If you’re a Phish fan, the Baker’s Dozen run at Madison Square Garden has felt like a combination of Halloween, New Year’s Eve, and one of the band’s iconic festivals. The music has been incredible, with soaring improvisation at every turn, multiple huge bust-outs, and surprising covers each show. To keep everyone on their toes, the band has been matching each night’s setlist with a donut-flavored theme while also serving those same donuts to fans when they enter the venue. Life is truly great for phans each night at the “World’s Most Famous Arena”. However, something needs to be addressed—and it’s those infamous spicy chicken sandwiches in section 119.Since the Baker’s Dozen run began, fans at home who have been streaming the shows have noticed a curious advertisement for “spicy chicken sandwiches in section 119.” The interwebs have been ablaze with curiosity about these chicken sandwiches, with several long-running threads popping up at online hubs for Phish fans like Reddit, PhantasyTour, Phish Tour 2014 (hi Jay!!!), and more. If you walk around Madison Square Garden during the Baker’s Dozen, you can hear countless conversations from fans wondering what the fuss is about with this sandwich and where they can get one (News flash: you can find them outside of Section 119). We here at Live For Live Music thought it might be time to peel back some layers of the mystery that is the spicy chicken sandwich in section 119.The spicy chicken sandwich comes from Fuku, an offshoot of the Momofuku brand helmed by renowned New York City chef David Chang. The chef—known for his restaurants Ssam Bar, Noodle Bar, and Ko, as well as the popular dessert chain MilkBar—is famous for his more casual, low-key (and low price point) dining experiences, where he typically fuses Asian and American influences to form a unique dining experience that’s both fun and delicious. His iconic Noodle Bar restaurant quickly became a popular destination for large groups looking to taste Chang’s delicious fried chicken served two ways: Southern style and Korean style. The popularity of Noodle Bar led Chang to open a standalone location where people could enjoy his fried chicken. He called the shop Fuku, playfully named under the Momofuku umbrella, and opened up a location in the East Village of Manhattan.Almost immediately, Fuku was praised for its outstanding spicy chicken sandwich. The sandwich is a play on the simple chicken sandwiches that can be eaten at fast-food establishments across the country, but with some twists that make it unique. The sandwich contains a chicken thigh that’s marinated in habanero, covered in buttermilk and a blend of spices, and then deep-fried to near-perfection before being served on a standard potato roll with pickles and butter. The end result is a juicy, crispy, delicious chicken sandwich experience that immediately jumped into the “must-try” category for New Yorkers. Shortly after the opening of Fuku, both Madison Square Garden and Citi Field—home of the New York Mets baseball team—roped in franchises for their stadiums, making Fuku a standard food item at sporting events and concerts at either building.. . .Fast forward a few years, and all it takes is an advertisement on a digital board for fans to go wild, almost as if they’ve never eaten a spicy chicken sandwich before. It’s not like this sandwich is new—Fuku opened in 2015, and the MSG location outside of section 119 opened in January 2016. This means the vendor was open for the entirety of Phish’s four-night 2016 New Year’s run, during which there were four set breaks where you could’ve purchased and eaten a spicy chicken sandwich from Fuku. Also, there is a debatably better spicy chicken sandwich from another notable chef—Jean Georges Vongerichten—at his booth called Jean Georges Simply Chicken, which has multiple locations around Madison Square Garden. Simply Chicken features a grilled chicken breast, fried onions, spicy aioli, basil, and pickles for a much more flavorful (and non-fried) experience.Whatever your opinion on the great chicken sandwich debate of 2017, the reality is both options are awesome for stadium food. Madison Square Garden is offering the sandwiches at Fuku and Simply Chicken—along with the rest of the food items located in the concourse outside of the 100 level—for a full hour before the show starts each evening for half-off. Discounted food, multiple delicious chicken sandwich options, confused out-of-town fans, and two sets and an encore of Phish tunes. . . Sounds like a good time to us![Photo: Courtesy of David Chang/Fuku]
Pressure released · The comparisons to Reggie Bush have finally subsided for junior Joe McKnight, who now looks to maximize his time in the Trojans’ crowded backfield. – Dieuwertje Kast | Daily Trojan Running backs at USC have a lot to live up to. Nicknamed “Tailback U,” the Trojans have had some of the greatest rushers in NCAA history, including five Heisman Trophy winners.It is no surprise, then, that the Trojans have one of the deepest backfields in the nation set to take the field in 2009. Many Trojans believe that all six of their top tailbacks could star at most Division-I programs. USC ranked 22nd in the nation last season in rushing offense at 195 yards per game, and returns all of its tailbacks and fullbacks.The Trojans employed a three-man rotation at the tailback position for most of last season, with senior Stafon Johnson, redshirt junior C.J.. Gable and junior Joe McKnight getting more than 80 percent of the carries. However, the coaches remained noncommittal when asked if they would use a similar rotation this year.“I don’t know how the rotation is going to go this year. We never know,” running backs coach Todd McNair said.“We’ll see how it pans out,” added offensive coordinator John Morton. “Usually they’ll all play.”Johnson was the Trojans leading rusher a season ago (705 yards, nine touchdowns) and enters his senior season tentatively atop the depth chart. He combines an ability to run between the tackles with a breakaway speed to become perhaps the Trojans’ most complete back. Yet Johnson said he has no complaints about the rotation.“No problem at all because for the most part we were successful with it,” Johnson said.He also dispelled the notion that one running back needs to get a majority of the carries in order to get in a rhythm.“You want to be hot so you don’t have to get hot,” Johnson said. “That’s the mindset you’ve got to have.”McKnight entered his first fall camp two years ago under immense pressure to fill the void left by the stylistically similar Reggie Bush. His first two years have been solid, though not as spectacular as some fans had hoped. McKnight seems poised, however, to have his best season yet in 2009, entering camp fully healthy after recovering from four dislocated toes suffered in January’s Rose Bowl.“It feels so good to be healthy [for] the first season in my USC Trojan career,” McKnight said. “I’m more relaxed, more comfortable. I couldn’t really say I was having fun my first two years, but now I’m really having fun.”McKnight was second in rushing on the team with 659 yards and led USC with 7.4 yards per rush. He is also dangerous in the passing game, catching 21 passes last year, and often lines up as a slot receiver. The one statistical knock on McKnight is his lack of finding the end zone, with only seven touchdowns in his career.Gable is coming off some late-season struggles from a year ago, when he was benched for fumbling in games against UCLA and in the Rose Bowl against Penn State. Gable expressed frustration at the time with the coaches’ decision to leave him out but once again figures to be in line for a lot of carries.“Why wouldn’t he be? He’s the first freshman running back in USC history to start and he’s started since his freshman year,” McNair said. “Yeah, a couple games the ball got away from him, but he’s good to go.”Gable brings a lot of experience to the group, with 18 career starts. He rushed for 617 yards and eight scores last season.Redshirt junior Allen Bradford, who was forced to sit out most of last year with a hip injury, is also back and ready to contribute. Though he doesn’t have more than 15 carries a season during his career, Bradford brings a power-running style that the top three backs don’t possess.“I’m just trying to break the rotation, make it a fourth guy,” Bradford said. “[I want to] be the power guy.”Redshirt sophomore Marc Tyler and redshirt freshman Curtis McNeal will also compete for playing time. Tyler is a big back who rushed for 198 yards a season ago, getting most of his touches once the game was decided. He had an impressive showing in spring practice, but so did McNeal. The 5-foot-8 speedster was the Trojans’ leading rusher in spring scrimmage.The starting fullback position will once again be manned by redshirt junior Stanley Havili. Once a tailback in high school, Havili was converted to a fullback, where he has flourished in both the blocking and receiving game, catching passes out of the backfield with his blend of soft hands and speed. He has 596 career receiving yards and eight touchdowns.“I try to bring another dimension to this offense, try to be a threat when I’m outside receiving the ball,” Havili said. “I can create matchup problems when I go one-on-one with linebackers.”During the 2008 season, the coaches moved D.J. Shoemate to the fullback position to help backup Havili. Now entering his sophomore year, Shoemate possesses similar pass-catching qualities that now define the position for USC. Senior Adam Goodman will be a reserve fullback used mostly to block.