Saturday, June 26, 2010


Place: Frisch's Mainliner
Lunch: Big Boy (with extra tarter sauce), chili, Coke

Frisch's Mainliner is a modern Frisch's Big Boy that sits on the lot of the old Mainliner drive-in, the first restaurant Frisch's sold the Big Boy sandwich at when they became a franchisee to the Big Boy system back in 1946.  The signage dates back to the 1950's, but the Mainliner originally opened in 1939.  The current building, recently remodeled, went up in 1988. To avoid further confusion, I'll just send you to my Big Boy page for more information here.  You will be unexpectedly fascinated.

I'm in Cincinnati for a special one-off Over the Rhine show tonight.  I won't go into why Over the Rhine is my favorite band again because you don't care.  Anyway, I've been here a couple of days relaxing and getting my fill of my Cincinnati favorites (LaRosa's and Skyline Chili mostly) and last night did something I almost never do...I allowed my childhood to emerge and fulfill a fantasy.  I went to a Reds home game.

For those not familiar with baseball (and God bless you), it's a horribly boring sport that acts as background fodder while people drink beer and socialize.  But it was kind of a big deal the one summer I collected baseball cards, which may have also been the one summer I played in the triple-A version of Little League.  If A-D-D was a recognized disorder back then, I would have been the textbook case from that experience.  Anyway, the Reds were my team (this was in the days of Pete Rose and Johnny Bench so they were a LOT of people's favorite team) and seeing a game at Riverfront Stadium would have been the ultimate fantasy that summer.

This actually ISN'T my first major league game.  I attended a Mariner's-A's double-header in the Kingdome on a youth group trip.  Billy Martin was the A's manager at the time, and there was a bench-clearing brawl.  Can't ask for much more than that at a Billy Martin game.  I've also been to a few triple-A games for work-related functions because Huey Lewis and the News were playing after the game.  I couldn't tell you a single thing about those games, let alone who won.

The experience was surprisingly reasonable...I spent a total of about $70 on the whole outing, including the ticket, fees, parking ($5 downtown a few blocks away), the prerequisite ball park hot dog, and a large soda.  And I had an awesome seat along the first base line practically parallel to home plate in the lower section.  Attendance was around 32,000.  It was "Irish Heritage Night" and they had all sorts of pre-show festivities.  And the Reds wore green caps.  Yes, out of the roughly 80 home games I could have happened upon this year or any of the last several, I choose to attend the ONE game the Reds are wearing GREEN FREAKING CAPS.

Modern sports stadiums tend to have a lot more specialty food available than they used to, and while there were more choices than the usual peanuts and Cracker Jack (which WERE here), there wasn't anything particularly goofy.  The hot dog stand here was a monster of a facility with a variety of dogs and brats.  LaRosa's and Skyline were present making pizzas and chili 3-ways.  SuperPretzel had a kiosk.  And somebody was making big hamburgers that I didn't see, but some people in my row had them.  The whole stadium smelled of ketchup.

The Reds defeated the Indians 10-3.  I got to see a couple of home runs.  Neato.

I don't think I'll do it again anytime soon.  The heat...and last night was actually pretty nice with a breeze and lower than normal humidity...bothered me a lot.  The walk back to the parking garage was all uphill.  I felt sick by the time I got there.  And let's face it...I pretty well lost interest by the bottom of the 2nd.  I DID stay the whole game, but not the after-show fireworks.

Tonight's festivities are slightly more intimate (seating is limited to 200) and indoors, so that should be OK.

In the meantime, I'll be relaxing in my room for the afternoon and probably ordering in another LaRosa's pie before the show.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Best Can

Place: Taco Time
Lunch: 2 crispy tacos (no tomato), crispy chicken burrito, Coke

Taco Time posted on their Facebook page the other day that today is National Cheese Day.  I have no idea if this is true or not, but it got me thinking of making cheese enchiladas for dinner tonight.  If I go through with it, that will be three nights in a row of cooking.

(By 'cooking', I mean 'actually taking out pots and pans and making something...not microwaving'...which has become the norm.)

Woke up to the phone at 4am.  It's moments like that when I hate my job.

Didn't get back to sleep.  Tried until about 5am.  Gave up.

Thought about a bowl of chili.

Did other things.

Thought about a bowl of chili.

Did even more other things.

Finally, at 7, I opened a can of chili.  Wolf mild chili with beans.

Wolf manufactures thousands of cans of this stuff.  Millions, probably.  In several varieties.  Mild, regular, and hot.  With beans or without.  I've had many.  Many.  Lots.  There was no reason to believe this can would be different than any other.

But this was the best can ever.

No idea why.

But it was a very special can.

Why is that?  Is it something unusual in the can?  Is it something about me?  Did my body chemistry align just right to make it the perfect moment to have that bowl of chili?

Ever go to a restaurant, have something happen that really annoyed you, and the meal was horrible as a direct result?  There was nothing different about the meal than any other time you went'd just been so put off that the very food that had brought you comfort so many times before was suddenly your worst enemy?

This was kinda like that.  But opposite.  And without something that triggered total happiness.

I think my cats are confused with me staying home this weekend.  Maybe I should have gone somewhere.

But then I would have missed that magical can of chili.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Oh...That's Why

Place: Pizza Hut
Lunch: Lunch buffet, Pepsi

I made my semi-annual Dublin Dr. Pepper run over the weekend.  I was down to something like a half case of the stuff.  Now I have thirteen cases of cans and four cases of bottles.  That should be good to the end of the year.  Maybe.

(Dublin Dr. Pepper is made with cane sugar and has a whole different flavor profile.  I've explained this before.  It's not my fault you don't know this.)

I've had to explain the whole Texas run to two co-workers thus far.  "HOW long did it take to drive down there?"  "And you just drove down and BACK?" 

(P.S. - No, there was more to it than that.  But whatever drama works for you...)

While in Texas, I tried Taco Cabana's new Brisket Tacos.  If you live near a Taco Cabana, you MUST try one.  It's nothing more than beef brisket in a flour tortilla with a side of barbecue sauce.  You don't need the barbecue sauce.  The meat is THAT good.

Oh...And to whoever at Krystal came up with the bright idea of the "Butter Chik" deserve sainthood.

Today's lunch hour was a late start.  And I had no idea what to have.  But Pizza Hut staged a guy with a sign in front of Incredible Pizza (that THAT, Incredible Pizza!) promoting a special $5 price on Pizza Hut's buffet for today only.  So I figured, why not.  I haven't been there in about a year.  Can't remember why.

Now that I'm here, I'm thinking "Oh...That's why."

Smiling Server Megan is super nice, though.  She seems to be in a much better mood than Hope down at the QuikTrip today.  When Hope's grumpy, Hope's grumpy.

They're probably both in a better mood than that guy driving the "Two Men and a Truck" truck who obliterated the Laserwash street sign though.

Why'd I leave the office again?