Comic and host of ESPNU’s Road Trip Jonathan Drubner is also head writer and co-producer of the ESPY Awards. His natural wit on TV or stand up extends down to even the details of his resume, where he describes his “hair: brown, eyes: hypnotizing.” Drubner has the very fun job of visiting the best sporting events in the country, kicking it with players and coaches and seeing much of the U.S. Check out Drubner’s favorite places in the country, including where to get the best fried chicken!
I’ve hit close to 40 different college towns over the course of four years hosting ESPN Road Trip, but…my favorite place in the U.S. to visit is…New Orleans. No offense, college (or NYC or Miami or LA or Vegas), but NOLA is the last truly authentic, soulful place in America, unaffected by pop culture or the hipster epidemic. The people, food, music, and cocktails are all top shelf. Plus there’s gambling. And madness in every direction. And the efforts to rebuild post-Katrina have united this community in a way that is beyond inspiring. I might have to move there.
The first thing I do when I go to New Orleans is…a mystery. It’s all one big delicious blur. But I’d hate myself if I went and didn’t eat a burger or filet at Port Of Call, Muffaletta at Serio’s (tell Mike I sent you), Fried Oyster Po Boy at Deanie’s, Pork Belly Sandwich at Butcher, EVERYTHING at Cochon, and Alligator Cheesecake at Jacque Imo’s (go on a Tuesday, then walk next door to the Maple Leaf for Rebirth Brass Band. For real.) Other hits include Herbsaint, Martinique, and Commander’s Palace, which has 25 cent martinis if I remember correctly. Which I might not.
Everyone should visit…Memphis…at least once. Their economy sure could use your dollars. And Memphis delivers. Graceland is truly bananas. Al Green is still preaching, and you’re more than welcome to stop by. Gus’s Fried Chicken is the best in the country (Sorry, Roscoe). Rendezvous Ribs are no joke (I cook whole hogs at the house in LA so I know pork). The weekend of the World BBQ Championships (or any weekend during Memphis In May) is once in a lifetime. The only thing missing is the music scene. Not sure where the heart and soul of Memphis went, but I sure as hell couldn’t find it. Sad.
Boise, Idaho and Palo Alto, CA…are both pleasant surprises. Boise is beautiful. The people are great. And there’s a bar with bikini bullriding. Palo Alto is the home of Stanford University. The people are all geniuses. They should really become their own country. I have nothing to offer them. Neither do you.
My favorite restaurant in the U.S. is…Frank on 2nd Ave between 5th & 6th St in NYC. It’s right around the corner from where I used to live (2nd & 2nd). The Burratta, Tagliata, and Lamb Ragu are all ridiculous. So are the martinis. And the scene is great. Really fun. So fun that all my friends who used to work there have been fired. Hit up McSorley’s afterwards for the best beers in America.
The best place to find…fried catfish is at Moe’s Original Bar B Que in Tuscaloosa. It’s so good. As is the rest of the food. Ask for Tone at the door. Tell him I sent you. Then duck. Also be sure to hit up Dreamland for Ribs, then Gallettes and Innisfree for good times. Then cross the street for messy fries. Roll Mothafucking Tide.
Some great towns people may not know about to visit are…Oxford, Mississippi, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Madison, Wisconsin, and Tallahassee, Florida. Go see college football games there. Especially if you’re single. Seriously. Like right now.
Not sure if Cooper’s Old Time Pit BBQ…is a great truck stop…but a helluva lot of truckers and bikers pass through here, or drive the hour from Austin, and it’s well worth it. It’s home to the best BEEF RIB ever, and good beef ribs are hard to find. It’s on the North Loop 337 in New Braunfels, TX…wherever that is. PS. GO TO AUSTIN (but don’t get suckered into hanging out on 4th street. Wander…)
My favorite airport in the US is…Houston because it’s got tons of restaurants, bars, and stores. And I do most of my shopping at airports.
Sports fans: The can’t-miss sporting event of the century is the Red River Rivalry. Texas -v- Oklahoma. In Dallas. At The Cotton Bowl. On the grounds of the Texas State Fair. Beautiful people eating chicken fried bacon. Hook ‘em meets Boomer! Word is the game will be changing locales after 2015, so time is running out! Get there before it changes for the worse (same thing goes for Cuba)!