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Recently, I was eating at a Japanese Restaurant, when I came across this on the menu . . .

Leppuce2

Japanengrish?  It would appear that somehow in the translation, the T’s and P’s got reversed, so a Lettuce Wrap became a Leppuce Wrat. Or so we hope.  And pray.

There’s some peas in my leppuce that someone put there.  They know I don’t like peas but they do not care. I actually do like peas, but not in my lettuce, thank you very much.

Worse yet, I worry that there might be a dead wrat laying on my leppuce.

And as you know, I do not eat wrat.  It is not on my lunch bucket list.

I will not eat it here or there, I will not eat it anywhere.  Not on a boat.  Not with a goat.  (Who probably loves leppuce.)  Not in a car.  Not in a bar.  (There is not enough beer in Japan to convinve me to dine on wrats.)

And that’s a wrat, folks!

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As circumstances in my life have evolved, I have had the opportunity to dine alone several times recently.  If you have never experienced this wonderful situation, I highly recommend you give it a try.

There are several advantages to dining alone.

You almost always get a table.  Party of one–come on down!  Often, it is in a remote corner of the establishment where you will feel comfortable with your dining experience knowing no one else can see you.  This is often called Loser’s Corner in the restaurant business.  But for those of us that like privacy when we eat, you can’t beat the ambiance.  We are winners!

They should have put a TV on this wall!

They should have put a TV on this wall!

Sometimes, though, you might have to sit outside.  perhaps in the alley.

Table4One

And if things are really tight, you might end up here.  On the bright side, if you need extra napkins, the roll is right there.

ToiletDining

Another advantage is that the meal goes faster.  It takes the chef less time to prepare one meal.  He has fewer burgers to flip so the food arrives quickly.  Also, there is no annoying dinner conversation to slow one down.  It’s hard to talk and chew at the same time, and quite frankly, if you do that, then that’s probably another reason why you are dining alone right now anyway.  You can still carry on those remarkably entertaining conversations in your head, without spewing croutons across the table.

You don’t have to worry about that awkward moment when the waitress asks if this will be separate checks, or if she doesn’t ask, sets the bill down between you and your dinner date leaving the two of you to glance between the check, each other, and pretty much any other point in the restaurant which would be less uncomfortable.

The bill is lower since you’re only paying for one.  The tip is lower as well.  Have I convinced you this is the way to go, yet?

But it’s not all fun and games.  It can still be awkward if you order the lobster.  Especially if you are at Burger King–have it your way apparently does not include surf and turf.  And if you order the most expensive meal, will you get lucky tonight?  Your hand starts to tremble in anticipation.  You drop your lobster in the butter.  There’s a lot of pressure there if you order the lobster.  If your wrist is sore, or you have a headache, you might want to stick with the salad.

But if you are prepared and dine modestly, the evening can be delightful.  Prepare some jokes in your head to entertain yourself.  Other patrons in the restaurant will be envious of you laughing to yourself and making them wish they were dining with you.  At the cool table!  Don’t be rude and ignore yourself while texting on the phone.  After all, if you had someone to text, you wouldn’t be sitting there alone anyway.

And if your restaurant has televisions, you have the choice of seats around the table to have the view of whatever TV you want!

Lone Appétit!

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Yesterday I went to a fundraising event called Pints for Pets with one of our surgical scrub techs and her husband.  The basic concept is that you buy a ticket to get in.  Proceeds go to the Central PA Humane Society.  Once you get into the event, craft brewers from various breweries offer samples of their beers for free.  Well, not free, since you had to pay to get in, but there is no additional charge.  They give you a little beer glass and you can sample as many and as often as you like.

Pints for Pets?  I don't think that's how this works.  I don't think that's how any of this works!

Pints for Pets? I don’t think that’s how this works. I don’t think that’s how any of this works!

I get beer.  Homeless pets get money.  Win-win situation.

The event was held at the Blair County Ball Park (home of the Altoona Curve baseball team.)  In order to get in, you have to show ID.  At 50, it’s not often I get carded anymore.  They actually swiped my license through some machine just as if it was a credit card.  I am now on the grid.  By the time I’m drunk, I’ll probably have my own drone or satellite.

So in we go to sample the beers!

We head to a table featuring beers from the Pittsburgh Brewing Company.  They had an IC Light Mango which looked interesting.  I’m not a dark, bitter beer type person.  I like ales and IPAs.  Give me a good apricot wheat and I am happy.  I like Blue Moon (with an orange!)  I like Samuel Adams Summer Ale.

The mango was good.  I was off to a good start.  It was a little sweet, but I would prefer that to bitter.

There was a beer made with grapefruit which was a little sour to my liking.

There was a chocolate stout, which in theory sounds good–it has chocolate!–but trust me on this one, it’s no Godiva Liquor or Hershey’s syrup if you know what I mean.  It actually had a mild coffee flavor–I love coffee!—but I couldn’t see myself drinking a whole case of this stuff.  My little four ounce glass was more than enough.

There was a strawberry craft beer.  It tasted like a strawberry pastry–my friend’s analysis, not mine but I concur.  It wasn’t necessarily bad, but of all the fruits they add to beer–lemon, lime, blueberry, apricot, raspberry, mango, etc–strawberry is one that just doesn’t seem to add something good to the beer.  That’s my opinion.  Taste it if you want to.  You’ll dump the rest.  Trust me.

Likewise, there was a banana flavored beer.  Whoever thought that would be a good idea should be shot.  Or made to drink it.  Either way, they are in for some pain.

I tried a wonderful pineapple infused lager.  It was like Hawaii in a glass.

But then we came to the coup de grâce:  Sweet Baby Jesus beer.   Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter.  OMG.  Chocolate and peanut butter were created to be together.  They are two of my favorite food groups.  And when you put them together, it is Heaven!  The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup may be the most perfect food ever created.

Unfortunately, in a porter . . . words cannot begin to describe this.  Tar comes to mind.  Is tar bitter? The peanut butter flavor is totally lost in there, eclipsed by a bitter porter or an overzealous chocolate bar.  But maybe that is how this concoction got it’s name.  After you manage to swallow a mouthful, all you can say is, Sweet baby Jesus, give me something else!

But there were a lot of good craft beers.  Dogfish Head.  Apricot, or as they call it, Aprihop!  Hop.  Hop.  Hop.

Leinenkugel makes a grapefruit shandy!  With a name like Leinenkugel’s it has to be good.  And shandy makes it sound like you are already drunk!  Maybe I am.  It’s hard to keep track of how many mouthfuls we’ve had.

There were a lot of beers.  And such a tiny little glass.

Ooh look.  There’s another beer.  Some brewery.  Somewhere.

That one was is bad.  Don’t try that one.

Oooh.  That one isn’t too bad.  I can’t remember what it is or where it came from, but I know where it went.

By the end of the afternoon–three hours–they all start to taste the same, except for the bad ones which taste even worse.

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of some beers first class,
That started in this baseball park,
With just a tiny glass.

The doc was a mighty drinking man,
The scrub tech brave and sure.
Five passengers set out that day
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour.

The craft beers started getting sour,
The bitter beers were tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The good beers would be lost, the good beers would be lost.

The glass was filled on the deck of this uncharted baseball field
With an eye doctor
A scrub tech too,
The millionaire and his wife,
The movie star
The professor and Mary Ann,
Here on Pints for Pets Isle.

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So I went to Outback Steakhouse tonight.  Now I have been known in the past to try and order a whopper at Wendy’s–they do not appreciate that let me tell you!–but it’s a Steakhouse.  How could I go wrong here?  Order an Onion Blossom instead of a Bloomin’ Onion?

No.  I took fail to a whole new level tonight.

I was perusing the menu, and  I saw Coconut Shrimp and Steak.  This looks good.  I’m not a big shrimp fan, nor a coconut fan, but for some reason, when you put the two together, I can go co-co-co-coconuts for that.  Throw in that orange marmalade goop and you don’t even know you’re eating shrimp!  (Although the pina colada stuff at Red Lobster puts the orange crap to shame, but I digress.)

Can you go wrong with this?

Can you go wrong with this?

But they also have some lobster specials, and while shrimp is meh, lobster is the real deal.  Add a steak, and you can definitely deal me in.  Add some coconut shrimp and orange goop, well, I may just have died and gone to Heaven.

Do you not see three items here:  steak, coconut shrimp and a lobster tail hiding in the back?

Do you not see three items here: steak, coconut shrimp and a lobster tail hiding in the back? (Pay no attention to that green crap.)

My meal arrives and looks as advertised.  I quickly put away the two shrimp, which by the way, were humongous.  They must be like super jumbo shrimp.  But slathering them in orange goop, I get them out of the way, since that is my least favorite part of this triple play combo.

Up next.  Steak.  Say what you want about the folks from Down Under, but they do a great steak on the barbie.

I have saved the best for last.  The lobster tail.  The pièce de résistance.

Fish may be Friends not food, but Bruce is having Lobster tonight!

Fish may be friends not food, but Bruce is having Lobster tonight!

It looks so good.  My mouth is watering in anticipation, although it might be due to the spice on the steak or the fact that my waitress hasn’t brought me a refill.  I turn it over and . . .

Dude!  Somebody stole yo' lobster!

Dude! Somebody stole yo’ lobster!

OMG!  The bastards gave me an empty shell!  They are trying to rip me off!  I frantically try to find our waitress, and quite frankly, don’t they all start to look the same when you need one?  I finally get her attention without having to stand up on the table and swing from the lamp, which would have totally embarrassed my sons to death.  Little did they know that they should have already headed for the door.

So I point to the empty carcass and complain, “I didn’t get my lobster tail!”

To which she replies, “Sir, you already ate it.”

Oh, no!  Don’t you be that waitress.  I did not already eat this tail and then try to game you out of another one.   After all, it’s not like this is going to come out of your pocket.  The damned chef is the one back there eating my lobster on his break.

“No I didn’t.”

“Yes you did.  It’s coconut lobster.  You ate it already.  I saw you.”

I stared into her eyes.  They were telling me that not only did she see me eat the coconut “shrimp” but she saw me down them so fast that I still have orange goop on my lips.  I think I had just shoved one in my mouth next to my tonsils when she stopped by to ask how everything tasted.  Apparently she didn’t understand me complimenting the shrimp that was stuck in my throat.  It was not a pleasant stare.  She was looking at me with disdain.

“You mean . . .”

“It’s steak and coconut lobster.  There isn’t any shrimp.”

Well put a star on my forehead and call me a Christmas Tree.  I did not see that coming.

My triple play ultimate combo was really a double play, with a fake tail that the waitress claims they put on the plate for “effect.”  Like a placebo effect.  It just makes you feel like you’ve had lobster.  I’ve heard of the Butterfly Effect but I have never heard of the Lobster Effect.

And worse yet, I have already eaten my damned lobster!  First instead of last!  You can’t do it in that order!  And I thought it was shrimp!  (In all honesty, it was really good shrimp, which now in hindsight makes sense since it was lobster and not shrimp after all.)

I should have read the menu, instead of just looking at the pretty pictures.

My sons may never eat with me again.

Next time, I’ll stick to Red Lobster.  At least there is lobster in the name.

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Like most runners, I like me a banana now and then.  I usually eat one every day.  It’s a nice quick snack between patients or surgeries that is actually good for me.

Now in all those years of carrying my banana to work with me, I have never had a serious banana incident.  Oh, I may have dropped it on the ground once or twice, but I don’t eat the outside anyway, so it’s not necessarily a problem.

Other people must have banana issues I am not aware of.

Fortunately, we have science.  Technology meets healthy snack in a new way:  THE BANANA BUNKER.

bunker

It seems Groupon marketed this product on their website with some hilarious reactions.  The basic problem here is that the protective banana bunker resembles something else . . .

Among the comments and Groupon’s responses:

Bunkercomments

Laugh if you will, but  they sold out.

So we must wonder now, is that a banana bunker in your pocket, or are you just happy to see us?

Don’t forget to sponsor me in the Beaver Stadium Run to benefit Special Olympics!  Thank you!

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So I was having lunch the other day with my son at Longhorn Steakhouse. Everything seemed to be normal.  I ordinarily don’t “do lunch” but I had the afternoon off due to a quirk in scheduling, and my son was home from college.  So we did what any two normal men would do when we were hungry.  We went out to eat.  (Ordering pizza could have been an answer as well–you can give yourself a point if you thought that was what I was going to say.  Either way, WE WERE NOT COOKING.)

But as I unwrapped my silverware from the napkin, I crossed over into the Twilight Zone.  (cue music)

My knife and fork had some kind of strange attraction for each other.  They were difficult to separate.  At first, I suspected they may have been glued together by dried food, and while that may be gross to consider, it would help explain why I could drag my fork around my plate using my knife.

The utensils appeared to be magnetized!

Not me, and not Longhorn Steak House.  But you get the idea.

Not me, and not Longhorn Steak House. But you get the idea.

It does not take much to amuse me, nor does it take much to send my mind wandering off to left field.  Better grab a Snickers . . . we may be here for awhile.

Why are my utensils magnetic?  Even the steak knife that arrived with my meal could perform these feats of magnetic prestidigitation.  I have eaten out quite a bit in my life, and I have never noticed this phenomenon before.

Is this restaurant located on top of some weird magnetic vortex in the earth?

Is there an alien ship buried beneath this restaurant?

Is there a convergence of the Force here?

I sense something, a presence I’ve not felt since… the last time I was in the presence of my old master.

Does anyone else see this?  Is it the silverware . . . or me?

What kind of black magic is this?!?!

My curiosity could not be controlled, and ultimately, I had to ask the waitress when she brought our check.  Her answer, though, was rather anti-climatic and extraordinarily mundane.  There was no vortex.  No alien spacecraft.  Darth Vader has not been here.  I believe he prefers Texas Roadhouse anyway, but don’t quote me on that.

Instead, the restaurant uses magnetized silverware and special garbage can lids that are magnetic to prevent their precious utensils from being accidentally thrown away.

A magnetic vortex or aliens would have been more fun!

A magnetic vortex or aliens would have been more fun!

Alas, I have violated the first rule of magicians . . . never reveal your secret!

But now you know!  (Don’t tell anyone!)

And if you already knew this . . .

DarthVader

 

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Like A Cheese Tray

Far East Movement has a song, Like a G6, but any time I hear it, it sounds “like a cheese stick.”

Annunciation is very important.

Apparently, so is context.

A nurse at the surgery center where I work recounted the story of showing her high school yearbook to her son.

In one picture, there was a guy–not his father–with his arm around her.  In another, she was pictured with a different guy.  He looked up at her and pleaded, “mom, you weren’t a cheese tray in high school, were you.”

CheeseTray

I would have no idea of what this child speaks.

Neither did she, but he then explained.

“You know, a cheese tray.  The one that gets passed around at parties.”

Remember that when you see a cheese tray at your next holiday party.

And don’t let your children see your high school year book!

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