HUSK & Hustlin’

12 Dec

HUSK, Sean Brock’s latest culinary brainchild, is as every bit as wonderful as the press is cooking it up to be. I’ve been twice in 72 hours. It’s a phenomenal execution of a really great idea: source everything locally. Everything. The ketchup, the butter, the parsley, it’s all from the South, and the taste difference is quite dramatic. I don’t like ketchup in the least bit, and it is possibly my least favorite foodstuff, but the amalgamation of tomato paste and vinegar is enough to convert me, at least to catsup that resembles apple butter.

I got a Thackeray farms tomato salad with radish “coins” and a buttermilk vinagerette that had a sort of onion flavor to it. Once again, I’m not a ranch fan, but this wasn’t the thick overtly sweet goop I used to put on carrots, it’s thin and light, and I’ve had salads twice that size that weren’t as filling surprisingly. This salad was a Trojan horse meal.

My friend Ben, after little to no pressure, succumbed to my insistence that he order a cheeseburger. Yes. The 2010 James Beard Foundation Award Winner for the Southeast is now wowing customers serving cheeseburgers in the style of In-N-Out. Two patties, American cheese, a potato bun, and pickles. No immersion cookers, Robot Coupes, or freeze drying. Simple and totally a grassroots product from here to here.

Free food tastes better.

A.k.a. “The Greatest Food Heist since ‘The Ants Go Marching In'”:

I have free Jersey Mike’s Subs for a year. This limitless title came into my family’s possession as a result of the St. Philip Neri Italian Festival, and now I reap the rewards periodically but always as an adventure. One thing places can’t stand is getting conned with free coupons. Free regular coupons, too. With that in mind, my inner Aladdin comes out as I mozy over to the sub counter. Sometimes I like to brandish the coupon at the ordering station, sometimes it’s fun to flip it right at the register.

While getting a sub for free anytime is fun, like any meal, it’s so much more enjoyable with the company of a friend. Or a mob.

My brother Phillip and I have a hobby we call “beatniking a sandwich.” We will drive to the Jersey Mike’s of our discretion, stop outside, and he will head in the store alone with the coupon. I wait outside and he comes back with one sandwich. We wait precisely three minutes, and then I head in. I deny any kind of knowledge of multiple coupons circulating. Must be some sort of black market collective of carbohydrate-driven cartels. Don’t know. I order my sandwich, produce the coupon, and escape narrowly before suspicion arises. I get outside, absent of drinks, chips, or cookies, and drive our getaway car. It’s sort of like the opening scene from Heat.

I went with a group of friends last night. This is where the biggest heist happens. All four of us. I was the last to go, and the cashier asked every single one of us where we got the goods from. It was a backwards point to me, to which I responded with some cryptic rigamarole about an Italian conglomerate that gives rewards. We get our sandwiches, decide it’s best to not stick around there, and walk a little fast outside, as the heat was clearly on. I’m still expecting a knock at my door demanding evidence and the remains of a turkey and provolone on wheat, Mike’s Way.


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