Restaurant Draft perfect way to get in the mood for Thanksgiving dinner

Just finished the Restaurant Draft. Results are here.

Initial thoughts: It was awesome. Especially on a day where we are prepping for a huge meal, thinking about food all day really set the mood. This is basically two of my favorite things combined–fantasy sports and food.

We kept track of the snake draft in Google Docs and had a poster board on the floor marking picks by category so everyone could see what they still need and what is already off the board in that category. We also did a live blog of the event, although we had some difficulty with that.

I had my little brother filling out the board. This doesn't reflect rounds, just what positions everyone had already drafted to avoid confusion.

I would do this again with another topic. Everyone had fun doing it.

Here’s my team, round by round.

1-Salvatore’s Italian Garden (Italian) Classic. I had the fourth pick, but Salvatore’s is the Adrian Peterson of the draft.

2-Casino buffet (buffet) I didn’t think there was a lot of depth at this position, so I grabbed a good one early. This is my Antonio Gates.

3-May Wah (Chinese) See #2.

4-Duff’s (American) Best wings in town. Just ask Obama. Fantasy comparison: Peyton Manning.

5-Mighty Taco (fast food) This one was a steal. Great food and didn’t have to get stuck with a McDonald’s or Burger King. Comparison: LeSean McCoy. Waited on him and still got great value.

6-Alethea’s Chocolates (dessert) I love ice cream, so I was happy with this pick. Not a sexy pick, but you know what you’re getting. Comparison: Wes Welker.

7-Olympic restaurant (Greek) There weren’t a lot of Greek places left here, and this was all I could think of. Good pancakes, too. Comparison: You don’t know who else to draft, so umm… Eagles defense.

8-Moe’s Southwest Grill (Mexican) I would take Moe’s over Chipolte. Sorry everyone. Playing favorites here, compares to Fred Jackson.

9-Quaker Stake and Lube (Utility) Solid pick. This place is awesome inside. If you haven’t been to one, you need to go. It’s on Transit. You don’t know what you have unless you see the place. Comparison: Stevie Johnson.

10-Starbucks (coffee) I love frappuccinos. Little bit out there, but price isn’t an issue in fantasy sports, so Starbucks is a winner. Comparison: Terrell Owens.

11-Bagel Jay’s (breakfast) I was really stuck on breakfast places, and I didn’t want to take IHOP. I heard Manhattan Bagel get selected and it gave me this idea. The “Hey, why not?” pick: Mike Vick.

12-Bocce Club (pizza) Everyone took a pizza place early, so I just waited until the end. Can’t go wrong with Bocce club. Waiting everyone out and still getting a great selection? Sounds like Matt Ryan.

We had two extra rounds of utility picks after the 12th round just for fun.

13- Outback Steakhouse. I love steak and I couldn’t believe no one took this. Major steal, even though everyone knows it’s good. The Phillip Rivers of the draft.

14- Hibbard’s Custard. If you’ve ever been to this ice cream place out in Lewiston, you know what I’m talking about. They scoop their soft serve, which sounds odd but it tastes fantastic. They are a good player with limited exposure, so if I wasn’t jonesing for some right now I might say Ryan Fitzpatrick, but I have to go with James Jones.

Keep in mind we haven’t been to every restaurant out there, and everyone likes different things. I know right now there are some restaurants that were criminally left out, such as Anderson’s and P.F. Chang’s. That’s the nature of the beast, sometimes you get in to draft mode and you blank out.

Matt has declared himself the winner of the Restaurant Draft, which is funny because winning things that are supposed to be for fun is usually my thing.

I would like to do more of these in the future. Right now I’m thinking something about Christmas cookies, but that seems a little specific. Never a dull moment on this site… stay tuned.

Restaurant Draft II

Remember this post? Today is a day about food and giving thanks, and we decided it would be appropriate to to have our Restaurant Draft today.

Follow the live blog: Restaurant Draft

Here are the categories again:

Cuisine

-Italian
-Greek
-Mexican
-Chinese
-American

Specialty

-Breakfast
-Coffee houses
-Fast food
-Pizzerias
-Buffets
-Dessert
-Utility

Chance was renamed to utility because it sounds more sporty.

For all discrepancies, we are just going to have to vote on them as they come up. There are too many restaurants and situations to cover them all before we begin.

However, one distinction we made was between pizzerias and Italian cuisine.  If the place is an Italian place that also serves pizza (i.e. Frank’s Sunny Italy), it only counts as an Italian place, not a pizzeria. If it is mainly a pizza place that only sells other stuff to make money (Pizza Hut), it won’t count as an Italian restaurant.

We also considered making a steakhouse division, but opted against it due to lack of options and because it infringes on other categories.

Feel free to comment, I’ll be monitoring the chat throughout. I’ve never ran a Cover It Live chat before, but it seems pretty user-friendly.

Also, we are only using places from Buffalo and immediate surrounding areas. No Rochester for this… sorry Dinosaur BBQ.

You we will also be keeping track of the draft on a Google doc, which can be seen here.

I have a new team to root for

The Kansas City Royals’ Triple-A affiliate announced the results of its Name the Team promotion this week. And let me tell you, I’m excited with the results.  The name and logos are fantastic, but before I get into detail, we need to lay some background.

I don’t think running a blog technically makes you a “writer” in a professional sense, but it’s a fantastic building block along the way. I’m going to school for journalism, and I really like my field. However, it’s still good to have a few backup career options in mind.

At this point in my life, I think I can safely say being a professional athlete is all but out of the question (still holding on to hope). I don’t plan on failing in anything I do, especially something I love like journalism, but before I applied to college they told me I needed to have a few backup plans in mind.

I came up with two: a weatherman and math teacher. I was always good in math and I liked being able to work out difficult problems. Knowing where to factor and what formula to use were a lot like calling the right play and picking apart the zone in football.

When I got to college, my advisor couldn’t understand why a freshman communications major would sign up for advanced calculus in his first semester. I specifically remember the face she gave me in her office. But I never cared what anyone thought about me before, so why start now? I enjoyed the class, but after having a fantastic teacher all throughout high school, a professor from South Korea who learned English as a secondary language kind of turned me away.

My college doesn’t offer any weather or meteorology classes, but if they did I think I might take one. I was always fascinated with weather, and I loved Earth science in high school. Being a weatherman sounds like it would be an awesome job, especially with all the crazy weather we get in Buffalo.

Now if it were that simple, this wouldn’t be a blog post. But I always take things up a notch. What’s more than “just” a weatherman?

How about being a tornado chaser.

A cumulonimbus cloud, sometimes called an anvil cloud. Known for bringing severe weather.

Now there is an awesome job. I’m intrigued by the aura of cumulonimbus clouds and golf ball-sized hail. Tornadoes and tidal waves used to be the wallpaper on my phone. I love watching thunder storms as they roll in, and being a tornado chaser is the logical overachiever’s extension of that pastime.

I know I just said that looking to stick your nose in severe weather instead of running from it is “logical.” Just make like thunder and roll with it.

I’ve never seen a tornado in person, but I always wanted to. I’ve had dreams about tornadoes, actually. I’m not scared in the dreams. Everyone else is freaking out in my mind, and I’m there saying “this is so cool” and noting hail size and determining how much uplift must be occurring. (Again, I’m a dork, but I’m okay with it.)

Okay, now that you know the story behind the story, let’s get back to Kansas City–or rather Omaha, where the minor league team is.

Their contest started back in August, and the finalists were announced in October. There were some really good entries (Funnel Clouds, Sodbusters), and some not so good (The Pride? That name even sucks in the WNBA). I love the playfulness of minor league names–yes, I’m looking at you, Albuquerque Isotopes–but that’s another story.

The winning name for Ohama was the Storm Chasers. I love it. LOVE IT! That region of the country is known for tornado season and severe weather, and given my history, I think the name is fantastic.

The logos are also well-done. A bad logo can really ruin a good team name (ringing any bells?), but luckily, the Storm Chasers don’t fall into that category.

The home cap logo is at the top of the post. It’s a tornado made to look like a baseball, with a bat through it as a nose. I want a hat with that logo (somebody make it happen!). The road hat logo is an “O” for Omaha with a lightning bolt through it, and the alternate logo has the baseball tornado again, this time shaped to form an “S C” for Storm Chasers. The batting practice logo is a combination of the road and alternate. 

Road, Alternate, Batting Practice

These look awesome, in my humble opinion. They were done by Plan B Branding, which is based out of San Diego. I looked around on their site, and all of their stuff seems pretty well-done. All of the numbers they plan to use on the jerseys include some type of lightning bolt, which I think is another awesome addition.

I still love the Bisons and they won’t be dethroned as my favorite minor league team any time soon, but I think I have a new No. 2.

For more info, check out Benjamin Hill’s blog and Plan B Branding’s post about it. Cool stuff.

Some people might say this is a stupid blog post, but to me this is what it’s all about. Something in the sports world caught my interest (and I had some free time for a change), so I wrote about it. I’m the story assigner, editor and copy reader here, so what I say goes. And seriously, somebody get me a hat.

Restaurant Draft

A restaurant draft is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. The Bills had their bye week last Sunday, so my brothers and I decided to use the free time to finally set this thing up and lay the ground rules for the draft.

If you listen to WGR you may be familiar with Schopp and the Bulldog’s actor draft and food draft. This one will run similarly. We will take turns going around the table selecting restaurants, and it will run much like a fantasy football draft.

The difference between WGR’s drafts and this draft though is that we have “positions” to fill. While the talk show draftees just tried to assemble an all-star team, competitors in this draft will need to round out their rosters with restaurants from several major categories.

Here’s what we came up with:

Cuisine

-Italian
-Greek
-Mexican
-Chinese
-American

Specialty

-Breakfast
-Coffee houses
-Fast food
-Pizzerias
-Buffets
-Dessert
-Chance

Did you ever play Yahtzee? That’s what the chance category is. If you want to think of it in terms of fantasy football, that’s your flex spot.

We still haven’t decided how many of each position you will need yet. However, it seems logical to allot for more Italian restaurants than buffets, for example.

I’m positive there will be some gray areas and conflicts that will arise once we begin the draft. When a debate arises, we will discuss it on the spot. That’s the only way to do it; we can’t foresee every problem.

Feel free to comment below and add a suggestion, any help is good help. The draftees are currently myself and my brothers, but if you would like to join in the draft we could consider adding more teams.

Stay tuned for more info. This is going to be awesome.

Week 1 NFL picks

Every Friday in the paper, The Buffalo News publishes its football picks. And every Friday when I read the paper, I think I can do better.    

Now that I’m the sports editor for a newspaper and a bona-fide blogger, I guess it’s time to put my money where my mouth is–or at least my pride. I’ve never picked games against the spread before, but how hard could it be? Famous last words if I suck, famous first words if I’m good.    

Home teams in CAPS. Read ’em and weep.   

BUFFALO (+3) over Miami
I have a hard time picking against my team, no matter how dire the situation. But is Chad Henne really the quarterback of the future for Miami? Can Ricky Williams hold up? If the Bills can prevent the big play to Brandon Marshall, they have a shot. Squish the Fish! You know that Wildcat’s about to get neutered!    

Some guy carved this about five years ago. Clearly, awesomeness does not depreciate over time.

NY GIANTS (-6.5) over Carolina
I like Eli, and I like Carolina’s duo ground threat. Matt Moore hasn’t been horrible in replacing Jake Delhomme, but nobody who breaks their arm playing flag football gets to win week 1 on the road, let alone get within a touchdown.    

Atlanta (-2.5) over PITTSBURGH
Up on Matt Ryan, down on anyone under center for the Steelers not named Roethlisberger. Rashard Mendenhall, who?    

CHICAGO (-6.5) over Detroit
Look out for Cutler to Aromashodu. I mean it. Still pretty mad at Matt Forte for killing my fantasy team last year, but Megatron wasn’t great either.    

Cincinnati (+4.5) over NEW ENGLAND
I feel like I’m making a mistake here, and the fact that the Bengals are the sexy pick for the year only makes matters worse. I’m not sure if four and a half points is enough to overcome the Belichick factor, but Cinci’s my pick and I’m sticking with them.    

TAMPA BAY (-3) over Cleveland
Yikes. The good news is that neither of these teams will go 0-16 this year. The bad news is one of them will “earn” a win. It looks like Josh Freeman will play, and I’ll take him over Delhomme, who passed for just 65 yards last year against the Bucs.    

Denver (+2.5) over JACKSONVILLE
Not a big fan of David Garrard, and Kyle Orton actually wasn’t as bad last year as commonly believed. Demaryius Thomas could be the next Brandon Marshall.    

Indianapolis (-2.5) over HOUSTON
This game gives me problems. I reallllyyy like the Texans this year, but Indi hasn’t lost much. Game could be decided by a late field goal, but I give the AFC champs the nudge.    

TENNESSEE (-6.5) over Oakland (Best Bet)
I’ll settle for a clean mouth here and just say Oakland is not a good football team.  Chris Johnson rolls start to finish.    

Green Bay (-3) over PHILADELPHIA
Another game I’m struggling with. I like Kevin Kolb and LeSean McCoy a lot this year, but Aaron Rodgers and the Pack are just too much in the end.    

San Francisco (-3) over SEATTLE
I love Mike Singletary and I love Frank Gore. Pete Carroll joined Mark McGwire this summer in the “timing is everything” Hall of Fame, but I don’t think Matt Hasselback will be on the ballot any time soon.    

Arizona (-4) over ST. LOUIS
See also: “Oakland.” Even with Derek Anderson at the helm, the Cardinals have enough to spoil Sam Bradford’s debut.    

Dallas (-3.5) over WASHINGTON
Washington became the only team in history last year to start the season off against six consecutive winless teams, and went just 2-4 in the process. They upgraded at QB by bringing in Donovan McNabb to replace Jason Campbell, but filling in one hole just exposes others. Dallas has the potential to be lethal this season, and I like Tony Romo to lead the ‘Boys to victory.    

Baltimore (+2.5) over NY JETS
The Ravens are another team this year that I really, really like. I’m big on Joe Flacco, especially now that they added T.J. Who’syourmama. I may be looking for reasons to hate on the Jets because they’re a division opponent, but they’re banking on a QB who threw for 200 yards only four times last year and added a whopping 30 turnovers, as well as a running back who ran for only 540 yards and two TDs last season. Anquan Boldin could be on of the first receivers not to get voted off Revis Island.    

KANSAS CITY (+4.5) over San Diego
Whoa! Kansas City is a slight complete reach here, but there’s something about San Diego I don’t like this year. Plus I love Jamaal Charles. I still don’t think Matt Cassel is that good, but anything can happen on Monday Night Football.    

Let’s hear it. Comment below.