The Saboscrivner’s Top Stand-Up Comedy Specials of 2022

I’m a lifelong comedy nerd.  Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, The Simpsons, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Eddie Murphy, The State, Ghostbusters, the Marx Brothers, Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis’ Justice League International comics, Tom Lehrer, Bugs Bunny, The Tick, Laurel and Hardy, Spike Jones, Seinfeld, and a dog-eared book of corny old Henny Youngman one-liners helped mold and shape my sense of humor.

I love good comedy, and I specify “good,” because there is so much bad comedy out there.  Too much, really.  Comedy is one of the hardest things to write and perform well,  so I have the utmost respect for the writers, actors, and stand-up comics who make me laugh, especially because laughing is such a better alternative to crying and/or screaming.  These days we need all the help we can get to not cry or scream.  I know I do.

I especially love stand-up comedy, so here is my list of my favorite stand-up specials to come out in 2022:

9. Patton Oswalt: We All Scream (Netflix).  Oswalt is one of my all-time favorite stand-ups and the last comedian I saw live before the pandemic struck, back in February 2020.  I always root for him as a fellow nerd who made good, but We All Scream meandered a bit too much for me.  It wasn’t as tight or focused as some of his previous specials, but I’m so happy he has found happiness in his life again after losing his first wife, and that he’s still doing what he does — almost an elder statesman of stand-up at this point.

8. Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel (HBO Max).  I wasn’t super-familiar with his work before, but this was a very bold, brave, heartfelt, and personal performance leading up to a huge moment.  If you’re going to watch it, please don’t read anything about it first, because almost every reviewer spoils it.

7. Atsuko Okatsuka: The Intruder (HBO Max).  I wasn’t familiar with her at all and still have no idea where she came from.  We just clicked on this randomly, and Okatsuka was silly, clever, and likeable.  I look forward to whatever she does next.

6. Lil Rel Howery: I Said It.  Y’all Thinking It.  (HBO Max).  This was just joyful.  Rel is a comedian who doesn’t set out to be some kind of bold truth-teller or a combative curmudgeon.  He just brings infectious enthusiasm to his stories and anecdotes, like a less obnoxious Kevin Hart, and it was delightful.  I enjoyed this special a lot more than his previous one, Live in Crenshaw.

5. Neal Brennan: Blocks (Netflix).  Another bold and fearless performance.  If there’s one thing I can’t stand about comedy, it’s “angry alpha bro” stand-ups who come out with a heel stage persona and try to be acerbic and confrontational, punching down and reveling in being bullies.  Brennan isn’t a bully by any means (unlike what his former collaborator has become), but I loved how confrontational he got at times here, discussing some big issues from his own life and life in general while being unafraid to alienate the audience.

4. John Gondelman: People Pleaser (Amazon Prime Video, Tubi).  Another new name and face for me, but I just liked the guy immediately.  He’s such a mensch!  Loves his wife, doesn’t punch down or go for shitty cheap shots, clever wordplay, good crowd work, terrific payoff at the end.  Whatever he does next, I’ll be paying attention.

3. Catherine Cohen: The Twist…?  She’s Gorgeous (Netflix).  This was as much a musical cabaret show as a stand-up performance, and I was enrapt.  Cohen’s stage persona is an attention-craving Millennial diva caricature, somehow sexy, raunchy, and deeply neurotic all at once.  Accompanied on the piano by unsung hero Henry Koperski, this was the kind of lounge act I’ve loved ever since I was a kid, even though they didn’t exist by the time I was born and haven’t made much of a comeback since then.  She’s a true star in the making, and I hope to see her perform her bawdy, melodramatic musical comedy live some day, before she gets too popular to keep playing in small, intimate cabaret venues.

2. Kyle Kinane: Trampoline in a Ditch (YouTube).  This was a recorded version of the tour set I saw Kinane perform in Orlando in 2018.  He has such a great deep voice, and he’s one of the best storytellers in the comedy game.  He is a self-proclaimed “dirtbag” who nevertheless seeks out the joy and wonder in everyday life.  A story he tells about taking his mother to a bowling alley left me in tears at the live show, and I was so glad it was included in this recorded version.  Yes, the link above leads to the entire show, completely free.  You’re welcome.

1. Tom Papa: What a Day! (Netflix).  As a performer, Papa is so cool, even though his stories about marriage and fatherhood are anything but cool.  He does everything Jim Gaffigan and Mike Birbiglia do on stage, only smoother, faster, and more effortless-looking — and don’t get me wrong, I like those gentlemen too, and I’ve seen Gaffigan live twice.  I discovered Tom Papa from his “Out in America” segments on the late, lamented Live From Here radio show (a reworking of A Prairie Home Companion that made it much more music- and comedy-focused and in touch with modern sensibilities, but was unfortunately another victim of the pandemic).  Papa has a few other stand-up specials, and each one is a breath of fresh air and well worth seeking out.  His stories may be about the mundane trivialities and annoyances of middle age, but his delivery is anything but mundane.


Orlando Weekly published my Top Ten Tastes of 2022!

For the sixth year in a row, I am grateful to Orlando Weekly and its excellent, exceptional, exemplary editrix Jessica Bryce Young, for including my latest annual list of my favorite things I ate in Orlando this year: my Top Ten Tastes of 2022.

Here are links to my full, detailed Saboscrivner reviews of every restaurant I included on the 2022 list:
Wako Taco
John and John’s – A Pizza Shop
The Pastrami Project
Thai Singha
Ray’s Deli and More
The Escobar Kitchen
JAM Hot Chicken
Hanalei Shave Ice
Kabuto Sushi and Grill (I’m so sad that  it closed permanently TWO DAYS AGO!)
And I haven’t reviewed Crocante yet, since I’m hoping to go at least one more time first, but it’s great too.

Also, here is is one convenient link to all my previous annual lists for Orlando Weekly.  So much for my secret identity, even though pretty much everyone knows who I am anyway… kind of like all of Clark Kent’s co-workers and all the fancy people who have spent any time around Bruce Wayne.

Happy New Year, stalwart Saboscrivnerinos!  Here’s to a better, safer, healthier, happier 2023 for all.  Hopefully we all eat well, and maybe we can even share some meals in the new year.

The Saboscrivner’s Top 15 TV Shows of 2022

Welcome back, stalwart Saboscrivnerinos!  Every year I make my dozens of readers wonder why they should seek television and movie recommendations on a food blog, but let’s face it, not that many people seek restaurant recommendations here either.  So let’s get on with it!

15. George and Tammy (Showtime).  An acting master class from the great Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain as troubled country music icons George Jones and Tammy Wynette, two incredible songwriters and performers who loved each other as best they could.  The miniseries isn’t over yet, but it has been excellent so far.  I’m really impressed that Shannon and Chastain, two of my favorite actors, are doing their own singing.

14. Fleishman Is In Trouble (FX on Hulu).  Taffy Brodesser-Akner adapted her own first novel into this miniseries, and it is depressing, but beautifully written.  The Fleishman in trouble seems to be the newly divorced doctor dad navigating dating apps and single parenting in Manhattan, after his wife completely disappears.  But when the focus shifts to his best friend (played by the wonderful Lizzy Caplan, who is also the narrator), we learn he might not be the only Fleishman in trouble, and that every divorce — every story — has at least two sides.  There is one episode left, and I have a good feeling it won’t disappoint.

13. The White Lotus, season 2 (HBO Max).  I enjoyed this season, with horrible, attractive rich people on vacation at a Sicilian resort, more than the first season in Hawaii.  Most of the characters really were awful, but because the show opened with the discovery of a body and a mention of “a few” more deaths, I enjoyed it the most for the murder mystery aspect, figuring out who would kill and who would be killed, searching for clues and crafting theories that might have been more interesting than the way things actually played out.  Season 1 was more about racism, classism, and colonialism, but this season focused more about sex (especially the transactional nature of sex), infidelity, and the mind games people play with their partners and themselves.  Anything about infidelity and cheating makes me feel really depressed, but I appreciated that I felt real tension during the finale episode, waiting for everything to go wrong.  Even if I didn’t love the show like some of these others on my list, I give it props for making me feel anything at all and giving me a chance to speculate between episodes.  

12. Reacher, season 1 (Amazon Prime Video).  This show about a former military police investigator embroiled in small-town intrigue reminded me of two of my all-time favorite shows: Justified (although Reacher isn’t nearly as clever and witty) and Banshee (although Reacher isn’t nearly as badass).  Still, I enjoyed the hypercompetent protagonist solving mysteries and owning the corrupt local yokels.  I’ve never read the novels this show is based on, but my father and my father-in-law both love them, which speaks volumes — no pun intended.

11. Our Flag Means Death, season 1 (HBO Max).  I didn’t expect to like a show about pirates, especially when I found out it was supposed to be a comedy.  But then it turned into an unlikely romantic comedy, and it became the feel-good show of 2022, like Ted Lasso and Schitt’s Creek in previous years.  If you don’t like it at first, I can’t say I disagree with you.  But especially now that you don’t have to wait for a new episode every week, hang around until Blackbeard shows up, played by New Zealand actor-writer-director Taiki Waititi.  That’s when the show gets good and will become great.

10. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, season 1 (Disney+).  I’m definitely feeling Marvel Studios burnout, y’all.  This show definitely wasn’t perfect, but it edged the charming Our Flag Means Death out of my Top Ten because it stars one of my favorite actresses, Tatiana Maslany, playing one of my favorite comic book characters, Jennifer Walters, a mousy lawyer who becomes the big, green, fun-loving, sexy superheroine She-Hulk.  This show did its best to delve into some of the weird legal issues that would come up in a world of superheroes and supervillains, crazy future technology, unnatural powers, people being snapped out of existence and coming back to life en masse, and so forth.  It did provide a nice view of the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” from the point of view of regular people trying to deal with the weirdness.  I just wish it had more weight to it, even though it’s a superhero show and a comedy at that.

It seemed clear to me that the writers’ room was more comfortable writing about Jen’s relationship woes and trouble with men than the legal stuff, which is totally fine.  Those parts really fleshed out her character and mattered in the end.  But everything felt so rushed, when they could have developed the other characters more, extended entire scenes, and given everything a chance to breathe and matter.  Longer episodes would have helped with the pacing, but maybe it came down to budget issues.  I’m sure you’ve already heard about the second-to-last episode, in which my favorite Marvel character shows up and reminds us how awesome he is.  Then the season finale is super-fun and joyful, and it probably pissed off all the right people.  I know it’s a big ask, but if you can binge through the whole season, you will probably enjoy it.  Episodes are short (I argue too short), so it should be an easy binge.

9. Andor, season 1 (Disney+).  The least-“Star Warsy” Star Wars thing I’ve ever seen, and also one of the best.  The show’s tone is grim and bleak, the pacing can be slow and ponderous, and there isn’t a lot of comic relief to break up all that darkness, but there are definitely moments of catharsis and hope that make it all worthwhile.  It is a prequel to a prequel, set a few years before the events of the Rogue One movie, which in turn is set right before the first Star Wars movie, Episode IV: A New HopeAndor is all about the rise of fascism and authoritarianism in the form of the Empire, and how regular people — not Jedi knights, not members of a special family — can stand against it.  It wouldn’t be spoiling anything to tell you that Andor’s highlights include a daring heist, a heart-pounding prison break, and a brave, brutal uprising in the streets, plus a handful of rousing monologues and heartfelt speeches.  But if that doesn’t sound “Star Warsy” enough for you, there is also a cute, cool, and loyal new droid and a visit to “Planet Miami.”

8. Peacemaker, season 1 (HBO Max).  Christopher “Peacemaker” Smith was introduced in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad movie, which I liked much better than the previous article-less Suicide Squad, but still didn’t love.  As a result, I wasn’t expecting much from this show, but it went a long way toward redeeming Chris, a violent, macho, immature jerk.  By the end, he was still a violent, macho, immature jerk, but he dealt with his daddy issues and learned how to function on a team, make friends, think for himself, and do the right thing.  It was a really interesting deconstruction of toxic masculinity and childhood trauma, with plenty of raunchy humor and gory violence to keep it from ever feeling too serious or weighty.

I’ll argue to anyone that pro wrestler-turned-actor John Cena  is one of the greatest comic actors out there.  He really made us hate, laugh at, and care for the deeply problematic Chris.  But the highlight of the show was Freddie Stroma playing Vigilante, a bizarre adaptation of one of my low-key favorite DC Comics characters.  The guy stole every scene he was in and made you root and cheer for a very weird and unsettling character.  So James Gunn made a super-fun and funny show, and now he’s in charge of all DC movies and TV shows moving forward.  I feel like they may finally be in the right hands after Peacemaker.  Also, the show has what is probably the best opening title sequence of all time.  You’ll never want to skip it because it’s infectious in every possible way, and you’ll notice new little details about it every time.

7. The Afterparty, season 1 (Apple TV+).  A really clever and entertaining show that’s a murder mystery, but also a comedy.  A group of old friends attend their high school reunion, followed by an afterparty at a famous classmate’s house.  Someone ends up dead, and a police detective arrives to interview all the attendees, since everyone is a suspect.  But the structure is so cool: every episode is a different interview, so you see the same events play out as flashbacks from multiple perspectives, filling in the gaps for the audience so we get a clearer picture of the evening’s events.  And even cooler, every episode is also a different genre, depending on which unreliable narrator is telling the story, so we get a rom-com, an action movie, a musical, and more.  It wrapped up the loose ends in an extremely satisfying way, and yet somehow, we’re getting a second season!

6. The Righteous Gemstones, season 2 (HBO Max).  Another show I fully expected to hate, and did at the very beginning, but ended up really enjoying.  We binged both seasons back to back, but only season 2 aired in 2022.  It’s a comedy about a family of wealthy televangelists in South Carolina, and how hilariously screwed up they all are.  The widowed patriarch (John Goodman) is detached, disapproving, and paternalistic, the eldest son (co-creator and showrunner Danny McBride) is ambitious but overestimates his competence and intelligence, the middle daughter (comedy secret weapon Edie Patterson) is sexually inappropriate and practically feral, and the youngest son is… not-so-secretly gay, but doesn’t realize it?  His plots are a bit of a comedy vacuum, but the rest of the show had us howling with laughter.  And then the great Walton Goggins is in it as their scheming Uncle Baby Billy, a former Christian music child star, now in his 60s after squandering countless opportunities and wasting most of his life.  I never had any patience for McBride’s loudmouthed Southern jackass characters, but his humor totally grew on me, so much so that we even went back and binged Vice Principals, his previous show that he and Goggins starred in together.  That’s a more uncomfortable watch, but also entertaining.

5. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, season 1 (Paramount+).  This is it, folks.  My favorite Star Trek of all time.  Better than the current Discovery (which I also enjoy) and any of the previous, beloved series.  Discovery season 2 introduced the core trio at the heart of Strange New Worlds (so I would recommend watching at least that season too): Ethan Peck as Mr. Spock, Rebecca Romijn as Number One, and Anson Mount, one charming and handsome dude, as the best fictional boss ever, Captain Christopher Pike.  With his empathy and emotional intelligence, Pike is my favorite Star Trek captain of all time, and he really makes the show.  Strange New Worlds perfects the formula of exploring, making contact with alien races, solving problems, and bonding with the crew that has made Star Trek endure through the decades.  If you have ever been skeptical, or you think Star Trek is boring, or you don’t get what all the Trekkies love but wish you did (as I have through much of my life), this is the show for you.  It’s pure joy — fun, optimistic, hopeful, feel-good entertainment about the smartest, bravest, kindest, most heroic people doing their best and being their best.

4. The Bear, season 1 (FX on Hulu).  As much as I love restaurants (which is A LOT, considering I review them in this blog), I’ve never worked in the restaurant business, or any food service or hospitality jobs.  A lot of my friends have, though, and I have the utmost respect for the people who cook and serve me.  I realize it’s a hard job, but no show has ever shown a more realistic look at life in a restaurant kitchen than The Bear, about a fine dining chef who returns to run his family’s dumpy Italian beef sandwich restaurant in Chicago after his brother commits suicide.  The show is so stressful.  You feel it when the kitchen is slammed with orders, when co-workers yell and scream at each other, when family fights, when egos clash.  Chefs and kitchen staff have told me how accurate it all is, and I feel even more awe toward them.  But on top of the gripping, gritty drama, the show also made me really hungry for Chicago-style Italian beefs (I like mine with hot giardiniera but not dipped), and also for spaghetti.  If you know, you know.

3. Atlanta, seasons 3 and 4 (FX on Hulu).  Donald Glover hasn’t proven me wrong yet.  I’ve been a fan since he his earliest Childish Gambino mixtapes and his days as a young writer on 30 Rock, where he gifted the world with “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.”  I quit watching Community around the same time he left the show, I saw him perform stand-up live in 2012, I’ve listened to all his albums more times than I can count, and I’ve loved Atlanta from the beginning, which seems like a long time ago (2016, damn!).  This year we got two seasons, after a few years with none, and they were remarkable.  There were several stand-alone episodes that felt like experimental short films, that were always interesting even when they didn’t include the four central characters.  And when we caught up with Earn, Alfred, Darius, and Van (played by four of my favorite actors: Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, the effortlessly cool LaKeith Stanfield, and Zazie Beetz), it was like spending time with old friends.

Season 3 had the crew hanging out in Europe, but I preferred seeing them back home in the ATL in Season 4, exploring its secret passages and endless parking garages, avoiding angry old white ladies and deranged Tyler Perry analogues, navigating family squabbles and Black-owned sushi restaurants, going to therapy, and forming complicated revenge plots.  The show is over now, but it went out on top.  There was funny Atlanta, surreal Atlanta, and even scary Atlanta, but never any mediocre or bad Atlanta.

2. Severance, season 1 (Apple TV+).  The less you know when you watch this show, the better experience you will have.  It’s complicated and sometimes confounding.  It’s a workplace drama, a dark comedy, a mystery, dystopian science fiction, and existential horror, all at once.  It has some of the best acting, writing, and directing I’ve seen this year.  It sucked me in, had me on the edge of my seat with clammy-palmed tension, and made me feel extremely uncomfortable at times.  But I see that as a good thing, the fact that it made me feel any strong emotions at all, when so much entertainment is designed to be bland and banal, disposable and empty.  I am notoriously bad at maintaining a healthy work-life balance, so Severance hit me hard.  I guess I’m the target audience, and I doubt I’m alone.  Don’t read anything about it, don’t watch any teasers or trailers, just watch it before some fool spoils it for you.  You can get a free week trial subscription for Apple TV+, and I swear you’ll binge it within the week.  Then keep it long enough to squeeze in The Afterparty and Ted Lasso, too.

1. Better Call Saul, season 6 (AMC).  You knew this was coming.  The final season to one of my favorite shows of all time, which was a prequel/spinoff of another one of my favorite shows of all time, and they stuck the landing.  They wrapped up everyone’s story arcs and/or set them up for Breaking Bad in the perfect possible ways.  There were moments of extreme tension balanced by cathartic humor, shocking deaths, and plenty of wild plot twists as details set up over the course of two long-running shows, some over a decade old, finally paid off.  The last few episodes flashed forward to events that took place after Breaking Bad, which I think many of us were waiting for the entire time, to learn the final fates of Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman/Gene Takovic and our beloved Kim Wexler, played by the best damn actress on television, Rhea Seehorn.  They both broke bad, did some terrible things, and had even more terrible things done to them.  In the end, I think they both redeemed themselves, but in ways that would have been hard for anyone to predict.  I’m sure most people reading a list of some nerd’s favorite TV shows of the year have already watched all of Saul, but if you haven’t, it’s never too late to start.  You definitely won’t be sorry.

For anyone who made it this far, here are my lists from previous years:

Top Twenty TV Shows of the Decade (2011-2021)
Top Ten TV Shows of 2021
Top Twenty TV Shows of 2020
Top Twenty TV Shows of 2019
Top Ten Movies of 2019
Top Ten TV Shows of 2018
Top Ten Movies of 2018

My Top Twelve Tastes of 2021 are featured in Orlando Weekly!

I am so grateful to Orlando Weekly and its illustrious Editor in Chief Jessica Bryce Young for including my list of favorite things I ate for the fifth year in a row.  Here are my Top Twelve Tastes of 2021: 

I have written full, detailed reviews of eleven of these twelve top-notch local restaurants right here on The Saboscrivner.  Here are direct links to those full reviews:
Uncle Dendog’s
Cavo’s Bar & Kitchen
High Tide Harry’s
Edward’s Gourmet Confections
Bombay Street Kitchen
Pizza Bruno
Meng’s Kitchen
Stasio’s Italian Deli and Market
Yummy House
Mediterranean Deli
Chicken Fire
The Osprey (review coming in early 2022)

And here are links to all my previous annual lists of favorite local dishes for Orlando Weekly:



2019 (That year, three of my choices were combined with a list from Orlando Weekly‘s regular food writer, the brilliant Faiyaz Kara)



Orlando Weekly published my Top Ten Tastes of 2020!

I am honored to have one of my end-of-the-year lists included in our wonderful local alt-weekly newspaper, Orlando Weekly, for the FOURTH year in a row.  This piece, my Top Ten Tastes of 2020, didn’t make it into the print edition, but it is a blog piece on their website for all to see.

Here’s a link to my 2017, 2018, and 2019 Orlando Weekly lists.

Happy New Year to all of my dozens of readers!  Stay warm, healthy, and safe in 2021.  Don’t forget to eat something good — because you deserve it, and because these local restaurants could use all the help they can get.

The Saboscrivner’s Top 20 TV Shows of 2020

The Saboscrivner’s Top 20 TV Shows of 2020

These are the shows I would rank 11-20, in no specific order.  They were perfectly fine and entertaining.  I enjoyed most of these shows most of the time, but I watched too much good TV this year, and they didn’t crack my Top Ten.

Upload s1 (Amazon Prime)
The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
Doom Patrol s2 (HBO Max)
Bosch s6 (Amazon Prime)
Dead to Me s2 (Netflix)
Umbrella Academy s2 (Netflix)
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow s5 (CW)
Hunters s1 (Amazon Prime)
Fargo s4 (FX; now on Hulu)
Medical Police s1 (Netflix)

Now for my Top Ten, ranked in order:

10. Lovecraft Country s1 (HBO) – Probably the most ambitious and audacious show I watched all year, a 1950s period piece with a majority Black cast that contrasts fictional horrors (eldritch horror, body horror, cosmic horror) with real social horrors that continue to perpetuate today. Each episode had a very different feel, all harkening back to weird tales from pulp fiction – a creepy cabin in the woods, a cult of wealthy white wizards, a haunted house, an Indiana Jones-style adventure full of deadly booby traps, body swapping, a sex demon, a tour of the multiverse, malevolent spirits tormenting an innocent, and time travel back to one of the darkest hours in our history – and all while highlighting issues of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, police brutality, and systemic inequality. If it sounds heavy, it sometimes is. There were uneven points and some aspects I didn’t love, but the show hits more than it misses. It deserves all the credit in the world for trying, and for being unafraid to shock audiences and make them uncomfortable. And it seemed to make Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett into stars, which they deserve to become. It was definitely one of the shows that captured the zeitgeist of 2020, this hell year.

9. Snowpiercer s1 (TNT) – Another show that captured the zeitgeist, this was a bleak and grim postapocalyptic adventure, where survivors of a frozen planet live on a titanic train that hurtles around the dead Earth, trapped in strict social strata, with the first class passengers continuing lives of luxury while the tail section subsists in squalor. Of course there are class struggles, which lead to a murder mystery and a violent uprising. I think this show comes closest to the feeling of Game of Thrones, with its social order of dangerous, depraved haves and rebellious have-nots with nothing to lose, where life is cheap and justice and equality are unheard of. And I’m always thrilled to see my ‘90s crush Jennifer Connelly and the multitalented Daveed Diggs in anything.

8. The Good Place s4 (NBC) – We got the final four episodes of this triumphant show way back in January, which feels like a lifetime ago. A rare show that cracked us up, kept us guessing, and stealthily gave us ideas for how to be better people, The Good Place offered us humor, hope, and love over the last four years when we really needed all of the above. It culminated in a finale that was both beautiful and sad. I will never forget this show, and I’ll never stop recommending it.

7. Perry Mason s1 (HBO) – A wonderful neo-noir with a fantastic cast headlined by Matthew Rhys, Tatiana Maslany, Shea Whigham, and John Lithgow. Here, Perry Mason is a rumpled, low-rent detective in 1930s L.A., but the season is his origin story for becoming a legendary trial attorney. It’s another bleak and grim show, but we don’t watch noir for moral uplift or happy endings, do we? It’s gorgeous to look at and remarkably well made in every aspect. I hope HBO makes more.

6. Schitt’s Creek s6 (Netflix) – Now here’s a show we watch for moral uplift and happy endings. My wife and I had never seen this show or even heard much about it until it won all of the Emmys earlier this year, so we binged all six seasons and fell in love with it, after a slow start. This is the epitome of a feel-good show, detailing a rich, spoiled family’s fall from grace, and how they had to lose everything to learn how to be good people. The admittedly lousy town of Schitt’s Creek changed the Roses for the better, but they changed the town and its inhabitants for the better as well. Everyone made the most of their opportunities to grow and change, learned humility, and found success, friendship, love, and happiness they never dreamed would be possible. Who couldn’t use some of that right now? The last three episodes of the sixth and final season are just one scene of pure joy after another, and I guarantee you’ll cry happy tears when you aren’t laughing.

5. Ted Lasso s1 (Apple TV+) – Maybe the most pleasant surprise of 2020, an Apple TV+ show from Bill Lawrence, the creator of the great sitcom Scrubs, starring the affable Saturday Night Live alumnus Jason Sudeikis in the role he was born to play. Ted Lasso is a genial Midwestern college football coach hired to come to England to manage a struggling soccer team. He takes the gig, despite knowing next to nothing about soccer. But the show is first and foremost a character piece about one of the biggest mensches in fiction, right up there with Superman, Captain America, and Special Agent Dale Cooper.  He’s a kind, empathetic, patient, loyal, and surprisingly wise mentor, friend, and boss.  He helps, uplifts, and improves the lives of everyone he encounters. There is no cynicism here, but don’t get me wrong – it’s not a saccharine-sweet, glurgy, preachy show either. I hate that stuff, so don’t worry. Also, it is often hilarious. While I harbored concerns about a show in 2020 about a clearly mediocre and undeserving white dude who gets rewarded with a good job he doesn’t belong in, I was proven wrong. Coach Lasso’s empathy and humanity make him the right man for the job, and it’s about damn time for that.

4. The Mandalorian s2 (Disney+) – We binged both seasons back to back late this year, and I enjoyed it more than anything Star Wars-related since the original trilogy of my youth. After eight movies in between that ranged from good (Episode VII) to unnecessary (Solo) to terrible (take a guess!), The Mandalorian distilled everything I have always loved about Star Wars and made it into a galaxy-spanning western and a homage to Lone Wolf and Cub. By now, I’m sure you’re familiar with the Beskar-armored bounty hunter who doesn’t remove his helmet for anyone, and the adorable and gifted child under his protection. Season 2 improved on Season 1 in almost every way by introducing new and old allies, raising the stakes, and tying the show into the larger Star Wars continuity. The finale was pure fan-service in the best possible way, but I had plenty of mark-out moments throughout the season, including when one of my favorite actors, associated with other modern badass westerns, showed up as an ally, and when a beloved Star Wars character reappeared for a redemption arc. This show is clearly a labor of love for everyone involved, and it showed.

3. Black Monday s2 (Showtime) – Another show we binged during the pandemic, and very possibly the least-known show in my Top Ten. A Showtime series about Wall Street iconoclasts and schemers set in the late ‘80s, it will bring to mind Scorsese’s excellent Wolf of Wall Street (the funniest movie he ever made) and John Landis’ 1983 classic Trading Places. Yes, it’s a sitcom, but an intricately plotted sitcom about some really smart, really awful people double- and triple-crossing each other as they claw their way to the top, like crabs in a barrel. Full of hilarious ‘80s references, terrible fashions, and ridiculously clever wordplay (from David Caspe, the creator of Happy Endings), this is the best and funniest show you’ve very likely never heard of. And on top of that, it will shock you with some major plot twists along the way. Plus, it stars Don Cheadle, Regina Hall, Andrew Rannells, and Casey Wilson, who elevate almost everything they’re in.

2. AEW Dynamite (TNT) – The hell year 2020 made me a pro wrestling fan again, after I drifted away from WWE 15 years ago, when the great Eddie Guerrero died tragicially. This brand-new wrestling federation owned by billionaire Tony Khan started airing on TNT last fall, but watching Dynamite on Wednesday nights became a pleasant routine for me during the pandemic, and something I would look forward to all week. I thrilled to the in-ring action, learned everything I could about the characters on the screen and their real-life personalities, and became a “mark” for several of the incredibly talented and charismatic performers, who regularly risk their health and safety to tell stories, take bumps, defy gravity, and sometimes bleed for our entertainment. As usual, I gravitated toward underdogs like Orange Cassidy, Sonny Kiss, John Silver, and “The Librarian” Leva Bates, mostly good guys and goofballs. But on AEW, even the main-eventers are all hard workers and generous performers who share the spotlight and don’t make everything all about them.

AEW Dynamite aired my favorite TV moment of 2020: “Le Dinner Debonair,” a taped segment where two pompous heel (bad guy) wrestlers tried to psych each other out over a steak dinner, only to transition into an old-timey Hollywood musical number with full choreography, where they both sang and danced. It was entrancing. This past week, a wrestler who went by the character name Brodie Lee died suddenly. He was a year younger than me, but in peak physical condition, unlike me. He was a giant man who played a convincing heel (bad guy) who I never appreciated enough on screen, but was apparently the nicest guy ever, with a wife and two young sons. Last night I watched the most beautiful episode of Dynamite, a fitting tribute to the man’s career and life, both cut far too short. I cried when they showed a montage of his best moments, set to my musical hero Tom Waits’ song “Ol’ 55.” It was a wrestling show made with care, pride, and love, from people who seem to love their jobs, their craft, and their co-workers. AEW doesn’t seem to suffer from the massive egos and backstage politics of the WCW and WWE, that I used to watch and get frustrated by. The veterans constantly “put over” (elevate) the young talent of tomorrow, and everyone collaborates and supports each other, even while pretending to cause each other grievous bodily harm.

1. Better Call Saul s5 (AMC) – The best-acted, best-written, best show on TV. It fills me with tension and dread the way its predecessor Breaking Bad did, but I argue this prequel/spinoff series has surpassed the original show. I always say comedians make excellent dramatic actors because they have so much inner darkness to draw from, and I think everyone realized that about series lead Bob Odenkirk a long time ago. But this season belonged to the best and most underrated actress on television, Rhea Seehorn, whose character Kim Wexler is the heart and soul of the show. She consistently amazes and astonishes. I’m still hoping for a flash-forward to a happy ending for Jimmy McGill, aka Saul Goodman, but the fact that Kim’s fate remains completely unknown makes her scenes that much more riveting. This might have been the best season yet, and that’s the highest possible praise.

For anyone who cares, here are my lists from 2019 and 2018:

Top Twenty TV Shows of 2019
Top Ten Movies of 2019
Top Ten TV Shows of 2018
Top Ten Movies of 2018

The Saboscrivner’s Top Ten Movies of 2019

Man, it was hard to figure out ten movies I liked enough to make a Top Ten list this year!  For anyone who missed it, here’s my Top Twenty TV Shows of 2019.  Now on with the movies!

10. Always Be My Maybe — a romantic comedy starring and written by the insanely charismatic and funny Randall Park and Ali Wong, with a legendary appearance from a big-name actor you’ve probably already heard about.  I got to see Ali Wong do stand-up, opening for the great John Mulaney, before she even had a Netflix special, so I’m thrilled to have seen her explode since then.  And even though I never got into Randall Park’s sitcom, I’m thrilled he has a recurring role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is doing other things now.  This movie introduced me to the fact that he is a hell of a rapper, and I’m not joking about that.  Check this out and be amazed and astonished!  Dude has bars, and such a chill, laid-back flow that I just love.

9. John Wick 3: Parabellum — as long as they keep making these, I’ll keep going, even as they get progressively more ridiculous.  This one had kung fu, gun fu, knife fu, dog fu, and horse fu.

8. Under the Silver Lake — a trippy, meandering film about an amateur detective (or maybe just a creeper?) trying to find a missing girl in Los Angeles.  It contained one of my favorite scenes in any movie this year (guess what I think it was, constant readers!), even if the whole thing doesn’t quite come together as well as I hoped.  It would be part of an amazing L.A. neo-noir film festival alongside The Long Goodbye, The Big Lebowski, and Inherent Vice.

7. Hustlers — this was the one about the gang of strippers seducing, occasionally drugging, and robbing Wall Street guys, based on a true story detailed in a New York Magazine article.  Though written and directed by a woman, Lorene Scafaria, it felt a lot like a Martin Scorsese movie, and makes a perfect companion piece to his similarly-structured Wolf of Wall Street.  I didn’t expect to like either movie all that much, but surprised myself by how much I enjoyed both, despite the characters’ amorality.  At least in Hustlers, you understood what drove the women to do what they did,  and probably even rooted for their “found family” until they took things too far (as characters always do in movies like this).  But the cast was great, especially Jennifer Lopez, who hasn’t been this good in anything since Out of Sight.  My only complaint was that Lizzo had a tiny cameo, and I was hoping to see much more of her in the movie.  Feel free to take that however you want.

6. Deadwood: The Movie — one of my favorite shows of all time ended abruptly 14 years ago, so to get this movie and spend a little more time in the Black Hills with these characters was a real gift.  Deadwood featured a murderer’s row of amazing character actors, so if you love Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, and John Hawkes, you owe it to yourself to start at the beginning of the series, and cap off the experience with this movie.  It was bittersweet, focusing on how much time had aged these hard-living men and women, especially since the brilliant writer and showrunner, David Milch, revealed he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease right before the movie came out on HBO.  Did I cry?  You bet I did.

5. Booksmart — a delightful and kind-hearted comedy about two overachieving best friends getting ready to graduate high school and figuring out what comes next in their lives.  So many comedies have a mean streak and love to humiliate and debase their characters, but Olivia Wilde’s film found empathy for everyone — these two girls who spent so much time planning their futures that they lost the opportunity to live as teenagers, and the other kids who somehow excelled in school while having a blast.  In the end, innocence was lost, lessons were learned, and everyone walked away better off, with new understandings about each other and themselves as well.  How often does that happen?  Carrie Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd stole the movie with every scene she was in.  I’m expecting big things from her in the future.

4. Dolemite Is My Name — another good and kind comedy, but also loud, raunchy, and hilarious.  After ruling the ’80s with the unassailable and unmatched hot streak of Saturday Night Live –> 48 Hours –> Delirious –> Trading Places –> Beverly Hills Cop –> Raw –> Beverly Hills Cop II –> Coming to America, Eddie Murphy’s career was never quite the same, after too many forgettable, family-friendly flops.  But this was a return to form for one of our most charismatic comic actors of all time, playing a lesser-known comedy legend, Rudy Ray Moore.  The story of how Moore honed his foul-mouthed stand-up persona and got the ultra-low budget Dolemite film made is heartwarming and inspiring, but you’ll be laughing the entire time, I promise.  Plus, it’s on Netflix, so it’s free!

3. Knives Out — Rian Johnson has yet to make a less-than-great movie (check out The Brothers Bloom and Brick if you haven’t!), and this whodunnit is insanely intricate, clever, and funny, with an old fashioned-feeling premise that still comes across as super-relevant in 2019.  It has a star-studded cast full of actors that even your parents will probably enjoy watching, often playing against type (Michael Shannon, Chris Evans, Daniel Craig stealing the show as a character I hope we see in future movies), and a star-making performance from Ana de Armas.  But that script was breathtaking, with so many twists and turns, precision gears that move in perfect clockwork.  The big reveal is another one of my favorite scenes in any movie this year, and once again, it shows that kindness and empathy can triumph over greed and selfishness.

2. Motherless Brooklyn — my favorite neo-noir since 1997’s L.A. Confidential, which is probably my third-favorite movie of all time (after Casablanca and Ghostbusters).  This was a passion project for writer/director/star Edward Norton (one of my favorite actors), who apparently made a lot of changes from the original novel.  I hated to see this movie come and go from theaters without making a big cultural impact, but I loved every minute of it.  It’s a 1950s period piece with a killer cast (including Gugu Mbatha-Raw from “San Junipero,” the only Black Mirror episode I’ve liked), but just like Knives Out, the mystery feels incredibly relevant for modern times.  (Wait for the villain to be revealed and make his big speech!  That’s what I call meta-casting!)  Also like Knives Out, it also features another protagonist who is a genuinely good guy — not an antihero, not a rogue, not a bad person who does bad things that somehow work out for the best.

1. Avengers: Endgame (as if there was any doubt!) — the culmination of eleven years and 22 movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s grand finale brought so much emotional resonance and catharsis, especially after the shocking (if you don’t read comic books) ending of last year’s Avengers: Infinity War.  This movie had everything: new life, tragic death, wacky time travel capers, some of the most rousing and badass action sequences we’ve seen so far, heroic self-sacrifices, true love, hope for the future, and (spoiler alert!), good triumphing over the ultimate evil.  It has been a hell of a decade, and whether you call these Marvel movies “theme park rides” or “comfort food” or “focus group-friendly popcorn entertainment” or “legitimate cinema,” they clearly tapped into the zeitgeist, gave audiences what we needed, and sent us home happy.  Not every Marvel movie nails the formula, but Endgame was the perfect culmination of everything Kevin Feige, the Russo Brothers, and other creators had built together.  I laughed A LOT.  I sure as hell cried a lot too — both sad and happy tears.  Hell, I’m getting choked up just thinking about a few of those classic moments, especially the ending.  All the characters got a chance to shine, especially my favorites.  This is probably my favorite of all the Marvel movies, and it felt like the perfect ending to all of it.  Of course we already know it wasn’t (nothing ever really ends), but I don’t know how they’re ever going to top this one.

The Saboscrivner’s Top Twenty TV Shows of 2019

Living in the age of Peak TV is exhausting, because there is almost too much quality programming to keep up with.  Television has gotten so good that former favorites from recent years like Mindhunter, Killing Eve, Big Mouth, Stranger Things, Arrested Development, and the final season of Game of Thrones didn’t even crack my Top Twenty list!

So here goes nothing.  I’ll start with my #20-11 shows of 2019:

20. I Am the Night (miniseries; TNT)
19. Barry (season 2; HBO)
18. South Side (season 1; Comedy Central)
17. Russian Doll (season 1; Netflix)
16. Wu-Tang: An American Saga (season 1; Hulu)
15. The Umbrella Academy (season 1; Netflix)
14. iZombie (season 5; CW)
13. Bosch (season 5; Amazon Prime)
12. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (season 3; Amazon Prime)
11. I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (season 1; Netflix)

And now, more detailed descriptions for the Top Ten:

10. Dead to Me (season 1; Netflix) — this show makes the list for the career-best acting of Christina Applegate (who I never thought could be this good) and Linda Cardellini (who I wasn’t that familiar with, so shame on me).  The twist happens early, so what’s left is a complicated character study of two flawed and broken women and their strange bond.  It’s coming back for a second season, but even if it didn’t get picked up, I think it ended on a good note.

9. Fosse/Verdon (miniseries; FX) — I love learning the history of music and culture I missed out on, so this was an educational look at the careers of talented, troubled theater and film director/producer/writer/choreographer Bob Fosse and his wife and muse, dancer/actress Gwen Verdon.  I loved the movie version of Chicago, and this summer, my wife and saw it on Broadway, caught up in Fossemania (a Fosse frenzy?) after this miniseries gave us a look behind its scenes.  It was also some of the best acting I’ve ever seen from Sam Rockwell (one of my favorite actors) and Michelle Williams (someone else I wasn’t that familiar with, so shame on me).

8. Veronica Mars (season 4; Hulu) — a pure nostalgia bomb, bringing us back to the seedy beach town of Neptune, the tiny and tenacious blonde private eye, my favorite fictional father Keith Mars, and a lot more mysteries, quips, danger, and heartache.  It was nice to see these characters one more time, some of them for the last time… but I have a feeling (more like a hope in my heart) that we still have more cases to solve with Veronica and Keith.

7. The Good Place (seasons 3 and 4; NBC) — we got the last few excellent episodes of Season 3 in January, and then the majority of Season 4 this fall.  I feel like they spent a lot of time treading water so far in the final season, especially introducing some unlikable new characters near the end, taking time away from the core sextet we have come to know and love.  But this smart, sweet, clever, hilarious, hopeful, good-natured show has earned plenty of goodwill from me, and I look forward to the last few episodes when it returns in January 2020.  I have no doubt it will stick the landing and give us an unforgettable tearjerker of a finale, while still teaching us college-level philosophy and making us think about becoming better people.

6. Doom Patrol (season 1; DC Universe) — one of two comic book adaptations in my Top Ten, this show is about people with super powers, but instead of gifts or talents, they are presented as disabilities.  The Doom Patrol members aren’t heroes by choice, but trauma survivors, broken and damaged people who form a “found family” and deal with existential threats to reality itself.  It was a remarkably accurate adaptation of Grant Morrison’s classic Doom Patrol comics of the late ’80s and early ’90s, with excellent production value and fun acting by Diane Guerrero (another pleasant surprise as Crazy Jane, a woman with 64 alternate personalities, each with their own powers), Timothy Dalton, Brendan Fraser (we missed him!), Matt Bomer (this dude should have played Superman), and the always-great Alan Tudyk as one of the most entertaining, most terrifying villains in a long time.

5. Fleabag (season 2; Amazon Prime) — first of all, I really don’t care for British comedy.  I often find it either too dry, smug, or mean-spirited.  Yes, including that one that you love.  But I enjoyed the first season of Fleabag well enough, and really liked the first season of Killing Eve, written by Fleabag’s creator, writer, and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge.  But after Fleabag Season 2 won all these awards and accolades, I gave it a chance here, at the very end of 2019, and binged the all six episodes in one night — the very night I’m writing this Top Ten list.  (Luckily they’re only about 25 minutes each.)  It was outstanding — streets ahead of the first season.  So funny, sad, clever, and cathartic, even ending with a bit of hope.  Waller-Bridge is so incredibly talented and funny (she even salvaged the usually execrable Saturday Night Live this season), and I’ll be on board for whatever she does next.  Hopefully it will have more asides and knowing looks to the audience.

4. Sherman’s Showcase (season 1; IFC) — this is a high concept comedy, cats and kittens: Sherman’s Showcase (a show within a show) is a loving homage to Soul Train and other musical variety shows, and it has been running continuously since the 1970s, hosted by the mysteriously ageless Sherman McDaniels.  The Sherman’s Showcase we watch is a collection of clips highlighting the fake show’s almost 50-year history, featuring hilarious musical homages that stand on their own as great, catchy songs that SLAP (including a weirdly prophetic song called “Time Loop” that might have deeper significance to the narrrative).  There are also interview segments, fake commercials, movie and TV parodies, surreal sketches, and plenty of running gags.  Co-creators Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle (who also created the great new Comedy Central sitcom South Side, which made my Top Twenty) are brilliant, drawing their influence from those old Robert Townsend and His Partners in Crime specials I have very vague childhood memories of, as well as half a century of popular music and variety shows.

3. Ken Burns’ Country Music (miniseries; PBS) — I doubt this eight-part documentary miniseries will end up on many other “Best TV Shows of 2019” lists, but I loved it.  I’ve spent most of my life listening to, playing, and learning everything I could about rock and jazz music, got deep into hip hop later in my life, but made it pretty far without ever giving country, that other major American musical genre, much of a fair chance.  There’s so much awful country music, especially now, but to be fair, there is plenty of awful rock and hip hop too — especially now.  This documentary took us back to the early 20th Century and introduced me to a lot of the names and songs I’ve heard my whole life, only with more historical context and framework to better appreciate the songwriting, the musicianship, and the evolution of the sounds and styles.  I’ve always loved Johnny Cash, but now I’ve embraced Patsy Cline, Hank Williams (not Junior!), the Western swing of Bob Wills, and lots of other twangy crooners, honky tonk angels, and outlaw poets.  My favorite decades of country music are the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s, but even now, there are great modern artists to be discovered, like Margo Price, Orville Peck, and Kacey Musgraves (and that’s not even getting into the virtuoso musicians in folk, bluegrass, and Americana).  I feel like I just audited a brilliant college course on country music, and I have more of an appreciation for it than I ever dreamed possible.  Plus, the documentary introduced me to this bit of pure sunshine: a young Dolly Parton performing “Mule Skinner Blues”:
Even if you think country music sucks (like I once did, not having been exposed the really cool old stuff), I think this would be awfully hard to not fall in love with.

2. Star Trek: Discovery (season 2; CBS All Access) — I admit it, I’ve never been the biggest Star Trek fan.  Sure, Captain Kirk was a cool dude, and William Shatner used to be pretty amusing.  And Picard was awesome, but the shows in general left me cold.  I wanted to be a Trekkie; I WISHED I was a Trekkie.  But now, I finally found the Star Trek that made it all click for me: Discovery.  I subscribed to CBS All Access for a month and binge-watched both seasons of Star Trek: Discovery over the course of two weeks.  Last year’s Season 1 (co-created by the great Bryan Fuller, the creative genius behind Hannibal) looked gorgeous, with the nicest production value I’ve ever seen on a Star Trek show, and it introduced us to a compelling cast of characters and an interesting status quo, set shortly before the events of the original series from the ’60s.  I also appreciated that it was a serialized narrative, which I’m not used to from Star Trek, but perfect in this age of prestige television.  This year’s Season 2 was even better, improving on the first season in every way.  It introduced my favorite Star Trek captain ever, who is probably my favorite fictional boss of all time.  (I am lucky to have a good supervisor now, but I haven’t always had such fantastic bosses.  Because of this, I honestly get choked up whenever I see a capable, competent, courageous, patient, kind, loyal, supportive boss in any media.)  The show had so many twists and turns, a surprising amount of tension-relieving humor, and so much empathy, heroism, and heart.  My wife and I laughed a lot and cried far more than we ever would have expected.  In a year full of ups and downs, dizzying highs and terrifying lows, Discovery was the show I had no idea how much I needed.

1. Watchmen (season 1; HBO) — who watches the Watchmen?  There was no reason for it to exist.  The twelve issue series by legendary writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons is often considered the greatest comic book of all time.  It already got one adaptation back in 2009, a pretty, but flawed, movie directed by Zack Snyder.  While Watchmen really required a long-form TV adaptation on a channel like HBO to do it justice, it didn’t seem necessary, and fans were skeptical.  I was skeptical!  But I should have had more faith in showrunner Damon Lindelof, co-creator of two of my favorite shows of all time, Lost and The Leftovers.  He didn’t give us a straight adaptation of the comic, but an audacious sequel, set 35 years after the events of the graphic novel (which was set in 1985).  It ended up a brilliant and ambitious epic about America’s fraught history of racism (starting with the Tulsa massacre of 1921, which I never learned about in school, even as the son of a history teacher), generational trauma, the dangers that come from vigilantism and self-appointed saviors and people wearing masks, and how the sins of our ancestors continue to affect us and threaten the world itself.  We caught up with some old faces from the original comic, but our point of view character in this strange alternate 2019 was the unforgettable Sister Night, aka Angela Abar, played by the great Regina King.  Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Hong Chau, and Jeremy Irons were also excellent in their roles.  This series included the single best TV episode of the year: the sixth episode, “This Extraordinary Being.”  (But don’t you dare watch it out of order!)  I was blown away by how good Watchmen turned out to be, defying any and all expectations and truly surprising everyone with what we were going to see on our screens every week.  In this age of binge-watching everything, with entire seasons of shows dropping on streaming services at once, Watchmen reminded us of the joy of watching a new episode every week, giving us time to ruminate and analyze and read reviews and craft theories about what the hell is going on.  It was a very nice touch to have supplemental readings available every week on the HBO website, fleshing out the world of Watchmen after each episode with additional world-building details.  Up above, I mentioned that Star Trek: Discovery was the show I didn’t realize how much I needed.  Well, Watchmen was the show I didn’t realize how much I wanted.  Ultimately, it edged out Discovery on my list because it was so unpredictable, in the best possible way.  If this is the only season we ever get (and it might be), it more than accomplished everything it set out to do, and the ending really satisfied.

And since you made it to the end, here are my Top Ten Movies of 2019.

I got restaurant reviews in the Orlando Weekly again!

For the third year in a row, I was honored to submit some of my favorite dishes of the year to the Orlando Weekly, which got published in its final issue of 2019:

It was an even bigger honor for my picks to be mixed in with favorites of the Orlando Weekly’s regular food writer Faiyaz Kara, who is my favorite food writer in Orlando, period.  They didn’t credit who wrote which ones, but I had three contributions, all from longer reviews I wrote on The Saboscrivner this year:

  • The Nashville hot chicken sandwiches from Swine & Sons.
  • The paccheri amatriciana pasta from Sette.
  • The pork sisig over garlic rice from Taglish.

This means the world to me, to see that some people have actually responded to my food writing, enough so that I can even reach beyond this blog.  I especially want to thank the Orlando Weekly‘s tireless Editor, Jessica Bryce Young, for offering me these opportunities.

And here are links to my favorite dishes from 2018 and 2017, also published in the Orlando Weekly.

My Top Five Dishes of 2018 list made the Orlando Weekly!

I’ve been a huge fan of the Orlando Weekly ever since I first moved here in 2004.  Now this city is my home, and if my finger is ever on the pulse of local culture, the Weekly is a major reason why.

In 2017, they offered me my first professional gig as a food writer when they asked me to list my Top Five Dishes of 2017.  It was a huge honor for me, and I’ve been coasting on it all year.

I recently had the opportunity to make a new list for the Orlando Weekly, with my Top Five Dishes of 2018, and they were kind enough to even link to this very blog!  Please check it out, and check out my Saboscrivner reviews of these excellent local restaurants as well:

LaSpada’s Original Cheese Steaks and Hoagies

Kai Asian Street Fare

Cappadocia Turkish Cuisine

Poke Hana

Orlando Meats