There’s some high-stakes undercover smuggling going on at the NBA campus that I’m aware of but not invited to participate in. The contraband makes its way through security and is delivered discreetly and packed in small shopping bags, although it’s quite possible the aroma might set off alarms.
We’re talking food here, sweet, succulent, savory, sensory-blasting food that cannot be found within these invisible walls. Look, bless the hearts of the cooks here; they do a tireless job. But seasoning the food, or even keeping it warm, isn’t their specialty.
So some people have decided to order off-campus. That comes at a price; I’ve heard the delivery charge alone is $75. Which means, if you want a pulled pork sandwich from Bubbalou’s Bodacious Barbecue about six miles away, it’ll set you back 83 bucks. Tip not included.
Because the accounting office might frown upon that, I can only dream -- and therefore torture myself -- of ordering takeout from some of my go-to places around the country.
I’d gladly pay the $75 out of pocket if I could order from the following:
Milo + Olive, Santa Monica: The sausage and kale pizza will set you back around $28 but you’ll stop cursing after the first slice. And the sauteed garlic kale on the side is too delicious to be considered healthy.
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, Atlanta & Nashville: Please send me an order of fried wings with medium heat, a-side-a collards and summa dat banana pudding. I’ll be good.
North Italia, various locales: The Tuscan kale salad is all the green I’ll need, and oh well, speaking of knead, add a little white truffle garlic bread.
Bandera, Chicago: Scottish salmon, broccolini and pan-seared cornbread. Wait, I hear they’re closed because of COVID-19, not even offering takeout. Chicago is now the city of Slumped Shoulders.
Cochon, New Orleans: Fried catfish, creamy grits and gumbo. There oughta be a law.
Matt’s in the Market, Seattle: Not only is the food superb, it comes with a gorgeous view of the Puget Sound, which admittedly would be tough for them to place in the takeout delivery bag.
Prime 112, Miami Beach: Confession here. I’ve never eaten at Prime, the go-to place for LeBron and Dwyane Wade during the "Big Three" era in Miami. I was too nervous about expensing that. But right now? What the hell.
Norma’s, New York City: The breakfast is served with high quality and a tab to match, and her hot chocolate seems straight from Willy Wonka’s factory.
La Barbecue, Austin, Texas: I’m not big on red meat but in this part of Texas, if you don’t get some of this ‘cue, they will arrest you.
Irma’s Southwest, Houston: The Mexican food served up here, just a 3-point shot from the Toyota Center, is more authentic than James Harden’s step-back jumper.
There are many, many more menu items from establishments around the country swirling inside my head, making me dizzy, making me hungry. Therefore, I must stop now and make do with the chicken I just pulled from the rack. Someone find me a knife. Make sure it’s sharp.
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