2. My Aunt Jen's braciolas (Stamford, Conn.)
I know, I know … it sounds like the name of a Weezer album or something. But this is an Italian delicacy: You take little pieces of steak, stuff them with raisins, garlic and Parmesan cheese, tie them together with string so they don't fall apart, sautee them in olive oil, then let them simmer for a few hours in tomato sauce. And nobody makes them better than my Aunt Jen. These are so good and so rare, you never even see them offered in a restaurant. They're too hard to make.

3. Baked Lays Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips (anywhere)
The perfect junk-food item – not that bad for you, tastes good, always crunchy, and unlike the Baked Ruffles Cheddar Potato Chips, they don't leave red gunk on your hand. I hate the red gunk.

4. Cynthia's famous fried chicken (West Hollywood, Calif.)
Fried chicken is one of those things that – when it's done correctly and it's boneless – you can order it at dinner and everyone else hates you because they know your entree was better than theirs. I like being the guy who ordered the best entree.

5. Barbecued ribs (?????)
Still looking for the perfect ones. It's been a 20-year odyssey.

6. The Cha Cha Bowls (Pac Bell Stadium)
When I went to a Giants game five years ago, my friend Mikey dragged me to a BBQ place in the center-field bleachers for Cha-Cha bowls, saying, "It's all about the Cha-Cha bowls." You tend to trust the opinion of someone who once owned a mammoth Traci Lords video collection. At least I do. Anyway, he wasn't kidding – it was all about the Cha Cha bowls: Caribbean jerk chicken, beans, rice, BBQ sauce, other goodies … all in a big plastic bowl for just $8.50. Best ballpark food ever.

7. The well-done 14-inch cheese pizza at either the Larchmont Village Pizzeria (West Hollywood) or Pino's Pizzeria (Brookline, Mass.).
Here's what I want from my cheese pizza: I want the cheese to be brown and a little bubbly. I want a thin-crust that isn't too doughy. I want just enough sauce that the roof of my mouth burns. And I don't want to feel like I need a bypass after I eat it. Only two pizza places have ever accomplished this for me, and they're 3,000 miles apart. Go figure. It's harder to find a white punt returner than a good pizza place, isn't it?

8. The corned beef hash at The Heritage (Auburn, Mass.)
When I was attending college at Holy Cross, there was a pantheon diner right over the town line in Auburn called "The Heritage." Nobody loves diners more than me – especially the Greek ones where they have an old lady who tries to make conversation with the table, only they know like three questions in English, so it's the same conversation every single time you go there ("How you doing? How's school? You boys hungry?").

Anyway, my friends and I would always drive over there for hungover breakfasts, especially because their coffee was surprisingly good (flagrantly violating the little-known rule that all diners have to have crappy coffee). Well, their signature dish was "The Heritage" (two eggs, hash browns, toast and pancakes), which always cracked me up because I think it's funny whenever a restaurant names a dish after itself, and it's even funnier when one of your friends looks up from their menu and says, "I'll have the Heritage," like they're about to eat everything in the diner. But the hash was off the charts. It even tasted good when it was coming back up an hour later.


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