friends, gave me the idea of the blog. Document every place I went. And thus, "The Shil-Shul Diaries" was born. I will log the places, the shows they are from, and what I had. So far, every place I have been has been amazing, except two, one being mediocre, and another being down right awful.


If there is a city you have been to, or are going to, or are from and want to know what from my list is in the city, send me a email at agmarks@gmail.com

Friday, April 11, 2014

Blue Ash Chilli




From Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives


9565 KENWOOD RD, CINCINNATI 45242

Cincinnati is a mixture of a city.  Ohio and Kentucky.  Midwest and South.  Not many people give it the credit it deserves.  It is a nice city, nice people, okay weather, CHEAP rent…but they have a food that they lay claim to that I think they do extremely well…chili.  Cincinnati chili is unique in and of itself.  1. Its not spicy, but sweet as it was created by Greek immigrants who used chocolate and cinnamon, yet most places have some incredible home made hot sauce that can be added 2. It is not served like your typical chili is served 3. Unless it is requested vegetarian style, it comes with no beans, just how I like it.  Back to #2.  Cincinnati chili is normally served on top of spaghetti with cheddar cheese.  You add in onions and beans if you want.  Chili straight up is called 1-way.  Onions is a 2-way.  Beans is a 3-way.  You add the cheddar and the oyster crackers, and voila perfection. Many places do it great including Skyline, Goldstar, can Camp Washington.  However, Blue Ash Chili, a small diner in the north suburb of Cincy does it with an extra way, the four way, with jalapeno poppers.  However while chili straight up is fun an great, this place takes it to a heart-stopping new level…on a Philly cheese steak. The Chili Philly.  I was skeptical.  Philly cheese steak in Cincy with 4-way chili on it.  I had to try it..and it was outrageous…and outstanding.  I don't want to imagine my cholesterol after and it was a mess, but it was phenomenal.  I highly recommend this place and this sandwich…just bring some tums!

Red's Eats




















From Best Sandwich in America

41 Water St, Wiscasset, ME 04578

JUST PERFECTION ON EVERY LEVEL. A TINY SHACK IN A TINY TOWN ON THE SIDE OF A TINY STATE ROAD IN THE MIDDLE OF A STATE 30 YEARS IN THE PAST. A SHACK ONLY OPEN FROM APRIL 1 TO NOVEMBER 1. YOU WAIT IN LINE FOR WHAT SEEMS LIKE FOREVER. YOU LOOK OVER THE HUGE MENU, PAST THE FRESH OYSTERS, CLAMS, SHRIMP, AND FISH, BUT KNOW THERE IS ONLY ONE THING TO BE ORDERED...LOBSTER ROLL! RED'S EATS IS THE BEST LOBSTER ROLL IN AMERICA AND TOP 3 SANDWICH IN MY OPINION. IT IS PLAIN AND SIMPLE. TOASTED WHITE BREAD, AND A LOBSTER, DIPPED IN DRAWN BUTTER, WITH ONION RINGS AND A FRESH LEMONADE. YOU TAKE IT FROM THE WINDOW, AND WALK DOWN TO THE PATIO IN FRONT OF THE RIVER THAT PASSES THROUGH TOWN. LET'S BACK UP. DID YOU MISS WHAT I JUST SAID. TOASTED WHITE BREAD..AND A LOBSTER. NOT THE CLAWS, NOT THE INNER PARTS, A WHOLE FUCKING LOBSTER. YOUR FLIMSY PIECE OF WHITE TOAST IS EXPECTED TO HOLD IN TWO CLAWS, THE INNERS, AND WHAT...THE TAIL...A WHOLE 1 ½ POUND LOBSTER....NOWHERE ELSE IN AMERICA DOES IT THIS WAY AND NOWHERE ELSE IN AMERICA WILL EVER DO IT THIS WAY AND THAT'S WHY RED'S EATS IS THE BEST. THE BEST! HANDS DOWN, NO QUESTIONS ASKED! THE BEST!  I AM TALKING DEATH ROW, FINAL MEAL TYPE OF BEST!



Hash House A-Go-Go



























FROM MAN VS. FOOD AND UNIQUE EATS


6800 West Sahara Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89146


One of the most unique brunch experiences I have ever had. This place is a modeled after a midwestern farmhouse...but in the middle of the Vegas desert, so like a midwestern farmhouse brunch (I assume) ever dish must have enormous portions, should involve some form of meat (beef, chicken, and pork...on in the case of this restaurant, all three), some form of potato, something fried, something with a biscuit, covered in gravy...and cheese. My brother and I went to the suburban location of this culinary destination, known as the locals location, as opposed to the tourist location located deep in the flashing lights, loud music, and excessive oxygen neutralizing, or trying to neutralizing, the plethora of cigarette smoke, and back tattoos and fake breast implants of the Vegas strip. This location is more subdued and calm. I got the fried chicken eggs benedict and my brother got the fried chicken and waffles. This place is outrageous. Everything has a gourmet, Vegas spin, on normal dishes. The maple syrup is made in house. The fried chicken has rosemary and thyme. The waffles have bacon bits in them. My eggs benedict was smothered in chipotle hollandaise and the gianormous fried chicken breast were supurb, overwhelming, but supurb. My brother's chicken and waffles, the signature dish on the menu, was a gourmet spin, but wonderful!! I recommend this place, but as a lifetime, platinum club member of the clean plate club, must heed this warning that no one can finish their plate at Hash-House-A-Go-Go

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Brass Compass





305 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841

From Throwdown with Bobby Flay

I will be short and sweet.  This place has one of the best and most inventive sandwiches in the world.  The lobster club.  We all know and adore the club.  Triple decker held together by toothpicks.  Bread, meat, lettuce, tomato, lettuce, and bacon.  Imagine the meat is not the traditional turkey we normally find on a club sandwich, but a pound of lobster……thus sandwich heaven!!!


Buffalo Joe's

Every once in a while I go rogue, off the grid, off the list for a gastrointestinal journey and I want to give you details about those places that aren't on the list, but that are so meaningful to me in my heart and in my belly….so…..I present

Buffalo Joe's




812 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60201




BEST BUFFALO WINGS IN AMERICA! HANDS DOWN, NO QUESTIONS ASKED!!

Chicago is a city rich and immersed in history from the water tower to Mrs. O'Leary, the Cubs/Sox/Bears/Bulls, the Daly's.  This city is also known as the city of broad shoulders which I directly attribute to the fact that it is freezing, so you gotta eat a lot and that's why Chicago is a city so rich and immersed in incredible food….deep dish pizza, hot dogs, italian beef, popcorn, and so on.  But my favorite place in all of Chicago is a hole in the wall buffalo wing place where spicy perfection lies. It's the one place I MUST go whenever I am in town, no ifs, ands or buts. It's called Buffalo Joes, or to the locals Buff Joe's. I first heard about this place in high school during a summer BBYO jewish teen leadership camp from Steph Howard and Jori Elisco.  The way they said Buff (bahff) Joe's…I knew it was somewhere special.  It has become sort of a ritual for me to go with my brother in law with a double brother (we are brother in laws and fraternity brothers) lunch.  It is cash only. It is run by employees just as angry as the Wiener Circle a few miles south.  I argue the employees of Wiener Circle work during the day at Buff Joe's and the night at the Circle of Wiener.  This place has burgers, hot dogs, italian beef, but you come for the wings, the celery and the ranch.  I am pretty sure that this place has been open 40+ years and my father in law was the first to order a burger.  The wings are giant and so meaty. The wings are cooked perfectly.  The sauce is buttery and perfect.  Get the suicide…its just their normal hot wings with jalapenos. Get the cheese fries! Get a large RC! PERFECTION!Wings, cheese fries, and RC with extra ranch and celery from Buff Joe's is on my short list for finals meals if I was on death row.

SPRINT, DO NOT RUN, DO NOT WALK!!!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Manny's








1141 South Jefferson Street Chicago, IL 60607

FROM BEST THING I EVER ATE

NYC has hundreds of deli restaurants that are world renowned. Everyone has their favorite. Carnegie, Katz, 2nd Ave. Deli, Stage, Wolfies, etc.  LA has a few renowed delis. Everyone has their favorite. Langers, Factors, Nate and Al's, and Canters.  Chicago has one.  Just one. One deli that is everyone's favorite. One deli that keeps the people coming back.  If the third largest metropolitan city in America only boasts one famous deli, it must be great, and it is.  This is a cafeteria style place where you order your sandwich to the guy behind the slicer and watch it be made. Where you fill a tray with all the amazing goodies they have to offer from the soups to sides to sandwiches to desserts.  Manny's is great!!! I get the corned beef on rye, mac and cheese, and pie with a giant soda.  It is truly a midwestern institution that stands in the pantheon of great delis from the midwest with Shapiros from  Indy!


PS- When the food festival Taste of Chicago takes over the city in August, Manny's is the most popular booth, not because of deli food…but because of the turkey leg…the only thing they make…turkey leg.  Other places at the taste make stuff you can get everyday at their respective permanent locations, Manny's makes something they only make once a year special for the food festival

Duffy's Cherry Cricket







2641 East 2nd Ave., Denver, CO 80206

From Man vs. Food and #80 on 101 Best Places To Chowdown

This is a great burger! Delicious! Great toppings, sides, and atmosphere!  They have like 1000's of toppings and possible combinations, but unfortunately, the toppings can overwhelm the burger, not compliment, but this place gets 3 1/2 pickles out of 5 if I had an obligatory rating system. There is nothing fancy about this burger. It's just straight up burger. Burger with a toothpick in it, a giant pickle spear in a red basket. Fries and onion rings in a separate basket to maximize ketchup spreading and to prohibit them from getting soggy in burger juice…CHECK!!!The way Americans want it. USA USA USA!!

 I recommend this place if you are in Denver and want a great burger, good fries and onion rings, aa cold beer, and a fun place to hang out!