Tag Archives: Honey

Yinzburg makes some tasty BBQ for y’all…


YinzBurgh BBQ on UrbanspoonLast night before the band played a show in Bloomfield, my wife & I stopped with some friends at Yinzburg BBQ on Baum Blvd. in Bloomfield.  Last time I was in that building it was a Roly Poly, and it’s certainly a different place now.

Yelp | Pittsburgh BBQ

Yelp | Pittsburgh BBQ

I’m a huge fan of BBQ and I have been reading great reviews about the place online, so I was very anxious to check it out.  (Also, I’ve been in a BBQ mood lately.)  Of course with the whole shellfish allergy thing, I took a look at the menu online before we went down.  My mouth was watering at all of the delicious prospects.  Thankfully, there is no deathfish present on the menu.  I’ve sadly gone to places before that have had daily specials or menu revamps that aren’t online… so I decided to send them an email.  I was met with a quick, friendly & inviting reply from owner & chef Richard.  His philosophy seems to be summed up in his email signature:

1. Barbecue is a cuisine; Barbecue sauce is a condiment!
2. The sauce is served on the side.
3. The love is in the rub!

When we walked in we were greeted by a woman with a sweet southern accent who asked us if we had ever been there before.  We indicated that we hadn’t & got a lesson in the 4 main & 2 hot barbecue sauces.  I liked the vinegar one & the signature red…  And, I liked that you could get 2 different ones with your meal.  Next time I might get the mustard sauce.

I had the brisket & pulled pork combo with the signature red & vinegar sauces (served on the side, so you can apply or dip however you like), the coleslaw, and a root beer from Natrona.  I tried both meats sans sauce, and they were incredible.  I found myself having a hard time deciding which sauce I liked better with which meat.  The coleslaw was creamy and flavorful.  I also had a sample of my wife’s mac n’ cheese (she got a delicious looking half chicken), and our friends’ collard greens.  The mac n’ cheese was nice & creamy and the collard greens were delicious.  I’ve sadly never had any until now.  We even had a very satisfied vegetarian in our midst who seemed to really like the smoked tofu wrap.  It’s not every day you find a BBQ place that serves vegan and vegetarian items.

There were two 2-seater tables outside, and 2 tables with standing room only inside.  We stood as we dined,negotiating around the mountain of food in front of us.  Halfway through the meal, I was already planning what to order for my next visit.  Next time it’s chicken & ribs… maybe the black eyed peas on the side.  Next time will also be soon!  They asked us to tell our friends… and if you’re reading this… you’re my friend, and you need to go check this place out!

I was so enamored with the food… I forgot to take a photo to upload to UrbanSpoon… oh well, maybe next time!

Tyson Foods, Inc. & Willie Barber FTW.


Yesterday, I got two surprises in our mailbox… One being that half of it was our neighbor’s mail, and the other being the promised letter & coupons from Mrs. Barber at Tyson  Foods!  OK, the mail mix-up wasn’t that big of a surprise… that happens at least 4 times a week.  It’s always good to get mail that’s not bills or junk mail though, and this made my day…

Tyson Foods - LetterSeems a little stiff compared to my earlier exchanges, but form letters are a necessary evil with a company as large as Tyson I guess.

Also enclosed were five  coupons for free Tyson Foods items!  Two coupons for one free bag of Tyson Frozen Breaded Product or Any’tizers Product, one for any one package of Tyson Individually Frozen Chicken Product, one for any one package of Tyson Wright Brand, and one for any one package of Wright Brand Product… which makes some awesome bacon.

Tyson coupons

This is much much more than I expected, or could have hoped for!  Really, it all started out as goofing around, not a complaint by any means.  It’s certainly better than the paltry pile of coupons that I received from Pillsbury when asking about funding further “how many pizza rolls can really fit in the microwave at once” research.  I let the ball drop on that one… perhaps I better write to them and ask again, using Tyson and Taco Bell as references of good coupon giving.

I’ll have to write back to Willie to say thanks.  This really was quite generous, and will certainly help in stretching the food budget in the coming weeks!

It’s a Southern thing, just ask Willie.


Tyson Foods | Ask Willie

Tyson Foods | Ask Willie

So, my apologies to Mrs. Barber, apparently Willie is also a girl’s name down south.  Ha ha.  You guys need to read my letter to Tyson about the soggy not smelly tiger-tender, and you’ll know what this is all about.  Here’s some follow-up…

from    ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
to    “Barber, Willie” <Willie.Barber@tyson.com>
date    Sat, Oct 2, 2010
subject    Re: Tyson Honey Battered Breast Tenders
mailed-by    gmail.com

Buenos Dias Mr. Barber!

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my missive.  I’m glad that it entertained and proved interesting!  The information from your Food Safety & Quality Assurance Manager is enlightening.  I guess if I had thought about it, I may have arrived to the same conclusion… as my wife did.  Perhaps she should look into Quality Assurance as a career?

Sadly there was no golden ticket type prize for the tiger-tender, but certainly some complimentary coupons would brighten my day.  Your thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated!  My address is:

ERiC AiXelsyD
XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Pittsburgh, PA  XXXXX

I still need to look into sending Duquesne Light a bill for my prematurely perished perishables, perhaps cluing them in to your generosity will tip the scales in my favor?  Maybe I should send them the tiger-tender and see if they like soggy formerly-frozen foodstuffs in their freezers.

I’m flattered that you had previously read my ramblings on the web, and honored that you remembered my name!  Now I’m curious as to how I came to be on your radar.  I tend to be goofy at times, and serious at others.  Life’s all about balance… why not enjoy the balance when it swings to the absurd?  Your kind of reply is my favorite.  You may not be surprised ad how many of these types of emails fail in providing a response.  Some people are apparently just too uptight!

I enjoy many of your fine products, and now will even more… and I’ll recommend more to my friends & family!

A good day to you sir,
-ERiC AiXeLsyD

PS – Think there’s any headway at all to be made with Arby’s & the distribution of their Bronco Berry Sauce?

And, she wrote back…

from    Barber, Willie <Willie.Barber@tyson.com>
to    ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
date    Mon, Oct 4, 2010
subject    RE: Tyson Honey Battered Breast Tenders
mailed-by    tyson.com

Happy Monday Morning!

As I recall, I chanced upon your name/blog while researching one of our customers—maybe McDonald’s, Burger King, or Subway?   Thanks for the address–the coupons will be mailed tomorrow.

By the way, I am a Mrs. not a Mr.  It’s a Southern thing!  AskWillie

Willie Barber

So, she’s read one of my various diatribes on Subway or my disdain for a nearby McDonald’s.  Quite amusing!  I don’t think I’ve messed with Buger King for a long time.

It is sad that she hasn’t addressed the Bronco Berry sauce issue, but I’m sure she can’t or won’t for corporate reasons.

I wrote back once more:

from    ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
to    “Barber, Willie” <Willie.Barber@tyson.com>
date    Mon, Oct 4, 2010
subject    Re: Tyson Honey Battered Breast Tenders
mailed-by    gmail.com

My Apologies, Mrs. Barber(!),

I guess I should have done my own research!  Ha ha.

I have certainly blogged extensively about a local McDonald’s who is as slovenly as they are slothful, and another who is run exceptionally well and always seems to be clean, efficient, and orderly.  Plus, McDonald’s is just so fun to poke.

I also have an ongoing thing with Subway about their seafood subs and cross-contamination.  I have a severe shellfish allergy, and find them quite irresponsible as far as posting warnings, using the same knife to cut all their subs, and in replying to their customers.  Perhaps you ought to go over there and teach them how to run things!  They never did answer my question about having an in-house subway instead of a cafeteria or kitchen in their corporate offices.  No sense of humor or customer satisfaction, there!

Thanks again for the coupons, my wife & I both appreciate the gesture!

Tyson’s Newest #1 Fan,
-ERiC

…and no reply as of yet, not that I really need one in this instance.  This was just some shameless plugging.  I’m just waiting for my awesome coupons.

Also… if you follow the Ask Willie link, is that the coolest job description, or what?

Hungry for Knowledge as well as Chicken Tenders…


So, not long ago, we got some of those bagged Tyson breast tenders. They’re a nice quick meal, and generally consistently good quality.  Although, in talking with Dave who serves them quite regularly, he seems to not find any of the “odd” ones that I mention below.  Do you get odd ones?  I’d like to open up discussion.

I opened an amusing dialog with Tyson, and here’s how it’s panned out so far:

Peace, Poultry Potentates!

Recently, my wife brought home a bag of your delicious Honey Battered Breast Tenders.  I must say that they are the perfect dinner solution when we are pressed for time or just plain don’t feel like cooking.  I generally over-indulge because the breading/batter is so delicious when cooked in the oven, and I thoroughly enjoy dipping things… whether it be in Honey Mustard, Honey BBQ, just plain ketchup, A1, or a nugget-dipping sauce pilfered (I mean “left over”) from one of the many fast food chains.

On a side note… I really wish Arby’s would bottle & sell their Bronco Berry Sauce®.  Perhaps you can talk to them about that?  It’s EXCELLENT on chicken nuggets or tenders.  Maybe you’d have better luck with McDonald’s getting their nugget sauces in stores?  Didn’t you guys provide them with the not-quite-Chick-fil-A sandwich?

Too many tangents, my friends.  My mind wanders.  Well, not so much wanders as jumping randomly from thought to seemingly unconnected thought.  I assure you though… I do have a point in writing to you today.

I would like to see if I have won some sort of prize, or made some sort of amazing discovery.  Upon opening the most recently purchased bag of Honey Battered Breast Tenders [Mfg. Code 2390CNQ0610] to place on a baking sheet (covered in foil because I hate to clean up), out came this wild tiger-striped breast tender.  If this were an email, I would simply attach my photos, but it’s not, and I can’t… so I will provide you with a link to the photographic evidence on Photobucket:

http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p139/worldandlunardomination/creepy%20tyson%20chicken%20thing/Tiger-StripedNuggetThing1640w.jpg

http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p139/worldandlunardomination/creepy%20tyson%20chicken%20thing/Tiger-StripedNuggetThing2640w.jpg

These photos were taken of the tender just as it was after being pulled out of the bag, I did not cook this tender.

You can see that one side of the tender is more striped than the other.  Surely, I have made an amazing discovery.  Is this like Charlie Bucket’s golden ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?  Do I get a free tour of your facility now?  That would be quite exciting.  Quite exciting indeed!  I must confess that I don’t typically stay up on current poultry-related events, so I haven’t seen anything about the contest.  I was unaware on how to proceed, so I figured that I would reach out to you.

I found this “deviant” to be exceptional.  Generally, there’s the accepted and expected amount of 2 or 3 “off” breast tenders to a pack.  This isn’t the usual overcooked/brown one, a non-fully coated one, the mysterious black spot one, or the “Siamese twin” one(s?).  (I saw these machines on the Food Network or History Channel one time… where this laser shot odd-colored potato chips out of the line.  Perhaps you ought to look into borrowing one over a weekend to see if it works out on your line?)

I immediately placed the chicken tender with war paint into a plastic freezer-bag and placed it back in the freezer.  I can certainly send it to you upon request, although I’m not sure where to obtain dry ice for safe shipping.

Also, there was a ridiculously short yet violent storm in the area last week that knocked out our power for two days.  Most everything else in the freezer and refrigerator ended up in our trash cans because our power company doesn’t understand the importance of a solid infrastructure quite like it should.  (Our power has gone out for more than 24 hours on three separate occasions this year alone.)

I kept the tiger-tender, and did open the Ziploc® bag to take a whiff.  It’s definitely not rancid, but it did get to a point where it was more soggy than frozen.  I have considered sending a bill for my wasted food (including about 1/2 the bag of Tyson Honey Battered Breast Tenders) to Duquesne Light, but am unsure of the legality.

Well, my de-feathered friends, I thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon regarding this rare specimen.  I wait with hardly contained excitement, much to my wife’s dismay.  For some strange reason, she thinks that the zebra-tender is just a fluke, and not a prize winning game-piece, or as I had suggested one night while sitting in the dark… Perhaps it’s a new top secret flavor, unveiled in a covert manner to the masses.  Help me prove that I’m right!

Hungry for Knowledge as well as Chicken Tenders,
-ERiC AiXeLsyD

And, the photos…

Tiger-Striped Nugget Thing 1Tiger-Striped Nugget Thing 2

I submitted it via webform, and didn’t get any immediate responses… so of course, I Googled some “@tyson.com” email addresses until I came up with a few. Luckily, it worked!

from Barber, Willie <Willie.Barber@tyson.com>
to ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
date Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 6:13 PM
subject Tyson Honey Battered Breast Tenders
mailed-by tyson.com

Hello, ERiC AiXeLsyD:

Thank you for a very entertaining and interesting message!  The pictures were very helpful.

The Food Safety & Quality Assurance Manager at the processing plant reviewed the picture of the “tiger tender”  and its compadre.   She related that the stripes are overcooked batter in crevices caused by the wire conveyor belt.  Sometimes when the batter is too thin, the wire belt will make “ridges” on the tenders.  Because the batter is thin, it cooked up darker compared to the rest of the batter on the tender.  The sugar in the honey also adds to a darker color profile. She also related that the other picture looked like there wasn’t enough batter or it popped off during freezing or packing.

So, it appears that the tiger tender and the rare specimen are simply suffering from the lack of batter–nothing interesting or covert!   Send me your postal address and I will send some complimentary coupons to help your Hunger for Chicken Tenders.

Best regards,

Willie D. Barber
Manager, Consumer Relations

PS  Some time ago while researching on the web, I happened to visit your blog and became intrigued with your name.   Surprisingly, I recognized it when your message was forwarded to me.  You are certainly a multi-talented person!

Couldn’t have asked for a better response. Ha ha ha. Not only did they write back, but they took it seriously, and it looks like I may get some free stuff or at least a coupon!  Bonus points for the use of the word compadre, even if there was no mention of McDonald’s and/or Arby’s.

Also… the PS?  I’m famous? Ha ha ha. I wonder where/how Mr. Barber previously came across my ramblings?  I didn’t think that many people read this thing.

Oh well, now I need to write back… but I’d still like to know about the odd ones.  Be it chicken tenders, pizza rolls, any frozen food… isn’t there generally always an odd one or two?

Peace, Poultry Potentates!

Recently, my wife brought home a bag of your delicious Honey Battered Breast Tenders.  I must say that they are the perfect dinner solution when we are pressed for time or just plain don't feel like cooking.  I generally over-indulge because the breading/batter is so delicious when cooked in the oven, and I thoroughly enjoy dipping things... whether it be in Honey Mustard, Honey BBQ, just plain ketchup, A1, or a nugget-dipping sauce pilfered (I mean "left over") from one of the many fast food chains.  

On a side note... I really wish Arby's would bottle & sell their Bronco Berry Sauce®.  Perhaps you can talk to them about that?  It's EXCELLENT on chicken nuggets or tenders.  Maybe you'd have better luck with McDonald's getting their nugget sauces in stores?  Didn't you guys provide them with the not-quite-Chick-fil-A sandwich?

Too many tangents, my friends.  My mind wanders.  Well, not so much wanders as jumping randomly from thought to seemingly unconnected thought.  I assure you though... I do have a point in writing to you today.

I would like to see if I have won some sort of prize, or made some sort of amazing discovery.  Upon opening the most recently purchased bag of Honey Battered Breast Tenders [Mfg. Code 2390CNQ0610] to place on a baking sheet (covered in foil because I hate to clean up), out came this wild tiger-striped breast tender.  If this were an email, I would simply attach my photos, but it's not, and I can't... so I will provide you with a link to the photographic evidence on Photobucket:






These photos were taken of the tender just as it was after being pulled out of the bag, I did not cook this tender.

You can see that one side of the tender is more striped than the other.  Surely, I have made an amazing discovery.  Is this like Charlie Bucket's golden ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?  Do I get a free tour of your facility now?  That would be quite exciting.  Quite exciting indeed!  I must confess that I don't typically stay up on current poultry-related events, so I haven't seen anything about the contest.  I was unaware on how to proceed, so I figured that I would reach out to you.

I found this "deviant" to be exceptional.  Generally, there's the accepted and expected amount of 2 or 3 "off" breast tenders to a pack.  This isn't the usual overcooked/brown one, a non-fully coated one, the mysterious black spot one, or the "Siamese twin" one(s?).  (I saw these machines on the Food Network or History Channel one time... where this laser shot odd-colored potato chips out of the line.  Perhaps you ought to look into borrowing one over a weekend to see if it works out on your line?)

I immediately placed the chicken tender with war paint into a plastic freezer-bag and placed it back in the freezer.  I can certainly send it to you upon request, although I'm not sure where to obtain dry ice for safe shipping.

Also, there was a ridiculously short yet violent storm in the area last week that knocked out our power for two days.  Most everything else in the freezer and refrigerator ended up in our trash cans because our power company doesn't understand the importance of a solid infrastructure quite like it should.  (Our power has gone out for more than 24 hours on three separate occasions this year alone.)  

I kept the tiger-tender, and did open the Ziploc® bag to take a whiff.  It's definitely not rancid, but it did get to a point where it was more soggy than frozen.  I have considered sending a bill for my wasted food (including about 1/2 the bag of Tyson Honey Battered Breast Tenders) to Duquesne Light, buy am unsure of the legality.

Well, my de-feathered friends, I thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon regarding this rare specimen.  I wait with hardly contained excitement, much to my wife's dismay.  For some strange reason, she thinks that the zebra-tender is just a fluke, and not a prize winning game-piece, or as I had suggested one night while sitting in the dark... Perhaps it's a new top secret flavor, unveiled in a covert manner to the masses.  Help me prove that I'm right!

Hungry for Knowledge as well as Chicken Tenders,
-ERiC AiXeLsyD

LIES ABOUT POTATO CHIPS


Today, I checked out a link on the Yahoo! site because it was simply titled “The Best Potato Chips“.  Well, I like potato chips… so I had to see what was up.  Well, the first annoying thing was that it said that there’s a list of 21 chips… but there are only 7 listen on the page… then the “Continue Reading…” link takes you to a slide show.  I hate slide show lists.  I want to see it all, right there in front of me, right away.  This isn’t a meeting, I don’t need a power point presentation.  These aren’t your vacation photos, I don’t need a slide show.

Turner Dairy | Chip DipThey did manage to recognize the awesome that is plain old ordinary Ruffles.  When I want to eat Turner’s chip dip, this is the chip that I must have.  Just ask anyone who works at the Rite Aid by my house.  I’m always there buying ruffles & Turner’s dip.  Really.  Just ask them…  “Is there a weird guy in here with crazy sideburns buying Turner’s Dip and Ruffles all the time?”  They’ll totally, be like “Yeah!”  I’m telling you.

As for the rest of this list though, it’s a lie.  Don’t believe it.  If the list had any credibility beyond being able to recognize the top of the line “ordinary” chip, it would have included Beer Chips or Snyder (of Berlin) Honey BBQ Chips.  There is just no excuse for these glaring omissions.  Shame on you, Shine From Yahoo!.  Shame on you.

BEER CHIPSI’ve written of Beer Chips before, here in my blog and at PittsburghBeat.com.  Why?  Because they’re awesome.  They’re next to impossible to put down.  I’m sure I could eat an entire bag without thinking about it, and probably have.  If we break them out when people are over, the bag disappears.  Kudos to the Beer Chips people on distribution, as I’ve seen them in places from Giant Eagle and Market District to Aldi.  You may have guessed that Beer Chips are chips somehow cooked with beer.  If you haven’t guessed this, then just stop reading, as all of this will be most likely lost on you anyway.  They’re sweet, they’re salty, and they do have a hint of a beer taste… but it’s ever so slight.  Of course, they also go great with a nice bottle of Yuengling, Straub, or Penn Pilsner in my experience.  Just writing this, I may have to stop at the store to get these next time I’m out.  They are that powerful.  I mean, I have beer in the ‘fridge, but how can I enjoy it now without Beer Chips?  I can’t.  That’s how.

Snyder of Berlin | Honey BBQ ChipsOn to the Snyder of Berlin Honey Bar-B-Q Potato Chips.  First off, I love honey BBQ in general.  Gooski’s Honey BBQ wings are one of my favorite foods ever.  You just  generally can’t go wrong with Honey BBQ.  I think my first experience with these was at camp.  They were out as a snack one night and I think I ate most of the bag.  I couldn’t stop.  Again, these have that incredible sweet/salty combination that is a win every time.  I know you can generally get them at most Sheetz locations, but it’s hit or miss if they’re there in Giant Eagle or wherever I happen to be grocery shopping.  If I see them, I just unconsciously grab them and only realize they’re in my hand or the grocery cart when I go to check out.  Now, one must beware of the Herr’s and Wise imitations.  Well, I don’t know who was really first… but for my own personal tastes, Snyder of Berlin is the standard Honey BBQ chip to which all others ought to be measured.  Actually, the Herr’s is an acceptable substitute if necessary, but the Wise ones are just inferior chips altogether.

Speaking of imitations, one of these days I need to get down to the Snyder of Berlin vs. Snyder’s of Hanover thing.  (There’s even a creepy Facebook group about the rift…) They each have that ominous and almost vindictive disclaimer on their packaging that they’re not associated with the other. Too weird.

Herr's | Ketchup ChipsThere are, of course, a few others worth mentioning…  Herr’s makes some bad-ass Ketchup flavored chips, some Salt & Pepper ones, and a bunch of other cool/weird flavors.  Utz makes a bunch of flavors and are quite decent chips.  (Is it “uhtz” or “ootz”?) Although, I see a “crab” flavor, and that scares me a little.  I may have to write to them about that.  Snyder of Berlin also has a ton of interesting varieties, another of my favorites being the kettle-cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper chips.

You may thank me that you’re now more informed on the subject of the best potato chips than the average Shine From Yahoo! reader.  I’d be interested to see if you agree with me or if you’re just wrong.  Please feel free to talk about your favorites in the comments section!

More shocking & disguting revelations from your serving staff…


I wish I was done.  Perhaps this blog will wrap up all of my current thoughts on the subject.  Thanks for hanging in there, my friends.  And, I have received some comments on Facebook at Pittsburgh Beat, please comment here too!  Thanks to Trista & Dave for not being shy.  If you have no idea what I mean, this is a follow-up to my last two posts…

You may want to read those 1st.

The first article/slide-show that I’d like to tackle is also called 20 Secrets Your Waiter Won’t Tell You and linked to from one of the articles as 20 More Secrets Your Waiter Won’t Tell You. Apparently originality is lost here.

I’ll tackle the most appalling slides here..

What You’re Really Swallowing
In most restaurants, after 8 p.m. or so, all the coffee is decaf because no one wants to clean two different coffeepots. I’ll bring out a tray with 12 coffees on it and give some to the customers who ordered regular, others to the ones who ordered decaf. But they’re all decaf.
Charity Ohlund

Ridiculous.  What’s so hard about telling people of this policy, or cleaning an extra coffee pot?  Don’t they have dish washers for this kind of thing?  Any kind of secrecy is just wrong.  Granted, the opposite would be much worse for someone with a sensitivity to caffeine… but according to this  butthole, it happens quite regularly.  Is it too much to expect to get what you order?  Really?  I work hard for my money just like you, and ought to get what I want when I spend in your workplace.

What We Lie About
If you’re a vegetarian and you ask if we use vegetable stock, I’m going to say yes, even if we don’t. You’ll never know the difference.

I like that this is from someone anonymous.  Whoever you are, please take comfort in the fact that you are one of the lowest forms of human life on the planet and that there are not too many out there worse than you.  You’re sick.  You have a mental illness of some sort or a form of antisocial personality disorder… specifically the following symptoms:

  • Apparent lack of remorse or empathy; inability to care about hurting others
  • Tendency to violate the boundaries and rights of others
  • Disregard for the safety of self or others
  • Persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social rules, obligations, and norms

This is a serious illness, and I implore you to seek help.  This is just completely unacceptable behavior towards your fellow man, besides not doing your job correctly or with any sort of pride or responsibility.

I’m certainly not a vegetarian.  In fact, serve up any animal that’s not shellfish, an insect, or  having an opposable thumb, and I’ll most likely eat it or at least try it.  I love red meat… and white meat too… but there is not much better out there meat-wise than a nice steak, roast, or even a burger.  PETA annoys me to no end.

Still, I respect their life choices, life style, and dietary needs.  I have several friends and acquaintances that are vegetarian or vegan.  It doesn’t matter if their diet is because of personal choices, dietary needs, religious beleifs, or allergies. If I know they’re coming to my house for anything or if I’m taking food to a common event with them… I go out of my way to make sure that the food doesn’t contain animals or animal products.  Over the past few years, I even learned about things that I never thought of as animal products like gelatin-free sour cream.

I harp on the allergy thing because it affects me, but someone out there may have a severe allergic reaction to beef or chicken… and if the stock was made from fish or shellfish and someone lied to me about it… well, I might not be around to complain.

I just can’t imagine that in this day and age that anyone would think lying about something like this was acceptable.

What You Don’t Want to Know
Now that I’ve worked in a restaurant, I never ask for lemon in a drink. Everybody touches them. Nobody washes them. We just peel the stickers off, cut them up, and throw them in your iced tea.
—Charity Ohlund, Kansas City waitress

Explains why I’ve gotten so many lemons with stickers on them in my iced teas.  Aren’t there health codes or inspectors out there?  I’m vehemently against big(er) government, but I would gladly pay higher taxes for inspections to be more frequent and with higher penalties.  In fact…  I’ll sign up to do them at an incredibly reasonable price.

What You’re Really Swallowing
Skim milk is almost never skim milk. Very few restaurants outside Starbucks carry whole milk, 2 percent milk, skim milk, and half-and-half; it’s just not practical.
—Chris

Skim milk is gross, but…  Again, why with the dishonesty?  Why not just tell people you don’t have skim milk, then let them make the decision if they want it or not?  I’d leave a bigger tip if my server was honest with me about something like that.

What Drives Us Crazy
The single greatest way to get your waiter to hate you? Ask for hot tea. For some reason, an industry that’s managed to streamline everything else hasn’t been able to streamline that. You’ve got to get a pot, boil the water, get the lemons, get the honey, bring a cup and spoon. It’s a lot of work for little reward.
—Christopher Fehlinger, maître d’ at a popular New York City restaurant

Wow.  I love hot tea, but don’t order it out much.  From now on, every time I feel a waiter or waitress is treating me poorly, I’ll be sure to add to their aggravation and order this.  Also, I find it funny that this is from a maître d’.  Shouldn’t they be held to an even higher standard?  And again…  I don’t care what it is… if it’s on the menu, I should be able to order it, and it should not affect your attitude or opinion because… buh-bahhh IT’S YOUR JOB.

What We Want You to Know
In many restaurants, the tips are pooled, so if you have a bad experience with the server, you’re stiffing the bartender who made your drinks, the water boy who poured your water, sometimes the hostess, the food runners, and maybe the other waiters.
—Christopher Fehlinger

This isn’t common knowledge by now?  Surely everyone knows someone who works at a restaurant.

What You Need to Know About Tipping
The best tippers tend to be middle-class or people who have worked for everything they have, not the really wealthy or the kid who inherited the trust fund. Which is not to say that we mind if you use coupons. But when you do, tip on the amount the bill would have been without them.
—Judi Santana

Makes sense… people at about your level who work for all that they have.  The coupon thing makes sense.  Save a few bucks on the restaurant’s dime, not your server’s.

Well, those articles led me to Frothy Girlz where I looked for an apparently old blog post that keeps coming up to annoy the writer.  I didn’t find the original post, but I did find a gem entitled In The Weeds: There’s a Food Allergy Community? Really?.

People just love them some communities.  I mean, they must.  After my Reader’s Digest piece was picked up by both the Today show and Msnbc.com, the “food allergy community” opened up a peanut and gluten-free can of whoop ass on me.  Some scolded me for not caring if their children died, others asked for a full retraction and apology to the community, and others reminded me, again, that they could die.

Who knew there was a food allergy community?  Can you imagine the poor restaurant that is chosen for their weekly meetings?  The waitress nervously approaches the chef with an order the size of the Bible with all the special notes and codes and the words “COULD DIE!!!” hand written on half the tickets.

I’m disgusted by the cavalier attitude here.  I can’t imagine being a parent with a small child that had to deal with this.  It’s bad enough when it’s my own problem.  Yes, there’s a bunch of us out here, and we’re growing more vocal day by day.  Why?  Any more, it’s the small groups who have to power.  Wait until we start referring to ourselves ans a minority, and our right to eat out in comfort a civil right.  Wow, could we ever abuse that if we got it out at the right place and time to the right politicians.

I have dealt with a lot of food allergies in my serving career, and I care, I really do.   Every case was handled with extreme care.  I would go talk to the chef, who would roll his eyes and then have to stop the line and talk to every cook.  I then had to stop and tell every other server, busser, and assistant to make sure not to touch any plates at table 53 without washing their hands of any and all potential allergens.  She could die!  Meanwhile, the restaurant is completely packed and crazy and this person has put her LIFE in my hands and I have to trust – no, SHE has to trust – that all 95 people who could possibly come in contact with her or her food will completely sanitize their hands, the silverware, the plates, and the very air she breathes of any and all peanut dust.

A chef rolls their eyes?  That’s sad.  I think they’d get into the business wanting people to love their food, not die from it.  Sadly, in with the rest of this, she’s right on.  It should not be solely the responsibility of the server.  Restaurants everywhere need to be made aware of the inherent dangers of cross contamination in food preparation, cooking, & serving.  People suffering from severe food allergies are a small percentage of the population, narrow down the allergy & it’s smaller still.  I run into people that aren’t aware of allergies or their possible severity all the time.  Some people are taking steps to correct this, many others will be needed to join in & raise awareness.

But it’s too much for you, allergen sufferer, isn’t it?  I mean, if you could truly die, how do you throw caution to the wind and hope that your 12 reminders have done the trick?  Balls, you.

Yes, balls me.  Again, you have to weigh this against the social pressure to dine out, and desire to be like everyone else.  It’s much more than just the allergy that’s bothersome, and who doesn’t like to dine out every once in a while, especially in a place that doesn’t have a drive-through or a mascot?

That blog contained a vlog from this guy, who at best needs kicked in the teeth.  I can’t really go point-for-point because I don’t really feel like typing out transcripts.  If you’re interested in seeing what I mean, check out Would You Say “No Butter” to Julia Child!?.  He speaks of how I shouldn’t eat out because I can’t trust anyone but him… even though he’s an ass.  He does make one good point saying that people saying they’re allergic to things when they just don’t want them in their food is doing nothing but trivializing it for the rest of us.  But, “Anonymous waiter in Hollywood, CA”, don’t pass the buck, you’re still the arrogant bastard here.  Yes, I get it, you say things for shock value and to gain new readers… like I just said you need kicked in the teeth.  I’m sure you’re fine with that though, & enjoy the reaction.  If you’re teaching us to be better customers, who’s teaching you to be a better waiter?

Apparently people complaining upset the “In The Weeds” writer, and she posted another blog, again venting…

1)  From Shellshock: “Wow. The author is going to kill someone with the attitude towards allergies. I guess the terms anaphylactic shock and death are words not found in the author’s vocabulary.”

I covered the topic of food allergies already, but again, if you can DIE from someone messing up your food, you might as well ask your waitress to perform your next open heart surgery.  It’s really the same risk.  I’m not insensitive to your plight.  I’ll do my best.  But it really sucks that you could die.  Because if the Mexican kitchen workers don’t understand what I’m saying about “anaphylactic shock”…. damn.

Again, why not do your part and suggest to the owner/manager/chef that everyone be trained on food allergy awareness?  No one’s asking you to perform open heart surgery… we’re just asking you to be clean.  That’s all.  Don’t let dirty stuff touch clean stuff. Shouldn’t that be in practice anyway?

I mean this stuff is genius…

Education | For Food Industry and Service Professionals

To prevent allergic reactions, individuals with food allergies rely on accurate ingredient information and safe food handling procedures. The material in this section will provide food industry and service professionals with the information they will need to safely prepare, cook, and serve food to a guest who has food allergies.

Would that really be all that difficult?

Well, maybe I have one more blog left.  One dedicated to tipping… and my take on it.  I really hope to hear from some people in the industry about that one.