Little Jimmy was a God-loving man, but also a lover of people and good times. He loved Coney Island and the July 4th contest where he and I could celebrate America, and then stroll post-contest to Ruby's on the boardwalk.
I saw a blinding white light -- or rather felt -- it as the sucker punch hit the left side of my temple. Later, staggering on The Bowery, I would be amazed that my Goorin Brothers newsboy hat stayed on my head.
At Madison Square Garden, Katy and I shared a moment near the end of her expertly choreographed musical production. She was flying overhead on a balloon contraption and I looked up, locked eyes, and tilted my Goorin Brothers newsboy hat towards her.
Glutton Force Five is a food lifestyle brand. Run by Pat "Deepdish" Bertoletti, who handles the food creation part, and Tim "Gravy" Brown, who handles the magical marketing and promotion, Glutton Force Five is as kick-ass as food gets.
As the only competitor who has eaten in all 13 annual cannoli-eating contests people always ask how I prepare for the Sisyphean contest. It is a punishing discipline as the shell will cut up the roof of one's mouth and the filling will inflate someone.
The history of the female gurgitator is a short one. From Japan, Takako Akasaka once ate 90 ostrich egg omelets. Known as "The Sweet Queen," in 2000 she decimated New York city pastry shops and ate a then-record 22 Nathan's hot dogs in 12 minutes.
When you think of great BBQ pork, stripped sauce-soaked goodness, you probably think of Clarksdale, or Walterboro, or some tiny town in Texas. What if I told you the best I've had was in Sasebo, Japan on the Navy Base?
I have been fortunate to be on six of those tours and as MLE often opens for a band with a Pro-Am, we not only eat for the troops, but with the troops -- each MLE eater is paired with one or two military members and eats as a team.
Although my mental prep seemed poised for victory, I wasn't prepared physically. My NYC diet of all-you-can-eat half-priced sushi and French toast has kept me in a shape, probably best described as an sagging water-balloon.
As the South Florida sun set, a golden maize hue on the horizon, one had to reflect on the corn eating championship. It was more than the usual competitive eating contest -- it had fights and forgiveness, despair and hope, bad behavior and magnanimity.
While listing my top ten New York City bars today, I am swigging Abita Grapefruit IPA and sipping Brennivin Schnapps from Iceland. Over twenty years of late nights, early afternoons in drinking holes and saloons, these are the ten or so that put my liver back in a New York Groove.
I have always relied on the kindness of strangeness, so 24 hours of shrimp cocktail, beer and whiskey in Indianapolis required a stumble to the dark side, with some nice folks along the way. As a city on the competitive eating circuit, Indy has often confounded me.