Reviews

The Black Hog, Urbana MD

The Washington D.C. Beltway is the deadliest stretch of highway in North America.  It goes from two lanes up to twelve, often without warning, and connects I-95 with half a dozen commuter highways, none busier than I-270.  Here, lawyers and lobbyists come together and kill each other daily while playing bumper-tag in Audis, Beemers, Priuses, and Teslas.  Some would say that’s the best public service they’ll ever perform in their abbreviated lives, but who am I to judge?  All I’ll say is this:  Never ever but never take these roads during rush hour.

Fortunately, the Black Hog is open at 11am daily, and Urbana (just off I-270) is only one of three locations — the best, though the two in Frederick come close.  Here can be found some of the best ribs, sauces, and barbecue in the world.  They’ll serve your ribs wet or dry (more…)

Boxcar Bar + Arcade, Raleigh NC

And here you thought arcades were a thing of the past.

The Boxcar is precisely what the arcades of your youth were not.  Those machines were filthy, nasty, and poorly maintained; these are pristine and beautiful.  The crowd back then was smelly pimpled kids sucking Jolt Cola; now, they’re well-groomed urban professionals mixed with college students, and the beverage of choice is craft beer on tap.  And let me tell you, the beer is damned good — too good, in fact; it’ll affect your game if you’re not careful.

Speaking of games, let me tell you about the games.  Not only do they (more…)

Swig & Swine, Charleston SC

“Horrifyng Vegetarians Since 2013”, the Swig & Swine serves what I believe to be the best ‘Que in the Lowcountry, including the third-best ribs I have ever had the pleasure to consume.

With any other style of cuisine I’d have to warn you not to be fooled by the decor, which features corrugated steel and a lot of bare wood.  But that’s (more…)

Skippers Fish Camp, Darien GA

When there’s no parking left because of all the local cars, when the smell of the seafood drives you nuts while you’re in line to get seated, and where there’s an actual shrimp boat tied up to the dock outside — that’s where you go to get good food.

Darien is a little town in Georgia with a big history and a wildlife sanctuary, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.  Instead, we’re talking about fresh-caught Georgia shrimp (more…)

Jet City Espresso, Tampa FL

It’s an unlikely place for wonderful coffee — a tiny repurposed Florida house, beige and unassuming.  And yet… wow.

Pre-Starbucks, there wasn’t a coffee shop on every corner.  You could go a ways before you found the nearest Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts, and even then the coffee was pretty basic — bland and ordinary, and usually weak as dishwater.  But then came the coffeehouse movement of the early 90s, which introduced the joys of espresso and latte to the American public.

Jet City opened up in Tampa back then and has been going strong (more…)

Peebles BBQ, Auburndale FL

Not too many places have earned the distinction of having a review up on the Not Fake News.  Peebles has managed to be the first.

I first heard of this place from my grandmother, who was coming here for the Q before I was born.  Fancy it ain’t; the menu is short, the flatware plastic, the cups styrofoam.  But the ribs and smoked meats are the real thing and have been for about sixty years.  And that slaw alone is worth the price of admission.

There are two downsides:  The lines are long, and there’s no air conditioning.  Plus side is, early evening after the sun sets and the crowds go away, the breeze blows through and you can sit back in the shade chawing down on some of the best Q in the state of Florida, and sucking down the sweet tea.

These are the fourth-best ribs I have ever had in my life, and I’ll be back.  Meanwhile, if you want to try it — and you do — Peebles will be open Labor Day to Memorial, Thursday through Saturday, 11am to 9pm.