"It smells like Bon Jovi in here," my friend said as he walked into the kitchen. And that it did.
On the stove, the pop rock god's family pasta sauce was bubbling away, giving off the faint aroma of a superstar. My friend added, "Will the sauce have unnaturally beautiful hair?" or something of the like. The answer is, no. No hair was in or on the sauce.
It's not like BJB and I are super homies, and he just swung by my crib before his first solo show tonight at Hard Rock Live. Nah. Rather, his family is slinging his great-grand mother's gravy recipe actualized in a bottle. The product is called Bongiovi
after his actual family name (you didn't think he was born with a badass name like Bon Jovi for real, did ya?).
Though the sauce isn't being sold yet in Florida, our lovely managing editor at New Times Broward Palm Beach
ordered the full trio of flavors sold online
. We offered up the palettes and sarcasm of ourselves and friends for a taste test. Though my editor'd already slurped down the Arrabbiata, we snagged the marinara and garden style. What follows are a few opinions on the Bongiovi family goods.
I brought on two Italians and one Cuban to wolf down the sauces. One friend (call him Friend One), when asked about the musician, said, "I don't really know who Bon Jovi is." (This, of course was a lie, but extreme claims work well on the web.)
Another, Friend Two, noted, "He was a classic in his time, and let's hope the sauce is a classic in this time." Amen, sistah.
While waiting for the sauces to boil, we read the ingredients, which seemed wholesome enough. Comments were made like: "I'd be rocking out harder to Sammy Hagar's rum than Bon Jovi's pasta sauce. Maybe, the two of them together would create a rock opera in my mouth!" And, of course, all of this was to the soundtrack of "I'll Be There for You." And like good friends, these guys were there for me and the Bongiovis.
By the time the water'd boiled, the spaghetti'd softened, and bottles of wine emptied, we deliberated. Though the jury wasn't 100 percent in agreement on which was the superior sauce, generally, we all enjoyed the Bongiovi family experience.
"Personally, I love the sauce! It was great. It's the kind of sauce that you would really stay at home and just like, can't wait till it comes in the mail. I can imagine the anxiety of just waiting for it to come in the mail. Like, when is this sauce coming. Like waiting for a paycheck. And when it finally arrives, it's just everything you expected it to be," he raved.
And on which sauce was the winner when the rest of us agreed on marinara, "I don't know, actually, I disagree," he said. "Bro, the one with the chili peppers in it was pretty good."
"My grandma tells me to plead the Fifth."
"So, the marinara was clearly the superior sauce, even though the garden style had more ingredients. More did not equal better in Bon Jovi's case." He continued, "I was expecting explosions of flavor in my mouth. I got a pretty standard flavor experience from the marinara sauce, which wasn't a bad thing. It needed some spicing up."
I personally enjoyed the marinara quite a bit. It was thick, it coated the ziti well, and with some cheese on top, it was like having old Italian New Jersey in my mouth.
My one suggestion: Change the names to something like Slippery When Wet Marinara, or Born to Be My Garden Sauce, or even It's My Pasta Sauce.
Jon Bon Jovi and the Kings of Suburbia at 8 p.m. tonight at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood.