Afternoon Inquisition

AI: Good Shit

Once upon a time, I watched a Food Network show about people who travel seven hours for a St Louis pizza with extra provel (‘cheese’), and other stories of submitting to crazy food cravings.

Scoff if I will, but yesterday, I drove some 30 miles to buy some hippie honey from Beekind and some malt (barley malt powder) from Andy’s Market, among other ‘treats’.

I know it’s hardly pizza, or heroin, but I am fucking addicted…it’s good shit, man.

What’s the “good shit” for you?

How far would/do you travel for the good shit?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

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65 Comments

  1. My addiction is the bagels at Western Bagel in Los Angeles. However, I’m not going to travel 850 miles just for the best bagels in the world. Since my dad lives in L.A. I’ll go there when I visit him.

  2. Last Wednesday we traveled 125 miles (one way) to go to Trader Joe’s and Five Guys. We added a few other stops onto the trip, but it was those two places that caused it.

    We’ll do it again after the first of the year.

  3. I live in Québec and up here we have a local junkfood dish called “Poutine” (pronounced Pooh-teen) which is basically French fries with “squeaky” cheese curds and brown gravy on top…..Yum…..I workout a lot and am a bit of a health nut, but once in a while I love to indulge in a little bit of Poutine …It’s kind of like Crack to me

  4. The best shit I know is the golden beets grown down the street at Zwecks. These mean summer has arrived and life is fine.

    By definition good shit to me is produced locally and fetchable by bicycle. Everything else is moderate to evil shit.

  5. I can attest to the addictive quality of that pizza. At Skipticon 2 this weekend I ate at Imo’s two out of three meals.
    I still make a 4 hour round trip to buy a Belgian beer that is only brewed once a year on the 24th of February to celebrate a king’s birthday. Drinking it is to know a mouth-gasm.

  6. Due to the route and type of traffic, it takes at least 25 minutes to drive 11 miles to Fresh Market. I go there every other month just to stock up on their coffee and fresh ground peanut butter. There’s no better place for it in my area.

  7. I don’t have any favourites I have to travel to get, but when I’m out of the country I miss Norwegian orange soda. Just thinking about it makes me sad I don’t have any in my fridge at the moment.

  8. The sushi place across the street is one of the best in the region. But I don’t know how far I’d travel to get there if it wasn’t so conveniently located across the street.
    I’ve cycled 3 Km for some Ben & Jerry’s but I can now get that at the supermarket also located conveniently across the street.
    If there were any restaurants in this country that served ceviche (sp?), I’d be willing to travel pretty fucking far to get some.

  9. Seven hours for an Imo’s pie sounds perfectly reasonable (and would be about my one way travel time). I haven’t been to St. Louis in over a decade, but now I really want that pizza…and some toasted ravioli…and a knish from Jack and Charlie’s. Now I’m going to be so disappointed by dinner. Thanks.

  10. A friend of mine really loves the buffalo wings at Hooters, but only the one in Bloomington, MN. There are about 3 other Hooters between there and where she lives (Forest Lake), but she and her boyfriend always drive to Bloomington.

    For me, the best root beer in the world is in the Brewhouse in Duluth. They brew it themselves (which you could probably guess from the title). They also sell growlers, which are almost as good as having it right out of the tap. I used to get it pretty often when I lived in Duluth, but now that I live back in St. Paul, it’s harder to get.

    As for food, every time I’m in Wisconsin I’ve got to stop at Humbird Cheese (in Tomah I think). They have great string cheese.

    I’m also addicted to Famous Dave’s BBQ, but fortunately those are all over the place.

  11. My Local ‘good shit’ is Cinnamon buns from the Cinnabonn in Queenway, london. Thats an hour, via two buses away from me.
    The other ‘good Shit’ is a Mozza from A&W. In Canada. Yes, I say the purpose of the trip is to visit my parents, but really it’s all about the Mozza and the Root beer.

  12. I don’t have anything like that in particular but I have a cousin from Virginia who is a BIG fan of Faygo Red Pop, which is only available in Michigan and some parts of Ohio. Possibly parts of Indiana as well. Anytime one of the family (hers or any of the MI clan) drives from MI to VA or she comes via car, she’ll stock up on as much as she can get.

  13. Jays Kettle Cooked Old Fashioned Potato Chips – I find them unfortunately addictive, but going by the online reviews, I’m in the minority. They remind me of the coating on KFC extra crispy chicken – the chip is just a delivery system for cardiac-arrest load of salt and fat.

  14. I just drove 30 miles for some chicken murtabak, roti prata and singapore style char kway teow. I used to live in Singapore, and even after 8/9 years still get major cravings for the food. Only found one restaurant in London that makes it just right

  15. chippers: potato chips covered in chocolate, made by widman’s candy shop in grand forks, north dakota, tim3p0’s hometown. it’s about 4 hours from our house, but thankfully his mother sends them rather regularly.

    also, chicago pizza. specifically the kind with a solid layer of sausage across the entire surface. i’d travel the 7 hours just for that. oh, and to see elyse, too.

  16. Oh, how I miss Chicago pizza … just any truly Chicago-style pizza. Alas, I can’t fly a thousand miles to Chicago on a whim.

    There used to be an amazing Middle Eastern restaurant on Broadway and Belmont … and the Duke of Perth on Clark just north of Diversey had every Scotch known to man and the best fish and chips this side of the Atlantic … ugh, I really miss Chicago now. Thanks.

  17. Hey everyone- I’m new to the Skepchick blog and still very much a lurker… however I couldn’t resist including my fave crave :)

    I will definitely drive close to an hour to have a Butler’s (in Somerset, MA) homemade doughnut. They pump the fresh made cream filling into it right when you order.. wow. Good stuff. Sorry if that sounds a bit sensual, but DUDE. They are deliciously arousing if I may say so!

    Also, has anyone else ever wanted to try one of those $5 milkshakes from Pulp Fiction? Not sure if they’re real, but I’m so curious.

  18. I still travel 3 hours once a month to get my hair done because I never found anyone who could do it as well after I moved. I still have friends and family there, so I visit them after I get my hair done. But on that visit, I must go to Swenson’s (northeast Ohio).

    In fact, a few months ago Lebron James was on the Daily Show and they mentioned Swenson’s. I had to make a trip back home that Saturday because I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

  19. I may be able to come to the USA next year.

    One thing I want to try before I die is a “Fool’s Gold Log” a la Elvis. Probably about 30 minutes before I die….

    Seriously, would LOVE to maybe meet some of yous guys IRL – will keep in touch.

  20. Happily after 28 years in Texas I finally have food available. Bread and salami are now both sold here as is real beer and good wine. But in the decades before anything resembling good food was available I realized that if I wanted something good I had to make in myself. So I learned to cook and depended on red cross packages from my grandparents in California for stuff I couldn’t make myself. There is nothing so good that I will drive some crazy distance to get it. I have access to an incredible resource.

    The Internet. The amazing collection of “links” and “webpages” lets me order basically anything.

    Honestly though, I like my food the best. It allows me to feel very smug and superior to non cooks.

    And it is really, really fun.

  21. Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream. I flew about 10,000 miles (16,000km) to get some. Well, okay, I was in the US for other stuff too, but the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream made it worth it.

    They are now selling it in Australia, but for $12 a pint. A rip-off, but I pay it.

  22. About once a month I drive to Newburyport,Ma. from my place in Maine for a couple of pounds of coffee from,Plum Island Coffee Roasters. It takes about an hour and a half, each way, but its worth the trip. They have the best house blend I’ve ever had.

  23. I can’t move away from the west coast because the lack of In – n – Out would kill me.

    Currently I drive about 30 miles about once every other month to stock up on some sodas that are hard to find. (none in particular.)

    (And this is the post that got me to register!)

  24. Unless you don’t curry into the local cuisine in NM, much like Wyoming there isn’t good shit. However, if you enjoy the full range of NM indo-hispano food, there is a veritable Cornucopia of food just like Grandma’s. Among my two favourite treasures are El Paragua in Chimayo (roughly 85 miles from home in Abq.) for fresh toritillas, perfectly crispy chicharones, just like Grandma’s, and some hot Chimayo red chile. To’hajiilee, an rez-island of the Navajo, is home to a greasy spoon called Harvey’s that sells the finest mutton burger, slathered in local Sandia Green Chile, served with Navajo frybread just freshly dripping in hot grease; it’s worth the nearly 60 mile trip from home via poorly maintained two lane rez roads, often dodging the ocassional drunk driver and over officious tribal patrol.

  25. @fmitchell: ah, Duke of Perth fish and chips. I don’t even bother to order fish and chips anywhere else in this city.

    If I go more than a month without mac&cheese, falafel, or Thai curry I start to get life-interfering cravings. Those are all very easy to get where I live, though, and I haven’t been on more than a 2 week vacation away, so my limits have not yet been tested.

  26. @Gabrielbrawley: But in the decades before anything resembling good food was available I realized that if I wanted something good I had to make in myself.

    Here, here! Just this very night I made my wife tear up with my cooking. It might have been the pure deliciousness of the grilled broccoli and peanut pasta or the extra hot sauce on the buffalo seitan, but either way I took it as a compliment.

  27. I lived in Philadelphia for 5 years, then moved away about 2 years ago. I miss those authentic Philly cheesesteaks, and I’m afraid to even try any cheesesteaks made where I live now, because none of them could possibly compare to the real thing.

  28. When we lived in Atlanta we used to drive over an hour up to Dahlonega for duck salad. Now we drive 90 minutes to Disney at least once a week. Sometimes it’s just to ride Haunted Mansion and sometimes it’s for the sushi Yoshi makes at California Grill. She makes an amazing double crunch roll.

  29. The “good shit” for me is a Belgian style beer called Delirium Tremens (yes I’m aware that it is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal but it is also a delicious beer). I’ve driven across town to find a bottle of it…
    Also, when I didn’t live here in Tucson for a couple of years I missed GOOD Mexican food especially Nico’s Taco Stand (shit is like crack) but luckily here in Tucson there’s one every couple miles and they’re open 24-7 so don’t really have to work to hard… except on X-mas one year I drove to like 3 until I settled on a different (not quite as good) place called Los Betos.

  30. About a 40 min drive up into the hills east of Perth (Australia) there is a pizzeria called Little Caesars. It’s won various international pizza prizes in the past, and the pizzas really are the best I’ve ever had. Plus, they make dessert pizzas – the New York Pecan Pie Pizza really is to die for!

  31. Turkey pastrami Rubens. I don’t eat beef, so I pick them up where I can. I honestly don’t know where to get them. I seem to have extraordinary luck with them. I want one, and within a few days I will just happen to stumble upon one.
    Deli pickles. Those may be found in my fridge.

  32. @fmitchell: I feel your pain, even though I’m closer. I’m a native Chicagoan stuck in Marion, IL, which is 350 miles away. I have to suffer with “normal” pizza.
    Although, I am happy that I am so close to Carbondale, IL, which is a good place to get real gyros (something I used to have to drive for, but is now ten miles away). It’s a college town with lots of transplants from Chicago, so the food is geared to suit them.

  33. The greek salad at Four Brothers in Armenia, NY

    It was only about 3 hours from were I lived on Long Island. But it is also a really nice drive up Route 22. Have not been there since I moved to NC, 13 hours is a bit too much of a drive just for lunch.

  34. I live in Western Wisconsin, what I am informed is the most “Wisconsiny” part of the state, food-wise. Unfortunately, I don’t like deep-fried walleye, Brats – while tasty – don’t agree with me (I’ve had exactly 2 in my 5 years here), and I just don’t get the hoopla over cheese curds. You’d think I could get all those beautiful, artisinal cheeses out here, but you’d be wrong – I can get all the plain cheddar I want though (I can occasionally get the deeply aged cheddar, though, which is wonderful, addictive and expensive).

    So while I won’t make specific food runs into the Twin Cities, I do, however, plan any day spent there around my favorite restaurants, a Penzey’s spice store, and various great grocery stores. I will always scoop up a 4-person mezze platter at my favorite Middle Eastern joint on the way out of town for my husband and I to split for dinner. There’s an incredibly good sushi place that has sashimi just as good as any place I’ve ever had in Cali.

    And whenever I come home to the DC area, I have to head over to my favorite Alabama BBQ place (Famous Dave’s is nice and all, but it’s not the same as Southern BBQ), and my favorite Crab House. And I just introduced my neighbors to boiled peanuts (I brought home a vat from my recent visit) – they just don’t do that out here…

  35. Breakfast is my favorite meal and the only place worth eating breakfast (IMHO) is “The Pantry” at 15 Mile and Van Dyke Road in Sterling Heights. It’s a 45 minute drive from my house but my wife and I will make all kinds of wild excuses to put us in the neighborhood as often as possible.
    They make a baked apple pancake (be prepared to wait 30-40 minutes for it) which has been known to kill a healthy human pancreas in the first four bites. It is also potentially dangerous to the lining of the mouth and throat because it is covered in brown sugar before going into the oven and the sugar comes out as molten caramel. Few humans have the power to wait for the thing to cool down before shoving the first mouthful in (everyone else in the restaraunt has also ordered the same thing so the smell of theirs has been tormenting you for the half hour you have been waiting for yours).

  36. I just thought of this one. When I traveled internationally for the first time at age 13, I discovered this awesome candy called “Kinder Surprise”. It’s basically a toy in a plastic egg, covered in a shell of delicious chocolate. They don’t sell them in United States because of rules about putting choking hazards inside food. I’ve never traveled to another country just to buy them, but I make a point of getting them when traveling, and buying a bunch at the airport before I go home. I could probably buy them online, but that would take the fun out of it.

  37. Really authentic Dim sum which is available about an hour’s drive north in Vancouver Canada. My wife lived in Hong Kong when she was a teenager and while we were friends and then engaged she would always tell me about the best lunches in the world she had in Hong Kong; and eventually we made it up to Vancouver and I was introduced to seafood and pork dumpling heaven. Every other Thanksgiving we now have a family tradition where we head up to Vancouver for Dim sum and a movie or show and then come home for pumpkin pie, which works great with Thanksgiving being just another Thursday in Canada.

  38. @fmitchell: 1-800-Lou-ToGo

    When I moved away from Chicago for school and then work, I craved, I mean crazy, nutso, drooling CRAVED Chicago Pizza and Italian Beef sandwiches.

    My mother would actually go buy pounds of Italian Beef (and gravy) from the local grocery, freeze it and ship by FedEx to me. Relief came when I moved to Denver and found a place in Lakewood called “Chicago Style Beef and Dogs”. They actually went so far as to ship in the home town brands (right down to Gonnella bread).

    A major local pizza franchise, Lou Malnatti’s Pizza, has opened a hotline (1-800-Lou-ToGo) where you can have them ship you half-baked pizzas, Portillo’s Italian Beef, Vienna All-Beef Dogs with all the fixin’s, Carson’s ribs and HackneyBurgers. Some of the items probably don’t translate as well after shipping as they do fresh from the source, but those pizzas were lifesavers.

    Once I moved back home, it no longer was a problem (and I got 20 pounds heavier) but for ex-pats like fmitchell I like to spread the word so that they too can spread their waistlines.

  39. If we’re talking food, I travel about 14 miles round trip to have lunch at the best Indian restaurant on Long Island – Rangmahal, in Hicksville – at least once a month. My friend(from Bangladesh) and I will make up some excuse to take a 2 hour lunch break and risk life and limb on the LIE to get our fix. He gets the chicken vindaloo (“sweating hot”- as the owner’s wife says), and I get the chili lamb (“just a little sweat”). Awesome rice, garlic nan and plenty of ice-water. That is the shit!

    Or the french fries from All American Burger in Massapequa, NY. Cheap and oh so gooooood.

    I also really miss the hot wings I could get when I was living in upstate NY. They just don’t know how to make them downstate.

    I am now salivating like a Pavlov dog. Lunch time approaches!

  40. Falafel from the Line-Up in the Exchange in Winnipeg, only two dangerous blocks from work (dangerous because I eat too many). It’s so, so good. Homemade falafel, freshly fried to order, and stuffed in a pita with veggies and sauce. Their curry fries are also amazing.
    Also I love to get wild saskatoon berries. They’re not as easy to find as they used to be (used to grow by the side of the road around here), now you can find them at farmer’s markets where you pay out your nose. But the taste of wild saskatoon pie is unforgettable.
    I’m also quite fond of a good palak paneer.

  41. What about instead of traveling to the good shit, the good shit traveling long distance to you? I have a friend in NYC that sends me (previously to Australia, now to the UK) candy corn every halloween, and Skippy peanut butter every now and then.

  42. @faith: We are indeed pretty lucky. I’m still baffled as to why there are like 10 Ethiopian restaurants (my personal vote for “the good shit” – foodwise – is Ethiopian) on one single block of Fairfax.

    Whoever opens one in Echo Park is going to win big time..

    I guess driving 25 minutes isn’t a really big deal, though. So…my prohibitively distant food is: Taqueria Ramiro & Sons veggie burrito (Alameda, CA). The bay area has the best burritos. Weird, right?

  43. Oh, and when I was a kid, any time a relative went to visit family in Germany, my sister and I knew the exotic candy train was coming back to town upon their return. That was such good shit we would go into a kind of frenzy.

  44. @frenchy:

    I live in Québec and up here we have a local junkfood dish called “Poutine” (pronounced Pooh-teen) which is basically French fries with “squeaky” cheese curds and brown gravy

    For me, squeaky cheese curds are the “good shit” and seem to be unobtainable outside of dairy country. Oh, there are some fake cheese curds here and there, but not the same as hitting a no-name convenience store in Wisconsin just after the dairy truck has pulled away.

  45. @PrimevilKneivel:

    Never been the same in Ontario since they “protected” us from real cheese curds.

    What exactly has been forbidden? If it’s a matter of pasteurization, then I guess I’ve never had real cheese curds, but even so, the pasteurized curds are still so much better than the final pasteurized cheese to those of us who don’t know any better.

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