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Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 09:01 AM

Well we are back from a wonderful weekend in Nashville celebrating my lil’ brother’s wedding.  Needless to say due to the business of all of that I apologize that this post is a little bit tardy.

Pop Culture Cuisine is officially a year old and we can hardly believe how fast time has flown!  Adam and I have loved incorporating all these wonderful culinary adventures into our travels, mostly because of the great memories it has made for us.  We have compiled a list of some of our favorite and not so favorite spots to share with you with links so you can read our reviews for yourself.  We love food and hope to continue to share lots of great finds with you all along the way.



1. Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous’ “Ribs” – Memphis, TN

2. Round Rock Donuts’ “Round Rock Donut” – Round Rock, TX

3. Lucky’s Sandwich Co.’s “Stuffed Sandwich” – Chicago, IL



1. The Salt Lick – Driftwood, TX

2. Louie’s – Dallas, TX

3. Twisted Root – Dallas, TX


train car

1. The Silver Palm – Chicago, IL

2. Keller’s Drive-in – Dallas, TX

3. The Salt Lick – Driftwood, TX



1. Blue Ash ChiliAnna – Blue Ash, OH

2. PinkberryChristine – Orlando, FL

3. Avila’s – Dallas, TX



1. The Salt Lick – Driftwood, TX

2. Keller’s Drive-in – Dallas, TX

3. Blue Ash Chili – Blue Ash, OH



1. The Salt Lick – Driftwood, TX

2. Manny’s Delicatessen – Chicago, IL

3. Keller’s Drive-in – Dallas, TX

4. Blue Ash Chili – Blue Ash, OH

5. Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous – Memphis, TN



1. Jim Neely’s Interstate Bar-B-Q – Memphis, TN

2. Willie Mae’s Scotch House – New Orleans, LA

3. Acme Oyster House – New Orleans, LA

4. Drago’s Seafood – New Orleans, LA

5. Juan in a Million – Austin, TX



Best Burger – Twisted Root – Dallas, TX


Best Pizza – Giordano’s – Chicago, IL


Best Sandwich – Lucky’s Sandwich Co. – Chicago, IL


Best BBQ – The Salt Lick – Driftwood, TX


Best Bar Food – J. Gilligan’s “Irish Nachos” – Arlington, TX


Best Cocktail – Pat O’Brien’s “Hurricane” – New Orleans, LA

Three Little Piggies

Most Outrageous Dish – The Silver Palm’s “Three Little Pigs Sandwich” Chicago, IL

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Saturday, January 1, 2011 @ 08:01 AM


Well it’s officially 2011 and I want to wish you all a very Happy New Years!  I hope everyone had a fabulous time celebrating with friends and family and that everyone stayed safe on one of the craziest nights of the year.  2010 was a very momentous and crazy year for Adam and I, and it brought lots of great memories.  PCC is coming up on a year old and really has become something we cherish as a journal of all our wonderful travels.  It’s amazing the wonderful adventures we’ve had and all the new cuisine we’ve tried in the name of Winking smile research.  Hopefully, the coming year will be another year of good changes and we are looking forward to whatever those might be, as well as finding new ways to branch out with Pop Culture Cuisine.

New Years is one of those holidays that typically has a lot of hype and lots of parties & events all in the name of celebration; and everyone who knows me knows I’m a person who loves a good excuse to celebrate.  And what better way to celebrate with others than with a festive drink?…of which we’ve encountered quite a few of along our travels, some famous, others just a part of the experience.  Still, I wanted to share a glimpse of some of the gems we have discovered and the places we found them at throughout this past year.  So with festive cheer and no further adieu, I give you the Year in Drinks for PCC…Cheers!


Pat O’Brien’s – Orlando, FL and New Orleans, LA

Drink: The Hurricane


Created during WWII with a bunch of fruit juice and rum, this drink has been their most popular drink and a favorite place for many to hit up at any of their locations.  We have visited 2 locations and every time we are near one we have to stop in for at least 1 hurricane…and usually many more! Smile  These babies are potent, but delicious, and can be enjoyed on their beautiful patios during the day or hopping piano bars at night!





Mariano’s – Dallas, TX

Drink: “The Frozen Margarita”


You may remember Mariano’s from our review earlier this year, but being the originator of the frozen margarita, it’s hard to not include them again in this drinks feature.  Sweet and tangy like any good margarita should be, this one definitely was tasty and stood out in our minds as one of the better ones we have ever had.  We are now glad to say we’ve tried the first ever created (more than once) and can from now on compare it to our hometown Hacienda margaritas.



The Pump Room – Chicago, IL

Drink: Cosmopolitan, Chocolate Martini, and White Russian

We lucked out on on my birthday trip a couple weeks ago that our hotel was attached to the famous Pump Room.  Popularized by many celebrities of yester-year like Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack friends, this spot still has the old time feel of a great crooner bar.  We were glad we could enjoy a couple of cocktails their throughout the weekend.  Great atmosphere and really well made drinks.



Tujague’s – New Orleans, LA

Drink: Shock Top, Abita Brand Beers

One of the oldest bars in the whole USA, this New Orleans’ landmark in the French Quarter is a must stop if you are into history, old bars, or just want to take a break and cool off.  On both of our trips to N’awlins we have enjoyed grabbing a beer and hearing some of the fun stories the bartender (who has been there all most as long as the bar and has become a New Orleans standard) has to tell.  Although I am sure you can get any New Orleans staple drink you want, we opted for a nice cold beer on a nice hot day, and it was a welcome withdraw.




Cheers – Boston, MA

Drink: Blue Moon


I am pretty sure everyone out there is familiar with good ol’ Cheers….yes, that sitcom bar from the 80’s with Sam Malone and NORM!  And if you didn’t know that the show was based off a bar in Boston, you must have been living under a rock or you are REALLY young. Smile  Nonetheless, I was lucky enough this past May to be able to pay a visit to the original location in Beacon Hill with my best friend Emily.  I probably could have been adventurous and tried a real Bostonian beer, but already knowing I don’t like Sam Adams, I stuck to something I know and love…Blue Moon!  It was fun to be in the atmosphere, although now pretty touristy, but still fun to look around and see all the old memorabilia.  However, be forewarned, this place is nothing like the “Hollywood” set bar that we all know from the TV show….it’s MUCH smaller.  So you may be in for a shock.





Epcot Food and Wine Festival – Orlando, FL

Drink: Leffe


This next spot I will go into way more depth in a future post, but since drink was one of the components of the whole event, I wanted to touch on in briefly.  Each year, Epcot and Vanity Fair put on an International Food and Wine festival throughout the park where culinary dishes and drinks from around the world are matched and can be purchased.  Although we opted not to drink at most of the stops, when we saw an old favorite being featured in Belgium, we knew a small taste was in order.  It was deliciously refreshing on that hot day.


Jasper’s – Plano, TX

Drink: Jasper’s Triple Chocolate Martini


Jasper’s is another restaurant we have already given our glowing review too, but this martini was so OUTSANDING I still compare every chocolate martini to it and often dream about it. Ok…not literally about the dreaming part, but ladies (and gentlemen too I suppose Winking smile) this drink is purely sinful!  Not only is it chocolately, it is also creamy and extremely rich.  They are sweet and probably a million calories, but who cares…this is what a sweet martini should taste like!


The Walnut Room – Chicago, IL

Drink: Poinsettia


We had the pleasure of dining at the the famous Walnut Room inside Macy’s during my birthday weekend.  The food and experience are another whole post in and of themselves, but again with drinks being the theme, I must share my beautiful festive poinsettia that I REALLY enjoyed.  The perfect blend of champagne and cranberry juice, it is a drink I am certainly going to be making in years to come, and it was a perfect cap to a perfect birthday weekend.

Anheuser Busch Brewery – St. Louis, MO

Drink: Shock Top, Michelob Brands



Growing up in St. Louis I was unfortunately never of an age where I could enjoy touring a landmark that was so close to home.  I was glad Adam and I were able to visit the brewery on a trip a few years back and really see the whole process at work.  He and I are Bud people in preference, but it was this trip where I first got to try a Shock Top for the first time and it has quickly become one of my favorite beers.  In fact, since that time, I’ve been seeing it in bars more and more.  We had a great time learning about the history, the beer making process, and most of all enjoying some brews.


The Silver Palm – Chicago, IL

Drink: Silver Palm Cabernet Sauvignon



Although the wine brand and restaurant name are just a happy accident, the wine was every bit as enjoyable as the meal itself.  We gave our rave reviews of the restaurant this year and one of the great features was the great atmosphere, especially where we enjoyed a few drinks after our meal.  I highly recommend this bar (and the tiny Matchbox next door) for a sort of a little unknown jewel for a night out in Chicago.


Hula Hut – Austin, TX

Drink: Pink Lemonade


Unfortunately I can’t remember or find the name of this drink I ordered at the Hula Hut, but suffice it to say, it was their version of a pink lemonade with a kick.  It was very sweet and refreshing from what I remember, but also tasted too much like juice so it went down way to easy. Smile


Louie’s – Dallas, TX

Drink: Lindeman’s Framboise


This was a spot in Dallas that we were so happy to stumble upon when we lived there.  Louie’s not only had great food, but their ambiance truly made us feel at home as former Chicagoans.  Because it was Valentine’s Day that weekend, I was looking for a little something special to drink so I was very happy to discover they have one of my all time favorite items on their menu…Lindemans’ Framboise.  Although they are super sweet, I love the berry flavor and how they a just a fun change up from a typical beer.


Well, I hope you have enjoyed our brief recap of some of the wonderful beverages we enjoyed in 2010.  I’m sure there were others along the way, but these were certainly the most tasty, most famous, or most memorable.  I am going to forgo a traditional review of each, but know this…each of these drinks stood out to me or Adam either because of the drink themselves, the experience that went along with them, or both.  We truly love every minute of our culinary adventures and the life journal that Pop Culture Cuisine has become for us.  I hope you all continue to follow our crazy foodie adventures each week…and hey…maybe tell a friend or two. Winking smile  So “For Auld Lang Syne”…HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 @ 09:03 AM


Back in Chicago for this week’s restaurant; and I think by now you all know I have a special love for Chicago and will likely go back at any chance I can get, not only to visit the places I know and love, but also to find new gems to experience for the first time.  This next spot is the later, and it is definitely a gem…or priceless antique to be sure.  This week’s PCC review is of Chicago’s rustic hot spot, The Silver Palm.  This hot spot that feels like a classic beatnik local hangout with the mood to match is truly a must see, and I am so glad Adam stumbled upon it while watching Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” on The Travel Channel; and like he often does, he insisted we go there! :).  Lucky for him, we learned about this place only weeks before going back up north for the holidays, and we already had a weekend stop-over planned on our ‘ol stomping grounds.  Well, he was on to something, because these “little piggies” definitely made me go “Wee, wee, wee”  (That will make sense soon.  I recommend watching Anthony down below explain). 😉

No Reservations Chicago [Video].  (2009).  Retrieved March 9, 2010, from

Well, after watching that clip the first time, I was very intrigued, and for a couple of reasons.  One, I had never heard of this place while living there.  Two, it is LITERALLY an old train car that you are dining in (I mean cool!); and Three, the food looked amazing on TV, so holding with the bottom line of PCC, I had to check it out for myself and see if it was just a little creative television and lens work.

So, the day after New Year’s, a big group of us ventured to out into the bitter Chicago cold to see if Anthony was telling the truth.  Well, it is definitely a real train car, a 1947 dining car from an original train to be exact.  You can read about the bio of the train here.  Opened in 2003, the Silver Palm is adjacent to the Matchbox (same owners), a bar whose name is very fitting and quite popular in the River West section of Chicago.  But back to the restaurant,…the train car itself is attached to a two story brick building that holds another bar and small seating area at the front; and as you move to the back, into the car itself, this is the view…

train car Image source:

After reading up on this spot, we thought making a reservation was likely going to be our best option, due to the size (notice from above :)), it being the weekend, and seeing as it had just been featured on a very popular show, we knew it would be buzzing with other foodies.  Also, we were meeting a few friends there (Aaron, Cassie, and her boyfriend Eric), which made it more imperative to make a reservation; and it is a good thing that we did, because this place was packed!!!  And so much so (which is the funniest part), that we couldn’t even all sit together!  Although we knew it was literally a train car, we had not taken into account that it was just that…A TRAIN CAR!!!…meaning small stationary tables that only can seat four to a table.  This is not good news for you larger parties/families out there; and needless to say, we had to split our party.  It all worked out, however, because they just sat us across from one another.  The boys on one side; and I was able to catch up with my girlfriend from college at the other table (Hey Cassie! ;)).


If I’m being honest, Adam was looking forward to this spot a lot more than I was.  Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to check it out, but he was REALLY excited to try the infamous “Three Little Piggies” sandwich he saw Anthony Bourdain devour.  I, on the other hand, was more excited to get together with our friends and dine in a train car parked on the city streets of Chicago.  I mean…cool!!!

I know…I know, right about now you are all probably wondering if this is the same girl who has raved about dish after crazy dish on here.  However (and I feel bad admitting to this), we happened to visit this spot the same day we had eaten Giordano’s, and the day after eating at Lucky’s Sandwich Co., so needless to say I was already feeling a bit stuffed!  I had the best intentions of ordering something decadent, but my stomach just was not going to have it.  So, I went with one of my standard fall-back orders, the French onion soup with a side of roasted veggies.  I know…boring, but hey….it was all I could handle.

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The soup was not out of this world, but still tasty.  It’s hard to impress me with French-onion, but it’s a bit like pizza…even when it’s not that good, it’s still good and I’ll always have some :).  The veggies, on the other hand, outta this world good!  I realize that is something very difficult to say about something as simple as vegetables, but these carrots, parsnips, and potatoes were all caramelized in their own sweetness and salted to perfection.  Ummm…yummy!

Adam, as I mentioned earlier, had his heart set on that “Three Little Piggies,” sandwich.  In fact, all of the guys did.  However, Adam and Aaron had a hard time making up their mind, because the minute they saw the menu, there was one other item that they both wanted, a favorite of theirs….the duck sandwich (fried in duck fat no less ;)).  Their solution, they decided to order both and split the “Piggies” and Duck Club Sandwich.  In their minds…the best of both worlds…Pig and Duck…perfect 🙂  (That is the “Three Little Piggies” below).

Three Little Piggies Image source:

Unfortunately I don’t have a pic of the duck club sandwich to show you (it did look really good), but if that “Piggy” above does not entice you to want to take a bite, I don’t know what does; and the boys certainly seemed to enjoy it!

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Of course, being the loving husband that he is ;), he was nice enough to share a bite of his half of the sandwich with me; and I will also contest, it was pretty dang good!  If we are ever lucky enough to visit the The Silver Palm again and I am not uber stuffed, I hope to order that lovely heart attack on a plate for myself . 🙂

Following dinner we were able to hang out in the lovely bar area up front and then moved down to the Matchbox (and definitely a deserving name.  The door even bumped into bar-stool it was so small! :))  It was just such a fun and laid back environment, accompanied by a never ending loop of Fleetwood Mac (I love them!) and one bottle of wine too many, that we did not want to leave.  Heck even another friend, BJ, met us later and joined in on the fun!

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Being so freaking cold that night in Chicago and not wanting to venture out anywhere else, this place turned out to be the perfect spot to hole up, enjoy one another’s company, some wine, and our last night in Chicago.  Like almost every restaurant featured on Pop Culture Cuisine, The Silver Palm is no different in that it has a signature dish, which 9 times out of 10, is the main reason why we visit.  In this instance that dish was the “Three Little Piggies” Sandwich, and in all of our opinions (all us had at least a bite) it was a real winner and tasted delicious.  The ambiance was unique, original, and oh so cool.  I mean seriously…eating in a train dining car parked on the streets of Chicago is pretty unreal.  The only draw-backs were actually as a result of this place being an actual dining car.  It was very cramped and on a cold winter night, the lack of insulation made it really cold.  Additionally, we really enjoyed talking with our waitress throughout the entire night and she was very attentive.

This restaurant and its kitchen are very narrow, which made the food service very slow.  Remember…, think train car, which does not leave tons and tons of space for easy or quick preparation.  But, although it was very slow getting the food, no one seemed to mind.  We were all enjoying the experience and conversation so much it did not seem to bother anyone.  Just know, if you are hoping to grab a “quick bite,” this is not the spot.  Finally, the cost of everything was pretty reasonable, especially considering we were dining in downtown Chicago.  Entrees range from $12-25 and sandwiches from $7-12; and I felt a lot of dishes seemed more high-end than just regular ol’ diner sandwiches, so I’d say they are worth a bit more.  The only bad spot (and this is Adam speaking ;)) was that there were no free re-fills on Diet Coke; and he had to pay for a bunch!  That all being said…, I give The Silver Palm 4 Little Piggies.

pig-icon pig-icon pig-iconpig-icon

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