Tag Archives: SLICE on Broadway

Subway, Quiznos, Taco Bell, W.G. Grinder’s, & Sheetz take note…


Firehouse Subs, you’re awesome.  I’m just sayin’.

Other food places with no shellfish currently on the menu, pay attention here too.  You don’t need shellfish.

Places that have added it over the years, preventing me from going back…

Other places that don’t need to add it to the menu…

Got that?  Good.

Also, what ever happened to Roly Poly & Schlotzsky’s?  They were excellent shellfish-free places to dine.  Come back!  Also, we need McCalister’s Deli and Lion’s Choice to remain shellfish free and move to the ‘Burgh.  Maybe even Jack in the Box too.

To the rest of you, let’s stop these damn seafood lent specials.  Let the business go to Red Lobster, Joe’s Crab Shack, Long John Silver’s‘, VFD fish fry events, and Monterey Bay.  If you don’t normally do shellfish, stay away from it.  Please?  I ask of behalf of the seafood allergic and those who choose to eat kosher.

Firehouse Subs

Firehouse Subs - my new food heroes.

Your favorite pizza sucks, my favorite pizza rules! (Part 3)


CHAINS.  I wanted to tackle the prominent area pizza chains for part 3.  (You read parts 1 & 2, right?) I’m really not supposed to eat pizza right now thanks to recently diagnosed GERD/Acid Reflux/Barret’s Esophagus, but I have eaten many pizzas from these many chains over the years.  I’m going to be extra picky about my pizza from now on.  I’ll probably stick with Slice on Broadway and Aiello’s.  But the event may come up where I need to pick a chain place again, and here’s where they fall…

Fox's Pizza Den on UrbanspoonFox’s (or Fox’s Pizza Den) is pretty good.  The different locations aren’t always consistent, but when you find a good one… stick with it!  I really dig the one in Bridgeville as of late, but the one closest to home is the one in Brookline.  I grew up on Fox’s in Murrysville, as it was the only place who would deliver to my house out in the boonies.  I don’t know if Fox’s recently revamped their UrbanSpoon profiles or what, but I know I’ve reviewed the one in Brookline, but it’s not there.  Their pages all seem to have little to no reviews or votes.  I remember going on & on about the wedgies.  In fact, I found it at another source

WedgieGimme a Wedgie!
It’s not the sick twisted fantasies of a nerd that likes being dominated by bullies…  It’s a call to order the best #%@$ing sandwich you’ve ever had.  It’s served up on a pizza crust instead of a bun.  How awesome is that?  The steak one is my favorite, but I’ve never seen one that doesn’t look appetizing.  Just make sure you’ve got plenty of napkins on hand.

Their pizza is pretty damn good too.  There was a Fox’s near where I grew up in the suburbs, but they never had a menu this vast.  I sometimes end up getting the fried zucchini or the potato wedges… but really can’t ever eat anything after finishing a whole wedgie.  In fact, my wife & I even sometimes just split one to avoid over-stuffing.  Ordering for delivery is usually the standard half hour to 45 min., and they’re usually there before they said they were going to be… so that’s a plus.  You can’t go wrong with Fox’s.

Vocelli Pizza (Dormont) on Urbanspoon

Vocelli Pizza is another one that must have purged old UrbanSpoon reviews.  There’s virtually nothing there.  I used to love Vocelli’s, even if they’re just named after a made up Italian sounding word.  The service at the local one went down hill, and this is what it used to say on UrbanSpoon:

I used to love this place, & would order quite frequently.  But, the last time we got a Buffalo chicken pizza, there was hair on it.  My wife called & told them, they said they’d send a coupon for a free one next time.  We never got any coupons, and were hungry for their food again… so I got a stromboli and the wife got a buffalo chicken pizza… and the pizza had hair on it again.  She found it (luckily) on the first bite.  So, she called the call center. She of course, didn’t eat any more, so we could show them.  The delivery boy showed up… was incredibly rude, didn’t look at the old pizza, and practically threw the new one at my wife.

I don’t know why he took it personally… I was gonna tip him for coming out the 2nd time because he didn’t put hair on the pizza… but with actions/service like that, they can shove it.  I always tried to tip well too, as we (used to) get pizza form there all the time.  This was enough to end it.  There’s plenty of other pizza shops around, apparently they don’t need our business, anyway.  Hair in a pizza once?  I can see it happening.  Twice within the span of a month or two?  That’s just absolutely ridiculous.

So… in closing, I’d say what used to be a great place has now sunken to a.) being filthy, and b.) having terrible customer service.

…but in all fairness, after a while we did go back & they seemed to have weeded out the bad employees.  I’ve also tried their artery-clogging Alfredo sauce on a pizza, and loved it.  My triglycerides did not.  I do like Vocelli’s normal sauce, and they generally make a consistent pie & decent subs.  If you’re ordering for a crowd, I’d say Vocelli Pizza is an across-the-board crowd-pleaser.

Vocelli Pizza

''Vocelli?'' Sure, that sounds Italian enough!

Papa John's Pizza on UrbanspoonPapa John’s rules with their online ordering.  The sauce isn’t quite as good as Vocelli’s, but they do always give you the tasty garlic dipping sauce and a Peperoncini.  They do rock as far as consistency.  You know what you’re getting every time.  I wish they had subs, I always like to get subs… especially turkey, or sometimes you’re in the mood for a pizza-shop Italian sub.  But then again, maybe they just want to focus on pizza & doing it well.  Check out these amusing blog posts about Papa John’s:

Little Caesars Pizza on UrbanspoonLittle Caesar’s, what the hell happened?  When I was a young lad, we would pickup a pizza after we left Network Video (a place where you rented VHS tapes for the kids out there), we’d pop into Little Caesar’s for what I think was called a Bigfoot… two big-ass square pizzas side by side?  I’d always want breadsticks, because I have an unnatural love for carbs.  I was sad when Little Caesar’s all but disappeared and was relegated to Kmart stores for some strange reason.  When there was a recent resurgence, and a subsequent person paid to stand on West Liberty Ave. and sling a Little Caesar’s sign… I was excited.  We tried the new incredibly cheap pies one night… and they were terrible.  The sauce is definitely much more bitter than I remember, and perhaps in my old age I forgot about all the grease that adorns (soaks) their crust.  I still like the breadsticks, and $5 is pretty good for the amount that they give you, but $5 of crap is still crap.  If I’m in the mood for punishment, need an immediate meal, and it’s a week where I need to pay for dinner with couch change, I may go back.

Cici's Pizza - Bridgeville on UrbanspoonCiCi’s ought to change the name to CaCa’s.  I’ve only ever been there once, but that’s all I need.  Wow.  It was like eating wax & tomato soup spread out over crackers.  Who cares if it’s cheap and all-you-can-eat when it’s absolutely terrible nutrition?  My high school cafeteria served better pizza, and even better pizza imitation food.  I think there was a salad bar, and an unholy “mac n’ cheese” pizza.  I don’t remember much other than the dried crusty partial pies getting tanned under the hot lights and maybe even someone shouting a welcome when we walked in.  I just wanted to leave but had paid and tried to just stay & eat my few dollars worth.  CiCi’s won that day.  There’s no way I had eaten more of that crap than hat I paid for.

Pizza Hut on UrbanspoonPizza Hut causes me great gastrointestinal distress.  Every few years, I forget and enter a Pizza Hut thinking “ah, it wasn’t that bad”.  Yes, yes it is.  Perhaps I hit an age long ago where Pizza Hut was no longer compatible with my intestines.  Perhaps I was really slow to learn the pattern.  We didn’t do Pizza Hut too much when I was growing up.  Maybe I never built up a tolerance/immunity.  The pizza itself isn’t bad, I’ve had the personal pan, the normal pies, a few lunch buffets… they generally have a good crust & good flavor… albeit greasy.  It’s just that their pie unleashes itself like an assault team on my digestive system.  The one in Greentree is the last one that I visited.  The service was slow, and I didn’t feel welcomed at all.  Hopefully it steels my resolve to skip Pizza Hut in the future.

Pizza Hut Maze

A letter within a maze, for my pals at Pizza Hut. (They never did write back!)

I’ve dealt with Pizza Hut many times in the past…

Ridiculous.

Avoid the Noid

Avoid the Noid!

I know I missed Domino’s, but I was never impressed with their pies… and there’s never one around where I’m ordering.  I did like the Noid commercials back in the day though.  I haven’t tried their revamped pies.  I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.

Did I miss your favorite chain pizza?  Did I miss your most reviled?

Take the poll, it’s only open for a week!

Your favorite pizza sucks, my favorite pizza rules! (Part 2)


So, last time I blogged about pizza, I covered some of my favorites: Aiello’s, SLICE, & A’Pizza Badamo.  This time I’ll blog about other area big-hitters.

Beto's Pizza on UrbanspoonBeto’s is another place nearby that is just excellent.  They’re the place that you’ve probably heard of that doesn’t cook the cheese & other toppings.  You’ll probably either love it or hate it.  I dig it, the wife does not.  The only thing I’d change is the consistency of the sauce… I’m not a fan of chunks of tomatoes in pizza sauce, but the flavor is excellent.  They don’t get all fancy with toppings here either, just simple, straightforward pizza with cheese that’s melting as you eat it.  I think my favorite way to eat it is just as plain cheese pizza.  Why mess up such a beautiful combination?

Molly's Pizza on UrbanspoonMolly’s Pizza is close by too.  They have some great pizza, and some really crazy specialty pies like the Ranchero Steak Pizza and the Pierogi Pizza.  I personally like to get a pizza with zucchini on top.  Excellent stuff!  It’s hard to pick a favorite around here.

Fiori's Pizzaria on UrbanspoonFoiri’s is a south hills institution.  Sorry, I don’t get it.  Is it good pizza?  Most definitely.  Is it overrated?  In my humble opinion, yes.  Maybe I’m biased because you can get deathfish as a topping there.  At any rate, if you’re in the area and a pizza aficionado, it’s worth checking out before you decide that Slice is the best place around.

Il Pizzaiolo on UrbanspoonIl Pizzaiolo isn’t your regular Pittsburgh pizza shop.  They’re fancy.  They have great pies in a steep Neapolitan tradition.  As they say themselves…

…the restaurant has become a vibrant gathering place for lovers of Neapolitan pizza, pasta and Italian wine. Nearly everything on the menu is hand-made. And if it’s not made in-house, it’s imported from the best artisans, cheese-makers and salumeria in the world. Mozzarella di Bufala comes direct from Naples every Thursday and the pizzas are baked at 1000˚ in a handcrafted, wood-fired brick oven for less than 90 seconds. This, along with perfectly leavened dough, San Marzano tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil, produces the most authentic Neapolitan pizza possible.

So obviously, this is no Pizza Hut.  They make incredible gourmet pies.  Unfortunately it’s entirely not what I’m craving when I “just want a pizza”.  This is where you want to go when you’d like a nice evening out to enjoy some of the lightest most delicious pizza you’ve ever eaten.

Italian Village Pizza (Canonsburg/McMurray) on UrbanspoonItalian Village Pizza is all over the place.  Both by location and quality.  They used to have a killer A1 Steak Sub at the one on Rte. 51, but I don’t think they have that any more.  The last one I frequented was the one in McMurray, but I only ever got the pizza once or twice.  The steak & Italian subs are incredible, but the sauce was just too bitter for me.  It tasted like straight tomato paste with some basil thrown in.  Some people love it, but it just wasn’t my thing.

Here I’d also like to try to address this thing…

VinceNt’s vs. Vincent’s

I’m still not sure what the exact dispute is… if there’s still a dispute, and if there are only two Vincent’s involved in this saga.  Can anyone fill me in on this?  I’ve heard several amalgamated stories over the years.  Some credible news even.  First, you’ve got to get your head around the locations…

There’s Vincent’s Pizza ParkOne on 30 in Irwin/North Huntingdon, one on Ardmore Blvd., and one in Holiday Park (the one I used to frequent).  And there’s Vincent’s “of Greentree” …oddly enough in Greentree, Southpointe, and the West End.  (There also seems to be a Vincent’s Pizza Pub on Mt. Washington – I’m unsure if they’re related to any of the others.)

I haven’t been to Vincent’s Pizza Park in Holiday Park in a long long time, but I remember it as the greasiest pizza I have ever had.  It was good, but greasy.  Some people like that.  I’m not the biggest fan of grease, but I remember they had a nice thick crust & a flavorful sauce.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to the Vincent’s in Greentree, but the one in Southpointe has great steak subs, garlic buns, and pretty good pizza.  Their “like it” percentage on Urbanspoon is pretty low though.  No idea what’s up there.

Vincent's Pizza Park on Urbanspoon Vincent's of Southpointe on Urbanspoon

Which Vincent’s is your favorite?  Which Vincent’s location is the best & the original?  (I think it’s Vincent’s in Forest Hills)

Please, chime in on any of these locations, any from my previous pizza post, or any that I may have missed.  I may dive into pizza chains next.  Pizza is always a subject of hot debate (and it goes well with beer).

Radical!

Radical!

McConsistency is Key.


Recently for lunch, I had a reconstituted-onion & cheese sandwich from McDonald’s with a little bit of beef on it.  It was extra special because it was pressed.  It was not like a panini press with grill lines, but more like someone sat on it.  There were also pickles stacked on top of each other, sticking out of the side.  Very artful & creative!

This wasn’t even from the West Liberty location.

I recently had a friend send one of his friends’ McTale-of-woe to me, because I have apparently become some sort of authority on all things wrong with McDonald’s customer service.

The reason I told of my recent adventure in lunch, is that it fits with the tale as told by someone who wishes to remain nameless, blameless, & shameless:

From: Pattyless Sandwich
Date: Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 9:29 AM
Subject: The Day McDonald’s Shit All Over My Good Time
To: The Hamburglar

On Sept. 27, 2011 I went through the drive thru at McDonald’s on Mt. Lebanon Blvd. in Castle Shannon, PA. I ordered a number 4 (two cheeseburgers), and I asked for no onion. When I got back to my friends house and we started eating I noticed that the sandwich looked really thin but I just figured it was smashed down a little more THAN NECESSARY so I bit in anyway. As I was chewing, I realized something wasn’t right about what was being smashed around in my mouth. I set my sandwich down and removed the top part of the bun to see the following: slice of cheese on the bottom half of the bun, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. Yes, that is correct, there was no meat on the sandwich. Luckily I had another sandwich, that in fact had the patty, to eat, but they put onions on it. The only thing I asked them to void. Now I understand work is work and if you have a job to live then that is fantastic, but to be the person to put the burgers together at McDonald’s, I feel like you go through a training day to be shown how to assemble them. Bottom bun, slice of cheese (I’m guessing it is on the bottom so the burger melts it, let’s not get crazy this shit isn’t cooked together), HAMBURGER PATTY, and then your condiments. Who put mine together and thought “hm….this looks right. Nothing is missing, I am a brilliant fucking burger maker extraordinaire.”? It’s not a hamburger from a hamburger joint if there is no meat. To quote a smart fast food chain (rhymes with Shmendy’s), “Where’s the beef!?”

Sincerely,
Pattyless Sandwich

And, there’s even a Facebook photo:

Veggie Burger?

Veggie Burger?

Ridiculous.  At least this didn’t come through my contact form from someone thinking I was McDonald’s.

Friends, I seriously wish I could write to the McGiant on your behalf, but all of my insane yet legitimate complaints have fallen on deaf ears, blind eyes, or typical McCustomer-Service employees.

Check out my track record.  While I feel for you, maybe try their McPennsylvania site?  I can do nothing at this point but perhaps share in your misery, my freinds!

OK, maybe I am McDonald’s?


Just kidding.  But Harmony and her husband are convinced that I am indeed McDonald’s, and that Harmony is a certified technological genius.  More on that later.

I was convinced by my friends & followers online to write to Mr. Kausky after his suggestion of thanking a soldier for the freedom to choose fast food.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you need to read “I AM NOT McDONALD’S” and “I’m still not McDonald’s“.

McDonald's on UrbanspoonAt any rate, this is how I chose to respond to the good-natured manager of the Canonsburg McDonald’s:

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Sep 7, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: Scott Kausky
Cc: pit.05834@us.stores.mcd.com, info@westliberty.mcdtoday.com, sandra.jaeger@gmail.com, krebs955@gmail.com, shovelman11@yahoo.com, pastorskid_tiwtc4u@yahoo.com, Ella.Jones@us.mcd.com, McDonaldsCorporation@mcd.com, McDonalds.CustomerCare@us.mcd.com, kathy.pieroni@us.mcd.com

Hello Mr. Kausky,

Pardon me if I’m misreading the tone of your email, but please calm down.  Have some dip.

My inclusion of you on the original email was because I’ve had pleasant dealings with you & your McDonald’s location in the past.  I’m convinced that you were instrumental in finally getting a response from Ms. Jones the last time I had an issue with the West Liberty Ave. McDonald’s location.  I read you as a man of action, with great pride in your company.

Perhaps you would be better off at a Chick-Fil-A?  They seem to treat their employees better, and you’d never work on Sundays.  You may not be so stressed & jumpy.  Ever notice they always say “My Pleasure” instead of “You’re Welcome” when you thank them?  I can’t decide if it’s awesome, or cult-like.  I’m pretty sure that no one at any McDonald’s ever has acted like it was their pleasure to give me a lopsided cheeseburger.  (Seriously, spot-check that stuff.  I haven’t done a formal study yet, but I’m guessing that 75% of the time, the pickles are stacked on one side of the burger, not placed side-by-side in the middle… and that 95% of the time, there is ketchup and/or mustard on the outside of the bun.)  Although, I have never seen an alarm clock with a subliminal cow penis at McDonald’s… even if you have poorly copied the Chick-fil-A sandwich.

I have four email addresses for people representing the West Liberty Ave. McDonald’s.  None of them have replied to my original email.  This shows lack of pride.  I’m sure you would be disappointed in their lack of response.  That’s…  pit.05834@us.stores.mcd.com, info@westliberty.mcdtoday.com, sandra.jaeger@gmail.com, & Ella.Jones@us.mcd.com.

I’m a concerned citizen, trying to help the confused yet adamant Harmony get in contact with the correct people.  Amber & Shirley need my help too.  Their complaints are valid, and think about this… out of the entire internet that exists out there… these people have managed to find my blog to submit complaints about what I can call possibly the most incompetent McDonald’s location ever.  It’s not their fault that they can’t tell that I am not McDonald’s.

Harmony has her own issues, as she can’t distinguish between an email address and a website… but that doesn’t change the fact that she was not offered a mango pineapple smoothie, and it took 15 minutes to get her additional sandwich and Rolo McFlurry while ¾ of the crew members where congregating by the drive-thru.  (Hopefully they weren’t conjugating… right?)  A mango pineapple smoothie sounds absolutely disgusting, but if Harmony wanted to be offered one that’s her right.

Speaking of rights, I’m not sure how I provoked the antagonistic patriotism and perceived lack of disrespect for our armed forces and freedom.  I apologize if I have offended you in any way.  Were you watching the History channel, election coverage, or perhaps drinking when you received my email?  (I’m not judging, I would imagine one would have to partake in the occasional sip of spirits in order to cope with the stress of running a McDonald’s on top of receiving emails from crazy people.)  

I am indeed glad that I have the freedom to rant about customer service issues and fast food quality on the internet.  You’re right though, I will indeed thank a soldier the next time I see them.  You’ll have to promise to instruct your fellow McDonald’s managers and employees to thank a soldier next time they see them too.  They need to thank them for the freedom to serve poorly constructed sandwiches, cold french fries, and for opportunities to congregate by the drive-thru while paying customers wait (im?)patiently.  While we’re at it, they should thank them for the freedom to dumb-down the populace by changing words like “through” to “thru” and “Night” to “Nite”.  I’m not positive, but I can only assume such offenses would not go unpunished in the former Soviet Union or current Communist blockades like China, one of the Koreas, or Cuba.  I can imagine one being caned in a Singapore McDonald’s for congregating by the drive-thru, or having ketchup fall on the outside of a bun.

At any rate, I would like to share with you my overall adventures in correspondence with McDonald’s.  I hope to amuse and amaze you in chronological order below:

Just so you don’t feel bad, check this one out:  Wendy’s in Dormont (Pittsburgh, PA) – W. LIBERTY #5

I hope you took the time to read all of the comments.  I am not McDonald’s, and I am not alone.  There are more (albeit less electronically vocal) of me out there.  We will not remain silent.  We will continue to consume your poorly assembled meals while grumbling under our breath.  We will contunite to have a mental block when it comes to actual time spent waiting for “fast food” to be prepared & served versus the perceived speed of choosing to dine at such establishments.  We will continue to craft poorly worded and misspelled messages and send them to the wrong people.  We will celebrate the fact that we have the freedom to do all of the above.

So, we have arrived to now.  What’s happening now, is happening now.  I hope you have enjoyed the ride.  Please keep all arms, legs, & other appendages inside the car until it comes to a complete stop.  Thanks for flying W(aL)D Airlines, may the force be with you.  (..and also with you, Amen.)

Your baffled consumer advocate,
-Eric AiXeLsyD
World (and Lunar) Domination

Heh.  I decided to go goofy at the end.  I got his reply, and have decided to leave this poor man alone.  Why?  He actually takes pride in his McDonald’s,  and seems to have a rare killer work ethic:

From: Scott Kausky <skausky33@verizon.net>
Date: Wed, Sep 7, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Eric
I didn’t send the email you to upset you either.  I represent my McDonalds.  I was just stating the fact that our soldiers give us the freedom to complain.  I’m old fashioned perhaps, if I continued to have issues, I would simply not return.  Thats how I run my store.  We don’t want them to go else where so we do it right and fix the issues that arrive.  The stores that have issues generally might be due to the town they are in.  I appologize if no one responds to your emails.  All I know for sure is come visit in Canonsburg and I’ll make it right for you.  I enjoy my job and serving our customers.  Please dont use my email for any other reason.

With Respect

Scott Kausky

Respect is right.  Misguided patriotic rants aside, Scott Kausky is the man.  I encourage you to support this McDonald’s location.

We still have the little matter of harmony being convinced that I’m McDonald’s.  You can imagine my surprise as this came to my inbox slightly before Scott’s reply above:

From: krebs955@gmail.com <krebs955@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Sep 7, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

I don’t have much to say about all this McDonald’s stuff, because I work at one currently and everybody else has said it. However, I will say that Harmony is my wife and she has no issues whatsoever. The reason we posted on your blog is because it was on the bottom of our receipt. She is not technologically challenged, and shame on you for assuming what other people’s problems and issues are.

Upon the arrival of this gem in my inbox, I was kind of speechless.  I was also paranoid.  Did they indeed pimp my blog’s address at the bottom of a McDonald’s receipt?  I would have declared this an absolute win for Ella Jones, Sandra Jaeger, and everyone else that doesn’t reply to emails at the West Libery Ave. McDonald’s.  I mean, really, how funny would that be?  Along those same lines… if this is a friend or reader yanking my proverbial crank; Kudos!  You totally got me.

If this is for real, then may God have mercy on your souls, …and mine for teasing you.  Can someone please help me explain this?  I thought I did that with my last blog post/email with the lines..

But, I must say that I’m confused.  You didn’t email anyone, you used the contact form at my website: http://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com

Is that what appears at the top of the receipt?

I’m guessing that more than likely it says “ella.jones@us.mcd.com” at the top of your receipt.  I’m not Ella Jones.  You didn’t email me.  You didn’t email Ella Jones.  You did a Google (or Bing) search for the email address, and landed on my page.

McReceipt 09/07/2011

I don't see my email address or blog url on here anywhere. Do you?

Can someone help me simplify that?  Should I even bother at this point?  I’m confused.  Just in case Harmony or her husband find their way back here, I did have to satisfy my curiosity.  I stopped & got two sweet teas tonight, just to get a receipt.  You can seethe full receipt to the left.

It thankfully (and I’ll admit… somewhat disappointingly) does not include my email address or my blog’s web address.

Which one of my theories do you think is the case here?  Do you think they found my blog, & were insulted?  I mean no disrespect.  I’m just trying to help here.  At this point, I’m assuming Shirley and Amber will remain clueless until the end of time.  I have yet to receive a reply from either of them, and doubt I will.  And, I doubt that I’ll ever hear from Ella Jones or Sandra Jaeger.

I also hope that Harmony’s husband doesn’t work at the West Liberty McDonald’s, and that her going online to complain (“complaine”?) about his corporate employer doesn’t cause some sort of marital rift.

Perhaps a visual aid will help demonstrate:

Trust me, I am not McDonald's.

Trust me, I am not McDonald's.

I don’t think I’ll ever convince them.  Think I can get a McDonald’s hat or something?  Maybe a name tag?  Something?  Perhaps I should just start writing back to people pretending that I am indeed McDonald’s.

McDonald's on Urbanspoon To compound & confound even more, this is what happened on my latest adventure into this McDonald’s on a mission to obtain a receipt & ultimately verify that I am not McDonald’s:

I pulled into the parking lot somewhere around 8:30pm and the lot was quite full.  Most of the cars in the lot were at the outer edge, toward the bottom of the lot, and most likely there for Malone’s Too or Señor Frog’s or whatever that bar is called this week… blatantly ignoring the signs to the effect of “McDonald’s Parking Only” or whatever.  I even saw a guy walk out of the bar into his car.  Oh well, that’s not really in their control… or is it?

The drive through lanes were both backed up pretty hard, and I’m sure people were cutting in front of each other unhindered as usual… so I opted to just pull into a parking spot & go inside.  Bad move?  Perhaps.

Once inside, I took my place in line behind a woman and her daughter at the one open/operating register, and a lone dude in front of me.  The woman & daughter were mid-order, and there was something going on about apple pies being dropped (in what I can hopefully assume was the fryer) and only one pie being avaiable.  They were told there would be an approximate 10 minute wait, but that “it goes fast”.  The woman slid to the side as her daughter went to fill their drinks, and I assume find a table.

While this was happening, I saw another McDonald’s employee come up to a register, glance annoyedly at me and the dude in front of me, hit some buttons, then walk away.  I’m sorry.  Do these employees know that to make money, McDonald’s sells what they pass off as food… and that in order to pay her salary they need to sell vast amounts of lopsided hamburgers with ketchup all over the outside of the bun?  I was surprised at how backed up things had become as the drive-through appeared quite frantic & another potential customer came in behind me during a completely non-meal-rush time of day.

Leaving the sole struggling fellow employee at the line register kind of seemed like what I would call a “dick move“.  Alas, the mother moved to the left, and slid her tray containing rapidly cooling french fries along with her.  Up next?  Dude in front of me.

Dude must have also ordered apple pies… as he was told they just dropped.  When he asked what that meant, he was told that it meant there would be a ten minute wait for apple pies.   Was the young lady at the register trying to use a Jedi mind trick to dissuade the man from ordering apple pies?  I’m guessing that she was simply telling a customer that they didn’t want what they ordered.  I honestly don’t know why anyone would want to order one of those nasty mucus-like hot-pockets that are supposed to resemble a pie… but if he was willing to shell out his hopefully hard-earned cash for them, I say give them to the man!  Order begrudgingly placed, and man moves to the left… overcrowding the woman with her lone order of increasingly algid fries.

I was up!  Finally.  I was asked what I wanted to order, I requested two sweet teas.  I was actually told “Oh, thank you for being an easy one” much to the dismay of the dude directly to my left.  He was visibly not amused.  I struggled to internally process what had caused such dismay in the poor girl behind the counter as I was handed my receipt… but I was (and still am) at a loss.

Mission complete.  I had a receipt in my hand.  My name, email address, and blog url are not on the receipt.  Success!  “Just give me my cups” I thought, as the girl walked away.  A kid was leaving his shift… she told him goodbye and proceeded to walk over and talk to the remaining employees about how popular the departing employee was this evening.  It somehow turned into a rant about thinking that someone was going to come through the drive-through window at her.  Perhaps some other unsatisfied customers earlier this evening?

Then one of the other employees told the girl who had taken my order that it was time for her break.  “Break?” she exclaimed, and started to leave.  The one with some semblance of sanity said “but first I need you to take care of all these orders.”

I tried to shift to my left, but apple pie guy was holding his ground as I blatantly invaded his personal space.  Perhaps his movement was hindered by the woman in front of him with ice fries.  The woman behind me was a champion.  She pushed ahead to the register like a metal fan in a mosh pit.  I think her purse touched my bum.  I just want some cups.  The girl who took my order looked at me quizzically.  Perhaps I looked befuddled.  I know where the drink station is.  I know how to get ice.  I know how to work the knob on the iced tea dispenser.  I just need two of those Styrofoam sweet tea cups.  At this point, any cups will do.

Steely in her resolve to go on break, or perhaps obliviously, she took the order of the woman behind me.  Snack wraps.  She broke the code.  No apple pies.  Smart move, purse push lady.  Smart move.  The order was punched in, and she started to yet again walk away.

“C… Can I just have some cups?”  The words were out of my mouth before my brain knew that I was forming them.  I don’t know if I was anxious, or this was my flight response in order to remove myself from the chaos all around me.  The girl who took my order paused, and looked at me.  I’m sure ice fries and pie guy looked at me too, wondering why I should get my hands on some sweet tea before they were handed their precious disgusting pies.  For a split second, I was almost scared.  Had I crossed a line?  Had I invoked the wrath of a McDonald’s employee mere moments late for her break?

Relief.  She grabbed two Styrofoam cups and filled them with ice, then went back to her conversation about the drive through window or something that seemed to annoy her fellow employees.

The girl who had looked at us with disdain earlier while tapping a few buttons on the register reappeared, and asked ice fries what she was waiting for.  Ice fries lady (who’s daughter probably had come to terms by now that she was surely abandoned) said something to the effect of… “I’m waiting for pies, but can I have my sandwiches now, & have someone bring out the pies?”  This was like a record skipping in a TV show.  Several employees stopped and looked at her.  I’m not sure if there was an answer… but I did hear that “the pies would be ten minutes.”  Surely three to five of those ten minutes had already passed, but who was I to argue?

“Hooolllly coooowww!”  I did it again.  The words escaped me before I could contain them.  Damn you, Ernie and the Berts practice, for amping me all up.  By this point, I was looking around for hidden cameras.  Was I on a TV show?  I think I heard pie guy say “I know” but perhaps he feared the wrath of a pie-less future as it was almost imperceptible.

I was handed my iced teas… I’m guessing the tea dispensers over by the pop machines aren’t filled at night?  Makes sense.  Even though there was one of me and I ordered two drinks…  I wasn’t offered a drink carrier.  I wasn’t handed straws or napkins.  I sure as heck wasn’t going to ask for any.

I hastily made my was over to the condiment & drink station, got some straws & napkins, then walked back past the counter to the exit, ice fries, pie guy, and snack wrap lady still there… probably envious of my escape to sweet freedom.

I couldn’t help it.  As I walked by, I muttered a sing-song like “♪♫ Good luuu-uuck… ♪♫” to my fellow McConsumers.  I hope they were amused.

Eu não sou McDonald’s. Ich bin nicht McDonald’s. Io non sono McDonald’s. Jag är inte McDonalds. Je ne suis pas McDonald’s. Jeg er ikke McDonalds. Mimi si McDonald ya. Nem vagyok McDonald’s. Nid wyf yn McDonald’s. Nie jestem McDonalda. Níl mé McDonald’s ar. Non est McDonald’s. Yo no soy McDonald. Δεν είμαι της McDonald’s. Я не Макдональдс. אני לא מקדונלד ‘ס. मैं मैकडॉनल्ड्स नहीं हूँ. 저는 맥도날드 아닙니다. 我不是麦当劳。 私はマクドナルドではない。

I’m still not McDonald’s.


The McDouble, a cheeseburger from McDonald's.

Image via Wikipedia

Have you heard that I’m not McDonald’s?  I decided to write to my new friends in McNeed, and I got a great response out of Harmony.  She is apparently convinced that I am McDonald’s.  I got a somewhat puzzling response from Scott, the manager of the Canonsburg store.  I’ll share what’s transpired.  This is me, trying to clear up the message…

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 1, 2011
Subject: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: krebs955@gmail.com, shovelman11@yahoo.com, pastorskid_tiwtc4u@yahoo.com
Cc: pit.05834@us.stores.mcd.com, Ella Jones <Ella.Jones@us.mcd.com>, info@westliberty.mcdtoday.com, sandra.jaeger@gmail.com, skausky33@verizon.net

Hello Harmony, Shirley, & Amber,

 Thank you for taking the time to write to me!  While I understand your frustrations with your McDonald’s visits, I have to say… I am not McDoanld’s.

 I’m not sure how you all arrived at using the contact form for my website whilst thinking the message was going to McDonald’s.  While I applaud your vigor, it is sadly misdirected.  I do however feel that it would be an injustice if I left the messages fall upon deaf ears (or blind eyes as it were).  So, I am copying this message to the known addresses of several people representing the McDonald’s location on West Liberty Avenue in Dormont.  Hopefully they will follow-up with you directly about your respective incidents; runny oatmeal, lack of napkins & ketchup, lackadaisical manager (Jeff), and all.  Chaos apparently still abounds at this location.  It’s been quite some time since I have been there.

If you’d like to know what I’m talking about, or where this email is from… I encourage you to check out my blog:  I AM NOT McDONALD’S.  It also contains other avenues to explore (namely Twitter) should this email prove to be no help.

Until then, since the nearby Wendy’s is under construction and possibly worse than this McDonald’s, I encourage you to try Dormont Dogs, SLICE on Broadway, or Tom’s Diner.

Good luck in your journey form consumer advocacy to customer satisfaction, may you be amused along the way, & find what you’re looking for eventually.  Consider me your GPS.

 Don’t argue with the Garmin,
-ERiC AiXeLsyD
World (and Lunar) Domination

Simple enough, right?  Harmony is not convinced:

From: krebs955@gmail.com <krebs955@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 1, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

That is interesting since your e-mail address is on the receipts there lol.

It was almost immediately followed by this:

From: krebs955@gmail.com <krebs955@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 1, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Thanks for the helpful info though.

Can someone get me a receipt from that place, just so I can be sure?  I’m guessing that Harmony is using a phone, and thought she emailed Ella Jones… & didn’t realize she was using my contact form.

I’ve had positive interactions with Mr. Kausky before.  Apparently my repeated use of “I am not McDonald’s” pushed a button.

From: Scott Kausky <skausky33@verizon.net>
Date: Wed, Aug 31, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Dear Sir,

I am also NOT MCDONALD’S.   I do however, represent the Canonsburg McDonald’s.  I can assist you with anything from that perspective.  I might suggest however, to take the time and thank a soldier that gives us the freedom to criticize in the land of the free and be thankful that we can peacefully drive down the street and stop by and pick up a quick meal if one so desires.

 Thank You.

Scott is apparently unamused by my insolence.  The reason I copied him is that he’s the only one who gave a response before, and seems to actually take pride in his store.  I believe it also helped get a response from Ms. Jones.

I don’t know where thanking a soldier came into play.  I never voiced any disrespect for the government or military.  Both of my grandfathers fought in WWII, my dad served in the army, and I have uncles that served in the Marines & Air Force… as well as many other friends & extended family members who have served in active duty much more recently.  I appreciate all of their service, and the fact that I’m here and able to whine about the quality of fast food service because of them.

If we’re invoking patriotism inappropriately here: Maybe the next time a McDonald’s employee is screwing up an order, they should thank a soldier that they have the freedom to screw up that order.

I haven’t written back to Mr. Kausky yet, but I did fire this off to Harmony & company:

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 1, 2011
Subject: Re: AiXeLsyD13 / W(aL)D – I’m not McDonald’s
To: “krebs955@gmail.com” <krebs955@gmail.com>
Cc: shovelman11@yahoo.com, pastorskid_tiwtc4u@yahoo.com, pit.05834@us.stores.mcd.com, Ella Jones <Ella.Jones@us.mcd.com>, info@westliberty.mcdtoday.com, sandra.jaeger@gmail.com, skausky33@verizon.net

Hello again Harmony,

No problem for the contact info, good luck in your quest for customer satisfaction!

But, I must say that I’m confused.  You didn’t email anyone, you used the contact form at my website: http://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com

Is that what appears at the top of the receipt?

I’m guessing that more than likely it says “ella.jones@us.mcd.com” at the top of your receipt.  I’m not Ella Jones.  You didn’t email me.  You didn’t email Ella Jones.  You did a Google (or Bing) search for the email address, and landed on my page.

If it does say “http://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com” at the top of a McDonald’s receipt, I’d love to see a photo of that.

Rock on!
-Eric

No response as of yet from Harmony, Shirley, or Amber (who all thought or still think that I was/am McDonald’s) …and of course as expected no response (to me anyway) from Ella Jones, Sandra Jaeger, Rick Sapko, or anyone representing the West Liberty Ave. McDonald’s.

Should I write back to Scott & try to clear things up?  Should I leave well enough alone?  I know that pressing Sandra, Ella, & Rick will get me nowhere.

Your favorite pizza sucks, my favorite pizza rules! (Part 1)


Dare I say no food can be as unifying and polarizing as Pizza?  Generally, it’s the one thing most people like.  Need to feed a bunch of people quickly?  Kids birthday party?  Reward for good achievements?  Pizza party!  It’s the go-to feed a herd food.  Unless someone’s lactose intolerant or has a food allergy to tomatoes or something…  I’ve never heard someone exclaim anything to the effect of “Free pizza?  Ew!  No thank you!”  I’ve heard a friend say “Pizza is like sex, there’s no such thing as bad pizza.”  I’m pretty sure he’s paraphrasing a comedian, but I have no idea who.  No matter where the sentiment lies on the corny scale, he’s right.  Most pizza is acceptable sustenance if not worthy of writing online reviews, letters to your mom, or several stanzas of poetry.

At the same time, a simple statement like “[So & So] makes the best pizza!” can make the most passive among us throw-down in an instant.  I’m pretty sure if Canada called up, and said “Hey United States, we have better pizza than you!” – there would be a full-scale invasion, and we’d soon have another big state.  (Maybe minus Quebec, the Queen Mum can keep that one.)  I’m guessing that unless you’re from Quebec or you for some reason hate pizza, you’re still with me, right?

Slices from SLICE

Slices from SLICE

Here’s the plan:  I’m going to tell you about my favorite pizza, and you’re going to tell me about your favorite pizza.  We’ll all try to remain calm.  When you’re wrong, I’ll tell you… so don’t be afraid.  This will probably be limited to Pittsburgh due to my geographical location.  So, if there’s pizza from somewhere else that you want to tell me about, you can… & I’ll assume you’re wrong until I go try it.  If the place is local (to me), even better.  I may go try it.

Side note – In case you’re new, I’m deathly allergic to shellfish (& mollusks). I’m not too excited to try pizza from places that offer shrimp, lobster, crab or any other kind of deadly sea-bugs as pizza toppings. I generally don’t feel “safe” when they can put their hands in one topping to put on someone else’s pie, then into my toppings without washing their hands… or to (even worse) perhaps drop some on my pie.

Sometimes you’re in the mood for different kinds of pizza.  It’s OK to like more than one.  Shocking, I know.  Here’s the beginning of my run-down on local pizza:

Aiello's Pizza on UrbanspoonAiello’s is up first, because well… they’re my favorite.  Their sauce is nothing short of perfection to my humble taste-buds.  It’s sweet but it doesn’t lose the flavor of the tomatoes.  I love pizza sauce that doesn’t have that bite that you get from tomato paste.  The dough is perfect doughey goodness, yet thin enough so it’s not like you’re eating a loaf of bread with pizza toppings.  Aiello’s is always clean, and it’s cool to watch ‘em make the pies right there in front of you.  The seemingly gruff employees just are who they are.  They’re all nice guys.  They call my father-in-law “Anchovy Bobby” for his dedication as a customer and obviously now I guess… affection for anchovies.  Well, I did get yelled at by Joe once for being late to pickup a pizza.  I was fighting traffic down Forbes all the way from Oakland to Squirrel Hill.  But, he was concerned about pizza quality (and perhaps that he had been stiffed the cost of a pizza).

Mineo's Pizza House (Squirrel Hill) on UrbanspoonI guess if I’m talking Squirrel Hill and pizza, I have to mention the other guys.  I’ve had Mineo’s, but to be fair… it was only once.  I don’t see a reason to go back when Aiello’s is a few doors up the hill.  It was greasy, and they offer deathfish as a topping.  Boo, I say.  One thing you can’t argue is that they have just as devout a following as Aiello’s.  You’ll get lovers & haters on both sides of the issue.  I think it’s probably good for both businesses to have such a famed & heated rivalry.  (Legend goes that Joe worked at Mineo’s, then split to make his own name making pies his way.  Check out this article, this YouTube video, and this Facebook group for more.)

SLICE on Broadway on UrbanspoonI have found a new additional favorite closer to home in Dormont… SLICE on Broadway in Beechview is excellent.  Hoping my father-in-law’s ears aren’t burning, I’m going to go ahead and say that SLICE is every bit as good as Aiello’s.  Read the reviews on UrbanSpoon, Yelp, & Google.  All those people can’t be wrong, can they?  The guys that run the place seem really friendly, the place is clean, and easy to get to for me anyway.  Here again, it all comes down to the sauce.  The sauce here has a slightly sweet tinge to it… and it’s fantastic.  The proportion of the sauce is great too, there’s no cheese sliding off of this pie on the 1st bite.  The amount of toppings is respectful & not a “look how many toppings we can put on” kind of thing.  These guys really just know how to put together a great pie, and I can’t wait to work my way through the menu.  It’s also kind of cool to sit there & watch the T go by… even though I could also do the same thing from my front porch.  They get bonus points for having “The Big Salad” on their menu and for still being excellent the next day.

A'Pizza Badamo on UrbanspoonA'Pizza Badamo on UrbanspoonA’Pizza Badamo is another great nearby shop.  They, like SLICE, seem to have a “No B.S.” approach to making pizza.  Fresh ingredients, simple pies, done right, & value for the money.  I also need to work my way through this menu.  I’m anxious to try the Eggplant Parmesan sub.  The one & only thing that may give SLICE a slight edge (to me anyway) is the sauce.  A’Pizza Badamo’s sauce has a little more savory flavor than sweetness.  Like I said, I like sweet sauce.  Then again, I think I’m going to have to try many many more pies from each place to decide who the champion is.  I hope to never be able to make up my mind.  These guys are also really a class act, the place is quaint, clean, and a relaxing place to hang out.

Well, those are my favorites (& one not-so favorite, I guess)… and it’s a lot to take in right now.  Perhaps I’ll have to make this a series of posts.  I could do a post just about the pizza shops in & around Dormont.  It’s an almost endless list.

At any rate, before I continue my pizza tirade… let the comments begin!  Where are your favorites?