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Man Bites Food

10 Deliciously Weird Dishes across the Country

For the following iconic bizarre dishes, beauty is in the eye (or tastebuds) of the beholder. They may not win any Instagram competitions, but they're a testament to American ingenuity and display a devotion to creativity with comfort food. These dishes exist because some visionary chefs and restaurateurs across the country were unafraid to say "YES" to more gravy, French fries, chili and anything else for the sake of inventing some messy and indulgent, but brilliantly weird foods. 

The Garbage Plate, Nick Tahou Hots (Rochester, NY)
Perhaps the country's most famous towering pile of food, the Garbage Plate's origin is widely attributed to Nick Tahou Hots, a Rochester institution since 1918. The base of the dish is always the diner’s choice of two sides — home fries, French fries, macaroni salad or baked beans — topped by your choice of meat — hot dog, hamburger patty, Italian sausage, or chicken tenders. Finally, the whole mixture is dressed with mustard and onions, then doused with Nick’s signature hot sauce.

Garbage Plate 2 

photo credit: Eugene Peretz

Loco Moco, Eggs 'n Things (Honolulu, HI)
A regional Hawaiian delight that can be found throughout the islands (Eggs 'n Things is just one noteworthy purveyor), Moco Loco is a layered dish of fried eggs, a hamburger patty, white rice, brown gravy, and sometimes Spam (ubiquitous in Hawaii) or other meats. 

7 Pound Breakfast Burrito, Jack-n-Grill (Denver, CO) 
Not exactly your padre's grab-and-go, foil-wrapped burrito, Jack-n-Grill's 7 Pound Breakfast Burrito is every bit as intimidating as it sounds, filled with 5 lbs of potatoes, 12 eggs, 1/2 a pound of ham, onions and green chiles (fire-roasted on the premises), then topped with a mound of cheese and their signature green pork chile. The Travel Channel's Adam Richman threw in the towel while attempting to tackle this burrito beast, but if you manage to succeed, your polaroid will have a place on their wall of fame.

The Hot Hamburger, Murphy's Steak House (Bartlesville, OK)
Leave your preconceived notion of a "hamburger" at the door at this Bartlesville institution dating back to 1946. The Hot Hamburger is a gut-busting tradition that layers a generous hamburger steak patty on buttered Texas toast with grilled onions (optional but only a rookie would forego them) and an ungodly amount of fries. The whole thing is smothered in glorious brown gravy. 

Murphy 's2

Pastrami Cheese Fries, Kenny & Zuke's Delicatessen (Portland, OR)
Not all loaded fries are created equal. Many spuds become soggy under the weight of chili and a variety of other toppings. But we can totally get behind an over-sized plate of thin, crispy fries topped with a heapin' helpin of Kenny & Zuke's signature pastrami and covered with melted Swiss cheese. Something this extraordinary probably shouldn't be hiding under "Sides" on the menu. 

Chili Six-WayBlue Ash Chili (Cincinnati, OH)
It's difficult to spend any amount of time in Cincinnati without stumbling face first into a plate of chili, be it 3-, 4- or 5-way. Blue Ash takes things a step further with their chili 6-way: that's their signature Cincinnati-style chili (1) on top of spaghetti (2) topped with copious amounts of shredded cheese (3), onions (4), beans (5) and the coup de grâce, fried pickled jalapeno caps (6). 

The Tamale SpreadMcClard's Bar-B-Q (Hot Springs, AR) 
A former favorite of President Clinton (before he went vegan — raise your hand if you saw that coming), McClard's signature item is the Tamale Spread, a heaping pile of food consisting of two open faced tamales covered with Fritos, beans, chopped beef barbeque, and no insignificant amount of cheese and onions. It all combines for one intense, yet strangely delightful flavor. 

IMG_1293

Slayer, Kuma's Corner (Chicago, IL)
This perpetually packed headbangers' hamburger heaven names their innovative burgers after metal bands (Black Sabbath, Mastodon, Pantera, etc). The Slayer might be the most hardcore of its offerings — a bunless spread composed of a 10 oz burger patty, chili, cherry peppers, melted Monterrey Jack, green onions and of course, ANGER (this is actually listed as the final ingredient on the menu). 

Tender Royale, Pepperfire (Nashville, TN)
A relative newcomer to Nashville's hot chicken scene, Pepperfire does not withhold the heat when it comes to their take on the pan-fried, cayenne-crusted bird. Their most unique contribution, however, is the Tender Royale, a deep-fried grilled cheese with melted pepperjack oozing out the edges that is then topped with three sizable tongue-torching hot chicken tenders. The cayenne dusting lightly coats the bread of the grilled cheese for quite the taste sensation — fork and knife it, lest you make a bigger mess.

The Big WoodyBilly's Blue Duck BBQ (Liberal, Kansas)
A Liberal local favorite for barbecue, burgers and Tex-Mex offerings, Billy's is the home of the behemoth Big Woody — a 10-inch Hebrew National hot dog that's deep-fried, wrapped in a tortilla, and smothered in chili, cheese and onions (sour cream is optional).  

Big Woody2

Local Tweats Roundup

Despite the overwhelming dominance of shameless plugs, humblebrags and baffling tweetspeak that only 12-16 year-olds understand, Twitter still hosts an abundance of relevant, useful and humorous food and restaurant related content. Here's a handful of this week's best tweets. Speaking of self-promotion, feel free to follow us @LocalEaters

Sarah J. Gim (@the delicious): "New kitchen has two ovens. it's like theyre mocking my inability to bake." Sort of a first world problem, but we've all felt like our kitchen appliances are taunting us at one time or another.

Paul F. Tompkins (@PFTompkins) live tweeted the Oscars: "The mac & cheese commercial with Seymour Cassell is the best movie of the year so far." No argument here. Watch it.

Andrew Zimmern (@andrewzimmern): The host of Bizarre Foods tweeted drool-worthy photos of not-entirely-bizarre foods at one our favorite Memphis restaurants, The Bar-B-Q Shop. "BBQ bologna cheese sausage peppers saltines at BBQ Shop. http://twitpic.com/8sku70"

Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane): On yipster dining habits: "Hipsters are the new yuppies then, right? 'Hot new' music sounds like Phil Collins and everyone wants to go to vegan fusion restaurants."

Sam Sifton (@SamSifton): The NY Times editor mourns his favorite rapper with some choice food-related lyrics. "RIP Biggie: 'Come to spread the butter lyrics over hominy grits.' "  Another user's follow up is worth noting: "that was method man though, old white guy." Close enough … Biggie's name is still on the song (and he clearly was no stranger to butter).

Anthony Bourdain (@noreservations) weighs in on the Olive Garden review that went viral. "Very much enjoying watching Internet sensation Marilyn Hagerty triumph over the snarkologists (myself included)." We laughed and rolled our eyes. We reconsidered when we realized everyone reacted the same way. We now have her back. An emotionally taxing day on the interwebs. 

Lucky Peach (@LuckyPeach): "I think I just got criticized by a fortune cookie. http://t.co/C1uy8tCY" It bodes better than the dreaded empty fortune cookie.

Scotty L. (@MarylandMudflap): "I'm lookin for capitalists to invest in a new restaurant! No 'menu' yet, but every night I'm gonna fall down stairs with a full tea service." This would be the first legitimately entertaining dinner theater in the world. 

Tim Siedell (@badbanana): On the lack of advancement in breakfast innovation: "We have enough breakfast items for the toaster now, food scientists. Move on to the car heater vent." 

Twitter Bird

The Edible Web: Manly Meaty Edition

A Kansas City Barbeque Society certified barbecue judge weighs in on the McRib, with somewhat predictable results. I'm partial to the phrase "restructured meat products."

Just in time for this depressingly wintery weather, A Hamburger Today shares Ten Tips for Making Better Burgers

Tired of being teased by all the "In-N-Out Burger may be franchising in your state soon" stories that never seem to pan out? According to Eater, you can have two frozen  Double-Doubles overnighted to your location for the mere sum of $50 (plus shipping). 

For your viewing edification: A slideshow of the Best Burgers in the U.S. from Food & Wine. Among restaurants on the list are Holeman & Finch (Atlanta), Minetta Tavern (NYC), Ray's Hell Burger (Arlington, VA) and Dyer's Burgers (Memphis). I'll vouch for the decadent, melt-in-your mouth burger at Father's Office in Santa Monica, cooked a perfect medium rare and topped with caramelized onions, bacon, gruyere and Maytag blue cheese.

Fathers Office

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