Thursday, August 4, 2011

HG Photoessays: Hail to the Beef

While you've been worrying about Casey Anthony and watching South Park reruns, Barack Obama has been busy leaving a monumental legacy of hard grubbin as Commander-in-chief. When this brah has serious policies to administer, he prepares by rolling up his sleeves and having a serious grubbin session. We at HG are in awe of the voracity with which the President is devouring his daily duties as leader of the free world. Regardless of whether you're in agreement with his politics, there's no denying this brah knows what's up when it comes to showing a sandwich who's boss.


The Presidency requires one to face difficult decisions. Fancy luncheon? White tablecloths? When a brah's hungry, instincts are key.

Barack has adopted the admirable position of ignoring the invasive press and grubbing unabashedly, even in seas of a thousand camera flashes. This palpable authenticity has made him a hero in hard grubbin communities at all socioeconomic levels.

Look at that form, he's playing that shit like a flute. This brah can make a sandwich sing.

A hidden camera catches Barack in the zone. For the haters that think it's all a show for the media.

Michelle Obama looks on in speechless admiration. Barack cites a reliable support system as key in his sustained ability to destroy any meal he encounters on the road.

Look at this champ, grubbing all alone. Showing true dedication, elimination of any and all distractions.

Even Sharpton, reknowned in certain circles for his own grubbing prowess, is caught off guard by his companion's passion.

Nuff said.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Grub Shack - That's Where It's At

On the east-east side of East Nashville lies a few tight spots to grub at. When I heard about a few of them, and was given directions from someone about their locations, I was sure the guy was incorrect. As it turns out, there was a huge area of the neighborhood that I didn't even know existed. It smacks of "the True South" - and no spot more represents that ideal than Dee's Q.

Dee's is a BBQ shack which features delectable meats and sides - I have enjoyed several BBQ pork shoulder sandwiches, rib tip plates, and pulled chicken platters. But the faithful general tout Dee's for the hot wings. I put off that experience long enough, and on this day decided to begin the journey.

This is where the meat is smoked:

Just some trailer in the back... that is where the magic happens.

Dee's is across the blinking-red-light intersection from a Piggly Wiggly and a raggedly liquor store...

And is bordered in the back by train tracks, which gives it a "Stand by Me" vibe as well...

The wing selections come in about 12 varieties, some a little too unconventional for my liking (Hawaiian? I don't think so, braah. We're talking about wings here.). I went proper - "Hot", straight-up. The 7- and 10-wing platter come with fries - unfortunately NOT the 2-side offering that often goes with the other combos; this had me second-guessing my selection, as the fried okra and collard greens have now become as essential to me as the meats themselves. Nevertheless, you do what you got to do when it's wing-time.

Another hiccup in the moment was the unavailablity in substitution for Ranch dressing. I have nothing against Ranch, but when dealing with hot wings and me there can only be one acceptable third partner in the menage-a-trois: Blue Cheese dressing. Oh, I'm not about to turn the Ranch down, nor am I going to bail on the order. It looks like it'll be a few minutes on the wings, as the order-taker is also the cook, bless her heart. I've got some time to spare: a lightbulb goes off in my brain, and suddenly my legs are jogging me across the street:

Did you know Piggly Wiggly does not have their own brand of Blue Cheese dressing? Me either! Wishbone will get the job done.

The wings lived up to the hype. Juicy, flavorful, and plentiful in size. The Hot was just right, though I may take a shot at the next level up in heat next time. It's possible there will be a sizable distance between this jam sesh and my next Dee's wingding - I've got some hot fish to check out...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wedge Jamming in Dixie Y'allz

My first post is long overdue, sorry I haven't written, yadda yadda, tell me about some grub of interest or get off my screen, dude. You're right.

Arnold's on 8th Ave. in Nashville is a prime example of "insider's grub", a spot well-known to locals that rarely makes a splash as a "place to go" for tourists and the like. Basically, Arnold's is a "meat-and-three" par excellence; succulent meats and fishes surrounded by juicy sides, and if you've got room, delectable pies and cakes, best highlighted by the indigenous and mysterious "chess pie". Consumption of sweet iced tea is encouraged during the jam session; coffee is usually a necessity following such a shakedown of the system.

It's an old-style cafeteria at Arnold's, which means it's not self-serve. This is good, as it means interacting with the spectular service staff; my favorite among them is a black guy named Mike who always wears a Jason Witten jersey. The lines are usually long, as you can only enjoy the taste of Arnold's until 3pm Monday through Friday. The menu changes every day, and is featured on a chalkboard behind the counter (no photos - deal with it).

On this particular day of wedge, I went for the catfish, accompanied by collard greens, mashed potatoes with gravy (which is simply the au jus of the simmering roast beef), and fried green tomatoes.

The star and the supporting cast:

And the crew:

That's right - you saw some complimentary cornbread muffins up there in the mix.

Needless to say, I brutalized that meal, as I have brutalized all Arnold's meals before the aforementioned.

Arnold's could be best described to Chicago braahs and ladies as the sassy Southern cousin to MacArthurs. Never had a meal below above-average (that's like saying pre-post-rock), it's a wonderfully kept secret to most diners, and I, personally, find myself dreaming about it when I'm not eating it.

There's also some bodacious signed photos there - Reese Witherspoon and LenDale White? - and I'll close out with my favorite, a lurid one of Tanya Tucker:

I think she's holding a lasso.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Honolulu, HI

Saturday, June 20, 2009

NH ribfest Grubbin.

Boston Chili Takedown

Hardgrubbin pal Matt is putting on a major chili situation at Great Scott next week.  Go.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Heavy Pickle

When I ask for heavy pickle at work, I am treated with this kind of

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Return to Sorriso's

As you can see, Sorriso's does not fuck around. Sausage and peppers sub with mozzerella, olive salad, and artichoke salad. I'd love to tell you more but now I can barely keep my eyes open

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Grub it up a notch

Spicing up an ordinary, if decent, work burger with some homemade salsa? That's Hard Grubbin.

No real rumination needed, but I would be one delinquent brah if I didn't provide the recipe for the salsa, so here it is:

+ 2 - 3 medium vine ripe tomatoes
+ 1/2 tennis ball-sized red onion
+ 1 ample spoonful of habanero puree
+ 1 ample spoonful of jalapeno puree
+ 1 small can of crushed pineapple
+ 1 small can of corn, drained
+ 1 tsp. course-ground sea salt
+ 1/8 - 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar

Dice the tomatoes, finely dice the red onion, and add the rest of the ingredients to a mixing bowl. Stir well. The flavors mesh the longer you let it sit (i.e. overnight in the fridge), but it's the kind of thing that you could bang together and have ready to eat in minutes.

* Yes, that's my fake bluetooth in the photo. Thanks, Chippah.
** Big ups to the H.P.

Monday, May 11, 2009

HG in the Woods

Hola Hard Grubbers. Never forget that leaving the city always offers an opportunity to really grub hard! With stars twinkling overhead and Mother Nature's nighttime symphony of birds and beasts as the background music, one can truly feel that they were genetically predisposed to take down copious amounts of meat. After 48hrs of such male bonding shenanigans as paintball and beer drinking, can you really not end Saturday night with a burger, topped with mustard and kielbasa? Methinks not. Cheers to Chris Wu on his upcoming nuptials and for giving this contributor an excuse to grub hard with no hint of traffic in the vicinity.

Friday, May 8, 2009

NYC's worst far

Zaitzeff Burgers
72 Nassau Street
NYC/Financial District

Generally I reserve my postings to those hard grubbin shrines I think the world needs to learn about, not offering the sub-par restaurants my time or effort. However, after visiting Zaitzeff Burgers in the Financial District I knew I had to come forward so none of you would make the same mistake I did.
If you’ve followed HG you know we constantly advise readers not to listen to any non-HG reviews. It’s a waste of your time and grubbin efforts. Not one to heed advice, especially my own, I decided to try one of the New York Time’s suggestions for the best burger, Zaitzeff’s Burgers. I made a grave mistake. Seriously, fuck this place.
I get there during my one hour lunch break and order the ¼ Sirloin Burger, with cheese and french fries, and then I wait. And wait. Around 30 minutes later this guy walks out with the poor meal you see below. The burger should have been called a slider at best. It was weak on flavor and even weaker on volume. It reminded me of those tiny burnt burgers you’d eat at your friend’s pool party when you were 12, then angrily waiting the thirty minutes before your friends mom would let you get back in the pool. The bun was this weird flattened and browned bread which added nothing but I guess it's their feeble stab at originality. The fries were oily; no better than those you would get at any diner. Actually, significantly worse. Amazingly, the place was packed with Wall Street types grubbin like they’ve figured out NYC’s best kept secret. Here’s the real punch in the face. Check out the receipt.

Yup, that’s right, over $16 dollars for a tiny burger and fries. Amazing they can get away with this. I’ll try to stay away from the negative reviews in the future but hopefully this will save a few of you from the grubbin nightmare I experienced today. Lucky for me, the next grub sesh is only a few hours away.

Koreantown Cheap and Fast and Good Hard Grubbin

I was in midtown and really wanted to eat at a good Korean
Restaurant but there was too many to choose from so I called a friend that told me a about a place that four different Koreans has taken her to all on different occasions. Kunjip (translation: Our house) was amazing.

9 W 32nd St between 5th Ave and Broadway
New York, NY 10001

I wait in, what looks like, a really long line but in only takes 10 mins because they turn tables like I've never seen before. They hand you a menu while waiting and take your order even before you sit down.

Most Korean restaurants will give you "side dishes" or appetizers on the house no matter what you order. It was a whole other meal in this case. The bubbling egg dish was super exciting. Though I love all of the pickled spicy vegetables too.

Then I got my favorite menu item the bi bim bop this time with bulgoki (marninated steak) eaten with chili paste. Beware of the little old woman that comes along and briskly stirs it all together if you don't do it yourself. So good and I had left overs too.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Is there such a thing as '"leftover bacon?"

After a hard grub of bacon and eggs on a recent rough business Sunday, I was left with some extra bacon in the fridge come supper time.

Soy and Garlic clove marinated steaks a la Foreman Grille was on the menu, and a lightbulb popped over my head, or was it that my Spidey sense went off?

The urge to "Double Up" was strong!

"I''ma wrap this steak in the bacon", my internal and external dialogue screamed, loudly.

The side is some chicken Rice-A-Roni with fresh string beans.

Standard loaf of french bread to soak up the delicious beef and pork juices from the plate.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Old man drops sage advise about marketing, vodka, and hot dogs on a plate to Fat Friend.

This series is indeed a major situation. This episode is Hard Grubbin centric for sure.

I will leave it up to the reader to delve more into the world of Dr. Tran.

Actually, here's one more HG related animation:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Crumb's Bakery: Oreo Cupcake

Nothing helps ease your economic worries and gets you feeling good about ‘Merica again than an enormous cupcake covered in cookies. Check out the Oreo cupcake from Crumb’s Bakery in Manhattan’s financial district. Soft, moist, chocolate cake covered with vanilla cream cheese with crushed Oreos blended in and an Oreo cookie jammed right on top. This cupcake is only made in the “large” variety, as it should. They also sell candles for 15 cents a piece so go ahead and throw one on top to celebrate the fact that even in the face of economic and public health crisis, we continue to grub hard.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

HG: Experience a Must

I recently came across this site and felt it needed to be shared with the HG community

I warn however, the recipies illustrated should attempt to be consumed by only the most seasoned Hard Grubber/Boozebag.

Myself and HG will not be held responsible for any or all injury sustained.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Mazen calls. Due to the time of day and amount of booze consumed the previous night, little has to be said. My crew scoops me up, grubbin clearly in our immediate future but destination as of yet unknown. When I ask what's on the brain, I see the look in Ethan's eyes and can hear the words before they come out of his mouth: Mac Attack. I feel as if I've been hit over the head with a brick; I knew grubbin was about to go down but had no idea shit was going to get so serious so fast. Ransford is shaking.

DAMN, these brahs are looking to double up.

5412 W Madison St


This legendary soul food establishment likely needs no introduction to the serious HG practitioners out there. Strategically positioned in an unquestionably fucked-up area, MacArthur's is best for your health when visited during daylight hours. This particular section of Austin cannot be technically referred to as a "neighborhood" due to most of the houses being empty lots filled with garbage, and most of the neighbors being homeless brahs filled with Night Train. The immediately adjacent parking lot is key.

Once entry is gained, depending on what time and day you visit you may have to wait in an insanely long line. The after-church rush on Sunday, for example, would be an unwise choice. The line snakes along a long wall covered with photos of famous celebs risking both their personal health and that of their expensive automobiles for the sake of some serious down-home grubbin. If candid shots of T-Pain and Monique don't convince you (take a look at that shirt and you'll see this broad knows what's up), maybe the approval of a certain Barack Obama will. The fantastic southern-style food is dished up cafeteria-style from behind a long counter, served by refreshingly demeaning/sarcastic employees dressed in throwback lunchlady garb. CASH ONLY.

The first order of business is the meat selection, otherwise known as the moment of truth. The portion sizes are truly something to marvel at, making the controversial "Double Meat" method that much more of a feat. On this particular day, we stand side-by-side, each brah taking his own destiny by the horns and stepping up to the plate.

Only one thing left to do. Double up.

Heaping mounds of fried chicken, dark meat is the consensus of the day. Mazen truly goes out on a limb and doubles up with fried chicken and a large mystery sausage smothered in barbecue sauce, an arrogant choice that will soon pay off pleasantly. This is what is referred to as gambling and winning.

Next come the sides. Steaming trays of collard greens, cornbread muffins, mashed potatoes with gravy and the ghetto-tastic mac and cheese, appropriately topped with melting square slices of American cheese. Beverage of choice is a can of 7-Up on the rocks, hits the spot.

I gleefully add a regular-size container of the delectable banana pudding with vanilla wafers to my tray; Ethan has apparently opted for the large container and an additional regular-size for good measure.

At the table, the mood is much less ominous. Conversation is limited, there is work to be done. Ransford remains quiet but now visibly relaxed; he knows now the road before him, and with the help of plentiful hot sauce will tackle his task with grace and ease.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Emeril's Degustation

Universal Studios
Orlando, FL

I'm going to try and make it through this entire review without once saying "BAM!" or "Kick it up a notch". This is going to be rough.

So, once a year for the past, oh, 8 years I've been making my way down to Orlando for a big old SPIE conference. Well, technically, one year, when I left from Seattle to go to this SPIE conference I flew to Miami instead of Orlando completely unaware that (a) I flew to the wrong city, and (b) that Florida was large. This isn't the time or place for that story, so I'll leave the details to the inquisitive reader's imagination.

Anyway, while we're down at this conference we get to grub pretty hard because (a) it's all on Duke, and (b) we're all pigs. For the past 8 years we've been going to Emeril's at Universal Studios and everyone gets this thing called Degustation, which is supposed to be "a careful, appreciative tasting of various foods", but I just call it Hard Grubbin. This is the story of that meal. Note that I had no choice as to what was brought out - there were 5 courses, and no one had a choice in anything - they just brought, and we just grubbed.

First was an appetizer - shredded pork on a crustini with balsamic reduction. The waiter comes out and serves us this with the explanation "This is a gift from the chef, a little taste of what is to come." In other words: massive tease. The shredded pork was delightful in a nice vinegar sauce (the way us North Carolinians know it should be), and the crustini was crunchy and I lapped up the remaining balsamic reduction with my tongue.

Up next was the fish appetizer. Prawns with a large scallop on top of sweet potatoes and with some sort of cream sauce to sweeten the deal. The prawns were pretty standard, the scallop was nicely done and succulent, but the king of this dish was totally the sweet potatoes. Man. That Emeril certainly kicked it... err. he certainly cooked this meal... properly. Whew. That was close.

You can also see my TurboDog brown ale in the back there. One of several I had before, during, and after this meal. Yeah, it's a decent beer, but $8 for a beer? And Duke doesn't pay for beer. Seriously? $8? What did that beer cost you Emeril, like 60 cents wholesale? Just because I'm grubbin doesn't make me a sap! But I guess Emeril knows that's a lie, because I ordered more $8 beers. I almost asked the waiter for a PBR, but (a) I can't imagne they have PBR, and (b) they probably cost $8 too.

Up next we got into the serious stuff. First was another fish course - at this point I may have had one too many Turbodogs, because I have no recollection of what kind of fish this is. This could be a well disguised octopus for all I remember. I do remember the leeks on top were nicely done, and the secret fish was served over risotto, which I never had before. I gotta say risotto is good.

After the fish was the main meal - lamb served over collard greens with peruvian purple mashed potatoes in a lamb reduction sauce. Yeah, that's right. Lamb. In a lamb sauce. Now, I know I'm the world's worst vegetarian, but lamb is like just barely one step above veal in terms of "hard to eat because god damn it those things are really fucking cute." Look at this:


Now don't get me wrong anyone, eat whatever you want. I don't care. But God damn it why can't lambs look like baby aliens from Aliens or something? I just watched that Simpson's where Lisa becomes a vegetarian, too. And why did she go vegetarian? Because of the God damned lambs. In any case, I ate the shit out of that piece of lamb up there. But I did it all for the grubbin. And I feel guilty about it now.

Finally, and actually the highlight of the meal, flan with custard, fresh cream, and fresh strawberries with coconut shavings. The pic will do the talking here.

So, how was Emeril's? What's the Hard Grubbin summary review? To be honest, I gotta give this a Hard Grubbin straight up "meh". First of all, $8 for a beer? Seriously? What is this prohibition and you snuck the beer into Downtown Disney inside Mickey Mouse's ass? I know how much beer costs, Emeril. How the hell am I ever going to have 39 of your beers on a tab? That would be like 320 dollars. Maybe I'm just spoiled here in NC where I don't spend more than $5 on a beer. But in that case I'm spoiled. Screw it. Second, although the food was really good, it wasn't great. Like, I haven't been telling people about Emeril's since I've been back home because nothing really took me by the nuts and said "Pete, you must tell people about how this food grabbed your nuts." Yeah, the sweet potatoes were good, and dessert kicked ass, but the highlights of my meal were the pork crustini and flan, which were nice, but I got 3 courses in between and all I had to really rant about was the sweet potatoes. The lamb wasn't even all that great, and I had to bend my morals to devour that. If I'm bending my moral compass you gotta make that shit count. Third, the price. So for $55 dollars you get these four courses plus a crustini thing that's like 1/2 a bite. For a lot of people that might sound like a good deal, but this is Hard Grubbin. You guys know better. I definitely wasn't stuffed after my meal, and how much Pio Pio would $55 buy you? Fourth, and finally, if you go to this place, you have to listen to your head waiter say shit like "This is a pan-seared lamb with southern cooked collard greens served over a bed of authentic Peruvian purple potato mash with lamb reduction sauce and snivel snivel, douche douche". Peruvian purple potato mash? That's what my $55 dollars went to? You flew in potatoes from Peru so they would be purple? Damn it.

In short, if someone else is paying for dinner, I'd check this place out. Otherwise, I'm sure you can grub hard in Orlando on food that's just as good, and for less.

BAM. (i couldn't help it)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pio Pio

Pio Pio
841 Northern Boulevard
Jackson Heights/Queens/NYC

I'm betting most of you seasoned in the art of hard grubbin already know all about Pio Pio and their Matador Special. Knowing how strongly I feel about chicken and HG you can imagine my shock when I realized no one had told me about this Peruvian rotisserie chicken chain. Their limited menu has mostly chicken and Peruvian sides with the matador special combining much of the menu into one giant meal. Lets have a look:
Looking closer, lets start with french fries topped with HOT DOGS!! How have I never thought of that?! Don't worry about a bun or condiments, just cut up about eight hot dogs and mash em on top of a pile of french fries. Damn:
Then, you got your rice and beans, avacado salad, and fried plantains. None were too exciting but offered a refreshing way to break up the process of jamming chicken into your face:
Finally, the chicken. You get a whole bird that has so much flavor. They must have been roasting this thing for hours in the rotisserie, just letting all the delicious juices work their way through. Throw on top of it this amazing spicy green sauce and it becomes some of the tastiest chicken I've had in recent memory. If anyone knows what that green sauce is, let a brother know, cause I wanna bathe in it.

To top it all off they provide you with the musical accompaniment your grubbin requires. Just leave it up to my boy to lay down the proper Peruvian jams that'll work you into a hard chicken grubbin frenzy.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Aww, my Peeps. Lookin' all sorts of peaceful among your brethren. You know I wish I could leave you out to 'stale up' for an ill minute, like Pops does.

I'll be darned if my cousin Cam doesn't have a whole other sinister plan up his sleeve. All just waiting to jam one of you right into his grill.

The rest of the Peeps bleakly saw a similar fate.

All I have left from this Easter in NH is this $19.99 handle of sour mash (should last the week) and the assortment of candy you see here.

Any local pals are welcome to grub hard on this stuff, but you MUST stay away from anything 'SG'

What's 'SG?' you may find yourself asking?

SG is the abbreviation for Sour Gummy, the most hard of all the Gummy grubbin varieties.

'SG' in my house is all mine, soooooo, "Hands Off!"