Twin Smokers because smoking makes ya’ look cool.

Twin Smoker's BBQ Atlanta, GA

Twin Smokers, twice as cool.

Welcome back high functioning alcoholics, to the Pot & Pan Handler’s devious blog, today’s devotion is Ted Turner’s whim, Atlanta. That’s where we marched with the resolution of General Sherman, in order to devour the entire city. Of course devouring the city was figurative in our case, it was quite a bit more literal in the case of General Sherman. However, I digress. When you’re in the American South, it would be amoral to go back home without acquiring some BBQ. We found some in the form of Twin Smoker’s BBQ. You must be at least this tall to ride, keep your arms inside the car at all times, we’re going to Twin Smoker’s and this time we’re bringing you with us.

CNN, Atlanta, Georgia

Don’t watch? We’ll force ya’ to at the airport.

Smoke ‘em if ya’ got ‘em.

There we were, in the very shadow of America’s least watched network, Ted Turner’s CNN. Like blight on the landscape the very building blocks out the light of the sun on an otherwise beautifully sunny day. There, cowering in the shadow of the Mr. Turner’s evil hideout you can find Twin Smokers BBQ.

When you walk in the doors to Twin Smokers, you are immediately confronted with their call to arms… wood. Stacks of wood, labeled for particular consumption. A testament to their professionalism, they take the big picture look at Q at Twin Smokers, throwing all the regional bickering aside. The result is a hearty respect for Q in general, making various woods a necessity. Not only do they do smoked chicken and pork with hickory and white oak, they’re also smoking beef Texas style with mesquite and post oak. Smoked onsite with house made rubs and meat sourced from local farms, they’re doing it right.

Hardwoods at Twin Smoker's BBQ Atlanta, GA

Hey, psst, wanna see my wood?

What wood you do?

What wood would we do? That answer is easy, both, a half rack of hickory smoked pork ribs and a mesquite smoked beef brisket sandwich. Served in true fastidious, BBQ joint fashion with a side of overlooked and underwhelming beans with onions, Twin Smoker’s evidently spends a lot of time on their meat with less focus on the sides, or at least not on the scoop and serve beans.

Look, this isn’t a single isolated incidence; there is a severe prevalence all over the United States of BBQ joints serving amazing meats alongside substandard sides and factory buns. We the people deserve better and should rise up, grab a bottle of BBQ sauce and demand improvements. We have a dream.

Beef Brisket at Twin Smoker's BBQ, Atlanta, GA

Brisky business indeed.

Twin Smokers is not exempt from this phenomenon. Let’s examine their results. We’ll start with the post oak and mesquite smoked brisket, juicy, fatty and smoky the brisket is a revelation. The mouth feel is exceptional as it nearly dissolves on your tongue as you chew. Properly saturating the factory buns with fatty deliciousness, the sandwich properly needs to be placed upside down in-between bites. Thus to ensure the macerated bun doesn’t fall apart leaving you to eat BBQ with a fork. Like a bitch. That, excited readers is one of the litmus tests that all BBQ sandwiches should be held to.

Brisket Sandwich, Twin Smoker's BBQ, Atlanta. GA

Don’t eat Q like a bitch. Turn that crown upside down.

Twin Smoker’s further their professional bio with one revealing taste of their ribs. Anyone can make true fall off the bone ribs simply by overcooking them. The kings of Q have decreed that a superior BBQ is evidenced by the bite. A slight chewiness that pulls a bite off the bone, but leaves the rest of the succulent meat firmly adhered to the bone is the Q snob calling card. Otherwise all the meat falls off the bone, leaving you to resort to eating Q with a fork. Once again, like a bitch. Twin Smoker’s follows the decree of the eternal order of Q snobs calling card, all while maintaining the balance of an inherently juicy ass rib. Objects in mouth may be tastier than they appear. These guys are not amateurs.

Smoked Ribs at Twin Smoker's BBQ, Atlanta, GA

When I’m still on the pig, I’m near the bacon. -Ribs

Bean Counter

Side, side, slippity sides, the bane of the BBQ restaurant, look I get it, BBQ is labor intensive. With all the prep and time to turn out slow cooked in house rubbed meats the inherent labor is expensive. Whether you’re paying one single pit master overtime or a crew of poorly trained line cooks you’re going to feel it in the labor costs. This of course makes Q owners turn to easily made scoop and serve items, like coleslaw, and BBQ beans. There’s nothing wrong with that inherently as Q is picnic/reunion/celebration food as long as the sides don’t feel like an afterthought.

Beans at Twin Smoker's BBQ, Atlanta, GA

Where ya’ bean? Don’t order me.-Beans

My sister is a vegetarian, it fills me with sadness every time I see her navigate a restaurant menu and receive, eventually a plate full of vegetarian after thoughts, with no particular composure, balance or technique to the preparation of. That’s what the beans felt like at Twin Smoker’s. There, simply because it’s expected. Hey, it’s an easy fix, some chili powder a pinch of salt, or some garlic, you’re in flavor town.  Until then you’re taking the exit ramp to bland city. Don’t count beans like us, get more meats. The meat preparation at Twin Smokers is nearly above reproach.

Pork Butts prepared for smoker at Twin Smoker's, Atlanta, GA

Butt rubbing at Twin Smokers. Not as sexy as it sounds.

Eternal Order of Pretentious Dicks Travel Tip of the Week

As we are members of the Eternal Order of Pretentious Dicks it is our obligation to share with you a Pretentious Dick travel tip. If you are like us, then you might be upper white trash and if so… When you buy a can of beer at Twin Smoker’s they’ll give you a free can koozie. Nothing says white trash like a koozie. We had two, we still have one, but one got lost in a hotel parking lot in Virginia, maybe, or was it Asheville? Either way, curious readers that’s a different post, until then live and let dine and may the odds be ever in your flavor. – Pot and Pan Handler

Twin Smokers Koozie

May there always be a beer in your koozie. Made up Irish proverb

Coming soon: We’re still exploring the city of Turner’s whim Atlanta, in the heart of downtown, we find a BLT, not the sandwich, but the pissy, French chef, Laurent Tourondel. Chef Tourondel was bringing French bistro technique to an American steak house in the W hotel. Until the W closed BLT Steak in favor of a DJ booth and opened an ironically named spa resort social hangout for Atlanta’s overpaid and or most beautifully fake people. The menu is too terrifying to post here, but I’m fairly sure it includes rhubarb jus…  The horror.

The Twin Smokers' Atlanta, GA

Congratulations, you’ve had twins.

The Pot and Pan Handler are fearless food porn paparazzi and spatula waving, kitchen line cooks escaped from a restaurant near you. No Ted Turner’s were harmed in the making in the making of this post.

Posted in Atlanta, Bars, BBQ, Lunch, Pubs, Saloons Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles

Gladys Knight's Chicken & Waffles Atlanta, Georgia

Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles. Signature? WTH? Mine wasn’t autographed.

Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles

Welcome back to the Pot and Pan Handler’s nefarious blog edition; Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles.  When we took the midnight train to Georgia, our destination was Ted Turner’s whim, Atlanta. We jumped at the chance, because who knows when Mr. Turner will send Atlanta to the future.  Or possibly will Atlanta to an alternate reality where people watch CNN willingly, instead of when forced to in airports. Does it get more Georgian than chicken & waffles? I don’t know, but I do know it doesn’t get more Georgian than Gladys Knight, so I had to go.

CNN, Atlanta, Georgia

Somebody please watch. Anybody?

Eight Mile          

According to GPS coordinates our hotel is eight miles from Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles. After an urban hike I’ll get there just in time to for a lunch of fried chicken & waffles. What the GPS failed to mention is this hike would be through a part of Atlanta where tourists probably rarely find themselves.  Funny thing is I’ve walked near here before just a couple blocks away, the same walk is filled with gentrified developments containing fair trade coffee shops on every corner.

Just a few blocks from the hotel it began. First it was the friendly couple, dressed at the height of I own my own shopping cart fashion, they weave a tale of falling on hard times, can I spare some money? Of course I can. It was done. Word on the street is there is a white kid in the neighborhood and he’s got money. The next encounter was less pleasant.

I was in his sights immediately, desperately I try to avoid making eye contact, but his homeless voodoo made this impossible. Dressed in jeans and one of those jackets with patches on the elbows, like a college professor without tenure, forced to wander the streets of Atlanta, begging for money to fund his research, he begins to tell me his tale.  Long story short, he has fallen on hard luck, could I spare some money? Not this time. I’ve got no time for this, I try to continue on, and realize suddenly that I’m now handing him a dollar. I’m no match for homeless voodoo.

He looks at me with profound disappointment as if I’ve wronged him greatly and he a gentleman will not resort to pointing out my rather vast shortcomings in public. He shakes his head and amazingly I feel guilty. Maybe he’s right. Perhaps I should be spending more time in Atlanta, start a homeless shelter for disenfranchised inner city youth, hey! How the hell did he do that? Anyway back to the streets.


There is a disheveled man screaming at a section of concrete that has clearly wronged him. In a garbled guttural roar he registers his dissatisfaction “Flocking flagabbut ADAAA NOCKLESTEIN! He points an accusing finger at the guilty concrete and continues “NOOOTABOTITALL!” and stomps the offending concrete. He then fixes his gaze solidly on me, raises his finger like an accusatory 18th century judge and he yells “BILLIFY JAPALONAPAPACON!”  He clears his throat “Harrumph.” He continued, “Ah excuse me, are you the white kid with money?” I made that last part up. He never saw me or anyone else for that matter.

A couple of blocks later I see a man sitting on the sidewalk. He’s dressed like a 70’s rock star and apparently no one ever told him that dudes in head scarves that aren’t Santana look weird. Should I be the first? His rigid posture is simultaneously relaxed, like an outdoor, orange bell bottomed, yoga instructor. His gaze falls upon me he seems to have been anticipating my arrival.

With great gravitas, like a philosopher patiently elucidating the meaning of life he seems about to impart sage wisdom. “Are you looking to find the crossroads, my young friend?” Huh? I think. What does that mean? Is this a soul selling situation? I’ve never thought about it before but if I was going to sell my soul it wouldn’t be to a Keith Richards look alike doing yoga on the sidewalk. I look into the depths of my mind for a suitable response and eloquently state “No.” He loses interest in me and goes back to looking weird in a head scarf. Oops I forgot to tell him no one but Santana can do that.

A couple blocks after the male prostitute in a sheer half shirt with a very wet cough starts following me, I realize I’m out of change. But I still have one $1 bill, a small victory of sorts. I can see the sign for Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles just up ahead. I cross the street, I’m almost there. The recessed doorway looms just beyond the yellowed menu withering in the window. I turn to enter the doorway and stop short, there’s someone standing there. “Do you have any money you can spare?” He says. There goes that dollar.

Gladys Knight's Chicken & Waffles Atlanta Georgia

Color me spray tanned. This place is old.

Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles.

I step inside a time warp. It’s almost decrepitly old inside Gladys Knight’s. Dark, like an old steak house or supper club, wood walls, and black ceilings with track lighting cast an eerie Trumpian orange glow on the brown diner booths. A friendly if slightly indifferent hostess seats me in a dark booth. That’s where I wait until a slightly friendly if indifferent server, takes my order for an iced tea and a Midnight Train. Billed on the menu as four southern fried chicken wings and one original waffle, the Midnight Train to Georgia is exactly what I’m looking for. Y’know, fried chicken and waffles.

Gladys Knight's Chicken & Waffles Menu Atlanta, Georgia

Nothing sells like shameless self promotion.

Soon the aforementioned chicken and waffle plate is brusquely placed in front of me and I’m promptly forgotten about. The chicken looks artfully done, the waffle appears textbook served with plain whipped butter and caramel colored corn syrup, it’s time to get busy.

Gladys Knight's Chicken & Waffles, Atlanta, Georgia

Garnished w/an orange, this takes me back to… Sometime before I was born.

I start with the chicken. Golden brown, it’s exotic, crispy, juicy, salty, marinated chicken. Fast food wishes it could do chicken as good as this. The waffle is huge, but a fairly standard affair, similar to an institutional IHOP waffle with a standard whipped butter, lacking the fruit or jalapeno kick that sometimes accompany waffles in the south.

Waffle @ Gladys Knight's Chicken & Waffles, Atlanta, Georgia

Shmeared & corn syrup droned, I must be a politician because I’m waffling.









Would I go back? Look, although I appreciate the irony of paying that much for chicken and waffles in a restaurant with a homeless dude pan handling out front. Probably not, they only get away with charging that much because there’s a famous name on the sign. Although Gladys Knight’s chicken was pretty freakin’ good, $20 bucks for lunch, is kind of hefty.

I took a different route back to the hotel.

Coming soon: we continue to tour Ted Turner’s whim when we find Twin Smoker’s BBQ, it would be morally bankrupt to leave the ATL without checking out the Q. Until then, live & let dine- the Pot & Pan Handler.

Orange Juice

& for no reason, here’s… OJ.


Editor’s note: Pot & Pan Handler are escaped restaurant veterans and professional butchers of the English Language. No Ted Turners were harmed in the making of this post.





Posted in Atlanta, Breakfast, Brunch, Chicken & Waffles, Georgia Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Jujube, Southern Ingredients making Asian Food.

Goat cheese won tons Jujube Chapel Hill, NC

Short Rib & Goat Cheese Won Tons. Jujube kidding me?

Jujube, not quite Asian

Welcome back fickle readers, to the Pot and Pan Handler’s blog edition Jujube. If you’ve ever heard of the Chapel Hill North Carolina Asian restaurant with a James Beard award, that is extremely difficult to get seats at… Fuggetaboudit, that’s the Lantern. Jujube is the other one, the food is still stellar, but it’s far, far easier to get a table. If using southern ingredients to make Asian foods sounds like a movement you can get behind, then read on, interested reader.

Strip tease

Look, first off the location is a bit underwhelming in a strip mall far away from most of the other trendy eateries in Chapel Hill. However, don’t let that fool you, Jujube is a legit joint, with legit food, just in a spot that’s… well, a little less legit. Once you get inside, Jujube is appropriately trendy with the requisite amount of clean modern lines. Other than the exceptional photography of subjects in and around Asia you’ll find none of the kitsch found in so many Asian restaurants.

Now hungry readers, let’s talk about something near and dear to our hearts… Steak. Steak with jasmine scented rice, peanut sauce and some forgettable pickled cucumber salad. We’ve eaten at Jujube probably ten times and one of us ALWAYS orders the steak, because we have a form of food Tourette’s syndrome 1.2.3… 1.2.3… 1.2.3… Just kidding we always order the steak because: it is off the freakin’ chain. 1.2.3… More on that later. 1.2.3…

Jujube's Line Chapel Hill, NC

Here’s where Jujube’s draws the line.

Sit down

When ya’ enter Jujube an appropriately overdressed and youthful hostess will seat you promptly with minimal sarcasm. May I suggest to those interested in a Chef’s table to ask for the kitchen bar seating. This bar is where you can watch in awe as the suitably Latino kitchen crew dance the line nimbly preparing tonight’s dishes in a dexterous display of culinary ballet. There you will also be witness to the testament of steak. Watch as the cooks expertly sear steak after steak like a mouthwatering factory line. If you weren’t going to order the steak before you’ll want to now as it is clearly one of the most popular dishes at Jujube. Or possibly because 1.2.3… Oops now you have it.

Short Rib and goat cheese won ton Jujube Chapel Hill, NC

Caution: ingredients may be less blurry than they appear.


Jujube’s travel tip #1: unless you enjoy a server who treats you as though you are as relevant to their life as polio, order booze or beer. Otherwise you’ll be prioritized somewhere between hand washing and scheduling a proctology exam on a servers list of priorities. Made up fact: the only thing in the world more inhabited by microbial pathogens than a server’s hand is, the whore of tourist traps, the Blarney stone in Ireland.

If you are on a diet, vegan, or have a religious objection to appetizers, Jujube’s is a good place to make a life style change. Try the short rib & goat cheese won tons. Stuffed to the verge of bursting with seasoned short rib, won tons are fried and garnished with generous dollops of goat cheese. Served on a plank of slate, Jujube’s doesn’t fuck around, like trendy restaurants all over, they know, plates and functional dining ware are for suckers. That’s right, that plate shit is soooo last century.

Pork belly dumplings, Jujube, Chapel Hill, NC

Pork belly, dough, soy sauce, dip, eat, repeat.

But as you might remember we always get the steak, so we often opt for steamed pork belly dumplings instead as an appetizer. As hot as it sounds, hot beef on beef action is not really our thing. Hey, we get it if it’s your thing, that’s super cool, no judging, we’d just rather mix it up a little bit. Besides these dumplings are heavenly pillows of seasoned and shredded pork belly lightly steamed within the tasty doughy confines of a superior dumpling. Served with a garlic soy sauce, these delicious dumplings are everything you could want in a starter at an Asian joint.

You’re so special

Okay, what if you are a vegetarian snowflake, with mad dietary constraints? Jujube’s still got ya’ covered in that regard as well. Their menu and their specials menu have some vegetarian options, like lettuce wraps, with corn and lima beans tossed in an a ginger, sesame dressing and topped with a dollop of lovable goat cheese. For the record they, taste incredible. Unlike many vegetarian dishes, these don’t come off as an afterthought, crisp lettuce, the pop off fresh corn and beans all covered in tangy Asian dressing, color me happy. They probably have some vegan, dairy and gluten free shit too. I don’t care.

Jujube Chapel Hill, NC, Lettuce Wraps

Voted dish least likely to result in heart attack.

Never made a misteak yet

Remember that steak we talked about? Of course you do, you’re the reader, it’s your job, just like it’s our job as writers to touch upon the subject earlier. It’s called foreshadowing, yeah, we’re like super pros at this writing shit. Just like you are pros at this reading shit, what a unique juxtaposition of talents. Your yin just got yanged. We should go bowling.

Lemon Grass Hangar Steak and Peanut Sauce, Jujube, Chapel Hill, NC

Perfectly cooked, but I can’t remember those green things.

Anyway as you’ve gathered Jujube’s steak is amazing. Grilled hangar steak expertly prepared by the aforementioned Latino line cook ballerinas. Order this, you will not be disappointed. Marinated Lemon Grass Hangar steak grilled to perfection, served with a forgettable cucumber salad and PEANUT SAUCE! Jujube’s peanut sauce is nearly a libation, if not a revelation. If it wasn’t so thick, I’d eat that shit with a straw, sweet peanut sauce, with a hint of soy and just a whisper of chili pepper. Even Hussein Bolt’s track shoes would taste good drizzled in a liberal amount of this peanut sauce.

Jasmine Scented Rice Jujube, Chapel Hill, NC

Rice, Rice, Baby. I’m sorry I just did that.

When the server asks: “Would you like jasmine scented rice?” Remember to say yes. I understand, rice no matter how scented is rather pedestrian. That is, until you add peanut sauce. Jujube’s peanut sauce pairs with rice like French pairs with fries. Sure they’ve got dessert but we usually get our dessert in the form of a bottle of local beer. OK you caught us, a couple bottles of local beer. Although I’ve heard they have peanut butter chocolate mousse. We heart peanut butter, maybe next time.

Victory Pilsner @ Jujube, Chapel Hill, NC

Victory can be yours.

Coming soon: we’re taking the midnight train to Georgia, where we visit Ted Turner’s whim, Atlanta. Why Atlanta? Four words dear reader, Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles, will they be as good as the waffles and chicken at Lolo’s in Arizona? Same time, same channel, we’ll see ya’ there, until then may the odds be ever in your flavor.



Posted in Appetizers, Beer, Chapel Hill, Cocktails, Desserts, Lunch, NC, Restaurants Tagged with: , , , ,

The Not Entirely Made Up State of North Carolina.

Waterways of North Carolina

Unlike TN, North Carolina has boat technology.

The not entirely fake state of affairs in North Carolina.


North Carolina is a southeastern state on the coast of the United States. North Carolina or North Cackalacky to the exceptionally red of neck, rests lazily on top of perennially inferior South Carolina.

Angel Oak Charleston, South Carolina

This oak gives great tree, in Charleston, SC.

In regards to South Carolina BBQ, seriously South Carolina, mustard in the BBQ sauce? Really? There are far superior BBQ sauce ingredients readily handy like ground up glass or Al Roker ass juice. Secondly, football, South Carolina’s University Clemson suffers from the disillusion that they’re better at football just because their roided out felon buff shrines to HGH of a football team at Clemson beats NC teams ninety five percent of the time. Never mind that a degree from Clemson is not even worth the paper it’s printed on. Unless it’s swimming pool management, Clemson has an exceptional SPM program.

Clemson’s proud football alumni also have the unique distinction of most graduates who have previously graduated from shiv making at state pen. If they’re so good at football, where’s the pro team? Once again North Carolina proves it’s on top. In much touted made up studies, 9 out of 10 scientists agree that north is on top of south and the one who disagrees, has a degree from Clemson. Further evidence that South Carolina actually prefers being on the bottom is South Carolina’s Senator Lindsey Graham’s confirmed bachelor “accent.”

Atlanta Sky Line

Heart or rectum of the south?

Georgia also borders North Carolina’s southern edge in a universally understood subservient manner. North Carolina has not been on talking terms with Georgia as any state with cities so easily burned to the ground can never be trusted. Sorry Georgia you’re the weak link of the south. Just ask Wisconsin, they haven’t talked to Illinois since Bartman’s cow kicked over the lamp that burned the city of Chicago down and distracted the Cubs from winning the pendant, again. Sorry Illinois, you’re the weak link of the north.


Elvis has left the building.

To North Carolina’s west is Tennessee. Known as the road to Nashville, that’s exactly what it was until Elvis famously took too many shrooms and had Memphis built for his amusement. For seven absinthe filled days Elvis and a developer, attempted to recreate Disney’s It’s a Small World Ride, with a soundtrack stolen from black people, the result was Memphis. This demented little project came in over a million dollars over budget and three months past the deadline as it took two months just to hose all the vomit off of the sidewalks.

On the Northern border of North Carolina lays Virginia. Virginia is for lovers, is their state motto, which makes this uninhabitable hell hole sound a lot more livable than it really is. With an average low temp in the 20’s in the winter and average humidity laced highs of 86 degrees in the summer, their climate is best described as unlivable.

Known also as the president state because 8 presidents have come from Virginia, this phenomenon is really just evidence of how unlivable Virginia is. Essentially no one can afford to live in Washington DC, but Virginia’s stark dystopian hell-scape makes real estate affordable. Would you want to live in a neighborhood populated entirely by politicians? I know I wouldn’t, but really I would. That was my impersonation of a politician.


North Carolina can be divided into 3 distinct regions. Charlotte is the most populous, the 9th most populous city in the country and 2nd only to New York in the size of banking centers in the U.S. The Research Triangle Park or RTP is in central North Carolina and includes the capitol Raleigh, home of Duke, in Durham and Chapel Hill home of UNC. Outside Charlotte and The RTP the populace is diverse as a bowl of vanilla ice cream with no toppings and 85% of the residents speak Donald Trump in the home.

Wicked Weed Brewery Asheville, North Carolina

Wicked Weed 145% ABV, Quadruple IPA, subtle hints of oak and malt with undertones of pretentious, caramel, douchebaggery.


Pork is one export of North Carolina, like Iowa, only interesting and with fewer ethanol subsidies. Tobacco is the biggest export of North Carolina, because smoking makes you look cool. With all that smoking going on North Carolina knows the most appropriate accompaniment to smoking is drinking. With somewhere between 70-80 permitted breweries, North Carolina is taking care of all your smoking and drinking needs.

Not to mention the Moonshine. Driving in a circle really fast is the end result of North Carolina’s moonshine culture. When the federal government started taxing alcohol, ungovernable Scottish, Irish, and Scotch-Irish settlers ran to the Appalachian Mountains. Once there they hid amongst the trees, distilled alcohol and made out with their attractive cousins. Live in the woods, getting drunk and not paying taxes… Those people were heroes, except um, of course, the inbreeding thing.

Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do ya’ do? Central North Carolina is also home to the Triangle Research Park. Originally the RTP was created as a partnership between Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill and NC State as an opportunity to give NC state students a chance to comingle with students who have money. The RTP is now one of the biggest tech hubs in the United States and exports 100,000 unemployable, tattooed and bearded hipster baristas with butt hurt distorted world views and gender studies majors throughout the country every year.


Like Virginia the climate of North Carolina is nearly intolerable. With ball sweat crushing humidity and median temperatures in the high eighties in the summer. Not to be outdone winter is nipple hardening cold in the winter at least until late afternoon when it will reaches 50 degrees again. Think you’ll enjoy that when you get done with work for the day? Hahaha you’re fucked, by the time it’s 5 PM, it is dick shrinking cold again.

There are seven different microclimates in North Carolina, unlivable, humid as ass, mountaintop cold as fuck, a hurricane just stole your baby, I can’t see shit in these valleys, my shoe melted onto the blacktop and I stepped outside and now I got a Jew fro. North Carolina also enjoys the distinction of the only climate so effed up that it’s the only place in the world where the carnivorous plant, the Venus Fly Trap grows.


North Carolina produces terrifying and disgusting food, not found in the rest of the United States. Sweet potatoes, collard greens, turnip greens, okra, butterbeans and the wickedest food in the world, kale are all produced in North Carolina. To make all of these horrifying foods edible, North Carolinians add pork, to everything. In some communities, people still eat pickled pigs feet. Likely, to confound white people.

Pork Butt

You’ve never had fake cheese on smoked pork? For shame.

As you are now aware pigs are a thriving factor in Carolina, from production, to farming, processing, to sales, North Carolina leaves BBQ beef to other states. North Carolinians know it’s only BBQ if it’s pig. Whole hog or pork shoulder depending on the part of the state you live in. A contentious subject in North Carolina, BBQ has torn more families apart than a Trump candidacy.

In the east where the pork is most prevalent BBQ is defined as smoked pork topped with vinegar, taste, is the pork still edible? If so add more vinegar. Soon the stench of vinegar assaults your sinuses and puckers your face until you have to your lips surgically removed from your tonsils, congratulations, you’ve just made eastern NC BBQ.

Outer Banks Eastern North Carolina

Outer Banks NC surf culture with a southern accent.

On the western front North Carolina BBQ is a pig of a different color. Once again this Q is smoked pork, but Lexington style Q as western NC Q is called has vinegar in the sauce, but it is mixed with, tomatoes, tomato paste, or ketchup. This little additional sweetness brings the vinegar in check and offers a more balanced approach to Q. You know like they do in almost every other notable & not so notable BBQ states across the nation. If not the world. Notice, that North Carolina doesn’t use mustard in the Q like South Carolina does, because although they might like BBQ to pucker your face like unsweetened lemonade, North Carolinians are not insane.

Mountains of Western North Carolina

That’s why they call ’em smoky. No it’s not Denver.


Rural and inner city North Carolina have very little in common until you mention cheap labor. Looking for a produce picker, or back of house service industry employee who doesn’t speak Spanish in the home? This would prove to be futile, like Diogenes of Sinope hopelessly wandering the earth looking for an honest man.

Totally, not made up fact: in some rural NC counties, as much as 50% of the population speaks Spanish in the home.  Yet we both know that is not the result of a bilingual public education. Does this contradict what I said earlier about rural NC is as diverse as vanilla ice cream…. Blah, blah, blah? Yes of course it does, I told ya’ this is my impersonation of a politician. Now I’ll tell ya’ that green is blue and water isn’t wet.

The nutshell

So educated readers, that was my comprehensive, if not entirely true state of affairs in the state of North Carolina. Stay tuned for more made up states when we write about the Soviet People’s Republic of Massachusetts. Until then there will be more food and fun in Chapel Hill we’re eating not quite Asian when we go to Jujube, thanks for reading and may the odds be ever in your flavor. –Pot and Pan Handler


Posted in Atlanta, NC, SC, Tennesee Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Carolina’s in Arizona, The Quintessential Taco Dive.

Carolina's Phoenix, Arizona

Carolina’s the taste of industrial.

Welcome worldly readers, to the Pot & Pan Handler’s obscure blog Carolina’s edition. Carolina’s is Phoenix Arizona’s quintessential taco dive or taco divine, at least from our point of view. Handmade tortillas put this restaurant on Phoenix’s map, but only for locals in the know, because Carolina’s is off the beaten path. We not only found Carolina’s but we ate the shit out of it, and can’t wait to do it again. Here’s how we got there…

Since my parents knew we would be in Phoenix for a few days, they asked their neighbor Louis. Oops, excuse me for a minute. (Hey, Louis, sorry if I’m spelling your name wrong, the subject never came up yo). Louis, is a Phoenix native, my parents rightly figured he would have a finger on the pulse of Arizona cuisine. He told us to go to Lolo’s, it was good. He also told us to go to Carolina’s, it was great.

The intersection of out of and the way

Out of the way, or in an industrial area, are pretty polite ways of saying, Carolina’s is in the hood. There’s a reason there are bars on the windows, right? But, don’t let that stop you from going, if there is anyplace worth putting away your Purell sanitized, pristine, touristy sensibilities, Carolina’s is it.

Some say the religion of BBQ (in the south, BBQ is a religion, often contentiously so) was the first to integrate. Carolina’s is like that. Everybody eats there; you’ll see custom tailored, Wall Street power suits, construction dudes, cops, doctors, rappers, men, women, gay, straight, white, black, brown, taco bell employees, super heroes, and Manuel while there. Yeah, that’s right, Manuel… Everybody.

Carolina's hand made tortillas Phoenix, Arizona

Menudo. Nothing says legit Mexican like tripe.

House paint and cinderblocks

Inside and out Carolina’s is minimalist. Not minimalist in a hipster, linear, modern, Danish, juxtaposition of form and function approach. Instead Carolina’s minimalist manner is a means to an end, just enough to get the job done. There is nothing fancy here. The staff is minimally aware of your existence. They are a humming machine of industry. You are just another cog in the wheel of efficiency and you are expected to order as such. Order the Machaca tacos, quickly and get the fuck out of the way, serve yourself from the fountain soda machine and grab a bunch of napkins you’re going to need them. Don’t forget the hot sauce either; it’s as delicious as the tacos themselves.

What’s that fickle reader?  Reconstituted, dried, Mexican spiced meats aren’t your thing? Fortunately Carolina’s serves chicken tacos too, on the same banging, handmade tortillas. What’s that, dear reader? Are the chicken tacos on banging house made tortillas as good? We’ll possibly never know. The machaca tacos are the pinnacle of taco supremacy. I would vote for them as president if possible. Especially this year. If you go, don’t even ask; Carolina’s doesn’t have a cruelty free, organic, free range, locally sourced soy, tofu, vegan, faux meat equivalent. Try to order something like this and they’ll look at you like you are a stupid dick and rightfully so.

Carolina's Interior Phoenix, Arizona

Luckily you can’t taste the interior.

Meanwhile at Carolina’s

They call my name and with resolute indifference I’m handed hinged foam containers. We retire to a table in the sparsely decorated dining room. The screamingly yellow walls wail, one of the few times I can remember hearing a color. We open our containers and find perplexingly perspiring machaca tacos. When you lift these tacos, they drip, drip, drip a continuous rivulet. At first I find this unsettling, it continues to drip and laughs at my discomfort.

Drippy Machaca Tacos on Banging House Made Tortillas

Drip, drip, drip.

Once picked up Carolina’s tacos are an exercise in commitment, as putting it back down would result in it getting all wet again. The incessant dripping continues and there is now a pool in the hinged foam container. No worries, reader. Once you’ve tried the machaca taco, you don’t want to put it down anyway. The tortillas are light, airy and put the grocery store equivalent to shame. The slightly spicy beef, is juicy with reconstituted beef juice and various terrifying Mexican spices, and the crisp lettuce brings a fresh crunch to the lunch equation. Well worth the out of the way drive.

Machaca Tacos @ Carolina's Phoenix, Arizona

Machaca tacos on banging house made tortillas.

We devoured 1, 2, 3… 4 machaca tacos, each one dripping a full flavored broth and their delicious house made hot sauce. When the tacos were gone, I held the hinged container by the corner, let the delicious machaca perspiration pool in the opposite corner, and ate the shit out of it with a spoon. Yum. Served with better than average industry standard, unmemorable sides of rice and refried beans. Carolina’s is a machaca mecca, nothing fancy, but it don’t have to be fancy to taste good and Carolina’s drippy flavor perspiration tacos on banging house made tortillas taste pretty fricking good.

Machaca tacos on hand made tortillas @ Carolina's Phoenix, Arizona

Rice & refried the industry standard. Yay cheese.

Coming soon: we’re back home and we get not quite Asian at Chapel Hill’s Jujube, Asian food with southern ingredients, we’ll see ya’ there. May the odds be ever in your flavor- The Pot and Pan Handler

Five Napkin Lunch @ Carolina's Phoenix, Arizona

A five napkin lunch & empty hot sauce. A solid life decision.

Posted in Arizona, Lunch, Phoenix, Restaurants, Side Dishes, Tacos Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Lolo’s Chicken & Waffles, because, chicken & waffles.

Lolo's Scottsdale, Arizona

They had us at chicken.

Lolo’s Chicken & Waffles, because, chicken & waffles.

Welcome hungry readers to the Pot & Pan Handler’s ineligible blog edition: Lolo’s. Phoenix, Arizona’s answer to the question everyone asks, where do you get chicken and waffles? You can’t be in the Southwest without simultaneously occupying the American South and the American South knows fried chicken and waffles. Leave it to the South to find a way to make waffles worse for you, albeit with delicious results, oh well, when in Rome.

Welcome to Lolo’s, P.S. you’re late.

An Arizonian, made us aware of Lolo’s, after which we scoured the intertubes with our google hats on and found a location and time that suited us for chicken & waffles at Lolo’s. Ha Ha! Upon arrival the joke is on us, underneath the painted hours, was a cardboard sign taped to the glass in the door. The hand scrawled marker read: Our website tricked you bitches, now piss off, ya’ shites. But somehow they word it more appropriately, New Summer Hours, We Regret Any Inconvenience. Bullshit. The leering staff makes it abundantly clear, they not only don’t regret, but actually relish any inconvenience.

What'cha Taco'n about Willis

Fuck, we’re old.

What’cha Taco’in About Willis.

We went and got tacos, because tacos are fuckin’ good, especially when there’s a salsa bar, various pickled vegetables and roasted fresh jalapenos. That’s what we found at Taco’s Jalisco, however, dear readers, that is a different post.

L-O-L-O, Lo-lo’s take 2

We went back to Lolo’s the next day for lunch, hoping those bitches wouldn’t change the hours again as soon as they see us pull up. The joke’s on them. Our bland rental car from Tight Sphincter Car Rentals is so unassuming they never see us coming and they have no time to change their hours before we enter. Clean modern lines, with the appropriate amount of reclaimed barn wood, or at least something that looks like it and markets well with focus groups. A glaring sign inside says Lolo’s just in case you’ve forgotten where you just entered. Or perhaps they’ll soon put up another cardboard sign that reads, New Summer Name, We Regret Any Inconvenience.

Lolo's Phoenix, Arizona

Didja’ remember?

We’re quickly led to our seats and served iced tea in Mason Jars, because, that’s easier than personally calling each and every patron a biscuit head, cousin humper. In fact they even serve… Kool-Aid, again in Mason Jars. It seems to me reminiscing about drinking Kool-Aid from an old jar, is counterintuitive. Instead of celebrating the past, celebrate the now, when you can afford something that’s not Kool-Aid in a jar. However, who are we to judge. We acknowledge we are biscuit heads, and start sipping from a jar.  Because however corporate this place is they still have a full bar, with beers on tap, sipping on a mason jar suddenly seems perfectly plausible.

Lolo's Mason Jars, Phoenix, Arizona

I wonder what my attractive cousin is up to.

Chicken & Waffles

We order Lolo’s chicken and waffles, after all that’s what they’re known for. Though we do get a salad as well, because nutritional content. As much as you can’t make friends with salad, you can’t live on waffles & fried chicken alone. Well, you can, I suppose, as long as you supplement it with copious amounts of nutritional Red #4 found in Kool-Aid.

Shortly our food arrives and it’s suitably American, easily enough food for 4 people, a value, some would say. The chicken is a revelation, the exterior is crispy, yet tears away easily in heavenly crisp, bites, the interior a cloud saturated with flavor. Y’know, competent fried chicken, when it’s right, it’s always good. Lolo’s does it right.

Lolo's Chicken & Waffles, Phoenix, Arizona

If fried chicken is on the same table as a salad it qualifies as health food.

Waffles; in Kenny Shopsin’s book Eat Me he refers to pancakes as hoe cakes. Claiming they’re slutty, as they taste fuckin’ great, but offer no nutritional value, therefore pancakes are inherently bad for you. I don’t know if Lolo’s read this memoir but, their waffles remind me of this claim. These waffles are textbook we’ve definitely had better, but these waffles remind us of most waffles we’ve ever had, outside a couple of amazing outliers. Think Ihop, Waffle House or Perkins, these waffles are good, mostly because you don’t have to make them, that and syrup.

Speaking of syrup; here’s Lolo’s faux pas, pancake syrup. Lolo’s chooses to eschew the industry standard maple syrup in favor of high fructose corn syrup, caramel colored predator drones of “pancake syrup.” However, Lolo’s also includes something soooo tasty, we can overlook this minor flaw, in anticipation of, wait for it… JALAPENO BUTTER! Smooth, spicy, delectably creamy and worth overlooking the slovenly, overlooked flaw of no maple syrup. Barely.

Jalapeno Butter, Lolo's, Phoenix, Arizona

Butter will never be the same.

That of which, will win you no friends.

Then there was the matter of Lolo’s salad. In so many of these corporate family restaurants with, the salads are oft overlooked. Limp lettuce served with a quartered, walk-in ripened, sliced 2 days ago, sad, tasteless tomato, maybe a couple of indifferent red onion slices. Don’t forget the obligatory cuke slice, and factory made crouton. Lolo’s don’t play that game.

The salad we got was refreshing, a spring salad of field greens, goat cheese, strawberries, candied walnuts and grilled chicken breast. Okay it’s not a menu shattering dynamic feat of gastronomy, but it is a little sweet, a little sour, a little bitter, a little creamy, with a crispy textural counterpoint, and competently cooked chicken. When you’re talking salad, this is a perfectly serviceable combination and we enjoyed it as such.

Lolo's Spring Salad, Phoenix, Arizona

“You can’t make friends with me.” – Salad

Desert was out of the question, we’re surrounded by dessert after all, a lot to take in and rather filling, especially after drinking out of a mason jar.

Coming soon: we take you to Carolina’s in Arizona, for flavor perspiring, five napkin, machaca commitment, tacos on slamming house made flour tortillas. Until then may the odds be ever in your flavor. – Pot and Pan Handler



Posted in Arizona, Bars, Beer, Brunch, Chicken & Waffles, Lunch, Restaurants, Salads Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Barrio Cafe

Barrio Cafe Phoenix, AZ

Welcome to the Barrio Cafe. Vatos Locos forever.

Welcome lowly readers, to the Pot and Pan Handler’s blog Barrio Café edition. Barrio Café is where we learned what comida conchinga is, enjoyed a signature dish originally created by nuns and find that Mexican street food by any other name will taste as sweet. Get in the low rider, because we’re going to the Barrio, destination, Barrio café.

Barrio Cafe Lowrider Graffiti, Phoenix, Arizona

All my friends own a low rider.

Perennially Familyiar

Our family holds a family reunion every year. This reunion is an effort to fight the grisly reality that we as people have a mortality rate of 100%. After years of only seeing one another at funerals, someone said: “Well, hell, if we’re going to force ourselves to see each other, we might as well all be alive.” And with that totally made up statement the annual family reunion was born.

When my parent’s turn came up, it was official, we were going to one of the hottest states in the nation; Phoenix, Arizona. As a direct result of my parent’s residence is in one of the coldest states in the nation, they choose instead to live in the desert, at least during winter. We went last spring & spent 3 days feeding dozens of people 2 times a day. We also learned a lesson; if you are cooking for 60-70+ people in a residential kitchen, it can feel like you’re cooking with an E Z Bake Oven and a Fisher Price, My First Cooking Pot, but that’s a different post.

When we heard we were going to Phoenix, the first place that came to mind was Barrio Café. I had once seen Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza on Food TV’s Diners, Drive In’s & Dives and took notice.  Though it’s true they go to some funky, eclectic, unusual and tasty restaurants on that show. However, rarely are the Chefs in these funky restaurants, James Beard Award Nominated and Chef Esaparza is. Four times she’s been nominated for the James Beard Foundation’s award for Best Chef Southwest. That’s right four times, she’s part chef, part gangsta and all boss.

Barrio Cafe, Phoenix Arizona

Just in case you forgot where you are.

Barrio Cafe Graffiti Phoenix, AZ

I’m not sure if I have enough tattoos to get in.

Barrio Café

Barrio Cafe Graffiti, Phoenix, AZ

Hair so smooth, black as coal, wait that’s just paint.

Lesson one of the Barrio Café edition: take time to admire the graffiti murals outside. Graffiti is an oft overlooked art form, it’s usually free, and it never stops to appreciate itself, Barrio Café is no exception. Once inside we were quickly seated and our drink order was taken. A margarita and something near and dear to our hearts, the love child of a Bloody Mary and beer, a Michelada were ordered.

Barrio Cafe Graffiti, Phoenix, Arizona

Get on & ride, Barrio Cafe style.

Urban Art Barrio Cafe, Phoenix, Arizona

Barrio Cafe keeps it street by bringing the urban art inside, featuring local artists.

Barrio Cafe Michelada, Phoenix AZ

Barrio Cafe’s beer makes love to a Bloody Mary. MMMMmmichelada.

Soon our drinks appeared, alongside fresh bread and an olive tapenade. The margarita is a textbook rendition, the Michelada is exceptional. Spicy tomato juice and beer served in a glass rimmed with chili powder, I wish I was drinking one right now. The airy and light fresh bread and tangy olive, roasted red pepper and oil mixture are a nice accompaniment to the alcohol. But then again, what isn’t?

Barrio Cafe, Esquites, Phoenix, Arizona

Food truck food w/out the pesky truck.

We were still hungry. Fortunately at Barrio Café there’s an app for that, appetizers, we decided on Barrio Café’s take on elote or esquite. Mexican street style corn, refined, instead of leaving the corn on the cob slathered in mayo, Barrio Cafe, removes the corn from the cob and roasts them in butter. Mixing the kernels with lime, chipotle cream, cilantro and queso fresco. Served with chips on the side, this is no taco truck elote. For that we thank them.

Salad Barrio Cafe, Phoenix, Arizona

What are you looking at me for? You can’t make friends with salad.

Appetizer two: salad, though it may be true that you don’t make friends with salad, it does help ya’ keep a waistline. Barrio Café’s salad was tasty, not overlooked like in many restaurants, and it’s with a powerful fundamental relief that I tell you they do not put salads in a fried burrito shell. Simply mixed greens with diced tomato, dried cranberry, lightly dressed and garnished with queso fresco, it’s light and refreshing and palate cleansing. A refreshing second course but… STOP! It’s entrée time.

Barrio Cafe, Pork Tacos, Phoenix, Arizona

Not as good as expected, not bad, just not good.

Truck U

Tacos, who doesn’t love a good freakin’ pork taco? We bet an accomplished chef like Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza knows how to make a great fuckin’ taco. Wrong. Like the obligatory and overlooked chicken dish at your local steakhouse, these tacos are only on the menu because stupid gringos like us expect them.  “What do you mean you don’t have tacos, I thought this was a Mexican joint.” This chant would become a constant litany if they did not have tacos, but you can get tacos at a taco truck. When you’re at the Barrio Café, stick to the specialties, this is a Chef driven restaurant after all.

Barrio Cafe, Chiles en nogada, Phoenix, Arizona

Barrio Cafe Chiles En Nogada wish I was here.

Chiles En Nogada is such a specialty. The predecessor of Chile Rellenos, Chiles En Nogada was first created by Puebloan nuns in 1861 to celebrate the colors of the Mexican flag. Easily, Chiles En Nogada is my favorite Mexican dish of all time and Barrio Café did not disappoint. If you take my recipe for Chiles En Nogada and multiply it by sparkly unicorns with rainbow juice and garnished it with brilliance, you’re in the ballpark. Barrio Café took my favorite Mexican dish in the world and made it better. Far better.

The roasted poblano pepper is piquant and stuffed with a spiced chorus of chicken, apple, pear, dried apricot and pecans. This well stuffed pepper blooms on a bed of almond cream is reveling in the traditional Mexican flag colored garnish of queso fresco, cilantro and pomegranate seeds. The resulting flavor explosion dances across your tongue, a sublime culinary Mexican hat dance. This dish is sweet, salty, savory, spicy, creamy, zesty, tongue stimulating, and subliminally provocative peppery brilliance. When we eat that dish again, it won’t be soon enough to suit either one of us.

Barrio Cafe, Comida Chingona T-shirt, Phoenix, Arizona

Barrio Cafe; new T for dessert.

Barrio Cafe, T-shirt, Phoenix, Arizona

Barrio Cafe T the upper backside.

We had eaten far too much to entertain dessert, so we got a Barrio Café T-shirt. Comida Conchinga it reads; roughly translated this means, bad ass mother fuckin’ food. Exactly.

Coming soon: we’re still in the southwest with our stomachs focused on Chicken & Waffles, when we go to Lolo’s, same bat time, and same bat channel. Until then, may the odds be ever in your flavor- Pot and Pan Handler

Lolo's Phoenix, Arizona

One of the few places, where waffling isn’t a bad thing.

Artist Colton Brock, Phoenix, Arizona

Wanna keep it street @ home? Here’s the Phoenix artist featured when we were there.



Posted in Appetizers, Arizona, Bars, Beer, Phoenix, Pubs, Restaurants, Salads, Saloons Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

Sweet potato why?

Maple citrus pork sausage sweet potato

Maple, Citrus, Pork Sausage Sweet Potato, garnished with New Mexican Hatch Chilies.

Okay glorious readers, welcome back to the Pot and Pan Handler’s hedonistic blog; sweet potato edition. I don’t know whether it was because I grew up in the Midwest, or because sweet potatoes were just not in my parent’s culinary quiver, but I grew up not knowing what the hell a sweet potato was. I had no idea that they grew in the ground. Literally, I thought they came from a can, cloaked in cloyingly sweet corn syrup that we were forced to eat on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The memory of which promptly faded and we would spend the rest of the year happily pretending sweet potatoes didn’t exist.

Southern Charm              

That was my outlook on sweet potatoes until I worked in a Q restaurant that served sweet potatoes. All day long we’d bake those things off and serve them with a little giant dollop of butter and brown sugar. YUM. We immediately became fans.  However, like all things the beginning is only the first step.

Then we moved south o’ the Mason Dixon Line and sweet potatoes are everywhere. Like hangers in a closet, they seem to multiply. They’re at the farmer’s market, megalomarts, grocery stores, roadside stands and served as the ubiquitous sweet potato fries in restaurants throughout the south. I dare you to try to stay away from them. I trust you’ll find it quite impossible.

With that in mind, as I left the grocery store last week with sweet potatoes in tow, I wanted to do something more sophisticated with the humble sweet potato than dollops of butter and sugar. So we made maple citrus and pork sausage sweet potatoes. Sweet, savory, & porky, an easy hand’s off, but tasty side dish. Sure to be liked whether you’re a man, woman, gay, straight, black, white, republican or democrat. That’s sweet potato why.

Maple citrus & pork sausage sweet potatoes

Here’s how we made it so you can make ‘em too.

You will need:

2 small sweet potatoes, feel free to double, triple or half this recipe, one potato per diner.

3 Tblspns cooked, ground pork sausage (if you want to omit, feel free, it’s none of our business how much sausage you take, that’s a conversation for your cardiologist, or pimp, we’re not that close.)

1 Tblspn Maple syrup (like it sweeter, add more or less sweet, add less.)

Juice from ½ orange

Wrong OJ

Wrong OJ, but thanks for noticing.

1/8 tspn fresh ground nutmeg

1/8 tspn ground cinnamon

Salt & Pepper to taste

Garnish with green chiles

You will do:

Wash & dry sweet potatoes, pierce with a fork several times and bake in a vessel, in a pre-heated 350-375 degree oven until soft.

Sweet Potato

Caution: Contents may be natural


Baked Sweet Potatoes

Nicely baked.

Maple Citrus pork sausage sweet potatoes

Got Pork? Now it’s done.

Remove sweet potato innards & combine with butter, pork, maple syrup, orange juice, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt & pepper. Taste, does it need anything else, is it sweet enough, enough pork, need more OJ? If so add more if not continue. Place combined mixture back into empty potato skins, place back in oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove, garnish with desired amount of green chilies, eat & repeat. You’ll definitely want to have this again sometime before next year.

Maple Citrus Pork Sausage Sweet Potato garnished with green Chiles

If you don’t have fresh chilies, you can still use the kind from a can. G-M-YO that’s good.

Coming soon: Comida Conchinga @ Arizona’s Barrio Café, same bat time, same bat channel, we’ll see ya there. Until then may the odds be ever in your flavor.

Barrio Cafe

Posted in How to, NC, SC, Side Dishes, Sweet potatoes Tagged with: , , , ,

Mace’s Crossing the best burgers in Philly?

Mace's Crossing Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The entrance sign stopped us from trying to enter via the window.

Mace’s Crossing back dat time up

Welcome back inebriated readers to the Pot & Pan Handler’s malicious blog, Mace’s Crossing edition. Mace’s Crossing is the building that time and the health department forgot and the story of an underdog. Seriously, besides that president douche in Hunger Games who doesn’t like an underdog?  As an American male with ketchup in my veins I enjoy the story of an underdog. To illustrate, Mace’s Crossing is in Philadelphia home of the Italian Stallion, Rocky Balboa. The movie Rocky comes in as one of the greatest underdog stories of all time. So without further ado here’s the story of Mace’s Crossing.

Rocky Statue outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's Art Museum

Spoiler Alert: Rocky loses. Oops, too soon?

The building that would one day become Mace’s crossing was built sometime in the 1870’s as a carriage house. There it stood on Cherry Street. Decades went by and the little carriage house served a variety of purposes. Soon city development and the famed Benjamin Franklin Parkway cut a swath of redevelopment all around the little carriage house that could. It still stood. Although every other property was replaced with city property, institutes, museums, parks, libraries, statues, squares, monuments and good intentions. Gentrification before it was cool throughout the early 20th century.

Mace's Crossing in the shadow of the Windsor Apartments Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Mace’s Crossing in the concrete and glass shadows of Lord Business.

Nothing personal, it’s just business, LORD, business.

Then the luxury apartments happened, the Windsor, luxury suites and apartments for the business elite. With shopping, restaurants and bars all tucked in a quaint little box wrapped with a bow. Or giant palatial monolith wrapped with concrete, if you can see. The developers of this skyscraper wanted the little carriage house or at least the tiny little place on earth that it occupied. The owners said no. And in a rare display of drive by integrity, justice took a break from the miscarriage and allowed the little carriage house to stay.


In November of 1975 the Sex Pistols had their first show. Californians were pretending to be someone else at the 8th annual Comic-Con. And in Philadelphia brothers James and Robert Bernard bought the little carriage house. One year later they opened Mace’s crossing and started slinging burgers and beers. 50 years later they’re still slanging burgers there today, in the little carriage house that could. Same bat time, and same bat channel.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Sightseeing Tours

A Double Decker bus that’s not a food truck yet somehow.

Tour Guide if that is your real name

My relationship with Mace’s cross began when I took a Double Decker bus tour, you know the type, you can hop on or off at various tourist attractions and the ticket is good for two days. Before I hopped off of the bus, the tour guide, made me confront my own mortality, ruined Rocky, slandered cheese steaks with cheez whiz, and recommended Mace’s Crossing as the purveyors of the best burgers in Philadelphia.

Tour Guide Philadelphia's sightseeing tours

I gave up running for lent or something.

Mortality confrontation; it turned out this tour guides claim to fame was he’s one of the little kids who ran up the steps behind Rocky in one of the most iconic images in the franchise. Nowadays he is no spring chicken, and his appearance would suggest that any run up a flight of stairs, will be about as likely as his access to foods that aren’t fried.

Ruining Rocky; after this confrontation of mortality, he told us how Sylvester Stallone only ran up 11 stairs of the Philadelphia Art Museum and a stunt double took over and ran up the rest of the steps.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's Art Museum Steps

11 steps up Sylvester Stallone took a nap. Italian Stallion indeed.

Slandering cheese steaks with Whiz, he preached; “Cheez Whiz is one molecule away from plastic.” “Not a healthy choice.” As if fatty steak on a white roll with provolone is an otherwise healthy choice. Seriously, everything is one molecule away from being something else and Cheez Whiz is the remedy to an otherwise dry cheese steak. Besides that, a lecture on health from someone who has limited access to foods that aren’t fried seems counter intuitive.

Cheese Steak with Cheez Whiz

This is how you cheese steak.

As the tour bus passed Mace’s Crossing the tour guide mentioned that they have the best burger in Philly.  When pressed about dining choices he said; “There are so many excellent local restaurants in Philadelphia, there’s no reason to go to chain restaurant, the local joints are better.” Finally, an opinion he stated in which I agree. Maybe I will check out those burgers.

The Next Day

It was time to get touristy, and my bus ticket was still good so I took it back to a different tourist attraction. The tour guide was a different dude. When asked about dining options he waxed poetic about the Chili’s, Applebee’s, Hard Rock Café and other corporate ilk, except when talking about burgers. When it came to burgers he said Macy’s Crossing has the best in Philly. When an absolute localvore and a corporate shill can agree on where to get burgers, those burgers are probably pretty damn good. I knew where I’d be going when I got off this tour bus.

Mace’s Crossing

I went back to the hotel to get the Pan Handler, as unashamed burger whores, we had to go. Once we got there we walked in to find Mace’s Crossing is almost as dusty as it is small. Our entrance is punctuated with the wet sneeze of a cocktail server. We take our seats and glance around, what struck us at first as dusty, upon closer observation is dirtier than just a little dust, it’s kind of dirty. Taking a brief pause between sneezes the cocktail server takes our order, cheeseburger, fries, a side salad and a bowl of chili.

As the server walks away she intersperses our order with a couple more healthy sneezes. “Achoo!” “Achoo!” Fortunately for everybody involved she never washed her hands, whew, because that’s not disgusting at all. I made that last part up; it was not only disgusting, but a health department violation to boot. Eventually Sneezy McSneezeface brought us our order, again, without washing her hands first.

Cheeseburger at Mace's Crossing Philadelphia. Pennsylvania

Mmmm sneezy.

The food

Liberally topped with cheddar/jack cheese the burger was good. Not great, certainly not the best in Philly, but better than a fast food burger, if that’s your barometer. The fries were rubbish, poured out of their very finest plastic bag into a fryer. Mace’s Crossing didn’t even bother to add salt perhaps feeling a liberal dose of sneeze was enough seasoning.

Salad From Mace's Crossing Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Mmmmm dirty.

The salad; was a garden variety textbook overlooked restaurant side salad with a little onion, carrot, tomato and cucumber. I wouldn’t complain except the salad was literally dirty.  Unwashed, this lettuce still had soil from the ground it was grown in clinging to it. Mace’s Crossing’s chili on the other hand, was exceptional. Mad seasoned it tasted of chili powder, meat and comfort. Topped with a little perfunctory onion and a generous amount of cheese, that bowl of chili is the one thing that we’d go back to Mace’s Crossing for.

Chili from Mace's Crossing Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This chili is excellent, comfortably sneezed.

Just kidding, we’ll probably never go back to that filthy, sneezy place. Which is too bad, with Mace’s Crossing’s history as the little carriage house that could, we wanted to like that place. Oh well, next time we’ll get burgers at the Good Dog Bar, but that dear readers, is another post.

Coming soon; our travels take us to Arizona, where we go to the Barrio and are introduced to Comida chingona at the James Beard award nominated Barrio Café.

Barrio Cafe, Phoenix Arizona

It’s a comfortable dry heat, just kidding it’s hot.



Posted in Bars, Beer, Burgers, Cheese Steaks, Chili, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pubs Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

If you can’t remember where you were going.

Welcome informal readers to a Reading Terminal Market filled Pot and Pan Handler’s blog. This is where we will discuss the finer points of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s Reading Terminal Market. Yeah, I suppose you figured that out already, but search engine optimization demands that the phrase Reading Terminal Market be repeated, over & over because the internet thinks you’re stupid.  Reading Terminal Market, oops, did it again.

Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia, Pennsylvavia

Here’s how it looks from the top off a bus.

What can you find in the Reading Terminal Market?

That’s a trick question, yo. A better way to phrase this question would be; what don’t they have at the Reading Terminal Market? A comprehensive list would take hours to read and even longer to write. Instead I’ll focus on a few of our favorites, you’re sure to enjoy. If not, then this post is free. So let us begin.

Dinic's Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Raab, I’ve never liked that kid.


Ah ha Dinic’s is the first place we ever went to inside the Reading Terminal Market. Quite by accident, Reading Terminal Market just happened to be across the street from our hotel. Once inside it wasn’t long until we saw Dinic’s. You see, Dinic’s was touted by the Travel Channel and Adam Richman as having the best sandwich in America. Pork, provolone and broccoli raab served on cheese steak bun. This sandwich would be really good except, it isn’t. The bitter broccoli raab is overpowering at least for this particular sandwich, it is literally the only thing you can taste. Overkill. Best sandwich in the nation? Not even the best sandwich on their menu. Their brisket sandwich on the other hand is divine. Unctuous, delicious, hand carved, fatty brisket served on a cheese steak roll, what’s not to like?

Miller's Twist Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

$0.00 Pot & Pan Handler

Miller’s Twist

Philadelphia is celebrated as the cheese steak capitol of the nation, and plenty of those are available in the Reading Terminal Market. However, we would argue that the Philadelphia soft pretzel is Philly’s true contribution to culinary greatness. No one does them better than Miller’s Twist, where once again you’ll see Adam Richman’s mug promoting Miller Twist’s take on this Philadelphia classic. Miller’s twist in Reading Terminal Market does more than pretzels, pretzel dogs, cheese pretzels, chicken and cheese steak pretzels, dessert pretzels, even breakfast pretzels all take a bow center stage. How do they taste? Light, airy, salty, goodness, it would be difficult to find a tastier pretzel, even in Philly.

Miller's Twist Pretzels Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

We got a stunt double for the action shot.

Condiments a pretzel

Okay, it’s a non-starter, everyone loves neon yellow processed fake cheese with a soft pretzel. To argue otherwise would be sacrilegious at worst and stupid at best. However, there is one thing overlooked in this equation, mustard. Soft pretzels are essentially white bread and cheese sauce is deliciously fatty a match made in heaven. However a proper balance is necessary in all food equations and this is no exception. Like pickles on burgers, mustard on hot dogs & slaw on BBQ pork, acidity is a necessary yin to the fatty yang, for this reason, we recommend Miller Twists whole ground mustard along with your pretzel and cheese sauce. We guarantee that you will thank us for this sage advice, if not this post is free.

Fake cheese and stone ground mustard Miller's Twist Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

How to make a Jackson Pollock: fake cheese in 2 oz. portion cup.

Bacon 1732 Meats Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Of course you like bacon.

1732 Meats

Where pork fans meat, hand cured heritage breed meats from our family to yours. This is how they describe themselves on their website.  They had us at cured. Do you like bacon? If so, you’ll love this place. When we were there they had 9 different kinds of bacon. Seriously, they have other cured meats as well; basically they have everything, except the oink. When in Philly, it’s where we go to meat too.


I commissioned a Chinese company to do this caption & you can no be telling the different.

Bassett's Ice Cream Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Whoa, that ice cream is really, really old.

Bassett’s ice cream

In almost every city in America, there is a similar place, the ice cream shop that all the locals call the best ice cream in the world. There’s one reason for this, unlike many megalomart ice creams and others of their ilk, these places like Basset’s still use… wait for it… CREAM, instead of hydrogenated shelf stable oils, whaaaaa? Yeah, I know, right.

Bassett's Vanilla Ice Cream Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Vanilla, sort of like plain white bread with a glass of water for dipping.

Started in 1861, Bassett’s moved into Reading Terminal Market when it opened in 1892, they’ve been there ever since. Bassett’s is in fact, America’s oldest ice cream shop; they must be doing something right. Oh yeah, they are, ice cream, and it’s as delicious as one would believe an ice cream joint that’s been around this long to be.

Sausage Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

No one knows how the sausage is made, we just assume that it happens.

Chocolates Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Nothing says tasty like black lung chocolate.

What else?

I’ll leave you with a brief list of other stuff you can find at the Reading Terminal Market.

Arts, candy, cheeses, crafts, produce, more candy, soft drinks, teas, coffee, gyros, Peking duck, pizza, seafood, a world of chocolates and much, much more. If you’re ever in Philadelphia, whether, you live there or are just getting touristy The Reading Terminal Market is an historic, fun and busy place to kill a couple of hours eating, shopping, snacking and gawking.

Fish at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's Reading Terminal Market

Something smells fishy, must be election season.

One note of caution, the Pennsylvania Dutch both Mennonite and Amish are the proprietors of many of these shops. They have a rather strict adherence to the biblical commandment “Thou shalt not make unto thyself a graven image.” As such as a sign of respect for their beliefs, restrict any photography to the market and products available, but refrain from taking any photos of people especially if they’re in the traditional dress of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Reading Terminal Market, oops, did it again.

Cheese at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's Reading Terminal Market

Oh thank god, it’s cheese, it smelled like a locker room for a minute.

Coming soon; we’re embezzled by tour guides and experience the place where progress and the health department forgot. Mace’s Crossing, we hope to see you there.

May the odds be ever in your flavor. – The Pot and Pan Handler



Posted in Appetizers, Breakfast, Brunch, Cheese Steaks, Desserts, Donuts, Farmer's Markets, Lunch, Markets, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pizza, Restaurants, Salads, Sandwiches, Seafood Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,