Tag Archives: chains

Tuna Salad…? Really Dunkin Donuts? WTF.

I come back from a conference to this email from J:

I believe it was the tuna fish sandwich that finally sent me over the edge.

Tuna fish isn’t supposed to have that effect on people. With the exception of the brief mental interlude of the mid-90s where we all pretended we cared about dolphins enough to abstain from canned fish, tuna fish is known for its lack of ability to provoke. I reckon I could get the phrase, “bland as a can of tuna fish” to catch on or trend on Twitter if it wasn’t so damn many characters, because, well, how many times have you even thought about tuna fish?

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and I blame Dunkin Donuts.

Dunkin Donuts, which for as long as I can remember has dominated the breakfast market with its donuts, despite the recent shrinkage of variety and size but not price, has apparently decided that they want to start serving lunch too. One of their officers announced as much to the financial paper of record when he said that the challenge would be to develop a slate of menu items that would attract a lunch crowd without turning off their primary breakfast market.

So the Dunkin Donuts brain trust got together and decided first they’d try tuna fish.

I’ve only seen the pictures and it looks like it has a lot of celery. I don’t want to try it, because it’s possible that my one purchase could skew their data enough to think that the whole idea is a raging success and if my life is to have any meaning it is to not encourage stupidity. I’ve given up on trying to make people smarter. As I watch our civilization decline a good part of me finds myself not caring as long as I can still watch reruns of my favorite shows on Netflix, but when I see the signage outside of Dunkin Donuts for a tuna fish sandwich it makes me want to stand astride the wave of civilization’s progress and shout STOP!!!

Ew.

The tuna fish sandwich is the last straw, but I’ve been watching this trend for a long time.

McDonalds started serving salads a couple of years ago. The chain that had made qui-billions (by the way, when did they stop counting how many billions served on the signs?) selling fast burgers and delicious french fries that Morgan Spurlock taught us never go bad, had come under a wave of bad publicity because Americans were getting fatter and it must have been happening because they were eating more McDonalds.

Interestingly, these stories started pouring out right around the time McDonalds was seeing real sales declines, but no matter. McDonalds decided to change its image by starting to offer salads, which, truth be told, are higher in calories than the average cheeseburger, and their spokesmen said that in a few years they would become for salads what they had been for hamburgers.

I hope not. I don’t go to McDonalds as often as I used to, but when I do go I get a burger or a chicken sandwich and I do not subject my children to those sliced apples masquerading as fries.

Taco Bell, which I practically lived off of during college because everything was either 59, 79 or 99 cents, recently started trying to pretend it was a high end Mexican restaurant by offering shrimp tacos. I am pleased to see that the marvelous science of aquaculture has brought the price of shrimp down to where it can be stuffed into a fast food taco, but if a restaurant can’t verify its meat is real I’m not trusting it with seafood.

Mercifully, the shrimp tacos didn’t seem to catch on, but that hasn’t stopped other stupidity from rearing its ugly head.

When I open a restaurant, it will have five items, including one vegetarian option for the self-important snot head who thinks they are better than everyone else because they eat grass. If you don’t like those five items, you can eat somewhere else.

I am not serving donuts and tuna on the same plate.

Now who wants pie?

Checkers

J emails me on Monday with this:

F— you Checkers. F— you and everything you stand for. OK, honestly I’m not sure what Checker’s restaurant stands for. I don’t see many signs that say “Eat Checkers and Free Tibet,” or “Eat Checkers–It’s What Nelson Mandela Does,” so admittedly there’s no moral equivalent to eating at Checkers. Maybe that’s why I went there.

Checkers is one of those places I keep meaning to go to. Unlike Sonic, which has brilliant advertising but no locations anywhere near me when I’m hungry, Checkers is conveniently located about a mile from both my jobs, so, theoretically, I could eat dinner there every night on the way home.

But having a Checkers so close by is a lot like living in a town with a major tourist attraction or knowing a hot girl who is terminally single. You could always see the Liberty Bell, or go out with her, so while you keep meaning to you never really do and then one day they either board up the museum due to budget cuts or she gets married and suddenly you’re left with the friggin pancakes and no syrup–don’t try to find the analogy, pervert, it’s not there.

So tonight, I went to Checkers.

Checkers has this unique system where there is no place to sit down. It’s just a drive-in. I guess some consultant in New York City told them, “You want to get an edge on all the other restaurant chains? The most profitable part of any fast food business is the drive-thru. If you want to make serious bank, have JUST A DRIVE-THRU!!!.”

“That’s brilliant,” said all the suits around the table.

“So what should we name this place?”

“Hey how about Checkers?”

It wasn’t a great idea, but the guy who brought it up had been dating the hot, terminally single girl from accounting thus taking her out of the pool and everyone hated him for it. They figured the boss would smoke him out for the weinie he was, but he didn’t.

No one knew why, but they suspect it was because the boss was already calculating what he could buy with the $7.10 an hour he could save by not having to hire someone to mop the floors of a restaurant so he said, “Sure, what the hell, Checkers it is.”

What the hell indeed.

So tonight, I went to Checkers.

Doesn't the neon glow just make want to go in, sit down, and grab a burger? Well, you can't.

The first thing that should have tipped me off is their menu variety. Checkers has a lot of stuff on their menu. An overwhelming amount of stuff in fact.

Here’s a rule of fast food. Fast food is for burgers, and maybe chicken sandwiches. I know a lot of them serve fish sandwiches, but the less said about that the better, especially with the Lenten season almost upon us. Out of respect for my Catholic brethren who necessitated the Filet-O-Fish in the first place, I’ll defer.

Checkers sells buffalo wings, both boned and boneless variety, and they sell them in five different flavors. I love boneless wings. I love the fact that someone came up with the idea of boneless wings, because what they are really saying is, “Look pal, we know you’re too lazy to throw the bones away or put in the extra effort to get the meat off the bone, so we’ll go ahead and make some illegal immigrant in Lake Titicaca do it for you and, just to keep the joke between us, we’ll still let you call it a wing? OK pal?” Lazy bastards.

Needless to say I ordered the boneless buffalo wings. I got them in garlic parmeasan flavor, which I shouldn’t have done, but I did. I’m not proud of it, but I did.

Here’s the thing. I’m just putting this out there as an unpaid consultant. If I am going to make a restaurant where people can’t sit down, I’m only going to sell things that you can eat in your car. So I got the box of boneless wings out and the sauce starting dripping out of the box and onto my jacket.

WTF?

Oh well, I thought. I’ll wait until I get to work. If the sauce is dripping out of the box, they must really lather it on, this must be good.

I think you probably know where this story goes. The wing sauce, that managed to drip all over my coat, did not manage to coat a single boness wing. And they were dry.

Moreover, I had been talked into upsizing to “large,” so the whole experience cost me $9.39. What did I get for “large?” No extra boneless wings. Maybe I’ve been conditioned by the tub of fries you get at most fast food places, but the french fries hardly seemed abundant either. What I got was a giant soda that made me want to pee so bad by vision started to blur.

So what have we learned today?

Don’t eat at Checkers.

Go see the Liberty Bell.

And for the love of God man, just ask her out, she’s not going to wait for you forever.

Now who wants pie?

Airport Musings

J was traveling (now we’re both on the road), but at the time, I was still at the office. He writes:
First, “your participation is wonderful news,” is a nice touch. To me, it looks like you were getting bored with saying the same thing over and over again, but to the outside world it appears as if you are almost enthusiastic. 
 
Second, did you know the airport had a Chic Fil A? I was sitting at Gate A7 waiting for my flight when I heard over the radio the commercial for food including, “the Original Chicken Sandwich from Chic Fil A.” So I started on my quest.
 
It wasn’t down my hall. It wasn’t down the International Hall that was the other side of Terminal A and yes, is about a mile long.
 
The nice woman who runs the pretzel stand informed me that yes there truly was a Chic Fil A in the airport but it was in terminal B.
 
A lesser man with less time on his hands might might have said, “screw it just give me one of your pretzels.” Not me. I took the express walk way to terminal B.
 
You know how far $25 goes at Chic Fil A? Yes, I’ll take the Chicken Nugget meal, please. No not the eight piece, the twelve piece, thanks. And yes, I would like it large. Lemonade costs extra? Damn the costs! Fill her up and while you are at it throw in an extra chicken sandwich. I may eat it, I may not, but put it in the bag anyway.
 
Oh, and yeah, I’ll need a chocolate brownie for dessert.
 
I ate it all, including the brownie, which, incidentally she initially didn’t remember to put in the bag–it’s nice to know that incompetence (or did she intentionally leave it out thinking I wouldn’t come back asking for it? We’ll never know) is the same at every fast food restaurant.
 
But here’s the crazy thing. THEY HAVE FREE SAMPLES AT THE AIRPORT FOOD COURT!!!!!! And not just any free samples, free samples of the garlic balls from Sbarro with the garlic dipping sauce that I thought only existed in the pizzas from Papa Johns where you had to order an entire pizza just so you could dip your crust in the sauce that was not quite butter but oh so very good.
 
I took two of these garlic balls before I got a glare from the flunky who was passing them out. Hey pal, if you don’t want people taking your samples, don’t give them out, know what I mean?
 
That’s all for now.
Cheers,
J
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I enthuse:
THIS MADE MY DAY IN A WAY YOU CAN’T EVEN IMAGINE.
 
I LOVE that just when I was sadly thinking to myself, “Self-you’re just going to have to get over the fact that you won’t be getting any hilarious emails from J until Monday at the earliest” you go and send me a gem such as this.
 
Bravo.
 
And yes. I was getting bored with saying the same thing over and over. I also figured I’d give answering actual questions a shot, because hey, gotta start sometime, nah’ mean?
 
I’m surprised you didn’t get a milkshake a Chick Fil A. I’ve never heard one but I heard they’re absolutely delish.
 
Just sayin.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________
J responds:
Ha!
 
Here’s the thing…they didn’t have milkshakes. The Chic Fil A at the airport has, how do I say this, a limited selection. No milkshakes and interestingly no spicy chicken sandwich.
 
Want to know what’s not cool? Carried on this time because I only needed one change of clothes and they confiscated my toothpaste and my shaving cream. Not cool. I thought it was just fluid.
 
Oh well.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Me:
That is so NOT cool.

I do not dig that airports have an extremely limited food selection. Especially the pizza places. How hard is it to recombine the dough, cheese, and sauce into something other than pizza and ziti? I mean, really. It can’t be that hard. That’s why it’s next to impossible to screw up Italian food. You can have different degrees of deliciousness when it comes to Italian, and differing levels of goodness as well, but no one in their right mind takes a bit of something that contains dough, cheese, and tomato sauce and spits it out with, “That is complete crap.”
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
J:
I don’t know man. There was a perfectly good Italian place in my terminal that I passed by. They did have a chicken sandwich, but….
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Me:
…you’d rather have Chick-Fil-A.
 
No, it’s cool. I get it.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
J prophesizes:
Because I got the distinct feeling that this place WOULD screw up Italian food.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
True dat. Such is airport food.

Hey…there’s a Chick-Fil-A back there!

Post-Lunch, Pre-Labor Day Observations

I begged J to write a blog post, thankfully, he acquiesced today at 1:18 pm:

So today was a rather productive lunch hour.

First, I went to Borders. Rather disappointing. I had gone because the store had enticed me with a 40 percent off coupon that had to be used before Labor Day and I’m going to be busy all weekend. Thing is, the Borders at 13th and Chestnut doesn’t really have a non-fiction section, so I wasn’t sure where the book I wanted, “MORNING MIRACLE: INSIDE THE DECLINE OF THE WASHINGTON POST,” was going to be.

So I went to the computer and typed it in. Within about three seconds some pimple faced kid was on me like I was going to discover his porn collection with the ubiquitous, “can I help you sir?” I told him I had done a search for the book I wanted and it was showing, “not in store.” He said that was right, but if I wanted they could order it for me and it would be in within three to eight business days.

That seemed an inordinately long amount of time for a business that had a separate online operation that can deliver things in 24 hours, so I thanked him for nothing and went on my way.

And here’s the thing that really annoyed me about Borders. I used their bathroom. It was painted bright yellow. I don’t want to quibble, but should we really be painting a place where you pee bright yellow?

I’m just saying.

Is that little boy holding a GUN?

On my way back I walked through the Gallery. Sampling was a mixed bag today. They had the Charley’s Cheese Steak samples out, but she had gone back for a new sandwich when I passed through the first time. Out of three places that serve Bourbon chicken, only one was giving it away. And my little retarded friend that gives away chicken nuggets was nowhere to be found.

Auntie Anne’s was giving away free pieces of their pretzel covered hot dogs. I took two samples and got a glare. Is it coming out of your pocket pal?

Speaking of Chic-fil-a, I finally bought their Spicy Chicken Sandwich. It was a little disappointing. I mean it’s basically just a spicy version of their regular chicken sandwich, which I suppose I should have expected, but it still left me with a certain emptiness.

And for reasons I have never understood, Chic-fil-a puts just pickles on their chicken sandwich. Not free lettuce, not free tomatoes. Free pickles.

Pickles have a very distinct taste and they don’t really add anything to the sandwich.

Again, I’m just saying.

Marinating Cat

Via email yesterday at 1:09 p.m. Subject line-“This may be the most disturbing news story I’ve seen in a while” J writes:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/08/11/marinating-cat-menu-new-home/?test=faces

(It’s about how police pulled a man over for a traffic stop and found a cat marinating in peppers and onions in his trunk-he was going to eat it).
___________________________________________________________
I write back:

WHAT?

WHAT?

WHAT?

That is. OH MY GOSH.

I’m in disbelief.
___________________________________________________________
J responds:

Can you imagine someone sticking that sweet feline in a pot of peppers and onions? Not me man. He ought to be strung up.

Navarro, the car cat.

____________________________________________________________
I bring it back to the blog:

Could this be a Cake in the Conference Room post?

Speaking of cake in an office room, I just had a little sliver of A’s devil’s food cake: OMG it was so good.
____________________________________________________________
J:

I’d rather not blog about cats in peppers and onions. I love cats. I love peppers and onions. But the two do not go together.

But it does remind me of a song…because far too many things remind me of a song (to the tune of “Cat’s in the Cradle.”)

“And the cat’s in the kettle at the Peking Moon
“Where I go to lunch every day at noon
“They tell me that it’s beef or chicken or pork
“But it’s purring on my fork, yeah, it’s purring on my fork.”

I had one of those chicken sandwiches for lunch; my throat didn’t close up.

And I had a slab, not a sliver, but a slab of A’s cake. It was like there was a party in my mouth. Although every time I think of Red velvet cake I’m reminded of Steel Magnolias where they baked a red velvet cake in the shape of an armadillo and called it bleeding armadillo cake.
________________________________________________________________
Me:

“But it’s purring on my fork, yeah, it’s purring on my fork.”

That’s why I loved working at P.F. Chang’s.

No. Not because we ate cat disguised as other animals, but because I knew we were getting all white meat chicken and whatnot.

That and Family Meal. Family Meal was hilarious. A giant Tupperware vat with two, count ‘em TWO, different Chang’s delicacies-usually orange peel chicken and some type of beef or salad. No divider; one ladle.
__________________________________________________
J:

I think you told me about Family Meal before.
_____________________________________________________________
Then J comes out of his office and begins serenading me and the intern with his rendition of “Cat’s in the Kettle.” We all laugh about it, I tell him that he has a thing for parody versions of songs; at the office holiday party, while everyone else was sort of singing “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”, J was singing, “Walking Round in Women’s Underwear.”

He says it’s a video, and runs into his office. I hear some music playing, him chortling uncontrollably, and then his door slamming. Momentarily, he sends me the following link with the subject line, “That didn’t take long to find.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JR4RNK1L2DA

PS-I tagged this as “Food Trucks” for obvious reasons (just because the man wasn’t going to sell the cat from his car doesn’t mean there’s wasn’t a food truck involved).

Enjoy.

Fast Food, It Gives So Much and Asks for So Little

J writes via email at 2:52 p.m.

So on my way back on my walk today I stopped by the KFC in the Gallery Mall and got one of those boneless chicken filets; fried, not grilled. As an aside, if you order the grilled chicken because it is more healthy I submit you are an idiot. If you want to be healthy, don’t eat at KFC. Grilled chicken will just remind you that fast food chicken is not the same product they serve at fine restaurants and breading and deep frying covers over a multitude of sins.

There's another chicken in that chicken.

Anyway, I ordered the boneless fried chicken breast. This comes without the bun or any other garnishment for $2, or $2.14 with tax. Money well spent, but I also got:

The opportunity to give feedback. Yeah, I called the survey on the back of the form. I didn’t have anything worthwhile to say, but then again I seldom do as readers of this blog will attest (have you noticed that while methods of communication have proliferated we haven’t had anything worthwhile to say in them?), but I punched all the keys and did my thing. I hope I made a difference. Sometimes you just gotta get shit done because shit doesn’t get done by itself, know what I mean?

I was motivated to do the survey because if you do the survey you get entered into a drawing for $1,000. This made it sort of like a scratch and win lottery ticket. When I was in high school, I was addicted to scratch and win lottery tickets because in Ohio they didn’t do things like check IDs. I won $100 once and spent a lot of money trying to win $100 again. But I didn’t consider it money wasted because I enjoyed the time I spent scratching off the win columns. These tickets are at least $2 and up now, so in a sense my chicken was free because I had the opportunity to win $1,000. No, I didn’t win, but people don’t win the actual lottery much either.

And on top of everything else, they gave me a coupon for $1 off the new doublelicious combo, which is KFC’s way of saying they are not even trying to pretend they are healthy anymore. From the picture it looks like the restaurant’s answer to the idea that the double down was a bit too much because it’s a chicken patty with cheese, bacon and that special sauce that you can never reproduce because it’s made 1,000 gallons at a time. Interestingly they do have a grilled version, but it’s much smaller in the picture and has lettuce, so I guess they are trying. Good for them. I’m not going to eat it, but good for them.
_______________________________________________________________________
I respond:

I wanted to say this about KFC:

I can’t eat there anymore. And no, not just because I’m a vegetarian. Because I have reason to believe they put MSG in their food.

Who cares about MSG when it makes things more delicious?

Me. I do. Because the last time I had KFC (3 years ago), I had an allergic reaction. And not just “ooooh, my stomach hurts and I feel crappy” but like, a true allergic reaction;  hives, itching, sneezing, migraine.

My roommates and I lived in the ghetto of New Brunswick a short drive from a KFC. We saw an ad for a meal special: $7 and you get two sides (hello mac and cheese and mashed potatoes!), chicken, biscuits, and a soda. Why yes please! I’m in college, poor, hungry, and have low food standards, sure! I’d LOVE some comfort food.

Never again.

Bad shit man, mess you up.
_______________________________________________________________________________________
J retorts:

I think I heard this story before. You are starting to do repeats.

I think you may have even used the same tone and inflection when describing your love of mac and cheese and mashed potatoes.
________________________________________________________________________________________________
I sass back:

Look. We spend a lot of time together. I guess I’m sorry about the repeats. Not really though, because I wouldn’t repeat myself if you talked about something other than KFC and their doubledown sandwich.

So I say: Get used to it.

And I believe in spreading the gospel about KFC and the MSG in their food, ok? IT WAS AWFUL. Awful! My roommates got sick too. We were all out of commish for two whole days. That’s disgusting. For food!…that was alright I guess, but if we had just pooled our cash we could have prepared a chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and bought the mac and cheese at Wawa, it would have been MORE tasty and not as intestine-destroying.

And I believe in the beauty of a well-done macaroni and cheese.

And a free America.

What?

I’m just sayin.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________
J replies:

Repeats aren’t all bad, I suppose. I do still like Seinfeld even though I could quote almost all the episodes by heart.

FREE TIBET!

On Free Samples at The Gallery

Via e-mail yesterday at 1:56 p.m. (I took a sick day Tuesday)
____________________________________________________________________________
J writes:

So in my never-ending quest to act like a homeless person even though I make enough money to support a middle class lifestyle, I managed to scrounge an almost complete lunch today from free samples.

The Gallery Mall is a smorgasbord of this.

The cheese-steak stand (not a truck, so the sandwiches are about three times the price and frankly not as good—I think it’s called Charley’s Fried Subs or something) is always giving away samples of its California Chicken Cheese steak (a chicken cheese steak with ranch sauce and cheese) and its pretty good. Word to the wise though, the samples are better than the actual sandwich. I believe it was at the point where I suspected I had consumed a sandwich worth of samples that I broke down and bought the sandwich. The sample girl smiled; she had done her job that day she figured. Thing was, the sandwich itself was not as good as the sample. Not sure why, just know what was.

There’s also a collection of sort of Chinese places that give out samples of a chicken that I think is either bourbon chicken or teriyaki chicken, depends on the place. Either way it’s pretty good. Another word to the wise though, these Asian women are pretty sharp. If you walk the length of the Gallery mall and try to make another pass through for a free sample, she’ll pull the tray away and say, “no you’ve already taken a sample,” in broken English. It’s pretty gutsy and probably a power trip for a just-off-the-boat immigrant making a living passing out chicken on a toothpick, but then again I’m trying to scam an extra free sample on my way back to work, so it’s hard to know what’s more wrong with this picture.

I’ve sort of made a game about collecting free samples and I consider it a red letter day when my retarded friend is passing out samples at the Chic-Fila. I have no way of knowing if he’s actually retarded or not, but I do know he takes an inordinate amount of pleasure from passing out free samples, so I figure he’s not quite all there. This man is king of the sample universe as far as I’m concerned. Some days he gives out chicken nuggets, other days those milk shakes the store was promoting. One day, he actually gave out pieces of a chicken sandwich. I was in flavor country. He even let me take two unlike that Asian bitch from the sort of Chinese stand. You’d think his generosity would make me buy more items from Chic Fila, but alas when they charge $3.09 for their new Spicy Chicken sandwich it just makes me hope that he’ll put more samples out.
____________________________________________________________________________________________
I respond (at 11:52 a.m. today):

Edgy and awesome.

Also, you spelled Chik-Fil-A wrong. Or whatever.