Have you ever been hanging out and watching some sort of food program on TV only to realize it is covering a city or town you’re about to visit? If so, we friggin’ good for you, because I just had that experience for the first time and it was glorious. It began with an episode of Man vs. Food covering Duluth, Minnesota of all places. The restaurant was Northern Waters Smokehaus and despite all of my great memories of the classic restaurants in Duluth’s Canal Park, I was excited to try out something new.
Being a true city, Chicago has plenty of late-night food. On one of my nights there, a buddy took me to The Vig in Old Town after a few beers because it supposedly has an amazing fried chicken sandwich. The trouble is that they don’t have the full menu at night and that limited menu does not include the aforementioned fried chicken sandwich. There was, however, live music to make up for it and a chicken parmesan sandwich that would attempt to quench my hunger for fried fowl.
State Fairs are often an afterthought. A relic of times past when most of us lived in rural areas and guessing the weight of a pumpkin was the best entertainment of the month. They offer variations on the same rides, foods and entertainment that you find at your local Memorial Day Carnival or County Fair and, I mean, how many people even go to those? But the Minnesota State Fair is so far from an afterthought that it seems to be on the minds of Minnesotans for the 50 weeks of the year in which it is not in operation. Plans are made, new foods are devised and longed after; then, just like that, it’s over again. This year, however, the Unvegan paid a visit to see how it would all stack up.
Nearly every restaurant in Holland, Michigan looks amazing. It’s all pretty much made for unvegans like me. Weirdly enough, they all seem to have some sort of Olive Burger and boursin cheese makes appearances all over the place, as well. I can’t explain it, but I can’t complain either. When it came to Beechwood Grill, however, it was another type of beef between bread that called out my name.
Scottsdale is pretty sterile city. This is not inherently a bad thing, but it is a thing that seems to preclude the concept of hidden gems. And, yet, I heard word of not just a hidden gem, but one right around the corner from me. Plus, it could only have had a more apt name if it was right next door. It’s called Convenient Corner Market and it dishes out sandwiches with bread baked in-house every day.
Goodyear is really far away when you live in Scottsdale. Like, it feels like it’s in an entirely different state. Like, when you drive there you feel like you may as well be driving to Los Angeles. So, I figured if I was going there I might as well make an afternoon of it and grab lunch as well. Thus, I found myself at Haymaker, which is like a family friendly sports bar that almost feels like a chain, but isn’t.
Coffee shops have come a long way since the days of Friends and Seattle grunge. Now, they serve different teas, crazy concoctions and a bunch of quickie foods. And that’s just the chains. The indie spots take things a step further, like Brew Box in Salem, Massachusetts. And it’s not just hippy dippy and hipster stuff, they even had food fit for an unvegan like me.
Some people really like lobster rolls. I don’t get it. What’s the fun of chowing down on cold, slimy lobster loaded up with mayo? But then there’s lobster grilled cheese. See, that’s the good stuff, doing everything right with the lobsters. So, upon arriving in Salem, Massachusetts, we made our way to a divey spot called Longboards that allegedly knew what to do with lobster.
I grew up spoiled when it came to Greek food. I mean, Detroit even has a Greektown and I’m not sure you can say the same for any other city anywhere. Recently, though, I found myself picking up some Greek food from Saba’s Mediterranean Kitchen in Phoenix and and was intrigued not just by the classic stuff, but by the unique twists I found there.
Salt. It’s a substance that inherently makes other substances taste better. Sow. It’s lady pig that, well, tastes good regardless. Combine the two and you have Salty Sow, a gastropub in Phoenix looking to bring some very gastropubby fare, drawing upon all sorts of classic American food, to the desert.