Thursday, June 26, 2014

another restaurant review

After the smashing success of the last restaurant review, I thought it necessary to throw up another one. You may have noticed my PUMPY mention of our wedding anniversary from a recent HUMP DAY PUMP UP. Well that glorious day came. And with it came a review-worthy restaurant experience.

A quick review of that anniversary though, in story form (note the names have been changed): Turd dates Pretty Future Doctor. Turd marries Pretty Doctor. Turd and Pretty Doctor have their first child who unexpectedly was born a cat. Turd celebrates four years of marriage to Pretty Doctor.

Before heading out for dinner, we exchanged gifts. I had a local florist produce a close approximation of Heckyeahwoman's wedding bouquet - based on facebook wedding pictures, my MiL's floral expertise, and luck. It turned out awesome; she was PUMPED. I was gifted two (2) bottles of my favorite beverage: malort. The first, Jeppson's, I am intimately familiar with. The second, Baska Snaps, I had been wanting to try, and did immediately upon opening. Both wonderful.

Our first stop was at the new(ish) wine bar, Splash, where we were greeted by a virtually empty, dark room and what would become an annoying bartender. I sampled a $7 malbec and my wife tried the 'tender's suggestion, Cigar Red Zin. Both delicious, though hers was not as enjoyable due to the bartender repeatedly yammering on about how it's his favorite wine.

When people to whom I can't relate enjoy the same things that I enjoy, I tend to enjoy them less.

Quick question, do you want to be served wine by a 21 year old surfer-brah in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in a wine bar, where he won't shut up, and the only reason he's not wearing board shorts is because he already been written up twice by management for wearing them to work? Do you? Me neither.

So we split after one glass each.

Next up was local restaurant, Mona Lisa's. We haven't been there for over ten years, though it had been ten years since we'd lived in Eau Claire. If I remember right, we went there for Heckyeahwoman's 19th birthday a long time ago (ha not that long ago, I swear!). My parents took me there one time when they were up visiting too, but they got me loaded on wine so the details aren't totally clear.

It was a Thursday night and the place was pretty packed, but not too packed for a local celebrity and his beautiful wife to get a VIP seat, so that was nice. At first I thought their shitty paper menus were shitty, but I was later informed that they change frequently due to availability of local food and seafood, so that was sweet. Menus in general though, so gross, with gross people putting their gross hands all over them.

Heckyeahwoman kicked things off with a glass of some type of red wine, and I was pleased to see they had Left Hand's Nitro Milk Stout on tap. Love that beer. The drinks came relatively quickly.

The menu itself was great looking. Italian food is funny, I never get PUMPED about eating it, but when I'm there, nomming hard as shit, the PUMP always seems to find me. The menu, with a great selection of seafood, got the PUMP going right away. Scallops, shrimp, other critters of the sea, all over the pasta. Hard choices were made that night, but in the end, they were the right choices, as we will soon see (sea?, sorry).

Heckyeahwom'n was torn between a few items, but went with the Seafood Rockefeller, and COTDAMM was it good. Aside from being creamy and (probably, I think) savory, the white sauce had a smokey flavor to it, while the scallops in the dish were almost knuckle size, no joke. Her tortellinis were cheese filled and cooked perfectly. Really great choice, doctor. Upon much deliberation, I went with the Seafood Ravioli. And delightfully shockingly, it was more seafood than ravioli, even though the raviolis were massive. I couldn't take a bite without packing my fork fulla various water-dwelling insect treats: scrimps, scallops, a white fish that didn't taste fishy at all, and I think calamari of the unbreaded variety. Stupid good, I literally couldn't wait to eat the leftovers.

The dinner concluded with the server bringing our forgotten glass of wine, that we had to chug before leaving, cause, as we say in the Heckyeah-household, "PAPA'S GOTTA TALK TO THE TURLET NOW".

Friday, June 20, 2014

are rookie quarterbacks automobiles?

A recent ESPN article about rookie quarterbacks asks why a team wouldn’t start one of the three drafted in the 2014 first round immediately. The author goes so far as to analogize these rookies with a new car: you don’t let the car sit in the garage until it gets better. If you’re brain is functioning at all today, you should see the misguided thinking there.

Maybe a better analogy would be: you don’t ride a bike with flat tires. A finely tuned bicycle with all componentry dialed in is much the same as a fully prepared quarterback, rookie or veteran.

Obviously then, why would you just throw a rookie quarterback to the wolves after a short offseason? I’m not a football player, coach, strategist, or anything associated with professional football, other than an average, somewhat fair weather fan. Note that I should do a piece defending my stance as a self-described fair weather fan.

A lot of things can happen from the minute a draft concludes to opening kickoff, that would prevent a rookie QB from starting. From injury, contract disputes, dickhead behavior, to laziness, your rookie QB may not be ready. Whatif his surrounding team is crappy? What’s up Jags?

Going from college to the pros is a huge transition: it’s faster and more complex. Take any person, a world class athlete or a world class intellectual, and when things get faster and/or more complex, there is a period of adaptation. The length of that adaptation and how it affects the rest of the team is the measure we’re looking for. Obviously, a shorter, less adverse adaptation would signify a quarterback that is positioned to succeed in the NFL over the long term.

How many rookie quarterbacks come out in their rookie season and blow minds? Maybe that’s not the expectation, but not a whole lot. Recent success stories include Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. Andrew Luck is a very smart dude that just looks really fucked up, but he has a turnover problem. Russell Wilson is a product of his system that doesn’t ask a whole lot of him, and he’s quite handsome. Though you will not be soon confusing those guys for Manning, Brady, or Rodgers.

It will be interesting to see these guys improve as their teams lean more (Wilson) and less (Luck) heavily on them to win games.

Often times there is no question about plugging a first rounder right into the starting lineup at any other position, and I don’t see why a quarterback should really be judged any differently. If you're ready, you're ready. Though with quarterback as arguably the most important position on the field, playing with your expensive new toy just because it is an expensive new toy is not the best strategy for sustainable success.

It can be telling though when that shiny, new toy is the best tool for the job, meaning the other QBs on the roster are seen as inferior compared to a first rounder fresh out of college. Lol, Vikings and Jags.

Note that Aaron Rodgers sat behind one of the best QBs of all times, and he is now the greatest QB of all time, just sayin’.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

a restaurant review

Last Thursday night Heckyeahwoman and I tried Bug Eyed Betty's Half Moon Saloon, a newer restaurant here in Eau Claire.

In May 04, when I was just leaving college, we had a graduation lunch at Boston's, as it was newly opened (and built). Pretty decent food. Then eight years later when we moved back to Eau Claire, Boston's had become Broadway's Pizza. As Broadway's was usually at least semi-full, I was surprised to see that place was gone and it is now Bug Eyed Betty's.

We like trying new restaurants, and that combined with a few positive things I've heard on facebook, we decided to give it a try.

The night started out like any other: with cold beer. So that was good.

The menu looked pretty interesting. I went with a burger that allegedly had kimchi on it, along with spicy pickles, and pork belly, cooked medium; I was PUMPED. Heckyeahwoman went with a burger that had pulled pork. While we were thinking similar things, both ordering burgers, we soon hit a fork in the road when she went with the plain french fries, and I coughed up the buck fifty to upgrade to GARLIC FRIES! HECK YEAH!

Despite the restaurant being less than a third full, we still waited a good half hour for our food. Not to sound all 'Merican, but that seems a little long. Nevertheless, when you're in public with a 10/10 total #SmartBabe, you don't complain about being seen in public with that 10/10 total #SmartBabe. So we waited.

Then the food arrived.

The fries had that gilded deep fried appearance that induces the NOMs, with tiny minced chunks of garlic hanging for dear life onto each individual fry. Not to mention the deliciously visible garlic sauce that ignited my inner hunger so furiously. They truly looked amazing. A quick taste proved me dead wrong as they were simply, "meh".

We traded a couple fries, and surprisingly, Heckyeahwoman's were better. As a french fry connoisseur, I know a good goddamn french fry, and these garlic-flavored shits weren't it.

Time for the main course - burgers!

That first delicous bite was inches from my face, a mere weiner-length; I could taste it! And there it is, CRUNCH(!), the surprisingly, super bummer of a first bite: this burger is waaayyyy well done. CHARRED AS FUCK. The pork belly might as well have been a thin strip of charcoal. My burger was a hockey puck turd of a patty. Now there was a time in my life when I would have appreciated the broilerdude killin' my meat, but those times have long since passed.

And the kimchi? THE FUCKING KIMCHI? It was pickled pink shit. I don't know what the pink shit was or is, but every time I've had kimchi, it has never looked or tasted like pickled pink shit. Shoot, when I was in my mid-40s, I lived in Korea, and had I tried to pass this off as anything other than pickled pink shit, they woulda lynched me. Nice bait and switch there.

In case you're wondering, I ate half my burger and fries there, then brought the rest home for dinner the next night. Heckyeahwoman's meal was pretty great - her burger was prepared correctly. The pork was juicy and flavorful and the burger itself wasn't way overcooked.

But what really gets my goat here, what really chaps my ass is the service. Our waiter came over twice (2 times) to check on our food, and somebody else came over again, and all three (3) times we were asked about the food, and every time I looked him in the eye, and gave him a bummed out "eh, it's OK".

And all three (3) times both dudes got huge smiles on their faces, and replied with a super-PUMPED, "AWESOME!"

Again, hate to sound all 'Merican, but mediocre is not awesome.

I can't wait to try the next restaurant at this location in six months.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Yo it's not even nine in the aye em and I am straight prairie-dogging like a boss.

Not a PUMPY way to start the day, but you know what? The PUMP will get me through. #RealTalk

That said, I went on an awesome two and a half week trip, by plane and train, to Arizona, Colorado, Chicago, and back. Maybe we'll have a little write up on that soon. But not today. Nah, today is all about the PUMP. Not that the trip wasn't PUMPY, it was, but lettuce let tradition dictate how we receive the PUMP UP, and it's gotta be with PUMPY JAMS.

This first PUMPJAM comes to you from the fine people in a band called Martyr AD. It's so heavy and brutal that this low end got my bowels a-rumblin'.

Man, it's finally for real summer, and fun stuff is getting planned like cray. Not to mention that the last I've heard of this Donald Sterling nonsense is just from seeing my last post when I logged into MY BLOG to post this PUMP UP.

This weekend Heckyeahwoman is heading out of town for a couple days, and the only good that will come out of that is her not seeing my embarrassing, but temporary, descent into a buffalo wing-gobbling, biking, unshowered, whiskey drinking weekend warrior shithead. But when she gets back, we have fun stuff going on for the foreseeable future.

Kicking off that foreseeable future is this fast paced brutal JAM of PUMP:

Coming up in mid-June is our wedding anniversary! That should (and will be) a HUMP DAY PUMP UP all to itself. Somehow convincing a total babe to marry me (and stay married to me) will forever be my crowning LIFEPUMP achievement.

Then that weekend a bunch of friends are coming into town for a weekend full of debauchary.

After that, there is a huge local bike race, and that should be a blast. Probably won't be racing, will be busy as PUMP making sure it is awesome for everybody. Funny, I was the race director for a local snowbike and snowshoe race in February, and while I was totally dreading it, it would up being an absolute blast.

After that, we're heading to Michigan for a long weekend of fuckin' freedom and booze.

After that, Minneapolis, here we come as the Rays are coming to town to FUCKING DESTROY THE SHITHEAD VIKINGS/TWINKS WHATEVER.

After that, I turn like 47.

Somewhere in there we'll sneak in a nice dinner on the lake - an awesome gift from my Dad and Stepmom.

We may even try to sneak in a trip to New York City and Boston. Note that as an uncultured rube, I don't believe in big cities or metropolitan areas.

Dogg I got a haircut appointment this Saturday to get that crucial summer cut. Just ordered some sick road bike tires. Gonna throw them shits on my cross bike and ride around all slow and better looking than you. Currently rocking a tight polo right now. And I'm jamming the shit outta Blink-182's Enema of the State - after of course jamming the above PUMPJAMS.

Right now I need you to do this: mainline dark coffee and get PUMPED