Clip Clop

So much food

I haven’t posted on this blog in what seems like forever. It’s not that I’ve stopped eating, heavens no. It’s a matter of what to post. Today I drove out to Blue Ball, PA and hit the Smorgasbord at Shady Maple for breakfast. It’s in the heart of Lancaster County, and that’s Amish country. Continue reading “Clip Clop”

clean plate club

Mmmmmm dinner time!

My very dear friend and land-lady Melissa made a quick hodge-podge of dinner happiness. Pierogies with onions and sour cream, fish sticks with tartar sauce, carrots, onions, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts.

The hardest thing for Melissa to understand is that I eat things I don’t like. I don’t like:

  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Squash
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts

That doesn’t mean I won’t eat them. I was taught to eat what’s in front of me, and I can usually manage to do that and smile through it all. So, I’m always a member of “The Clean Plate Club”. I at all my veggies and really liked the queso sauce she put on the sprouts. I also keep trying things that I might not like, because I never know when my tastes will change. For example, I started liking mushrooms this year. Who knew? The down-side of course is that it’s also easy for me to overeat.

For me, it’s ok if food goes to waist, as long as it doesn’t go to waste.

…maybe it’s just me?

Tiny Food

I recently had a late dinner special at a little pub. Little being the operative word here. Not only was the room small, so was the food. This “Petite Filet” came with an itty-bitty potato and snow peas. The Steak was fine – just about 3oz. The potato on the other-hand was the size of a ping-pong ball.

I felt like Gulliver.

So what goes with that? A tiny Coke of course.

… maybe it’s just me?

Food Challenge Fail

3 Massive Pancakes

3 Massive PancakesI’ve hardly blogged since moving to the Philadelphia area and starting my new job, and bemoaning that fact recently inspired me to eat something I shouldn’t have.

3 pancakes!

I know – three pancakes doesn’t sound like a big deal, but at a little diner in Royersford, PA they have a challenge on the menu. If you can eat 3, you don’t pay, otherwise it’s just $5.50. So, I figured I could take 3 pancakes.

I was so wrong.

I know some strategies – don’t drink too much, don’t eat other things, stay in training…

After a little while I felt pretty good. I thought to myself,
My unsuccessful attempt“I can manage this.” “Should be no problem.”

I’ve eaten plenty of big things in the past:
2 cheese steaks
a really big (1 pound) burger
this thing
and of course – The El Gigante

I even won a donut eating contest once.

To my shame this time it was not to be.


Annamarie’s Cafe – you win, please enjoy my $5.50.
FAIL - 3 Pancakes

Foreign Language Skills

Russian Guy

Things I’d like to know how to say in a foreign language, like Russian:
Russian Guy
We’re in silent attack mode!

I will be your friend. I am dangerous.

Ha! I have your lawn chair!

There are 10 cars parked here. 9 of them are not mine.

When you win, I win.

Why are there so many trucks?

This is what I call a happy day.

There is fresh milk in the refrigerator.

It’s a shame I didn’t buy a package of cookies.

Where is your refrigerator?

How do I help my self to your food?

Do you think your market is better than my supermarket?

I have found your item in row 14.

So you didn’t buy me a pet?

This is my friend Bob. He is your friend too. Why don’t you say hello. He said hi.

There are times I own more pennies than I have now.

Will you buy my grommet factory?

This is not my friend. Go find my friend.

Oh I bet you think I sound silly. Well, watch me drive your car!

Where do I find a toy store in this mountainous region?

Not-ah! My foot’s bigger than your nose!

I know how to fight cavities!

I Kin Do It

So my plane was stuck on the approach to the runway in Philadelphia – number 23 for departure…

I’m on my way to BibleTech in Seattle. My flights are scheduled to go from PHL to Dulles, to Seattle. That’s two Washingtons in one day – nice.

I breakfasted at the airport Dunkin Donuts. They have two ad campaigns going right now.
1) America Runs On Dunkin
2) You Kin Do It

The second campaign shows people in impossible situations overcoming them. How? Why – because they have a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee or a donut, or a waffle-sandwich.

I needed to get from my new home airport to Washington DC – Dulles in time to catch the next flight to Seattle, but there are roadblocks. Getting out on the runway and staying there for 40 minutes with the engines shut down so we don’t have to go back to the gate to refuel is this particular hurdle.

But – I realized – I still had some Dunkin Coffee. I’m all set I guess.

…maybe it’s just me?

tall lasagna

I’m not kidding, this thing is huge.

A recent business dinner brought a party of 7 to Maggianos for family style dining. One of the pasta choices was Mom’s Lasagna. Will you just look at the height?

It must be oooh… at least… well… it’s tall isn’t it!?!?

… maybe it’s just me.

Why You Are Fat

Another food blog has taken up the challenge.

Thanks to my friend Rob for pointing the way.

Some awesome samples…

The Mega-Stuff Oreo

Corn Dog Pizza

And my new favorite….

The Double Bacon Hamburger Fatty Melt

And this time I can prove that maybe it’s not just me…

breakfast in bed

You know how in The Sound of Music, Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews are realizing that they are in love and they sing, “I Must Have Done Something Good”? Well that’s how I feel.

However, that might be the gayest thing I’ve ever written in my life.

… maybe it’s just me.

shrimp po boy

The Shrimp Po Boy is a bunch of fried shrimp on a roll. Sounds simple? You’d think so, but the location of the really good shrimp po boys is hotly contested. This particular po boy came from the 49 restaurant in Gulfport, oddly enough located on highway 49.

To help you northerners understand, the shrimp po boy is the Cheesesteak of the south. Everybody makes one, and everyone disagrees over where to go to get the best one.

…maybe it’s just me

Good to be that guy

So now I’m the Director of Web Communications at my new company – a very old company – the American Bible Society. The pace is frenetic, the people are fantastic and I’m trying to clean up a bit of a web mess.

Our Development department has been working through a direct mail provider called Stratmark who, in a wash of Christmas spirit, has sent me a gift.
A gift of Chocolate.

This tower from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Company contained a plethora of cocoa goodness from the nutty caramels in the top to the lovingly wrapped pretzels in the middle down to the ensconced cashews and almonds in the bottom. All delicious.

It’s good to be the guy who gets stuff from vendors for Christmas.

… maybe it’s just me


First of all, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything and that’s not because I haven’t been eating – oh no. I’ve just been very busy…

  • Getting a new job
  • Moving to the Philadelphia suburbs
  • Getting engaged to Sylvia

I’ve been working hard and eating at home or at my desk a whole lot. But today at lunch TJ brought me over to Five Guys. It’s the East’s answer to In-N-Out.

Great burgers, fresh toppings, Bay’s seasoning on the fries and Coke at the fountain.

This particular Five Guys is in a strip-mall, just about a mile from my office, and now I have a fun place to go for lunch from time to time.

One note – there are free peanuts in the shell available for munching. They are not roasted. They are raw peanuts. That is just wrong.

… maybe it’s just me.

between the lines

In Philadelphia there are cheesesteaks. Today, I had them for the second time at Pat’s King of Steaks. Jeremy was kind enough to haul me around after visiting his church.

In this picture, you can see the lineup to order (wit or witout) the beef bricks slathered or insulated with cheese. Across the street, there’s another line at Geno’s Cheesesteaks. You gotta give Geno’s credit for building competition directly across the street from the originator of this east coast yummy.

Clearly, they’re not hurting for business.

… maybe it’s just me

mmmm… Big sandwich

Did you know Wal-Mart sells sandwiches?

I didn’t either, but now I do. Living out of a hotel room in Philadelphia is strange enough and I honestly don’t feel like a daily diet of eating alone at Chili’s or Logan’s is the best way to spend my time. I like to eat from the grocery store.

I found one with a salad bar my first night in town. Last night I noticed a Super-Wal-Mart (like Wal-Mart needed to be super-sized in any way). I made my way in and the first things I saw were these sandwiches in the deli.

Now I didn’t bring a tape measure or anything, but I’m pretty sure this sandwich was about 20″ long. Add mustard and I was tucked in for the night.

… maybe it’s just me

Tony Packo's

I was in Toledo on my way to Philadelphia and I had to jump off at the Front Street exit.
The chilli, the spicy dogs, the even spicier pickles are a magical combination on a cross-country road trip.

… maybe it’s just me?

Saint Pat

Today is my first day in my new office and I’m excited to start my new job at The American Bible Society in Wayne, Pennsylvania – near Philadelphia.

With Philadelphia comes Philly Cheese Steaks.

This is Pat’s King of Steaks, the claimed inventor of what might be the single greatest single contribution to American cuisine. I had this when I was here for my interview about 3 weeks ago. I also had Geno’s across the street – also good, but I like Pat’s better I think.

This last note might open me up to a horde of criticism and questions about my upbringing… you get the picture.

Maybe it’s just me…

Twitter with a raspberry reduction

It’s Internet Ministry Conference time and the food is always amazing. Notice this dessert – white chocolate mousse in a chocolate shell with a raspberry reduction, next to an iPod touch with twitter running on it.

That’s much better than an iPod touch with a raspberry reduction running on it.

maybe it’s just me…

Fall – with a twist

Whilst driving through my local Starbucks I like to make fun of Sylvia’s order. She gets a “Venti, skinny, vanilla, latte” but when I order it I like to say something like this.

first I’m gonna need a big ole honkin’ venti, skinny, no-fat, no-sugar, no-fun, no-nothin’ vanilla, latte…


Sylvia laughs when I do that, and that’s half the reason. This time, the intrepid barista in the drive-thru says:

wow – with that twist at the end I thought I was in an M. Night Shyamalan movie

We applauded when we got to the window.

I’m not a big fan of Fall – as it has fully arrived here in West Michigan, but I do like the Pumpkin Spice Latte an awful lot.
…maybe it’s just me?


My friend Steve Wilcox invited a bunch of us over for Maryland blue crabs.

Sylvia and I had a great time and Zeke ate almost a whole hot dog.

Note about blue crabs: after you cook ’em, they turn red. Kind of a political statement, don’t you think?

…maybe it’s just me

Best Juice Ever

Many years ago, Ocean Spray made Cran-Blueberry. It was amazing. Then, they stopped making it. It was sad.

Today, I found this in the grocery store. It is fantastic. I’ve started hitting the juice pretty hard today.

If you’ve had someone else’s Cranberry-Blueberry concoction, that’s fine, but this is the best juice ever.

… maybe it’s just me

Wild Stallion

As if we needed one more energy drink – this is mango flavored. I found it on tap at a gas station.

When you think of wild stallions, raw power, rippling muscles, thundering hooves, and manes whipping in the wind as they gallop across the great plains – don’t you just think “Orange Mango”?

… maybe it’s just me

one please

There’s got to be a way that I can set this up in my own kitchen.

I’d probably just end up sticking my face underneath and dispensing both barrels directly into my mouth.

… maybe it’s just me.

Red Knapp's Dairy Bar

Rochester, Michigan is the home of Red Knapp’s Dairy Bar. Until I was on the way there, I thought is was the Dairy Barn. Clearly, I’m a moron.

It’s a 50’s-style diner. It’s been a 50’s-style diner since the 50’s.
That’s actually really nice. Great burgers on homemade buns, shakes served in the can and fries.

You can’t go wrong when those are all done well.
…maybe it’s just me.
Thanks to Sylvia for taking me there!

one pound of awesome

Pavilion's Wharf

1 pound…Pavilion's Wharf
One of my favorite places in Grand Haven is Pavilion’s Wharf right there on Washington. It’s a cute little place decked out like a red, green, and white cottage, but inside it’s an awesome little restaurant and bar.
The burgers are clearly their best offerings. Cooked to order and available in 1/2 pound or… yes… Full One Pound options. Fiesta burger: bacon, swiss, guacamole, and I encourage you to try the curly fries.

You won’t go to bed hungry… and you wont wake up hungry the next morning either.

… maybe it’s just me

Dairy Treat

It’s Summer time and that means ice cream. In Grand Haven, a lakeshore tourist community, that means you have plenty of choices. Today I’m talking about the Dairy Treat – at the request of my special guest requester – Brian.

Of all the gastronomic delights available, Brian had a hankering for a Rock Pile Shake. He said it was kinda like a blizzard but better.

When I arrived at the window I saw the slogan, “Home of the Rock Pile Shake”. I was pretty geared up! You get a choice of peanuts or pecans. Brian asked for peanuts so that’s what I got. I didn’t know what else might be in there and I don’t mind the adventure of an unknown. Brian hasn’t ever steered me wrong before, so I received my first Rock Pile with salivary glands at the ready.

There were strawberries clearly visible. I like strawberries. I like ice cream, I like peanuts, what could go wrong? (see my food rules for examples of what could go wrong)

I like bananas, but not really in things. This was a banana split in a blender. I ate the whole thing anyway just because I love Brian so much and wanted to honor his food request.


Brian also wanted me to visit Butch’s Beach Burritos (next blog post coming soon). I had to ask him if I should be worried about finding a banana covered in salsa hiding in there.

… maybe it’s just me.

PS – got something you want me to eat and blog about? Add your comment and let me know!

Rick and Aedan

So what do you say to someone when you haven’t seen them in 25 years? That’s what my friend Aedan said this week when we met up for a visit. He’s been living abroad for most of his adult life and lives in Finland now with his family. He found my website and recognized me by my toes.

He’s kept in touch with our mutual friend Rick over the years and this week while I was in Chicago, speaking at a conference and recording a podcast and Aedan was in town visiting home – we all got together.

So – what do you say after 25 years?

Giordano’s – that’s what!

maybe it’s just me…

Instantly delicious

This is Jeff. Jeff wants his coffee. Jeff Parker is my oldest friend. He’s actually about the same age as me, but I’ve known him longer than nearly anyone I know. Jeff moved to Chile about 15 years ago and we’ve been keeping in contact ever since.

This is the dark and robust Uruguayan Cafe de leche. After a couple days of that, I flew from Uruguay to Chile.

I was surprised to find that the Chilean coffee is all instant. In fact if you want brewed coffee you need to ask and pay special for it. Apparently they export all of their coffee.

However, this is like no instant coffee I’ve ever had. If you made it dark – and most places simply hand you the hot water or hot milk and a tin of Nescafe – it’s really good. That was by far the strangest thing I ate/drank on my South American jaunt.

…maybe it’s just me

Dids Deli

I had to run some errands at lunch and just before I went home I stopped in at a Deli, just around the corner from my apartment.

Sweet Fancy Moses!
That’s what I call a sandwich.

I’m never leaving.

… maybe it’s just me

guest brian

Today I had lunch with Brian Tol. He and I used to work together at Gospel Communications and he’s recently gone over to 5Q Communications.

We ate at one of my favorite places in Grand Haven, Pavilion’s Wharf. The Wharf is right downtown, has great burgers, and is smoke-free. I’m pretty much done eating in places that allow smoking. Michigan is considering legislation that will ban smoking in public places, we’ll see about that.

The Wharf has this one burger that bears mentioning – The Magnificent Stuffed burger. It’s a burger – yeah, that’s pretty obvious – and it’s stuffed with bacon, cheese and jalapeño peppers – add curly fries and you’re set for the day. I estimate the calories at around 400,000.

On a personal note – Brian and his wife Amy are preparing to adopt a child from Ethiopia. I wrote up a warm-fuzzy letter for them and hopefully it will help. When I heard they were looking at Ethiopia I said, “Hey, at least they won’t each much.”

… maybe it’s just me.

Table Scraps

Three Years of Brian-Food and 100 posts – a retrospective.

It was on June 8, 2005 that I first posted about breakfast cereal. I’d been blogging since 1995 with my Wacky Thing of The Week – before there were blogs. I first started with internet fun available on a shared drive for my co-workers, and then started putting them on the web in ’97 when I learned how and registered But Brian-Food was/is my first actual blog as we understand it today. I thought a great way to celebrate this milestone might be through reflection.

Some of my favorite food topics center on the elixir of life – Coca-Cola:
The Real Thing
I’ve switched over almost entirely to Coke Zero now, but now and then I have to get the good stuff.

I’ve used the word “joint” in 10% of my posts and “eatery” in 5%.

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I also find oddities in my food:

I try to take pictures before or while I’m eating. This is one of my favorites.

One of my favorite posts focused on the story I made up about the guy at my local Taco Bell. For a while there “Chipotle Grilled Stuffed Burrito” was the #4 referring keyword to my site and MirthMobile was the #1 hit on Google with the words “Chipotle Grilled Stuffed Burrito”. Now, thanks to the magic of blogs, it’s #1 and #2. Give this post a couple of weeks and I’ll have that #3 spot locked up as well.

I try to come up with catchy titles for my posts like:
Thank you very mocha
What up G
Unfortune cookies
Shout out to my peeps
By the way, I still have some of those peeps drying nicely in my cupboard.

I also try to feature the gastronomic gyrations of my friends. Steve shows up from time to time, but his best work has to be the giant gumball in Mouthfull of pain. (not for the faint of heart)

Not everyone may agree with what I write, after all – I have my rules, but I hope the past three years have been entertaining and possibly enlightening for you gentle reader.

… on the other hand, maybe it’s just me.

Coffee Refils

I love eating at diners, drive-ins and dives.
In fact, about the only cooking show I can stomach is the show by that name, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives“. As much as I love the food and the great variations on the PEB theme (pancake, egg, burger) at the local place, there’s something that those joints could learn from a national chain.

Coffee refills are too slow almost everywhere. Perkins on the other hand gets this right. If you order coffee, they give you the pot. That’s what I’m talking about. They brew small pots, directly into this air-tight carafe so you can enjoy fresh coffee during your stay. Today, I spent about 2 hours in a Perkins and finished the pot. It was diner-coffee, that is to say, not great, but not bad. But I never had to wait for a refill and I never had to deal with the dregs at the end of the pot, nor the regular/decaf problem.

Perkins, you get a gold star.

… maybe it’s just me.

PS – this is post number 99 on Brian-Food. I’m going to have to find something pretty good for #100. Stand by.

Movie Popcorn

Just in case you haven’t ever been to a theater with a refillable popcorn bucket, I need to explain.

You see, you buy this bucket, then you fill it up with popcorn as much as you want until the bucket expires. I pretty much quit buying popcorn at the grocery store once I got my bucket. Although, I do keep a few bags of microwave corn around for emergencies.

There are two major buckets around these parts.

Bucket #1 – good at any of the theaters in this particular chain. Festooned with a recent movie ad, the bucket is good for about 5 months (December to April or May to November). This bucket goes for $37. That’s pretty pricey, but you get a $20 gift card with the bucket and the last two times I’ve bought one the cashier asked if I wanted to redeem the gift card toward the purchase of my bucket… seriously. So, now it’s $17. With that I also get $12 worth of coupons toward concessions, and I’m a sucker, so I get those over the course of time. So, at the end of the day, I’m paying $5 for 5 months worth of popcorn.

Bucket #2 – good at just the one theater in Grand Haven, where I live. It’s $10 and good for 6 months this year, and 6 months next year. You buy another bucket to cover the other 6 months of the two years. So, $20 gets you 24 months of popcorn.

They’ve got you hooked.
OK… maybe it’s just me.

Chili Cookoff Real Winner

Real Winner

We had a chili cookoff at work. It was a lot of fun.

There were chilies of all flavors, concoctions, colors, and spice levels. The big winner was Kevin Kyser and his Chicken Chili. It was overwhelmingly fantastic with an average score of 4.17 out of a possible 5. Kevin won a 5lb Hershey Bar and $20 gift certificates to O’Charley’s.

It turns out that Jody (pictured), Kevin’s wife made the chili.

I’ve suggested to Kevin that he send Jodi to O’Charley’s and he stays home with the 4 kids and each one gets 1/4 of the chocolate.

Maybe it’s just me…

Now that’s a coney dog

Lafayette Coney Island Dogs

That’s a coney dog Lafayette Coney Island Dogs
Living in Western Michigan as I do, there’s a huge hole in my diet. Namely, the Coney Dog. The Coney Island dog or chili-dog has somehow been perfected on the East side of the state and specifically in Detroit. Now, if you want a chili burger, you have to go to Los Angeles, but Detroit has cornered the market on the dog.

Next door to the American Coney Island, a poor excuse for a coney island joint, you’ll find the best there is: Lafayette Coney Island.

The natural casing makes the hot dogs snap when you bite into them. The fries are fresh and hot, covered in shredded cheddar and a ladle of chili. The onions are zesty. The service is… oh what’s the word… International, that’s it. The guys that work there speak enough English to take your order, deliver it and talk about the Tigers, Lions, Redwings, Pistons, and how Joe Louis was the greatest boxer who ever lived.

They have Coke at the soda fountain, and everything else comes in cans, including Vernors of course. That’s the Michigan state beverage.

… maybe it’s just me?

Peanut Butter Banana dogs

So what you do is split a hot dog down the middle and warm it up. Bologna works in this, but bacon is best. The hot dog was a little improvisation.
Then a banana and put it all on a hot dog bun spread with peanut butter.
So good.

Peanut buttery, melty, banana-ey, salty, meaty…

… maybe it’s just me?

Valentines Schmalentines

Every year the Hallmarkiest of Hallmark holidays comes around in mid-February. Of course I mean Valentine’s Day. People who are together feel pressure to do something grand and people who are alone get depressed. We all eat too much candy. Kids bring card-ettes to school and often lace them with less than flattering aphorisms.

In the USA Miss Esther Howland has credit for receiving and sending the first valentine cards in 1847. Commercially produced cards were introduced earlier in Europe right around 1800 – the first mechanical cards in 1840.

Then there are the candy hearts. How can anyone actually ingest those chalky, flavorless lumps with trite sayings tattooed in Red #6? The first conversation hearts were introduced in the 1860’s by the founder of the NECCO Company founder. The hand-made candy hearts included lengthy entreaties such as,

“Please send a lock of your hair by return mail.”

Finally they were tightened up and factory-made by the NECCO Company in 1902 and since then have sported favorite sayings like: kiss me, sweet talk, and be mine. 2004 brought the internet-based IM ME to the hearts.

The mind swims with the awfulness.

Over the years NECCO has eliminated sayings when they become out-dated, such as the funky “Dig Me” and the cheerful, “you are gay”.
A full production run contains 1.7 million pieces and NECCO will sell about 8 billion candy hearts in six weeks. They have a shelf life of 5 years.

Thanks to the folks at there’s a valentines candy heart for the rest of us.

… maybe it’s just me?

Fruit Salad

Is that a euphemism?
Sylvia says that I’m a good cook. I made up this fruit salad on the fly while I was at the grocery store picking up groceries to cook in my new groovy pad for the first time.

2 Bartlet pears very ripe
1 Granny Smith Apple
1c red seedless grapes
2 blood oranges
1 starfruit
1 stalk of celery
1/2c roasted almond slivers

cut it all up, mix with your (clean) hands, top with almonds. There’s plenty of citrus juice to keep things from browning. Serve it up in piles or in bowls.

I also made, a green leafy romaine/spinach salad, baked potatoes, and rib eye steak.

Sylvia brought harvest medley pie (raspberries, rhubarb, apples, pears) and ice cream to the Super Bowl the night before, but we didn’t have any then. It was really good for dessert the next day.

Anyway, I like to cook, and I like to make a nice presentation… maybe it’s just me.

Leftovers again

It’s Fat Tuesday again – kind of a second Thanksgiving here on the brian-food blog. .flickr-photo { }.flickr-frame { float: right; text-align: center; margin-left: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; }.flickr-caption { font-size: 0.8em; margin-top: 0px; }

Since we’re still behind the picket lines of the writer’s guild strike, here’s a Phat Tuesday re-run, just like on TV.

Meanwhile, one of my co-workers brought in the Paczki this year – I need to go get one before they’re gone!

I’d still like to know if anyone is making a sacrifice for lent.

…maybe it’s just me?


My friend Steve sent me this picture from a vending machine.

I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to trust this salad for a couple of reasons.
1) The window of opportunity for room-temperature mayonnaise is rather narrow.
2) Is it Bumble Bee or SweetSue Chicken?
3) Too much packaging… but mostly the first one.

… maybe it’s just me… or Steve.


I’ve been working on some things in my personal life to be a better me. One of them is my weight. I’ve been trying to follow the plan laid out in the weigh-down workshop and it’s working pretty well for me. I’m at a bit of a plateau right now, but that’s OK. Those things happen.
I’ve joined the YMCA and it’s time to sell my own Elliptical machine.
You can bid on that over on eBay if you like.

Good news – thanks to the Elliptical – I’m down about 20lbs since Thanksgiving. I’ll keep you updated on that as I go.

Have you lost any weight this year?

… maybe it’s just me?

chipotle grilled stuffed burrito redux

Chipotle Grilled Stuffed Burrito
Who knew that those four little words could mean so much to me for so long?

Back in the early days of this blog I wrote a happy little post about a little something that tickled my taste buds at my favorite Faux-Mex restaurant – Taco Bell. Today that little post is #4 on my list of keywords used to find

Chipotle Grilled Stuffed Burrito
That little blog post is also the number one hit on a Google search for those four words. Try it yourself. Though I’m sure once Taco Bell gets wind of this they will hire someone to do some search engine optimization and they can get back on top.

Maybe that will be me…

and we're back

It’s been almost a year since the Peter Pan salmonella outbreak.

The jars are finally back on the store shelves and display their fancy marketing slogan: “New Better Peanut Taste!”
Wouldn’t it also be appropriate to label them, “Now with less infectious bacteria!”?

… maybe it’s just me?

Macaroni and Cheese 6pc

Yes that’s right gentle reader, a 6 piece of macaroni and cheese. I’m picturing 6 noodles laden with cheese.
As it turns out they are actually those mac-n-cheese bites. Breaded and fried Macaroni and Cheese.
Can life get any better than this?
I submit that it cannot.

Unless of course you can tell me what Bosco sticks are.

…maybe it’s just me?


In Gulfport, Mississippi our family Christmas tradition includes Bruce’s famous gumbo. This time there was sausage, chicken, smoked pork, and shrimp.

We had quite a crowd over to the house for dinner – they were all former neighbors from Pascagoula and long-time friends. I had a lovely time getting to know them all.

What are some of your Christmas traditions?

or… maybe it’s just me?

So which is it?

My good friend and co-worker, also named Brian, called me from the road to report this sign and he kindly sent me a picture.

While I’m pleased about the Toys for Tots drop off site – what with it being Christmas time and all, I’m confused.

I’m confused about the juxtaposition of the China Buffet with the promise, dare I say “command”, to build your own taco. So which is it? Is it a China Buffet or a build your own taco joint? Is it Szechuan or Chez Juan?

… maybe it’s just me?

Thanksgiving Day

It’s Thanksgiving Day and since this is my food blog I thought I shouldn’t let this pass without commenting on a day set aside to give thanks to God and to eat pretty much anything that comes within reach.
First of all, I’m deeply thankful for my family. This year in particular I’ve felt their arms around me.
I’m thankful for my old friends like Jeff, Steve, Amy, Brenda, Brian, Jessica, Melissa, Steve, Brian, Brian, Morgan, Adam, Lisa, Jeff, Alan, Neal, Paul, Andy, Natalie, the Jonathans, and a recent re-acquaintance with Aedan (Ed).
I’m thankful for my newer friends like D’Arcy, Brooke and Julia, Amy, Megan, Dave, and of course Sylvia and Ezekiel.

Thanks to each and every one of you.

This sounds like a perfect opportunity for a Ham soda.

Maybe it’s just me?

Eating in early childhood

Thanks to Dawn over at “Because I Said So” for making me watch this, the most frightening children’s video ever.

It’s only recently come to my attention that some little kids (and some older ones) need encouragement to eat. Oh I wish I had that problem.

… maybe it’s just me?

based on a dare

It has been said that much of our cuisine is based on a dare. This was no exception.

The Copenhagen
Thick dark rye bread layered with lean roast beef, smoked turkey, a salmon fillet, a fried egg, onion rings and of course – tartar sauce. What else would you use to top that?

By far, this is the goofiest sandwich I’ve ever eaten. Thanks to Murray’s in Minneapolis for this one.

It was really good! The fresh-made potato chips on the side were really really good!

… maybe it’s just me

Mmmm… (cough!) Burger…

Muskegon has provided us with yet another culinary… moment. Let’s just say, moment shall we?

The Bee Bopp in 50’s diner

Don’t get me started on the name. This little diner has been an ice cream store for a while and this fall they’ve opened it up as a 50’s style diner. So what does 50’s style mean?

Art Deco? – nope
Blue plate specials? – nope
Waitresses on roller skates? – nope
Milk shakes served in the stainless steel mixing tins? – nope

Unfortunately this 50’s diner means smoking. I don’t mean, “wow, it was so good that it was ‘smoking’!” oh no. I’m talking about cigarette smoke and lots of it. They seem to have an all-you-can-breathe special going on. It might be that they are next door in the same building to a tobacconist but it really seems like it’s too strong to come from next door. I expected to step into the back and find the cook, dishwasher and waitress all puffing away. The other customers clearly knew what they were getting into and came prepared with their own brands to add to the ambience.

The burger pictured above was very good. Double meat, double bacon, double cheese. I’ve scheduled the colonoscopy and and angioplasty.

Get one to go.

… maybe it’s just me?

Ginormous Carrot Cake

A meeting between my boss and the other managers in my office and me brought us to the Brownstone restaurant in the Muskegon Airport. The Brownstone specializes in some original soups and sandwiches and I got to enjoy both on that day.

The dessert however was other-worldly.
This piece of cake was ridiculous. Please don’t misunderstand. It was really really good. But who can eat lunch and then chase that down with an 8″ tall, 10″ wide, 2″ thick piece of carrot cake?

I ate one layer, and then brought the rest away for Sylvia and Ezekiel. Zeke had none of it. Sylvia smiled a lot. She does that.

… maybe it’s just me?


Yes gentle reader, I made a peanut butter and pickle sandwich. It’s one of my favorite peanut butter and something sandwiches, ever since I was a little kid. Made with the hamburger-dill slices and creamy peanut butter, it’s light, crunchy, tart, and a bit nutty.
Some of you will probably think that I should include this delicacy in my food rules as an abomination.
Some of you will probably think that this should qualify as something I’ve found in my food.
However – I put the pickles on the peanut butter myself, and they are my rules, so I get to decide what’s in them.

…maybe it’s just me

El Gigante

When you’re at a conference like this – where they don’t feed you as part of the deal, you need to go out. David and I ran into Tiffany from iStock Photo and we all agreed to go out for Italian. We located a place with our GPS that wasn’t too far away and we navigated our way directly to where it was supposed to be.

Instead we found Frontera Mex-Mex.
That’s right, “Mex-Mex”. Apparently these people hate Texas. We weren’t sure about it until, as we drove around the front, we saw the Mariachi band through the window. DONE! We are so eating there!

A softball team arrived not too long before we did, so that was another good sign. But the best sign for me was the one in the menu that read, “FREE T-SHIRT” “Burrito El Gigante.” Eat this 16-incher and win a t-shirt and if you’re still hungry, free dessert. Mamma… I’m home.

Of course I finished it – ate the free fried ice cream and smiled mockingly at the wait-staff.

And now I have this great t-shirt – and the sounds of a Mariachi band playing the Macarena stuck in my head.

… maybe I didn’t win after all.

The Varsity

This week I’m in Atlanta with my co-worker Dave for the Catalyst Conference. Our plane from Grand Rapids to Milwaukee was canceled due to weather, so we got a direct flight to Atlanta on another Airline. Midwest handled the cancellation with ease and we were soon on a Delta flight without any effort except for the extra security pat-downs.

We landed and got our luggage at the speed of light – seriously, I don’t know how they did that. It was amazing. Then checked into the hotel – which is hilarious in its own right. Then off to get something for dinner.

The Varsity
It claims to be the world’s largest drive-in. The one we went to was not really a drive-in as much as it was a drive-up-get-out-of-your-car-walk-inside. But I digress. They have Chili Dogs.

The chili is almost entirely meat, with a touch of sauce. The meat is so finely ground that it resembles Cream of Wheat or since we’re in the South, grits. The chocolate shake was similar in consistency to a Wendy’s Frosty, but after a few minutes with a spoon, drinkable. Chili-cheese fries are fries, served with a little cup of chili and a little cup of very runny cheese. I know what you’re thinking – “oh! I like it runny” – if indeed that’s what you’re thinking, then by all means, this is the cheese for you.

+1 all around!

I really didn’t eat much today – so now that I’ve pigged out and capped it all off with a fried peach pie – I’m going to bed.

… maybe it’s just me.

Food Rules!

Over the past couple of years, I’ve mentioned that I have some food rules. I’ve also promised to post them at some point. I’ve never tried to write out the food rules before, so this is as much an exercise for me as it is keeping a promise.

These are my rules. If you don’t like them, make your own list. I look forward to reading them.

1) Don’t cook my citrus
This is primarily in the area of baked goods: Lemon bars, cake, orange glaze.
Exception – pineapple on pizza

2) Don’t flavor things banana
Banana candy is especially nasty

3) No more Hormel
I got food poisoning from a can of chili once.
Exception – spam. I happen to like spam and I’m not giving it up just because Hormel bought it.

4) Hot dogs are an art-form
Ball Park brand franks are disgusting. I don’t care if they do plump when you cook ’em. I prefer a good natural-casing dog, Oscar Meyer wiener, Ekrich franks or just about anything besides Ball Park. The best dogs are served in a ball park, unless they are actually Ball Park brand. Also, see rule #3.

5) Chocolate milk is important
Hershey’s syrup in milk is OK. I like Ovaltine and Bosco, but prefer Quick above all other mix-in varieties. Even the No-Sugar-Added Quick is better than most others. Store brands are right out. The absolute best is the pre-mixed stuff. Feel free to mix that 1/1 with plain milk.

6) Skim milk is wrong
I’ll take 1/2% before skim. 2% is best. Whole milk from the farm without homogenization and without pasteurization is a delicacy. Scoop the cream off and drink up.

7) Custard not cream
Donuts are often filled with something other than jelly. There’s custard – which is fantastic. There’s some kind of cream filling which is nasty. Carefully choose your donut.

8) Vegetables
The veggies on a sandwich count. I like salad. I’ll eat most any vegetable when it’s hidden in something else but it has to be small enough and unrecognizable. Corn is good – leading me to rule #9.

9) The Corn stands alone
Corn in things frightens me. I don’t want to see it in poo or in food.

10) I have a list of restaurants
I’ve boycotted the following chain restaurants due to certain problems.
Bob Evans – Food Poisoning 2x
Brann’s – the infamous bread-tie incident
Applebee’s – most of a lady bug in my salad

this one is definitely just me.

unfortune cookies

Yesterday’s excursion with Paul and Dave to the Wok-N-Roll also provided some fortune cookies. However, the content provided was not so much about our fortunes. I expected a glimpse into our respective futures.

Here’s what we got:

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Let’s be honest, that’s not a fortune. It’s really more of a wise saying or proverb. I’m not even sure how true it is.

Let someone know how special they are to you.

That was more like some general good advice, kind of the hot and sour soup for the soul kind of fortune cookie.


It is most enjoyable to talk with you.

That’s just creepy. Besides the anthropomorphizing of the fortune cookie, why would anyone even write that?

The very first version of what would eventually become brian-food was a fortune cookie page that I maintained starting in 1997. The following appeared on that page in June, 2000.

These fortunes were collected by various Calvin College Information Technology employees, at different times, in no particular order, for no particular reason.

You will be advanced socially, without any special effort.
You will win success in whatever calling you adopt.
You and your wife will be happy in your life together.
You have the wonderful traits of charm and courtesy.
You never hesitate to tackle the most difficult problems.
A thrilling time is in your immediate future.
You are capable, competent, creative, careful. Prove it.
You have an important new business development shaping up.
Be positive in word, act, and deed.
What goes around comes around.
You will make a change for the better.
Success will come to you soon.
Be careful of what you wish for. You may get it.
Only the mediocre are always at their best.
Your principles mean more to you than money or success.
The game ain’t over ’til it’s over.
Your future looks bright.
Your luck has been completely changed today.
Many receive advice, only the wise profit by it.
You are the mast of every situation.
You have an ability to sense and know higher truth.
Don’t let unexpected situations “throw” you.
You have a deep appreciation of the arts and music.
Find release from your cares, have a good time.
An angry man opens his mouth and shuts up his eyes.
Friends long absent are coming back to you.
Your present plans are going to succeed.
You will step on the soil of many countries.
You are independent politically.
You will witness a special ceremony.
Contentment is yours when you find it does not come from things.
Your business will assume vast proportions.
You are next in line for a promotion.
The eyes believe themselves; the ears believe other people.
Good time to start something new.
Society prepares the crime; the criminal commmits it.
If you wish to, you will have an opportunity.
Progress is risky. You can’t steal second and keep your foot on first.
You will be called upon to help a friend in trouble.
Good habits are sustainable.
A letter of great importance will reach you soon.
You will soon be invited to a party.
Character is a victory, not a gift.
Worry is today’s mouse eating tomorrow’s cheese.
You will be awarded a great honor.
Be alert! You’re about to make a new lifelong friend.
A small incident will develop to your advantage.
You need not worry about the future.
Remember to share good fortune as wll as bad with your friends.
You will receive a fortune cookie.
You will be the best.
You have an unusual magnetic personality. Just be aware of your

That last one really trailed off there didn’t it?
Special thanks to the Wayback Machine for keeping a copy of that page for me all these years so I could retrieve it. (and that’s also why you don’t post goofy pictures of yourself on your myspace account kids!) Feel free to add your favorite euphemism to the end of those if you like. (in bed)

My favorite after all this time is still:
Behind an able man there are always.
…maybe it’s just me?

Tulips and Buffalo

Last night I dined at a lovely little Itallian place called Bela Mia.
This ad appeared on the placemat.

Sorry the picture is so fuzzy, but it says:
Veldheer’s Tulips & Buffalo

Ahhhhh… tulips and buffalo.
Two great tastes…

…maybe it’s just me.

What's the point?

What’s the point of this?

A Microwaveable Milk Shake.

There are several things wrong with this product.
1) it’s the Original – as if they had to worry about some cheap knock-off version of the Microwaveable Milk Shake

2) the instructions – “Just place in Microwave for 40 seconds and stir.” I’m assuming that you need to turn the Microwave on at some point during those 40 seconds, but maybe I’m getting too picky.

3) Seriously – you put the frozen ice cream in the Microwave for 40 seconds (on High), stir and drink it. Isn’t that just ice cream?

Maybe it’s just me?

Skyline time!

If you’ve never been to Cincinnati, or any of the other places where they have Skyline Chili, you need to make the time to go.

What’s this cadre of cheese covered dishes, and who’s that guy?

This is my brother Chris enjoying his first 5-way, while my 3-way and pair of cheese coneys appear in the foreground. Now before you get all bent out of shape trying to figure out what a 3-way or a 5-way is, I’ll explain.

3-Way: steaming spaghetti, covered with chili and a mound of shredded cheddar cheese.

4-Way: A 3-Way with diced onions OR red beans.

5-Way: A 3-Way with diced onions AND red beans.

Cheese Coney: a hot dog with mustard, covered with chili, diced onions and a mound of shredded cheddar cheese.

Chris and I met up in Cincinnati, a good halfway point for both of us. Our first stop had to be Skyline. Even though there was a White Castle right there in the parking lot of the hotel.

One odd thing about Skyline is that there was one in Muskegon, just up the street from my office. My coworkers and I visited often (understatement) when suddenly, it was gone. The building was still there, but a sign on the drive-thru window read that they had closed due to circumstances beyond their control. They reopened shortly thereafter as a Gyro place. Oh Muskegon, why must you devour, swallow, and spit out the best restaurants? Why must you torture me??

But I digress.

Visit Skyline’s website – just don’t click on the “Nutrition” link. You don’t really want to know…. or maybe that’s just me?

Birthday cake and a dog

If it’s your birthday, you gotta have cake right? So I’ve been told. But what if you don’t really like cake that much? What if you like blueberry pie?

Celebrating my birthday in Chicago got me the following:
a) my favorite pizza – Giordano’s
b) favorite band – The Police
c) in my favorite ballpark – Wrigley field
d) my favorite dog – Portillo’s

Portillo’s (pronounced Por-tee-ohs or Por-till-ohs depending on your preference) has a great dog. I think it’s missing celery salt, but other than that it’s fantastic. The hot dog has just the righ seasonings to handle the ridiculous amount of toppings required for a true Chicago Dog:
Mustard, Relish, onions, tomato slices, a pickle.

Portillo’s also has an invention that somehow I’d missed in the past, but my friend Jessica introduced me to.

The Chocolate Cake Shake

Yes… it’s a piece of chocolate cake, frosting and everything blended into a chocolate shake. A whole piece of cake – in a shake. Cake – shake – got it?


I’d still prefer the Blueberry Pie Shake.

…maybe it’s just me?

Things on my plate

I’ve had a few things on my plate since my last post, so here’s the update:

1) I turned 40
2) my birth mother adopted me
3) I got a new plate for the MirthMobile

Michigan decided to change out their old blue plates with white letters and replace them with white plates with blue letters. Way to go Michigan! For my 40th birthday I got to go to the Secretary of State (DMV for everyone else in the USA) to renew my registration, license, and replace my old plate MIRTH1. I had the MIRTH1 for several years because someone named Mirth had the MIRTH plate. She let it go and I pounced.

Here’s the old plate:
Old Plate
You may notice a license plate frame around the old plate and a partial one around the new one. There is a story there.

At the end of 2004 I took my current job a Gospel Communications. The office is about 60 miles from my home and I had no intention of moving, so I got my car checked out by the local Chrysler dealer. I got some work done and the final price was considerably higher than I had discussed or authorized. I was angry, but nonetheless needed my car, so I paid the price and went on. Some time later I noticed that they put a license plate frame on my car – without my permission.

I sent them this letter along with an invoice for $984.15 – the precise amount of the repairs to my car:

Highland Chrysler Jeep
1350 28th Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508

To whom it may concern;
Thank you for choosing your advertising space so judiciously!

I have a long history of providing the best in mobile advertising for a relatively small cost. I was pleased to find that Highland Chrysler Jeep chose to use my services for advertising and I’m sure that the traffic seen by your advertisement is worth the expense.

Your mobile advertisement travels from a residential section of Caledonia Township in South-East Kent county to a location on Apple Avenue in Muskegon every weekday and throughout Kent, Ottowa and Allegan counties on weekend days. In fact there is a trip planned for this weekend that will bring your advertising message to a variety of new potential customers.

The most exciting part of mobile advertising for me is that you never even contacted me about spending your valuable advertising dollars with my service. One day, following a service procedure at your establishment I found the advertising and I have proudly displayed it ever-since. I have tried on numerous occasions to contact your service manager, [name], to thank him for the opportunity to fullfil your advertising needs, but he has not returned my calls. [name] was very helpful when he said he would let Mike know that I called and have him call me back, but that has not happened yet.

Please find enclosed your first quarterly invoice for rental of the advertising space and a picture showing a close-up of your message at work. Please make your check payable to Brian Melles and send it to the address listed above and below upon receipt of this invoice. If for any reason you wish to terminate your rental agreement with me prior to the end of the current billing period (January 24, 2005) I will happily pro-rate the invoice. Otherwise, I’m sure you agree that the money you spend advertising with me is well-spent, I’ll continue billing Highland Chrysler Jeep on a quarterly basis.

Additionally, next quarter, I’m running a special promotion that will put this information on my website for the low price of only $150 per month (regular price $300 per month) that’s a savings of 50% on the web advertising alone, and we all know how effective web-based advertising can be. In keeping with your previous method, I’ll go ahead and take care of that for you, and send you another invoice at the end of next quarter unless I hear from you differently.

Thanks again for using my services this way!

I received a phone call a few days later and discussed the matter with them. Not only were they not willing to pay for the advertising (duh), nor were they willing to discuss even a partial refund, but they also didn’t want the license plate frame back, and they also didn’t have the original screws that came with my car which did not have the extra space for the frame. Now. without the frame, the plate would bang and clatter loosely on the back of my car. I broke the frame up into pieces and used only the top portion to finish securing my license plate to the back end. Highland did offer me 10% off of my next service. I respectfully declined to take advantage of that.

Altogether an experience just as bad as any Comcastic customer service opportunity. When presented with the opportunity to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one, why do companies continually choose to keep their customers unhappy? All people with a service should start reading Seth Godin’s blog to learn the basics. Seriously, it’s been over two years and I’m still honked off enough to take the time to blog about it – and more than once. Don’t get me started on my 1993 State Farm Insurance story!

So, Highland Chrysler Jeep – please enjoy this belated, but still appropriate, finger from me to you.

7 pounds of perfect

It’s been a fabulous couple of weeks since I last posted, so here’s what’s going on.

1) I turned 40
2) my birth mother adopted me
3) I got to eat Giordano’s Pizza in my home town

If you’ve been some place that advertises “Chicago Style Pizza” and it’s not Giordano’s, they are wrong. Plain old dead wrong.

OK, OK – I’m wrong.
There are a plethora of Chicago Pizza places in and out of Chicago. Most of them simply serve a deep dish pizza which for my money isn’t as interesting as a really good, very thin pizza.

Giordano’s serves stuffed pizza. STUFFED I tell you!
There’s a perfect medium crust at the bottom. It’s not too thick and not too thin. I’ll put it this way, you don’t feel like you’ve eaten an entire loaf of bread after just one slice of pizza, and you don’t feel like you had a cracker or a tortilla or something.

Then there are the toppings, or in this case – stuffings. On this my 40th birthday, I chose sausage all by itself. (an obvious metaphor to be sure) The sausage is perfect. It’s not some little crumbles nor is it a great ungainly patty like some other joints (Lou Malnati’s, Gino’s East). It’s a perfect nugget of perfectly seasoned pork goodness.

Another paper-thin crust seals in the 7 pounds of cheese (medium pizza) with the other stuffings and is then topped off with a generous ladle of perfect sauce. The sauce is neither too sweet, salty, or spicy – it’s just perfect.

That sucker is baked for about 30 minutes and then placed with love on your table. I always eat too much of it and make myself sick, but what a way to go.

My point is that this is Stuffed pizza – the way it should be. You can have all the Chicago pizza you want and it’s just not Giordano’s stuffed pizza.

…maybe it’s just me?

I didn’t eat it

Thanks to Jonathan, he took one for the team.

I mean, we’ve all eaten Ramen at one time or another haven’t we? Sometimes they are very tasty and you get at least 100% of the USRDA of Sodium in one little package. Chicken, beef, and even vegetable flavors can bring a smile to the palete but this one is just wrong.

1) Shrimp
I’m absolutely certain that the shrimp are the same shrimp from the unsold Sea Monkeys of years gone by.

2) Lime
Are you kidding me?
Jonathan said that the flavor was “very limey” and by that he meant rather heavy on the lime.

3) Limon Flavor
Sprite Copyright infringement aside, I have to ask – which is it? Lime or Limon?

I don’t want to try this.
…maybe it’s just me.

Coke – the real thing

Coke – the real thing
I love Coca-Cola
It’s not too sweet, it’s crisp, bubbly, and I find it refreshing at just the right times.
Coke - the real thing
I’ve blogged about Coke before:
All Coked Up
Coke Blech
My Hero Zero

Best coke version ever is the 1984 Coca-Cola before New Coke, and before the return of Coke Classic – and it should be served chilled in a glass bottle. Growing up, this is the way it came. Sure there were cans, for the times when you had a school field trip and had to wrap it up in tin-foil. But for the most part Coke came in glass 16 oz or 12 oz bottles. Some vending machines had 10oz bottles.

The big difference between the Coke of today and the Coke of yesteryear may seem obvious to the unindoctrinated – the glass bottle? Well that’s where you’d be wrong. You can get a 6-pack of tiny 8oz bottle at the supermarket for about $5. It’s better than a can or plastic bottle, but it’s still not quite right. The difference is sugar.

Genuine, real, refined sugar.
Cane sugar
Beet sugar
sweet, lovely, crystalline sugar

Bad for you right? Maybe – but that’s what’s missing from the sweet carbonated drinks of today. Since the mid 1980’s soda companies have replaced sugar with high-fructose corn syrup. That may have been good for the farming economy, but it was still wrong.
The Coke in this picture, the one in the 12oz glass bottle, the one with a trace of condensation dripping down the side, the one that says Coca-Cola and not “Coke Classic”, the one that tastes the way Coke is supposed to, has sugar and is from Mexico.

It seems that the Mexican economy is unaffected by high-fructose corn syrup. We get their workers, they get the good Coca-Cola.

I’ve found a local source. I’m not telling you where I got it, but I bought a bunch of them and have no more than one each day.
If I told you where they were… maybe it wouldn’t be just me.

Best Ad Ever

Thanks to my friend Rachel, I can now enjoy my favorite television ad of all time anytime.
click to view Tabasco Ad

It ran during the Super Bowl in 1998 and I remember every moment of it from that one viewing.

I love Tabasco sauce as much as the next guy, though not as much as this guy, and I desperately want to try this.

…maybe it’s just me

a bone to pick

I find things in my food. This is an established fact.

This time it was the 44th Street Bistro, just up the street from my apartment. It was a chicken bone.

I would have expected it in the chicken wing from the buffet. Although this was a rib-bone, so it would have been a bit of a surprise, but not a shock.

I could have surmised that the chicken-n-dumpling soup would not necessarily be free of chick-n-bones.

It was in the macaroni, which shockingly enough tasted like fish. Kind of a crap-bisque if you will.

Never off my guard, I deftly removed it, Set it aside, photographed it for later, and went on with my meal.

Should I have complained? By now, I think not.

… maybe it’s just me. – it probably is.

Two Scoops

Unofficial start of Summer or not, to me the season begins with two scoops of heavenly goodness atop a sugar cone.

I usually prefer soft-serve ice cream. My needs are simple and a plain chocolate cone or maybe a twist, or a basic dip satisfy me. Sometimes, you have to go for the hand-dipped cone. I love to combine a scoop of this and that producing a delightful melange heretofore untasted. On this Memorial day weekend I kicked off Summer with Coffee Lovers and Ooey Gooey Chewy. The latter is vanilla with brownie pieces and caramel. I found it a bit disappointing. Next time, I’m getting the Coffee with Birthday Cake. I should have had a small taste first.

When it comes to the cone, there are all manner of handles for your ice cream. Take the cake – or “Eat-it-all” brand cone – it’s light, fluffy, and provides a solid base. The waffle cone always seems to dwarf whatever you put in there, and the results are somewhat unpredictable. My tried and true friend is the sugar cone. It’s crisp, sweet and toasted. At the end you get a little pointy bit. I love that part.

… maybe it’s just me?

Flavor of the Day

I don’t know where to go with this picture, but I had to share it.

I went to Culver’s, home of the butterburger and frozen custard. This sign was next to the counter and both confused and amused me for the rest of the evening.

Flavor of the Day:
Michigan Cherry Pecan
That sounds pretty good.

Is the next item a Michigan cherry pecan pineapple shake?

And what does that do for the green olives?

At the end of the day, I felt it necessary to share the fact that at some point, in some place, there was a sign that asked the perennial question, “How about some green olives?”

…maybe it’s just me.

Popcorn Movies

I go to the movies a lot. I like to go with a friend or two when I can find them. Sometimes I go by myself. Sometimes I go just for the popcorn.

My favorite local theaters in the area sell a plastic bucket that you bring to the theater anytime and fill it up with popcorn. I’ve done that a few times. It’s good for about 6 months, and I get my money’s worth. The same theaters’ concessions include a butter-flavoring pump so you can apply your own “butter,” salt, and other flavors – like white cheddar, or cinnamon.

Today, was the last day for my most recent bucket – so I’ll need to buy another one soon. Today I also saw several occurrences of a phenomena that makes my blood pressure rise like the foil on a pan of Jiffy Pop.

Parents – a note for those of you who take your kids to movies rated above their age. (if you don’t do this, feel free to share my rage) I’m staggered, outraged an appalled. Do you honestly think that when people, especially young people, are exposed to the unsavory elements of our culture that they are unaffected? Seriously? I’m amazed at how many parents bring children (age 4-12) and young teens (13-16) (group the whole age range into “kids”) into R rated movies. What are you thinking?

Now, I’m not a parent, so of course I get to make these comments without the consequences of following my own advice. So – feel free to take my thoughts with a dash of popcorn salt.

The MPAA provides ratings to help moviegoers understand what’s in the movie before they go. There are also a ton of resources out there to help you pick appropriate movies. Once someone is over 18 or over 21 – they need to be cultural discerners and make their own decisions. However, if you don’t teach them how to make decisions, they won’t learn, and we’ll all be one gladiator fight away from showing actual death in our media.

Some of my recommended movie review sites:
1) Rotten Tomatoes – if it’s less than 60% fresh, I think twice, or thrice before I spend money on it – not for everyone.
2) Past The Popcorn – the films, the people who make the films.
3) Hollywood Jesus – get the spiritual perspective.
4) Preview – for family-friendly ratings.

Please, please, please don’t bring kids to see R-rated movies. Please don’t bring children to see PG-13 movies. Don’t show the movies to them at your home. Think about the potential long term effects of what your children experience. I know our culture is all about instant gratification. I know this isn’t popular. I know it’s going to be hard to do this. Your kids will be better people for it in the long run.

… maybe it’s just me.


It’s been a long time since I’ve indulged in the sweet goodness of a Fluffernutter. If you’ve never had one, the recipe is simple. Clearly!

2 pieces of sturdy bread (if peanut butter snags your bread, fluff will destroy it)
Peanut Butter (your favorite kind – I prefer Peter Pan, but it’s not available in the stores right now)
Fluff (there are plenty of knock-offs out there and they are mostly all good)

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Spread the peanut butter on one piece of bread.
Spread the fluff on the other.
Mush them together.

Enjoy with a glass of cold milk.

The strange thing is that as you work with the fluff in the jar, you appear to go through it pretty quickly, making you think that the Fluff is nearly gone when you’re done. Come back to the jar later, and the fluff has magically returned to nearly the same level where it was before.

Now some people would blame that on the way marshmallow is filled with air, and the mucilaginous nature of it. I say “magic”.

Maybe it’s just me…


No, this is not a post about fiber, unless you consider hard plastic as a source of fiber.
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I just had dinner with my friend MarkA at Brann’s steakhouse. Brann’s is a local chain who claims to have invented the “sizzler steak” – which is just a cheap cut of sirloin in a large, thick wedge. The food is usually pretty good.

MarkA and I each ordered the 16oz Sizzler – on special. It came with a choice of potato, their fabulous yeast rolls with cinnamon butter, and the obligatory side-salad. The side-salad is usally the leftover refuse from a head of iceberg lettuce, a couple slices of cucumber (bluch!) and some waxy hothouse tomatoes. Red onions are optional, but the croutons are usually pretty good, and you get your choice of dressing. I chose honey-mustard.

Tonight the salad came with an extra crunchy crouton, burried in the bottom of the salad, but it came up in a bite with the rest of the nutrition-less cellulose. If you look at the picture above closely, you can see my teeth-marks.

I told the waitress and she was properly mortified. The free dessert (brownie-bites sundae) did not make up for the injury when I bit into this bag-tie. So, thanks Brann’s – you get free advertising on my blog and flickr pictures.

You also get the finger.

… maybe it’s just me.

Actually it’s me, over and over again.

What'll ya have Pal?

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There are restaurants, joints, canteens, eateries, chuck-wagons, bistros, snack-bars, cafes, deli’s and there are diners.
Ideally, a diner should be built in an old dining car from the railroad. There should be a considerable amount of stainless steel. There should be flavored cokes, french fries, and hand-dipped milk shakes. Burgers should be simple, served with chips and a pickle, or fries and slaw. Ketchup and mustard should be on the table at all times. They should have meatloaf. There should be a lunch counter. There should be pie.
In Grand Rapids, there is a place where all these things come together in one place – Pal’s Diner.

If you go there, have a flavored coke – Cherry, Strawberry, Vanilla – I can’t recommend the Chocolate. If you’re in the mood for a dessert – get a shake. Any of the sundae flavors work.

Their signature item is cute rather than tasty. It’s the “car full of fries”. A paper-board car lined with waxed paper, full of fries. The fries are good and just the right size for dipping.

I haven’t been there as often as I used to, when I knew the wait-staff by name. I stopped in for lunch the other day with Andy and Paul, and I couldn’t help but tell this story.

Once when I used to go to pals a lot, my favorite waitress came to me at the end of a long line of my friends at the lunch counter. She had taken all of their orders already, and when she came to me she said, “the usual?”
I didn’t know what “the usual” was going to be, but I knew one thing. If a waitress asks you if you’ll have “the usual,” you say “yes!” I don’t care if she brings you a manhole cover loaded with sausage gravy and pinapple wedges, you say “yes!”
To this day, I still don’t remember what she brought me, but it left an indellible impression.

… maybe it’s just me?

P.S. – click the picture above for a bonus story.

Phat Tuesday

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Happy Paczki day everyone!

This day, set aside once per year, to celebrate gastronomic indulgence is a major holiday here at Brian-Food. It’s a day dedicated to eating not only too much, but of the wrong thing. It’s not good for you. I know it. You know it. The ingestion of a single half-kilo donut is never a good idea, let alone turning the day into a contest to see how many one can actually ingest.

Today I returned (unusually) to the scene of a previous blog entry in order to obtain the goods for this one.

The hefty donuts come in a variety of flavors – depending on the source. The following were available at this time.
I’m told by my devout Polish friends that the sweetened prune filling is not only the most traditional, but the best tasting. I tried them once… ONCE – never again. I’m also not eating one of the lemon Paczki, as it violates food rule #1. I’ll have to explain the food rules in a future post.

For today, please think about what you might-should-not eat.

… maybe it’s just me?

PS – are you sacrificing anything for the season of lent – the few weeks approaching the recognized anniversary of Christ’s resurrection? Why/why not?

P.P.S – the picture above has been picked up by a happy little news service.

Out of the Peter Pan and into the fire

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Peter Pan Peanut Butter
Now with more real salmonella flavor!

Bad news – the batch number on the lid starts with 2111.
Good news – I get a $2.54 refund from Con Agra Foods
Bad news – I’ve eaten about half of it.

… I happen to know it’s not just me.

Night-time at the grocery

There’s a moment on a Friday night when you realize that you might want to eat something the next day, so you make a quick run to the closest grocery store.

After purchasing some soda (12-packs for $1.97), milk, eggs, fruit, vegetables, and yogurt, it’s time to brave the parking lot once again. Now, a week after the Blizzard of 2007 the roads are starting to clear, but the parking lots are still slush-laden. Pushing even a small cart through the dry-slurpee-gunk is a chore. You end up dragging more than pushing. Parked next to me was this fancy car.

Muskegon or Grand Rapids?
Muskegon or Grand Rapids?

It takes insulation to a whole new level. But at the same time I found myself very thankful for my apartment, and that I’m not living in my car like this poor soul probably is.

Or, maybe they just don’t have trash removal at their place?

…maybe it’s just me.

Complimentary Cereal Bowl

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One of the things I do to keep myself entertained from time to time is shopping at TJ-Maxx. It’s like an indoor garage sale with all new stuff. This week I picked up this little beauty in the clearance section and actually got the Romanian lady at the checkout to take an extra dollar off the price before I took it with me.

When you think “complimentary” cereal bowl, you’re probably thinking, “free” right? That’s what I thought too, but that wasn’t the half of it. Not only is this bad-boy finally a cereal bowl that holds a reasonable serving of cereal – seriously 3/4 of a cup of Count Chocula? Try 3-4 cups – but it feeds your ego.

Feel better about yourself first thing in the morning, or even late at night, whenever your appetite strikes.

maybe it’s just me…
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International Cuisine

Originally uploaded by mirthmobile.

Over Christmas I dropped my laptop. It seemed un-damaged until I rebooted. Then it was not usable. I did my best to fix it, but brought it to a shop for repairs. 4 days, $500 and a new hard drive later, I’m transferring data back to the laptop and getting back to work.

At this point you’re probably thinking, “come on Brian, get to the food.” Bear with me gentle reader – I’m coming to that.

Three weeks into the continuing data restore from backup I awoke, showered and approached my laptop, ready for a day at the home-office. (if you have never tried telecommuting, I recommend it highly!) Only an error message “you must restart your computer” greeted me from the screen. It asked me to hold the power button down to restart, so I did. It shut down. I pressed the power button again to restart it, but nothing happened. Nothing at all.

I tried again (startup sound) and relief flowed over me for a moment. That is until I realized that the screen was dark. (lots of troubleshooting later) I reset the pram a good step in Macintosh troubleshooting – but this had no effect. I found myself back in the repair shop.

I’m still coming to the food – don’t you worry your pretty little head about that.

I asked them to pull the hard drive out and back the data up for me onto an external drive I brought with me. While they did that, Kris, the tech suggested I get some coffee or something and he’d call me in a bit. So I sallied forth to the closest place I could find, the “American Bakery”.

The legend on the sign clearly reads:

Specializing in European Style Breads, Donuts & Cookies

My first question is why not specialize in “American” baked goods – or even go with the name “European Bakery” if the continental pastries are your forte?

However, not dissuaded, I went in anyway.
The room was dimly lit. Three men dressed in goodwill sheik huddled around a coffee counter and peered bleakly at a television showing the Today show. Their gaze shifted briefly my way as I walked past them to the bakery counter. If ever the downtrodden of society chose a bakery instead of a bar, this would be it. They also sell a small quantity of cigars, the small variety with the plastic filter on the end, and roll-your-own tobacco. The cakes hiding under yellowish fluorescent lights were another story.

Apple fritters as big as the hubcap on a 1973 Olds-cutlass lurked there, as did a few cinnamon rolls that looked more like cleaved bowling balls. Behind the counter were the donuts. Coffee, brewed earlier this year, stewed over at the double-u-shaped counter where my earlier acquaintances, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis sat. A lithe girl of about 14 years and Indian heritage, bundled in winter coats, came from behind the counter to help me. A sweet smile and bright eyes were just an invitation to the sugary goodies on the wall.

I ordered a double-chocolate and a blueberry-filled.

Donutty Goodness
Originally uploaded by mirthmobile.

The jelly was more like blueberry pie filling and I’d estimate it at around 3/4 of a cup. That’s just silly – even in donut-land. The coffee was exactly what I expected; hot, thick, served in Styrofoam, and not very good.

However, if you get a chance, stop in and have a bite.

One note on the musketeers from earlier. If they’re still at the counter, you can look forward to a conversation like this.

“Man, when my mom was pregnant with me and she had pains, she just drank a beer. I think all that worry about drinking when a lady’s pregnant is stupid. I turned out just fine.”

Maybe it’s just me…

BBQ Christmas Breakfast

Corky’s for breakfast!
Originally uploaded by mirthmobile.

Barbeque for Breakfast? Why not?
I was in Memphis on a layover on my way to Gulfport, MS for Christmas, and there it was – heaven.

Corky’s is my favorite BBQ chain. Yes, it’s a chain, so it’s not like the Rendezvous or the Interstate in Memphis, but they do ship via Fed-ex to many parts of the USA including my home on a semi-annual basis.

9:45am Memphis
1 – Barbequed pork sandwich
+1 – Sweet Tea

All of that followed by the plane trip to Gulfport. Actually, the plane almost made it to Gulfport, but had to scoot over to Baton Rouge to land because the airport in Gulfport was broken.

The flight crew kept us on the plane and on the ground for a while before they stepped out and got us some potato chips. Moments later they decided that they were going to cancel the rest of the flight and took us off the plane to get our luggage before putting us on a 3 hour bus ride back to Gulfport.

A few minutes of standing around at the ticket counter later, they found out that the Gulfport airport was working again. So, we all gave our luggage back to the ticket agents and went back through security, and back to the plane.

Twenty-six minutes of stomach-churning turbulence later, I’m back in Gulfport and headed for the family homestead.

Merry Christmas!
God bless us… every one.


Cranberry Craziness
Originally uploaded by mirthmobile.

At this most wonderful time of the year, the Thanksgiving to Christmas, Hannukah through New Years and Kwanza holiday food is brought out and piled high.

The Cranberry of course plays a major role in the feasting. There’s the traditional cranberry sauce – shaped like the can (my favorite) or the whole-berry variety. Some people make their own with orange peel and they are just plain wrong. (violation of food rule #1 and #8 – see future post about the food rules.)

Over the years, the cranberry has popped up in myriad other places, usually in a beverage. There’s cranberry Juice cocktail, cran-grape, cran-apple, cran-raspberry, cran-strawberry, cran-mango, cran-blueberry, Cranberry Gingerale and a potporri of chutneys, syrups, and other concoctions.

This year, whilst exploring one of my favorite local groceries, I discovered this (see picture) cranberry horseradish sauce. You know, I don’t even care if it’s good. I don’t care if one drop of this on my tongue would clear my sinuses and would transport my tastebuds to another dimension upon wings of extacy. This time the cranberry salesman has gone too far.

Back off cranberry man!

maybe it’s just me…

More about Cranberries.


Originally uploaded by mirthmobile.

Do y’all have sweet tea? (pronounced Sw-ay-et Tay)
That’s one of the first things I heard my brother Dave say in a restaurant. I knew I was in the South and that Sweet Tea is the house wine down there, but I hadn’t considered the ramifications of finding both sweet and un-sweet tea. It turns out that maintaining sweet tea is a bunch of work.

For those who don’t know what Sweet Tea is – it’s not just tea with sweetener in it, and it’s definitely not from the soda fountain. It must be brewed, and brewed hot. While it’s still on the stove, you add sugar, when it disolves, add more sugar. Then when that disolves, add more sugar. Once that disolves, add more sugar. (you getting the idea here?) Finally when you add sugar and it doesn’t disolve, it’s done. Serve chilled over ice.

I snapped this photo at the Atlanta Bread Co. and they do a fine job. Sweet tea is also finally available in West Michigan at a few other places I like to go – Moe’s Southwest grill, and Famous Daves BBQ.

This is one time when a small world is absolutely Tea-riffic. (yeah… I just went there)

Maybe it’s just me…

The only Cardinals fan in Michigan

The steam is being let out of the hot dog vendors carts tonight. The Tigers totally deserved to be in the World Series this year, and their season was miraculous. I, on the otherhand am tickled pink, nay – Cardinal red – today. St. Louis won the World Series.

Growing up in Chicago, it was only natural that I was a Cubs fan. Spending summers with my grandfather in Northwest Iowa, gave me a choice between following the White Sox for the summer or the Cardinals. I couldn’t follow the Sox, and I wasn’t aware enough to understand that the Cardinals were the arch-enemies of the Cubs. So I’ve grown up as kind of a contradiction. Now, nearly 40 years old, I’ve followed both the Cubs and the Cards, forsaking all others and in some cases my sanity, until today.

Cards win! Cards win! Cards win!

Living in Michigan, there are as many Cubs fans on the West side of the state as there are Tigers fans. I can imagine the sour expressions on the faces of my friends of both ilk. It’s going to be a rough week.

Time to pack away the hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, crackerjack and stadium nachos until next year. Thanks for a great season red-birds!

… I happen to know it’s not just me.

Thai one on

Lunch today at Godblogcon was in the Biola University cafeteria. Apparently the long lines of sheep to the fodder are over. The students can choose from any number of different small lines leading to everything imaginable. There’s the pizza line, the salad bar, a dessert bar, a row of cereal dispensers, and some pretty decent international cuisine. Sandwiches of any variety are available – a soup bar – really incredible. I chose the Thai Chicken Curry with Jasmine Rice. There were some very fancy and tasty green beans – and a Dr. Pepper to wash it down.

As I write this, the conference is jumping from a pretty great plenary session regarding the intersection of politics and christianity, to a live broadcast of the Hugh Hewitt Show. Honestly, I don’t think I need to sit in the room with the live radio show, so I’m sitting outside in a lovely courtyard. Listening dutifully of course.

So back to the food – I don’t think the Biola student body has any clue how good they have it. Reminds me of
God’s promises to us through the people he set aside. The story of God is punctuated over and over by promises that God will give us a host of benefits – but we have responsibilities – or appropriate responses to those promises.

I get really excited about that.

…maybe it’s just me.

Tommy can you hear me

Oh how I’ve missed you
Originally uploaded by mirthmobile.

I’m in Los Angeles at Godblogcon learning more about blogging. However, I’ve still got to eat don’t I?

Los Angeles is filled with sushi joints, falafel stands, strip malls, and a potpourri of delightful things to smell, eat, see, and do. I’m drawn to just about everything else.

When I think about whether to eat something – that is clearly not good for me, I’m reminded of this note in the bible.

Basically it sums up the idea the we’re called to live a free life – not with wrecklessness (or license to do or in my case eat whatever we want to do) or without love for others, but the freedom from the junk that we might do to each other if we put ourselves first instead of putting God first.

What does this have to do with a Tommy Burger?
This pile of goo represents to me that which is best in the world and can be taken in without polluting myself or others that I care about. I shouldn’t eat this every day to be sure, but once every 20 years or so, I can cross that line.

…maybe it’s just me?

Oh yes – there will be blog

Godblogcon countdown
Originally uploaded by mirthmobile.

Dateline Los Angeles, California: home of themed restaurants and Knotts Berry Farm. I’ve got a view of both from my hotel window as I wait for Godblogcon to get started.

I’m traveling with Andy, our designated blogger, and we’re safely ensconced in the Buena Park Holiday Inn, complete with wi-fi. Last night, Andy’s sister Becky drove up from the San Diego area to visit with her brother and I got to join them for dinner at The Claim Jumper.

I enjoyed the “Cowboy Steak” – how can you pass on anything with the word “cowboy” in it? It was a delightfully aged NY Strip topped with some very spicy salsa with lots of cillantro. The salsa was placed on the steak while cooking, so it really sunk in and brought some extra tastiness to an already flavorful and tender slab of meat.

The lemonade was exceptional – fresh with a sprinkling of sugar on the rim and a sprig of mint. Well done!

I had to hold off and avoid the “ore cart” an item on the menu that I’m sure is served in an ore cart that you might find in an old-west silver mine of some kind. There were at least three entres listed in the description. I also did not have a slice of the 6-layer chocolate decadence cake. (shudder)

One note regarding the “children’s menu” at The Claim Jumper. There’s a children’s menu for kids under 10 and a “Juniors menu” which according to the legend is “great for young people and seniors”. That had me laughing for a while.

… maybe it’s just me


Special guest – Walter!

Here on brian-food, I do my best to tell people what’s going on in my life, share my observations, or simply make someone smile. The trick is to do that all within the context of food. Today, it’s a bit of a stretch, but when I saw that Walter was not only chewing his baseball toy, but had eaten a hole through it, I took this opportunity.

I should say on the outset that Walter occasionally eats his toys, rather than simply chewing them, or playing fetch. He played fetch for about 10 seconds this morning and then hunkered down to do some damage. In the last 15 minutes, he’s completely removed the baseball you see here, and has started to work on the rest of the toy. I’ll clean it up later. Now – on with the story.

Last night, my softball team had the single greatest game of our career together. Most of the guys have been playing together for the last five years, and we’ve usually finished somewhere in the middle of the pack. This Fall, we hadn’t won a single game, until last night. Final score: 38-9. The whole team played like I’ve always believed we could play. We started out with some solid hits, taking an early lead. Our defense was rock solid. As for me, I felt more in control of my pitching than I ever have before in my life, and I hit my first home run over the fence in a game. Our record for this season is now 1 and 9, but to me it feels like we just won the championship.

So – to all the guys who played last night:
Ron, Mark VA, Mark A, Morgan, Jplant, Kevin, Brian A, Joel, and Craig
Thanks for a great game!
To our fans who made it last night:
Jessica, Kara, Monica, Gary, Leslie, Carolyn, and Mark VA’s grandparents – and you too Rika
Thanks for coming – and your cheering made the game that much sweeter.

An informal poll last night tells me that I’m allowed to feel really good about the game for the next two weeks. I intend to make the most of that.

… maybe it’s just me

What up ‘G’?

Favorite Food
Originally uploaded by mirthmobile.

I’m from the Chicago suburbs. I grew up knowing nothing about the wonderfulness that is Giordano’s pizza until I was in my late teens, and by then it was almost too late. I managed to have just a few pieces before moving to Connecticut (where pizza goes when it’s bad).

Since then, I’ve been an evangelist for Giordano’s pizza. I definitely have way too much, every time I’m there. My most recent trip proved to follow my m.o.

My preferences include:

Plain and simple. Oh sure, some of you may want to muddy the waters with more fillings like pepperoni, or canadian bacon (ham), or worse yet “deluxe”. My considerable experience has led me to the arguable fact that the sausage pizza is their best. This is especially noticable when the evil-opposite of Giordano’s rears it’s ugly head – Gino’s. The sausage is abysmal.

… maybe it’s just me

Heaven in a box

Heaven in a box
Originally uploaded by mirthmobile.

The plural of ox = oxen…
The plural of box = boxen.
Boxen of heavenly goodness.
Boxen of bodily badness.

The White Castle hamburger, or “slider” is a thing to behold. A small, quite thin patty of “meat”. The patty is perforated with five 1/4″ holes like the #5 on dice. The burgers, and subsequently the reconstituted onions, the pickles, and the buns are steamed, not grilled or fried. This produces a grey-ish-brown-ish, sligthly slimey, squishy burger. The consequences of this to one’s digestive system are delightful, and awful, simultaneously.

…maybe it’s just me

mouthful of pain

This is Steve. He’s an old friend of mine from my days working at Calvin College, and who now works for yahoo, and engages in shameless promotion of Target stores.

Steve and I went to St. Louis for our friend Neal’s wedding. The wedding was in Alton, IL, just across the ‘big muddy’ from St. Louis. We had some time to kill, so we went to the mall, and I got into (tried to get into) this rocketship. Please note, that although I was in Illinois, I was boo’d by a little kid in the mall for wearing my Cubs jersey. I bought a Cardinal’s cap to go with it. That ought to fix the kid.

It didn’t take long for Steve to spot this little beauty.

Steve is a lot more adventurous than he looks and has been skydiving several times. I don’t think, however, that jumping from a plane prepared him for ‘the mouthful’.

The gumballs looked pretty big, but not insurmountable. I offered to buy, if Steve would eat it, and Steve agreed, providing I’d photograph it. So, 50-cents later…
and with the use of my trusty phone-cam… it began. The double-barrel turney-thing was pretty sweet.

The view of the gumballs through the glass did not do them justice. The shotput clattered down the runway as the machine delivered its payload.

Turns out there seemed to be more to the gumball than we bargained for. There was an audible rattle. What could it be? A crunchy surprise? More gum? Something else? There was only one way to find out.

It’s at times like this that one begins to question the wisdom of a particular act. Actually, it’s at times like this when one should question the wisdom of a particular act. It rarely is the time that we question our own wisdom, until it’s too late.

Too late…

Much too late…

Eventually, he had to take it out and bite it in half. There were some problems with that though. Steve couldn’t close his mouth, so the blue spit built up and eventually spilled out onto the ground. Those pictures are not here, but if you follow any of the links on the pictures, you’ll find the rest.
Good news, there were some kind of ‘nerds’ or other nibbles of hard candy inside, making the noise.

Looking back, I’ve thought a lot about the symbolism of the big gumball and I haven’t come up with anything relevant yet. What do you think?

… maybe it’s just me.