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Hunting for a new bite to eat

It’s not hard for strangers to figure out my favorite pastime. Take a glance at the photo that runs with this column and you’ll quickly note that I tend toward, shall we say, softer edges. I suspect that when folks see me in person they are struck by a certain roundness in my presentation.

I didn’t get that way by struggling with finding a way to get food from my plate into my mouth. I’ve got excellent aim with a fork; I almost never miss. And it shows.

I have these things in common with my friend Troy Cooper, page designer here at the Suffolk News-Herald. In fact, our shared love of food prompted us to agree to share responsibility for the newspaper’s weekly food and beverage page. Privately, we call it The Two Fat Guys’ Food Page, though it’s catchy enough that we’ve considered actually branding the page that way.

We’re still in talks with management, but I’ve imagined books, a television show and even a national tour of the Two Fat Guys themselves. Troy, who is much more knowledgeable than I — and a lot funnier — would regale our audiences with his humor, all the while imparting nuggets of food wisdom. I’d go along as his straight man, but mostly I’d be there to fill the other side of the booth at the restaurants we’d have to sample around the country. Maybe I’d write a press release or two or work on our next book as I sat in the hotel room full of whatever tasty regional delicacy had tempted my palate earlier that evening.

As I said, we’re having some trouble convincing our bosses that they need to finance this endeavor. Perhaps they’d pay the publishing costs for our books. Maybe we even could convince them to spring for the RV that would haul us around the country. I think they’re too smart, however, to commit to any kind of venture that would require them to pay the dinner bill for two guys who look like they spend most of their free time training for the Olympic all-you-can-eat-buffet event.

So Troy and I find ourselves comparing notes about various restaurants in Hampton Roads, and especially in Suffolk. As Troy described in a recent column of his own, the opening of a new eatery is an occasion that inspires a degree of anticipation and excitement reminiscent of a 5-year-old eager to learn what’s in that big, pretty box under the Christmas tree.

Conversely, when a favorite restaurant closes, it hits Troy and I like the loss of a friend. When we learned this week that one of our favorite Suffolk eateries had closed its doors, I thought I might cry. I noticed that Troy left the room for a few moments.

We wish the proprietor well, and we’ll miss our favorite dishes. But there are a couple of establishments we’ve yet to try, and it’s getting on close to dinnertime again.

Maybe it’s time to discover something new.