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 9:24am on January 7th, 2015, THE LIST HAS 3,116 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, January 26, 2015
FROM AMERICA'S BEST SANDWICH.
RANKED #1 IN THRILLIST BEST SANDWICH IN AMERICA.
"WHAT YOU'RE GETTING: Whatever's available
The only BYOB joint in Charleston also makes its finest sandwiches, which you can knock back in a dining room that feels like a friend’s place. Their menu, scrawled on a chalkboard, is constantly changing depending on the region’s local offerings, but always features innovative creations"
ALL I CAN SAY IS THAT THIS WAS HAND DOWN, NO QUESTIONS ASKED, EASILY, WITHOUT ANY FORM OF ARGUMENT OR DEBATE THE BEST LUNCH I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE. MOST AMAZING SANDWICH, SIDES, AND DRINK.
OPEN FROM 11AM-3PM AND 11PM-3AM THIS PLACE IS OUTSTANDING IN EVERY WAY.
THIS PLACE IS INCREDIBLE. TUCKED BEHIND A BOURBON DISTILLERY AND A COFFEE SHOP, THIS PLACE IS THE DEFINING EXAMPLE OF WHERE AMERICAN CULINARY GREATNESS IS HEADED. INSANELY INVENTIVE AND INCREDIBLE FOOD SERVED IN AN INSANELY INVENTIVE AND INCREDIBLE WAY IN A CASUAL DINING EXPERIENCE
I GOT THE ROAST BEEF AND THE SALT FRIES. MY WIFE GOT THE CAULIFLOWER GRILLED CHEESE. FRIENDS GOT THE FRENCH TOAST AND THE BAHN MI. INCREDIBLE FROM START TO FINISH.
THIS PLACE IS TRULY A MUST STOP FOR ANYONE IN THE AREA. IT IS INCREDIBLE. IT IS OUTSTANDING. IT IS FANTASTIC. IT IS THE BEST I HAVE EVER HAD.
PS- THEY ARE OPENING UP ONE IN MY HOMETOWN OF NASHVILLE. MY LITTLE TOWN IS GROWING UP SO FAST!
Thursday, January 22, 2015
IT IS AN EXPERIENCE.
IT IS AN JOURNEY.
IT IS A GASTRONOMIC MARATHON OF GLORY.
IT IS INCREDIBLE.
IT IS AMAZING.
IT IS OUTSTANDING.
IT IS DISGUSTING TO THINK ABOUT AFTER.
IT IS SOMETHING THAT MUST BE EXPERIENCED BY ALL…JUST ONCE.
TO ME, THE INCREDIBLY AMAZINGLY, FANTASTICALLY, OUTSTANDING EXPERIENCE AND JOURNEY OF THE GASTRONOMIC MARATHON OF GLORY KNOWN AS A VEGAS BUFFET CAN ONLY BE DESCRIBED AND DEFINED BY ONE OF MY FAVORITE TV CHARACTERS OF ALL TIME, TRACY JORDAN FROM 30 ROCK, WHO STATED "THERE NEEDS TO BE A GIANT SHRIMP MADE OUT OF SHRIMP DIVING INTO A BOWL OF SHRIMP THAT ARE ALL DROWNING IN A POOL OF COCKTAIL SAUCE!"
THIS QUOTE AND PHOTO SAY IT ALL WHEN IT COMES TO A VEGAS BUFFET. IF THERE ISNT THIS LEVEL OF INSANE DECADENCE AND OVER THE TOP-NESS WHEN IT COMES TO THE FOOD, THEN YOU AREN'T AT A TRUE AND LEGIT VEGAS BUFFET
I HAVE BEEN TO FOUR VEGAS BUFFETS, ALL AMAZING, ALL DIFFERENT, ALL WORTH A TRY.
AMATEUR MOVE IS TO JUMP RIGHT IN AT THE FIRST THING YOU SEE. I ENCOURAGE YOU TO TAKE A COUPLE WALK AROUND AND PLAN OUT YOUR MEAL. YOU HAVE (NORMALLY) TWO HOURS. TAKE YOUR TIME AND GET YOUR $49.99 WORTH.
FROM BUFFET PARADISE
"Voted Best Buffet in Las Vegas"* Seafood Station: split Alaskan opilio crab legs with clarified butter, citrus & taragon glazed salmon fillet, jumbo black tiger shrimp with cocktail sauce and sushi rolls; black Angus prime rib and pizza. Dessert Station: candy apples, tres leches cake."
The best buffet I have ever been to in Vegas. It is elegant, grand, and amazing. The buffet is huge and is split among different types of cuisine, so you know what you are getting when you approach each station. You won't find pizza next to sushi at this place. This place has so much variety yet they are very specific. They don't have a dish just to have it. One station may have 3 items only, but know that those three are there for a reason. The shellfish station is overwhelming with shrimp, crab, oysters, and crawfish. This was my first buffet in Vegas, and I must say, it was the best one I have been to yet.
BACHANNAL BUFFET AT CEASAR'S PALACE
This place is a palace within a palace. This place is a monstrosity. There is so much at this place, it is impossible to see everything they offer. It goes on for miles and miles. This place requires the most planning. Do not get sidetracked with sliders and hot dogs and pizza. Go straight for the stuff you cannot get at any normal restaurant in your hometown. Go straight for the ultimate amounts of meats and shellfish.
#76 BEST PLACE TO CHOW DOWN AND FOOD PARADISE
This will be short and to the point, just like the Bellagio buffet. The most straight forward, classic buffet in Vegas. This is everything you want from a buffet. Simply a delicious variety of amazing food. Shellfish, meat, breads, fruits, sushi, it's all here. This place is exactly what you want when you say Vegas buffet. Bellagio buffet is wonderful and is even better for brunch.
WICKED SPOON AT THE COSMOPOLITAN
FROM BEST THING I EVER ATE AND BUFFET PARADISE
Friday, January 16, 2015
809 W. RANDOLPH, CHICAGO
FROM BEST THING I EVER ATE
THIS IS ONE OF THE GREAT NEW AMERICAN CULINARY INSTITUTIONS. THE BRAIN CHILD OF TOP CHEF WINNER STEPHANIE IZZARD, THIS PLACE SOLIDIFIED CHICAGO AS A CULINARY MECCA.
EVERYTHING IS FRESH, EVERYTHING IS CAREFULLY THOUGHT OUT AND EXECUTED TO PERFECTION, EVERYTHING IS A WORK OF CULINARY GENIUS.
FROM THE FRESH BAKED BREAD AND SPREADS TO THE EPIC PIG FACE (PIG CHEEK) ENTREE THIS PLACE IS A WONDERFUL DINING EXPERIENCE.
MUCH LIKE ITS OTHER NEW AMERICAN CULINARY HUBS, IT IS BEST TO GO WITH A GROUP AND BE PREPARED TO SHARE A BUNCH OF ITEMS. THE MORE YOU ARE ABLE TO TRY OFF THE MENU, THE BETTER. THIS PLACE IS ALSO GREAT FOR VEGITARIANS OR FISH LOVERS.
GIRL AND THE GOAT IS A PURE DIAMOND IN A CITY BECOMING KNOWN FOR ITS CULINARY GEMS. IF YOU CAN GET IN AND YOU CAN AFFORD IT, THIS PLACE IS A MUST IF YOU WORSHIP AND APPRECIATE THE NEW WAVE OF AMERICAN FOOD.
PS- THE FOLKS AT GIRL AND THE GOAT OPENED UP A MASTERPIECE OF A DINER ACROSS THE STREET CALLED "LITTLE GOAT". THE SAME MINDS BEHIND THE PERFECTION OF CULINARY EXPERIENCES AT GIRL AND GOAT HAVE PUT THEIR IDEAS TO BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER, LATE NIGHT, AND BRUNCH. ALSO SHOULD NOT BE MISSED FOR A BRUNCH OR LATE NIGHT.
1300 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028
From Sandwich Paradise, Diner's Drive-Ins, and Dives, and Best Sandwich in America
What they say: "Motto: "we're making sandwiches over here" Fat Sandwiches: "Fat Sal" (warm thin-sliced roast beef topped with mozzarella sticks, onion rings, fries, mayo, warms brown gravy on a garlic buttered 9-inch baguette); "Big Fat Fatty" (12-pound fat sandwich: 1 ½ of cheese steak meat, 5 cheeseburger patties, 1 ½ of pastrami, 10-strips of bacon, 5 fried eggs, 10 chicken fingers, onion rings, jalapeno poppers, chili, marina sauce, a basket of fires and may-based "fat sauce" on a 27-inch long garlic-buttered hero); "Fat Banh Mi-Ki" (competitive eater Miki Sudo's Bahn mi-inspired sandwich: Korean-scented barbecue hanger steak marinated with soy sauce, sesame oil and crushed red pepper, onion rings, tomatoes, jalapenos, Szechuan slaw, and pickled vegetables, topped with mayo, sriracha, and teriyaki glaze on a baguette)"
WARNING: DO NOT PROCEED WITH READING IF YOU HAVE A WEAK STOMACH OR WEAK HEART (MOM!!)
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED (MOM!)!
STOP NOW IF YOU CAN'T HANDLE UNSETTLING IMAGES AND WORDS (SERIOUSLY MOM!!)...
When I started my list and this blog, both my food and restaurant bucket list were lengthy, places and foods that I wanted to go to before I was no longer able to. While the restaurant bucket continues to grow as my list grows daily, I have been able to knock a good portion of items off my food bucket list thanks to various places on my journeys. Bone Marrow, crawfish, oysters..and thanks to Fat Sal's, I was able to knock the fat sandwich off my list.
The fat sandwich is the product of the Grease Food trucks on College Avenue campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. "Fat Sandwiches", a sub roll containing a combination of ingredients such as burgers, cheese, chicken fingers, French fries, mozzarella sticks, gyro meat, bacon, etc.
Fat Sal's is the brain child of Sal, Josh, and Jerry (Ferrara of Entourage fame). They brought the fat sandwich westward. I have wanted to eat just one all my life, and one rainy LA afternoon, I got my chance. I had studied the menu for weeks and narrowed it down to one.
The Fat Jerry.
Philly cheesesteak, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, bacon, fried egg, fries, ketchup, salt, pepper, mayo on a freshly baked hero. Packed tight so no ingredient is lost in a bite.
Let that sink in and then let this sink in.
It was beyond words phenomenal. Outstanding. Mindblowing. Incredible. One of the best sandwiches I have ever had that I will never had again. There was so much going on and so much working together for a perfect combination of deliciousness.
Fat Sal's is a late night greasy spoon paradise and mecca and should not be missed....even if its a once in a lifetime experience because you cant take enough Lipitor and your cholesterol level is the same as your SAT score after..Fat Sal's should not and cannot be missed for an outrageously incredible meal.
If you want a good laugh and a good gasp, check out the menu and see some of the insane gastronomic inventions they got going on there. I have and will only have one, but I assure you and guarantee that anything that comes out of that kitchen will be over the top outrageous and incredible.
Also they have a eating challenge called the Big Fat Fatty....its too much...even for this place.