We were in Borders yesterday, and I picked up a book called Encyclopedia of Dogs, or somesuch. I immediately flipped to the border collie section, and was laughing about how they’re known for being able to stare other animals into submission.
They’re bred for herding, and use their intense stare to help get the job done. And, I know, they also employ it to get part of the hamburger you’re eating for dinner, and some of the potato chips you’re holding in your hand, and to take a walk after the begging has been completed. Oh, Andy can burn smoldering holes through you with his stare.
But then I saw something on the page that made my heart sink. It said “Average lifespan: 12 to 14 years.” Andy will turn 10 this summer, and the thought of him not being around makes me sad. His breath smells like an open grave, he’s sometimes annoying, and he’s pretty much wrecked the love seat in our living room. But I’m still very fond of that hound; he’s a great friend.
Stupid encyclopedias and all their facts… They should’ve just titled it The Big Book of Your Dog is Going to Die! Thanks a lot, assholes.
Sorry I’ve been AOL for the past few days. Or is that AWOL? I’m not sure. In any case, I’m having problems which I’ll tell you about once they’re fully resolved. Today, maybe? It’s possible. The good news is it’s nothing medical; I don’t have ball cancer, or anything like that. At least not that I know about.
It’s about the book… and Apple… and the paperback. I think we’re near the end, though. But you guys know how crazy this kind of stuff makes me. It hasn’t been pretty.
The Feelies are releasing a new album on Tuesday. I always liked them, and knew they’d been playing shows together again, but had no idea about a new record. This is the first one since 1991. And I’m gonna be all over that thing like a mama’s boy on a Cinnabon.
I saw the Feelies during their original run, at the Pterodactyl in Charlotte, and it was jangle-pop heaven. One of the more memorable shows of my life, and I’ve seen a ridiculous number of them. Any other Feelies fans out there? I’m not sure there are too many of us left at this point.
Over the weekend I wanted some Dogfish Head 60 Minute Ale, which might very well be my favorite beer, and couldn’t find a six-pack anywhere. During two days I visited three stores looking for it, and all of them were out. What the hell, man?
On Saturday we returned to Wegmans, and some guy asked if we needed help. So, I asked what was going on with the Dogfish Head, and he said the company just expanded their distribution area, and isn’t keeping up with demand. Suddenly, it’s hard to find, he explained. So, some new guy in a new place is drinking my beer? I don’t care for it.
I was going to grab some Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, which is also fantastic, but they didn’t have my second-choice, either. I ended up with Weyerbacher Hops Infusion. It’s good, but not in the upper tier of greatness.
It was a frustrating experience. I think the Dogfish Head shortage has caused an upheaval in the beer snob universe. Not only can you not find their 60 Minute Ale, but the problem also effects the standard substitutions. There are no great IPAs! Where are the great IPAs?!
We went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner on Saturday, and I’m prepared to name it as my favorite chain restaurant. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad meal there. Everything seems really fresh and high-quality, and it just feels like a cut above most such family-style steak joints.
Or am I way off? What’s your favorite restaurant chain? Is there one that stands out? I know a lot of them are mediocre, or worse, but a few are pretty damn good – every single time.
If you have anything on this subject, please use the comments link below.
And if you haven’t yet purchased a copy of Crossroads Road for your Kindle or Nook, please do so today. I’m hoping the paperback will be available within hours from now, but the way things have been going… I wouldn’t bet the fat farm on it. Grrr….
I’ll see you guys again tomorrow.
Have a great day.
Damn you, Josh! Second. Rats
I, also, to my knowledge, don’t have ball cancer. So I’ve got that going for me.
Joe T. says
My problem is I have no balls. 5 Guys would be my pick for my favorite chain restaurant. As for a substitute IPA, Terrapin Hopesecutioner is a good one and I know you can get it at Wegmans.
Phil Jett says
Zzzzzzzzzz Barely awake. Our Texas Roadhouse is okay. They still have peanuts and we get decent coupons in the mail so we will stop in once a month.
As to the QOD, my choices:
The Post House at Greyhound
Of course, it’s been a while since I’ve been out.
Not Oprah says
jtb, if I’m ever in your area,I’ill take you out.
I got this off of Fark. it explains a little about the beer shortage. http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_17806658
I’m with you on Texas Roadhouse. I’d say it’s my go-to chain restaurant. I love their ribs. When I go there, I usually wind up looking like a hyena gnawing on a zebra carcass. I usually go after the full rack so “I’ll have some for leftovers tomorrow.” Rarely happens. I usually eat on them until I have tears in my eyes from the pain. Does that sound like a problem?
Fat Dave says
Yeah, the stuff with Dogfish Head is causing a tempest in a pint glass at my local beer snob bar. Also, the folks that bought the rights to Snow Goose haven’t decided if they’ll make any more, so the bartender/owner keeps advertising “last keg of Snow Goose.” He’s probably got fifty of them in the cellar. I think it’s just a ploy.
My wife and I love our Texas Roadhouse. The price is reasonable, and I’ve consistently had better steaks there than in the Morton’s of Chicago of Richmond, or whatever it’s called.
If you are ever in the Atlanta area again, Sweetwater has a very decent IPA.
Yes they do. My personal favorite of all. Fiercely love the IPA and 420. The Georgia Brown–not so much.
I love Texas Roadhouse – it’s an every-other-week staple on Tuesday nights (Kids night, where the kids eat for a buck and Andy the Armadillo walks around and high-5’s everyone). It’s a great deal. We’ve been going with this schedule for about two years now, and they have yet to disappoint. My bill is around $25 bucks for me and my twin 11 year-old bottomless pit boys, and we all eat steak. Good steak. And potatoes. Sometimes even veggies and other healthy stuff. Can’t beat it!
Our Australian Shepard is 12 this year and still going strong. They’re even shorted-lived that border collies, so maybe Andy will be around for a few more years.
The nearest Texas Roadhouse is about 330 miles away. I drive a Honda Odyssey that gets about 23 MGP on the highway, and the route is virtually all highway. I think there might be an Indian casino in the vicinity of the TR, and I hold myself to lose no more than 50 bucks a day at a casino.
I don’t know anyone in the area of theTR, so I would need a motel should I need to spend the night. No sleeping in the van with my bad back.
Do you have time to run a CBA for a potential foray into Idaho to eat several TR meals, assuming I apply all reasonable discounts to the check? And let’s assume this is a quick trip so we need not present value assets or cash flow back to the beginning of the trip.
And what if I get lucky and am able to share the costs on the way back?
OK, I guess you’re too busy to run the numbers, but you might have your kids take a look at them sometime and see what they think. They seem to like TR.
In view of the offer, there’s not much doubt about you getting lucky.
Based on the information at hand, and basic assumptions about the average price of gas in your neck of the woods, you would have to enjoy the hell out of more than a couple $7.99 early bird specials to justify the approximate $187.63 in excursion expenses. One can only hope the folks at TR anticipate the obvious need and provide an eatery closer to your point of origin in a reasonable time frame. As a spend thrift, and after careful cost benefit analysis, I can’t see any justification in you taking yourself to them…no matter how good the grub. UNLESS…1) you are feeding multiple people which were not previously disclosed or 2) you have reason to be in the vicinity of the nearest inconvenient location for another purpose, thereby killing two birds with one stone.
Best of luck to you in your pursuit of a really good cheap steak!
Thanks for the info. Where in the world were you when I was looking for somebody to help me run CBAs and Risk analyses on hundreds of enterprise and departmental software products through the 80s and 90s? Just based on this small interaction, I can tell you have a better head for these things than the bozos in Corporate Accounting I was stuck with.
Based on your recommendation, I will wait for the mountain to come to Mohammad.
Texas Roadhouse is also ones of my top tier chains. I get a bowl of their green beans everytime we go, and drink the bacon-y wonder juice left in the bowl after the beans are gone.
Bill in WV says
Me and the missus have grown fond of Logan’s Roadhouse. Never had a bad meal or service there. Now, the Texas Roadhouse here is pretty nasty. The last (and probably final) time we ate there, my steak had the consistency of trying to chew up a bag of rubber bands. Plus, the place looked filthy and appeared as if they had held a speed-painting competition in there one evening. There was paint all over the woodwork, baseboards, door facings. We couldn’t believe it. Plus, our waiter worked on her schedule, not ours.
Drug Delivery Guy says
TR is my daughter’s favorite and one of mine too. We go there when it’s her choice. My wife says she usually gets an average meal. It’s her way of controlling the situation, but she usually doesn’t win. Yes, democracy! Besides the steak, I also have had the two boneless pork chops with either mashed taters or rice and steamed veggies. Always excellent.
I want my paperback! I blew it with the signed copies, thinking I had plenty of time. Typical.
Yes! The Feelies- The Good Earth was a major developmental album for me. I’ll have to dust it off and see if it still has the same effect. Thanks for that heads up.
I finished Crossroads Road over the weekend. I’d read another one, what else you got?
Swami Bologna says
Feelies fan here, too. Saw ’em three times in the 1989/1990 era. Excellent all three times. Wasn’t aware of a new album on its way, I’ll definitely be pre-ordering it on Amazon. Thanks for the heads-up, Jeff.
Son of Sam says
I like Outback for chain p[laces and fgeel the same as you. Never bad meal there.
Outback’s Filet with Wild Mushroom Sauce is really good.
Son of Sam says
What the fuck did I say?
There isn’t a Texas Roadhouse near me here in Alabama. I once had an idiot tell me, with a straight face, that the best steak house was “Ryan’s Family Steak House.” There’s still one open here, barely, but I noticed they’ve removed all “steak house” references from their signs.
We ate at Chili’s yesterday. It was a kick in the balls, as usual. I don’t know why we bother to go back. I guess we forget how bad it was the last time. The waitress was a cute little brunette, and very good. That was the only part about the experience that didn’t suck.
There’s a place here called “Santa Fe” and it’s similar to Texas Roadhouse. They have great food. I’ve never had a bad plate there.
I have to say, and this might not be popular, but Rhett Lobsta and Olive Garden have rarely disappointed us. You guys can have all the lobster you want. I hate it. I know I’m supposed to love it, but it taste nasty. Crab is okay though.
My mother in law took us to Logan’s Steakhouse when we went to visit and that was pretty fun. Another time she took us to Sonny’s BBQ which was outstanding. But I’ve only been to these places once. Not a chain-restaurant patron.
I love me a good diner!
Son of Sam says
I thought Sonny’s was a small chain in Florida? I’ve seen them there and want to stop sometime. I loves the BBQ.
It is in FL- too bad my MIL moved – that place was damn good. She now lives in Indiana in a town that is wall to wall chain restaurants.
I can’t go with the crowd on Texas Roadhouse. They put Waaaaaaayyyy too much salt on and in everything. Try ordering a baked potato. Crusted in salt. Side of green beans? Soaked with bacon. Steak? Salt rubbed. I mean, just how much profit margin do they have on the 6 iced teas it takes me to get through dinner?
We had a TR open within the last year about a mile from my house. Of course it was always packed during the first few months. My daughter’s school holds fundraisers there. We bring in a flier and they donate 10% of those orders to our school. We’ve made about $200 off those so far. My son loves the peanuts and being able to throw the shells on the floor.
The best steakhouse I’ve ever been to is “Matt’s Steakhouse” between Rolla and Waynesville, MO.
I can’t describe it other than it is the best steak I’ve ever had; over Bobby Flay, Emeril, and Wolfgang’s eateries, as well as any of the other good and great local steak joints.
T. Farty McAppleass says
The best steaks are dry aged. Much more expensive, but worth it.
Son of Sam says
This man knows his meat.
In that case, for a “chain” restaurant, Ruth’s Chris’ steakhouse is delicious but be prepared to leave a month’s mortgage.
T. Farty McAppleass says
That’s right. Ruth’s Chris serves dry aged steaks. They’re great!
Joe T. says
Forgot they were a chain restaurant. They don’t have any of that “chaininess” and assorted shit hanging from the walls.
Only in the southeast, Texas and Arizona, but still a chain, Mellow Mushroom pizza. Unbelievably awesome and many different varieties.
They closed down the Texas Roadhouse here, because the seniors didn’t like the “young feel” of the place.
Sonny’s is ok, depending on whether the cook that knows how to cook the shit is there.
I used to like Outback until my son started to eat like I do. The bill was easily near 100 dollars at that point and I don’t go there anymore, unless it’s just me and Child Bride.
And, A & W was good for a chain in WV. I think it was the chili they used to use. I moved to FL and the fucking chili, at the one in the mall, had beans in it and it ruined it all for me. Why would you want beans on your six hot dogs?
Applebee’s serves babies mixed drinks. Google that if you want.
Someone keeps pressing me to try a Caesar Pizza at Mellow Mushroom. It looks like a pizza with a goddamn Ceasar salad atop it. I can’t get into it. I don’t want to blow my wad on something that isn’t good. Have you ever had the salad pizza I’m talking about?
I had it. It was great. Anything they make there is great. Didn’t sound good to me at first, but after a couple of shovelfuls, I was ready to order another one.
I forgot about Mellow Mushroom. We had one near our house in the Atlanta ‘burbs, and it was indeed fantastic. There was a slight hippie feel to the place, but they made a damn good pie.
Then I’m in. I’ll get one tomorrow and eat the whole damn thing. By myself.
I’m never eating at an Applebees and it has nothing to do with them serving kids booze.
Something has been bugging me about this booze to toddler story. They said the margarita mix was mis-lableed Apple Juice. OK, but since when does the MIX have booze in it? That’s like saying all the orange juice behind the bar already has vodka in it.
No, I want to SEE the booze being poured into my drink. I don’t want to second guess that there may or may not be booze in the “mix.”
Yes, the Mushroom! I ate there most nights for most of last summer, and am now a proud member of the Beer Club. The MM in Charlottesville has 39 taps. While they do indeed make a great pizza, the subs don’t suck either. Try the “Brutus” salad too.
I did an email interview last week with Mark Maynard, about Crossroads Road, and he posted it today:
I also received some rare good news this morning, and the paperback should be available at Amazon within a day or two. I’ve flipped the switch on it, but it takes a while for it to populate at the site.
And Apple even emailed me, which is progress. Of course their email had a shitload of legal documents attached. Good god. I’m about to wash my hands of that outfit.
Iffin I buy one of yo paperbacks, you be willin to sign it iffin I send it to ya?
Bill in WV says
Good stuff !
Texas Roadhouse is like eating a salt lick..I swear I shrivel up after eating there! Codys Original Roadhouse is the way to go
his breath smells like an open grave LMAO i love it
Alice in WV says
any TRs that I’ve been to have sucked. I’ve never had a bad experience at Cheddar’s, tho.
So many laugh out loud moments in Crossroads Road, for anyone who is wondering. Many of those moments required re-reading the paragraphs cause I laughed hard through it – the kind of laughing where I close my eyes and throw my head back.
now for my own self-promotion – did I already tell you guys that my wallpaper company received two pages in WV Living? sorry if I’m repeating myself, but I’m pretty pleased by it.
I need the exposure, especially after I just lost my day job today. I’m better off away from the poison pit. but – damn! My husband started his 2nd week of his 8 week radiation treatment for prostate cancer @ Johns Hopkins. We’ll be okay but he does NOT need to be worrying about me or our finances.
Holy shit, Alice. Good for you on the wallpaper thing. Sorry to hear about the husband and the job. Hope you get a big boost from the WV Living spread.
I’m gettin me some palm wax candles!
Hope your husband makes a speedy recovery. Good news about the WV Living spread. Maybe your job lss is a sign that better things are to come?
Alice: I wish your husband good health and speedy recovery. Sounds like you are staying strong for him. Xoxo. And congrats on the magazine spread!! That is something to be proud of! You know the old saying…when God closes a door, he opens a window….
Son of Sam says
That my friends is some shitty stuff. Alice got any Company info or web site?
Click her name. It’s
Son of Sam says
Alright I’m an asshole what of it? Just clicked your name and got to the site.
I am generally not a fan of chain restaurants. There are so many great independent places to try! However, I defy you to get a bad meal at Cracker Barrel. It is awesome and under appreciated in my opinion.
I agree with everything you said.
Lee Harvey Ramone says
Another vote for Cracker Barrel here. Also: Waffle House. I don’t eat at chain places very often, so I don’t really know which other ones might be good.
I also used to enjoy the Mellow Mushroom when I lived in Athens, GA.
Mmmmmmmm……. cheese grits.
Never been to Texas Roadhouse, there isn’t one anywhere near me. I am a bit fan of Longhorn Steakhouse. Love places where they give you fresh, hot, good bread and baked sweet potato is a standard side (no additional charge and it is nice to get fillet mignon without my wallet totally exploding.
The Ryan’s here just closed. Food was terrible. Everything tasted the same, like cardboard. They got what they deserved.
WB in OH says
Is Skeeter’s still in Atlanta? That was a favorite chain back in the day when I got to Atlanta a couple of times a year. Of course, it may have something to do with the fact that my friend knew the manager and he always comped our meal provided we tipped the help well. We always tipped about the cost of the meal, so the waitresses always treated us like gold.
What was their filet called? Aunt something?
This weekend I went to Cincinnati to help a friend with some electrical work. The big baby was afraid to put the circuit breakers in and wire them up for fear he might get electrocuted. Anyway for my efforts he took me to the Montgomery Inn, I’m not sure if 4-5 locations in the greater Cincy area qualify as a chain but it was okay. They really proud of their sauce, I like it brushed on not poured on. I had the shrimp and ribs combo, the shrimp came with a plum and mustard sauce, I had trouble wrapping my head around but my friend reassurred me if I liked spicy, I would like it. It was eye watering, nasal opening delicious. I need to find that mustard. It was that good! LOL I would definately give the place another try.
Also, no complaints with TR.
I just read Mark Maynard’s interview. Jeff mentions he’s been doing thewvsr for 10 freakin’ years!!
I went back through the archives to see when I first started reading thewvsr. The best I can figure out is about the time of the “HOA and the gargoyle” story . [My lunch hour just ain’t long enough for full-on research]
Can anyone place that story in time for me?
Bill in WV says
Ask AWG, it was his story from hell.
That was in 2002.
Wow. Jeff’s been killing my productivity for nine years.
I’m at a Tower of Power show right now, waiting for the show to start. I’ve never seen these guys before; really looking forward to it.
Favorite chain restaurant right now is Red Hot and Blue.
We used to love Outback until they changed their menu and took off some of their more popular choices. Their french onion soup was killer. Gone. Wtf? I like Rhett Lobster. Never had a bad meal there. Haven’t been to Ruth’s Chris since Hector was a pup because I would have to blow the chef as partial payment.
bikerchick, I can cook a mean, well-seasoned porterhouse!
Is it just Outback or will other restaurants take blow jobs as partial payment? I try to be thrifty, so this form of payment would open up a lot of options for me.
Laugh at The Post House at Greyhound chain if you want, but if you gave them cash and a blow job, they’d consider the cash the “partial payment”.
There are similar ways to reduce fares on most routes. The largest discounts are for night trips, when everybody’s asleep but you and the driver. Many lovely, successful women have “discovered America” for just a few dollars a day by “going Greyhound”. I’m still waiting for them to hire some women drivers so I can get discounts too. I’ve been waiting 45 years, but I’m patient.
Jesus, Barbie, you really crack me up.
Big Bear in OH says
I’m a big fan of some chain restaurants, most have already been mentioned, but I’ll run through them real quick with comments.
Cheddar’s–Best burgers under five bucks anywhere. Also, chicken fingers and honey mustard is ridiculously good, as are the fish tacos and the chicken caesar pasta salad.
Sonny’s BBQ–Pretty damn good for chain bar-be-que. See also Hoggy’s and City Barbecue. All three are good solid chain bbq choices.
Frickers–Really large chicken wings. Always has hot waitresses, and usually has every game you want to watch on all the TV’s.
Cracker Barrel–I never have a bad meal at cracker barrel, but I always feel like the food is directed at the AARP crowd, as everything on the menu is soft. Always a safe bet though.
Jed’s–The place has the word balls on everything, but the balls are pretty damn good. Also, known for hot waitresses and the fact that you are required to say balls when you order at some point, usually.
The pinnacle of my personal eating joints though, is one that combines my love of automobiles, chicken wings and ridiculous bar food….Quaker Steak and Lube. This is my mecca, and I try to stop if I see one. Between the appetizers and the weekday wing buffet, I can’t get enough. Also, there are typically tv’s in the bathroom floor and in front of urinals and behind mirrors. I like that.
And now I feel like a true fatty.
Rat Bastard says
I pretty much avoid chain restaurants when possible. However — in keeping with my cheapshit spending habits (brought on by necessity, of course) — if I have to, my vote is for Taco Bell. They can whip up an acceptable bean soft taco for next to nothing. Drown two of those fuckers in about 10 packets of fire sauce and you are set for the day. If you are well stocked in cheap beer and extras, that is.
My order is usually “to go,” of course; eating in chain restaurants is more depressing than buying chain restaurant food.
I thought I was the only person who could sing the praises of Taco Bell’s cheap shit, that tastes OK. Once this diet contest is over, and I collect my 380 dollahs, a visit to the Bell is in order to get 6 crunch wrap burritos. Fire sauce is the way to go.
Yeah, I don’t get that “buying chain restaurant food” in the grocery store. It’s over priced (I’m looking at you, Hooter’s Chicken Wing Breading mix) and not nearly as good unless a bimbo is serving it to you.
I have to agree with you, AWG – I’ve seen those TGIF appetizers in the frozen food section and I’m thinking – “OK, well, fine, but who the hell has a hot oil vat with a basket and the oil at a rolling 350 degree boil to make it taste even remotely the same?”
No, what you get is something that can be stuck in a toaster over that will be a little crispy and in the same neighborhood as what you may have remembered.