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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Easter from Mongolian BBQ

This Sunday I decided to enjoy Easter just like everyone else.  I went to a buffet.  This buffet was not the usual Easter dinner buffet.  There was no ham.  But there was ribeye, NY strip, chicken, Krab, shrimp and perch.  Also available were were egg noodles and pasta.  Vegetables include broccoli, mushroom, etc.  You still get to make your own plate (bowl) and here is the kicker... they cook it right in front of you with witty banter and general tom foolery that you would expect from a couple of college freshmen.  This is Mongolian BBQ.

We walk in to Mongolian BBQ and are immediately seated.  Our host and waiter ask us at least 10 times if we have been to Mongolian BBQ before.  I was so sick of it I started lying to employees who asked me if I had been there before just so they wouldn't bother me.  We were then directed to the buffet bowls and numerous tables, including a salad bar.  My first round, probably the best, included chicken as my meat and then all the veggies and egg noodles that would fit on my plate.  

When I got to the sauces I was scolded by a worker who told me not to pour my sauce on top of my plate but to use the separate small bowl for the sauce.  When I got to the BBQ( a big grill that your ingredients are cooked on) there were 3 guys cooking up food.  To the cooks defense they were very skilled with their oversized tongs, flipping them and catching small vegetables on them.  At one point the cook flipped a piece of broccoli with his tong on to a plate that was balanced on his head (impressive)!

When I got back to my seat my beer had arrived (only $1 for pints of miller lite, bud light and coors light).  The second round I went red meat and the NY strip.  I do not recommend doing this.  While the vegetables were tasty the meat was not, kinda gamey, like it had been rolled in dung.  Maybe I didn't create the right sauce to go with it or season it enough, who knows?

The third round I decided I had to try some of the seafood although I do recommend steering clear of seafood at buffets.  Again, I was not wrong.  In my third and final bowl I mixed the shrimp, perch and Krab (yes that is how they spell crab at Mongolian BBQ, a subtle reference to Genghis Khan maybe?)  I piled on the veggies and then went with the chili sauce mixed with the lemon sauce ( another mistake on my part.)  Let me just say that beyond being too full to finish this plate it tasted way too fishy.  If you like that sorta taste then great but for everyone else, stick to the chicken.

The total bill at the end of the night came to about $18 before tip, but I think I actually owed a little more because I had one more beer than Jeff... my bad dude I'll hit you back on the 1st.  But a reasonable price for a reasonable buffet.  Again, I urge you to stick to the chicken here.  The seafood medley did not end good for me.  The next morning I wanted to throw up and ended up dry heaving in the toilet before work.

That aside, the buffet is pretty good and if you are hungry then I highly suggest this place.  There are Mongolian BBQs located in 11 states including as far West as Colorado, as far North as Wisconsin, as far East as Maryland and as far South as Florida.  So take it from me and Go Mongo! (chicken only)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Afternoon out at Comerica Park

I did not make it to the Detroit Tigers opening day at Comerica Park... but I did go see the game the day after opening day.  Their opponent was the same (the Texas Rangers) and the result was the same (Tigers win!!!) but the crowd was not (the stadium was lacking 4,000 fans).

Tigers game watchees included, the fiance, my youngest brother and myself.

We tried to park at the Motor City Casino, because usually you can park there for free and then walk over to the park.  When we got there they were charging $10 per car.  No way.  So we continued toward the tunnel and turned up Brush St. and found a lot with other cars parked in it and this crazy guy with orange hair who may have been speaking Swahili... we don't know.  But we parked for $5 and were still within walking distance.

Usually as I am walking to an event like this there are tons of entrepreneurs along the route offering tickets for a cash only price that may or may not be the value of the ticket, but this day was different.  All of those entrepreneurs were looking to purchase tickets.  Which made us a little worried that Comerica had sold all their tickets.  Nonetheless we found our way to the box office and purchased 3 tickets for section 148 in left field for under $50.  

Whenever I am at a sporting event I tend to get a little thirsty which was the case this day.  Now there are many beer stands at Comerica.  There is even a bar... brand new and called the Jungle.  But there is nothing better than having someone bring you your own adult beverage so you don't have to miss an instant of the game.  This is where my new friend Juan comes in.  He happens to be a beer vendor at Comerica.  Outgoing, personable, trustworthy and hardworking Juan supplied us with cold adult beverages during the game (at the ridiculous price of $6.75 / tall boy).  Thank you Juan for all your help and regional bar knowledge (Juan invited us to an after game party at The Town Pump, presumable with the other vendors, but was unable to give decipherable directions to Harry's).


One other thing that made the game very interesting was the fans.  There seemed to be very divided camps rooting for different players on the Tigers, even to the point of getting kicked out of the park for arguing for their player.  One such camp of fans was located to our right, who were dedicated Brandon Inge fans, noted by their Brandon Inge jerseys and for cheering him at every at bat.  Sitting in front of the Inge fans were Carlos Guillen fans, again noted for their Guillen jerseys and cheers for "Carlos!"  Now Inge and Guillen do not play the same position (Guillen was in left field, Inge was at 3rd base) and they both were playing that day which is what perplexes my about what followed.  During every Inge at bat, the Guillen fans would boo and hassle the Inge fans, pointing to the G-u-i-l-l-e-n on the back of their jerseys and even giving the Inge fans "the bird."  This kept on until an Inge fan ran down the aisle to the Guillen fans seats and got in their face.  The Guillen fans, not wanting to be outdone by the Inge fans, yelled and pushed back and eventually three guys were escorted out of the ball park by two very brave ushers.  I did not see any punches thrown but still, these guys PLAY FOR THE SAME TEAM!  For the record I am a fan of Guillen AND Inge because I am a fan of the Detroit Tigers baseball team.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Morning and Early Afternoon out at the Final Four

Although MSU was downed last night in a disappointing performance it does not take anything away from the great job that Detroit did in hosting the Final Four this year.  I was privlidged enough to be able to go downtown Friday, park at Ford Field, walk to the field and watch MSU practice in a seat that probably cost somewhere north of $2,000 for the game, all for free.  There were sponsors in the street giving out free stuff like Vitamin Water 10 and a general buzz in the air.  I did not indulge in any libations, I had to drive back home, and it was 10 am, but I didn't need to, it was already a party.

I arrived at 10 am in the parking lot and then waited at the Ford Field entrance for about an hour.  They let us in at 11 am and I got a pretty good seat, about 13 rows from the floor.  Then sat back and snapped photos and video of the team that we have all come to love in Michigan, the Spartans.  There were close to 25,000 people there, just to watch practice, and they made their presence felt when the team was announced.  Throughout the practice Final Four tickets were given out to lucky visitors by seat.  And there was no assigned seating so it was all by who sat down where.  I didn't win anything.

Before practice started the crowd was treated to a 3 on 3 full court wheel chair game played by gold medal olympians.  A nice touch, and did you know that the rules for wheel chair basketball are all the same as regular basketball?  

I left before practice ended but that's okay.  I had seen my full and I did not want to pay Ford Field prices for lunch (yes, the concession stands were open and there were vendors in the stands).  
As I was leaving I drove by many of the establishments downtown hosting Final Four parties and seats were already packed.  Cheli's Chili and the Hockeytown Cafe were just two among many that hosted Final Four bashes around Detroit and benefitted from the event.  People were out enjoying themselves and that was rad.

In conclusion I would like to thank the city of Detroit, Ford Field, all the restaurants and bars downtown.  Let's do this again sometime.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Many Nights and Days out at Jimmy John's

Let me first start by saying my brother that lives in Arizona has never experienced Jimmy John's but always hears about it.  He has asked me to write about it and has requested that when he comes for my wedding in July, for me to take him to get Jimmy John's... which I will.

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Jimmy John's is a purveyor of fine sub sandwiches all over the USA (minus New Mexico, this is based on their availability for franchising page on their website.)  They offer an array of delicious subs that are made to order and come to you "freaky fast" according to their commercials.  This is not a Subway sub.  They have certain ingredients for each different sub, their bread tastes better as do the meat and vegetables (that's just my opinion).  The company headquarter are located in Champaign, IL. a college town itself (the University of Illinois).  Jimmy John Liautaud, only 19 years old in 1983, started the company with used equipment and hustle.  And it's his go-getter attitude that has now bolstered the company to 690 stores nationwide.
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When I was in college in Kalamazoo, Jimmy John's stayed open late and delivered these delicious subs to the dorms (not freaky fast delivery... more on this later) to kids who were up late studying or who had the post party/bar munchies.  There were open to 4 a.m. at the two Kalamazoo locations.  They were the go to late night snack and they were very affordable.  It seems as though their prices go up each year.  I remember when the smaller subs were $3.25 and now they are upwards of $4.50.  When you add tax and delivery to that it adds up, plus if you like the bigger sandwiches you're now looking at $5.50.  But they still sell day old bread (leftover sub bread from the day before) for $0.49.

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Now I live in Royal Oak and there are 3 Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwich Shops within two miles of my apartment.  Here is a map of the location of the Jimmy John's that is closest to our apartment (B) and the location of another restaurant that does deliver to us (Happy's Pizza, A).  Happy's pizza has an okay deliver time and I would be willing to wait the same amount of time for a Jimmy John's sub.  When I recently was enjoying a late night with one of my college friends we tried desperately to relive our college days by ordering one of these delicious subs.  To our disappointment, when inquiring about delivery from all of the restaurants we learned that my apartment falls within the vortex of non-deliverable areas for each of the three Jimmy John's shops.  Finding this fact disturbing my fiance took it upon herself to write to Jimmy John's after a worker failed to explain the reasoning behind the blocked delivery.  The email she received in response follows:

Thank you for your feedback concerning the delivery area of the Jimmy John's in Royal Oak or Clawson.  At this time we do not have a location that can deliver to you.  Our goal at Jimmy Johns is to provide all customers within specific delivery areas freaky fast, freaky good sandwiches.  In order to do this each store must have a limited delivery area.  Delivery boundaries are based on strategy and not opportunity.   Our strategy is to deliver sandwiches as quickly as possible to the customers within the set delivery zone.  Making exceptions to this would not only confuse our employees but most of all our customers.  We have found that this is a successful strategy and although the manager at the store could not explain as such, this is why we have such a defined delivery area for our stores. 


While I know this explanation does not help you in your delivery dilemma, I hope you have better understanding of why the delivery areas are set the way they are.



Thanks Aimee, I won't be coming to JJ's very often.

A Night out at Beaumont Hospital

The following story happened last night around 8:30pm as I was trying to prepare a tuna casserole type dish for dinner.  

This particular dish called for a can of tuna, drained.  So after measuring the other ingredients I opened a can of tuna and drained it in the sink.  After, I started to peel the label off of the tin can in order to recycle it.  It was at this moment that I fumbled the can.  What I should have done was let it fall to the floor and then carefully pick it up.  The reason being the sharp edges created on the lid of a tuna can when you open it.  Unfortunately, I tried to catch the can and did, but in the process sliced open the pinker on my left finger.  Of course I let out a yelp, probably an obscenity or two and then looked at my finger.  When I looked at it there was some blood, pouring out of the middle of my pinky, also the laceration stretched from the tip of my finger to the base of my first knuckle on the inside of the pinkie.

Immediately I ran some cold water and put pressure on the wound.  I was then handed a towel and proceeded to lay on the couch, hold my pinkie above my heart and keep pressure on it.  After a minute or two I took away the towel to reveal a very deep wound with fat cells from my pinkie jutting out.  I tried to convince my fiance that I did not need stitches but it was useless.  So in my pajamas we both headed to the hospital, which happens to be next door to our apartment.
When we pull up to the emergency entrance, which was not easy to find with all the construction going on at Beaumont, a man with a magical red wand waved us in to the emergency room parking lot.  We walked into the hospital and checked in at the emergency room front desk where they took my information and then gave me a wrist band with my name and birthday on it.  After that I was taken back to where the action happens and was asked to wait with another lady who was also suffering from a canned food related injury.  I full can had fallen on her hand and busted through her nail... totally gross.  I was then shown to a private bed and my vital signs were taken.
The nurse that helped me was very kind and relaxing.  She gave me two shots at the base of my pinkie to numb the finger, and I have to say it worked.  I didn't feel anything while she stitched me up (6 stitches) and dressed the wound.  I did however feel the tetanus shot I was given after the stitches that also had the whooping cough vaccine in it (apparently it's on the rise again).  It feels like my brother knuckle punched me in the right shoulder like 10 times. 

All in all the whole visit took about an hour and 15 minutes.  We got some good pictures, especially the blood stains on the floor, and afterwards my fiance wanted Jimmy John's so we headed there post-op.

All in all I would like to thank Beaumont for their good work on keeping me alive and keeping my pinkie on my hand.  Also thanks to my fiance for keeping her head and for making me go to the hospital for stitches.  I am supposed to go back in 7-10 days to get them out.