Monday, August 29, 2011

Check Memo

Loved by everyone.

People love pizza. Rich people, poor people, men, women, children all love pizza. 

My favorite pizza story dates back to college. One day a friend received his bank statement in the mail and it reflected that a check had been written to local pizza delivery. Racking his brains, he could not remember purchasing $120 worth of pizzas. The more he thought about it, the madder he got that the local pizza place, who had been in business for 20 years, was preying on unsuspecting hard working college students and most likely living the high life while bilking students out of their spending money. Or was it the banks fault? The bank who deviously was diverting funds from studious college kids who trusted them with their hard earned money. Either way, someone was going to pay. He would start with the bank, it would be a classic  David vs. Goliath tale as he would expose this scandal and get his $120 back and become the working man's hero. Oh, was he going to stick to the man.

So he placed a phone call to the bank and informed them that he would be coming down to the bank to the view the cashed check that was in question (yes, this is before online banking, which makes me about 32 if you are wondering). An appointment was set and in he marched. A young man had never felt more confident and $120 richer. His head was high and voice was commanding. When he approached the teller, he politely (it was Iowa after all) and firmly let her know the purpose of  his visit. He went on to let her know that it was most likely an oversight and all would be forgiven. As the teller happily pulled out the cashed check they engaged in small talk, most likely about the weather or the Hawkeyes.  Once she had the check in her hand, the smile left her face. She looked at the check, then at my friend over her glasses that were down at the end of her nose, then back at the check before she sternly said, "Take a look".
Still confident, my friend took the check. As his eyes scanned the check, yes it was his check written out to the pizza place in question. The date did match the date on his statement and yes, he had had a few friends over that night but was still certain there was no pizza ordered. The amount was written out and numerical, both of which matched. His signature was there but didn't look exactly how he would write it...was he a victim of theft? Had he spent so much time focused on the bank and the pizza place that he failed to see the betrayal that took place in his own a friend, a roommate? He looked back up at the teller and said, I know its my check but I didn't write this.
Growing tired, the teller said, "Why don't you look at the memo".

Not actual writing sample..but similar.
And as his eyes glanced down at the memo section. He strained to read what would have only been written by a right handed 4 year old that was writing with his left hand. The "memo"  started on the line but then by the time it finished it was written well under the line and had made its way underneath the signature line. The letters went from small to large back to small and from cursive to print to cursive.
And in the way the memo was intended to be used, it jogged his memory.

For the memo simply if not drunkenly stated:

For the Mo$%^&er Fu*&$%ing, Pizza!!!!!!!!!

As he sheepishly looked back up at the teller, he calmly stated he would need no further assistance and was dropping his complaint against the bank.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My 4 Favorite Potato Chips

I love potato chips. Not just because they are a vegetable, but because they are also salty and crunchy and initially make me feel so wonderful. With all the flavors available, I'm sure you will agree, it is getting harder and harder to choose which four one bag I will treat myself to each week. To simplify my decision making, I have narrowed down my favorites.

Good til the 13th one!

#4 Bugles
Who can resist these light, airy, salty corn chips shaped like a bugle?
This is how it my Bugle consumption usually goes:
Bugles 1-12 are delicious.
Bugles 12-16 are OK.
**Bugles 16-24 are extremely difficult to get down due to extreme thirst and loss of peripheral vision.
**This is where the weak would put the bag away but I power through and within minutes and a gallon of water I'm back in the game.
Bugles 24-86 are just as delightful as Bugles 1-12.

Hello, Darkness, my old friend.

#3 Funyuns
Who put the fun back in onion flavored corn chips? Funyuns! Several years back  I consumed a bag of Funyuns and a 2 liter bottle of Dr. Pepper. Potato chips had never been eaten with such gusto! Dr. Pepper had never been swilled with such abandonment. And sadly, a human had never endured such cramping. After taking a break from each other, Funyuns and I are once again back on!

Good and good for you!

#2 Salt and Vinegar Popchips
I don't keep secret my love for Popchips. I love them so much that I wrote them and they responded with the funniest note I had ever received. Why do they not hold the #1 spot? Well, not only did they respond with a funny note, they also responded with free chips...lots and lots of free chips...they just keep showing up at my door......month after month after 

No words.

#1 Dill Pickle Flavored Lays
The James Beard award should go to whoever masterminded this flavor. I first tasted these on my trip to Iowa last year and as if my mind was trying to protect me against the grief I would feel not being able to find them on the West Coast, I forgot about them. Fast forward to this year and another trip to Iowa and I once again was reunited with these chips. Our love had not only endured the seperation but had grown stronger with the passing of time. They are not easy to find as they are only available at Sam's Clubs in Los Angeles, put worth the trip. In a nutshell....Best. Chip. Ever.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Restaurant Wars

Ready for battle.

This past Saturday night the 49ers-Oakland game ended violently with shootings in the parking lot and numerous fights in the stands. I have been listening to the morning talk shows and sports radio and everyone is wondering where do we go from here. What will end this violence? Limit the tailgating? DUI check points? No beer in the stands? Bigger police presence? Dismantle the Raiders organization?

I'm here to tell you NOTHING will stop it, (Except maybe the Raiders idea) because people will argue/fight  over anything while at a ball park and here is how I know......

I've spent most of my career working at an Italian restaurant, which I'll refer to as "Not Buca". Each summer the restaurant would plan an outing to show appreciation to the staff. One summer while I was working in Virginia, we decided to pool our resources with the "Not Buca" in Maryland which was only 11 miles away. This would enable us to 1) double our budget for a party and 2) be a great bonding experience between the two restaurants.

"Not Buca" was going to do it right that summer. We were taking the staff to Camden Yards to watch the Baltimore Orioles play. But this wasn't going to be just another trip to the ball park. Buses had been rented, spirits had been donated by local vendors to consume on the bus, Camden Yards had invited us as their special guests for the day and arrangements had been made to ensure that most who wanted to go could go. I had decided to stay back to allow the other managers to go, a decision that proved brilliant. There was an air of excitement in the restaurant as the staff started to gathered that afternoon, all decked out in baseball caps and jerseys and full of promise.

Now, I'm not quite sure where the evening went wrong but I assume that it probably started once the first keg was loaded on the bus. The ride from Mclean to Baltimore is about an hour with no traffic and about 14 hours with traffic. This particular ride was somewhere in the middle, in other words, enough time for the staff to loosen up.

On second thought...

Once the buses pulled up and  everyone filed into their seats the group seemed somewhat, if not overly,  jovial. They were loud, cheering, chanting and having a seemingly good time. Then, evidently, the cheering turned to jeers and heckles which is acceptable at most ball parks. The difference was that they were not heckling the players on the opposing teams or the opposing teams fans for that matter, they began heckling each other. Battle lines were drawn based on which restaurant you worked at.....keep in mind everyone worked at "Not Buca" just not at the same location. It became an argument of which was the better restaurant. Logic was thrown out the window and then shots were thrown at "who had better specials", "who was busier", "who had more side work". At that point ushers had stepped in to calm the group and issue a stern warning. No one knows for sure if it was the "specials" comment or the "side work" jab that incited violence, but a punch was thrown and suddenly booze on a bus didn't seem like that good of idea after all. To say it went down hill from there is an understatement. There was fighting, name calling, spitting, an arrest, hair pulling, sexual promiscuity,  and mayhem.  That is when the ushers dropped the hammer, "you all must leave the ball park.... immediately".  Reluctantly, the group gathered their belongings and  started to exit the park.  As the staff shamefully ascended the long set of stairs while baseball fans sitting nearby cheered the ushers decision, the staff turned around to take one last look at the ball park that they had treated so badly.... and it was then that the jumbo tron caught their eye.

In big bright lights is stated, almost mockingly,
"The Baltimore Orioles welcome "Not Buca" to Camden Yards. Enjoy the Game!"
while the video on the jumbo tron panned the empty seats where the staff of "Not Buca" had been sitting.

What the inside of "Not Buca" may or may not look like.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pictures of the Week

The Scone Report
5 confusing and disturbing images I came across this week.
**No research or fact checking was done before posting this, not because I was too busy but because I was too lazy.

The Corn Dog

 Michelle Bachmann, was in Iowa this week for the Straw Poll. While there, she attended the Iowa State Fair and had the good fortune of eating a corn dog, however, had the bad fortune of having this unflattering picture taken.
I don't know about you, but I'm hoping that corn dog gets the Republican nomination.

Corn dog with some lady.

Prince Chupa

Hospital workers in Prince Georges County, forced to smoke outside, started seeing a dog-rat-deer like animal in the woods next to the hospital. Thinking this may be the elusive Chupacabra, the resourceful hospital employees, decided they would trap Prince Chupa (a variation of Chupacabra and Price George's County). Armed with Chinese food, a trap and what one can only assume is an 8th grade education they actually trapped the Prince only to release him as they didn't know what to do with him.
After studying photos and a short video, experts came to 2 conclusions, 1) it was most like a fox with mange and 2) the wrong species was trapped that day.

Really?  You fell for the "Chinese food in a trap" trick?

The Kardashian Kollection

The Kardashian clothing line now available at Sears. That is all.

Kollection with a "K"? Hate it.

The Fitchuation

In what I can only assume is a huge publicity stunt, Ambercrombie and Fitch has asked the Situation not wear any of their clothing. Going so far as to pay him to not wear their clothing.
If he actually gets paid for this, this opens up a lot of doors for me.
What I won't wear in exchange for money: The Kardashian Kollection (actually I will do this one for free).

Men of America, this is what a douche bag looks like!

A Letter to Me

Dear 60-Year-Old Me,

This is not an attractive look. I'm serious.

A Younger Me

If the hair color was red, this would look good, no?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stick It

Me in about 18-24 months

Enjoy this blog while you can as I am about to become a Restaurant Mogul and as you know rich people's thoughts and stories aren't that entertaining. Inspired by the beloved Iowa State Fair, I have a cutting edge idea that I can't believe no one has thought of yet.
It has become evident to me, despite what Top Chef and the Food Network are trying to tell us, people's taste are really not that complex. Based on a week of intensive research, which basically is me on my computer eating potato chips and looking at various Midwestern State Fair websites, I have discovered what America wants. America wants food on a stick. Thus I present you my restaurant idea.

The Name: "Stick It"
This works on so many levels. First and foremost, it will be food on a stick. But the genius behind this is that for anyone who has ever spent any amount of time working in a restaurant  has wanted to use that phase when dealing with customers, vendors, co-workers, bosses, etc. Imagine the pure delight in your voice every time the phone rings and you get to say, "Good Afternoon, Stick It". Or when you are responding to complaint letter you could sign off with "Sincerely, Stick-It".

Seriously, who is the brainiac behind these ideas

Music: Styxx (duh) and Decor: Classy State Fair

The Menu
Nothing is off limits and I will be stealing most of my menu ideas from Midwestern Fairs. For example, the Iowa State Fair alone is offering 53 items served on a stick. Some of my personal favorites are the Cornbrat (corn dog made with a Bratwurst), the Octodog (a octopus shaped hot dog) and Rock Candy on a stick.

"Spooky on a stick" is more like it

Popsicles. For water service at the table, ice cubes on a stick.

The Profits
In the restaurant business your two biggest costs are Labor and Food Cost. With "Stick Its" menu, I think I can successfully avoid the pit falls that most restaurants encounter when they design their menu around high quality expensive food. People eat anything (even re-purposed food) if it is on a stick. That is how you offer profit friendly foods. Case in point, Fried Butter on a Stick at the Iowa State Fair.

Pre-fried butter, a gluten free option?
But here is where my empire really takes off, we all know that the profits are in the alcohol. I present you my beverages on stick themed nightclub, called "Suck It".  Be warned, once this takes off...... and it will, if I see you on the street I will act like I don't know you.......I will be that important.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Royal Mocha

As a rule, I get most of my hard hitting news from US Weekly. They rarely disappoint and this week was no exception. In this week's edition they ran a small story (on page 14, none the less) on Pippa Middleton and her tan. As I have lamented in a previous post, I don't have space in my heart to care about Pippa Middleton, who is very lovely, but US Weekly keeps shoving her down our throats.
The article stated that in poll by UK's, Pippa's skin tone won most desirable tan and was named Royal Mocha. Her skin tone has been dubbed the "Middletan" (get it?) and she and Kate have been credited with boosting self-tanner sales by 200%. Seriously, how pale were the British before this boost in self-tanners and secondly, how bored are the British that they are giving nicknames to skin tones? Well, move over, Royal Mocha, my skin tone is also often referred to by other names.

Royal Mocha

Alternate Names for My Tan
Midwestern Snowflake
Irish Oatmeal
Ginger Scorned
Anti-Royal Mocha
Middle"unable to"tan
Lily of the San Fernando Valley
Freckles McPasty

Although none of these skin tones have actually been picked up any of the self tanners, it is just a matter of time before you won't have to waste time indoors to get my skin tone, soon you will be able to enjoy the outdoors and still maintain that pale glow.

Before on the right, After on the left

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Favorite Class

Autumn is in the air and kids are headed back to school. As I see those wide eyed youngsters on the bus I can't help but be reminded of my school days. The fresh smell of paint, tator tots, the monkey bars, Gun Safety Class and the stench of unpopularity.

Tator Tot-errific!

Whooaa! Gun Safety Class?! Could it be? Is this a dream I had that has now become my reality? No, I specifically remember attending Gun Safety Class.

It was Fall and we were all brimming with excitement about a special class that we were allowed to take. We were excited  for a couple of reasons. 1) The class was held in the cafeteria which meant we were out of our class room and as studies show, kids learn better with the aroma of meatloaf, pine sol, and jello in the air, and  2) There was going to be a field trip associated with this class.

As we all gathered in the cafeteria, in walked our "teacher", Daryl Patterson (I may be way off base on this). Dressed in camo and hunter orange, he looked the part. His introduction was quick and he was down to business. He handed out a 30-40 page paper booklet that would contain all the information that we need. On the front, it said, "Gun Safety" and had a picture of hunter. Yes, we were taking a Gun Safety Course.


Ok, this is Iowa and there is a lot of hunting that goes on, but I and many others had never been around guns nor had any interest in them. But this was Gun Safety, not meant to convert us to gun-toting juveniles but rather teach us Gun Etiquette...when you say it like this it sound very fancy and proper.

As Hunter Daryl went over the course, he explained that there would be several weeks of classroom and a course ending field trip. Excited for a field trip of any kind, this was going to top all field trips. As Hunter Daryl started to explain the field trip, the excitement in the room started to escalate. Not only would be getting out of school, we were going to be driven to big farm, and allowed to shoot guns! Ok, it even sounds weirder when I type it. But guns! Yes, why not? We were in the 5th grade, which made me 10 years old, the age any young lady should be shooting her first gun.

Seems age appropriate.

So the day had come. We had passed our rigorous testing with the score of "P" for pass and were given what I can only assume was our parents permission to attend this "show down". As all 45 of us loaded on the  bus, the air was filled with squeals of delight, boasting and one very pissed of bus driver.We were high on pizza burgers and chocolate milk.  As the bus pulled up to this very big farm/orchard/shooting range we piled out of the bus like clowns (which isn't too far off of a description). We ran around for awhile while Hunter Daryl and the chaperones tried to organize us into groups. As we descended down a hill, off in the distance we could see the bulls eye targets.....and guns lined up.

Not actually us, but just as happy!

So we shot our guns. Some of us hit the target. Some of us did not hit the target. Some of us were asked to sit in the bus for failure to conduct ourselves like the Gun Safety ladies and gentlemen we were taught to be. And some of us did realize how far you could shoot a gun and proceeded to run around the range, behind the targets, and between the targets and the shooters. You would think that 10 & 11 year olds would be better equipped to be in this type of environment. After about 2 hours we loaded back on the bus. Had we been a little older we may have realized the lunacy in handing 45 5th graders guns. It all seemed perfectly normal through our pre-pubescent eyes, It was a perfect day.

Now, I have never shot a gun since but to the classes credit I have never accidentally shot myself or anyone else. So the next time you think about petitioning your school because a certain book or movie is available or that sex ed is being taught, remember, I was given a gun and told to shoot it.  

**Disclaimer: There is about a 50% chance I dreamt this.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Via Facebook I have seen that many of you have returned or are on your summer vacation. Keep those pictures of exciting and exotic locales coming. Keep posting pictures of you and your loved one in first class as you jet off to Hawaii. Don't forget to post, "I love my life!" beneath it. Keep showing views from your hotel room, your brunch buffet, snorkeling, a Parisian Street Cafe, and an ocean sunrise.
We are all living vicariously through you!

We too, just returned from our trip, from the land of sweet corn, fanny packs, inexplicable kindness, pies, open spaces, limited cell phone/Internet reception, Hawkeyes, and positive attitudes. Were we in heaven? No, Iowa. Sit back and enjoy this photographic journey of our summer vacation.

Rubes Steakhouse
Where you cook your own steak.

Check out the Texas Toast in the background!

The Purple Cherry 
This "create your own yogurt sundae shop and pay by the pound"  is a new addition to Marshalltown. These are fairly common in California but this place had a least 3x more toppings and 3x less attitude. I'm not sure if streamers and balloons are always on display but it was quite festive and very busy. The decor was trendy and modern and almost made you forget you were eating 3.4 lbs of yogurt (thank-you, Reece's Peanut Butter toppings).


The Pork Tenderloin
A breaded piece of pork the size of tractor tire? Yes, and I'll take fries with that. If you haven' must.

Hello, Sexy!

Zenos Pizza
Taco Pizza. That is all.

Very South of the Border-y!

Chocolate Cake with Butterscotch Frosting
This is not the best picture, but in the 5.4 seconds it took me get my camera phone open, this is what was left. It is that good.


Taylor's Maid-Rite
Loose meat sandwich served at a counter. Taylor's recently underwent scrutiny with their cooking procedures...something about raw meat touching cooked meat....narcs.


    Iowans will put bacon on everything and they should and so should you.

You genius's at Perkins!

Dill Pickle Potato Chips
Stop what you are doing right now and go find these chips. Best. Chip. Ever.

Brilliance in a bag!

The always refreshing soda (pronounced "pop").

First Class
Always treat yourself on vacation. Here we are riding the bus at LAX to Parking Lot C.

We are non-verbally saying, "We love our life!"

Start saving and exercising now for your next trip to Iowa!