Thursday, April 28, 2011

Restaurant Review: uffet- al ou Can Eat

I’ve always been a good eater.

Ask my mom. She’ll proudly tell you that from day one, I have been her only child who consistently cleans my plate meal after meal. This is much more than can be said for my brothers. I have never encountered  pickier eaters than those three. One night when he was a toddler, it literally took Joel three hours to eat half of one bean (you know, from a Pork ‘n Beans can). A half a bean- that’s all my mom required! And our family still talks about the time when Kurt spent two tearful hours picking at a meatball sub before craftily stashing it on a beam under the kitchen table. Squished broccoli and carrot bites have been found countless times between the couch cushions and my mom long ago mastered the “mouth check” before excusing the boys to the bathroom mid-meal.  Yet throughout all this, I was always the one child who could always be counted on to not only pound my own meal, but to ensure nobody else's went to waste either. This probably explains why I have a higher BMI than all three of my brothers.

Fast forward to last night. After Brock finished the last final of his college career, we naturally decided to seize the opportunity as a good excuse to go out on the town for a nice meal.

Now if Brock and I were normal, a “nice meal” would be found at Texas Roadhouse, Happy Sumo or maybe some unique, hole-in-the-wall café, right? Maybe a trip up to Salt Lake or even a Café Rio run. Once there, we’d pose for individual photos with our respective untouched meals. Then mid meal, we’d stop for some “candid” eating shots then end with the night with the token “I’m so stuffed” shot. (“Very funny” sick faces while pointing to our empty plates/full tummies.) Keep in mind we’d be wearing fashionable coordinating outfits during this. I’d post these pictures on my blog, along with a  list detailing each item of clothing worn and where it’s from.

But Brock and I are not normal.

I think it’s a guy thing; sometimes Brock just craves quantity. Sheer volume of food. In this case, no regards are given to taste, nutritional value, or freshness. And what better place to find this spread of cuisine than a Chinese Buffet. I personally like buffets, as they typically house fabulous salad bars. I’ve always been a huge salad bar supporter. So yes, last night we celebrated Brock’s passing from college student to career holding adult at a restaurant literally called “Buffet”.

“Buffet” is located between the Provo ShopKo and Movies 8- a fabulous Provo hot spot. Although a few of its neon letters had unfortunately died, the glowing “uffet- al ou Can Eat!” was enough to get us inside the building. (Side note: just to give you a nice visual, we did not get “ready” for the night. Brock was wearing some sort of cut-off sweat pants and I was still rocking my sweaty gym clothes.)  

It was the worst place I have ever been. It's not like I have frequented many seedy dives in the past, but this place just wasn’t right. Upon entering, we were smacked in the face with a wave of humid fish air. Seriously, I quickly scanned the lobby for a vaporizer filled with tuna water, but all I saw were rows of candy machines and lots Chinese horoscope readings. However I was confident that the salad bar would come through for me and provide me the celebratory dinner I was craving.  Wrong. The “salad bar” consisted of a mixing bowl of shredded iceberg lettuce and a cereal bowl holding about a tablespoon of cubed ham. Oh, and there was a canister of corn water with a few kernels floating around. I decided to check out the dessert area next (salad>dessert>dinner, in my book). The cream puffs looked like plastic play kitchen food. And the jello creation was most likely shipped straight from the hospital. Moving on, I decided to just go for it and clog my arteries with the “Buffet’s” headline spread. I feebly loaded up a sad plate of items that looked like they had sat in a chafing dish well over a full day; most dishes were pretty picked over. You could tell because the oil component had separated from the water component in most of the sauces. And you know how it is with Chinese food- lots of sauces. We sat down and Brock immediately dug in. After all, there is no time to waste when quantity of food is the goal. The smell wafting up from my plate was obviously not affecting him like it was me. I lifted my fork a few times to take a meager teriyaki sauce soaked bite, but just couldn’t seem to follow through. What was wrong with me? I'm a good eater! As I sat there, I progressively grew sicker. I physically felt worse every time I inhaled, visualizing the oil infused air settling in my pores. Then in my arteries. Even good eaters have their limits.  I pushed my untouched plate away for the first time in my life.

“I’m sorry Brock, I gotta go sit in the car.”

His response?

“Okay, I’m gonna get a few more plates. Here are the keys. I’ll be out in a while.”

And that is how I spent Brock’s graduation dinner in front seat of the Mazda while Brock enjoyed his quantity fix by himself. It was probably quite pleasant for him. He got to eat all the egg-fu-young he could handle, un-judged, while reading news articles on his phone.

We had a good laugh when Brock finally returned to the car, sick, satisfied and smelling slightly of deep-fried wonton. We agreed that even Chinese Buffets should be held to a higher standard. No more “Buffet” for these good eaters. No, from now on we’ll only be dining at the finest of establishments. Namely, China Buffet on State Street in North Orem. Perhaps a Sizzler run every now and then. And maybe we’ll even take pictures.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring Cleaning

For many, Easter is a time of renewal, hope and refined sugar. 

After waking up this morning with what can only be described as an "excess sugar hangover", I have decided I am in major need of my own "rebirth". As part of this, I'd to use this post as an opportunity to get some things off my chest. As Usher so wisely put it back in 2004,
                                                                         these are my confessions.

5. I am an addict. I have recently acquired a mild addiction to "Desperate Housewives". (But I can quit any time, I swear.) This little indulgence began when Brock was on the road all the time for baseball. No matter how lonely those weekends got, my 4 best friends from Wisteria Lane were always there for me. Now that Brock is home more often, I'm not about to subject him to the drama and scandal I've began to crave. Instead, I've been getting my fix on my phone via Netflix while at the gym. Seriously- it's the best time killer! I hop on that stupid bike, start pedaling and one episode later, I've burned over 400 calories. I just hope those frequent drops of sweat don't cause water damage to my phone. This is where the embarrassing part comes in. So far I have watched 74 episodes. At 42 minutes each, that is 51 hours of viewing. I have literally spent over two days of my life watching a glorified soap opera. I'd say that is a horrifyingly large investment! No wonder I get so worked up over these scandals. I realized this was becoming a problem when the characters started making appearances in my dreams. But hey, for now I'm just grateful for my gym buddies. As long as they help me get through my workouts, the scandalous vixens of Wisteria Lane are here to stay.

4. I am incredibly sick of the weather. Seriously, a high of 36 degrees is great in February. Not at the end of April. I'm pretty sure "April Showers" is supposed to refer to rain, not snow, sleet and hail. (Yes, I do remember all 4 major forms of precipitation, thanks to PBS's "Bill Nye the Science Guy" and an 8th grade teacher who apparently got paid to pop in a recorded VHS just about every class period.) I have always hated the mentality held by almost every Southern California native; it seems like everyone I've met from down there is always complaining about Utah weather and whining about how much they miss home and how much better everything is there. As much as I hate this, I have to admit that deep down I must be jealous; I think they might be right. I'm loving the idea of year long warm weather and Brock is all about high schools with prominent athletic programs. The beach is a definite plus. I think I'd officially like to live in Southern California someday. There, I said it. Laugh it up, Belmont South Ward.

3. I am NOT a saver. In a fit of therapeutic "Spring Cleaning", I literally threw away 2/3 of my clothes. And I feel great about it. There is no use congesting my already small closet with heaps of rags that either don't fit, are covered in stains, or are associated in my mind with an "ugly day". (Sometimes all it takes is one day of feeling ugly while wearing a particular shirt, and it's forever ruined for me.) Brock says all of my clothes look the same anyway. He can supposedly take one look at the Banana Republic (Factory Outlet, of course) rack and before the fact guess what I'm going to pick up. Apparently it is easy, because according to Brock, everything I like is gray and "pirate-ish". I realize I may now be alternating between 3 shirts, but you better believe they are solid (gray pirate) shirts.

2. Speaking of not being a saver, I am currently trying to sell my wedding dress on KSL/Craigslist. I have a few people coming to look at it this week, and I'm crossing my fingers that it will sell. I got really close to pawning it off in January, when a bride-to-be showed some real interest. However, I'm pretty sure I scared her off by hovering over her the entire time and aggressively peppering the already forced conversation with compliments and the product's finest selling points. My new strategy? Let the dress sell itself.

1. I am seriously considering going to hair school. I have secretly always wanted to do hair. Ever since I was a little girl, I've wanted one of those styrofoam heads with style-able fake hair. I used to mess around with my "Crimp 'n Curl Pony" for hours, meticulously styling that wire-laced yarn mane. High school was spent sacrificing my own head of hair (and the heads of all my friends) to the cause of mastering the foil weave method. All this practice has paid off, however, because by now I have actually gotten pretty good! My mom is a very straightforward critic, and even she admitted that I did a great job on her highlights and bang trim. I have also come to accept that I officially hate desk jobs. I despise sitting in front of a computer screen. I tire of working the same hours every day. I don't enjoy corresponding only via phone/email. But... I do love talking to people in real life, doing things with my hands, and having a creative outlet. Styling hair is something I could do in order to make a little extra money should we need it, yet also stay home with our future kids. The thought of getting paid to do something so fun seems unreal. I guess having a job that is less than fulfilling has made me realize how much I don't want to (or have to) be stuck in this situation forever. Anyway, it's fun to think about and hopefully I'll get it all figured out soon!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Baseball Musings and a Promise to Be More Dilligent in Blogging

I'm sorry. It has been just shy of a month since my last post. Do I have a good excuse? Of course not. I'm still parked here in my cubicle 8 hours a day, my face literally 12 inches from the monitor. Yes, I promise I get work done here. But I also get a lot of Craigslist searching, blog stalking and online shopping done too. (By online shopping, I mean filling up shopping carts at various websites then quickly abandoning the page when my hand starts twitching and reaching for my wallet and that oh-so-easily accessible debit card number.) So obviously I have no excuse- it is high time I get a post written, even if it is completely free of substance and wit. Here are some very important updates on our lives as of lately. (And by very important, I mean vaguely noteworthy tidbits that may or may not be worth your time reading.)

1. I have officially survived baseball widow-dom. UVU baseball is all but done traveling. I will now have a husband seven days of the week instead of three. Furthermore, graduation is fast approaching. The UVU library is my most vicious competitor for Brock's time and attention, so I'll be thrilled to claim victory on the 28th of this month when my competition will be stomped out forever. Or at least until grad school starts.

2. Along with this decrease in team travel time, there will also be a dramatic increase in the number of baseball games I will be attending. This will be good, as it will test/improve my patience (3 hours is usually standard, but 5 or even 6 is not unheard of), clothing layering skills (gotta love Utah Aprils- 70 degrees one minute, 20 the next), and cheering skills. You would not believe how hard it is to cheer at a baseball game.  There seems to be an actual language, developed solely for this sport. Words like "kid" and "babe" "hey now" are strung together in creative combinations and thrown around at speeds that would make an auctioneer jealous. I've actually heard these phrases shouted: "Throw 'em a chair!" and "Put 'em in the books!" Huh? Like, where did those come from, and how is a relatively new spectator supposed to know when to use them? I experimented with a cautious, feeble "Throw 'em a chair Brock!" a while back and have never felt so foolish in my life. So these upcoming games will definitely help improve my baseball chatter.

3. Unfortunately, actually watching Brock play may or may not be in the cards. Brock tore his MCL at practice last week. It was a grade 3 tear, which means the ligament was completely torn in two. What bad luck huh? Not only is it the worst kind of tear, but it happened in practice! That MCL could have at least decided to tear in a victorious moment of battle, maybe during the bottom of the 9th inning in a close winning game. But no, it decided to give out during a set of punishment drills that were doled out as penance for losing to BYU. We're trying to be optimistic though. Best case scenario? It heals quickly and he's back on the mound in two weeks. Worst case? Six weeks of icing, ibuprofen, physical therapy and no playing for the rest of the season. We try not to think about this, because a ligament torn in practice is really no way to end a 20 year baseball career.

Here are some of Brock's baseball pics. I like to show off how athletic and sexy and talented my husband is. 

I really do plan on getting better at this whole "regular, timely posting" thing. I also plan on getting better at actually taking my camera to events, so I can document things. I mean, my life is so fabulous, I wouldn't blame anyone for doubting the validity of my stories and demanding pictures. Although, I've made this "I'm gonna be a better blogger!" promise many a time before, so I don't blame anyone for not taking it seriously. Oh well, I can try, right?