Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cluck You

This story comes to me by way of a friend of a friend, so I can't take credit for much more than just repeating it ... but I think it's worth repeating.

So this person goes into a certain fast food establishment and is waiting in line. The rather large woman ahead of her orders two buckets of chicken. Without thinking, the cashier asks, "For here or to go?"

The woman, shocked, berates the employee, asking whether the cashier actually thinks she's going to sit down in the restaurant and eat two whole buckets of fried chicken by herself.

In response, the cashier simply yells, "Bitch, I don't know your life!"

Monday, November 28, 2011

Not Sponge-worthy

I just read the following one-star review for a memory foam bath pillow on Amazon.com. I officially love this reviewer:

Want to know what the secret to the "memory foam" this project boasts? Some of the "wicking" technology so prevalent in sports gear, perhaps? Or the stuff that makes the liquid disappear in diapers? Or the magic of those special "wings" in maxipads, for crap sake? Nope. It's a big ole sponge. It's a big ole sponge in a terry cloth cover. Terry cloth - which is commonly understood to be the sponge of the fabric world - wrapped around a big ole sponge. This thing soaks up about 5 pounds of bath water immediately and then drags those two desperate little suction cups that were supposed to hold it perched in place down to their watery grave. The poor little suckers didn't have a chance. And even if one of them does manage to hang on, the big ole sponge-wrapped-in-pseudosponge just slips off of it like a family-sized loaf of so much wet bread.

That was Sunday. Now it's Tuesday night and the loaf of bread slumped in my empty bathtub is just as wet, but really, really cold. Cold and wet and slumpy in the bottom of the tub. A real "Calgon, take me away" kind of allure... Want to know the secret to the "dry" in the "Microdry" this project boasts? Yeah. Me, too. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Holy Lola

Dining Date:  November 2011

On My Plate:  Fantastic house-made meatball starter, then "The Boise" pizza: thinly sliced potato, gruyere, caramelized onion, olive oil, and rosemary. Delish! Dessert was vanilla soft serve ice cream drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Sounds crazy, tastes great.

Servers Rate:  Very friendly. The manager stepped out from behind the bar to chat with several patrons throughout the evening.

Fun Fact:  They have a photo booth in the back and an entire wall covered with strips to keep you entertained if you have to wait for a table . . . which you might, because this place is hopping. Plus, the mismatched, kitschy dinnerware is hand-picked from second-hand stores and estate sales.

The Damage:  Beware. You will probably want to try everything on the menu, not to mention the great selection of tap beer and wine. But at $10-$15 for a 1-2 person pizza and $8-$12 for apps, it could add up fast. Pace yourself.

The Verdict:  Pizzeria Lola is just too fun, warm, inviting, and inventive not to visit again. A lot of care has gone into crafting this tasty menu and laid-back ambiance. What a treat.

Earning My Interest

Dining Date:  November 2011

On My Plate:  This was a happy hour excursion, so I can't speak to the main dinner menu, but the pulled pork sliders (three of them for $4) were scrumptious. I also gave the Jamaican jerk chicken wings a try, though they were too spicy for my liking. Also on tap, a $4 Summit.

Servers Rate:  I've read some bad reviews slamming the service here, but our waitress was attentive. Granted, it was a Monday night and not exactly busy, but she was friendly and checked in with us repeatedly.

Fun Fact:  This place is built in the old Farmers and Merchants Bank (hence the name) in downtown Minneapolis on 6th and Marquette. And honestly, aside from being gorgeous, it's straight-up cool. The old bank offices are now private dining areas, the teller area is now the kitchen, and the vault is now stocked with wine. Somehow, they managed to incorporate the historical elements with beautiful modern design quite seamlessly.

The Damage:  Minimal, largely due to a good happy hour menu. The dinner prices more clearly reflect the swank atmosphere.

The Verdict:  Though its posh vibe was a bit intimidating at first, I would definitely pop in for after-work drinks with friends again. The couches in the lounge area are comfy, and it's quiet enough to have a conversation. Plus, since it's in the Westin Hotel lobby, the people-watching opportunities are endless.

Gimme Five

Dining Date:  October 2011 (Edina location)

On My Plate:  The most glorious cheeseburger known to man. Plus some fries and a Coke. Oh, and some complimentary unshelled peanuts.

Servers Rate:  Everyone is too busy crafting deliciousness on the grill to serve you. Humbly wait your turn at the end of the counter like everyone else. It's worth it.

Fun Fact:  Unless you absolutely love onion, beware ordering it at this establishment. It's not diced or chopped as usual, but rather a huge, thick slice. Otherwise, go crazy on the toppings and condiments! Also, seating is minimal and it's usually busy, so maybe grab it to go.

The Damage:  Average. My burger, small fry, and soda cost me about $11. My advice would be to skip the fries, since they always throw a handful in the burger bag anyway.

The Verdict:  This wasn't my first time here, and it won't be my last. Not that I think this place needs any more good press, because they're going like gangbusters, but they do one thing and do it well: making a burger that melts in your mouth. I think my sister put it best when she said, simply, "I don't want it to end."


Dining Date:  September 2011

On My Plate:  The grilled cheese sandwich and creamy tomato soup. 

Servers Rate:  Excellent.

Fun Fact:  This restaurant is located on Level Five of the Guthrie Theatre in downtown Minneapolis. It's the sit-down alternative to Level Five Express, which is essentially a sandwich and drink counter. You can relax and enjoy your meal at the Cafe until the seating call for your show. For this reason, they stop taking reservations after 6:00 p.m.

The Damage:  Fairly minimal, depending on what you order. Entrees range between $10 and $20. It's primarily high-end comfort food, and they periodically offer three-course packages that correspond with current productions. 

The Verdict:  Although there are plenty of dining options near the Guthrie, having your meal at the Cafe is the perfect one-stop shop. It's a great start to (and really completes) the whole theater experience, without breaking the bank. However, if you want to have a fancy post-show drink in what feels like a spa, I would recommend Sea Change on the lower level.


Dining Date:  August 2011

On My Plate:  Hornado con papas, which is actually the picture shown above. Two big pieces of roast pork served with llapingachos (little potato pancakes with cheese). I thought mine came with fried plantains, but I could have just stolen one off someone else's plate.

Servers Rate:  I may be biased, because our waiter was very cute. He patiently explained that the mysterious white, relatively flavorless starch on my plate was hominy.

Fun Fact:  This cute little place is in a boxy building right on the corner of Central and 28th. Keep your eyes peeled or you'll blow right by it.

The Damage:  Under $20, if you don't go crazy on drinks or apps.

The Verdict:  Everybody I ate with ordered something different, and they all came away with a "decent, and definitely an experience" rating. Perhaps Ecuadorian just isn't for me. My meal was a tad salty, and I probably wouldn't order it again. I would like to try their empanadas, though.

Monday, November 7, 2011


This is one of my all-time favorite instances of bizarre English use from Japan. It was printed on a merchandise bag at a department store, and it made me laugh so hard I cut it out and pasted it in my journal. As it turns out, it's just as funny ten years later.

I don't know why the speech bubble is directed at the character who doesn't appear to be speaking. I also don't know if that smiling cloudlike figure at the top is supposed to be the charater's "lost" soul, or why it appears to be trying to catch an airplane. Simply the fact that this is a topic of normal conversation (and that everyone involved seems super happy about it) is confusing enough.

But there were a lot of confusing things about Japan. Wonderful, hilarious, ultimately baffling things. Like the hooded sweatshirt I bought that reads "It's a You Make" on the front, and then on the side says "Don't tell anyone about this." Oh, don't worry. I couldn't explain it if I tried.

Fill in the Blanks

In the spirit of being back to regular, non-vacationey, everyday amusements, I heard a lady on my bus tonight say the following:

"It's the one with Mariska Hargitay. You know. Something, something, SUV."

So ... it's a vague show about sport utility vehicles?