On what seems to have been the greatest whim ever, Nicole and Cousin Jay made the turnpike trek out to the city of our alma mater, Bowling Green, yesterday. Their mission was to retrieve the most delicious food items offered by the myriad of amazing eateries in that sleepy little college town. As it has been several year since I last visited BG, naturally I was hungry for some of my favorite collegiate munchies and began considering my order.
My first thought was of Mr. Spots, a small chain of regional sandwich shops specializing in one of the best Philly Cheese Steaks out side of Philadelphia. Unfortunately a greasy, cheese soaked sandwich doesn’t make the best travel companion so I had to nix that (side note, does anyone know of a good cheese steak in Cleveland? I’ve yet to find one). My next thought was a Campus Polleyes Super-Mug of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. A whole liter of delicious hoppy goodness and a huge mug that could double as weight training equipment. Alas, open container laws and flat, warm beer are two of my greatest pet peeves so this idea, too, went by the wayside. What’s a hungry alumnus to do?
But thinking of Polleyes got me thinking more, and it dawned on me: Stuffed Fucking Breadsticks! Fellow alumni, friends of Falcons, and family should all know about the magic of Campus Polleyes’ stuffed breadsticks, but for those who missed out on the magical powers of Northwest Ohio’s “World Famous” (according to their menu) Stuffed Breadsticks let me let you in. The stuffed breadstick is pretty straight forward menu option; a sheet of bread dough is layered with cheese and the customer’s choice of pizza toppings. Chicken and roast beef are likely the two most popular, but almost anything that can go on a pizza can go in a bread stick. While the chicken and cheese was a long time favorite of mine, this go round I opted for the taco style. In this iteration, the breadstick is filled with Colby-Jack cheese and seasoned ground beef. After a stint in the oven, the breadsticks are served with optional garlic butter on top (delicious) and customer’s choice of pizza sauce, house made ranch, nacho cheese, or barbeque sauce. The ranch and the cheese are the most delicious so I chose those two to accompany my sticks.
And were they as good as I remember? You bet! The ground beef is still a little spicy and delicious and the tang of the Colby-Jack adds a nice little bite that mozzarella might not. The nacho cheese is, well, the nacho cheese sauce you’re likely to find at a gas station or ball park, but that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious, in fact it might be one of the best condiments ever despite it lacking any real food qualities. And the ranch dressing is still creamy, delicious, and appropriately understated, unlike the white sludge for sale in most supermarkets.
The second course of this nostalgia feast came from the one and only Myles’ Pizza Pub. An operational monument to extreme foods Myles’ loads and re-loads all their pizzas with double or triple the amount of toppings normally found on a pizza then tops their thick crusted beauties with handfuls of cheese. Not New York and not Chicago, Myles’ is a pizza unto itself and a must try for any/all pizza aficionado. Myles’ menu boasts a huge array of sides (tomato bread is a popular favorite), massive salads, and incredible pizzas. But the stars of the Myles’ line up are the “Lovers Pizzas.” To clarify, these pizzas are for lovers of their toppings and not aphrodisiacs, unless of course feeling bloated and overstuffed is your idea of sexy time. And with 9 in the line the Lovers Pizzas offer something for everyone. The Breakfast Lovers is topped with scrambled eggs and breakfast meats, the Mexico Lovers mixes seasoned ground beef and spicy sausage in tangy pizza salsa then tops off with all the usual taco fillers (lettuce, tomatoes, olives, etc.), the Wild-West Lovers is cram jammed with bacon, mushrooms, and ground buffalo (when available, otherwise it’s ground beef). But my favorite has always been the Spice Lovers. With a massive layer of spicy pepperoni, salami, and homemade Italian sausage sandwiched between Myles’ perfection-nearing sauce and mound of cheese, this pizza packs plenty of pleasing zing into every bite. Topped with a little crushed red pepper and this is pizza heaven. Should you leave Myles’ Pizza Pub anything short of filled to bursting, the Myles family also operates BG’s Dairy Queen and approaches the Blizzard and sundae making business in the same manner they make their pizzas: bigger, better, more. A small blizzard at Myles’ DQ is equivalent to the mediums at most other franchises, and has as much of your topping of choice mixed in as is structurally possible.
Rounding out this hearty cast of characters is a lesser known, but my no means less delicious component of the Bowling Green food community: the hummus and pita chips from South Side 6. SS6 has been a part of the BG community for years and for most of that time they were simply a beverage store offering up a variety of beers and sodas on the southern edge of town. Around 2003 or so the owners of SS6, a family from the Middle East, added a food service counter to mix and started serving up gyros, falafel, and other fare from that region. Everything I sampled from there was pretty outstanding, especially the falafel pita roll and the fries with tangy garlic sauce, but the hidden jewels on the South Side 6 menu are the hummus and pita chips. The hummus seems simple enough, but there’s something extra special about it I’ve never been able to put my finger on. It makes almost anything that’s dipped into it mouthwateringly delicious, and my guess is that it has extra garlic and tahini in it. The pita chips SS6 offers by the bag full have something special about them, too, but their greatness is easier to pin down. First of all they’re fried crisp giving them a texture similar to a tortilla chip, but they’re also topped with a savory and slightly spicy herb and spice mix that certainly contains basil, oregano, garlic and onion powders, and sesame seeds. There’s got to more to it than than that, but anything subtler gets lost in the mélange of other spices and the hummus. South Side 6 pita and hummus makes a great snack or side, but it’s good enough that I’ve made meals out of it more than once.
And how does one wash down a feast of such epic proportions? With no Super-Mugs or Mini-Pitchers available, we opted for the suds that so often filled the aforementioned chalices: Old Speckled Hen and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Old Speckled Hen’s balance of malt and hops is the perfect accompaniment to almost any hearty meal, and Sierra Nevada’s extreme hop bite is an excellent foil to the bold flavors in these food favorites.
This is but a small sampling of the delicious fare sustaining college students and townies alike in BG, but these are some of the most notable contributors to my freshman, sophomore, and junior fifteens. Eating them again I was transported back to a simpler time. While I can never return to those days again, I can always relive the memories with a few bites of food and a few sips of beer!