Monday, May 30, 2011

17. The First Couple Days After Grocery Shopping

Things were looking grim in the kitchen. I needed groceries.

I swear to you there is no better feeling than a full fridge. More divine than the sweetest of manna. I'm not sure how the rest of you roll, but I literally am spooning jam, eating ketchup packets, and mixing up dubiously purchased baby food before I'll admit to myself that I need groceries. So when I've been running on fumes in my kitchen for a week or two, the magic carpet ride (aka Ralph's) seems like Mecca itself.

When I grocery shop I literally go into a zen type of lucid meditation. I no longer acknowledge moronic people and nuisances, life goes quiet and I am alone with my thoughts.

"Pickles...fuck yeah!!!" seems to be my first message.

I returned home with armloads of groceries from meats to drinks, to frozen goods,and grains. Everything under the sun was now plucked, packaged and placed in my kitchen in easy-to-open packages.

I live alone so I constantly have sweat-inducing nightmares of my food going bad before I eat it. I also always purchase too much out of greed and bouts hedonistic gluttony. I'm stuck between a rock of value and the hard place of excessive supply. So there's nothing left to do but make myself eat a lot of the food in the first couple days to make myself feel's a tough responsibility that I've bestowed unto myself.

It's just so great a feeling when you have exactly what you want when you want it. Even when you're fridge is pretty stocked, it's not the same. Your sandwich will invariably be missing one ingredient, like pepper jack cheese. And sure. your sandwich is pretty good, but you just can't get your mind off of that missing cheese. How good it would have those peppers would dance a flavorful tango of lust with your taste buds. That would have been so good, that cheese. Sitting on that sandwich, cheesing it up. Cheese. Cheese. Cheese.

It's downright murder. You don't have those horrible feelings of frustration those first couple days after grocery shopping because everything is there. You might as well have two dinners, with dessert.

Name: Kitchen (+ pantry)
Genre: Gastronomy
Value: Dependent on ownership of Ralph's Club Card.
What You'll Need to Enjoy Your Meal: A fridge that won't run away


Sunday, May 29, 2011

VIDEO - Magic Milk

Because regular milk is stupid.

16. 1739 Public House

It was hipster Sunday Funday, ironically taking place on a Saturday, because Sunday's are too mainstream. And of course it wouldn't be a hipster Sunday without massive (literally gallons) of sweet, unadulterated irony.

"Soccer" Brian told me over the phone, "The UEFA Championship League Final, it's on today and we're watching it at Public house in Silverlake."

I furrowed my brow in a lame attempt to grasp the situation. "Soc.....cer?" I replied bewildered. "Yooo ayyyyyfuhhhh?"

After being called a random slew of things such as, "jankster" "turkey" and "honkey" Brian reluctantly agreed to pick me up. A trip to Silverlake means I can't just wear a t-shirt, jeans, and some Nike's, lest I be laughed out of the neighborhood. (Note: It is acceptable to wear a T-shirt, jeans, and Nike's if, when accused, you reply "Yeah, I'm just SO over the wannabe hipster scene." This trick is known as Pointing out the Irony of Being Ironic and should only be used in moments of true duress.)

The real foundation of Hipster-casual is your ironic T-shirt. I had the perfect weapon, a vintage, slightly too small San Francisco 49er's T shirt with football player Dwight Clark leaping over the golden gate bridge making a catch with the words "THE CATCH '82" printed across. It was true Hipster gold. It had all the ingredients: a) Too small, b) A date prior to 2000, c) a universally recognizable city or landmark, and d) it was a football shirt when going to a futbol match. Solid gold, baby.

I topped it off with my Father's Safe School Bus Driver Award jacket which he gave me because it's horribly ugly. I would normally agree, but when I go hipster, I go hard. Wait until those 1950 greaser throwbacks get a load of my sweet ass jacket which indicates I'm a safe school bus driver only to find out that *gasp!* Not only am I not a safe school bus driver, I'm not a school bus driver at all!! Suffice to say, I was ready for soccer.

Brian and I met up with a large group of friends at 1739 Public House in Silverlake. I was genuinely impressed with their ample placement of many large television sets placed unobtrusively around the entire dining area as to let every have an adequate view of the game. I sat down and was quite disappointed to see that there were minimal hipsters proliferating the premises. I was quickly reminded it was 11:00am on a weekend and I would need to wait until at least 1:30pm to being seeing the Ironic Army. Fair enough.

These people are cooler than you.

1739 Public House, I would soon learn, had an ironic idea of customer service that "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if the customers wait on themselves?!" I sat patiently for about 10 minutes before realizing that I needed to grab my own menu from the front, bring it back to my seat and figure out my order. Normally not a problem but the place was littered with Soccer fans so getting up and down was a real pain. After you wedged your way back to your seat, you had to wedge your way back out again and place your order at the bar. They gave me a number and was instructed to sit back at my seat and wait for my order, but not before asking for a tip.

I'm sorry, but what am I tipping you for? Entering my order into the cash register? That's literally all you did. And how do I know the food will be up to snuff? What if it was terrible and brought out over an hour after I ordered it?

Well, surprise surprise... After tipping. I returned to my seat and literally waited over an hour for 1 hamburger. It finally arrived, cold, small, and with soggy fries. I opened my mouth to complain but the server had scooted off without even offering me ketchup. I didn't see another waiter that day.

The service was TERRIBLE. Like, it wasn't bad, it was godawful. Even buying a beer was a laborious feat. Here 1739 Public House was, choked full of ready-to-drink soccer fans and they were making them all stand up and return to the bar to buy drinks. I'm no Donald Trump, but I'm business savvy enough to know that when well-to-do soccer fans are ready to shell out money on premium beers, you make every attempt to eliminate the steps between collecting money and serving a beer as humanly possible. The good news was, at this point I had my first hipster-spotting. (It was a girl with thick black frame glasses, a terrible haircut - with bangs of course, bright red lipstick, and a dress from the 1950's.)

I wish I thought of this.

I estimate 1739 Public House probably missed out on at least 50-75 extra beer sales by not having servers available for the event. Seems silly to me, but I suppose to irony of NOT wanting to sell beer is not lost on me. If you're a recovering overweight alcoholic who likes non-mainstream sports like soccer, rugby, Aussie Rules football, or *shudder* cycling, then 1739 Public House is the place for you. If, on the other hand, you like to get actual service and good food and beers brought to you by a waiter, then try every other restaurant in the world.

PS: I don't know who won the soccer game.

Name: 1739 Public House
Genre: Craft Beer Bar and Grill
Value: Waste of money and dignity
What You'll Need to Enjoy Your Meal: Prior experience as a waiter or waitress as you'll be serving yourself.
Rating: 2 / 5

Monday, May 23, 2011

15. Phillipe

It was one of this Sundays where you slowly open your eyes, picking out flecks of regret and remorse as you feel the impending hangover settling in. I awoke on my friend Brian's floor at noon realizing that the prior nights activity's had left me in a place of contempt for life, friends, and fun. I located my pants and rolled to the couch to play Xbox baseball. 

Saturday nights fit of hedonism left my stomach full of beer, whiskey, vodka, and Zima. Unfortunately, no food. So even in my putrid state, food was tantamount. Visions of pizza dancing merrily in my head and began to make me salivate.

Brian came out of his room and I greeted him. "Man, what a night. We should get Pizza."
"Yeah," he replied, "Last night was nuts."
"I feel like pizza."
"The Sharks game is on." Brian remembered.
"Hey we should just order a pizza and watch this game." I tried again.
"Nice," he stated, Giants are up 1-0."
"Are there good pizza places in Brentwood?" I asked.
"Adam McKay is one big ass dude" was his response.

At that point Brian's Roommate Billy arises from bed to greet us in the living room.
"Man, what a night, "Billy said. "Brian can you give me a ride to downtown to get my car? I'm super hungry too, we should eat at Phillipe."
"Good idea," Brian said. "Let's go there."
"Fuck." was all I could think.

And that's the story of how we ended up at Phillipe. A staple of downtown Los Angeles located adjacent from Union Station. Phillipe (not Phillipe's) is famous for it's French Dip Sandwiches and boasts that it even invented them. Their story is that a police office named Officer French ordered a sandwich and the worker accidentally dropped the bread into a conveniently located open bucket of Au Jous sauce. French said it was fine and to make the sandwich with the same bread. The rest was supposed history. Bill, Brian and I all deemed this story to be marketing hogwash and proceeded to hypothesize what actually happened. (I suggested that Officer French was actually the local pedophile.)

Inventor of the French Dip Sandwich.
Anyway, not unlike most landmark restaurants, this place was packed. The offered mainly French Dip sandwiches with a small selection of alternatives. Meat choices included pork, beef, ham, lamb, and turkey with like 4 or 5 cheese options. I went with turkey because I'm trying to passively lose weight while Billy got lamb and Brian got pork. The Sandwiches were reasonably priced around 6 bucks each. I only say reasonably because I didn't feel entirely full at the end. But they offer lemonade for 45 cents, iced tea for 65 cents and coffee for 9 cents, so that was an absolute steal.

They also offer a super spicy mustard to douse your soggy ass sandwich in, which I deemed fantastic. This place is cash only which  normally isn't a problem, except I'd emptied my wallet drinking the night before so my whole meal cost an extra $2.50 per the ATM surcharge. I just don't understand how a consistently packed, world famous restaurant still  tries to duck the IRS and not take cards. This was a major issue for me on principle. 

Overall this place is good, but plan on waiting in a long ass line. Also, you can order double meat, or betteryet just play it safe and order two sandwiches to genuinely feel full. But police officers and pedophiles agree, this place is pretty good. Also, parking is ample.

Name:  Phillepe
Genre: Sandwiches
Value: Great!
What You'll Need to Enjoy Your Meal:  Cash money, baller.
Rating: 4 / 5

Sunday, May 22, 2011

14. Coors Light

Yes, I know Coors Light is about as classy a beverage as Jersey Shore is poignant. But as I sit here typing this with a cold frosty at arm's reach, watching the mountains slowly lose their frost-blue hue, I take a sip from the "ultrawide mouth" accentuated by the "drinking vent" and think....who am I to judge? The shit gets me drunk.

Here's the thing, I'm pretty sure there's no Coors Light drinkers out there who appreciate it's fine-craftsmanship, refined hops, and punctuated barley accents. People tap the Rockies because you can get drunk really easy and not feel bloated while doing so. Also, with all the aforementioned features that Coors Light offers: Blue Mountains, Wide Mouths, Drinking Vents, etc, the good people at Coors are making it abundantly clear: Drink this, and drink lots of it quickly. Anyone who thinks they're better than binge drinking at social events needs to remind themselves what got them into drinking in the first place.

If I finish a hard day of work, I honestly would NOT want to cap it off with a Coors Light. I'm more of a craft beer drinker, but that doesn't mean that the bottom section of my fridge isn't stocked aplenty with upwards of at least 12 Coors Lights at any given time.

One of the many things you can buy if you drink Coors Light.
Why? Plenty of reasons. 1) What if friends come over? I don't want them running a drinking train on my Chimay's and Boddingtons - they get Coors Light and lots of it. 2) What if you spontaneously get invited to a Dodger game? You certainly can't do that sober, and you don't want to chug beers that are too heavy and full-bodied. You'll end up puking more than just watching the Dodgers in general. 3) It's cheap, so you can spend your money on hair gel...or you know...whatever.

Plus, let's be real here. You drink it and it's gone. Hopefully between those two points it will get you drunk and you can make inappropriate phone calls or something. My friend Brian says he's too good for Coors Light but I think you look more like a buster if you turn down a Coors Light then you do by actually drinking one. It's free beer and drinking beer is fun. So is hair gel.

PS: Rod Beck drinks Coors Light. 'Nuff said.

Name: Coors Light
Genre: Party Beer
Value: Great, and you can recycle the cans for even more added value.
What You'll Need to Enjoy Your Meal: 

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

13. VitaFusion MultiVites

Gummi Vitamins are one of those good ideas that I think all of us had at some point in our lives but were all too pussy to do anything with. Now it holds lofty company with the mini-lighter, cordless vacuum, and Lakers car flags as I wish I invented that stupid thing things. I'm pretty sure VitaFusion did not invent nor hold any patents in regards to the gummi vitamin specifically. But one thing it brought to the gummi vitamin market was something that was clearly lacking in other brands: class.

Vitafusion clearly knows its demographic, and it constantly reminds the consumer "Hey, I know I'm a delicious peach flavored gummi, but I'm also nutritious and best effective when taken in doses of two a day. I'm proudly made in America and would love to give you the same amount of Vitamin A as a cup of broccoli and the same amount of Vitamin D as 3 oz. of salmon. But that's not to ever imply, good sir, that you wouldn't already be enjoying salmon and broccoli as part of your normal diet, because your clearly an upscale individual to begin with, as exampled by the purchase of me - a VitaFusion Multivite."

Whereas, do you feel this brand delivers the same message?

Clearly not. First off....are these even vitamins? It looks like One-a-Day started marketing Exstacy. My first instinct is "Open this bottle immediately and eat as many of whatever is inside as possible, and kill anyone who threatens this initiative." The only person possibly more excited than me is Fred Flinstone himself. Also, after you're super hyped up from all the awesome colors and fonts, the bottle coyly mentions at the bottom "Oh yeah, only eat one of these a day." Yeah right, Fred. By the time any self-respecting person get's to that part of the label he's already eaten half a bottle and vomited three times.

Then there's these ones. Slightly more presentable, but still nothing you want to be caught with. I don't know what it is with the people at One-a-Day and "blast" designs, but I'm not intimidated. Look, let's be honest here, people who usually take vitamins aren't doing it because they're accentuating an already robust workout regiment. They're doing it because it's the easiest way to not have to workout and still feel that you're being somewhat healthy. Gummi vitamin consumers are even worse because they can't even be bothered with filling up a cup of water in which to take normal vitamins. Also, there's something just rude about having the largest word on the bottle be "One-a-Day" and then suggesting "For best results, take two gummis."

Fresh from the lab, there's these things, which literally look like they've been sliced from someone's body parts. It's too adult, really. If you're going to have a picture on your bottle, perhaps maybe a succulent summer strawberry? Maybe a proactive young go-getter about to head out on another adventurous jog? No, instead let's put a red blood cell looking thing on there, fresh from it's latest biopsy. Also, dude, if there's only one flavor, there's really nothing to look forward to, and isn't that the point of gummi vitamins, to actually enjoy them? I don't feel healthy taking these, nor do I feel they are accentuating my already activ e lifestyle. I feel like Tom Hanks in Philidelphia  and these would be delivered to me in a paper cup.These gummi vitamiuns are also good if you want to enter the matrix.

On a side note, I find it really odd that we can put back a whole bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups with minimal regret, but staunchly respect the serving size of gummi vitamins.

Name: Vitafusion MultiVites
Genere: Gummi Vitamin
Value:  I honestly don't feel healthier when I take these, but I feel qualified to look down on others for not taking them.
What You'll Need to Enjoy Your Meal: The nearly impossible ability to suck on the vitamin without chewing it as to enjoy it for as long as possible.
Rating: 4 / 5

Thursday, May 5, 2011

12. Costco Food Court

Costco has lower to middle-class America figured out. Rich families have one, maybe two children throughout the course of their lifetime. Poorer families have one to two hundred children throughout the course of twelve months. There are many societal/religious/educational/etc reasons for this which one can argue, but the point I'm getting at here is if you're going to feed 17,000 kids, your best best is to shop at Costco. I get it.

Then there's me on the other hand. Shopping for one. Costco used to be a place where business owners of all types came to mingle and spend their Sundays, not unlike a golf course. But ever since Costco introduced the "Gold Star" Membership program, the shit (not any type of shit, I mean an army of Gorillas fed crateloads of Burritos and Mountain Dew then all using the bathroom in unison) really hit the fan (not any type of fan, probably the type that skydivers float above when theyre practicing their skydiving).

A Costco membership card for non-business owners.
A Gold Star is something you give a child to make them feel special in school when they're clearly not. That's not unlike the Gold Star membership at Costco. These people don't own a business, clearly have mucked up their lives by having seventeen too many children, and now want a piece of the Costco pie. Now Costco is line after miserable line of parents with their fat, fat children merrily dancing around a wheeled palette of bagel bites and gummi bears, too excited to wait until theyre home to start wolfing. All this I can understand, kind of, what I don't get is after buying all this food, you immediately go straight to the Costco food court to buy MORE food.

When it comes to the quality and price of the food here, there's really no argument that it's great. The Hebrew National Kosher hot dogs and Polish Sausages have even gotten the seal-of-approval from the most Jewish, crabby, loudest person on the planet - My Grandfather. A $1.50 for a dog and a question that it's an absolute steal. The pizza is also great, by the pie or the slice. I've never had their Chicken Bake or newly introduced Steak Bake but I'm sure they're great, too. And the frozen yogurt is an absolute treat.

I'll also say this, the only reason I found myself in line at a Costco Food court is I was stoned and driving by and got fond memories of my Grandfather announcing he was taking all the grandkids to get the "Greatest Hot Dogs in the World!!" I decided to act on my nostalgia and pulled into the insanely crowded parking lot. I guess the only real complaint is how big the lines at the Food Court get. It's a massive, massive queue of people who really shouldn't be eating pizza to begin with (because they're fat). And each person in line is actually a representative of their entire fat family waiting in the wings to all get food. So each person is ordering "Uhhhh....7 hot dogs, 3 slices of cheese pizza, 4 slices of pepperoni *yells to big group of people sitting at two tables* Hey you want chocolate or swirl?!? And 5 swirl sundaes please. Hmmm....better make it 6. Also, you're machine is out of Diet Coke."

Also, if you stand back from the food court, it literally looks like the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. It's just tables full of people all sitting quietly with garbage strewn about. It's pretty depressing. Thankfully, you're too busy basking in the glow of a $1.50 hot dog to ponder this too much and it usually only becomes apparent after you've gotten up and are walking away. I will say, I'm pretty miffed there isn't unlimited sauerkraut  anymore, you have to ask for it at the counter. This reminds me, I should call my grandparents.

Name: Costco
Genre: A stoner's mini-fridge.
Value: King Kong sized.
What You'll Need to Enjoy Your Meal:  $2 and a soul.
Rating: 3.5 / 5

Monday, May 2, 2011

11. Sushi Nobu

If you're a fan of Time-Share condominiums, NASCAR commemorative plates, and real estate opportunities on Second Life, then I've got the sushi place for you.

My friend Mark suggested this place, and he tends to err to the side of unnecessary extravagance. Tonight was no exception. Firstly, I'll explain by saying Nobu is regarded as a higher-end restaurant which attracts, in most cases, the severely retarded. Everyone seems to have undue tolerance for ineptitude at nicer restaurants because they have some asinine idea that the customer is always wrong or inferior and should just keep their lucky mouths shut and should be happy they even get to eat at a place this nice. There's always a good 17 seconds of excitement when I go to nicer restaurants because I think I'm going to get unparalleled service, amazingly decadent food, and an experience worth writing home about. Yeah, I always enjoy those 17 seconds.

Eighteen seconds after walking into this place I'm reminded why I hate high end places. We enter EXACTLY at 9:30pm, right when our reservations are. One should assume, as a fine-dining establishment, Nobu would respect their customers need for punctuality. The hostess looks at us bleakly and smiles, "We're just cleaning your table right now, why don't you go sit at the bar and we'll call you when ready."

Because hostess, I don't want to sit at a bar. I called you and TOLD YOU when I would be ready, and that was 9:30. You said Okay. We had a verbally binding contract and instead you're going to break it and then assume I want to spend even more money at your empty, boring bar while you "clean my table." FYI, we waited a good 20 minutes, so unless they were busy whittling us a brand new table and chopsticks, they lied that it was being cleaned. I would have much preferred a "Sorry sir, there's a bunch of ravenous midwestern fatties at your table and we figured they would have been done by now." At least it's the truth.

We were finally seated  and the waiter took his sweet ass time finally getting to us to give us menus. I certainly appreciate a waiter who has memorized a list of specials which include things like " A black pepper crusted Colorado lamb with truffle terriyaki, braised and served with your choice of an anticucho sauce, balsamic teriyaki, or wasabi pepper sauce." Thats not easy to remember. But every single dish that came out was described in full, everytime. "Here is your lamb" would have sufficed when the food arrived. I can clearly see its a lamb. but instead the server insisted on saying "Here is your black pepper crusted Colorado lamb with truffle teriyaki." It didn't erk me at first but we ordered a LOT of food.

Nobu should also serve this, it's about the same value.
My next big issue was with the price. I'm not poor or cheap, but sometimes you have to call bullshit. Mark got some Toro tuna sashimi and literally, I kid you not, two small butter sized patties came out. Price? $27. For that. "But it literally melts in your mouth!!" Mark insisted. Sure Mark, so do M & M's. 
And worse still... this is a sushi place and the rolls SUCK. They aren't creative or even very tasty. The most dynamic rolls you can get are an Eel/Avocado roll or a Spicy Tuna roll. And get this... every....single...roll....fell apart! I'm no sushi master, but I'm pretty sure one indicator of quality sushi is that it stays rolled. My dick could have rolled a more put-together meal. 

I wouldn't even suggest coming here on a date, the music is too loud to carry on a real conversation, and odds are you'll find the bulk of your conversation centered around whats wrong with your meal. anyway. Total cost of the meal - $260 excluding the tip. Probably the worst money I've spent in a while. Also, they give you disposable chopsticks. I wish I gave them disposable money.

Name: Nobu
Genre:  Japanese
Value: Enron stock certificates.
What You'll Need to Enjoy Your Meal: A car door to slam your penis repeatedly in. Because, hey, at least this place isn't as bad as when I got my penis slammed repeatedly in that car door.
Rating: 0 / 5