I have some random things to complain about…

… so think I’ll do it here.

Hope you guys don’t mind.

1795567_724115684753_1794814265_nIt all started with – I think – the Superbowl. For one, I drank too much that day. That isn’t saying much for me, because I don’t drink a lot and I also am a super-duper lightweight. Nonetheless, I drank too much because I was annoyed that NO ONE TOUCHED MY FUCKING APPETIZERS.

It was really insulting, mostly because this isn’t the first time this kind of thing has happened. On Christmas I made the only dessert and it went to BINGO with my husband’s grandparents three days later because no one wanted them. Anyway, I said I’d bring the appetizers and that I’d make this stupid stadium-themed “platter” to put them on. Then there were so many appetizers, and my “platter” was sort of out of the way and unnoticeable so tons went in the trash.

Went. In. The. TRASH.

So that started my week of being really annoyed by a lot of things. And it’s only Tuesday. Here are a few others:

1) (Monday) Coca-Cola taught me that people are still very pathetic, racist pieces of shit

I’m trying to understand how a positive and uplifting commercial about the fact that no matter what culture or heritage people attach themselves to, at the very heart of it all, Americans have an ultimate of love of this country – how that turned into a bunch of people posting on the Internet their bigoted shit about boycotting Coke products, and “speak fucking English” and all that crap.

No seriously. How is racism still happening in this country? I mean…really…

I never really got the whole thing about what language people speak anyway. What does it matter what fucking words people use to communicate? How is it more patriotic – in any way, shape, or form – to speak English?

All these awful piece of shit ignoramuses clearly forgot that: (1) America was originally inhabited by the Native Americans – who have countless different languages, and we were the original illegal immigrants speaking a foreign tongue weren’t we; and, (2) the great thing about America has always been that it is THE MOTHERFUCKING MELTING POT OF ALL THIS WONDERFUL DIVERSITY FROM ALL OVER THE FUCKING WORLD.

It made me so sad to hear and read about people’s reactions to that Coca-cola commercial, it was all I could do not to emotionally eat an entire box of Chips Ahoy.

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2) (Tuesday) People are STILL letting their kids cry in restaurants and it annoys me.

Look. I’m a mom. I get it: sometimes kids act up. It’s frustrating and embarrassing when your kid – of any age – starts crying or throwing a temper tantrum in a public place. Especially when it’s over something like not getting ice-cream or some shit – ugh, that is the worst.

But I don’t cut the bullshit on this one. About 5 seconds after a tantrum starts, we get up and walk out. If we’re in a restaurant and we have to pay the bill, we stand up and immediately find the host at the door to help get the food bagged up and expedite the process.

Why? Because I’ve been to restaurants and had meals ruined – completely ruined – by a kid screaming and crying. It’s obnoxious and that some parents think it’s just a given if you go to a restaurant where children are allowed is why more and more places are opting to not allow children, ruining it for the rest of us who have manners and respect for other people.

It’s also because I want to parent without the judging and watchful eyes of all the busy-bodies sitting around me that may or may not think I’m doing it right. Sometimes (not all times – depends on the situation) I ignore tantrums, and I don’t want to hear some bitchy ladies two tables over talking about how sad they feel for my kid because I won’t pander to all the tantruming.

Most of the time I just don’t think other people should have to suffer for my failure as a parent that at some point in time has led my kid to believe that screaming and crying will result in a reward.

Today we went out to lunch and this family of about thirty-five had one baby who would not shut the fuck up with her crying, with intermittent breaks to scream “cookie” over and over again until they gave her one. Then she clearly soiled her little cookie-pants, because they changed HER GODDAMNED DIAPER IN THE RESTAURANT, LAYING DOWN IN HER STROLLER.

Right there, within view of my bleu cheese and strawberry salad.

What’s next? Will the week calm down from these petty annoyances, that always get under my skin because – well – everything gets under my skin? Or will it just continue to get worse and worse until I’ve lost it before the week’s end?

Are you guys having a good week?

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My Horrible Evening At Pukeplantation

Pukeplantation

Am I overwhelming you most faithful blog followers with too many posts? This is something like the fourth in two days, I’ve just really had a lot to say these past few days. I promise, I’ll slow down (maybe).

Went to dinner this evening. Just me and Pookies, which meant that it ended up being somewhere kid-friendly. I wasn’t in the mood for Denny’s or Panera Bread, though; and fast food was of course out of the question. So Souplantation it was.

Now I do typically enjoy Souplantation. Typically. We used to live in the heart of Los Angeles and had a really nice one. One that had everything, plus amazing customer service. Their space was bigger than any restaurant I had ever been to. And it was walking distance from our apartment – just awesome.

The Souplantation out here is a far cry from that; although it was still decent up until recently. In the last few months, though, it’s become a little ghetto. Or perhaps more accurately, it’s become proof that the town in which we live is going downhill. More white trash. A lot people running into each other and acting like total pigs. Basically the entire swath of the state of nature, all packed into one tiny restaurant with a 210 person capacity.

Sad to say, today was the last time we will ever go to that Souplantation. By the time you get through our experience, hopefully you will support my decision.

4:45 pm

We cruise into the Souplantation parking lot. It looks like the dinner rush is starting to get there a little early, but then again it shares the parking lot with Ross – dress for less – so maybe it’s just overflow from early high school prom shoppers.

4:50 pm

Finally inside, we are beginning to make our way through the line. A family of four has come in behind us. The husband is holding a baby that looks like it hasn’t been bathed. Ever. The husband begins sneezing. I start to push Pookies a little quicker down the salad bar. I notice the fourth in their group is a teenager. He has blue hair, in a flock of seagulls cut. He has handcuffs hanging from his belt buckle. Maybe he’s just broken out of jail. He starts sneezing too.

5:00 pm

I’ve paid and we’ve found a booth as far away from the rest of the people that are already seated. Kids are screaming and running around. The family of four sit near us shortly afterwards.

5:05 pm

I go to get drinks. The drink bar is in complete view of the table, so I go alone. The kid with the blue flock of seagulls hair cut walks past our table, and it looks like he has said something. I rush back to the table.

5:15 pm

Finishing up the salad and it’s starting to get packed. People are sneezing, coughing, belching, and ripping ass everywhere. The woman sitting at the table next to us actually lifted her ass to blow one – I kid you faithful blog followers not. You know I’m not a fan of ass jokes, this is really happening.

I decide we are not at Souplantation. We are at Pukeplantation. Time to get some Pukeplantation soup.

5:18 pm

I’m waiting at the soup bar to get the chicken and alphabet soup. There is a rather portly man in a hooded sweatshirt and khaki shorts filling four bowls. I assume he is getting them for multiple people. Or that he really likes the soup. In spite of all the belching and burping and blowing and puking and sneezing and snotting, I will admit – that soup is tasty. He is taking forever though, so people are getting in line behind me, and I inch a little closer. He turns around and rips a belch so loud, so ferocious, that I swear I see his lips quiver. Like Barney on The Simpsons. Or worse.

As I’m dishing up the soup, I realize he’s belched a piece of chewed food onto my sweater.

5:25 pm

I have had about enough of this place. Having totally lost my appetite wiping the stranger’s food off my sweater, I sit and wait quietly. The lady sitting next to us rips another one. Her husband tells stories about “Rod in seasonal” grabbing his ass. He’s wearing a Home Depot polo shirt. I assume he works at the Home Depot in the same shopping complex. I make a mental note never to go this Pukeplantation or that Rip Ass-Grab Butt Depot ever again. I consider running to my car and speeding home to drink heavily and forget about this place.

But the deal with Pukeplantation is that dessert is always a given. Fat free frozen yogurt is a healthy way to dessert anyway. I sprint to the yogurt machine so that we can leave soon.

5:32 pm

There are four exits from this particular Pukeplantation. The one closest to us is in the back of the building and we are parked in the front, but rather than wade our way through the belches and boogers of this rancid state of hillbilly nature, we walk out the back door and just traipse around the entire building to get to my car.

While walking I am informed of what transpired when the blue haired flock of seagulls, jail break walked past our booth while I was getting our drinks. As he walked by, with his handcuffs clanging against his leg, he leaned over and said “hey … your mom’s hot …”

From there we ran to my Jeep.

We will not be returning to that place. Ever. Again. Would you? It concerns me that so many of these experiences are cropping up more and more around my community. Is it just that I’m hanging out in the wrong places? Or is pigslob hillbilly becoming the status quo?

Some Kids Are Real A-holes

For God’s sakes! I just posted today’s blog post about big girl panties (which ended up being way more serious than I intended it to be), and then we went to lunch. You’d think that lunch would be pretty uneventful and not inspire me to come home and immediately write and publish another blog. But it did.

And I have finally accepted that some kids are real a-holes. Here is the timeline of events that brought me to this frenzied conclusion:

11:45 am

I post What, Exactly, Are Big Girl Panties?. I read it over and shuffle to the door. I promised Panera for lunch this morning in an effort to get the whining to stop, so I must deliver.

11:55 am

We are at Panera, which happens to be right across the freeway from our apartment. I’m super excited because we made it before the lunch rush. Despite that – to my horror – I see that Panera has a line out the door and people are sitting at the outdoor tables complaining about how long their food is taking. We get in line.

11:58 am

My mind is now firing rapidly in trying to decide: stay in the line at Panera that has not moved for three minutes, or go next door to Johnny Rockets? I hem and haw about this. On one hand, what we order at Johnny Rockets will be almost identical to what we order at Panera. Johnny Rockets is a little cheaper, too. On the other hand, the clientele at that particular Johnny Rockets is a special breed of jerk-offs. Two times ago, we were there and some guy let out an uproarious belch, then announced to the entire patronage that it tasted like rotten milk. The last time we were there, some lady threw a fit because she couldn’t bring in her stroller.

The people in line behind us start loudly complaining about how the line isn’t moving and I make a decision: we’re going to Johnny Rockets.

12:00 pm

We’re seated and already have our drinks in a booth at Johnny Rockets. I look outside and see the line at Panera still hasn’t moved. In a minute we order. Then I notice there are two kids sitting in the booth behind us. It’s a family place and I’m here with my own family, so I don’t mind the presence of other children.

Yet.

12:05 pm

I hear the children behind us ordering their food.

“I’ll have a salad with vinaigrette on the side. I’m on a diet.” She can’t be older than 6.

A few minutes pass and they bring out those complimentary french fries for both their and our tables. The 6 year old’s younger sibling, probably 4, yells “Carbs!! EWWW!!!”

12:18 pm

I’ve managed to ignore those kids for a while. There is a baseball game on. We’re playing tic-tac-toe. Our food comes and it’s being hogged down like we haven’t eaten in a year. Then I have a break in concentration and I overhear those two little girls again. They’re talking about how glad they are that they homeschool because so many kids their age are “evil trolls.” The mother isn’t telling them to be nice, or to simmer down. No, she’s asking them for more details about just why other kids are evil and troll-like.

I see now that she is the real culprit in this dickhead behavior.

12:25 pm

We have finished. They have finished. The waiter is bringing out balloons for all the kids in the restaurant. The one thing I like about Johnny Rockets in addition to the cheaper prices, and in spite of the particular clientele at this location, is the kid-friendly atmosphere. He asks what color all the kids in the place want. He goes back and gets them.

That little 6 year old a-hole of a kid at the booth behind us says “I changed my mind, I want pink.”

If I was that waiter, I would have said “You want pink, motherfucker?! How about your pretentious c-u-next-time of a mom takes you down the street and buys you one since you can’t make up your fucking mind!” Being much politer than I, and obviously valuing his job, he took back the blue balloon and brought out a replacement in the little a-hole princess’s desired color.

12:35 pm

The booth of the c-u-next-time mom and the a-hole kids is getting up to leave as we are getting ready to go. I’m sneaking a few more french fries and – of course, because I’m a totally absent-minded slob – drop a tiny bit of ketchup on my shirt.

“Jeez, can’t take me anywhere,” I say to the Pookies and I wipe it off with a napkin. I plan to change my shirt when we get home in a few minutes and grab my purse.

The jerkoff family is passing by our booth with their pink-only balloons and their dieting, waffish a-hole kids.The older one that sent back her balloon stops and sees I’ve spilled a teeny-tiny amount of ketchup on my shirt and turns to the Pookies and says “your mom clearly has a hole in her lip.” Then the 4 year old says “carbs are so gross!”

Are you fucking kidding me?

C-u-next-time mom shuffles them out the door and says “they can handle their own affairs.” We get up and leave. I decide I’m going to stay in my mildly stained shirt for the rest of the day. In fact, when I get home I’m going to make it even more slovenly, and then roam around town for the rest of the day showing how much I don’t give a shit about a stupid stain on my shirt.

12:55 pm

We make it home. Pookie says to me “those kids had a real attitude problem.” I respond “yes, well … we know not to act like that.” Homeschooling begins. I stay in my pigslob shirt.

Some kids are real a-holes. That Johnny Rockets deserves a reality show of its own. Panera better have a shorter and quicker-moving line next time.

STFU Fridays: Guest-Starring the Back of My Hand

For today’s STFU Fridays, I have a special guest: the back of my hand. Yep! You got that right, I’m featuring people that need to Shut the Fuck Up, and apparently need to receive a good backhand to do so.

Suggestive Sellers

I don’t know about any of you, but I am getting sick and damn tired of people trying to suggestively sell. These people for real need to shut the fuck up, and will soon be receiving a hard smack with the back of my hand to do so.

Exhibit A: the Nail Salon

I go to the nail salon frequently. You all know some of my prior experiences with that whole Korean Hooker thing. Well, I’m currently in search for a new nail salon because I just couldn’t take the weird, fucked up shit that went down at my former nail salon anymore; and by “currently” I mean it’s been months.

The problem is that I can’t seem to find one that will tone it down on the suggestive selling. Even when I’ve been there a few times, it’s incessant. “You want manicure with your pedicure?” No. I don’t do my nails, just my toes because I get ingrown toenails. “You want callus remover on your feet?” No. I come every two weeks because I get ingrown toenails – I hardly have any calluses at all. “You want to wax your ugly eyebrow? They look ugly so big.” Seriously?

Back of my fucking hand next time someone says my eyebrows are ugly.

Exhibit B: Restaurants

Okay, in the interest of full disclosure and maximum humor, I used to work in retail food service. I was a drive thru bitch at Wendy’s – quite an experience, I might add. I was even employee of the month once.

But I always had a problem with suggestive selling. It just seemed ridiculous. Someone comes into the drive thru and orders only a soda, suggestively selling them a fucking hamburger or baked potato seemed just stupid. Not once did anyone say “oh, yeah … you know, I really was only thirsty, but now that you mention it maybe I would like to just pork down an extra 1300 calories! Thanks for the suggestion!!”

We go out to eat often and what I just can’t take is the suggestive selling. Sometimes it is just so bad and hard-pressed. I don’t mind hearing the specials. I don’t even mind if they ask if we want an appetizer. But when they push and push and push AND PUSH, it’s just so frustrating.

What’s worse is that these failed corporate policies have the employees focusing so much on suggestive selling that they fail to get anything right in your actual order. I cannot tell you faithful blog followers how many times I have gone out to eat and they got the order wrong because they were clearly too busy trying to push their wine flights or new desserts or meal add-ons or whatever. Last week, in fact, I went out to dinner with my father one night at our local Macaroni Grill and the waiter was so busy suggestively selling that he didn’t notice my food looked totally wrong and had shrimp in it, despite the fact that I did not order that. I didn’t notice the shrimp at first. And why would I? I didn’t order it. Funny thing, though, is that I’m allergic to shrimp. Once I realized it, they sent over the manager and we left immediately so I could take some Benadryl and an Epipen. In the end, the most egregious was not just the suggestive selling, but the fact that they never responded to my email about it afterwards.

Instead of worrying about pushing your shitty tortallachi and crab appetizers, how about just shutting the fuck up and worrying about getting things in the order right?

People That Make Commentary About My Husband and Me

Article One

When my husband married me, he knew what I was like. He knew I was snarky. He knew I didn’t tolerate bull shit. He knew that I have an unrelenting sense of humor and that the way that I express love is through humor and teasing. He knew that I am not OK with lying, in any way shape or form. He knew that I am from the Midwest and, therefore, don’t believe in some of the marital-standards that California has. (There’s a reason divorce in California is over 75%, by the way.) This is the way my entire family is and it is who I am. If anyone doesn’t like it, they can kindly shut the fuck up. If my husband didn’t like it, he shouldn’t have married me. End of story. Butt the fuck out.

Article Two

I know that this is going to seem very, very strange to some people. I know that in our very bizarre, little California community, husbands and wives do not usually show much public support for each other and their endeavors. I know that you don’t hear my father-in-law ever telling stories about my mother-in-law’s encounters at work. I know that many of our friends consider this to be wrong – for whatever backwards reasons they may think so.

But that doesn’t mean that it is strange, bad, inappropriate, or anything other than a good thing if my husband chooses to be supportive of my own endeavors. If he wants to talk about me as a writer, he should be able to do so. If we put together a Facebook page for his side of my blog, that should not be so out of the realm of normal to so many people.

From now on, anyone that makes a comment to me – or anyone, really – about the way my husband and I operate; or about how odd they think it for him to be supporting of me in the ways he wants to, will have a special date with the back of my fucking hand. It’s time for everyone (and I mean everyone) to let us handle our own marriage.

People Closing in on My Territory

People have been closing in on my territory a lot lately and I have had just about enough of it.

To the people that want to tell me how to be a parent; that want to talk to me about what they think I’m doing wrong when disciplining right in front of my kid – shut the fuck up or meet the back of my hand.

To the people that want to butt into my business when I say that I homeschool; not the ones that are interested to learn more, but the people that want to tell me they think I’m wrong for depriving my child of the socialization (from the mother who encourages her kid to bully) – shut the fuck up or meet the back of my hand.

To the people that want to try and out-do my baking (ahem, family … ahem, my mother); know your role – I’m like Martha-Mother-Fucking-Stewart on crack so you’d better shut the fuck up or meet the back of my hand.

To the people that close in on my ranks as a writer and a blogger; that ignore my existence in the writing-and-blogging-world for the explicit purpose of trying to overcome me (head’s up, bloggers – a lot of people do that); that oust me as a social networker, a views-getter, and even on lists like Top Mommy Blogs – shut the fuck up or meet the back of my hand.

So the back of my hand is going to be pretty tired soon. There are a lot of people I see in desperate need of a swift but firm encounter with it. For the rest of you, have a great weekend or shut the fuck up.

In-N-Out versus In-N-Out

Anyone that has been to California knows that one of the “must-dos” of the state is a trip to In-N-Out. Even if you don’t eat fast food, or you don’t eat meat, you still do it. They actually are very good at catering to people’s health and otherwise needs: they have a huge “secret” menu, available to anyone. Grilled cheese, veggie sandwiches, fresh and unprocessed fries…

Of course I think that’s about the only good thing about In-N-Out. Personally, I think it’s a little overrated.

If I am in the mood for a burger joint kind of place, I do usually go there. I don’t eat red meat, so the grilled cheese is pretty decent. It’s close. And more than anything, it’s cheap – my favorite thing. It’s relatively infrequent that I go, though, so you can imagine how truly over it I am after going twice in the last week.

Early last week, I hit up In-N-Out near my apartment in Camarillo on the way out of town for my little solo jaunt to Solvang, CA. The one near our place is my preference – it’s clean, in a good area, and during the week is especially quiet. Camarillo is something like a retirement community. Most of the people that live here either are super old or super young; young families that work outside of the area coupled with the geezers playing shuffleboard. In fact, the In-N-Out is directly across the street from a 50-and-over neighborhood. My experience was pretty laid back: there weren’t too many people around, a man brought his wife that worked there flowers and a birthday balloon, it started to get a little busy right before I left. Nothing too big, though.

Then today, my husband wanted to go to the In-N-Out nearby where we were shopping in the southern part of Oxnard. Those of you that have never been to the Ventura County (nestled between LA and Santa Barbara on the coast of California), Oxnard (particularly the south part) is the more ghetto of the community. There is a lot of gang activity. There is a pretty fair amount of crime. Being from Chicago, it’s sort of child’s play to me, but I still don’t mess around when people start flashing gang signs and swearing in languages I cannot even decipher.

Needless to say, my experience was a little different today than early last week.

Ordering Our Food

We got there and I had to pee. I always have to pee – my guinea pig has a larger bladder than I do. And I drink a lot of Diet Coke. So my husband got in line while I ran in to quickly use the bathroom. As I came out, I eeked my way through the line, saying “excuse me, my husband is up front” and when I got to him, this crazy-looking lady with a tattoo across her forehead said “hey, step the fuck back to the end of the line where you belong.”

I smiled and just stepped to the side, Nick already knew what I wanted anyway.

Finding Our Table

We originally planned on eating there. Then it was going to be t0-go because there was nowhere to sit; and only a second before we got our food did we find a table open up. This place was like the state of nature for seating. Everyone was fighting. A woman in a wheelchair started screaming at people to get out of her way so she could snag a table. As we left, I could see people all hovering over the tables that looked as though they were about ready to finish. I overheard two guys in maintenance uniforms laughing about how badly people wanted their seats and how much they weren’t budging until their lunch break was completely over.

Getting Our Ketchup

So around the time I went to get our ketchup, napkins, and little packets of salt was when shit really started to go down. I was pumping the ketchup out of their old-style ketchup pump into these little, paper cups they provide when this woman shoved me to the side so she could have more room to slop ketchup directly onto her tray of animal-style fries. She pumped and pumped and pumped and it was slopped all over the tray. I kept thinking to myself ‘am I mad this woman shoved me or angry because of the mess she’s making for these poor employees to clean up?’

As I turned to walk away – having finished pumping my own meager supply of ketchup compared to hers – she turned and smacked me so hard in the boobs with her purse that I was pretty sure some after-jiggle occurred. Those of you that are women with big boobs know what I’m talking about – when you run without a bra, or laugh too hard in your pajamas … after-jiggle.

Eating Our Food

There is nothing about the food that is too spectacular to report. As I said, In-N-Out is a little overrated in my book. I had the grilled cheese again today, along with some fries and a Diet Coke (of course).

As I sat eating, though, I continued to peruse around the busy restaurant. People were lined out the door at that point. All registers were open and employees were screaming – literally screaming – at each other, it was just that loud in there. My husband and I don’t have shit to talk to each other about over meals anymore. Unless it’s about his day at work or some bullshit I want to complain about, usually he’s too busy hogging his food down like it’s feeding time at the barnyard to get in a word edgewise. So I continued to look around, only to find (to my dismay) that the guy sitting next to us was reading a book called “Dealing With Your Psychopathy.”

Real fucking nice.

Leaving The Shithole, Never To Return

As always happens, the real “event” of it all didn’t happen until the end, as we were about to leave. I know what you’re saying – some ugly ass bitch with a tattoo across her forehead telling you to “step the fuck back” wasn’t an event? Being shoved and smacked in the boobs for the sake of a tray full of ketchup was not an ordeal?

Not compared to Turd Girl.

Right before we left, a little girl and her mom sat down at the table next to us. The tables are in pretty close proximity to each other, so I could hear their every word. Her dad was waiting for a table near them to open up so that he too could sit down. They decided to just start porking down their food anyway.

Turd Girl couldn’t have been any older than five; six tops. Nonetheless, she was shoveling a double-double (a double cheeseburger) and animal-style fries (french fries covered in secret sauce, cheese, and grilled onions) down her itty-bitty gullet. And then she said the words that made her earn her title: “Huhuhuh … mom, my fries look like the turd I dropped this morning.”

Are you fucking kidding me?

I thought her mom was going to say something; oh, I don’t know, like that she should speak a little more lady-like in public. If it were me I would have smacked those animal-style fries right out of her hands. Turd Girl’s mom did nothing but laugh, though. Together, they laughed and laughed and laughed at just how much the french fries they continued to shove into their mouths looked like human feces.

So about that In-N-Out. It attracts a particular kind of crowd – at least the one in south Oxnard. The only other one I’ve been to has been in Hollywood with my friend Jeremy – quite a few years ago, while he was out on a visit. I remember we were sitting there eating when all of a sudden a bridal party came in to get In-N-Out after their wedding ceremony. The bride looked about 18; the groom was wearing a blinged-out baseball cap. This is why I don’t eat fast food.

That belch tasted like rotten milk…

Six of the most horrific words to ever exit the mouth of another human being while sitting in an outdoor Johnny Rockets – a crowded public venue.

The day was already bizarre enough as is. Every day seems to be here in beautiful and unpredictable-weathered California. We had an early morning phone call that swimming class was canceled because a kid in the earlier class had taken a dump in the pool, so I figured – what the hey, we’ll go out for lunch today.

We go out for lunch most days, but not usually “sit down”-type lunch that takes time and effort and “quiet down, we’re in public” on repeat. I’m not saying we go to McDonalds every day, just usually grab salads and sandwiches to-go as we travel from place to place during the daily activities. Because that kid took a growler in the pool, though, we had some extra time and Johnny Rockets was the place of choice simply because it was close and has grilled cheese.

The lunch was fine; service was good; atmosphere was as acceptable as a California-restaurant’s atmosphere can be. There was a guy sitting behind us who was running for city council, and apparently everyone knew because they all had to stop and gab with him about his race (having worked in politics and spent time with most of the politicians in the forefront of government today, I am usually unimpressed by such pomp and circumstance).

We were finishing up our lunch, though, and the check had just come, when all of a sudden the man sitting next to us let out the most uproarious, outrageously loud belch I have ever heard.

Now, I have heard some loud belches in my time. Growing up with just my father, burping was something regularly done in our house. My grandfather (my mother’s dad) still insists on saying the word belch while he does it in a room full of people. My husband – well, we all know he’s a pig.This guy at Johnny Rockets today, though, really took the cake.

What made it barf-worthy, though, was not the belch, itself. No, no, faithful blog followers. It was what he said afterwards to the guy he was lunching with – who, I might add, flinched not one bit at the guy saying it. What was it he said, you ask?

That belch tasted like rotten milk.

Fucking sick. I’ll be taking the Pookies elsewhere from now on if that is the kind of clientele that frequent our local Johnny Rockets.

Vacation Report 6: Chicago Food versus California Cuisine

So I’m pretty sure I have mentioned this before, but prior to our vacation to my sweet, home Chicago, I essentially starved myself for the months preceding so that I could eat whatever I wanted without worrying about returning to California in a hefty bag (for lack of any fitting clothing). While here, though, I realized that I actually eat better and weigh less when eating in the Midwest for a few reasons, though: (1) I don’t eat many sweets; and (2) I don’t indulge in emotional eating to make myself feel better about how unhappy I am in California.

While on this trip, I’ve made it a point to ask more about what makes food in the Midwest so much better. And unlike in California – where asking a question of your waiter or cook is a recipe for looks of annoyance and a pithy response like “it’s in the sauce,” many of the people I’ve asked have indulged me in my inquiry.

Chicago Food: Delis

In Chicagoland area, you have a lot more locally owned restaurants or local franchises that you won’t find in other areas. Sure, there are a lot of your run-of-the-mill Subways and Taco Bells, but right next door you almost always have a local and just-as-cheap alternative.

One thing that is amazing about the Chicagoland area is the deli meat. In California, I often notice that the deli meat is sliced thick and often “smothered” in something to make it a thick, meaty experience. In Chicago, though, it’s usually sliced very thin, which bodes for a lighter and more satisfying experience. Jason’s Deli is by far my favorite local spot for a sandwich or wrap.

Chicago Food: Flavorful

Another thing I have realized about Chicago food, is it is often about the flavor. I would argue that a lot of the food we eat in California is flavorful, but often the emphasis is not placed on the synthesis of flavors or enhancing the natural flavor of the food, itself. In particular, meat is not usually enhanced quite in the way that it is done in the Midwest, and I am sure this is in large part due to the fact that so much of the meat you eat in the Midwest is local.

The pizza is more flavorful as well, which is what makes it so popular. In California we use dry milk and bitter sauce. In the Midwest, though, emphasis is placed on the flavor of the crust and the sauce to eliminate those dry and bitter elements.

Now I rarely eat red meat, but when I am visiting home I do indulge in a little. Particularly noteworthy was the meatball sandwich I had a few days after arriving – it was (by far) one of the greatest sandwiches I have ever eaten.

Chicago Food: Fluffy

As I mentioned above about the deli meat, Chicago food is often sliced thin and fluffy-like. It goes beyond just the deli meat, though. The pizza almost never has gobs of cheese on it, which I find is a big problem with food in California – too much cheese. And while I would never recommend actually eating the food at White Castle, the shakes are another great example of the fluffiness of the cuisine in the Midwest. Whereas at In N’ Out on the west coast we have very thick, heavy shakes, the milkshakes at White Castle are so fluffy you can taste the bits of whipped air.

Chicago Food: More Interactive

Something else we don’t realize on the west coast is that our food is not terribly interactive. Oftentimes, you have little input in what goes in your food. You can request something to be “minus this” or “add that,” but then you get a lot of attitude and it is usually done wrong anyway.

In Chicago, though, your food is more interactive. You get to know who is cooking it – whether it be a restaurant owner, a waiter, or a friend or family member. You have more input and more options as well. Just the other day, we went to an Asian fusion place in the city and were able to head to their stir fry bar to select every piece of our meal. There are not many places in California that such an option exists, except (of course) your own home.

As a result of this, I have come to one conclusion – something I knew all along, but that was reiterated on this great trip home:

Chicago Food: Amazing

California Cuisine: Crap

Need I say more?