My story is typical. I was born a poor, Black child. I survived the mean streets of the Buffalo suburbs and four straight losses in the Super Bowl, grew into a mature adult and pillar of the community, and made my parents proud. OK, well, part of that is true. I was indeed raised in the Buffalo 'burbs...North Tonawanda, to be exact. The rest? Well, can't a guy dream?
Here's some highlights. I was a big baby. Like, 20 lbs. Maybe a few less. Mom always reminds me of the pain. The guilt ensures she gets great birthday presents. I have a brother two years older, and he used to make my life a living Hell, like any good brother should. That stopped when I turned 12, and was bigger than him. I spent most of my formative years annoying my elders. That includes parents, teachers, and the police. If I wasn't in after-school detention, I was being questioned for the latest neighborhood "incident". Looking back, it a was all pretty harmless. Well, maybe not the thing we did to our Spanish Teacher. But that's a story for another time. Sports helped keep me out of any serious trouble. Get suspended...and you were kicked off the team. So that only happened once. Maybe twice. With hopes and dreams, and a suitcase filled with Molson Canadian Lager, I headed off to college. Less than a year later, and a plea agreement with a reduced sentence (like I said...never convicted), my college experience wasn't exactly going as planned. But, with threats of bodily harm from Mom solidly in my back pocket, I managed to graduate from Gannon University in Erie, PA, and looked forward to a lucrative career in broadcasting. Soooooooo...I've bounced around from station to station in such vacation hot spots as Clearfield, PA, Joplin, MO, Evansville, IN, and Fayetteville, NC. In February of 1999, I took the job that I have now (more or less).
I never did find that pot of gold, but I've had a lot of fun along the way. And moving here was the best thing that ever happened to me. I met my beautiful wife, Stacy, while watching a Bills game at what used to be Damon's on Tunnel Road, and we were married in September of 2001. I lost my wedding ring in a bizarre chicken wing incident (true story), so I really have no proof. But I think she'll vouch for me. We don't have any children, but we do have cats...lots and lots of cats. I'd love to tell you exactly how many, but I lost track. Seriously, I started counting them the other night, but had to stop after I'd used all my fingers and toes. I was plum out of digits.
So that's my story. Of course, some of the sordid details have been left out due to pending legal action. But, Judge...I swear I had no idea that pig was your pet!
Enjoy good grub? Then you probably like it here. Southern Living has named Asheville, one of the “Tastiest Towns in the South” in its February issue, on newsstands January 18th.
To celebrate the many flavors and rich, diverse stories behind today’s Southern cuisine, Southern Living editors convened in its Birmingham-based Test Kitchen to identify the most compelling food destinations across the region. From Asheville’s eclectic, beer-friendly fare to Memphis’ new riff on soul food, the Southern culinary landscape is evolving, yet staying true to its roots.
“Against the stunning backdrop of the Blue Ridge mountains, Asheville’s eating scene is ascendant with smart new spots offering riffs on Southern cuisine, like eclectic Admiral, Curate, White Duck Taco Shop, and Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack,” writes Southern Living Senior Editor Paula Disbrowe. “An abundance of pristine local ingredients (not to mention craft brews galore) make it hard not to find delicious discoveries in a laid-back setting,” adds Disbrowe.
You will decide the winner. Rally around your hometown flavors or favorite food destination and cast your vote for the “Tastiest Town in the South” from January 10 to February 28 BY CLICKING HERE. Each daily vote allows a consumer to be entered for a chance to win $1,500 toward a trip to the Tasty Town of his or her choice.
“Southern cooking has become one of the country's hottest culinary obsessions,” says Southern Living Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Bierman. “But there's a lot more to it than pork belly and grits. Every day, we're discovering hyperlocal microcosms of food culture across our region. From beloved food meccas like Charleston and New Orleans to emerging food scenes like Asheville and Greenville, today’s Southern table is laden with distinct flavors and rich stories to tell.”
Southern Living will profile each of the towns and reveal the “Tastiest Town in the South” in the May issue, on newsstands April 19th and online.
In addition to Asheville, the Southern Living Top 10 “Tastiest Towns in the South” for 2013 are:
Atlanta, GA: The city’s multicultural explosion makes Atlanta an essential food destination.
Austin, TX: With a posse of star chefs, there are ample opportunities to swill and chomp in style.
Charleston, SC: The city’s top chefs are moving indigenous ingredients to the center of the plate.
Durham, NC: The town boasts a mix of pioneers alongside a new generation of bootstrap cooks.
Greenville, SC: Features luscious Lowcountry cooking with a surprising international flair.
Louisville, KY: With a bourbon-infused larder, the city is experiencing a culinary renaissance.
Memphis, TN: The town’s latest riffs on soul cooking rock.
Miami, FL: The fusion flash of the ’80s has evolved into a diverse, refined eating town.
New Orleans, LA: The sultry confluence of old world and innovation maintains our adoration.
Southern Living editors identified the top 10 “Tastiest Towns in the South” based on the following criteria:
Food as a culturalidentity: The unique food or ethnicity that defines a particular Southern region
Growth of a culinary-minded community: The influence that the culinary industry has on the local community and tourism
Diverse cuisine at a variety of price points: Accessibility to hearty, flavorful meals at any budget
Local, sustainable food practices: The focus on sourcing products from local purveyors to geographically define where each meal comes from
Hot chefs on the rise: The influence of the area’s culinary talent in the media and pop culture
Abundance of buzz-worthy food events: The number of festivals in the area that celebrate all things food and drink