Tuesday, February 8, 2011

IEM Session #15.2

Inhuman Eating Machine official rules and guidelines

(continued from 15.1)

UNCLE WILLIE'S- 614 14th St.- 11:37am- $8.95

Willie's opened while I was working downtown, but their lunch prices were much higher than Chef Edwards, so I never bothered checking them out. The old decor was something to behold. One of the walls had murals that featured crudely-painted likenesses of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ronald Reagan. Those masterworks were rendered either by a mental patient, or by somebody born without arms. Willie's has long since been renovated, possibly after undergoing a management change, as the word "Texas" used to appear in the name of the restaurant. These days, the interior is appointed with a big-screen TV (tuned to ESPN) and a painting that blatantly rips off Ernie Barnes' "Sugar Shack," a piece best known from the credits of Good Times.

Here's Barnes' original:

Here's the knockoff (not by Barnes):

We were here mere minutes before the lunch hour, so I was shocked to find Willie's deserted, save for one woman eating solo. The prices are no longer out of step with Chef Edwards, so Willie's should have been more crowded than this. The lack of clientele didn't seem promising, but the meat was actually decent. The brisket was shredded in long pieces, rather than the small chunks I received at Chef Edwards, and there were a lot of crispy ends. The portion was slightly smaller than Chef's, but the meat was somewhat leaner than Chef's, so it definitely a mixed blessing. The sauce was a touch non-descript. Neither as hot nor as sweet as the Chef's sauce, Willie's sauce was simply less flavorful in general- totally acceptable, but not noteworthy. If the meat was richer and more deeply-seasoned, the subtle sauce would have worked, but Willie's meat was also on the understated end of the spectrum. A bolder sauce would have provided a better compliment. I ordered a side of collard greens. They were the star of the show here- heavy with bacon/pork flavor and absent the grittiness or bitterness often present in this dish. I have one other qualm about this meal. The ubiquitous 2-slices-of-whole-wheat-bread-in-a-baggie included the heel from the loaf! Yes, the heel! From some crummy off-brand loaf you'd buy at a liquor store or find in the cafeteria of a nursing home. I realize the heel tastes exactly the same as all the other crappy slices in a cheapo loaf, but nobody wants the heel of shit quality bread. It is just bad form. Throw the heel away, for chrissake. You will not miss it. If you truly think that serving heels is what will keep your business afloat, you've got a faulty business plan, chum.

I have no problem with this place, per se, but I see no real reason to eat here or at any unmemorable BBQ joint, for that matter. Bay Area BBQ is just too expensive to settle for mediocrity- unless the joint has an "outsider artist's" rendering of Ronald Reagan on the wall next to MLK's calming visage. I can excuse a lot of missteps in the midst of that kind of genius.


Chilebrown said...

Glad your back.

W. Blake Gray said...

I just saw the short film about you, and was curious enough to look at your blog.

I don't understand why you have to eat at 8 places in a day. There is no reader service in that. If you want to compare 8 different pupusa places and tell us the best, I get that. And I'd like to read that. But this system is unhealthy and self-indulgent. If people read this blog, they are laughing at you, not with you. You are prostituting your health and digestive system, and people cheering you on are not your friends.

If I were to write a positive comment, I would be encouraging you to continue slowly killing yourself with this occasional binge diet. Instead, I'm writing to do the opposite.

You're a writer. You have some talent. But you have lost touch with the idea of writing for an audience. What makes you think most people want to read what your fecal matter looks like?

From another angle, you have limited your audience to people who can look at such entries and not immediately want to surf somewhere else. You have developed an entire audience of people who don't mind reading descriptions of individual bowel movements. I don't want to be there if you ever arrange a meet-up.

You could write more often if you ate, say, 3 different pupusas at a time and compared them. And people in your area would be interested in your point of view. And you might even be able to figure out some way to make money with food writing.

I don't know you. If you want to keep slowly killing yourself and describing your bowel movements, that is your prerogative. But you could do something different, changing very little, and be much more interesting. I'm writing this comment to encourage you to do so. Feel free to delete it if you wish.

Rev. Biggles said...

I can't believe you could possibly be any more interestint and/or perfect. Thank you so much for your time and interest in delivering what every human requires on a semi-regular basis. How many other blogs in the universe has a bowel movement named after me? That's right, NONE !!! Roll on brother man, 8 is a beautiful number.

xo, Biggles

Chilebrown said...

IEM I just want to throw my two cents in. Mr. Gray, I think you are wrong and just do not get it. Yes, you are a writer, but IEM fills the void of
CRAP (Where else can you get a bowel movement named after you?) that spills from the daily media. IEM is unique and the descriptions of the various eating venues are very informative and most importantly FUN!

Mitch Cardwell said...

Interesting blog A: Guy goes to 8 different restaurants in a day, comparing/contrasting a selected dish and consuming 8 servings in a feat of strength/ridiculousness.

Interesting blog B: Guy writes about wine, wears sandals.

I'm gonna go with A...

Inhuman Eating Machine said...

This Gray guy stands for everything I hate in the Bay Area, the food world, and life in general. I will not delete your comment. It will remain for all to see as an example of what I strive against with all of my energy.

I am the anti-YOU. Do not try and understand me. I will not try and understand you.

I am not writing for anybody who doesn't want what I offer. If you don't want to read about binge eating and turds, you are not in my demographic, anymore than I am in yours. I want nothing to do with wine culture. I devote my life to polishing turds, not celebrating perfection.

People who want to read about shit and gluttony are my audience, not you. Go back to your pinot whatever.

Frannypants said...

I bet Mr. Gray has a very active Yelp account. The type of food writing that Gray encourages is the most boring, pointless, self-indulgent kind there is. IEM is a food blogging prince among mere mortal, sandal wearing men.