I’m eggsasperated!

Dear America,

Please learn how to cook fried eggs.

Yours sincerely,

People who like fried eggs.

Now, who do I send this letter to? Who is responsible for the sad state of affairs when it comes to correctly frying a bloody egg?

Probably someone by the name or Sam, or Nella.

(get it?)

Anyway, bad puns aside, when it comes to the simplicity of frying an egg, there seems to be 4 choices available:

Sunny side up – 90% raw white, mostly cooked yolk (although who knows; raw and cooked yolks look pretty much the same)
Over easy – 50% raw white, cooked yolk (but the yolk is never as good as sunny side up).
Over medium – See ‘over easy’.. It’s the fucking same. Don’t tell me it’s not.
Over hard – 110% cooked (rubbery) white with a dry, overcooked yolk.

Mmmm, delicious. Oh, wait, no they aren’t.

Frying an egg is simple, Dennys/IHOP/any breakfast diner in America!

All you’ve got to do is NOT be in a rush to get it out to the customer and let the white of the egg actually COOK. We can wait an extra 45 seconds; just cook the bloody whites will ya! Then you wouldn’t need to add a disclaimer at the bottom of your menus telling us that eating raw eggs can be harmful.

It beggars belief that this is a thing, and that it’s completely acceptable! Are you telling me I could be POISONED by your eggs?

Imagine getting your tyres [tires1] replaced, but the mechanic only half bolts your wheels back onto your car, and then hands you a disclaimer telling you it can be dangerous to drive with unsecured wheels?

Dangerous? It’s practically lethal!

Just put the wheels on properly, I mean….you’re RIGHT there! Just bolt them on fully!

My wife is in her thirties and has never liked fried eggs. I couldn’t understand why and I pleaded with her to let me cook her a proper fried egg. She finally agreed, and I fried her an egg the right way. I watched as her pupils dilated while her brain rewired her feelings about fried eggs. She had a look on her face that was somewhere between confusion, disbelief and utter joy; she loved it! And now, three decades into her life, she’s finally enjoying fried eggs, as long as they’re cooked by me.

So please, America, learn how to cook eggs! I’m sick and tired of sending them back to be finished, or having to order scrambled eggs when I don’t want them.

Sincerely,

Patient 319,
ICU – Poisoning ward,
Las Vegas County Hospital.

1 – It’s ‘tyres’, not ‘tires’. The latter is a verb.

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“I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello” – The Beatles

I got to work a bit early this morning, so took the opportunity to make myself some coffee and toast.

Whilst I was waiting by the toaster another employee came over to put some Tupperware’d nastiness in the microwave.  We smiled and performed the customary “Good Morning”, the optional “How’s your day going?” and (as I found out very quickly) the unnecessary “I’m utterly fucked”.

I must say, her face indicated that maybe, just maybe, I may have gone a tad too far; but she asked….so….

Anyway, she went back to zapping her box of whatever and I went back to waiting for my toast to ‘Shadunk‘ out of the toaster, when another employee walked by and shouted out to my new ‘friend’.

“Yoo Hoo gurl!” (not a typo; she said ‘gurl’, not ‘girl’)

“Oh, toodle-oo!”

Face palm.  That’s ‘goodbye’, you twat.

Ding!

Shadunk!

Oh, thank fuck.

toaster hit

The breakfast contradiction

Today is my wife’s birthday so – in the face of all the visits to the gym over the last month – we decided to treat ourselves to breakfast at IHOP.

For those who don’t know IHOP, it’s an acronym for ‘International House Of Pancakes’.

It’s not international.

Anyway, on my way to the toilet I passed a woman sat having breakfast with her family.

She was huge. I mean BIG!

This isn’t unusual in this fine country, but I have to say that her ‘Planet Fitness’ T-shirt was a bit of a stretch (or a lot of a stretch if you know what I mean).

Fitness indeed.

“Fitness whole stack of pancakes in my mouth” more like.

United Steaks of Hamerica

I’ve been in the U S of A almost 5 days, and already I have SO many notes compiled on things that I’d love to blog about.

That said, I don’t want to blow my load on one post, so I’ve decided to drip feed them in an attempt to look like I’ve thought long and hard about each and every post.

I probably haven’t, just so you know.

Today’s entry is food related.

Last night my wife and I went to a restaurant called Brio in Tivoli Village. Great restaurant with the usual oversize portions and suspiciously joyful staff.

When the waitress (I don’t like the word ‘server’ [1]) took my order, she said “super salad?”

“What?”
“Super salad?”
“Is it?”
“Is it what?”
“Super?”
“Is what ‘super’?”

“The salad?”

There was a pause….

My wife tapped me on the arm and said “Soup or salad”

Yeah, that made more sense.

It seems that choice with your meal is a big thing in the United States.  If you want eggs, you can have them sunny side up [2], over easy, scrambled, boiled, poached or the waiter can bring the chicken out and you can suck the egg directly from its arse.

If you want chips (fries) you can have them regular, curly or seasoned.  Alternatively you can have them boiled, baked or mashed; not to mention the option of hash browns, wedges or having them peeled and inserted rectally to save yourself the calories.

And if you’re having breakfast you can have pancakes, waffles, French toast, English muffins and all sorts of artery clogging carbohydrates….with or without cinnamon frosting or powdered sugar.

Oh, and by the way America,  French Toast isn’t French; nor are English muffins English.  Both are American.

Crepes are French, but oddly you don’t call those French pancakes.

Also, smothering anything with Marinara sauce does not make it Italian.

But I digress.

Going back to the subject of choice when dining, you also get free refills on a lot of things.  Having visited America a lot in the past I am fully aware that you get free refills on coffee and soda (yes, I use the word ‘soda’ now)…but imagine my disappointment when I once declined another bowl of delicious soup at Olive garden only to find out afterwards that it was, in fact, a free refill.

On soup!

This morning I saw an advert on TV (amongst the many, many, many, MANY adverts) for a restaurant called Applebee’s in which they offer free refills on fries.

FRIES!

But, to be fair, you only got these free refills on fries when you order one of their massive, supersized, over the top burgers that includes meat from every species known to man, topped with 8 cheeses and sugar, or something.

It’s like the Heart Attack Grill found on Fremont Street who give free meals to anyone weighing over 350 pounds.  This is a place where they have a burger called the Quadruple Bypass which totals 10,000 calories.

My wife told me that a guy once had a heart attack in the Heart Attack Grill on Fremont Street and, considering the ‘servers’ are dressed like doctors and nurses, all the other diners though it was some kind of show.

Well, it’s Vegas after all.

But going back to Olive Garden for a second, they offer a “Buy one, Take one” deal on entrees [3].  You order your main meal and they give you another one free.

Seems normal, right?

Well, this second dish isn’t for your dining partner; it’s for you to take home to presumably eat naked and alone in the dark, sobbing with shame.

Lunacy.

But it’s not all bad, they have twist off bottle caps on their beers.  That’s something they’re getting right.

Oh, and they have Spinach and Artichoke dip.

That’s a thing here.

It needs to be a thing everywhere.

Now.

fat uncle sam

[1] Although people in I.T. swear by them 😉
[2] Also known as ‘half cooked, slightly raw and snotty’

[3] Main course

When puddings turn bad

I was in the break room at work making coffee when one of the senior managers burst through the door.  He was quite flustered and started talking loudly to one of the customer service team who thought they were going to be having a quiet coffee break.

They were wrong.

He was talking (or half shouting) about an on-going complaint we’d received from a customer who had become seriously ill whilst on holiday.

“Apparently it’s semolina poisoning!” he half shouted.

I stopped making drinks, turned and smiled, “Did you just say semolina poisoning?”

He turned to me with a face of genuine, serious concern.

“Yes”

“Really? Semolina poisoning?”

“Yes!”

Ok then.  I won’t argue.  Your education probably cost more than mine.

salmonella

Waiter minute!

I’m a fast eater.

eat-fast

I always have been.

I’m not sure where it stemmed from, but I’ve never remembered a time when I ate slowly. My brother is the same.  Maybe it was due to having Italian relatives (on my Father’s side) who loved to feed us whenever we visited, or maybe it was from our time spent in prison.

I’m joking of course. There’s no way my relatives are responsible.

I suppose I began noticing my accelerated eating pace when I became an adult and started dining with other adults. Whenever I go out to a restaurant with anyone I’m usually the first to empty my plate.

This isn’t an issue for me as I’m happy to sit there having a conversation as they painstakingly take an age to eat their meal that probably went cold an hour ago.

Really, it’s fine. I can always lick my plate if I get bored.

Or can I?

You see, my big issue with finishing first is the fact that the waiter/waitress inevitably comes to the table and does the unspeakable; they take away my plate.

Why?

Are they so bereft of crockery in their restaurant that they need to relieve me of mine as soon as possible?

They’re like sharks, circling the table and watching.

fight club waiter

What makes it worse is when they quietly ask “are you finished?” whilst reaching for my plate before I can answer “yes”.  And let’s be honest, the only answer I can possibly give is ‘yes’ because my plate is empty.  I can’t say no because, well, my plate is empty.

“Actually, I’m not finished yet.  There’s still a pattern on this plate” is not a well received answer.

And once I’ve been parted from my plate I’m left sitting there watching the others eat. I realise I was doing this beforehand, but somehow I now feel less involved.  I’ve now become an outside observer like a scientist with a room full of chimps.

I really hate this behaviour in restaurants (from the waiter/waitress, not my chimpy friends). I’m sure the waiting staff think they’re doing the right thing, but I find it intrusive, unwelcoming and a bit rude; and they don’t even have the decency to leave a copy of Watchtower magazine to keep me occupied.

To me it’s the same as saying:

“Wow, someone was hungry weren’t they Mr Piggy McOink? Look everyone! This guy has finished before anyone else at his table!  How Fatty-Boombatty is this jelly-belly?”

This is all made worse when it’s only two of us having a meal. Now they’re not only mocking me non-verbally with their smile, they’re piling the pressure on my fellow diner (usually my wife):

“One down, one to go. Come on slowcoach, you’re wasting everyone’s time.  Pay up and get lost; I need this table for another couple.”

A while back I went for a meal with a friend who is the slowest eater in the world. And when I say slow, I mean s-l-o-w.  Usually, by the time she approaches the end of her meal, the restaurant has become a bank and cobwebs have formed on her plate.

As frustrating as it could’ve been, I didn’t mind. We were so busy catching up on old times that it didn’t matter she took an additional 20 minutes to finish her food.

Seriously, 20 minutes.  Time it.  That’s a long time on a single plate of food.

eating-tortoise

The worst part was when the waiter unashamedly cleared my plate and cutlery after I was finished (5 minutes, tops).  My friend, who was now feeling the pressure, apologised to me.

It can’t be a good thing when the person you’re eating with feels the need to say sorry for being ‘too slow’.

I didn’t care. I was there for the company and the conversation…and dessert, but there was no way I was seeing that for at least 2 hours.

My point is, don’t take plates away until everyone has finished.

In America they get it right. And here’s why

  • They don’t usually take away your plate until everyone has finished.
  • If they DO take your plate away, they replace it with something else (free refills on soup in Olive Garden anyone?).
  • Usually the meal is so massive it’s almost impossible to finish it anyway.
  • Sometimes the meal comes with more than one plate of food (breakfast at Denny’s for example has one plate for your massive breakfast platter and one plate for your massive stack of buttermilk pancakes).

Sometimes a waiter/waitress will also attempt to take your plate after a period of inactivity, despite how much food is still on your plate. It’s like some kind of evil computer screensaver with a plan for world domination through malnutrition.

If you stop eating for a period of time (I estimate this to be about 2 minutes), it is assumed you’ve finished and they will attempt to wrestle your food away from you.

I will stab you.  Be warned.

This behaviour wouldn’t translate anywhere else would it?

For example, whilst writing this post I’ve stopped a few times to re-read paragraphs, check my splellnig and make coffee.  This means I’ve left the keyboard for small periods of time.  By their reckoning I’m finished with this post and they’ll simply attempt to take it away from me, even if I’m in the middle of a

Some gross ‘under the table’ action.

In a restaurant there’s nothing worse than the realisation you’re touching someone’s discarded chewing gum under the table.

Then again, is it gum?  It could be part of the table.

You push your finger into it and it’s not part of the table.

Too soft.

Too warm.

Yuck.

grossed out animated gif