Keller’s more ‘tasteful’ tourney

You might have Ohio State beating UTSA in your March Madness bracket. Dustin Keller, food critic for The New York Times and tight end for the New York Jets, has grilled steak beating fried bologna in his bracket.

Keller, who began writing a column for the Times as a food critic entitled “I Eight One” (a play on his Jets No. 81 jersey), has a bracket of his own called “Main Course Madness.” Fans of Keller and/or fans of food can fill out one of these unique brackets on Keller’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/DustinKeller81.

“Don’t call a ridiculous upset like frog legs beating fried chicken,” Keller said, laughing.  “Just like in March Madness the one-sixteen upsets just don’t happen.”

The one seeds in his “Main Course Madness” bracket are grilled steak in the Midwest, NY-style pizza in the East, fried chicken in the South, and a carne asada burrito in the West. “Ribs (a five seed) could make a run,” Keller noted looking at all the matchups. “Yeah, ribs or French fries could be sleepers.” He also was disappointed that creamed spinach did not make the field. If Keller filled out his own NCAA Tournament bracket, he would take Purdue (a 3 seed), his alma mater, all the way. He compares Purdue to the grilled steak of the Midwest region.

Keller’s food column in the Times is not about pitting foods against each other. His Jets teammates often want to join him when he goes out and tries new places in Manhattan. His favorite person to take on his food expeditions is his fiancée. She is the one that got him interested in the food scene in Manhattan.

Keller already loved food before his fiancée took it to the next level. Mexican food is his favorite. He credits a little place in Lafayette, Ind., called “Little Mexico 2″ with changing his life when it came to food. “I wanted to live my life through Mexican food until I found out that it’s not the greatest for you.”

His fiancée opened his eyes to some new and different cuisines — escargot, for example. “I was a little iffy,” Keller said about eating snails. “I didn’t want to like it.” Though happily, he was proven wrong about his hesitation to try escargot. “It was delicious,” he conceded. You can read some of his food reviews at .

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