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Inside Redskins Park: The Lunchroom Suggestion Board

Posted by Matt Terl on August 31, 2009 – 12:31 pm

The crowdsourcing trend has finally hit Redskins Park, in a somewhat unexpected spot: the dining room. Before last week, there was a line of chafing dishes containing an assortment of different main dishes, sides, starches, followed by a sandwich platter and usually a wrap or two, and a salad bar.

At some point this preseason, though, the catering company decided that it was time to solicit some opinions from their customers and a dry-erase board went up with the title “Requests From The Chef”. The suggestions have ranged from the quotidian (“chicken parmesan”; “flounder”) to the more exotic (“oxtail stew”) to the non-food-related (“rest”). I was curious about the oxtail stew, but had no way of narrowing down who would be interested in something like that.

But when “poutine” was written on the board one day, I could immediately narrow it down. Poutine — french fries covered with beef gravy and cheese curds — is a distinctly Canadian dish, so I knew we were looking at the Canadian Contingent: actual Canadian Shaun Suisham, and former CFL players Dominique Dorsey and Chris Wilson.

Dorsey had never even tried poutine. “I looked at it, and I was like, ‘What is that?’ People keep telling me to try it, but….” He trailed off. During his time in Canada, he stuck to tastes of home. “I just ate the regular stuff they had up there: KFC, Popeyes, and all that good stuff. I never branched off too much,” he said. “I know my limits.”
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An Unexpected Redskins Joint In Baltimore

Posted by Matt Terl on August 13, 2009 – 3:33 pm

I used to live in Baltimore, so I know that — contrary to popular belief — there’s actually a fairly vibrant community of Redskins fans up here. But the only time I would ever see those people was at the Sly Fox Pub, the local unofficial Redskins bar in Federal Hill. You don’t see a lot of Redskins fans just walking the streets, especially not on a Ravens gameday when everyone seems to be wearing purple camouflage.

Which is what made Bruce Lee’s Chicken WIngs so surprising.

I got to town earlier than I expected today, in time to grab some lunch, so I headed to one of my old favorite guilty pleasures, the teppanyaki joint at Cross Street Market where a big plate of stir-fried noodles is cheap and filling. Cross Street doesn’t have the reputation or the vibrant crowded lunacy of Lexington Market, and there weren’t all that many people there post-lunch-rush, pre-happy-hour. So I was a little surprised when I was waiting in line for my noodles and someone started yelling my name.

Turned out it was Bruce, the eponymous owner of Bruce Lee’s Chicken Wings, and he had recognized me from my appearances on Redskins Nation. He was wearing a Redskins hat and shirt and stirring chicken wings in an enormous wok of boiling oil for a line of customers.
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Jim and Joy Zorn's Yogurt Shake

Posted by Matt Terl on August 5, 2009 – 2:09 pm

Becky’s Place is a really impressive Seattle Seahawks fan site that’s been around for more than a decade, with an excellent selection of material about the team’s past. As a result, it’s also an excellent place to dig up old Jim Zorn stuff. I stumbled across this Yogurt Shake recipe there months ago, wasn’t sure how best to use it, and moved on with my life.

But Coach Zorn’s wife Joy was at practice today, and we were exchanging pleasantries when I found myself saying, “I came across a recipe of yours online,” and calling up the website on my phone. (Click to enlarge.)

The first thing Joy Zorn spotted was her kids, of course, marveling at how much younger they were. “This was a long time ago,” she said. Read more »

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Monday, January 26: Cooking With Randy Thomas

Posted by Matt Terl on January 26, 2009 – 11:04 am

I’ve spoken to various Redskins about food before — Thanksgiving turkeys and restaurant reviews, for example — but whenever you get them talking about the best cooks in the locker room, there are three guys who get consistently mentioned: Mike Sellers, who is actually nicknamed “Big Mike Barbecue”; Jason Fabini, who mainly gets discussed for his big night at an Italian restaurant; and Randy Thomas, who just about everyone seems to regard as the all-around best cook on the team.

Even so, I didn’t realize quite how ambitious and accomplished a cook Thomas was until I got him talking on the subject — about how long he’s been cooking, about the legendary assortment of food he rolls out, about how cooking is like football, and even learning an impressive-sounding recipe for lamb chops in the process.

Tell me how you got started cooking.
“Well, it started way back when I used to sit around the kitchen when my mom was cooking. I never was one of those street guys. I was really excited to know what was for dinner, ‘when are we going to the grocery store, can I get in the cart, can I push it’ — and it just started growing, where I would experiment cooking with her. I chopped up a couple vegetable here and there, seasoned a couple meats, drop a couple things in the hot grease.” Read more »

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Chris Wilson Reviews Bonefish Grill

Posted by Matt Terl on January 5, 2009 – 2:29 pm

Whenever I asked people what they were planning to do on the road or on a holiday, I noticed that Chris Wilson had very firm, very specific answers. Whether it was restaurants in Detroit or bye week plans, Wilson would always come through with a precise (and tasty-sounding) recommendation. So I figured, why not have him do some formal restaurant reviews for the blog?

We tried to work out a review from a road trip, but the players’ schedules are tightly controlled, and Wilson didn’t have a lot of free time. So, after much back and forth, we decided to start with a review here in Loudoun County and see where it could develop from there.

Wilson’s choice for the first review? Bonefish Grill, in Ashburn, VA, part of an upscale chain of seafood restaurants whose mission statement is to “take the mystery out of fish for people who didn’t eat it very often, and yet provide further mystery for the truly adventurous.” (I like restaurants with mission statements. Just cooking for cooking’s sake seems so directionless.) Read more »

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Monday, December 8: An Unfortunate (But Sadly Accurate) Tailgating Omen

Posted by Matt Terl on December 8, 2008 – 10:30 am

(As players trickle in to Redskins Park this morning and we wait to hear what Coach Zorn is going to say after an evening reviewing the horror-show tapes from the loss, here’s one pregame omen that got me a bit worried. Justifiably, as it turns out.)

It was one of the most remarkable things about the advance description of the ExtremeSkins tailgate in Baltimore: Mark The Homer was bringing one 72 pound roasted pig. I can see the appeal of a whole roasted animal to serve to a mass of hungry tailgaters, but the whole thing still seemed potentially grim and media-unfriendly to me.


Roasting a whole hog? At a Redskins tailgate? What would the Hogettes say? Heck, what would the Hogs say?

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