Bourbon Blitz – Week 3; September 11, 2023

I would be remiss if I did not open this week’s Blitz with a note of remembrance of the tragic events of September 11th. Regardless of when you read this, please take a moment to reflect the lives lost, the heroes who emerged, and the resilience of our nation in the face of tragedy.

The highlight of this week for me took place on the shores of Lake Erie, where the Cleveland Browns dominated Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals 24-3. It’s Cleveland’s first opening day home victory since 2004 and it was sweeter than Burrow’s shiny new $275 million contract.

I decided to watch the game with the rest of the Chi-Town Dawg Pound — the largest Browns backers club outside of Cleveland. The watch party takes place at Old Crow Smokehouse in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood. The Cubs were playing on this warm sunny afternoon, too (a victory over the Diamondbacks) so it was quite the festive atmosphere. If you’ve never been, it’s quite the treat… I mean where else do you have to bark for your raffle prize, can order 2-4-1 bombs as the house DJ spins up Barbera Streisand by Duck Sauce every time the Browns score a touchdown, and hop in a victory conga line (and yes, I know that reads like a mad-lib, but if you know, you know). 

Sadly, just a few miles south of us on Lake Michigan, the Bears lost their home opener to the new-look Packers. I still have high hope that former Buckeye and current Bears quarterback Justin Fields can get some support from the rest of the team.

I also want to share some excitement for the Dan Campbell and the Lions for their road opening win against the Chiefs Thursday night. If you watched HBO’s Hard Knocks last year, there is no way you didn’t fall in love with Campbell and his approach to coaching. It’s hard for me to root for a team in Michigan, but these guys look like they will be fun to watch.

Switching to college football, my Buckeyes handled their business against the Penguins of Youngstown State.  They don’t look like a team ready to make a run at the natty, but there is still a lot of football to be played. My favorite part about this game was learning that Jim Tressel (former Ohio State football coach, tattoo supporter, retiring Youngstown State president, and sweater vest aficionado) appears to have a line of Nike sweater vests. If you are looking for fashion advice, I would call this THE look of the season (pro-tip: do not take fashion advice from me). 

Photo:  USA TODAY Sports

I would be remiss if I didn’t call out the big win for the Texas Longhorns against Alabama. Austin is a great college town and it’s great to see their program on the upswing. Plus, I always love it when Alabama loses.

This weekend was very beer heavy for me… two games at backers bars, a concert, and late night pizza.  Anything stronger is a recipe for disaster. However, if you want a perfect dinner combination, look no further than my Friday night celebration at Bavette’s Steakhouse

I started with a Oaxacan Old Fashion, featuring Ilegal Mezcal. This is one of my favorite cocktails on the menu. While not a traditional old fashioned, the rich earthy tones of the mezcal show through nicely to create a savory cocktail to accompany any meal. 

As far as what to pair with a drink like that, anything on the Bavette’s menu would do, but my go-to is their standard 10oz fillet, cooked medium rare. Of all of the steakhouses in Chicago, we keep coming back here because of the consistency — every time, my steak is cooked to perfection. And to make the experience more unique, the menu is diverse enough to keep me wanting to explore. (Have you ever had a fried chicken appetizer before a steak? No? Trust me, you will not be disappointed.)

Next week we have one last tune-up game for the Buckeyes as they take on the Big Red of Western Kentucky. I hope this thing comes to Columbus, if for no other reason than to help Brutus in one of the TV timeout activities where random students put on knockerballs and compete in a relay race. Who doesn’t want to see more mascots involved in this?

As we wrap up, remember to tune in every week to the Bourbon Blitz for your fix of football, food, and drinks. Don’t forget, it’s 6:31 pm, and M*ch*g*n still sucks.  Cheers and see you soon.

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