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#89. My favorite meal is the Dinner of Champions.

Or as I like to call it, 'Wings and nachos and beer, oh my!'

There's really not much else to say about it, I suppose. The tradition started in grad school, when one particular friend and I always seemed to be out on a Tuesday or Thursday night drinking, and always seemed to have forgotten to eat dinner before hitting the town. And what were we gonna do? Eat salads? I laugh at your salads. Ha! Ha ha!

No, you just don't eat salads with cheap beer. It just doesn't happen. And cheap beer was all we were gonna be drinking, so the libation sort of drove the menu on those nights. The first few times, we ordered various items -- potato skins made an appearance, we may have had fried cheese, and I think I remember the occasional jalepeno popper. But the staples were mile-high nachos and Buffalo chicken wings. Most every bar had 'em, and they're hard to really screw up.

Oh, some were better than others, of course. At the time, CJ Barney's (now defunct after one too many under-age drinking busts) over by the Pitt campus had the best nachos, and Mitchell's, close to my apartment, took the prize for wings. But we didn't care. We couldn't afford to be too picky, so we ate whereever the beer was cheap that night, or where our friends were meeting us later.

And now, many years later, the Dinner of Champions is alive and well. I don't have it as often these days, but there are times that I can talk my wife and/or a couple of friends into stepping into that hedonistic paradise and letting loose for a while. Football games are a good incentive; basketball tournaments work pretty well, too. But when you have the Dinner of Champions in front of you, it's not about the sports, or whatever occasion has brought you to this time and place. Before you is the food of kings! Nectar of the gods! Your duty is but to eat and drink and eat some more. You may feel the effects later -- and at my age, you certainly will -- but for a few all-too-brief moments, you can be twenty-two again, munching and slopping and slurping with abandon. Just like the old days. And like a true Champion. Yawp!

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