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!"

Saturday, April 11, 2009

HG Photoessays: Kuma's Corner

2900 W. Belmont
Chicago, IL

Kuma's corner is a hard grubbin paradise. Here at HG, we decided photos can tell the story of a recent trip to Kuma's better than words. Photos by Thomos.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mr. Softee

It's hard to look tough eating an ice cream cone but I dare you to say no to a delicious Mr. Softee soft serve dipped in chocolate. Got tons of jealous looks from some kindergarden kids in the park so I knew I was doing something right.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Now look, I've never really been one for day drinking. Ask anyone and they'll tell you - I believe God made night time for drinking and daytime for careful and studious analysis of all the trouble that drinking brings. However sometimes an opportunity presents itself that makes it hard to resist a nice daytime bradweiser. Or two. Or, in this case, more.

Put yourself in my position - It's 4:00 pm, Friday, the sun is shining, this is the first day with temps above 70. Me and Bre are just getting over some nasty head colds, and the lady says she wants to meet at my favorite bar in Durham (The Fed) for a beer. So you tell me - what's a hard grubbin brah to do?

I'll tell you what.

That's at around 4:00. And what happens? You know what happens.

Seriously? 39 PBR? What the hell is wrong with us? I couldn't once order something else? A tonic water? Nah, PBR. Maybe a coke? No! PBR. OK, fine - a miller high life? Nope! PBR.

Oh, yes, I had my Jager, one of those absoluts and yes, I did have one of those lemon drops (I can't really explain that one) - but the whole time I did it with my friend, good old PBR, yielding the highest number of one item I'd ever seen ordered on a bill - 39. Also, note that it's 10:30.

Unfortunately somehow while downing 1/4 of those 39 PBR's, I missed the opportunity to get a picture of the Nachos, Grilled Cheese, and Shrimp And Grits that hit our table, but I did get a picture of the number 39, right next to the word "PBR"

Next time I'll try and review some of the surprisingly delicious food at this dive-looking, but fine-tasting bar, but till then, watch out for the day drinking boys and girls. That shit sneaks up on you.

Overheard at Deli counter:

Lady with four kids: "Can you please cut me a few slices of that
American he just cut? They're grubbin on it!"

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


We've all been in that situation.

A brah is ready to get his grub on. Hunger is starting to cloud his judgement, making everything in sight look delicious, not unlike old Looney Tunes cartoons where everything Bugs Bunny sees is made of sausages. The convenience of eating what's quickest and within reach eclipses all other factors......and so the fall begins.

Common sense is an essential resource in the world of hard grubbin, and must never be thrown to the wayside in the event of a hunger attack or super-saturation in alcohol.

Take the scene below:On first impression, you're likely eyeing that BBQ and envisioning nothing but sinking your chops into that tender meat, huh? Not so fast, brah. A more thorough examination of the 'grub' and its surroundings reveals a more sinister scenario.

The sad reality is this meal was a poor, poor call, and likely could have been avoided by employing a basic checklist. Are other customers present, much less lining up? Uh-oh. Is the environment at least semi-sanitary? Ummm. Was the establishment's employee even awake before your arrival? Holy shit.

Common sense, brah. Use it.