(This first appeared on the PG Plates Forks blog)
As if our cadre of super-talented food writers (and wannabe pikers like myself) here at the PG needed any further competition, what with all the great work done by other publications and websites. Now Steelers are getting into the mix.
Running back Baron Batch started detailing his “food odyssey” on his blog, "My Life and Its Happenings," last week as he made a roundabout offseason trip from Pittsburgh back to his home in West Texas. It reads a lot like an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s show.
Thus far, he’s logged a detailed entry of a “food crawl” night in Pittsburgh before he hit the road and a stop in the gastronomical paradise of Charleston, S.C.
A Rennaisance man if ever there were one, Batch has kept the blog for years, detailing his writing, art, spirituality, travels and other interests from photography to pop culture.
That he plays professional football makes it more interesting than if he were just some guy, even if playing professional football might be one of the less interesting things about him.
And the guy has good taste. In Pittsburgh he wrote about a range of places that run the gamut from upscale to comfortable dives to tiny holes in the wall -- Smoke BBQ Taqueria, Tootie's Italian Beef, Dish Osteria and Michael's Pizza.
His writing isn’t bad either.
Of Tootie’s Batch wrote:
“ … simplicity in food is a beautiful thing. Doing one thing extremely well is what it’s all about. I am a sucker for small menus and simple well done dishes. Tootie's boasts slow cooked Italian beef that simmers for 17 hours served up on an Italian bun with onions, green peppers, and mozzarella, then dipped into the meaty flavor packed broth that the meat cooks in ...
"Carl is an awesome guy too, and turns out that all the recipes are his grandmothers. It’s awesome to see people passionate about what they do and Carl is just that. I have major respect for anyone that basically works 7 days a week and stays open until 3am to serve stragglers walking home.”
He wrote this about Bowen’s Island Restaurant in Charleston:
“It’s located in an area that resembles the swamp area where Dexter killed agent Doakes in season 1, and it looks like it’s about to sink right into the ground.
"But that is one reason I love it. It is tattooed in past visitors handwriting over the years, written in anything that could be found. The menu is simple. I love simple. I love fried. I love the South.
"Fried oysters, fish, shrimp, hush puppies, crab cakes, French fries, and slaw highlight the menu, along with steamed trays of freshly harvested oysters that require shucking.”
Not bad at all, but just what the rest of us need – more competition.
Baron Batch photos