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(Dear dudes that read this because you like sports and music,
More manly posts are coming. Have no fears. I am not turning into a TLC fanatic.)
It seems to me that there is a whole world out there of ladies with blogs and pinterest boards about home improvement/decoration/foodie stuff. My wife follows a lot of these DIY decorating type blogs and stuff. She is also a fan of a few internet-famous cooks. Like the Prairie Woman as I call her (it’s really the Pioneer Woman, but I can never remember that).
Apparently this home-cooking, self-decorating industry is a huge money-maker. My mom and Jen love to watch those shows where people get their houses redecorated, or where some chef springs upon someone at a grocery store and forces his way to cooking their dinner. In honor of all that, I thought I’d do a little DIY post about our kitchen. So, here’s to all you do-it-yourselfers!
We moved into our apartment a couple years ago. It is a nice place with washer/dryer hookups, hardwood floors, and no drug dealers or prostitutes for neighbors (a real step up from our first apartment – but that’s another story). We loved our spacious kitchen. After a few weeks, we realized that we would be able to optimize the space in our kitchen if we got a stainless steel wall shelf and hung it above the refrigerator. Thankfully, I work for a restaurant equipment supplier and knew exactly where to get such a shelf. So, after some measurements, we decided on which size we wanted (14″ x 60″), we bought it, and we hung it up.
Of course you can tell Jen had fun putting some decorative stuff up there. I was excited just have more shelf space, because for me shelf space = storage space. Jen was excited because to her shelf space = storage space + a place to display pretty things. I am really satisfied with this shelf. It is an economy-level shelf, so these shelves could have scratches incidental to the manufacturing process. But we put ours high enough that it looks really good. Here is another artsy shot Jen took.
So, I heartily recommend Atlantic Metalworks stainless steel shelves to go over refrigerators in kitchens. If you want an immaculately beautiful wall shelf to be at eye-level, this might not be the best fit for you. But these shelves are superbly functional and inexpensive.
Good luck in whatever DIY endeavors you are planning.
Until later friends…
I have been a big fan of Buffalo Wild Wings for quite a while. Recently I went to the Buffalo Wild Wings at St. Matthews here in Louisville. I had a minor customer service complaint that I used the contact form on Buffalo Wild Wings.com. I received a call from the manager within an hour and a half (on a Sunday). I was really impressed with the level of service. The manager sent me some Parmesan Garlic Sauce (my favorite) and a gift certificate.
As it turns out, my original complaint was invalid (although understandable as many people have confirmed). I will not go into the exact details of the issues involved, because I don’t want tricksy people that may come across this post to try to take advantage of a business with solid customer service. Suffice it to say, the staff at Buffalo Wild Wings St. Matthews have proven to be very classy folk. I will be frequenting there throughout the football season as my budget allows.
So, here is my formal plea: If you live in Louisville, please go visit Buffalo Wild Wings St. Matthews. They are nice people, and I owe them a favor for accidentally gaming their sweet customer service.
Here is another reason why I love B-dubs:
Until later friends…
Remember the days when you learned about the quality of a restaurant either by going there or having a friend tell you about it? Those days of “word of mouth” restaurant reviews are long past.
Sites like Yelp make it possible for you to read reviews of restaurants from complete strangers. Some people rant and rave about how terrible their service was, others try to assume the air of a seasoned food critic, while still other folks talk about what they enjoyed. Yelp has forever changed how restaurants do business. Yelp has also made it possible for unethical people to attempt blackmailing restaurants into getting free meals. Other restaurants take on the bad Yelp reviewers like the one below.
Overall, people have a pretty good feel about when people are being honest and when they are just being jerks on Yelp. Trolls are usually easy to spot. Sites like Yelp provide great entertainment with people’s anonymous raging. One trend I have greatly enjoyed recently is the performance of Yelp reviews, such as this one:
The internet age has transferred the role of food critic from the guy with the newspaper, to anyone with a camera. We all have those Facebook friends that post pictures of what they eat all the time. I’d be willing to bet that 99.5% of their friends that are not their mothers do not give a rip about their food choices, but they continue to post. Our world of celebrity chefs and Food Network has spawned an entire culture of “foodies.” As a coffee snob, I have to be careful about generalizations of people like foodies. I appreciate their passion, but just as I am critical of coffee snobs that talk endlessly of coffee “notes,” I think foodies that evaluate PF Changs as if it were a 5-star restaurant need to take a chill pill. Just saying.
In this age of amateur food critics, every now and then a real gem arises. I believe this man is one of them (sorry for the language):
Five Guys Burgers and Fries is legit, but their marketing department could never have come up with something as wonderfully brand-building as this review, viewed over 2.1 million times (And autotuned brilliantly). I really want to go to Five Guys now. Happy dining to you all, and keep your food reviews classy.
Until later friends…
A long time ago I did a blog series on “The Life of a Restaurant Equipment Employee.” Most of my recent posts have avoided restaurant equipment talk, because I know that ya’ll really aren’t that interested. Yet, I think you’ll enjoy today’s post. Well, you might not be enthralled by it, but I bet you’ll learn something new. Plus, if you hang around till the end there might just be an entertaining Vanilla Ice video.
Have you ever considered the ice cubes in your drinks? You might not have, unless you are one of the many fans of “Sonic Ice.” Having worked in restaurant equipment for several years now, I have learned a thing or two about ice cubes. I will tell you about four different types of ice, including the mythical “Sonic Ice,” and I will tell you why different company’s choose to use different types of ice.
This is what we in the industry call Diced Ice. It is fairly straightforward. It is a rectangular, and it allows for a large amount of product in a cup. It’s chewability is not very high, because it is designed for cooling your drink – not chewing.
This is a Half-Diced ice cube. The Half-Diced Cube is half the size of the diced cube, thus, “Half-diced.” Many McDonald’s use Half-diced cubes. These cubes have more chewability than the diced cubes, but they also fill more of the cup and allow for less product. Thus, I always ask for less ice at McDonald’s, because Half-Diced ice does not allow you get as much Dr. Pepper or Sweet Tea in your cup as Diced would. Because a lesser amount of beverage can fit in a cup with half-diced cubes, restaurants often choose half-diced options in order to achieve a greater profit margin.
This is Flaked Ice. I find flaked ice to be quite annoying. Yes, it cools your drink, but due to the small size of the ice chips, it waters down your drink pretty quickly. I think the best use of flaked ice is giving pregnant women something to chew on when they’re in labor, or so I’ve heard. I really have no idea why a restaurant would use this type of ice, I really don’t like it.
This is Nugget Ice, or as most people where I come from call it, Sonic Ice. We all love this ice, because it is just so darn chewable. There are Facebook groups devoted to this chewable ice. Here’s a secret about nugget ice: customers love it because it’s good for chewing, restaurants love it because it allows them to give a customer around half the beverage they would have given if they used diced ice. This is why Sonic can afford to have their Happy Hour with half-priced drinks, because you only get about half a drink from them anyways. I don’t really consider this deception, because people go to Sonic partially for the ice, and I believe that most all of us are aware that we are losing some volume for chewable ice.
That’s probably more than you ever wanted to know about ice cubes. So, here is a fun Vanilla Ice related video to reward those of you that have made it this far.
Until later friends…
Recently a couple of my friends were trained in espresso equipment repair and maintenance. I was able to weasel my way into the training for a bit and learn a little more about espresso machines. It was fun getting to see the inner workings of both a super-automatic and an automatic espresso machine. You might not know or care that there are four different types of espresso machines, but I do (and so do about 13 of my friends).
I have been thinking awhile about the best way to explain the differences between the four types of espresso machines: Manual, Semi-automatic, Automatic, and Super Automatic. A parallel finally dawned on me this week – cars! So, today I will go over the four types of espresso machines and their parallels in automobile transmissions.
Manual Espresso Machine
The manual espresso machine is like the Lamborghini of espresso machines. It is classy, beautiful, and requires a fair bit of knowledge and work.
The manual espresso machine is the original espresso machine design. It uses a lever-action for preinfusion and extraction. The volume of water and length of extraction is manually controlled by the pull of a handle. So, in many ways the manual/lever espresso machine is like a sports car with a manual transmission. It takes extra work, but someone that knows what he is doing can really have a lot of fun with it.
Semi-automatic Espresso Machine
If the lever espresso machine is the Lamborghini of espresso machines, then the semi-automatic espresso machine can be compared to the Honda Prelude (not that it is a huge price dropoff, or less quality, but that it is easier to use).
I drove a Honda Prelude once and it had a transmission with an automatic clutch. With an automatic clutch, you can control the change of the gears without having to mess with an extra pedal. The semi-automatic machine allows the barista to control the the length of the extraction with a push of the button.
Automatic espresso machines can be compared to the Chrysler Pacifica. The Chrysler Pacifica has an automatic transmission, but if you are feeling particularly confident or sporty, you can switch to a manual transmission with automatic clutch (sometimes called a Slapshift).
The automatic espresso machine has multiple buttons representing numerous brewing settings. The barista needs only to grind, tamp, and press a button once and an espresso is made. If, however, the barista is feeling confident or sporty, she may use the semi-automatic push button to exhibit more control over the length of the extraction.
Super automatic espresso machines are like those crazy auto-pilot cars in the film Minority Report.
Super Automatic machines do all the work. All the waiter/server needs to do is push a button and the machine will grind and dispense. It is very much like a car that does all the driving, except with a super-automatic machine, if you don’t clean it every single day, it dies.
So, there you go. Those are the varying espresso machine versions and their parallel car transmissions. I hope this has been entertaining and informative for you. If not, visit again tomorrow for something completely different.
Until later friends…
Featured Espresso Machines
On Tuesday night I took Jennifer to Mikato. Jen loves sushi and hibachi, and I wanted to take her to get some of her favorite food as a sign of my appreciation for her immense patience throughout the semester. We’ve been to Mikato once before and enjoyed it. I’m not a huge fan of Asian food, but I can usually find some steak or chicken that i like. I do, however, enjoy watching the hibachi guy do his thing. If you’ve never had hibachi, you should go at least for the show. The chef slices and dices like a samurai and he catches things on fire like a 13 year old boy – very entertaining.
I was looking forward to seeing a guy exhibit his mad skills with a gas griddle. We get there and the host sat us down around the hibachi station. A lady came by and turned on the griddle to get it warming up. A little bit later she came back with our drinks and realized that the griddle was not warm. She informed the manager, who came to light the pilot light. He bent down near the griddle and BOOM.
All of the sudden I see a burst of fire and there is a middle-aged Japanese man on fire in front of me. He was wearing a sweater-vest, so the fire immediately burnt off all the lint on the vest, but thankfully none of his clothing caught on fire. His hair, however, was a different story. His hair was smoking and burning, and for a second he seemed unaware of this fact. Our waitress made him aware by beating the fire out of his hair. Thankfully burnt hair and wounded pride were the extent of his injuries. They moved us to a new hibachi station and we ended up having an authentic Japanese meal from a Mexican hibachi chef. The evening was good, and I was able to put the fireball out of my mind most of the time (except for the times when the manager would walk by with his new “burnt hair” scent).
So, moral of the story is: Hibachi guy wielding fire is fun; Hibachi guy on fire, not so much. Also, if your pilot light goes out, remember to turn the gas off.
Until later friends…
Recently my Norwegian-American friend dedicated a post to his mother and Vita-mix blenders. This got me thinking about blenders. Which of course made me think of the awesome marketing campaign by Blendtec, “Will it Blend?” Here are two examples for your viewing pleasure:
A little blending of my worst enemy from the Summer of 2010:
A sweet reference to my current favorite advertising campaign:
I don’t know much about Blendtec blenders. I know that they can grind an iphone, old spice, a hockey puck, and various other things you should never eat. I do, however, know that Vita-mix blenders are well beloved by leaf-eating hippies. Until later friends…
This is just a short post to wish my friend Stephanie at Lifeinfridge a happy retirement from restaurant equipment sales. May you have a long and happy life without answering questions about True Refrigerators, Grease Traps, or Stainless Steel.
Since today is Stephanie’s last day, it requires a Final Countdown:
Until later friends…
We went back down to Tennessee this weekend to hang out with my family. We went down Friday night to spend time with my parents, sister, and nephew. Saturday we got up early had breakfast and went to take my nephew to get his first haircut – pretty exciting.
Afterwards, we went to one of my family’s favorite restaurants in Goodlettsville, Chef’s Market. Chef’s Market is a cool little restaurant. The food is great – they cater a lot of fancy events (like my sister’s wedding). It’s kinda like an upscale cafeteria. There are a couple of heated display cases and a self-service drink station - with real sweet tea! The entree aspect of the restaurant is good, but my favorite aspect is the dessert area. They have both a fancy ice-cream merchandiser full of options, and then a refrigerated display case full of wonderful cakes. They also have a coffee area behind the desserts with assorted bins of flavored-over-roasted beans. They have a decent-looking coffee grinder, but they were running a small, residential, cheap plastic espresso machine. I considered telling the girl working the coffee area that they would be much better served by a Mypressi Twist, but she did not seem to have any purchasing power or influence – nor based on the coffee selection, did I think they would be interested in providing excellent coffee. On Saturday, we also hit a couple of yard sales – to no avail. We spent the rest of the day watching College Football, watching Rangers vs. Yankees, and playing Canasta. Sunday, we went to Long Hollow (which is a great church doing great things around the world like the Crazy Love Campaign.) After lunch and some board games, Jen and I headed back up here to Louisville. So, now starts another week of work and school. The semester is in the midst of craziness, but I will not be conquered by it.
Happy Monday everyone. This is the least tired I’ve been on a Monday morning in a long time. My Fall Break began Saturday, and as a result, I had a much more restful weekend than usual. So, this morning I am dedicating my post to an eatery we visited this weekend: Chick-fil-a.
Chick-fil-a is a small bastion of the South in this yankee city (Louisville). Jen and I were given some nice coupons for Chick-fil-a, so we went to eat lunch there on Saturday. I worked at a Chick-fil-a when I was in high school. I know what the inner workings look like behind the curtain. They are basically what you would expect: gas fryers, stainless steel tables, stainless steel sinks, a true solid door refrigerator, and the like. Like this guy, I love many things about Chick-fil-a. I love the sweet tea, I love the waffle fries, I love the many varieties of greasy chicken, I love the nice people that work there, and I love the boatload of coupons they give away all the stinkin time. One of these days, I hope to go to a Chick-fil-a opening and get a year’s worth of free Chicken sandwiches.
That is all for today. Until later friends…
- Why I love the South (Randomness)
- Stainless Steel Council Session 3: Finishes (Prima Restaurant Equipment)
- Cow Appreciation Day 2010: Dress Like A Cow, Get A FREE Meal From Chick-fil-A (huffingtonpost.com)