Well, “The Black Forest Gump” has done it again. Huh? That’s what one of my friends called me after I ended up dancing onstage with Salt-N-Pepa several weeks ago.
If you’ve never seen the movie Forest Gump, first off…how?
But okay, if you’ve never seen the movie Forest Gump, Tom Hank’s titular (<-lol sorry, my inner third grader still finds it difficult to type that word without giggling) character randomly stumbles upon epic adventures.
Although my bucket list is far from complete, I suppose that description is somewhat accurate.
Case in point, you know those nutty people who run around basketball games hyping the crowd and throwing t-shirts?
Well, the other day I had the opportunity to join the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks Flight Crew to do just that as their sister WNBA team, The Atlanta Dream faced the LA Sparks!
Random? Absolutely! …but would I turn down this amazing opportunity? Absolutely not!
Hmm, what to wear? What to wear?
The team official’s email said to wear black or white shorts and athletic shoes. He also said that an Atlanta Dream tee would be provided upon arrival! Unfortunately, he didn’t tell me that tee would be an XL but that’s nothing a creative tuck job couldn’t fix.
My larger concern was the bruise still in the center of my forehead (see last post for context)! I decided to try and hide it with a hat, but since I didn’t own an Atlanta Dream one, I wore my pizza hat and matching socks instead!
Unfortunately, I had to remove the hat once vendors got upset people were asking to buy it but hey, it was a great idea while it lasted! (ps. It’s sold at BelovedShirts.com – check out our #DoubleFML Deals and Discounts page to save 10%)
What wasn’t a great idea was accidentally rocking the opposing team colors on my shoes! I’m a WNBA fan too so I should have remembered that! Whoops.
The Atlanta Dream play at McCamish Pavilion which is also home to Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team! Spending several hours on the Georgia Tech campus made me feel smarter already! …even if I was wearing a hat covered with pepperoni. #yolo
Anyway, after they provided us with a few basic rules and a drawstring bag full of goodies, we were unleashed upon the crowd!
First, they had us walk through the arena greeting people as they entered. At one point, WNBA President Lisa Borders walked through the door I was posted at which was pretty cool. She was going over details with an assistant though, so I didn’t want to bug her for a photo. Instead, here’s a photo of me looking like an idiot as people filed into the arena.
As it got closer to tip-off, we made our way into the stands to energize the fans and pass out various items.
Since my friend couldn’t make the game and I was busy working, it was tricky capturing photos, however, if you look to the right of this video clip from ESPN’s broadcast, you might recognize the guy walking down the stairs!
Interacting with the fans in the stands was fun and all but the best part of game was during long commercial breaks when we were able to run onto the court to toss t-shirts into the crowd!
Again, I don’t have footage unfortunately but here’s a shot as we prepared to run on the court.
If you look to the left side of this video clip, you’ll also see us running back into the crowd after one of the breaks.
It was a great time and a great game between the 2 of the top 3 teams in the WNBA!
I may be invited back for a few Hawks games. If so, I’ll have to do a better job capturing my on-court antics! Oh yeah, and can one of you please remind me to wear red and black sneakers instead next time? Thanks…
So, if you’ve been paying attention to popular foodie trends, you might have noticed a ton of references to jackfruit lately. I know that I sure have!
The videos make it look so delicious. Despite being a fruit, it supposedly has the look and feel of pulled pork!
This I had to try. But first, a primer courtesy of Live Superfoods and the good people over at healthnfit.com:
Hmm, sounds interesting enough, but where do I find one of these things? Oh wait, I forgot, it’s 2018…Google.
Whoa! Apparently, Bahama Breeze restaurants serve jackfruit tacos! I’ve been there many times but never spotted them on the menu until now!
Well, there’s a Bahama Breeze around the corner from my house and it’s hard to go wrong with tacos so let’s do this!
The menu offers 2 or 3 tacos plus the side of your choice. I’d normally order 3 since I proudly represent #TeamGreedy but just in case these taste like dirty sweat socks, I’d better play it safe.
Since the place was packed with a long line of people waiting to be seated, I decided to place my order to go. Had there not been a wait, I wouldn’t have minded eating alone though.
I know that many people would be mortified to eat alone but it honestly doesn’t bother me – especially in the smart phone era! You can just stare at the screen and ride out any awkward situation now.
What a time to be alive!
Even before smartphones it never bothered me though.
What are your thoughts?
Do you mind eating by yourself or does it feel too strange? Comment below!
Quick detour -> Depending on my mood, I actually wouldn’t mind eating with a random stranger if they seemed interesting. That’s not really common or socially acceptable here in The States but isn’t that how we used to do it back in grade school? You know, back in the “olden days” when people interacted with each other offline too?
I saw a video on Facebook where first graders approached strangers sitting alone at various tables throughout a cafe and asked why they didn’t sit with each other and make friends. The reactions and responses were interesting.
You can really learn a lot from young kids and older adults. They have an appreciation for life that most of us in the middle often overlook.
Anyway, back to those tacos.
Geez, the waitress really had little faith in me – look how many wet napkins she gave me for 2 tacos!
Clearly, she hasn’t seen my work!
Well they look and smell just like regular tacos. Let’s dive in and give these a taste, shall we?
The Verdict: Okay, whoever said jackfruit tastes just like pulled pork has clearly never had pulled pork before! Let’s just get that out of the way first thing! I’d hoped for the same chewy consistency, so the soft texture definitely threw me for a loop.
The videos made it look just like meat so I’m wondering whether it needed to be prepared differently or cooked longer? Well done jackfruit perhaps?
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad…but that’s to be expected, it’s a taco! You could probably put a Dr. Scholl’s gel insole inside of a taco shell and make it taste good!
This is way beyond that though. It has sriracha mayo, crispy veggies and guacamole so it’s decent, but I feel the supporting ingredients are doing most of the heavy lifting here.
With that said, let’s remove a piece of jackfruit to try it separately.
Hmm, okay, I still don’t like the texture inside of a taco. It’s soft and has the same mild sweetness as a banana.
My thoughts are that a vegetarian looking for additional meat alternatives will be thrilled with these. However, a meat-eater expecting an exact match will be left disappointed like I was.
I wouldn’t turn down jackfruit tacos if someone offered, but I also wouldn’t order them again. I’m glad I went with 2.
Blah. Well that was a buzzkill.
The videos made jackfruit look so delicious! Although, the video also featured fresh jackfruit prepared from scratch, not jackfruit tacos made hurriedly in an extremely busy restaurant. (No shade Bahama Breeze, I still love you!)
Perhaps I need to try a few other jackfruit samples before formulating my final opinion. But where will I find more? Oh yeah…Google.
Okay, according to this web search, Whole Foods has them. I haven’t been there in ages but based on past experiences, I’d better check my account balance before driving over!
Several years ago, my boujee ex-girlfriend was too good to eat at the Ruby Tuesdays salad bar we walked past in the mall. …even though it was fully stocked and less than $5 for all you could eat!
No, she wanted the Whole Foods salad bar so after driving nearly an hour to find one that was open, we started loading up our plates.
I was starving and exhausted from the time we’d wasted driving around.
I wasn’t thinking clearly so I forgot that I’d be charged based on the weight of my container. My “hunger brain” had me thinking I’d be charged a flat-rate for the container to fill with whatever fit inside!
Anyway, I tossed in a bunch of heavy items like hard-boiled eggs, tuna and pasta salads. She followed my lead and did the same.
Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. I ended up dropping over $40 for those 2 salads!
Had I not been raised well, I would have left those containers right at the register and walked out!
Are you kidding me? $40? For some lettuce and carrots? I could have gotten 2 entrees plus the salad bar and drinks for $40 at the Ruby Tuesdays she turned down!
Do you know how many cheddar bay biscuits I could have gotten from Red Lobster for $40? We could have eaten Olive Garden salad and breadsticks until we passed out for $8! Ridiculous.
Based on that experience, I may need to apply for a store credit card to afford this jackfruit but at least I’m prepared this time.
It does feel fancy driving over there though. I’ve only gone a few times and never for groceries. That’s why I felt the need document this historic occasion with a Facebook location check-in:
If you think I was kidding, here’s the 15 cents I got back! Hey, I still feel ripped off from that salad bar so I’m not messing around!
I also took one of their boujee grocery bags with the handles too! They always try and talk you out of taking one but until I have $40 worth of these, keep ‘em coming!
Anyway, the internet lied (I know, shocking right?) so they didn’t have the actual fruit. Instead, they had canned jackfruit, frozen jackfruit and pre-seasoned jackfruit to make tacos, wraps and sandwiches. I decided to go with BBQ again to see if it was any better this time.
Although they didn’t have the actual fruit there, the H-Mart one mile up the street did!
I should have known. They always have obscure items there. I also ended up shopping at H-Mart for the cactus post last year so this store has bailed me out twice now!
Ironically, I didn’t even know this was a grocery store until last year. I thought it was like a bootleg K-Mart that sold furniture or something.
The name also reminds me of the 90s R&B group H-Town so I kept humming their hit single “Knockin’ da Boots” the entire time I was shopping.
I say “entire time” because I was there at least 30 minutes since it was hard to find. They also broke them into fourths since the entire fruit is huge! Here it is though.
You can see how excited I was to finally end my search! I didn’t even care that people were looking at me like I was an idiot as I posed for these photos! They were probably thinking “Jackfruit and a Jacka..”
Anyway, let’s try some of this stuff, shall we?
Let’s first give the BBQ idea a shot at redemption with this pre-seasoned blend from Upton Naturals.
Even seasoned, jackfruit has solid nutrition stats!
For this blend, you simply need to stir into a pan for approximately 7 minutes.
Visually, this already looks more like meat than the tacos earlier, so I have high hopes!
For my sandwich, I added provolone cheese placed on a sourdough bun.
Okay, THIS looks more like the Facebook videos! It really does resemble pulled pork!
As for the taste? Here goes nothing…
Okay, you know what? The texture is MUCH better this time! The mix is a little sweet for my personal taste, but I can see what they were going for. Upton’s jackfruit has a much better look and feel than the Bahama Breeze tacos but unfortunately, they’re twice as sweet. What a shame – these are close to being awesome.
Hold on, I have an idea…hot sauce might help offset the sugary highlights.
Aha! Franks Red Hot for the win! YES! It worked!
Obviously, taste is subjective and it’s silly to buy something pre-seasoned if you still have to season it. My main takeaway however, is that when shredded and seasoned properly, this ingredient has a ton of potential.
Hmm, let’s try that canned version from Native Forest next.
It’s recommended that you drain and rinse the jackfruit first so that should drastically reduce the sodium. All the other nutrition stats look solid!
Oh wow, since this is canned, I had very low expectations but after opening the can, my hopes have skyrocketed! Check it out, this looks just like cubed chicken!
Best of all, I can control the taste and texture since I’ll season it myself and cook it for as long as I’d like.
To avoid drowning out the flavor so I can really get a feel for this ingredient, I’m going with a simple blend of salt, pepper, onion powder and a splash of hot sauce.
I’ll pair it with a simple base of brown rice and black beans.
Hopefully it’s as awesome as it looks! Check out that pan!
Oh yeah, I’m not sure why I chose to dress like “Luke Duke” for this photo, but I decided to fully commit with this General Lee shirt!
The New Jersey hat also makes sense with this ensemble since I used to confuse Hazlet, NJ with Hazaard County as a kid. I always hoped to see Roscoe, Boss Hog and Daisy every time we drove past that exit.
Actually, I’d hoped to see Daisy anywhere we went. She was a smokeshow!
Anyway, let’s taste this bowl before it gets cold eh?
Whoa! This is my favorite so far! Again, the other 2 weren’t necessarily bad, I just had more control over this batch so it came out exactly how I wanted.
With a little more experimentation, I should be able to perfect working with this ingredient but I’m already impressed! Things started off a little rocky, but I’m a believer now.
Hmm, I was going to pit the actual fruit I bought from H-Mart to try grilling it, but I doubt I’d be able to top this rice bowl without some serious prep work! With that said, I’ll quit while I’m ahead with cooking it.
However, with all the extra bananas I have left over from last post, let’s try making a smoothie with the frozen jackfruit before we wrap this up!
I’m thinking this should be pretty straightforward since the texture won’t matter in this case. It’s getting pureed either way!
I went with a base of ice, almond milk and water. I also added half a banana, some flavorless protein and several pieces of jackfruit. If you were looking for an exact recipe, my apologies. At this point, I’m just testing the concept by winging it!
It kind of looks like a pina colada. This has potential! Let’s see how it tastes…
Hey, this one is good too! As mentioned earlier, unseasoned jackfruit tastes a lot like banana or mango, so smoothies make the most sense for this ingredient anyway! The whole “meat alternative” concept is just an added bonus.
Ironically, I’ve now had the mysterious jackfruit 4 different ways but have yet to try a Georgia peach despite living in Atlanta for 6 years! Go figure. Maybe next week, as for now, we’re running long so maestro, cue the music!
Do you have another food item, restaurant or recipe we should all try? Tell us in the comments below! Also join our Facebook foodie group, Phenomnomnomenal, by clicking here!
Hit the Road Jack! – Ray Charles
Jumping Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones
Knockin’ da Boots – H-town
Just a Dream – Nelly
Dream On – Aerosmith
Started from the Bottom – Drake
Do you have another song that fits today’s themes or that we should check out anyway? Tell us in the comments below!
Before we go, here’s your list of “foodie holidays” that occur between this and next post:
I’m really looking forward to celebrating soft-serve ice cream day! Hmm, my local McDonald’s better fix that rickety machine before Sunday!
That’s actually a brilliant pairing on the 19th since the cold ice cream can calm the heat. Although every day is National Hot and Spicy food day at my place!
Oh wow and look at the 20th! National Bacon Lovers Day?! This is what we’ve been training for people…
Speaking of training, here’s a jumping jack workout to go along with your jackfruit!
Sheesh, that looks brutal! …whoops, I mean um, that looks fun! Yay!
Try it and post your results below!
Actually, post anything below…literally. I love hearing from you guys! Also make sure to follow me on social media by clicking the logos on the side panel!
Okay folks, that’s a wrap.
I hope you have an incredible week and thanks again for dropping by!
Until next time my friends, May the Fork be With You…
“Those who fly solo have the strongest wings…”