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Free-For-All Friday: Power to the People

In phase two of operation Iowa City Eat-A-Palooza, we are giving the power to the people. Vote on your top restaurant choices to build the bracket. It’s your American duty!

Hello Jerry: Well, here we are. It’s really, really, really happening. The BHGP Slack brain child that evolved from Iowa Eats to Iowa-Eat-a-Palooza/#ThatsFood is about to begin. I can’t believe we are about to pull off the greatest bracket in the history of brackets.

I think I’m just as excited for the “selection show” next week as I was for Selection Sunday back in 2013 when Iowa FINALLY made their way back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in basically forever.

How are you feeling right now? Can you believe we talked our editors into this? What has you more excited to see happen? Bluebird annihilating Cramburg Inn down in the Breakfast side of the bracket or Bluebird ultimately losing to Pancheros in the finals?

JPinIC: Well, I’m still not convinced they know we are doing this. I think I may be muted in Slack after taking the thing over with link and gif dumps. But here we are nonetheless. And you better believe I’m hyped. Brackets. Food. Random, meaningless discussion. This is my wheelhouse, Jerry.

I’m really interested to see how this all plays out. I think people have some pretty strong opinions on these places. You’re either a self-respecting human being and are #TeamHamburg or you live a sad life of fruit and garnishment over substance on #TeamBluebird (side note: there’s a small part of me that wishes I was on #TeamBluebird just so I could advocate for #BirdIsTheWord - the song is by my mom’s cousin #humblebrag - and I promise to be done bombarding you with hashtags… maybe). But what happens when it’s one of those breakfast giants going up against a blueblood like Pancheros?

The way we are setting up these brackets, the seeding will be based on votes in the poll we are releasing today, but once you get into individual matchups, things could get really interesting. We all can agree that Pancheros is awesome. It’s a clear favorite in the Other/2am category, but what happens when it faces off against another heavyweight? Much like looking at the College Football Playoff, this will come down to matchups.

Speaking of, if you are assigning each of these categories, just with a cursory glance at some of the restaurants in each of them, which college football conference do they look like?

Hello Jerry: I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve listened to Bird is the Word almost 18 times while you wrote those last few paragraphs. Therefore, I hereby claim and dib that #BirdistheWord and Bird is the Word are the official hashtag and song for all of us that LOVE fruit with our delectable breakfast inside a restaurant that allows us to indulge in carbs and greasy meats with our elbows out without the risk of being sued for assault.

Sorry ‘bout it JP, but your family is now Team Bluebird. And to think, I thought you and I learned valuable lessons in college watching the Fast franchise. You never turn your back on family!

Now, to your question about the college football conferences… I can’t help but think that the “Breakfast” and “Other” categories are the Eat-a-Palooza versions of the SEC and Big Ten. Watching the inevitable battle between Bluebird and Cramburg is going to be like Alabama (obviously Cramburg) and Auburn (definitely Bluebird) from 2013.

I can’t wait to post a video of me screaming “OH! MY! GAWD! BLUEBIRD IS GOING TO WIN THE FOOTBALL GAME! BLUEBIRD IS GOING TO WIN THE FOOTBALL GAME!” once it happens:

Now, how is the “Other” category like the Big Ten? I’m so glad I made you ask. Pancheros vs. Mesa is easily the food version of the Michigan and Ohio State rivalry. Not only do they share the same block (aka state line), troves of angry drunk kids file into those restaurants (stadiums) and end up fighting each other!

Am I right or am I right?

JPinIC: I’m really struggling internally here. I’d like to say the SEC is Breakfast as you have. Both are top-heavy with some serious heavy hitters leading the way. Hamburg is pretty clearly Bama and Bluebird is LSU or whoever else you want to call second-best in a given year. You even have Hy-Vee as a Texas A&M-type. They’ve been good for a while, but they REALLY entered the breakfast scene (SEC) recently with some major upgrades.

And then we have the likes of the SEC East and its atrociousness and that’s where I struggle to find a true comparison. I just love breakfast too much, man. Donuts? Don’t care where they are from, they are all amazing in their own way. Casey’s breakfast pizza? Not exactly a traditional power, but damn it if it isn’t amazing. They aren’t all on par with the top two, but I don’t think any of them are truly overrated the way the vast majority of the SEC is.

You know what? I think I may have just talked myself into Breakfast being the Big Ten. Yeah, that just happened. Gimme Hamburg and Bluebird as Ohio State and Michigan (if you’re taking #BirdIsTheWord I’m proclaiming it THEE Hamburg Inn). Fill in from there with slightly lesser but all pretty damn good options. And Rutgers.

I suppose the SEC is more like the Other category. You have a real power at the top with Bama and Pancheros and then a bunch of other options that sound great when you’re on the Ped Mall at 2am but you wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole mid-day. Yeah, I’m going with that.

I guess that leaves the ACC and Pac 12 as Lunch and Dinner. Lots of options. Some pretty solid ones, nothing that blows you away the way the top of the other categories do. Just good, not great. Sure.

And that leaves the Big 12 as the Brunch category. “But JP!” You say. “There ISN’T a brunch category!” Exactly. The Big 12 will soon meet the same fate. Split up into the Breakfast and Lunch regions or left out altogether. And play some damn defense already, would ya?

Now, what were we posting about again?

Hello Jerry: Damn, I think you’re right. Regardless, I’m still screaming “BLUEBIRD IS GOING TO WIN THE FOOTBALL GAME!” though. You can’t stop me. Nobody can stop me.

Back to reality here. This part is very important so I need the readers to take this very very seriously:

Below is the OFFICIAL Iowa City Eat-A-Palooza Poll. It’s pretty much the second most important poll outside of the one that has The Rock winning the 2020 presidential election (just kidding... kinda). You will see ALL of the restaurants that we were able to collect from your comments/tweets/Facebook comments from our previous post introducing this summer long battle for food supremacy (of course, we threw a few extras in there from the BHGP staff). What we need from all of the award winning readers and commenters is to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE fill it out. We will be taking the votes from this and officially seeding 36-total restaurants (which will be released in next weeks FFF).

Anything else I need to mention JP?

JPinIC: Not to sound like a broken record, but PUHLEASE take a few minutes to make your selections within this form. As the curator of this poll, you’ll need to choose your top 10 for each category, which will give us the total tally so we can seed the top options for each. Next week we’ll reveal the completed bracket AND begin dropping some resumes on you.

Oh, and don’t forget that the official hashtag for BHGP’s Iowa City Eat-A-Palooza is #ThatsFood so keep sending tweets our way (@JPinIC_BHGP, @JerryScherwin, @BHGP).

Hello Jerry: For my Bluebirders out there, make sure you throw in #BirdistheWord just to rub it in JP’s face that his family’s song is forever ours because I dibbed it.

And nobody can argue against dibs. NOBODY.

JPinIC: Anti-dibs!

Eat on people.