What The Hell Are You Eating?

Jack’s Original Bar-B-Q July 9, 2008

Filed under: Barbecue,Meat — whatthehellareyoueating @ 8:40 pm
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One of the greatest things about Jack’s Bar-B-Q is that it could exist almost anywhere. It appears devoid of outside influence, perfectly at home in any city without a well defined barbecue culture. I have a hard time imagining Jack’s making it back in Kansas City. Not to mention St Louis, Memphis, either Carolina, Georgia or Texas. Though Jack’s probably owes most of its barbecue influence to Texas style meats and a St Louis-y sauce, it doesn’t have enough hallmarks of any one style to denote it as indicative of any specific region. It is simply barbecue. Another of the greatest aspects of Jacks, of course, is that it exists here, in Tucson.

Jack’s has been in business since 1950 and it’s hard to imagine that their menu has changed much over the years. They recently started serving beer which was a major plus for Cal, but didn’t really do much for me for some reason. While the actual act of barbecuing seems to call out for a beer, eating it, for me at least, does not. Cal went with the rib dinner which came with a side of beans and a huge cup of sauce. The ribs were thick and juicy though not of the “falling off the bone” variety that Cal so loved at Daisy Mae’s. The sauce at Jack’s trumps the Daisy Mae’s slop by at least three fold. It was a thin, spicy tomato based sauce that stuck to the ribs just enough to encourage a double dip. The beans were good, stewed to within an inch of their life just the way they’re supposed to be. Though Cal feels Brushfire serves superior beans I have to disagree.

I had the sliced pork dinner with beans and onion rings. The pork was well cooked though could have used a little more smoke. The aforementioned sauce was slathered all over them making a fork a necessity. The onion rings at Jack’s are perhaps the best in town. I’m not going to stand by that officially as I’m not well versed in the many offerings Tucson so graciously supplies in the onion ring department. We also split an order of sweet potato fries. As I’ve mentioned in this blog before, I’ll marry anyone who can whip up a decent sweet potato fry. I mean holy shit, have you people eaten sweet potato fries? Jack’s are well done, smartly using a skinny fry instead of a fat one. Fat sweet potato fries don’t hold up, they soak up too much grease and get real mushy.

In a nod to their Southwestern home, Jack’s also offers tacos and tostadas each with either barbecue pork or beef. They’re actually a little weird, but sometimes they cause a pretty sturdy craving.

I give Jack’s 7.5 sweet sweet potato fries. Partially because they have a port-o-potty out front next to a portable sink. Awesome, I haven’t seen that sweet a set up since the Lollapalooza with Tricky, whichever one that was.


What the Hell Are You Eating in L.A. Part 3 June 6, 2008

Filed under: Meat,Seafood — whatthehellareyoueating @ 3:34 am
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Our third day in Los Angeles began with a tantalizing breakfast at a Bob’s Big Boy.  Bob’s Big Boy is kind of a mythical restaurant to me.  I’ve always heard of it yet never really knew what it was exactly.  It’s Denny’s.  I had what I’d eat at Denny’s or, what I ate at Denny’s the next morning.  Eggs, bacon, hashbrowns and biscuit, all of it sucked.

I think we might have skipped lunch that day since we went to the museum and were all fairly traumatized by the Big Boy.  Dinner, however was at our hotel at a restaurant called Thousand Cranes.  I don’t think it has anything to do with Yasunari Kawabata.  The only real similarity was that he killed himself and after drinking that much saki, I really wanted to.

I suppose this is the most expensive restaurant I’ve ever eaten at.  Katie, Heather and I split the Kobe beef Sukiyaki style which, judging by how it was prepared, means left in an electric skillet unattended.  Still it was the best piece of meat I’ve ever tasted.  I’m not sure how many different vegetables it was tossed with.  At one point I held up a piece of weirdness to our waitress and I think she said, “bamboo shoot,” but she really could have said anything because I was on my fourth pomegranate julip.  I’m really not sure what anyone else ordered, except I know Katy got a bunch of wicked shashimi that included a shrimp head from which she was forced to suck his brains or whatever shrimps have up there.

The whole meal was pretty extravagant and it was made doubly so since we were sequestered in our own room.  Which in retrospect was probably a good idea with things happening like Katie leaning over to tell me that she was quote, “so fucking wasted.”  It was that kind of night.  Since it was a Japanese restaurant we were all sitting on the ground with no shoes on, this made getting up to go the bathroom a huge ordeal.  We all had to share one pair of slippers.  I also complicated everything be repeatedly exiting through the kitchen entrance.  What the hell did I care I was fucked on Kobe beef.

I give Thousand Cranes nine little bowls of saki.

We also ate at a pizza place that was pretty good but I’m tired of writing about L.A. I’m going to get back to Tucson.


What the Hell Are You Eating in L.A. Part 2 June 4, 2008

Filed under: Meat,Seafood — whatthehellareyoueating @ 3:45 am
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After a fairly ridiculous evening, I got up early and headed to the hotel’s breakfast buffet.  I’m a big fan of buffets, probably the fat midwesterner in me.  This one left more than a little to be desired especially since it was twenty fucking dollars.  There was an omelet station that offered cheese, ham, peppers, or mushrooms.  No spinach?  What the hell, I don’t know about you guys, but spinach is an omelet staple for me.  They also had the usual terrible hash browns (they never hold up, you have to go home fries on a buffet) sausage, bacon, biscuits, plus fruit and cottage cheese.  I ordered up an omelet with peppers, grabbed a couple of biscuits and some bacon and went back to my table.  When I returned to pick up my omelet I also grabbed a bowl of cottage cheese to which I added a couple of what I thought were peaches.  After trying the peaches, I realized they were maybe pears.  I wasn’t sure, they didn’t quite taste like either.    After putting away a thirty dollar breakfast that I could have easily put together for five dollars on my own in a better fashion everyone else showed up and wanted to eat breakfast.  I ate some granola with bananas since I was still hungry and I didn’t know when we were going to eat lunch.

For lunch we ended up at the Liberty Grill near the convention center.  I don’t think we could have had a more nondescript lunch in all of Los Angeles.  The only thing that made me wonder about anything was how the Mexican staff felt about working under such pro American decor.    I had the mahi mahi sandwich.  Actually, later, it had me.

We went to the Palm for dinner.  The Palm is a famous restaurant in New York that franchised out across the country.  “We’re a steak and seafood place,” our waiter Pauley said.  I trusted him because he was fat and ordered a steak.  It was pretty good, though I still feel like my brother grills a better steak than most yahoos in steak houses.  We had clams for an appetizer, both casino and oreganta (or some other bullshit name).  Heather claimed all the ones she tried were gritty.  I didn’t know what she was talking about until I sucked one of those little bad boys out of their shell and got a mouth full of sand.  Isn’t that the only thing you really have to do with clams, make sure they don’t have any grit?  I had a clam chowder as well, it was 92 percent grit free and had tons of clams.  Heather and Katy both got the sea bass and both were sorely disappointed, half of Heather’s was fat and made her really sick.  Aaron had some kind of huge crab that required a bib which he wore and was a real good sport about.  We also shared a twenty dollar piece of cake and a couple of creme brulees that we seriously devoured.  I should also mention that the woman who sat us and took our drink orders had the name “Suebiscuit” embroidered on her jacket.

I’d give the whole day of eating a six, with the steak being the high point and the peach/pear debacle the low point.

Here are some random quotes about relevant topics from the internet:

The Palm

“My sister ordered the veal and it was delish!” – Christann R.

“Everything would’ve been great, except that our waiter turned out to be the biggest wanker of all time.” – hp

“hey george, send me that picture of us w/ frank mcCourt…” – George L.

Liberty Grill

“This place confuses me” – Erica R.

“Snorefest.” – Ethan M.


Jessica’s Take on the Great American Steakburger May 19, 2008

Filed under: Burgers,Meat — whatthehellareyoueating @ 5:50 pm

The decor is of Great American Steakburger is a little bit creepy, kind of Old West Saloon meets Old Folks Home.  Although, to be fair, my assessment may have been influenced by the fact that we were pretty much the only clientele without someone with white hair in our party.  The seats were vinyl with little cowboys on them, and the table was vaguely sticky.  There also seemed to be a bizarrely large staff for the small number of people seated.  The menu seemed to offer a fairly big selection though (well, a big selection of meat.  I don’t think there were any non-meat options), and was reasonably priced.  Sneakily, however, you had to order sides separately–no fries to accompany burgers here.  I ordered a side salad, and a well-done Steakburger Tampiquena (tampiquena apparently the Spanish word for jack cheese + onions + green chiles).

The salad came first, and was ok; fresh, but nothing spectacular.  Pretty much the same ingredients that would appear in any bagged salad.  My biggest irritation with the salad is that it was a medium-sized salad in a ridiculously small bowl.  Every time I attempted to stab a piece of lettuce or carrot with my ginormous and tine-lacking fork a different piece of tomato or lettuce would take a dive out of the other side of the bowl onto the aforementioned vaguely sticky table.  Since I wasn’t about to eat anything that had touched the table, that meant that part of my salad ended up being inedible, but it may have added to the entertainment factor for Marshall and Noel, not sure, I didn’t ask.

The burger was decent, but totally tasted like it was just a frozen patty with some good grill seasoning on it, and the “tampiquena” topping.  Upon further reflection I think that probably all the burgers at the restaurant were the same frozen patty, with various different toppings.  I did like the tampiquena part though, it added a nice little kick to the burger, and the bun was pretty good, although it was of the very squish-able variety, meaning that it was nice and thick my first few bites, but by the time I got to the end of my burger it was about 1/8 of an inch thick.  My biggest complaint with the burger is that I ordered it well-done, and it was definitely pink in the middle, which is completely annoying.  I hate pink meat, so I nibbled around the edges of the burger, and left the middle icky part.

All in all I’d probably have to agree with Marshall and give Great American Steakburger (whose initials are GAS by the way) a five.  Noel said he would’ve given the food a six (he got a burger with bacon and cheese, and a side of beans) but he agreed that the ambience of the restaurant was a little strange, so that probably an all-around five is a good assessment. 


Great American Cattle Co. Steak Burger

Filed under: Burgers,Meat — whatthehellareyoueating @ 3:56 am
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Jessica accused me recently of under representing the East Side so I journeyed out toward whichever mountains those are (I can never remember, the Catalinas?) to meet her and Noel at the Great American Steaks and Burgers Co. Apparently she has been driving by it, intrigued, for months. Short story shorter, I consented and drove out to where I thought the restaurant was only to realize it wasn’t there anymore. I had to call my brother and have him look on the internet to find out where it really was which made me late, rendering the Saveur magazine I brought with me useless and condemning it to a lifetime of riding in the passenger seat of my car.

Jessica and Noel were waiting for me outside the restaurant, still not sure if they wanted to eat there or go somewhere else. Noel and I decided we were already here so why not give it a whirl? The inside of the Cattle and Great Americans Co. of Steakburgers is decked out with the usual Western motif, covered wagon wall paper, lots of really old people and weird metal cow head wall hangings. The menu was pretty obvious as well, I think I already knew I was ordering a chicken sandwich. It was a pretty standard sandwich, the chicken was well prepared with some mild “south westy” spices but the sweet potato fries were a surprise. I’d do almost anything for some hot, crispy sweet potato fries. These were pretty fair, they were thin and floppy with a few extra fried fries at the bottom. We all pretend these aren’t the best fries in any order but let’s just stop kidding ourselves.

If you can make these for me, let’s get married.

Noel and Jessica both ordered burgers. Neither of them had much positive to say and Jessica’s was undercooked. The highlight of the meal was definitely the sheer amount of meat that the two elderly couples seated behind us ordered. I’m guestimating about eleven pounds for the four of them, all in ribs and sausages. After they were finished one of the oddest shaped women I’ve ever seen produced toothpicks for the table, yet the other woman declined. How could she not need a toothpick? I saw her gnawing on a rib bone.

Anyway, I give The Company of Cattle and Steak Burger America five floppy sweet potato fries. Though I commend Jessica’s sense of adventure. Hopefully, she can root out some decent East Side locations for me to try.

Here’s what everyone on the ‘net sez:

“The burgers and fish sandwichs are excellant as is the steaks..” – Anonymous.

“Ever since this restaurant moved to their new location the service and food went from good to right down the tubes.” – liddiebug

“We felt we were eating good old corn feed beef!” – RaybAZ


Daisy Mae’s Steakhouse May 2, 2008

Filed under: Meat — whatthehellareyoueating @ 2:39 am
Tags: , ,

So we wanted ribs.  What do you do when you want ribs in Tucson?  You sit around and debate the existence of certain restaurants, whether or not they’re still open, or you cave in and hit a chain.  Cal, Bill and I bullshitted for the better part of an hour before deciding to head to Daisy Mae’s Steakhouse out on Anklam, just past Greasewood.  The problem I have with going to eat steak or ribs, or in this town Barbecue, is that I can make it better myself for exponentially cheaper.  The serious dearth of places for decent, even passable BBQ is a constant source of culinary disappointment for me.  I’ve enjoyed barbecue in this town about as often as I’ve enjoyed an episode of My Name is Earl.

So I wasn’t expecting a lot out of Daisy Mae’s.  I’d been there once previous and wasn’t too impressed.  It was a pretty small crowd this past Wednesday and our server sat us in front of the big screen television.  I watched my old Kansas classmate Paul Pierce decimate the Atlanta Hawks and enjoyed a Bohemia.  Daisy Mae’s had a pretty good beer selection with a lot of good Mexican options.  The interior of the restaurant is covered in one dollar bills stapled to the walls and ceiling.  Both Cal and Bill were able to spot dollars bearing their name but I couldn’t find a Marshall.

We started with some mesquite grilled wings.  These proved exceptional.  Normally, I’m skeptical of non fried wings, but these were quite good.  They had great mesquite smokiness and good texture.  I was really pleased with them.  We all ordered ribs as well.  I didn’t really see any other options at that point.  We had been talking about ribs for more than an hour so a steak wasn’t going to cut it.  The service was good, though Bill noted, “They have a lot of hot servers here but we got the only ugly one.”  Which, as far as I can tell, is classic Bill.  I told him that was an old Hooter’s phenomenon that I had picked up on when my friends would drag me all they way up to Kansas City just to go to Hooter’s (Mainly so our one friend could get a ham and cheese sandwich.  Trust me I could do a whole post on the idiocy of that retard’s eating habits).

So the ribs show up with little fanfare.  Just the rack of ribs, a pretty small backed potato and a little dish of sauce.  Before I could even register that there was even Texas toast on the table we were all half done with our racks.  I couldn’t get the meat to stay on the bone.  The stuff was just slipping off, we had to use our fingers.  Is there greater testament to a rib?  The sauce was fair with a little kick but nothing special.  The ribs lacked real flavor but they were cooked so perfectly that it didn’t matter.

I have to admit that the best part of the night transpired just as we were leaving.  I had turned my car around in the dead end parking lot and were about to exit when a van pulled in to a parking spot adjacent the front patio.  A couple of white thirty something dudes hopped out and proceeded to have a conversation right in front of my car.  Were they serious? we inquired to each other.  I was idling in my car not four feet in front of them.  Another guy got out, he must have been middle management because he had a blackberry or something, and he shuffled the other two out of the way only to be followed by a woman who got out of the van and stood in the exact same spot examining her cell phone.  What the fuck is she doing? we again asked each other.  Cal began laughing at an exceedingly loud volume, which if you’ve heard the dude laugh you know what a cacophony he can cause.  What the hell was she doing, checking out the pictures she took in the van?  She finally looked up right at me and slouched off.

I give Daisy Mae’s a seven and a half.  They had good ribs but really nothing else to offer.  Plus they lose points because I can still make better ribs.

Even this weird Dutch kid likes ribs.

A couple of internet dorks thought this:

“I ate the entire 14 oz. of steak. Then again that might have to do with the fact that I had nothing else to eat for the entire day.” – Susanna S.

“They recommend the sirloin which I found to be very fatty.” – Anonymous