Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Out of all those crazy videos online, this video is probably one of the funniest yet simple I've seen thus far. I can't help but crack up every time I watch it. It also will give you a glimpse into my truly strange sense of humor.

This video is the other funniest clip I've seen, and if you watch it, just stay with it. You'll see why it's funny when they bring out the microphone. (At about 2 minutes you'll start laughing too.)

Just thought maybe someone besides me could use a good laugh tonight too!

Monday, February 26, 2007

A weekend trip to Atlanta - Part One

According to Wikipedia, a Vacation is "a pleasure trip away from home." While this trip was pleasurable, it wasn't quite as relaxing as I'd anticipated. Before I go on a long diatribe I should say that the food and hotel were both quite good overall. For most families, a car trip with your spouse and parents for eight hours each way for just for a long weekend would be a bit much togetherness, but we get along exceptionally well.

On the way, we stopped in for lunch at Abbays in Olive Branch, Mississippi. The restaurant opened about three years ago and is owned by a couple who, like my husband and I, eat out more than we probably should. They noticed the lack of vegetables available in the fast food restaurants they frequented and about three years later, Abbays became their answer to that unfulfilled market. I wish they had a location closer to me, as I'd be back often. Imagine your favorite local meat & three type restaurant with a quick service touch. It's a good concept that I hope works; they didn't seem to be short of business when we stopped in.

The next stop wasn't about food, it was about fun. (Not that food isn't fun!) Barber Motorsports Park Museum is one of the most spectacular collections of gas-powered ingenuity I've ever experienced. One could spend hours wandering through the endless motorcycles, sports cars, race cars and memorabilia. It's not just the size of the collection that is impressive; the presentation is really quite outstanding. It's five floors of goodness that will make any enthusiast happy. One other side benefit the museum has is the location. It overlooks the Barber Motorsports Park, and the day we visited the participants of the Porsche Driving Experience group were zipping along the track. Nice!

More details from this trip... coming soon.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Spam & Steak

I went on a short trip for the day to Memphis. I had tickets to see Spamalot at the Orpheum this afternoon. For a Monty Python fan, it's fantastic fun; for others not so much. Maybe it would be fun to the Python unacquainted, but I've been keen on their work for so long I can't recall what it's like to not laugh at their antics. It's not a musical for the whole family if your family includes kids. This one is for the adults with a slightly off sense of humor. Anyway, if an opportunity to see it comes along, I highly recommend the show. It's time well spent.

Afterward I went to dinner at Texas de Brazil. It's a smaller chain that is made with the carnivore in mind. Vegetarians might want to skip this meat-lovers palace. It's a Churrascaria, also known as a Steakhouse. There isn't a menu. Huh? Really, there is no menu. Forget buffets, this puts any other "buffet" to shame. For starters, there's a salad bar with a range of tastes that is far from what you'd expect to find on a mere "salad bar." I sampled the cheeses they offered and the grilled provolone was an interesting, tasty idea. The lobster bisque was quite good as well. After nibbling my way through what I'd call more of a sampler bar, the meats arrived. They bring out huge metal skewers of various cooked meats including leg of lamb, bbq pork ribs, bacon wrapped chicken and beef filets, sirloin, flank steak and more than I can possibly recall. The meats arrive one at a time, giving you time to sample each one before the next appears tableside. For sides, they bring to the table garlic mashed potatoes, sweet fried bananas, polenta cakes and Brazilian cheese bread; all of which are very good. Desert selections are scrumptious, and the tropical creme brulee had a touch of lime and tropical hints that made for a nice change of pace. I could go there for that and the chocolate cake. I even liked the Coconut pie; this coming from someone who doesn't like coconut speaks volumes. Overall, the food quality and atmosphere is nothing like the $19.95 all-u-can-eat buffets found throughout the south, and while the prices do reflect that difference, it's well worth the extra change. While it isn't on my personal Top 5 restaurants list, it's definitely a good place for an interesting dining experience. If anyone does leave hungry, the restaurant is hardly at fault. Maybe vegetarians will heed my advise and seek out other dining options.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

This weekend I went to a local BBQ restaurant for dinner, Demo's. Despite the widely varying tastes and types of BBQ, I've found the restaurants seem to have a few commonalities.

Let's start with the menu. In most southern style BBQ eateries, the menu includes two or maybe three types of meat and the same standard list of side items. The standard included add-ons to a dinner plate includes baked beans, slaw and either Texas toast or rolls. Don't forget that little pepper; in all my meals of BBQ, I've yet to dine with someone who failed to set it aside as though it's merely there for colorful decoration. Usually there's the option for a potato, fried or baked. Is there a BBQ menu rule that says "You must not serve macaroni and cheese"? Sometimes you find a restaurant like Corky's that goes out on a limb and serves *gasp* BBQ nachos or BBQ pizza. The one Southern Style BBQ restaurant I've found that steps out of this set formula for success is The Rib Crib. While they don't stray wildly off course on the side items, they do offer a broad range of meats.

The one really noticeable common feature I've found is the signs. It's more the propensity to have a great overabundance of them that I see often. If it's a chain of some sort, the quantities aren't so large. Next time you visit a local small BBQ joint, take a look around. How many signs do you see in clear view? This weekend, the place I visited started at the door. The first sign admonishes customers in line not to spend their time on a cell phone. After you step inside, another sign repeats the same message. It continues four times before you can place your order; apparently someone thinks it's not acceptable to have the social hour in line. While I understand the courtesy of not yapping into a cell phone while placing your order, is it necessary to berate the customer into submission? On the menu, two more signs in very large letters warn of the slaw that comes on all sandwiches unless you present your request in writing, signed and notarized. Even a placard mounted atop the cash register reminds you to make your slaw preferences clear. Another local BBQ establishment had a nice big notice on the door announcing a new law that went into effect last summer. "No Smoking by order of your Arkansas Governor." A clearly disgruntled smoker posted this message in place of the cheerful note stating "A Smoke-free environment for all our customers. We use Alpine air filters!" Yes, because you have a small box "filtering" the air in one corner of your restaurant, those twenty guys lighting one smoke after another two tables away from me aren't doing any damage to my lungs. Right. I also have an interest in a great new mountain resort in the Arkansas Delta that I'm sure you'd just love.

Do they find that every time one person makes some sort of fuss over the most minute little detail, they must shelter themselves from any further possible confrontation and put up another sign? Having that sign posted is a way they can say "Ha! See, I told you that's the rules" to that one ungrateful customer who has dared to cross their way of thinking. It's such an inviting touch to the decor.

Here's some I've seen over the years:

No checks below number #300.
No out of town checks.
No substitutions.
Do not use your cell phone while waiting in line.
(Directed to employees) No using cell phones or Ipods while on the clock!
Notice! All sandwiches served with slaw unless told otherwise.

My favorite is shown here at left. It was above by my seat at Cafe Klaser.
I know all about this rule, it comes "by order of your Arkansas Governor." I'm part of the informed public, thanks to the numerous signs at local BBQ restaurants.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Following my own advice

In earlier posts I've mentioned that eating "in" is the new way to eat "out." People are busy, and cooking is a duty (or pleasure) that falls by the wayside for many. I like cooking and find it relaxing, yet sometimes it's a fun challenge.
My advice for finding a new restaurant was to make a menu for the week and just start cooking. As my dear husband has pointed out to me, I haven't exactly followed that recommended plan. So I decided again this weekend that next week we'll eat at home a lot more. I made out a flexible menu for the week and headed off to procure what ingredients were missing. I decided to double the fun and try at least one or two new recipes. Again this came from the encouragement of my husband, that or he was just trying to find a way to reclaim space on the DVR. My refusal to let him delete new episodes of Good Eats might have been a bit of a motivator, so we are going to try a new recipe compliments of the program.

Tonight I thought I'd whip up a loaf of Whole Wheat Bread, thanks to my trusty new Blendtec blender. For the first time, the blender let me down. Maybe it was the recipe, or maybe it was my interpretation thereof. Either way, when you manage to overheat the Blendtec, something seriously is not right.

I hope the new recipes for the week go far better than tonight's experiment.