Kobe Bryant’s Culinary Farewell Tour rolls on, and in this installment, Kobe gets some hearty Midwest meat, some perfectly smoked southern barbecue, and the best sandwich on the planet.
Milwaukee (Lakers vs. Bucks 2/22)
(Ed Note: we weren’t able to publish this last night, but Kobe should still check these spots out if he’s ever back in Milwaukee.)
What made Milwaukee famous? Why, the food, of course. Since the late 1800s, Milwaukee has had a large German population. As a result, German cuisine has been a staple of the city for quite some time. Kobe’s been to Germany as his perpetually broken down knee can attest, so we wanted to give him as authentic of an experience as possible.
A staple of Milwaukee, Mader’s is German in both cuisine and atmosphere. It sports a $3 million suits of armor collection, the largest collection of Hummel tchotchkes in the United States, and countless beer steins. As for the food, well, we hope Kobe loves schnitzel, sauerbraten and rippchen, because Mader’s has all of them to spare. You know what, Kobe? You’re retiring. Have a ball. Order the Bavarian sampler and just go nuts.
Karl’s Country Market
We know you’re on a tight schedule, Kobe, but because the Lakers have made it clear that this season is all about you and not about developing their young talent, which absolutely makes sense, I’m sure they’ll have no problem with you taking the team bus on a quick detour to Karl’s Country Market, home to some of Wisconsin’s finest sausages. If you want to go true Milwaukee, then grab some bratwurst. If you’re not feeling brats, don’t worry, Karl’s has such a wide range of sausages – from blood sausages to kielbasa – and you’re sure to find one that’ll sate your sausage starvation.
Memphis (Lakers vs. Grizzlies, 2/24)
Hey, Kobe, did you have enough barbecue in San Antonio? Don’t bother answering, we already know you’re craving more. Luckily for you, you’re about to stop off in another one of the nation’s barbecue capitals. Memphis BBQ is slow-cooked in a pit with either a dry or wet rub. The dry rub is a mix of salt and various spices rubbed onto the meat before cooking, while the wet rub is sauce spread on the ribs (or other meat) before, after, and during the cooking process.
So, remember when we told you all about what defines Memphis BBQ? Well, Rendezvous, despite being one of the most famous (if not a bit tourist-y) barbecue joints in Memphis, doesn’t actually fulfill those requirements. Their ribs are cooked over charcoal, not pit-smoked. Still, there’s a reason it’s a BBQ landmark in a city full of barbecue choices. Presidents and celebrities alike have graced the halls of Rendezvous, so Kobe will feel right at home. Pig out on some ribs, Bean.
Payne’s Original Bar-B-Q
If Kobe wants an alternative, more authentic barbecue option, he need only look to Payne’s. We could spend a few more sentences describing the decor and charm of the place…or we could just let their signature sandwich do the talking: Pork sandwich served chopped or sliced, with mild or hot sauce, with a funky mustard green slaw.
Denver (Lakers vs. Nuggets, 3/2)
Denver’s in the midst of a culinary explosion. What used to be a city known mostly for its beer and solid Mexican food is now among the nation’s best cities for foodies. With that in mind, we’re going to eschew the traditional dish of Denver – green chile, though if Kobe wants some, he can head over to Santiago’s for a heart-warming bowl – and send Kobe to two of the best overall places to eat in town.
Table 6 isn’t a member of Denver’s aforementioned food boom. The slightly tucked-away restaurant has been hidden in plain sight on 6th and Clarkson for more than 10 years. While the chefs may have changed over the years, the quality of the food hasn’t. Their expertly prepared wine list goes perfectly with their upscale American fare, and the atmosphere is at once intimate and comfortable. Though their menu changes constantly, duck is their specialty, so when you see it, order it.
Curtis Park Deli
It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but step inside the cream-colored door and you’ll be welcomed by the nicest restaurant staff in the world and the best sandwich you’ll ever have. Chat up the owner and cooks for a moment, then indulge in whichever sandwich strikes your fancy – they’re all delicious, but we suggest the American (oven roasted turkey, tomato, red onion, house made aioli, mixed greens, smoked gouda). Finish off with a chocolate chip cookie, then walk out happier than you’ve ever been in your life.