This is probably the best place to watch football in Pittsburgh…

So, we’re hanging out at City Works, this funky joint in Market Square, right in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. Now, since the Steelers were playing on Monday Night Football last week, it meant you could watch any other game on Sunday–and this place was showing pretty much all of them. I mean, they even had the Bills game on, bro!!!!

Not only that, but they’ve got some funky delish dishes, plus over 90 craft beers on tap. Dude, it’s kinda like Real Sports…without all the douchebags. Oh, and they’ve got better beer here, too.

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So, we’re starting off with a Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, this hoppy pale wheat ale from Lagunitas. Dude, we’re lucky if we get Lagunitas IPA in Toronto, so you know I’m all over this one. It tastes kinda like a strong hefeweizen, but with an apricot aftertaste that explodes all over my face, bro!!!

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Now, you know I love nachos, and I’m also a big fan of duck confit, so when you put ’em together, it’s like bippity, boppity boo, bro! You’ve got some onions, tomato, jalapenos and queso fresco, along with white beans, for that funky fresh Frenchness, all smothered in pepper jack cheese sauce…and served on wonton chips!? Shut the back door!!!

Now, this plate of nachos was actually not that big, so I definitely still had room for  dessert:

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Dude, if this Peanut Butter Snickers Pie was any more rich, it would be throwing dynamite with Maren Morris! You’ve got an Oreo cookie crust, peanut butter mousse, whipped cream and chunks of Snickers, served up on a checkerboard of caramel and chocolate sauce–that’s a checkmate in Flavourtown, bro!!!

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Now what goes better with dessert than another beer? This here’s a nice chocolately cocoa porter called Sweet Baby Jesus from Duclaw Brewing outta Baltimore…and I didn’t even hafta go to Baltimore to get it!

 

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This Primanti Bros sando eats like a three-course meal!

So we’re hanging out at Primanti Bros, Pittsburgh’s original gangsta sandwich joint, open since 1933 in the Strip District. This place does one thing, and they do it real well, piling meat, fries and slaw between two pieces of bread, bro! Now, this funky joint is open 24 hours, which means this is my idea of a balanced breakfast:

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What we’ve got is the Roast Beef & Cheese, which is sorta like Pittsburgh’s take on a Philly Cheesesteak. There’s hot, thinly sliced beef, melted provolone, and then a whole pile of fries, coleslaw and some tomatoes on top–y’know, for that one serving of fruit. And this is just half of it…there’s a whole ‘nother side to this sandwich, son!

I can’t say whether I still had room for dessert–they ain’t got no dessert on the menu. But who needs to save room with a sandwich this good? Man, even JuJu Smith-Schuster goes here, bro!!!!

Real-deal Texas BBQ, deep in the heart of…Pittsburgh???

So, we’re crusin’ down Butler Street in Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh’s hottest neighbourhood, when I spot this bitchin’ BBQ joint with a massive outdoor patio, picnic tables, and a buncha people playing cornhole out front. You know I spun a U-ie in the Camaro right then and there, bro!!!

Walter’s Southern Kitchen actually just opened at the end of August, and it’s run by the same folks as Morgan’s BBQ in Brooklyn…but when it comes to meat, they’re definitely doing it up Texas-style:

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Dude, that beef brisket is real-deal, Bomb.com, too legit to quit, bro!!!! The meat just falls apart on your fork, melts in your mouth, and explodes all over your face. And then you’ve got the turkey. I’m more of a fried chicken man myself, but when you’ve got it coming straight outta the smoker, all pink and tender, I could eat about five pounds of that…and probably not have room for dessert?

walters_bbq_turkey (1)Mmm, BBQ turkey…

Now, because I happened to be wearing my Franklin BBQ trucker hat, these dudes knew I knew what’s up, so they offered me some ribs for free. (Well that, and they were also all outta sausage). Feast your eyes on this Flavourtown meat popsicle:

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Dude, these ribs were just as tender and flavourful as the brisket, with a simple salt-and-pepper rub. They were all sold outta beef ribs though, otherwise that wouldda been perfect…

Anyways, they’re still ironing out some of the kinks over there, but the food is super-legit, and I don’t know anywhere else in town where you can do yoga in the morning, play some cornhole and drink beers in the afternoon, and then chow down on BBQ at night. If another place like this does exist…then I might be headed back to Pittsburgh sooner than later, son!!!!

This bacon-wrapped BLT dog is a slice of trailer park paradise!

Now, there’s a whole buncha country bars on Broadway, but Paradise Park Trailer Resort has gotta be the most Red-red-red-red-red-redneck of ‘em all! This place has got a hillbilly band playing on top of a muscle car, local craft beers in plastic cups—not to mention 6-dollar pitchers of Natty Light—and has all kinds of killer redneck fast food, like this culinary creation, the Paradise BLT Dog:

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Ok, so here’s the deal. They take an all-beef wiener, wrap it in bacon, and deep fry it, then serve it up in a bun with lettuce, tomato and mayo. It’s like BLTs Gone Wild, bro!!!

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Of course, you can’t scarf down a deep-fried, bacon-wrapped hot dog with a side salad, so we went with the chili cheese fries. Nothing wrong with taters, meaty chili and all kinds of processed queso, bro!

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Washed it all down with a Portly Stout by local brewer Turtle Anarchy. First time I’ve ever drank a stout in a solo cup…and it was magically delicious!!!

Meat and three? Could I maybe get a three meat and one?

So, we’re hanging out at Puckett’s Grocery, this legendary local institution in the Nashville area. This place is serving up all kinds of southern comfort food, including a breakfast buffet, but they’re known for their Chalkboard Specials: One meat, 3 sides for just $10.99…but only from 11 am until 3 in the afternoon!

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They switch up their meats everyday, but this time they had a choice of pulled pork, smoked pork chop or fried chicken. Now, I don’t think I’ve ever had a smoked pork chop before, so I went with turnip greens, French fries and Mac n cheese alongside. (The mac was an extra buck fiddy, but no biggie!)

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Dude, that chop was packed with super-smoky flavour in every bite. You’ve got a nice, buttery bowl of greens, and a consistently creamy mac. The fries were really nothing special, but overall, I ain’t complaining!!!

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Washed it all down with a five-dollar Mason jar of Southern Wit, a tasty local wheat beer that I first tried my last time here. All that, and it was still less than 20 bucks—that’s a Tennessee highway robbery in Flavourtown!!!!

COUNTRY SUPERSTAR BAR SHOWDOWN: Blake Shelton’s Ole Red vs Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row

Although there are plenty of classic country bars on Nashville’s Lower Broadway, like Tootsie’s, Robert’s and Nudies, there have also been a few new ones named after big time country stars, like Alan Jackson’s Good Time Bar and Jason Aldean’s Crazy Town. The latest one to hit the strip is Ole Red, which has Blake Shelton’s fingerprints, if not his name, on it.

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When I stepped in off the street, the in-house band was just finishing up a George Jones tune, which is always a good sign. Their repertoire was also heavy on George Strait and Conway Twitty, and I actually heard them play Clint Black’s “Killin’ Time” twice, which might be one of the best country-music drinking songs of the 1990’s…

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Speaking of drinking, this place has got its own signature Ole Red Ale, brewed by Nashville’s Fat Bottom Brewing. It’s a pretty mild red beer, which tastes more or less like Rickard’s Red…but it does happen to be named after a Blake Shelton hit single.

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Ole Red actually has four floors. The second floor is a little more cozy than the first, and features this bitchin’ buffalo head, along with several TV screens showing the NHL playoffs. I definitely spent some time up here, pounding Music City Light beers…

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From there I headed up to the rooftop, where the most country song on the playlist was by Taylor Swift. But it did have a pretty sweet view of Nissan Stadium, along with some tasty snacks.

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Dude, you can’t get much more country than beef jerky and corn nuts in a mason jar, bro! This jerky was nice and tender, not too hard to chew, and the chili-spiced corn nuggets added an extra kick. But the best was yet to come…

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Hot pretzels are pretty much my favourite stadium snack, bro, and this one’s the size of a Marcus Mariota TD gallop! Plus, it comes with this super-creamy queso dip… dude, I’d put that on a flip-flop!!!!

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Washed it all down with a Dogfish Head Sea Quench Ale, this super-citrusy brew from Delaware’s finest brewery. This totally took some of the heat off those corn nuts!!!!

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Now, when I walked into Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, some burly, bearded dude was singing “Any Man of Mine” by Shania Twain. I fucking shit you not. And while there were plenty of screens showing the basketball game, you weren’t gonna get any craft beer here—they had Miller Lite, Bud Light, Coors Light and Michelob Ultra on ice.

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After a couple more songs, I headed up to the second floor, where an all-white band was playing Bob Marley. This floor had a slightly better beer selection—if you consider Blue Moon slightly better beer—but once the drummer started singing Stevie Wonder, I was gone, gone, gone…

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Whiskey Row claims to have the highest rooftop patio in Nashville…where a DJ was playing some crappy rap music. I don’t think I lasted more than 10 minutes!!!

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After grabbing a non-light beer on the second floor, I headed down to Floor One to hear the band play 90’s radio rock staples by Eve 6 and the Gin Blossoms, before launching into the Uncle Kracker version of “Drift Away.” (Trust me, it was the Uncle Kracker version.) But at least I hung around long enough to hear em play “Drink in My Hand,” “Friends in Low Places” and, uh, “Sweet Caroline.” This floor was definitely the lesser of three evils.

FINAL VERDICT: Even though Blake Shelton loses 500 points off the top for recording “Boys Round Here,” his bar still wins by a landslide. Dierks Bentley’s joint is so un-country, it makes “Somewhere on a Beach” sound like “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” Man, I’d rather stick a pink umbrella in my drink at Florida Georgia Line’s FGL House Sundaze Brunch than go back to Whiskey Row, bro!!!!!!

Sometimes, to get the real-deal hot chicken, you gotta go to Nashville…

Happy Nashlorette Party, dudettes! So, we’re down in the Music City, hanging out at Hattie B’s, the most popular hot chicken joint in town. People line up over an hour for this stuff—and that’s just the sweaty lineup for the bathroom, bro!!!

Now me, I wanted to get Redneck Crazy with the Boys Round Here without having to Fire Away, so I just went with the medium:

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I gotta say, this is some of the crunchiest fried chicken I’ve ever had. And the chicken itself tasted like you get at the deli counter when it’s still nice and fresh. Nothing wrong with that at all! As for the heat level, I’d say it was about the same as a good Buffalo wing. You get a nice kick, but it doesn’t melt your face off, unless you decide to kick it up another notch (or three)…

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Still, to play it safe, I went with a couple of cool and creamy sides. I’d give the coleslaw an edge over the tater salad, but I wouldn’t kick either outta my picnic basket! And it’s hard to believe that all this food is just nine bucks, bro!!!

I gotta give Hattie B’s the edge when it comes to value and crunchaliciousness, but I gotta say, the best Nashville hot chicken I’ve ever had has still gotta be at Chica’s Chicken. Now, THAT bird is the word, surfer bro!!!!