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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Festival Season in Atlanta

Warning:  The following may not be appropriate for children under the age of 13 or vampires

One of my favorite things about Atlanta in the Spring is what we call "Festival Season."  

Growing up, I loved festivals, the funnel cakes, freedom from your parents and of course shoddily maintained carnival rides.  You remember those teacups that were last inspected during the Nixon administration.  I remember going to the fair as a child in Rockville, MD and riding a pop up roller coaster.  I mean, who the hell throws a roller coaster right off of Rockville Pike in 12 hours and think it's safe to ride?  It must be the same parents that let us ride in the car without a seatbelt on.
Now, you get arrested if the car seat is slightly off center.  Is this the pussification of America or common sense?  I thought is was somewhere in the middle until I noticed athletic leagues giving kids trophies for "trying."  Yea, that will prepare little Johnny for the real world.

As I child, this was my perception of festivals. 
Then I grew up and viewed festivals like this:
Exhibit 1a, why I could never work retail.

But Atlanta somehow gets it right.
Atlanta's Dogwood Festival is a perfect balance of  what makes a festival great.  There is something for everyone.  Piedmont Park is a great setting, for all the activities they offer.  Art vendors, food vendors, music, great children's activities, INCREDIBLE dog contests and most of all, accessible parking.  The older I get, the more important parking is to me.  And it's pretty good here.  Just get there early.  If you missed it, go next year.  You're welcome.
My favorite festival is the Inman Park Festival.  I'm biased since I happened to live there for 5 years, but their backdrop is in stark contrast to the Dogwood Festival.  It's nestled in to Atlanta's most eclectic and gorgeous neighborhood.  And it's highly shaded.  Very important to those of us whom are pigmentally challenged, yea I just made that word up.
I'm not quite this pale, but you get the picture.  How absolutely horrendous was this movie?

If you live in Atlanta, check out the Inman Park Festival.  This year it's April 28th and 29th, which is THIS WEEKEND.  The only issue?  Parking can be a challenge.  But it's well worth it.  There is a parade at 2 pm on Saturday that is ALOT of fun as well.  They do a great job of having many types of vendors.  From painters, to photographers, to lawn chairs, to someone who sold me a great painting of Redskins Fed Ex field last year. You can really find some pretty cool stuff.

There is also a tour of homes that highlights some of the classic southern architecture that is unique to this part of Atlanta.  Though it is right in the city, Inman Park was Atlanta's first suburbs.
So go and enjoy.

Today's Footnotes:  There are some great things coming soon for "The Dry Rub"

The "Dry Rub 4" got into former "Top Chef" contestant Kevin Gillespie's new highly anticipated restaurant "Gunshow" for their opening in two weeks!  There's about as much buzz for this restaurant as any I've seen in Atlanta. They are saying Gunshow is inspired by “Brazilian churrascaria-style dining and Chinese dim sum.”  I truly couldn't be any more confused by that statement.
Then, I am going to maybe the legacy of legacy restaurants in May, Peter Luger's Steakhouse in Brooklyn.  May is going to be a big month for the Dry Rub.
We are also going to start our "Best Burger in Atlanta" tournament soon as well.  I am putting together a great group of panelists, because I couldn't do a tournament like this justice on my own.  I guess I could, but my arteries wouldn't appreciate it.  Stay tuned!

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Masters: A Culinary Tradition Like No Other

Warning:  The following maybe inappropriate for children under the age of 13 and those who protested with Martha Burke (You know who you 5 people were)

Beauty and tradition both come full circle at Augusta National.  The course looks much like it did 30 years ago.  And surprisingly so does the menu choices and price.
What I love about Augusta National is that they do things things their own way.  Limited commercials, limited ators and most importantly a Chris Berman ban.  Thank friggin' god.
Is there a worse event in major sports than the Home Run Derby?  There was a time in the 80's when I enjoyed Berman, but then he bought into his own press and became the characature he currently is today.

I would also argue the The Masters is the greatest sporting event of the year.  The Superbowl has become the Disneyworld of events, March Madness in theory is great, but the one and done kids have ruined college hoops and the World Series ends at 1230a!  Now the NFC/ AFC Championship Day may have something to say about this and I can see that point as well.  I have attended each one of these events at some point in time and I would say the Masters is my favorite.
My wife and I were here for this amazing moment.  I'm not talking about Phil's 3 inch vertical, I'm talking about his 1st Major of course!
We also witnessed that BS catch by David Tyree at Superbowl XLII.  So I've been lucky to be able to attend a number of great events and there is something about Augusta that makes it #1 on the list.

I truly believe the simplicity of The Masters is what makes it special.  They do what they do well and perfect it.  We'll call it the "anti Cheesecake Factory" mentality.
This goes for their food too.  Their basic sandwiches are $1.50!!!  And they are good, but for the price could you really complain?  I love their Pimento Cheese and Egg Salad Sandwiches.  $1.50 for a Sausage Biscuit?  Done and done.  Imported beer for $4?  What is this college?  The BBQ sandwich isn't bad either.

Let's just forget that it may cost you a semester of college to get admission into The Masters for a minute and appreciate the simplicity and ironically masterly handle of how to throw a golf tournament.  Of course ridiculous Broadcast rights from CBS and selling your own advertising gives you some flexibility.
I would tell you that if you ever get the chance to go, please do.  It is the hardest ticket in sports to get, but if you get the opportunity, drop whatever you are doing and hop on I-20 east.  Oh and another piece of advice?  Clariton D, trust me.

Of any sporting event, is there another event where a commentator is attached to an event so closely? Maybe Mel Kiper and the NFL Draft? The ratings aren't close. When I was a kid, I always felt Pat Summerall's voice meant this was BIG NFL game.
This was a great booth before Madden became a parody of himself. We'll call it the "Pre Favre" era.

Jim Nantz is to the Masters as Tiger Woods is to Denny's, er I mean golf.  Denny's where more than the eggs come "over easy."  I'm here all week.  I know many people can't stand Nantz, but I think he's perfect for The Masters.  Not so much with Phil Simms, but here?  Perfect.

So turn on the Masters, grab some Pimento Cheese this weekend and enjoy the Masters this weekend.

NEW Footnote:

Unfortunately and ironically, I wrote this blog and paid a little homage to Pat Summerall.  As you know he passed away yesterday.  There are certain things in life that bring you to a comfortable place in time.  PPJ's, canoeing always reminds me of visiting my Uncle Elbert and summer camp where I went for 8 years and Pat Summerall's voice always brings me back to my youth.  Whether he was calling The Masters, John McEnroe winning the US Open, or just saying Thiesmann to Monk, Touchdown, I am can remember it like it was yesterday.  Summerrall and Jon Miller (whom called the Orioles when I was young) will always be the two voices that helped flame my unhealthy love of sport.  RIP Pat and thanks.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fox Bros Burger is the March Madness Champion: Best Sandwich in Atlanta!

Warning:  The following may be inappropriate for children under the age of 13 or parents that think every one should get a trophy for just "showing up."

The Dry Rub has determined The Fox Bros Burger as the "Best Sandwich in Atlanta!"  This after many hours and tireless field work by The Dry Rub crew.  A deep congratulations to the folks at Fox Bros and also congratulations to The Highland Taps French Dip for making it to the finals.  (updated brackets are at the bottom of the article).

First, a few notes about The Highland Tap.  I was there Tuesday and I have to tell you, if there was an award for "Best Ambiance" they would win.  They have suggested we do a Best Burger contest, which I think will happen this year.  Just don't tell my doctor.  Their Steak Burger is without question one of the best (if not the best) in the city.

But you cannot duplicate the dungeon like feel of their timeless bar.  It's the kind of feel that would accommodate any patron.  And of course Donna is one of the best bartenders in town and they provide not just impeccable service, but add a great personal touch as well.  It's the kind of place Jay-Z, Newt Gingrich and Justin Timberlake could all fit into.  Personally, I think I could see the Magnum PI cast  a tree in the forest here.
The greatest mustache of all time?  I believe Magnum PI is one of the great underrated shows of the 80's.  At the very least, Magnum had the best job ever.  Free Room and Board at a Hawaiin estate and his was given free use of a Ferrari 308 GTS?  Where do I apply?
My man Josh just got to hang with Rick and TC!  I'm not a big celebrity guy, but this is pretty cool considering they just refurbished the Island Hopper Chopper!

Josh is the real life TC (except smaller and white) and a great helicopter pilot in Hawaii.  If you want an adventure while in Hawaii check out his company:

But back to the Champions. Queue up the music!

I love that Freddy Mercury has a Heineken and multiple drinks on the piano and can still belt out one hell of a song.  He is unquestionably one of the greatest lead singers of all time.  Excluding the short shorts.
I previously described the sandwich as such:

Fox Bros "take" on a burger is the sum of it's parts. By itself, I would thoroughly enjoy the Brisket, the Bacon (best bacon I've had) and the Pimento Cheese are all delicious. Add the Jalapeno Mayo and the Buttered Sesame Bun and it's sandwich magic. I remember the first time I saw this on the menu, thinking, "Do these things go together?" and BAM, without a question they do. I can only imagine that it was just like when the creators of the Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich put them together. Or when Simon and Garfunkel first met and harmonized.

Not only were they a great duo, Art Garfunkel may have had the greatest "Jew Fro" of all time. If not, he is the godfather of Jew Fro's.

The other great benefit of Fox Bros are their great sides. I suggest going all in and getting the Frito Pie. Trust me on this one. If you like Frito's and you like Cheese and Chili (if you don't I don't know who you are), you will fall in love with this original number.
Word on the street is the Fox Bros is SO ecstatic that they won the tournament that they tore the restaurant down! Oh wait, they are just remodeling....
Congrats again to the Fox Bros Burger!  We at The Dry Rub put a lot of work into this and couldn't feel better about the results.  If you haven't had it, get in the car IMMEDIATELY and go have one!

As Ric Flair, the16 Time World Heavyeight Champion and the Greatest Champion of All Time would say:
"To be the best, you have to beat the best!"  "Whether you like it or not, learn to love it, because its the best thing going. Wooooo!"

A few Flair videos for your enjoyment.

Today's Footnote:
I wanted to recognize my friend Dan who put together a lot of the technical aspects of the tournament.  Dan really was squarely in the corner of the French Dip and Original Cuban, the weeks they went out as well.  Thanks for your help Dan.
AND it's Final Four Weekend in Atlanta! Which means 30-40 year old white guys walking around in basketball jerseys.  Come'on fellas, it's time to take a hard look in the mirror.
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