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 shilshuldiaries@gmail.com

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Smokey Jon's BBQ



From Best BBQ in America

2310 Packers Ave, Madison, WI 53704

As a southerner, I miss good BBQ.  I mean, legit, elbows on the table, need a roll of paper towels, sweet tea, good sides, great meat, and amazing sauce BBQ.  Outside of Chicago, there is very little left to be desired for a recent Midwesterner transplant like me.  I have come to expect mediocrity and lack of taste, and I have settled on the fact that unless I am in the big city, BBQ will just be mediocre at best for the time being.  

That is until I went to Madison and found Smokey Jon's all thanks to my Wisconsin greasy foodie role model, mentor, and hero Peter Luck.

In a non-descript industrial park, on the outskirts of the perfect balance of hippie commune, co-op loving, liberal epicenter and frat boy, conservative, beer, cheese, and brat loving town known as Madison lies an incredible BBQ find.  In Madison , a culinary paradise of organic, grass-fed, vegan, ethnic, food cart, is a true southern BBQ mecca.  Smokey Jon's quenches every ounce of great BBQ experience I come to expect from my trips home to the south.  The portions are outstanding, the meat is amazing, the sauce is out of this world, and the sides are phenomenal.  I have been back twice now, both times with Mr. Luck per my diva demands, not requests, and have not been disappointed in any, way, shape or form.