A Slice of Fried Gold

General Bracket #2 (Round 2): (1) Lucky Wishbone vs. (4) Villa Nova PLUS (6) Tommy's Burger Stop vs. (2) Gumbo House

Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Today's matchups pits two of my long time favorites against each other (Lucky Wishbone and Villa Nova) while two recent favorites in Tommy's Burger Stop and Gumbo House square off in a throwdown of deliciousness. The real tourney may be resting but I'm not. This is the last matchup before the Elite 8! Let's see who moves on.

Matchup #1
Lucky Wishbone: Lucky Wishbone is a phenomenal performer and has been for a long time, but is it a restaurant that peaked early in the tournament and may not have anything left for their round two matchup (sort of like Pitt getting beat by Xavier)? Well, it is a premium lunch and dinner spot still just because of the tried and true fried chicken, burgers, fries and milkshake combination. Yet, earlier in my life a week would rarely pass by without me eating there. Now? I go months without it. I'm not sure if their recipe has diminished or perhaps my tastes have moved on a bit, but I don't love it as much as I used to.

Villa Nova: This place was looking like an absolute sure shot for the Final Four until a recent performance. While Villa Nova has long excelled in secrecy due to its exceptional blend of tasty food, decent prices (for what you get), and great atmosphere and service, my experience this past weekend was perhaps...less of quality than I'm used to.

Two of the staples that I'm used to loving in my experience (the Minestrone and the Calamari) were less flavorful and more generic than I was used to (or perhaps just remembered), and this was a damper on the equation. Still, the entree of Tournedos Bolegnese was superb and my friend Joanne really enjoyed her Veal entree. That is without mentioning absolutely phenomenal service (including the waitress bringing us a special garlic topping for our bread). It was a bit up and down, but to be fair, I had eaten lunch late in the day and that may have affected it.

The Showdown: In the tourney, all it takes is one bad experience for a good team to get knocked out in the tourney. Villa Nova is not that team, as they are still a very strong contender even with the recent mediocre experience. Lucky Wishbone is still very good and holds a very special place in my heart, but I genuinely think Villa Nova is just a better place to eat. At least Villa Nova made it out of the second round iny my tourney.

Matchup #2
Tommy's Burger Stop: There's a lot of credibility to be thrown towards a place that has the best burger in town in my book. I mean, I'm a burger guy. I love them in any way: Aloha Burgers, Bacon Burgers, double pattie, triple pattie, hell, I even love the Garbage Grinder in Cooper Landing (it's loaded with ham, bacon, a fried egg and all kinds of other stuff). Burger me and I'm a happy man.

I've also heard their poboys and their philly cheesesteaks are good, but I cannot corroborate that with my own sentiment. I've just never had one. Still, the burger is perhaps enough, even if the service is pretty much standoffish but semi-fast and the sides are not perfect in any way.

Gumbo House: Service with a smile, a really nice mix of southern foods (poboys, gumbo, jambalaya, catfish and red beans), beer (BEER!), and a great and entertaining location make this place a personal favorite. Really, when I recount my experiences there, perhaps the only real negatives tie into the fact that people are sometimes jerks in the winter and leave the door open for way too long. Outside of that, it comes up roses for this quaint and delicious joint.

The Showdown: As much as I love my burgers, Gumbo House is just top to bottom a better establishment. I've never had a bad experience there and the people who run it are just outstanding. Plus, the food is awesome. For my birthday last year, my celebratory lunch took place here. That's how you know it's good. So it's Villa Nova vs. Gumbo House to decide this bracket!


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