We can't say enough for our good, sweet WacoFork family. In less than three weeks since we cranked this thing up, you all have surprised us by how well you've participated in this venture, especially by reviewing restaurants.
I definitely had a fun afternoon of work today sorting through some of the 145 reviews submitted so far, looking for my favorite lines.
We have to admit, we were a little nervous about the prospect of vicious, mud-slinging reviews, but that hasn't really happened. At times, some of you have been severely honest, but you've still been fair.
To show my appreciation, I present my Top 10 lines so far. (I tried to keep them anonymous as much as I could, still there's one especially specific and stinging one. I just wanted to note here that we don't necessarily agree with the sentiment, but it still made us laugh.)
Once upon a time, my dad took me for a cheeseburgers, fries and a chocolate shake at Bill & Bob's. In my memory, we went to an old location of Bill & Bob's before it moved into its current location at 3600 N. 19th Street. I think it used to be near Lion's Park, but that was probably close to 30 years ago, so it really could have been anywhere. If anyone out there in WacoFork land can set me straight on this point, then please do. Just email me.
Since then, I've been back to Bill & Bob's once or twice, particularly when I lived in an apartment off of Lake Shore Drive. It's one of Waco's old reliable burger joints, right along with Dubl-R, Captain Billy Whizzbang's, Kitok's, Health Camp, etc.
In the years that have passed since my dad took the toddler version of me to Bill & Bob's, I've eaten a few cheeseburgers. I submit my expansive belly as circumstantial evidence.
One way for any establishment of food and/or drink to earn my allegiance is to hang a picture of Willie Nelson on the wall.
There's actually a certain coffee shop in St. Andrews, Scotland, which hooked me that exact way. It was partially because the photo made me feel at home. Is there another person more synonymous with Texas?
As it happens, Willie is also featured among Sebas Cocina's many paintings that make it one of the most sharply decorated restaurants in town. Colorful likenesses of Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Carlos Santana, Tom Landry, Diana Ross and others join Willie in smiling down on the fine Mexican food patrons. My personal favorite painting is an interpretation of the Beatles' "Beatles for Sale" album cover.
In my memory, the best sandwich I eve ate, I ate at former Chicago Cubs' broadcaster Harry Caray's restaurant in Chicago.
It was a prime rib sandwich. Juicy, tender prime rib on a hoagie with mayonnaise.
But that was almost 20 years ago. It's likely I've enjoyed many sandwiches as much or more than that one. It has it's place, though. It's the answer to the question "What is the best sandwich you've ever eaten?" It's true theoretically if not literally.
What makes food taste good?
It's seems like the answer to that question should be obvious. It's kind of the "it is what it is" statement of the cuisine world. Good food tastes good. But there has to be more to it, right?
Is it ingredients? Well, yeah, that's probably it. But it's more than that, too. I'm saying authenticity of ingredients is important. If I eat a cheeseburger, I want real cheese on real beef and fresh vegetables on a bun that didn't come in a package with 1,000 other buns. That sounds good.
That's the draw of Cafe Homestead, where I met with cafe manager Sam Lindsay earlier this week. He showed me around the farm and explained the community's philosophy as we toured their model homestead, gristmill and cafe.
Just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who is making our first few weeks here at WacoFork a lot of fun. That includes everyone who has signed up as a user, followed us on Twitter, "liked" us on Facebook and written reviews.
And to that point, we also wanted to give you an update of where we stand on the road to giving away an iPad2 as part of the 4x200 Sweepstakes. As of about 4 p.m. on Wednesday, we had 75 users, 84 reviews, 116 Twitter followers and 85 Facebook "likes."
Never doubt the power of sarcasm.
Or perhaps more accurately, for once my snarkiness paid off.
In a previous blog about the opening of a new cafe called Newk's, I surmised that the staff of Newk's could play the staff of Panera Bread in a football game to take place in the parking lot between the two restaurants with area sandwich supremacy at stake. To which Keith Schroeder, general manager for Waco's Newk's restaurant, replied that he had complete confidence in his crew to dominate such a contest. He shot my sarcasm right back at me and then invited Cory and me out to the cafe for a sneak peek on Friday.
Now and then, I'll hear a rumor that instantly grabs my attention. It's a specific rumor about a specific kind of fast food restaurant that began here in Texas.
The rumor: Freebirds World Burrito is coming to Waco.
This rumor surfaced recently when a friend said she heard Freebirds was coming to town and then another friend from a separate circle of friends remarked that he heard Freebirds had purchased land on which to build a store.
As far as I've been able to tell, these are only rumors. According to Freebirds' media representatives, Waco isn't on the openings list for this year and specifically, "No leases signed in Waco yet." That was the one-line reply that followed a phone conversation and an email request, brining to an end two weeks of digging for Freebirds information from the company.
When I'm eating a hamburger at Health Camp, I feel a little bit like it's 1995.
I feel like I'm a junior or senior in high school again and I'm meeting one of my Baylor friends for a burger. I feel like we're about to go over to some dingy college apartment and watch a Baylor football game.
If I were older, I might feel like it's 1985 or 1975 or 1965 …
That's Health Camp's appeal. As the Waco restaurant scene changes from year to year, Health Camp is a place holder. It reminds us of who we were.
We're giving away an iPad2.
How's that for a quick, punchy lead? Do I have your attention? Well, then I succeeded. Now for the backstory.
We've been so pleased by the response to WacoFork in the site's first few days that we wanted to say thank you, so we're announcing our big 4x200 iPad2 giveaway.