My jaw hit the pavement the first time I saw the truck. Outside Atlanta's CNN Center was parked a FedEx-sized delivery automobile, painted with the colors of the Mexican flag and the portrait of an African-American man wearing a sombrero right smack in the middle. It bore a tagline, “The Blaxican Mexican Soul Food.”
I knew I had to find this Blaxican.
Before he was known as The Blaxican, William Turner was a Boston, Massachusetts-raised father of two who came to Atlanta in 1992 and today, like many Americans, found himself unemployed. Turner was laid off from his job as the marketing director for a non-profit religious organization a year ago.
So with that background, where did the food come in?
It was a few minutes before 11 a.m. and Bill Adams had two things on his mind: Brunswick stew and cracklin cornbread.
To satisfy his craving for meat stew and fried pig skin, this lifelong Georgia boy made the hour-long drive Tuesday from his home in Griffin to Harold’s Barbecue in south Atlanta. When he and his friends learned this was to be Harold’s last week in business, they made plans for a final pilgrimage.
“Just wanted to stop by for one last meal,” the longtime patron said as he waited in the restaurant’s dusty parking lot for doors to open. He wasn't alone; there were about a dozen others, including a pair of Georgia State Troopers.
“It’s inevitable. Everything changes. Nothing lasts forever,” he said. “We don’t like it but we can’t stop it.”
Bad news, hungry hip-hop fans. As many of you speculated, Bon Rappetite, the world's first rap themed eatery, does not actually exist. The gloriously pun-filled website Bon-Rappetite.com is currently the closest you will get to such dishes as the Waka Flocka Flambe. That's right, if you can stop thinking about the Talib Quali-i you'll have to make it for yourself.
But take heart, because the people behind the site feel your pain. "I wish it were real" says Everett Steele a web designer and one of the co-creators of Bon-Rappetite.com.
The hip-hop fan and Atlien (that's Atlantan to the uninitiated) adds, "I have no desire to be a restaurateur but Ludacris, if you are listening, Usher, Drake come down to Atlanta, give me whatever is in that case or what you keep in that room and I will build a restaurant around it."
Steve Kastenbaum is a CNN Radio National Correspondent, currently covering the New Hampshire primary. He previously wrote about the mystique of the Brooklyn bagel.
A presidential candidate wouldn’t dare campaign in New Hampshire without making a stop at a diner. Sometimes they’ll hit several in one day. As they look over the menu to figure out what suits their tastes, patrons size up the presidential candidates here in the same way.
The Red Arrow Diner sits on a side street in the heart of downtown Manchester. The historic landmark has been here since 1923. There’s almost always a wait for a seat. The corned beef hash and the fried haddock sandwich are favorites among the locals and first timers struggle to eat every bite of the generous tall stack of pancakes.
But they also serve politics here and that’s the real draw. The walls of this old diner are lined with photographs of just about every presidential candidate who ran for office over the past few years, Republican and Democrat.