I recently started a new project called Snacks and Snacks with a good pal of mine, Aric S. Queen. I've written about Aric on this blog before regarding the travel app iPi, for which he is a spokesperson (and which is apparently soon to be relaunched in new and improved form, so look out for that). These days Aric is sailing (or motoring...it's hard to tell at this point) south along the Atlantic coast on the first leg of what--he says, anyway--will be a journey around the world selling lemonade from a sailboat. He's calling the project The Maritime Lemonade Stand.
We're not sure what exactly Snacks and Snacks is yet. So far it's just sort of a conversation, about snacks, of course. But it all started--predictably over a cocktail--when we decided to begin giving out an annual Snack of the Year Award. For a full list of our top five snacks of the year check us out on Facebook. And now, without further ado.......
Denver: Here ye, here ye. Today we announce the first annual Denver and Aric's Snack of the Year Award. Seeing how most of our time is spent a] traveling, b] snacking and c] emailing back-and-forth about snacks, it simply made sense to start handing out a "Denver and Aric's Snack of the Year" award. What follows are our top five snacks of the year, one post at a time. I'm not sure the rankings have much significance until you get to the number one top spot, Supa Dupa, HBIC of all snacks: The Snack of the Year. We like snacks. What kind of monster doesn't like snacks?.
Aric: I'll let you somehow explain why this is coming out in late-March, though...
Denver: Well. I've been quite busy finishing up my forthcoming book Hot Sauce Nation. Did I mention that I have a book coming out later this year? It's called Hot Sauce Nation. And you were busy taking pictures of yourself on a dry-docked boat all winter.
#1 Snack of the Year
Aric: My top pick for this year was my top pick for last year and that's incredibly hard to do [see: recent articles on Per Se's decline]. I've photographed it. I've talked about it. I even went off-script while we were filming because it was so good. So get you to Charlotte, NC [one of the most underrated cities in America, by the way] and make reservations at SOUL Gastrolounge. And then - in the same phone call - make absolute sure that they haven't sold out of their Pork Belly & Watermelon Taco. I'd even go for that old passive-aggressive move and get the name of the person you're speaking to just to make sure. And then prepare yourself for fusion gone good. For a taste sensation. For the absolute best snack I've had two years running. I'm not even going to try to impress you with a great description of it - it's all kind of right there in the name. And maybe that's the secret.
Denver: Agreeing on this year's consensus winner for Snack of the Year wasn't hard. It wasn't even a contest. It wasn't even a discussion. With the one-two punch of harmonizing textures and the flavors, Soul's Pork Belly & Watermelon taco is a delicate, unspeakably good, utterly unique, delicious monstrosity. I have nothing more to add here, not because I have no further reflections on the matter, but because my memory of it is more like the hottest one night stand you ever had, all mouths and flesh and moaning in ecstasy and if I go on we're going to give a whole new meaning to food porn.
Aric: Exactly. I take back everything I said, Denver. We cool now.
Aric: So congrats to everyone, but especially SOUL Gastrolounge for being the first recipient of our little award.
Of course, like all things mythical and ineffable and possibly too good to be true (Black holes. Sasquatch. Emotionally stable relationships that include amazing sex. Etc.), Soul's pork belly & watermelon taco proved hard to capture on film. I think we were busy giggling in delight and ooohing and aaahing and failed to grab a good photo. In the bottom left corner of the pic below you can glimpse its magic. If you want more (and trust us, you want more), click here for Google images and eat your heart out.