Tag Archives: dinner

Dinner Problem Solved

dinerI have brilliant friends. I mean the kind of friends who can solve for X, read Mandarin Chinese, who invent the internet, and can refreeze the polar ice caps with only the power of their minds. But blah blah all that. Who cares about any of that, because my most brilliant friend is the one who told me she’s opening a restaurant and calling it “I Don’t Care. You Pick.” Brilliant, I tell you! Where do you want to go eat? “I Don’t Care. You Pick.” Okay! Let’s go there! It happens a million times a day all over the world. She’ll be rich on the franchise rights alone.

Her new endeavor will likely put a few competitors out of business. The We Always Go There Diner probably won’t last long. I don’t hold out much hope for the We Ate There Last Time Cafe, the That One’s Too Far Grill, or the We Always Go There Taco Shack and Burger Barn. But that’s free enterprise in action, right?

Oh wait, though! Her brilliance doesn’t stop there. Oh no! Then she started telling me about her menu. House specials will include the What’s-In-That Platter, made fresh daily with every possible known food allergen. Substitutions on that one will, of course, be extra. Steaks will always be served twice. The first one will be a dummy steak that will immediately be returned to the kitchen to be recooked “the right way.” Then every meal can be finished off with the Just-a-Small-Piece pie that is the highlight of her Bring Two Forks dessert list.

Kids can choose from the “You Liked It Last Time,” the popular “You Can Pick It Off,” and the “At Least Try It.” The most finicky junior diner, however, might enjoy a large helping of the “It Is Not Yucky.” Each entrée will either be served on plates large enough to push the food around or just thrown directly onto the floor.

Sure there are plenty of problems that plague mankind, but none so grievous as the
“What’s for dinner” and “Where do you want to eat” question combo. It’s that one-two sucker punch at the end of the day that puts you on the mat every time. Now finally, someone has found the answer and it just seems so obvious. Why didn’t someone think of it before?

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Over the Barrel

CrackerBarrelPuzzle_lgI had never eaten at a Cracker Barrel restaurant until this past week. But, too, I’m also the person who never watched an episode of “Dallas” – probably for the same reasons. It took less than 34 seconds to realize exactly why I would probably never go back to Cracker Barrel again any time soon: I don’t ever want to be that old. When you suddenly find yourself eating at Cracker Barrel just know you are on a slippery slope to the Luby’s buffet and a full-care nursing home.

Straight up, Cracker Barrel is basically a senior citizen theme park. Those rocking chairs on the porch are just age-appropriate thrill rides. Think rollercoasters for people over 65. Stopping at Cracker Barrel for dinner is not unlike going on a fall foliage bus tour without having to get up the steps of the bus or obtain a doctor’s release from the six medical specialists who currently file on your insurance. At the end of the day, you still get to eat with a huge group of other old folks then exit through the gift shop.

Oh yes, the gift shop. Where else can you get unlimited refills on your ice tea, purchase a cotton/poly blend quilt for $79.99, and pick up a complete collection of Tony Bennett’s greatest hits on CD? Not since the old Stuckey’s sold those weird pecan roll things has there been such a flurry of excitement in the retail world.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the food wasn’t good at Cracker Barrel. In their defense, there was no blue Jell-O on the menu. You still have to wait to progress into your Luby’s stage of decline to get that. I will warn you, though, that this is not the place to go if having your food touch each other is going to trigger you. I spent most of my meal digging the green beans out from under the mashed potatoes. This wasn’t a problem for me, but I know this can cause PTSD in others.

The greater concern for me was if I was given an automatic membership into AARP with my meal. I’m not sure I’m quite ready for that (regardless of my eligibility). Nor am I willing to purchase shoes with Velcro closures. Sorry, Cracker Barrel, but give me another 20 years and I’ll be back.

         

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