Searching For Terms In All The Wrong Places

It’s that time of year again folks: the time of year when I take my favorite search engine terms from the past few weeks and feature them here to the delight and amusement of…me.  And hopefully you.  We’ve got some doozies this time, so enjoy!

  1. should I buy a week’s worth of groceries?  I love questions like this.  Totally open-ended questions that divulge nothing whatsoever about your lifestyle, spending habits, cooking skills, number of mouths to feed or personal tastes, therefore almost guaranteeing that any possible answer that a search engine — or a person — could give you will be utterly useless.  Sure!  Buy a week’s worth of groceries!  Or don’t!  I just answered your question!  Whee!!!
  2. is pinkberry kosher for passover?  Although I incorporate a lot of Yiddish phrases into my everyday vocabulary as a result of having a whole lot of Heeb friends throughout my life and prefer Hebrew National hot dogs over any other brand, I don’t think that these two things qualify me as an expert on either Pinkberry or kosher food.  Also, here in Houston we’re blessed not to have Pinkberry in the first place.  We have TCBY, people.  Straight up. But in an effort to answer your question, Pinkberry is still a bit of a mystery.  If there’s any gelatin in it at all, then it’s not kosher, period.  During Passover or any other time.  Kosher means you can’t mix dairy and animal products, which means that yogurt containing gelatin would be non-kosher.  However, if it doesn’t contain gelatin, then you’re fine.  And it’s not made from grain and therefore wouldn’t be considered chametz.  …honestly.  You’re a really bad Jew for not knowing that…  I bet you didn’t get rid of all your chametz before Passover, either, did you, schmendrik?  Long story short: just eat some of this if you’re craving dessert during the Seder:  Cure for Passover blues.
  3. asperation dates on food?  I don’t even know where to begin with this question.  What are you asking?  Are you asking about “expiration” dates?  I hope so, because I wouldn’t know anything about mandated due dates for making food rough and uneven.  Either way, I’m pretty sure no one’s going to answer your question until you learn how to spell.
  4. how to slaughter a lamb on a farm?  Is this even your lamb to begin with?  That’s what concerns me here.  If you’re working on a farm, and that lamb belongs to you, you should bloody well know how to slaughter it without having to resort to Google.  Otherwise, you might want to find a new occupation.  If this isn’t your lamb, you have larger problems which are too numerous to address here.
  5. your can cep about happiness?  …yeah.
  6. rachael ray naked pics?  NO.  NO, NO, NO.  STOP ASKING.  Every single godforsaken day since I wrote this article, I’ve had this same question crop up at least three times per day.  Same goes to you creeps looking for naked Cat Cora pictures.  I mean, there’s food pr0n (the good kind, like this: use real butter) and then there’s me wretching in my mouth at the idea of boudoir photographs of Rachael Ray floating around out there somewhere on the internet.  SHE’S NOT EVEN CUTE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.  IT’S LIKE LOOKING FOR NAKED PICTURES OF A STOAT.

That’s it, folks.  To take a line from Jon Stewart and I’ve Got The Munchies, here’s your Moment of Zen:

FAIL

While this is not at all food-related (unless you’re my grandaddy’s friend Billy Garrett, who loves to eat possum), this made me nearly wet myself with laughter today:

Courtesy of the always hilarious Failblog.

Them’s Fightin’ Words

From the crazy, mixed-up files of…Macy’s and Consumerist:

Macy’s Confiscates Your Item Because Another Customer Wants It

Reader Dyan isn’t sure if she’s right on this one and wants to know if we think Macy’s owes her an apology. She was shopping at Macy’s last Saturday when she noticed a cast-iron pot on sale for $19.99. The display item was the last one in stock, so she asked if she could have it. An employee said she could, but before she could pay for the item the store’s manager stopped her and took the pot away because “another customer want[ed] it.”

Read on at the link above.

All I know (and all my poor friends and husband know, from witnessing my antics in stores and other public places) is that there is no way in hell that manager would’ve gotten away with that pot without a chunk of his ass missing from where I chewed it off.

I’ve been working since I was sixteen years old.  I’ve worked in the retail industry.  I’ve worked in the restaurant industry.  I’ve worked in call centers and I’ve worked in cafes.  My Day Job is in human resources.  And if there’s one thing that all these years of working have instilled in me, it’s this: there is no excuse for poor customer service.

Laziness is not an excuse.  A bad mood is not an excuse.  Being socially malformed is not an excuse.  Your customer is paying your wage, so whether you like it or not, you treat them like a fellow human being.  That’s all I’m saying.

Although it might be embarrassing to others around me, I don’t let people off easy when they’re rude to either me or my shopping/dining companions.  But I do realize that I’m definitely fighting an uphill battle: crappy customer service is winning, and we’re almost encouraging it.

What do you think?  Are Dyan and I making a big deal out of nothing?  Or are standards slipping?

Of course, there’s always the suggestion of one of the Consumerist’s readers: Lick the pot, thereby marking it as yours and putting the ball in the manager’s court.

The Shame, The Burning Shame!

I did something utterly embarrassing for lunch today. If you’d like to help me rid myself of the appalling amount of shame I have associated with this activity, you can read all about the dirty deed here:

Brie

There’s nothing like public atonement to cleanse one’s soul (and palate).

And for those of you wondering what I ate it with…a fork. Just a fork. No crackers, no fruit, no anything. A FORK.

*runs off sobbing*

The Breadipus Effect

“If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.” — Robert K. Merton

Fearmongering?  Or yet another sign of the times?  From the pages of today’s New York Sun, we find the following article:

Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket Of The World

Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

I can provide one of those anecdotal reports, come to think of it.  My colleague’s family (specifically, her parents from the Old Country) has taken to stockpiling bags of rice as a hedge against future shortages.  She came home from work the other night to find that her parents had piled fifteen bags of rice in the garage.

“Where did you get all this rice?  And why?” she asked, incredulous.

“Don’t you pay attention to news?  Rice will be gone soon!” they answered indignently.  “We save up now!”

“But fifteen bags?  It takes us, like, two months just to get through one.  You’ve bought two and half years’ worth of rice, Mom.  Really.”

“You’ll thank us when all your other friends are complaining they have no food!  You’ll thank us when everyone coming to you saying, ‘You so smart to buy rice when you still can!'”

To me, this story doesn’t say “ZOMG, we’re all running out of food tomorrow!!!!11!1!  Must stockpile cans of soup!!!!” as much as it says “self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Which brings me to ask the question: are we really, truly, honestly facing the prospect of Soviet-style bread lines, as The Independent erroneously tried to lead people to believe earlier this year?  Or is this simply another scare tactic employed by the media to sell more papers and generate more interest in the doom-and-gloom, apocalyptic scenarios that people have always so readily bought into?

Your call…

…and KUDOS to you if you caught that pun in the headline.  We’re officially best friends now.  Just FYI.

10th Annual Best Taste In Town

If you like to eat and you’re looking for something to do this Thursday night, then look no further:  the 10th Annual Best Taste In Town is being held Thursday from 5:30pm to 9:30pm at the Grand Houston Plaza Hotel on Kirby.

According to their website:

The popular Best Taste event is simply a “must-do” experience for all foodies. With a mouth-watering selection of tastes from numerous restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, and other food and beverage providers from the Greater Southwest Houston area, the 10th Annual promises to be bigger and better than ever.

The event will feature around 25 great restaurants and stores (well, “great” might be a little subjective, considering the inclusion of Aramark on the list).., including local favorites The Bombay Brasserie, Berryhill Tamales, Hungry’s Cafe & Bistro (a childhood favorite of mine that’s transferred nicely into adulthood) and the Texas Tamale Company.  Also present will be local brewers Two Rows and the multiple-award-winning Saint Arnold.

Tickets to the event are $30 and can be purchased at the Best Taste website.  Your ticket nets you the opportunity to sample food to your little heart’s delight and then vote for your favorites at the end of the evening.

Unfortuately, I won’t be able to attend since I have sinfonietta rehearsal that night (odd as it may sound, I do actually do other things besides eating…), so I’m counting on some of you social foodies to make it out there and report back.

Happy eating!

World Beer Cup 2008

The results from the prestigious 2008 Brewers Association World Beer Cup have been announced.  The squees of happiness that escaped my mouth upon seeing the number of winning Texas microbrews elicited a frightened series of barks from our poor dog, Daisy.  But…look!  We did good!

American-Style Wheat Beer

Silver:  Shiner Dunkelweizen, Spoetzl Brewery, Shiner, TX

Vienna-Style Lager

Gold:  Vienna Lager, The Covey Restauarant and Brewery, Ft. Worth, TX

German-Styler Hellerbock/Maibock

Bronze:  Rahr’s Bucking Bock, Rahr & Sons Brewing LP, Ft. Worth, TX

Strong Scotch Ale

Gold:  Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 4, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Houston, TX

…and my all-time favorite, the IPA that all other IPAs aspire to:

International Pale Ale

SilverSaint Arnold Elissa IPA, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Houston, TX

Squeeeeee!  Okay, so it’s only the silver this year.  But the fact that a small, local brewery like Saint Arnold placed twice in a competition this huge is amazing.  And it’s always heartening to see the beloved old warhorse, Shiner, make a showing.

If you live in the Houston area and you want to help the Saint Arnold guys celebrate, or just enjoy a few pints with some friends, the latest pub crawl is being held this coming Friday, April 25th in Midtown.  Details (i.e., approximate pub locations, since the pub crawls are always a little “mysterious”) haven’t come out quite yet, so sign up for their newsletter if you want to keep abreast of all the upcoming events.

If you don’t live in the Houston area, then toast your favorite winning entry with a pint of their finest and enjoy the sweet taste of prize-winning brew.

Bacon Chocolate-Chip Cookies: The New Frontier

Bacon can do many things; breakfast things, lunch things, dinner things, salad things, appetizer things, entree things…you name it.

But can bacon conquer the world beyond savory food?  Can bacon conquer dessert?

Dan Phillips says “yes.”  Behold his latest creation: the Bacon Chocolate-Chip Cookie with Maple-Cinnamon Glaze.

Will this cookie’s popularity destroy the demand for other cookies?  Will Snickerdoodles go the way of the dodo?  Or is this simply a delicious yet passing fad?

If you can’t decide, the fine folks over at Fark will certainly try and sway your opinion, with hilarious results.

What do you say?  Bacon cookies are go?

Hooterzula: The Newest Mashup?

According to local Houston restaurant guru, Cleverley, the downtown restaurant currently known as Zula is set to undergo some major changes.  Among them, according to emails between Cleverley and the restaurant’s management team:

The new concept is: Going to Zula is about fun, lifestyle & youth. It’s going to be sexy without being sexual.

Zula restaurant will appeal to women who want to feel sexy, exciting and edgy.

Zula is expecting to host more live shows such as Las Vegas shows, bikini shows, model contests, fashion shows, and the list goes on, every Friday and Saturday night after 10 PM.

Our girls are dressing in tight uniforms (similar to Hooter’s) but more upper class.

Wow.

Where to even begin?

How about here: Bikini contests?  Those uber-tacky relics of MTV’s Spring Break specials circa 1994 to 1996?  Model contests?  As in, I’m going to model some ugly, cheap lingerie from Erotic Cabaret?  Will Zula also have a champagne room with “specials” for their “VIP” clients?  Jesus.

And how is any of that “sexy without being sexual”?  If anything, their plans are overtly sexual.  The only more sexual thing I can think of is for Zula just to move their kitchen straight into Rick’s or Treasure’s and offer free steak nights on Tuesdays.  I’m not one to get all pearl-clutchy about our city’s massive trove of adult-oriented clubs — to each their own — but…this was a serious restaurant at one time.  And what they’re suggesting for their future plans has about as much “class” as the sticky floors of your local adult theatre.  Tacky, tacky, tacky.

And how, exactly, may I ask, will eating at Zula make me — as a woman and, from their very odd statements above, their target demographic — feel “sexy, exciting and edgy”?  First of all, I don’t go to restaurants looking for an “edgy” experience; I go for — gasp! — GOOD FOOD.  Atmosphere is always important, but I’m certainly not in the market for a “sexy” meal.  I don’t know.  Maybe that’s just me.

But second of all, how will eating while surrounded by dozens of scantily-clad women make me feel sexy?  That’s exactly what every woman wants: trying to have a nice meal, while their date is completely distracted by the Hooter’s style uniforms of the waitresses.  Yes, that’s what makes a woman feel sexy.  Well-done, Zula.

I’m not the only one who thinks these new “developments” bear a worrisome resemblance to a strip club, however.  Zula management itself makes sure to note:

Our guests will be comfortable going in there, but they are going to get a Girls Gone Wild experience. However, don’t expect anything too wild. There will be no stripping, topless waitresses or filming in the restaurant.  We don’t have any partners that are related to men’s clubs.

Methinks the restaurant doth protest too much…