Top 10 lists have been with us for a long, long time. For certain age groups, our earliest memories are of the Top 40 (usually with Casey Kasem). Obviously in sports it’s all about the list, right? Pre-season number ones, Top 25’s and the all-important college playoff rankings determining the final four of football.
Since it is the age of the internet and everyone has to make a top 10 list here is “Mark Spencer’s Top 10 Things He Just Thought About”…list.
That’s right. I am starting with 10 to build tension. Can you feel it growing? I’m not even sure if I spelled this word correctly but I do know shawarma is absolutely delicious. Not only is the word really fun to say but it also taught me an important lesson in life – even if you have no idea what a word on a menu or restaurant means, check it out because they might make some of the most delicious chicken you’ve ever had.
9. Tulane Green Wave Bowling
Don’t be surprised to see Tulane’s AD Troy Dannen with a little extra pep in his step heading into the new year as the winter sports program at Tulane has put together a strong season. Obviously, everyone knows that Tulane football surged to qualify for The Cure Bowl where they will take on the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Dec. 15 at 12:30 p.m.
What you may not know is that the Tulane bowling team – yes, I said bowling team – ranks in the top 10 in college, sitting in the sixth spot, a program best. If you have a Big Lebowski joke now is the time to make it, man. It’s not a bowl per se but just as awesome is the Green Wave’s women’s volleyball team appearance tonight in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship against Iowa State, the team’s first ever championship appearance. Kudos to coach Jim Barnes who, in his second year, has quickly energized the program and set it up for future success. Watch the game tonight starting at 6:20 p.m.
8. Secret Bars That You’re Afraid To Write About
I might have a fever so I’m saying crazy things at this point, which is the only reason I would tell you about how much I love the Pelican Lounge on Foucher Street. I’m usually the type to keep great bars (especially ones with a killer backyard and old-school Nintendo) to myself but, hey, Merry Christmas, y’all.
7. Tomodachi Sushi
Here’s one that you will probably never see. Tomodachi is a sushi joint in a north Austin strip mall that even local Austinites don’t know about. I haven’t been in Austin for years but I brought this restaurant up to a friend of mine the other day and now find myself staring out the window dreaming about quail eggs, roe and the Miller Roll.
6. The Kimchi Burger at Mint
Hell, maybe I’m just hungry. Anyway, this burger is threatening to knock off Company Burger as my fave in New Orleans. The kimchi that they lay across the top makes it impossible for this not to be the juiciest burger you’ve had in town. Mint is one of those places you always forget about on Freret Street. Don’t.
5. LSU – Tulane Baseball
I’m still mad about the spat between the two universities that ruined this series. Tulane should have never demanded to put an LSU game on their own private (online) network. How much did they make off that? A grand? I hope it was worth it considering they’ve lost their biggest opponent.
4. How Good Is UNO Basketball?
It’s hard to tell since conference play hasn’t begun but things are getting interesting on the Lakefront again. The UNO Privateers (4-3) are coming off their biggest win of the year, a 71-60 victory over South Alabama. UNO looked strong in a recent loss to Louisiana (picked to finish second in the Sun Belt) and are picked to finish third in the Southland. This team could make a lot of noise in conference play.
3. Rendezvous Bar
I’m not afraid to mention this place because it is already a classic. This is my new home away from home. I used to set up shop at the Prytania Bar but the owner of the building kept adding businesses (and taking away space from the bar) until I couldn’t stand it anymore. Thus, the Rendezvous Bar. Standing room only crowds are the norm during Saints games but the TVs are perfectly placed so you won’t miss anything. Some nights, a pop-up does grilled cheesesteaks out back and that one dude brings tamales through on the regular.
2. 4th Annual Dolly Should Festival
Do you even Bay St. Louis, bro? If not, you need to. By the time you’re out of the city limits you’re almost in Old Town, where everything goes down in Bay St. Louis. If you haven’t been you need to go as this coastal town is as cool as a cucumber and all the way laid back. Dolly Should is no different. Whether you’re walking around checking out the shops, listening to the Bay Ratz drum corps on the street or checking out the bands at the Mockingbird Café, this festival is low-key awesome. You’re guaranteed to come home with a memory, and that’s even before the Dolly Parton lookalike contest gets started.
Trust me. You’ll love this. The Dolly Should Fest goes down, rain or shine, on Jan. 12 on 2nd Street. See ya there.
1. The New Orleans Saints
Who’s number one? The Saints are number one! No really. As you read this, the Black and Gold are sitting atop the NFC, owning the head-to-head tiebreaker over the L.A. Rams. It will still be difficult to hold the top spot with two games versus Carolina and one against the Pittsburgh Steelers but as long as they get the bye week, everything should be A-OK. I don’t have any fears about the Saints playing the Rams on the road. That crowd is not intimidating whatsoever. Who Dat!
Enjoy the holidays and enjoy those top 10 lists, y’all!