I tend to follow food trends. It could be a technique, seasonal ingredient, unique combinations of ingredients or whatever. I’ve been hooked on roasting, sushi, pork tacos, chiles, bacon, you name it. Often, those trends are of my own invention. Lately, I’ve been attracted to names. Yeah, names. Go figure.
I don’t know when it started, but funky names – for places and dishes – have caught my eye. You’d think that an intriguing name would lead to an intriguing experience; not always. But here are a few that I tried simply because of the name, for better or worse.
I know there are probably a million brewers out there paying homage to our first family of cartoons. How many, though, are a home brew for a Hobbit themed pizzeria? Yep, this was a double bonus. Duff Beer (a nice IPA) brewed and served at Bilbo’s Pizza in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Gotta love it.
The Biscuit Bitch
I was on a business trip in Seattle and came across this place. I did a double take and loudly announced to my colleagues where I would have breakfast the next day. True to my word, I was there 5 minutes before the doors opened. It’s the type of place you’d expect to find in Seattle. It had a cool, I-don’t-give-a-damn kind of vibe. However, they give a very big damn about serving good biscuits. Now I’m not a big enough snob to think that you have to be from the south to make good biscuits. The Biscuit Bitch, though, definitely has some roots that stretch below the Mason/Dixon.
Of course, when you throw caution to the wind and get sucked into trying something because of the name, you sometimes come up with a dud. Thus, the Ghettoblaster beer from Motor City Brewing Works. Offensive? Kinda. I was more offended by the poor execution of this English style mild ale. And it didn’t help they were serving it at the Westin Book Cadillac, a pretty swanky Detroit hotel, which means it cost more than your average beer Boo Boo. If you see it anywhere outside of Detroit, and I’m sure you won’t – skip it. Try one of Motor City’s other offerings like the pale ale.
Monty Python’s Holy Grail Ale
So you may think I’m on a beer kick with this trend. That’s only because craft brews can have some very inventive names. I’ve got some food stuff coming up. On this one, I wasn’t even looking for beer. How could I pass it up? And it’s a damned fine brew. I like it a lot. Not spammy at all. I just hope it’s widely distributed.
Grindhouse Killer Burgers
I just love saying the name. Grindhouse Killer Burgers. It just rolls off the tongue in the right way. The name is taken from a category of movie theaters of the 50s and 60s. Blood and guts, action and guns were the normal fare. Awesome burger combinations are the fare at this burger joint. At one time I worked within walking distance of one location and visited at least twice a week. Double cheese, fries and a coke. Or an Apache (jalapenos), o-rings and a coke. And you can watch a movie while sitting at the counter. What could be better than enjoying a freshly made double cheeseburger (that you didn’t have to make yourself) with a side of onion rings and watching the car chase in Bullitt? Plus, you don’t have to clean up your mess. Killer, indeed.
Enter the famous, some would say infamous, Miss Anne and her ghettoburger. She’s been serving it for more than 30 years. This place and it’s burgers were deserving of a separate post last summer. Offensive name? Not exactly. The place is definitely in the “hood. The burger is pretty much something that could only be imagined from the mind after a late night binge at the local watering hole or nightclub. Two beef patties, onions, bacon, chili, cheese… The name is forgiven because the burger is just so damn good! A pending hangover is not needed to fully enjoy.
Isotopes Slammin’ Amber Beer
No these are not named after Homer Simpson’s favorite local baseball team. But it’s actually a bit clever. From Sierra Blanca Brewing Company straight out of New Mexico. Get it? New Mexico… isotopes… radiation… Los Alamos… get it? Funny, huh? Well, it was at the time I discovered the beer. The brew itself is decent. They also have a line of alien brews. Roswell. Need I say more? Yeah, I know, it’s kind of cheesy. But hey, they’re trying to sell beer. Give ’em a break.
Doritos Locos Taco
Don’t judge me! I like Doritos. Who doesn’t? I like tacos. Of course. How could putting them together go wrong? Try one and you’ll find out. I don’t care what the commercial tells you.
Dead Guy Ale
I think this really is the best of the bunch, in both ways. Dead Guy Ale from Rogue Ales. It’s a cool name and accompanying logo. And it’s a very good beer; refreshing for an unfiltered brew, and has enough body to stand up to Thai food (that was my first introduction, oddly enough). No preservatives, no additives, no chemicals. Just good beer. The Grateful Dead similarities in the logo are just coincidence. I hear that Dead Heads love it.
So that’s how clever names have led me to some good noshes and drinks. It’s not a perfect system. And that’s good because I’m not looking for perfection. The duds have helped me remember the joys of the discovery. I’m just a guy who likes to eat and drink. Luckily, there is a lot of good stuff out there.