Democracy Inaction

Rotgut responses to questions from the discard pile

We suggest you start there. The Burning Question crew finished our research for both the grappa and mezcal portions of this column at Mattito's on a Sunday afternoon. We finally sobered up on Tuesday--in time to renounce the testimony we apparently made at the Billy Graham event.

What's the difference between cigarette, cigar and pipe tobacco?

Robert Wilson of Addison Cigar & Tobacco Co. quickly rephrases this question in more general terms. "What's the difference between a rose, a tulip and a forget-me-not?" he asks. "They're all flowers, but the similarity ends there."

Location Info


Pappas Brothers Steakhouse

10477 Lombardy Lane
Dallas, TX 75220

Category: Restaurant > Fine Dining

Region: Northwest Dallas

Mattito's Cafe Mexicano

3102 Oak Lawn Ave
Dallas, TX 75219

Category: Restaurant > Tex-Mex

Region: Uptown & Oak Lawn


7050 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75231

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Northeast Dallas

Arcodoro & Pomodoro

100 Crescent Court, Ste. 140
Dallas, TX 75201

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Uptown & Oak Lawn

Much of the tobacco rolled into fine cigars grows in Cuba or in Central America from Cuban seed. It requires tremendous skill to create cigars, blending aged leaves for flavor and even burn. Region, weather and curing methods affect the taste of cigar tobacco, and planters further influence the end product through selective use of sun or shade. Virginia produces a significant percentage of America's pipe tobacco, which is often flavored with everything from fruit to liquor in order to sweeten the taste and scent of the weed. "Generally, because it's flavored, pipe tobacco doesn't have to have innate regional characteristics," explains Javad Taherzadeh of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse. "The flavoring will overpower anything inherent to the tobacco." Cigars, in other words, ride on the strengths and weaknesses of the leaf itself, while the quality of pipe tobacco depends more on the flavoring. Cigarettes, by comparison, are artless, mass-produced commodities. "The leaves are harvested, dried and chopped up," Wilson says. "That's basically it."

"With cigarettes, literally you're buying the lowest quality of tobacco there is," Taherzadeh adds.

Who is the Burning Question crew?

Names are the least substantive measure of identity, so it would be unfair to list in a concrete and concise format all those who serve alongside me as crew members. We are the sum of that which we've accomplished and those whom we choose to admire. For instance, we've read Moby Dick, eaten the worm, danced with Miss Nude Detroit, memorized the poems of Wilfred Owen and stood on the sidelines at Penn State games. We admire Zonker Harris, Johnny Rotten, Ernie Irvan and "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell.

That pretty much sums it up.

Oh, except that we all enjoy alcohol to excess and occasionally wake up in places like...well, Dayton.

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