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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Give me that fish!

I was watching new episodes of Lost and Life on Mars last night, (and if you weren't I understand) and this McDonald's commercial came on advertising their always fresh, always delicious, fish fillet sandwich.  I love that they try to act like they have healthy menu offerings.  I thought, "Okay, here we go, another crazy commercial about the benefits of eating a healthy fillet o' fish."  

What happened next I could not believe.  "Try our new DOUBLE FILET O' FISH sandwich now!"  

What?  Double filet 0' fish?  That's right, two fresh and delicious, processed, fried and otherwise unhealthy patties of who knows what type of fish products, on one sandwich.  Wow, let me say that backwards, wow.  It's like, "Have you ever had our filet o' fish and just not been satisfied with one fish patty?  Us too!  Here's one more fish patty with out all the fattening of another bun and cheese (if it is indeed really cheese).

Here is the worst part.  I went on YouTube trying to find the commercial with no luck.  However I did stumble on a few other filet of fish commercials that are equally ridiculous, offering two filet o' fish in a value meal and another video of someone who orders a Big Mac and substitutes fish patties for the meat.  I think there were trying to watch their figure you know...

This is the one where you can get two sandwiches for a great low price!

Here is the filet o' fish Big Mac... brilliant!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Paczki Day!

It's here, Fat Tuesday, the day that all Detroiters line up outside well know bakeries in Hamtramck for the most delectable of treats, the Paczki.  A Polish treat that has been around since the middle ages.  Meijer and Kroger do sell paczki but according to everything "hip" to get the real thing you have to go down to either the New Palace Bakery or the New Martha Washington Bakery in Hamtramck.

 A paczki, pronounced ponchki, is the Polish equivalent of a doughnut... only more doughnutty (in the words of Scott "the Gator" Anderson from 97.1 the Ticket in DTW).  They are huge discs of deep fried dough filled with any type of jam imaginable.  Although they look like a jelly doughnut, what makes them different is the ingredients of the dough used to make the paczki.  The dough includes eggs, lard, sugar and milk and makes for a pretty heavy morning treat.  Most paczkis, besides being filled with fattening jam or custard, are also either glazed or sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Paczki Day originally is celebrated on the last Thursday before Lent (you know that time leading up to Easter when you are supposed to give up doing stuff that you like to do but that may not be good for you, like eating paczkis.)  But now people can't wait and we celebrate on Tuesday.  The reason for the paczki was to get rid of all the flour, eggs, sugar and milk that was forbidden during Lent. 

These days paczki day in Detroit means lining up for a sampling outside Hamtramck bakeries while the ancestors of polish immigrants and their families that settled in this enclave churn out some of the best paczkis in America.

Apparently the Paczki has also entered the realm of professional eaters.  The Paczki Challenge, as it is called, consists of contestants eating as many Paczkis as possible while walking across a room.  The record is currently held by McKay Johnson of who set the record of 18 raspberry filled paczkis at the Greater Chicago Paczki Challenge.

Although I did eat my fair share of paczki today, you will not find me indulging in the gluttonous act of professional paczki eating... ever.

All facts pertaining to Paczkis were found on wikipedia, so who knows if it's true, but it sounds good.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Theory on buffalo wings

Friday night I was craving hot wings so badly that by the time we got to BW3's my mouth was already watering.  Unfortunately the place was packed and the Red Wings game had already started.  But eventually we sat down and got to order.  I had the Caribbean Jerk and Spicy garlic wings.  I think both of them range in the medium hotness for their sauces and they taste pretty good.  

I have a theory about buffalo wings.  You can tell a lot about a person by the way they eat their wings and even what kind of wings they order.  

Do they order the mild wings and eat them with a fork?  Or do they make sure to get the boneless so as not to get messy?  Or do you order the hottest wings they make, traditional style and eat them with your fingers?  I am not saying either is better or worse.  But you can definitely tell the difference between the lifestyles of the two.

Next time you are having doubts about the lifestyle of your significant other take them out to a BW3's or some place that specializes in hot wings.  Observe what they order and how they eat it and see if it confirms your suspicions.  Also, observe what you order and how you eat it.  Maybe they are not the problem.  Although this method of picking a partner is not completely reliable I have used it and it was pretty accurate.  I guess to be taken seriously I should acquire some data and have numbers and charts and stuff.  More on that later.

George Murphy's

As I trek my way around the bar scene in Detroit I feel obligated to include all the places that I go regardless of how awesome the story is that surrounds them.  This is one of those posts.  But wait, I knew George Murphy would be an interesting name to search for on Wikipedia.  Turns out this beloved bar was named after a man who attended Yale, worked for Ford, was an actor and dancer and later senator.  For his full biography click here.

George Murphy's is located off of 7 mile and is more like the 19th hole for Fox Creek Golf Course.  We were there on a Thursday night with some folks, there were about 8 or 9 of us in the group and then probably 3 other people in the bar.  The atmosphere was laid back, I don't think there was any music going, but that's okay we were entertaining ourselves with conversation.  

They did end up having cheap pitchers of Coors Light ($6) and a friendly staff.  But they closed and pretty much asked us to leave at midnight.  Unfortunately the man George Murphy is unable to enjoy the bar with his namesake.  If I do go back I want to see how much the staff really knows about the great George Murphy.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New recipes for breakfast

We (my fiance and I) wake up super early on most occasions during the week.  We do our morning work out at the local gym and then I make her breakfast while she showers.  This is our morning routine.  

Usually I make her a peanut butter and banana sandwich that she takes with her to work.  But because of the recent peanut butter recalls and her forever changing tastes we have not bought peanut butter in a while and instead I have been making her two eggs which she eats before she goes.  The eggs I make for her are cracked, put in a frying pan and then cooked with a little added cheese and some "Lowry's" seasoning salt.  

Today I cooked her the same.  Then I made myself something different...

Hashbrowns.  Forever the trusty side.  Complimentary to the main dish.  Well not anymore.  Here is the recipe.

One skillet full of hashbrowns.  One egg cracked and added on top of the already cooking hashbrowns.  A little cheese and some Lawry's.  I also like a little Texas Pete with my eggs so I threw some of that on top after it cooked.  Enjoy.

I was so excited to write down the recipe here on this post that I ended up burning it, but you know it sounds good.

I would love to hear any of your homemade recipes or off the wall ideas for food or anything.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

All inclusive honeymoon destinations... a good idea?

I don't know if you know this but I am currently engaged and will be married later this year.  As such I am now researching possible honeymoon destinations and ideas.  My lovely bride has informed me that she would like to do stay at an all inclusive resort somewhere neither of us have been.  First, let me say that all inclusive means that you get all meals and all drinks paid for with one flat fee.  This means that once you get there it's all you can eat and bottomless beers from at least two different restaurants.  Second, the resorts offer you free activities on site like kayaking, snorkeling, swimming (in any one of a number of pools), bicycle riding, hiking, and various shows throughout your stay.  If that's not enough, then they also offer excursions outside of the resort at an extra fee.

I am totally on board for the all inclusive deals.  So far I have researched some resorts in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic that offer all of these great things and more!  For those of you planning a honeymoon in the near future check out VacationCity's site for info on all the Costa Rica destinations.  The Occidental Resort's web page has also been helpful for Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.

For those of you who have been on a honeymoon to an all inclusive resort, I want to hear from you!  Where did you go?  What did you do?  Was it really all inclusive?  Did the resort have to ship in more beer while you were there?  Do you remember your honeymoon at all?  How was the food?

If you are an employee of an all inclusive resort I will pose this question to you.  Are there any ways to get my honeymoon comp'd if I promise to blog about it later?  No promises on a good review but I am willing to give your resort a shot if you think you can deliver.

Prince EXO3 Rebel 95

As most of you know I am a tennis teaching professional and I happen to be sponsored by Prince Tennis.  This means that I support their brand and promote their new products.  Recently I was sent one of their new racquets, the EXO 3 Rebel 95.  Touring pro Gael Monfils is currently using this frame and actually switched to it from competitor Head Racquets.  I strung the racquet with Prince's new string Recoil at the mid range, 55 lbs.

The racquet felt great.  I played a match with it the next day and was pleased with the added power on my serve.  It also felt as though the ball lingered on the strings a bit longer than with my previous Prince racquet, the O3 Hybrid tour.  As far as swing weight (how hard it is to swing the racquet) it is a bit on the hefty side but feels great when you connect in the sweet spot.  Volleys also felt more solid and more controlled.  

I would recommend this racquet to anyone playing with the Wilson K six-one 95 or the Head Prestige.  It has the same 18x20 dense string pattern but thanks to the EXO technology's suspended string bed feels like an open string pattern.  I'm not really crazy about the green and yellow cosmetics but then again who cares if the racquet plays well.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Working on a Dream... Springsteen not me

Today I purchased Bruce Springsteen's new album, "Working on a Dream" and was able to listen to it the whole way to and from work.  Now I became a fan of the Boss about four years ago and have listened to most of his work.  I even got to see him kick off his "Devils and Dust" tour in Detroit a few years ago.  I enjoyed that CD as well as "Magic" but I have to say, aside from a few good songs I didn't think "Working on a Dream" is that great.  

Most of the songs on the album are pretty forgettable and that is tough to do when you are THE BOSS!  "Outlaw Pete" is ok, but too long.  "Working on a Dream" is a nice song but nothing special.  "The Wrestler" has some cool acoustic guitar but the lyrics seem cheesy.  Don't get me started on "Surprise, Surprise."  I did find comfort and vintage Bruce in "What Love Can Do," "Good Eye," and "Kingdom of Days."

Although I have been critical of this album I would recommend it to long time fans of the Boss but I think those that are listening to him for the first time might get the wrong idea from this set of songs.  Do not expect the Bruce of old.  He's beginning to explore the more poppy side of rock.  Regardless of the direction he is going, he has already won my regard and I will continue to buy his albums.  After all... he is the Boss!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cheers to you!

I am courageous.

I am unstoppable.

Without me, the puzzle is incomplete.

This honestly looks like a SNL commercial but it's real.  At least the website that they advertise is real, who knows what they send you if you send them your money.  But I can't get over this.  No disrespect to those people who suffer from depression or related problems but come on.  Do you really think that a CD with people cheering and a cheeeeeeezy motivational speaker guy gabbing in your ear is going to make you feel better?  I would become depressed just by ordering this product.

Do you own this CD or have you purchased something from this company?  Or do you just want to rip on this thing?  Leave a comment.  Thanks!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Todd Martin Development Fund

For those of you who don't know, Todd Martin is an American ATP touring professional who reached a world ranking of #4.  Martin is currently competing on the Outback Steakhouse Senior Tennis Tour and holds the world #1 spot.  He also competed at the college level at Northwestern University where he played #1 for two years before turning pro.  He is an inspiration and role model for all the junior American players that would like to compete at those levels.

He will be holding a fundraiser clinic tomorrow, 2/7/09 at Deer Lake Athletic Club from 11-1pm.  All proceeds will be going to the Todd Martin Development Fund. I have the pleasure of helping with the clinic along with my fellow club pros.  I am honored and humbled by a man that has achieved so much in the world of tennis and hope I can get a picture or two, or maybe an autograph.   

Quick Todd Martin facts...

- stands at 6'6" and weighs 200 lbs.
- played college tennis at Northwestern University
- turned pro in 1990
- reached #4 world ranking in singles
- reached #30 world ranking in doubles
- has 8 career singles titles
- has 5 career doubles titles
- over $8 million in prize money

Music genres I could live without

I was searching through iTunes the other day and I think there are way too many music genres these days.  I remember when there was Rock, Metal, Alternative, Country, Pop and Rap.  Then they started to break those up even more.  It started with rap.  There was gangsta' rap and hip-hop.  Then they made East and West Coast versions of each of those.  Now it seems like every genre has done the same.  Here are some examples.

Rock sub-genres
- emo
- indie
- punk
- pop
- shoe gaze
- jam
- alt-rock
- hard rock
- folk rock
- acoustic rock
- classic rock
- electronic rock

and on and on

How about Country
- alt-country
- swing
- new 
- nashville sound
- bluegrass
- newgrass
- traditional
- Texas

Let's try rap
- east coast
- east coast gangsta
- east coast hip-hop
- midwest
- dirty south
- crunk ... lil jon
- booty shakin' ... 95 South
- west coast
- west coast gangsta
- west coast hip-hop
- underground
- gangsta
- hip-hop
- bubble gum
- break beat/dance

Eventually every artist will have their own genre so they can all be different.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Atomic Quesadilla

A long while back, while I was still living in Kalamazoo with my roommate at the beautiful Regency Square Apartments, we had a night out.  Now the night was not particularly memorable except for a few details.

1.  College friends were present.
2. I did not fall asleep early, which I am prone to do.
3. The Atomic Quesadilla was invented.

I am a fan of spicy food.  I like hot sauce, hot wings, hot tamales, hot peppers... etc. and one of my favorite things to make to eat is a quesadilla because they are so easy and fast.  Here is the general recipe for an "everyday quesadilla."

1 tortilla (two if you are hungry)
Shredded cheese (I prefer the mexican or taco flavor from my local grocer)
Veggies - olives, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms.
Meat - chicken or beef.
Jalapeno peppers

You put the cheese, veggies and meat on the tortilla, fold or cover with a second tortilla and microwave (I used to have a quesadilla maker but I think I threw it out when I moved.)  Then you smother every bite with either Tobasco Sauce, Texas Pete or left over fire sauce from Taco Bell.

Usually I leave out the meat and only use one veggie.  But this night I was struck by a moment of inspiration.  I also had a special ingredient that I was dying to use... jalapeno refried beans.  

So the story goes, we (me and two college buddies visiting from Royal Oak) were sitting in the kitchen after closing down Shakespeare's one night, trying to figure out something to eat.  Then I offer up the quesadilla idea.  They agree and I get to work.  I bust out the tortillas, peppers, cheese and the secret ingredient - the beans!  I make up the quesadilla and put it in the red Santa Fe quesadilla maker and in 3 minutes I have my masterpiece.

Being the good host I am I let one of my buddies have the first slice.  He immediately starts wincing and asking for water.  My other friends has a bit of his slice... same result, too hot.  They coin the "Atomic Quesadilla" name and let me have the rest.  Not only did I finish the whole thing, but I did so in atomic fashion, adding dabs of Tabasco Sauce to every last bite.

Got a recipe you think I should try out?  Post it and I'll let you know how it goes (as long as I can get the ingredients at my local grocer and they don't cost a fortune.)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A night out in the D is famous!

The Southwest Detroit Business Association and Model D (awesome Detroit website) recently hosted a pub and taco crawl through southwest Detroit and just happened to stop at Charlie's Pub that was featured in my post, "A Night out in the D." I love how the pub crawl took place during the day.  They are planning another crawl for next year.  Who's going with me?

I do think it is important to support local businesses.  Like I said in the previous post, when we went in to Charlie's there were only 3 paying customers in there.  There were 5 of us, and at $2 a beer we probably spent $20-$30.  

Go to Charlie's!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bars or

Last Saturday night my fiance and I visited Kalamazoo to celebrate the engagement of some friends.  We stayed at my old college roommates apartment, which by the way is sweet.  

He has a really nice flat screen LCD/Plasma/720i? whatever type of TV it is it's nice.  There is always beer in the fridge there, this weekend the beer of choice was Miller High Life Light, because he's always counting calories.  Down the hallway of his apartment is the bathroom and the bedroom and an office/extra bedroom.  But the extra bedroom is NOT being used as an office or extra bedroom.  Instead it is the beer pong room.

Any beer pong room, including the one at my buddy's place, has in it a plastic sheet that covers the floor.  Not only does it keep the floor dry, but may be the only thing that helps you get your security deposit on the apartment back.  In the center of the room is the table.  The table consists of a desk or kitchen table topped with a large piece of plywood you can get from your local Lowe's store.  Decorating the plywood are numerous sayings, quotes, and revelations that reflect personalities of all those who have played on the table.  Sharpie's are always on hand in order for guests to express their opinions and inner artists when they please.  Last but not least the rules to beer pong are written on the board.

It seems as though every house/beer pong table has their own rules.  My buddy's rules are simple and I think probably the most enjoyable.

1. No blowing (except girls.  This refers to blowing in a cup of beer in order to make the ball that is spinning around the rim come out.)

2. Rerack at 3.  (Each team starts with 6 cups.  When three have been made the team must rerack their cups to make another triangle.)

3. Make two... bring it back (If both players make a ball into a cup in one turn they get both balls back to shoot again.)

4. Bounce is worth two cups (The ball must bounce on the table and then go into a cup.  This does not count as making two cups, see rule #3)

5. You may block a bounced shot.

6. Redemption rule (Both players on the losing team get a last chance shot to make as many cups as they can.  If you make it you keep going.)

These are all the rules I can think of.  If you have any others I would love to hear about them as I am always trying to improve my knowledge of beer pong and those that play it.  

On with the night...

We go to a bar called Shakespeare's in downtown Kalamazoo.  The same place where I participated in the ABC's of shots (see blog post "The story of the Insecure George")  This bar is probably the best one in Kalamazoo unless you like craft beers (Then I would suggest Bell's Brewery).

When we get there we get a table and sit down to start the night.  I am drinking Labatt Light (watching the figure you know.)  Not too long after we order some food (they have THE best nachos EVER,) two of my friends ask for the trivia game consoles.  We proceed to select hilarious/inappropriate names (one of them is "Boats" and the other is "N Hoes")  

After tearing up the trivia and helping them take over the top spots in the bar I take one of my fellow tennis pro friends to the other side of the bar and make him talk to some girls.  I ask the first girl that walks by if she knows my friend.  She says yes and keeps walking.  The next group that walks in I ask if they know my friend.  She... says... no,  and actually starts talking to him... and to us.  Turns out she is from Hawaii, going to school at the local public university, has a model cousin that lives in Italy and has a couple friends with her.

At first she doesn't believe that my buddy is a tennis pro.  Then one of my other friends buys her a drink.  Then I hear something about a boyfriend from one of her friends who are now over talking to all of us.  The girls tell us they have never been to this bar before and start talking about going to another bar... which just happens to have a mechanical bull.

I leave my buddies to work their magic and one ends of going with them to the "Bull."  I still need to catch up with him on what happened.  

At the end of the night we take a cab back to my buddy's apartment and are getting ready to go in when I pack a perfect snowball and hurl it at the cab that just dropped us off and is now driving away.  The cab stops, the guy gets out, and puts his hands in the air as to say, "I just dropped you idiots off, you gave me a lousy tip, and then you throw a snow ball at my cab.  What gives?"  I admit it was a mistake and a bad idea.

This night is a good example that you can still meet nice people at the bar.  I am not a believer in internet dating and hope my friends are able to find someone like I have without having to fill out a profile.  All it takes is a dim lit bar and a lot of beer.