Friday, January 16, 2009

NFC/AFC/French Fry Sandwich/John Bonham Mega-Post

A smattering of sports:

1. Alright, my decision has been made. Go Arizona Cardinals! That feels funny to type. Really funny. And what’s weird is that I have a soft spot for Donovan McNabb. But I just cannot get myself to the point where I say “I would like the Eagles to win” so Arizona it is. You should be able to gauge my enthusiasm for the Cardinals by the fact that I can’t think of anything else to say about them, the game or the Eagles. So moving on…

2. Austin Croshere, we meet again. Well, not really meet so much as inhabit the same state, even if you are only temporarily here in Texas for the time being. So you signed a 10 day contract with the Spurs, huh? I can’t say I understand why San Antonio is that interested in you. With the exception of that one night, I was pretty disappointed in your play while you were here in Dallas. You were not even the “new Keith Van Horn” which is pretty sad. So good luck with that and I hope you like amateur French hip-hop.

3. In a discussion of the possibility of an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl (wow, the term “all-Pennsylvania anything” makes me yawn uncontrollably), I was told that while Philly has its cheesesteak sandwiches and lower life expectancy they have not cornered the market on creating sandwiches no one should eat. The person I was talking to claimed that Pittsburgh was famous for its’ sauerkraut and French fry sandwiches. I called bullshit. After some texting and Google searches, my worst fears were confirmed that such a sandwich does exist. The sauerkraut part was a little off (it’s sweet cole slaw) but the rest of it was absolutely correct. And it only gets worse.

Assuming you can fit a Primanti Brothers sandwich between your hands, it may still be impossible to wedge one between your teeth. At 5-½ inches tall, this towering testament to one-stop dining contains an entire meal between two thick slices of Italian bread. It starts ordinarily enough with a layer of tomato slices and a half-pound of meat. A fried egg is added for a double shot of protein - but that's not all. A large order of hand-cut fries and a heaping mound of sweet-and-sour coleslaw top off this truly outrageous sandwich.

Here’s the worst part: I could totally put the hurt on one of those sandwiches. But you know what’s not cool?

But one Pittsburgh-centric use of fries truly shocked Nena the first time we ate out in Pittsburgh a few years ago -- the Pittsburgh Salad. The Pittsburgh Salad isn't all that different from a typical garden salad you can get anywhere. Iceberg lettuce is usually the base, with other assorted vegetables added to the mix. But then you add shredded provolone cheese (still not weird, but stay with me) and -- you guessed it -- French fries. I love Pittsburgh Salads, especially with grilled steak and no-frills ranch dressing. There's something about the contrast of the cold, crips salad, the hot fries and the cool dressing that is almost like comfort food.

And so with that, I am officially rooting for not only the Cardinals but also the Steelers because their fans deserve to see their team in the Super Bowl before their arteries harden and their hearts explode at the age of 40.

This gives me the perfect opportunity to finally tell the John Bonham story. Back when my best friend Chrissy and I were music writers, we would often get invited to record company dinners hosted for their popular artists. Our friend who was an ADR for Interscope invited us to one such dinner which was being held to celebrate a new release by a band whose name I have since forgotten but who also happened to be touring with Korn at the time. This dinner was held in the private room of the Hard Rock Cafe (RIP) which was outfitted exclusively in relics, carpets and furniture that Pete Townshend sold to the Hard Rock Cafe. We're talking mahogony walls, renaissance tapestries, silk pillows, maybe a stuffed head of some form of wildlife.

Chrissy and I are enjoying our Cobb salads (man, they could make a great Cobb salad there) when Fieldy and Quacky (can't remember the other guy's name) from Korn make an unexpected appearance. Each of them had also been thoughtful enough to bring two barely legal exotic dancers with them. They sat down at the main table and proceeded to order every kind of expensive liquor they could think of. When our Interscope friend found out what was going on, she was understandably upset with the Korn-holes. As luck would have it, Chrissy and I had long debated what the most disgusting specially ordered dish you could request at a restaurant would be. We decided it would be a dish we nicknamed the John Bonham. The John Bonham is actually very simple as it consists solely of a warm and gooey pulled pork sandwich nestled in the center of an ice cream sundae.

To avenge our poor record label friend and to see if we could finally see the completion of Project John Bonham, we got the waitress and told her, "Listen, don't tell Fieldy I'm telling you this because I want it to be a surprise for him but he has a favorite dish that he would be so excited if you could make it for him. It's really easy. It's just your biggest ice cream sundae you have with a pulled pork sandwich in the middle. I know it sounds weird but he just loves dairy and pork together. If you could make him one and surprise him with it, you would be my hero." The waitress (who, I might add, was tipped incredibly generously for her efforts) scurried away to the kitchen and a mere ten minutes later, the most beautiful creation I have ever seen was brought into the room. The waitress even took the bold step of garnishing the John Bonham with french fries. She gave me a big thumbs up and a wide smile as she approached the table. The second greatest sight I have ever seen (after seeing the John Bonham enter the room) was the look on Fieldy's face when the Bonham was presented to him. I cannot repeat the words he used but the great part was that the tables were suddenly turned and now Fieldy was now sitting there as everyone pointed and laughed. This made Fieldy and Ducky angrily grab their dates/escorts/hos hands and leave in a huff. But as they were leaving, a certain record label employee tried to grab the John Bonham off the table and discard of it (he did not think it was amusing but I think he was also vegan) while Chrissy and I attempted to rescue the Bonham from his clutches. Somehow in the struggle, the entire dish went flying and landed upside down on one of Pete Townshed's antique Persian rugs.

We laid some copies of the Observer over the slain Bonham while we asked the waitress for "many many towels" (there was no request too odd that night) and proceeded to clean up the mess that Bonham had made while laughing so hard that I had hot tears rolling down my face.

The Hard Rock Cafe has since closed and been demolished but I was glad to know that the Blackfriar restaurant next door bought the contents of the private room to display in their own establishment. I hope they got the carpets cleaned after they bought them.

1 comment:

Tommy said...

I'm heading up to Philly in a couple weeks, and I will probably partake in some of that unhealthy eating. That said, I would have paid to read the "John Bonham" story. That was awesome. Good job.