Tag Archives: Food Trucks

On the road…again.

On 11/10/10 at 11:05 a.m. J writes:

So I’ve been on the road again a good bit this week, but not really on the road, which means that I get my food stipend and can eat in places that I normally wouldn’t, because, well, I’m cheap. So food trucks serve a special niche for me because of their low cost goodness.

And before everyone starts to get all upity on me, you should know that some very highly placed journalists and industry PR people have enjoyed food trucks as well, so smoke on your pipe and put that in, or whatever.

This week though I was taking some out-of-town friends and colleagues out for a Philadelphia cheesesteak. They said they wanted the authentic experience, which, of course, as we all know, means Pat’s, Geno’s or Jim’s. We eliminated Pat’s and Geno’s because it was 30 degrees and while I do have fond memories of eating a cheesesteak from Pat’s at 3:00 a.m. when it was 12 degrees out, with my friends and I all saying various versions of, “YOU GOTTA WANT IT!!!” I think I might have been drunk at the time. So my memory might be cloudy.

Anyway, we went to Jim’s. Jim’s is the cheesesteak place on 4th and South. It has pictures of famous people and it sells T-shirts and hats. I’m not ready to call this an iron-clad rule yet, but if you are selling hats and reminding people that famous people once ate there, presumably before veganism and vegetarianism became morally superior, you really aren’t thinking about your food anymore.

We got to Jim’s at around 6:00 p.m. on a Sunday night and the line was out the door. There were people from Germany, Montreal and what I assume were other foreign countries because the line moved in an orderly non-disruptive fashion, so it’s unlikely they were all from Philadelphia.

My companions and I kept in good humor as we waited in line at the cheesesteak stand. By the time we got to the grill, I had in mind what I wanted to order. Whiz with extra whiz. My female companion behind me said she wanted the same thing, and the other dude ordered the same thing without onions.

We managed to find tables upstairs surprisingly easily given the crowd in the lobby, but while I enjoyed the company, the food was a total disappointment. I had paid $.70 for extra whiz, and I was left wondering what a normal whiz steak would have looked like. Part of the charm of a Philadelphia cheesesteak is when the whiz drips out onto the wrapper and you can sop it up with what’s left of your roll like a biscuit. But on this cheesesteak I couldn’t even taste the whiz.

In fact, all I could really taste were the onions, which were piled on top, rather than grilled into the meat like they are supposed to be and not quite cooked right. The bread was cold.

I paid $10.50 for the experience; money wasted.

On Tuesday night I wound up working late again and walked through the Gallery Mall. There’s a steak place there called Charley’s Fried Steaks, which gives out excellent samples on days when you are lucky. But here’s the thing- the actual cheesesteaks you pay for are not nearly as good as the sample.

I ordered the chicken club, which was supposed to come with cheese, bacon, tomatoes and lettuce. They grilled it, and didn’t put any bacon on it, which was my first disappointment.

Then they sent it down the assembly line to a surly little man who stood in front of the fixings bar. He stared at me. Not, with a “what would you like, sir?” smile but with a “what do you want?” look that didn’t have a question with it. I was going to say just put on what it’s supposed to have on it, but since they had already screwed up the bacon, I didn’t have much hope that they’d get the rest of the sandwich right so I proceeded to make my own creation.

And it didn’t work out. The combination of swiss cheese (yes, swiss cheese), ranch (I choked) and hot peppers (again, another mistake) made the whole sandwich a disappointment.

Equally disappointing were the cheese fries, which I had paid a premium for and which, well, wound up being far too soggy.

I paid $11.67 for the experience. Money wasted.

From now on, I’m just sticking with the food trucks.

Now who wants pie?

Chinese Buffets-An American Staple

I hate it when my eating plans get screwed up because it never works out.

I’m not talking about the sort of screwed up eating plans where you plan on eating a bowl of soup by yourself in your one bedroom apartment with no air conditioning, but instead you wind up sitting in a fancy french cafe with the new love of your life because of some fancy new app on your i-phone, which, if the advertising is to be believed, has the capability of making that love connection even if it can’t connect phone calls outside of New York City.

No, I’m talking about when I have set an eating plan for the day and it doesn’t work out the way I wanted.

Normally on Mondays, I eat lunch out and then eat my packed meal in my car on the way to class. Not to bore you with minutiae, but it takes me about one hour and ten minutes to get to my class door-to- door, so I leave at 5:00 and get there in plenty of time for a 6:30 p.m. start time, which is good because I have perfected the art of embarassing students who come in late.

Lately I’ve been rotating my lunch between the food truck that serves the good lamb gyros on 5th and Chestnut outside the Lights of Liberty ticket center; these have been particularly good lately because he’s switched from sliced lamb meat to a big hunk that he cooks and chops up. The other item in my rotation is the bacon cheesesteak with cheez whiz that I discussed previously.

But today, I was tired of both, so I decided to reward myself with Chinese food.

Now, Philadelphia has a lot of Chinese food options; so many as to be overwhelming.

First, there is Chinatown, which has everything you could want in a city where the population is actually mostly African-American or Italian, but our friends from the Far East do try to be as authentic as they can. That’s why I mostly stay away. For every good deal you can get on General Tso’s chicken, there’s the chance you might order General Tso’s chicken feet, which I’m not into. I suppose I could send it back, but what if it’s like their national delicacy or something? I don’t want to offend someone who can talk about me behind my back without me knowing what’s going on.

Fast food Chinese is almost always a bust. I have a cast iron stomach, or I used to–I feel like I’ve been more susceptible lately, but Chinese fast food is almost always disapppointing whether they call it China Express or Panda Village or House of Hung Lo where they serve Creme of Sum Yung Gy, it all sucks. I’ve never had a good experience with fast food Chinese.

And then there’s the truck. Now everyone knows I am a huge fan of food trucks, but the Chinese trucks always disappoint. As far as I can tell, they just deep fry chicken and then put sauce on it. Yes, I know that’s essentially what Chinese is, but we can at least pretend it’s something more when they serve it on a plate with white table cloth.

So my plan was to hit the Super China Buffet on the way to class where I can get a delicious as-many-courses-as-I-care-to-consume for $10.95.

Deep fried meat in sauce...more varieties than colors in the rainbow.

China Buffets are a wonder of modern capitalism. The food is always good, and, this is key, you can avoid the vegetables.

This has always been my beef with Chinese food. Whatever is really good about it often comes mixed with snow peas or brocolli or some other such nonsense that can have the effect of ruining what was otherwise a previously delicious combination of deep fried meat and sauce. But with a China Buffet you can always go back for more if you’ve been overcome by vegetables.

Sometimes I’ve even taken food items that were half meat and half vegetables, left the vegetables on the plate and pushed them aside. When my waitress comes to take my plate, she asks if I’m done and I say “Yes I am.” Yes, I know I’ve left half the food on my plate, but I ate the part that suffered for me and thus kept the balance of the universe in tact, so it’s all good.

N-if I gave you my vegetables next time we are out for Chinese would that be considered sharing?

 As you might guess, the China buffet didn’t work out. I wound up getting out of work too late because of some stupid meeting about a meeting that won’t happen until next year. Moreover, the meeting actually accomplished no action items, which is far too typical of most work meetings, but this blog isn’t about work, which is good because if it was I’d probably use a lot of meaningless phrases like “action items” that almost got caught in my throat as I said it out loud because it’s the sort of corporate gobble-di-gook I said I’d never use, but there it is.

So I would up getting an Italian chicken sandwich from Steak Out to go and woofing it down before class. It’s not a bad sandwich, but its chicken cutlet with provolone and brocolli rabe. No, I don’t pick out the brocolli rabe, but can someone please tell me what’s Italian about brocolli rabe?

And that’s all that is.

Now who wants pie?

Adventures in Lunch

Monday at 2:05 p.m., J writes:

Lunch is risky in Philadelphia. Today is my first day of class, which means I eat lunch out and eat the lunch I packed in my car on my way to class. Makes for an interesting foraging expedition.

I often supplement my lunches with items from the food truck, but food trucks, for all their merits, have a severe lack of options when it comes to chips and dessert. So I went to Washington Square Pharmacy today, where I expected to find something good.

Most pharmacies are really mini-grocery stores anymore, but not Washington Square Pharmacy. The lighting was dim, the place smelled like old ladies and it really did have nothing but drugs and associated vitamins, oh and canes, yeah this store, which had less square footage than my office, had an aisle with canes. Nice ones too. I wasn’t in the market for canes, but I suspect the clientele, who may appreciate that the place smells like home, would be.

Anyway, because of the overabundance of drugs and canes–did I mention the canes?–they didn’t have much in the way of chips or dessert. I had been hoping for a lemon fruit pie, but walked out with a Reeses Cup and a Butterfinger, because when you can’t decide it’s best to get them both.

The candy bars didn’t disappoint, but the experience of Washington Square Pharmacy most certainly did. And to the guy who was sorting tampon boxes at the counter while I waited for him to ring up my purchase, would it kill you to smile or say hello, or is that part of the charm of the place?

Anyway, after selecting my desert I went to my favorite truck to get my latest and greatest creation, the bacon cheese steak. He hit another home run. This time, instead of pork bacon he added turkey bacon. Maybe he was out of pork bacon, maybe because I’m a regular customer he was concerned about my health, I don’t know. But he got the taste exactly right, the sandwich fit inside the bun, which he kindly toasted, and the cheese whiz didn’t spill out, which often happens.

Cost today, $5.50, fifty cents less than last time for you avid readers. Why? I don’t know and I don’t care. The sandwich was pure deliciousness

I write on Tuesday at 1:15 p.m. (I was out Monday):

I love it.

I’m glad that “The candy bars didn’t disappoint” because one would think that with candy bar purchases you’re guaranteed to get the same level of candybarness each and every time. Not true.

Have you ever had a stale Reeses Peanut Butter Cup? They’re terrible. They’re not even worth eating.

J replies:

Actually, I’ve never been disappointed by a candy bar. Never.


You’ve never had a Reeses that was literally CRUMBY?

It happens when they’re stale.

J muses:

Haven’t, and oddly I feel like I’ve missed out on one of the great joys of life.

I retort:

It’s not one of the great joys of life.  It’s TERRIBLY disappointing.

There’s nothing like looking forward to biting into a nice, moist Reeses, and having your teeth meet with tasteless peanut butter dust. Awful, simply awful.

ALMOST as bad as looking forward to some ice cream you’ve put in the freezer (which you’ve watched your diet all day for), only to open and fruitlessly search the freezer’s frigid depths to find out your mom ate it.

One of the main reasons I moved out.

J agrees:

When your roommate, wife, mother, father, brother, pet sheep, et al. eat your food it is the end of the relationship, or beginning of the end, people should just know not to do that.

Yes. They should.

Making a Difference, One Food Truck At a Time. Next Up: McDonalds.

J writes on Monday at 1:26 p.m.:

I’m back from vacation today and my first stop was to my favorite food truck on 6th and Chestnut, the one that I wrote about last time when I complained that he had switched to the thin gyro meat.

When I ordered the gyro today, I noticed that he had switched it back to thick meat. I’m not sure if he reads this blog. I’m not sure if my post had any impact, but in a world where we sometimes wonder if one person can make a difference, I’m proud to imagine that perhaps I did.

So today I’m taking on McDonalds.

I took the family on vacation this week. My kids eat fairly healthy at home. They are not vegans, but they do eat a lot of fruit willingly. When you are on the road though, it’s surprisingly hard to order fruit in a restaurant. So by the end of the week I thought my kids were going to become a Chicken McNugget.


Did you add sauce? Yes, sir, we put the sauce in. Get back to my table. Nope. Have to go back and get it. Listen, I don’t actually think you put sauce in here, can I get a pack? I’ll have to charge you ten cents for it, sir. WTF? When did McDonald’s Chicken McNugget sauce become its own commodity? So in these cases my kids just dipped their nuggets in ketchup because on principle, I will not pay for a cup of sauce.

They're made almost exclusively of corn!

Then I ordered one of those Chicken Clubs, which are supposed to come with bacon, tomato and Swiss cheese. Got it back, it just had lettuce and mayonnaise. I brought it back with a head full of righteous indignation and even cut in line (I’m sorry, but I had had a long day at the zoo) to announce that they had shorted me my bacon, cheese and tomato. They apologized and gave me a new sandwich.

But the piez de resistance was when my ten nugget value meal only came back with nine nuggets. Yes I counted, and yes I brought the box back. The minimum wage flunky working behind the counter looked at me as if I had lost my mind, but he gave me a new ten pack of nuggets and then watched me count them. And yes, I got an extra pack of sauce too.

I know this seems like a small thing, and on the individual level it is. But McDonalds doesn’t just sell one box of ten piece chicken nuggets a day. They sell thousands or millions depending on the store location, and if they are shorting everyone a McNugget, then they are making out at our expense. Same thing with bacon and Swiss cheese.

I for one am not going to put up with it anymore, and the fact that I have to check my order every time before I bring it back to the table sort of defeats the purpose of fast food.

I’m just saying.
I point out:

Maybe Chicken McNugget sauce became its own commodity because they read your Ode to Honey Mustard.

Maybe you ARE making a difference…yikes. Better watch it buddy.

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:


(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:




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.

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.

“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.

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.”


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).


Just a Recommendation

Via e-mail today at 12:35 p.m.
J writes:

No witticisms or deep thoughts today, just a recommendation. Food trucks are great, cheap and reliable but because we live in Philadelphia and not New York they pretty much all serve the same thing.

Not the food truck at the corner of 5th and Chestnut, however. Outside the Lights of Liberty lobby a couple of men of unknown ethnic origin make the best, and I mean the best, grilled chicken sandwich. They call it fresh grilled chicken and it’s spiced unbelievably. I had a fresh grilled chicken cheese steak today that was light years better than the “steakum” variety served at most food trucks.

Give it a try, you will not be disappointed.

Unless you are like the moderator of this blog and you don’t eat either meat of cheese.

I guess N can keep her $4.

Pretzels: Savory AND Sweet Snack Option…?

An e-mail exchange that spans two days (beginning yesterday at 3:50 p.m.)

(Note: it starts off about flavor combos, but then ends up being about argument logic in general, and the law of diminishing returns-it’s looong.)
J writes:

Don’t be fooled by the marketing gimmicks. Not all great tastes taste great together. Yes, peanut butter and chocolate is a wonder, but peanut butter and fish sticks? Probably not, unless you’re pregnant.

Frito Lay, maker of the fine Doritos line of products, recently embarked on a series of unfortunate events where they combined two flavors into one bag. They rolled out a whole series of them in a test marketing campaign they never really explained to the public. My personal favorite was blue cheese and buffalo wings, but those are gone now and the company has apparently decided that what the public really wants is a combination of ranch and pizza flavored chips.

Not this member of the public. The combination makes no sense (ever dip your pizza in ranch dressing? I didn’t think so) and because these items are actually CHIPS, by the time you get to the bottom of the bag the lovely Dorito Dust (nectar of the snack food gods) has combined into a nebulous flavor one can only describe as sharp and salty. Not good at all.

And this is not the only ill-fated combination I’ve seen recently. One of my colleagues recently brought in bacon flavored chocolate. Yeah, I know. She also likes American hoagies, but bacon flavored chocolate? It came in a nice wrapper and she said it was expensive, so I guess…but listen, as our president said, you can put lipstick on a pig and it’s still a pig, at the risk of mixing my pork metaphors.

And pretzels. Pretzels are meant to come in one flavor—salty. If you want to dip them in cheese, that’s fine, a little redundant maybe, but as long as you are not dipping them in gorgonzola you still can keep your membership in the human race.

But I am going to call a halt to the hysteria that has gripped a lot of chain (no food truck would dare attempt this) pretzel stands. They do not need pepperoni. They should not come with cinnamon sugar, or sesame seeds or even garlic really.

Just enjoy the goodness that is a classic pretzel. If you like cinnamon and sugar, go get a cup cake.
I respond:

First of all: I’m not fooled by marketing gimmicks. I agree, there are some tastes that coalesce nicely; chocolate and peanut butter, banana and peanut butter, chocolate and mint, blue cheese and buffalo flavoring, salt and chocolate, etc. But someone had to be the first to combine the aforementioned flavors together. Don’t forget, even the portable dessert staple of the chocolate chip cookie was only invented in the 1930s. We owe much to innovation in food, and as far as flavor delivery goes (I’m talking carbs here-pasta, breads, other doughy products-all serve to provide a base for another more poignant or delicious taste sensation), pretzels are a great candidate.

Second-of-ly: Why can we dip pretzels in cheese but in nothing else? You’re just biased towards cheese…VERY biased towards cheese. You’re as into cheese as I am into ice cream, which is to say, it’s an almost religious-like devotion. So OF COURSE it’s okay to dip pretzels in cheese for you. But I say you’re missing out on other delicious flavor options.

Thirdly: Am I to take it that you don’t indulge in an Auntie Anne’s pretzel every now and again? Those are tasty because they are immersed in butter. Is butter another ingredient that you deem inappropriate for soft pretzels? (The PA Dutch use butter in their pretzels which are very traditional as far as recipes go.)

And last of all: Pretzels, because of their doughy/salty nature are perfect for dessert. Cinnamon and sugar pretzels are pretty darn good. Now, if I’m going to eat that much sugar, my instinct is to go for something “worth it”, like a cupcake, as you say. But I can see the merits in the cinnamon and sugar pretzel, and have tasted one, and they’re pretty tasty-too tasty, in fact, for you to condemn them wholesale.  Which brings me to a more pressing point…do you disagree in principle with pretzels as dessert? Because if so, then you eliminate one of God’s gifts to mankind-the chocolate covered pretzel. And that, well, that is just incomprehensible to me.

J retorts:

A couple of quick points before I get to the artery clogging heart of your argument…

…first, I take umbrage to the defining of my affection for cheese as “religious devotion.” I am, after all, engaging in a food debate with a VEGAN, which shows that I have an open mind, whereas you have closed off your taste buds to anything that moos or oinks.

…second, being first is hardly a criteria for credibility. Haven’t you seen the list of “firsts” that never got off the ground because they were stupid? Didn’t think so. No one thought it was worth writing down.

Auntie Anne’s is a case in point. If you really knew the chain as well as you thought you did, you would know that the pepperoni pretzel, the sesame seed pretzel and the garlic pretzel are all Auntie Anne’s products. This greedy corporate conglomerate figured it had wrung all the profit it could out of the unsuspecting consumer (Auntie Anne’s pretzels are among the highest in terms of price, which is why you find them at airports) and it would quickly reach market saturation with just the classic salty pretzel. So it introduced a whole new line of none thought out products purely for the fattening of its bottom line. It’s not creativity; it’s corporate greed.

What’s most interesting to me is that you defend the cinnamon sugar pretzel by mentioning other desert pretzels. You can’t defend one mistake by pointing to a bunch of others that by rights should fail.

Since this is an office-based blog about food, I will cite as evidence the once great comedy The Office. In the 5th episode of the 3rd season (the show’s 33rd episode overall), Pam has to followed Michael Scott’s productivity for the day, but he spends all his time waiting in line for…

…wait for it…

…wait for it…

…a desert pretzel.

I submit that any food idea endorsed by Michael Scott, probably is not one that should be followed.
I counter:

I’m leaving for the day…we’ll continue this tomorrow.

But before I go…

I love that you used the word “umbrage.”

And (I don’t know how many times I have to tell you this), I AM NOT A VEGAN. I don’t eat meat (I eat certain seafood though) or milk-based products. I do, however, still consume eggs and honey. I just happen to eat foods that are vegan because then I don’t have to worry if there is any butter or milk in said product (or whey, or nonfat milk powder, or lactose, or whatever-the-heck-else-I-can’t-pronounce-that-isn’t-real-food is shoved into my “food”).

AND as someone who has “closed off my taste buds” I should point out that I eat a larger variety of foodstuffs than you do, I’m sure. This is evidenced by the fact that you know WAY MORE about Auntie Anne’s evolving menu than I do (and Taco Bell’s, MickyD’s, Wendy’s, food trucks’ menus, etc). Sure, I don’t eat chicken, or turkey (oh how I miss thee turkey!), or beef (not so much), or, heaven forbid-bacon, and I don’t have milk or cream or butter…BUT, I don’t really miss them (except for ice cream-oh how I miss ice cream), because there are non-animal based products that I can use to substitute (almond milk is DELICIOUS for example, coconut milk ice cream, avocado or hummus instead of mayo, tofu instead of meat, etc…).

This conversation isn’t over…this will continue tomorrow.
This morning at 9:42 a.m. via e-mail, I write:

To continue the argument from yesterday…

I will invoke what I said to you when walking to the train: it is completely logical to use chocolate-covered pretzels as a point in my argument to disprove your argument against cinnamon and sugar pretzels. I bring up the Glory of chocolate-covered pretzels to point out an inconsistency in your Food Puritanism (which, conveniently-as mentioned yesterday via email AND in conversation-does not include cheese).

Also, it doesn’t matter that Auntie Anne’s is the greedy corporation manufacturing a variety of delicious overpriced “fancy” pretzels. The point is that such pretzels DO exist and are delicious. How you can defend a pretzel and cheese, which is hardly conventional, over a pretzel with poppy or sesame seeds instead of salt is beyond me. At least the poppy and sesame seeds somewhat mimic the texture of salt and add the same amount of crunch.
J swings back:

The issue is one of a law of diminishing returns. You get a satisfying snack experience from a classic salty pretzel. You might get a satisfying experience from a chocolate covered pretzel but is it that much better than the experience you got from a regular salty pretzel? Unlikely. Add the poppy seeds. Any better? Nope. Stick with the classics.

And cheese is in a class by itself. I refer to my staple source of evidence, really bad television. Hell’s Kitchen, Gordon Ramsay’s profanity fest, once had an episode where the chefs had to prepare a high school lunch and the students voted on which one was best. Winner? The deep fried chicken sandwich with a slice of cheese.

I conclude:

If you’re going to bring up the law of diminishing returns, then it applies to ALL food. Everyone knows the anticipation (and first bite) are better than every subsequent taste. I believe Pooh or A.A. Milne (I’m reading The Tao of Pooh) said it best with, “Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”

As we argued only several moments ago in my cube, your judging the value of anything other than a plain soft pretzel is a personal taste preference or subjective evaluation, which, I’m sorry, doesn’t hold up in this argument.

I’m still bothered by your dodging my attack on your “stick with the conventional” branch of your argument. It’s not about what’s conventional anymore is it? It’s about what you like to eat which is apparently, cheese. Which, I believe we discussed yesterday on the way to the train. You said that combining flavors is silly…if you want X, just eat X. You don’t put mashed potatoes, steak and peas all in the same bite (though some people do), so why do that with snack foods (even though this whole email chain began with you bemoaning the stupid flavor combos to come out of Doritos as of late)? I countered with something I can’t remember now (it was witty and intelligent, I’m sure) and then asked you why you don’t just eat plain cheese, to which you replied, “Because it’s not socially acceptable to eat just a slice of cheese! But if it was, I’d be all over that.”

Which brings me to my final point in this tangential argumentative free-for-all: If you want to eat cheese (which is apparently in a class by itself) just eat cheese. Who cares what society says! Follow your heart! By the way…of COURSE the chicken sandwich with cheese was the best high school lunch-EVERYONE knows (including me who doesn’t eat them anymore) that there’s nothing…absolutely NOTHING like a good ol’ fashioned “meat and cheese.”

So to sum up why your argument is flawed: You can’t dismiss the pluses of various pretzel combos just because you have a thing for cheese. You especially can’t use the “the combos are newfangled and un-traditional” because the so-called “new and fancy” flavor groupings mimic your favorite traditional salty pretzel more closely than cheese-which you make all sorts of special allowances for because it is simply Cheese, and therefore, imposing your subjective tastes onto the rest of us.
J closes:

In my college classes, there’s a point where my students start figuring out that I never actually read anything they send me so that if they just put enough words to paper they’ll pass. There’s a certain merit to that, but we talk about things like theories of argument and grammatical principles, not important things like salty pretzels, desert pretzels and cheese. So, unfortunately for you, I am paying attention.

Your focus on my love for cheese is a distraction, and not germane. Cheese is of the savory line of food stuffs. Someone who likes cheese probably likes cheese puffs, but not necessarily cream puffs from a bakery. You could make the argument that junk food is junk food, but not really. I like cheese, but that doesn’t mean I like sweet foods.

And therein lies the problem. Pretzels, in their original pure form, are a savory snack. And they occupy a significant market niche in the savory snack arena.

When we make them cinnamon sugar pretzels or chocolate covered pretzels, we’ve created disgusting hybrids similar to the genetic anomalies we all feared after Dolly the Sheep was unleashed on the world.

When pretzels become desert food, they are just trying to be something they are not and, in the final analysis, screwing up the junk food universe. Just like chocolate shouldn’t be flavored with bacon, pretzels shouldn’t be flavored with cinnamon, sugar or chocolate. It’s the cross-over effect I have a problem with.

And, incidentally, yes I’d have a problem if someone put chocolate or sugar on my cheese puffs.
That was long. Sorry. We left the argument there, sort of. We actually yelled about it at each other a bit over my cube, but have yet to come to a conclusion. Who do YOU think wins? Leave a comment and let us know.