Reviews

Fanfare For “The Common Man”, Concord, NH

It seems like everywhere you turn in New Hampshire, there’s another Common Man property.  There’s restaurants, diners, at least one honest-to-goodness pub, a couple of resorts, and on and on.  And yet, for some reason, it never occurred to me that I might stop.  After all, there were other places with better neon; McDonald’s may be crap but it’s familiar crap.  But then random chance took a hand, and I stopped.

And then I went back.  And did it again the next day.

Right.  So, first and foremost:  Cracker Barrel?  A bunch of poseurs.  You only think they (more…)

Pizano’s Pizza, Chicago

They tell me you can’t go to Chicago and not try the deep dish pizza.  Well, you know me; I’ll gladly go the extra mile for the cause of enlightenment.  Actually, with half a dozen locations, I only had to travel six tenths of a mile to get to the nearest Pizano’s, which is on upper State Street (stay out of the Loop if you can, people).

So walking in the front door was an adventure in itself; (more…)

Cape Ann Brewing Company, Gloucester MA

The beer wasn’t bad at all, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

Most microbrewery restaurants serve decent pub food — deep fried snacks, maybe some nachos; you know, good unhealthy old standbys.  But the Pub at Cape Ann is something special:  They have barbecue.  Boy-oh-mister, do they have barbecue! (more…)

The Glass Onion, Charleston SC

Located right next to the Swig & Swine (third-best ribs I’ve ever had) on Rte. 17 in Charleston, The Glass Onion has a tough act to follow.  It does just fine.  The honey-touched cornbread alone would make this place.  But it’s not alone, and thank God, because what comes after is manna from heaven. (more…)

Ulele (Ū-lë-lē), Riverwalk, Tampa FL

“Millions of American women, and some men, commit that outrage every summer day. They are turning a superb treat into mere provender. Shucked and boiled in water, sweet corn is edible and nutritious; roasted in the husk in the hottest possible oven for forty minutes, shucked at the table, and buttered and salted, nothing else, it is ambrosia. No chef’s ingenuity and imagination have ever created a finer dish. American women should themselves be boiled in water.”
-Nero Wolfe, “Murder Is Corny”, 1964 (written by Rex Stout)
(more…)

Buy This Book. Buy It Now.

There’s never enough time.

This isn’t merely true; it’s a truism. It’s axiomatic, and it applies just about everywhere in life. There’s never enough time to get all the work done; there’s never enough time to visit family, see friends, play with the kids, or take the dog for enough walks. And there’s certainly never enough time to read every book we want to. (more…)

Places We Didn’t Review

The Not Fake News exists because of the distressing tendency of the media to thrive on negativity and chaos.  We oppose the fearmongering and divisiveness by being a voice for reason whenever we can.  When we write a review, it’s because it was so very good we felt absolutely compelled to speak up; people need to know the good things in life.

The trouble is, people deserve a warning (more…)

The Bacon Tree, Winterport, Maine

Full disclosure:  I saw no evidence of barbecue here.  But it was so good it’s getting a review anyway; after all, what are rules for if you can’t break them?

In a tiny room off to one side of the Winterport Winery sits one of the best breakfasts in Maine (not to mention lunch and dinner).  We passed up Dysart’s for this, and we were not disappointed. (more…)

Texas Jack’s Barbecue, Arlington VA

I know what you’re thinking:  Barbecue — in Arlington?!  Well, it just goes to show:  You shouldn’t judge based on your preconceptions.  That’s right:  Texas Jack’s does good ‘Cue.

If you don’t know where Arlington is, “Pentagon” and “Blast Radius” may remind you.  In the shadow of our nation’s capitol, this mega-suburb was originally part of the District until Virginia took it back after decades of of mismanagement and neglect.  It’s a hodgepodge of skyscrapers, hotels, million-dollar postage-stamp houses, Reagan National Airport, and more Starbucks per square mile (more…)