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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Food Newz: Newz You Can Uze...For Suztenance!


Chain restaurants have a history of overstepping their bounds.  Remember when Subway tried to convince America it was a viable conduit for pastrami?  Or that time Wendy's--a fast food franchise I usually trust unconditionally--tried to sell pork barbecue to discerning North Carolinians who knew better?  Or when the International House of Pancakes offered a limited-time-only All-You-Can-Eat fried shrimp dinner?  I remember that one vividly, as I was one of the few to brave the challenge.  Was it an unpleasant experience followed by a sour stomach and voluminous vomiting?  No.  Was it a memorable meal featuring the most succulent and crispy fried shrimp money can buy?  Of course not.  IHOP is not a seafood restaurant, guys.  I'm sure it was crunchy, salty and brown, and I probably ate way too much.  But it was mediocre and forgettable and not a pancake.

Look, chain restaurants, you don't have to try so hard.  In fact, you don't really need to try at all.  Just do what you do.  I don't go to McDonald's because they do the best cheeseburger in town.  McDonald's cheeseburgers are, technically, garbage, but there is something threaded into my very DNA that, from time to time, makes me desire them, and exactly them.  When I want a Cheeseburger, I'll go to Tribeca or Leesville Tap Room, two local Raleigh eateries that do a really nice burger sandwich.  When I want a McDonald's cheeseburger, well, there's only one place to go, because McDonald's does it the singular shitty way I crave.  McDonald's doesn't have to do anything "off book" to impress me (*cough* mozzarella sticks *cough*).  Just keep pumping out crummy cheeseburgers and hot, salty fries, and I'm a happy fat man.

Bruegger's Bagels is now offering brisket on the menu.  This doesn't need to be a thing.  Nobody wants Bruegger's brisket.  I don't care how hard this press release tries to convince me Bruegger's brisket is "spice-rubbed" and "smoked over hardwood for up to 16 hours," I know if I order it, I'm going to watch a Bruegger's employee yank something resembling brisket out of a metal tub that's been sitting alongside an identical tub filled with sherbet-green guacamole or thin-to-the-point-of-translusence microwaved bacon or rubbery pepperjack triangles , slap it on my bagel-of-choice, and cram it into one those incessantly-beeping ovens that all quick serve chains seem to have now.  There's nobody in the back chopping wood or stoking a fire.  That guy making bagels, the one employees are contractually obligated to loudly thank every time he dumps a basket of warm bagels into another basket, is also manning a smoker now?  I doubt it.  I like you, Bruegger's.  My daughter and I enjoy breakfasting at various Bruegger's locations in our area on a regular basis.  You've hooked us with your salt (my fav) and cinnamon raisin (the kid's fav) bagels and your excessive use of butter.  You don't need to embarrass yourself by offering brisket.  Just stop.  


Hey, Hormel, you should be ashamed of yourself.

You pick up the phone and you apologize to "Weird Al" Yankovic right now, young man!


In my ongoing campaign to confuse the hell out of my taste bus, I present Batman cereal.  My guess is that there is a corresponding Superman cereal (UPDATE: My wife has confirmed that my guess is, in fact, correct.), and from now until the release of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the breakfast-eating public is supposed to sample both varieties of cereal and decide which hero reigns supreme...based on cereal flavor...or something...?

I've only tried Batman cereal so far.  As you can see, it is chocolate strawberry-flavored, which, in my opinion, is very strange.  I mean, I've heard of chocolate-covered strawberries being used to create a sexy mood, but chocolate-strawberry cereal to create a tasty food?!? 

Is it tasty? I don't know.  I find myself, once again, in the steak and horseradish popcorn boat on this one.  The first bite was revolting.  The second bite was OK.  Then, when it was all gone, there was nothing left to do but stare into the brown, milky abyss left behind in my bowl.  I felt the weight of world pressing upon my shoulders, and for a moment, I fantasized about plunging the spoon death-gripped in my right fist into my own eye socket, when my four-year-old asked, "Are you going to drink the milk, Daddy?"

I grimaced.  "Ew!  No!  Of course not!"  I hate it when cereal changes the color of the milk.  Batman cereal does that, turns the milk brown, presumably chocolatey.  But it also somehow turns the milk into a thick, oily sludge.  Staring into that sludge is worse than the eating experience, so after the second bowl I consumed--weeks later, I should add--I dashed to the sink and dumped the unholy broth down the drain the moment the last bat-shaped morsel was gone.

Batman cereal sports an odd flavor that is hard to come to terms with, but it's also a flavor I've never experienced in a breakfast cereal, so I'm kind of OK with it.  I don't like this cereal as much as I am intrigued by it.  I'm open to trying Superman's offerings.


"What if life tasted as good as Diet Coke?"  The commercials that ask this question seem to be indicating that life (i.e. the kinds of lives us "normies" from the "flyover states" experience on a daily, drudge-filled basis) is a snore-filled, grey-tinted, hellscape of boredom.  For instance, this woman's flight to, say, oh, who cares?  She's in coach.  What a piece of shit.

First of all, I have a real problem with the lyrics to the song that accompanies this character's Diet Coke-fueled hallucination.  "You're so cute, I want to wear you like a suit?"  That's Silence of the Lambs talk, man!  Anyway, one sip of Diet Coke show our hero what her life could be like if she lived in some fantasy world in which airlines provide live, in-air jazz concerts and men and dogs can finally legally marry and take cross country trips together (Thanks, Obama!).  But, no, the plane is hit with the slightest turbulence, and our hero is knocked out of her Coke dream and back into reality, where a suave potential suitor becomes nothing more than a hipster in a hoodie, which is all this garbage lady deserves.  

And there's also this one:

Here's the thing: why does traveling by airplane or getting your car washed have to be a fun-filled, life-changing experience?  Do I need to witness a Gatsby-style soiree in a car wash for my life to have meaning?  Do I need dancing waiters and sexy, pin-up girl airline attendants to keep a gun barrel out of my mouth?  Dial it back, Coke.  Life doesn't need to be Moulin Rouge on a loop.  Life has its boring moments and its glitter-on-your-shoulder moments.  Get your car washed.  Ride on a plane.  Enjoy a Diet Coke while you do it.  But calm down.

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