How yinz make your chili? ūüĆ∂ [Chili √† la AiXeLsyD “Recipes”] ūüĆ∂


Yinz like chili? ¬†I do. ¬†I haven’t made any for a long time. ¬†I may need to change that. ¬†I stole this (& modified it) from my never-used Cookpendium blog. ¬†My writing has hopefully improved since then. ¬†Maybe not. ¬†I like a tamer chili that would appeal to a wide variety of people to add heat as they like. ¬†I like it thick enough to make a spoon stand. ¬†I can take or leave the beans, and I reject your debatable elitist visions of chili or what it ought to be.

I ought to try and make a new batch using only stuff I buy at Aldi.

How do you make yours?


[Originally from a post at (the now defunct) PittsburghBeat.com, here’s a few consolidated chili recipe/methods…]

Recipe 1:

I’ve never made chili before, and in researching, I came across 50 billion recipes. So, this morning I made my own in the crock pot…

  • 2 cans of condensed tomato soup
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 packet of chili mix
  • about ¬Ĺ cup of water
  • 1 tsp. of beef bullion
  • 1 can light red kidney beans
  • however much ground meat was leftover from last night
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • a dash of paprika
  • a dash of garlic

…and I slapped it into the crock pot on low for 8 hours.

Hope it tastes good when I get home. I’ve got shredded cheddar cheese for the top of it, & Super-Pretzels to go along with it. They always served pretzels & chili in my elementary school cafeteria so they belong together in my warped mind.

Most of them use tomato paste, soup, sauce, juice, or diced tomatoes as a base… I even saw one that called for Spicy hot V8… and I think my mom always used soup. Tomato paste is usually bitter, so I figured the tomato soup would counteract it. All of the spices should be rockin’. I like my chili thick.

Oh yeah, about 1/2 the ground meat was cooked w/ some seasoning salt & A1.


Recipe 2:

Here’s what basically went into my chili. I’ll probably eventually make a blog about it with a narrative so I can remember what I did this time for next time… to see what I wanna change or what I wanna do again.

I ended up only using the one can of diced tomatoes (the one with jalape√Īos) and still kind‚Äôve overflowed the pot by a small amount. So, next time I may cut out one can of tomato soup or a can of beans. Also, I want to try garbanzo beans in my next batch‚Ķ and I‚Äôve heard chocolate powder goes good in chili some times‚Ķ so I wanna try that one day too.

I also tossed in 2 slices of Velveeta ripped apart, a dash of spicy brown mustard, and a drop or 2 of A1 Cracked Peppercorn Steak Sauce.

I think the meat that I used was too fatty or I didn‚Äôt drain enough fat¬†(‚Ķeven though I got a about ‚ÖĒ of a regular sized plastic cup full of fat out of it). I had to skim some excess grease off of the top when I popped it open this morning.

I’ll let you know the general consensus after it’s been consumed.

[Edit:  It was good.]


Recipe 3:

I must have pinned this at some point, too. ¬†Someone re-pinned it here…

I think it was a joke about Pepto because this chili killed my guts, even served over mashed potatoes.


Share your chili recipes with me in the comment section below. ¬†Don’t be a jag and sit on your secret ingredient(s). ¬†Is it cocoa powder? ¬†Chocolate bars? ¬†Corn? ¬†Zucchini? ¬†Cinnamon? ¬†Potatoes? ¬†Steak? ¬†Instant potato flakes? ¬†Cornmeal? ¬†Chupacabra?

How do you serve it?  In a bowl?  Over baked or mashed potatoes, rice,or spaghetti?  With soft pretzels or cornbread?  With tortilla chips or crackers?

How do you cook it?  Crock pot?  Dutch oven?  Stove top?  Over a campfire?

Do you like the Hormel canned stuff or the stuff from Wendy’s? ¬†Who makes your favorite?

Spill it!

Non-Italian Wedding Soup Recipe


So, I have always wanted to make wedding soup, but have never tried it.  Until now.  Skip to the end if you just want the recipe and none of my shenanigans.

Wedding Soup à la AiXeLsyD13

Wedding Soup à la AiXeLsyD13

Soup Collage #4

Wedding soup recipes¬†abound on the internet.¬† Some people are vehement that theirs is the “right” way.¬† Apparently the inclusion of pasta is a beans-in-chili-like debate.¬† I would guess that it depends on your region, heritage, and family traditions.¬† I have none of these ties.¬† I’m just a yinzer that likes food. ¬†I did reach out via Facebook to see how others do it. ¬†I wanted to try to make the soup because of the tiny pasta, I think.¬† I may have also made some other “controversial” decisions.

Pasta. ¬†Even though real Italians apparently don’t include pasta in their soup, I am not Italian. ¬†Not remotely, even. ¬†Seriously. ¬†My wife got me the DNA thing for my birthday a few years back and I’m apparently super English,¬†Scottish, Welsh, & Irish with a bit of Scandinavia¬†and the Iberian Peninsula thrown in. ¬†I had to Google the Iberian Peninsula. So, as a Yinzer I am making a stand with pasta in the wedding soup because that’s how I have seen it. ¬†Orzo looked too much like rice,and rice in soup is gross. ¬†(I know, it is an entirely different consistency. ¬†Just accept the fact that rice in soup is gross, you’re wrong if you disagree, and read on.) ¬†I did most of my shopping at Aldi, but they had no tiny pasta… so I went to Giant Eagle and got Acini De Pepe. ¬†I could have also easily gone with what Barilla calls Pastina¬†(neat tiny stars!) and apparently is not even a thing or it’s a generic thing.

I chose to make the meatballs myself, because I like making meatballs.¬† They’re big-ass meatballs because I have poor portion control and couldn’t use the mellon-baller to effectively help reel it in, and who wants a little tiny meatball anyway?¬† I used beef, because cows are tasty.¬†¬†¬† I typically don’t do the lamb/veal/pork mix in any meatballs or meatloaf, so why start now?¬† I also opted for ground beef in lieu of chicken or turkey, because beef.¬† Sheep are for making blankets, not eating… unless you like eating meat that tastes like wool blankets.

Would you just look at the size of that thing?In my meatballs, I use Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian dressing & crushed seasoned croutons.¬† I also tossed in some extra spices (onion & garlic powder, salt, pepper, and whatever “Italian Seasoning” is), two eggs, and parmesan/romano “shake cheese.” ¬†(Does anyone else call it that?) ¬†I generally crush the croutons with my hands, but since I was apathetically trying to make smaller meatballs and my 3yo was my helper, I put some¬†in a sandwich baggie and smashed to crap out of them with the shake-cheese bottle. ¬†Why use bread crumbs when you can smash stuff? ¬†I could totally skip the dressing & toss in whatever spices… but I tried this one time with meatballs to go with spaghetti or lasagna and we liked it, so it stuck. ¬†We cooked them in 2 frying pans, because it seemed quick. ¬†I like to bake meatballs sometimes too. ¬†This really could be a 7-day damn project of soup.

meat n' veggiesA lot of wedding soup recipes call for shredded chicken. ¬†I never really noticed it in the wedding soups I had eaten until at a recent wedding where they left the chicken in sizable chunks. ¬†Maybe it was an accident? ¬†I have no idea, but I liked it. ¬†I felt like I was taking a bite of something instead of creepy little chicken strings being used as a garnish. ¬†Also, I decided to cheat and not make stock… or I probably would have roasted then boiled the shit out of a chicken carcass and produced some shredded chicken as well as tasty stock. ¬†I grilled the chicken in the manliest way possible outdoors over an open flame like our cavemen ancestors. ¬†OK, I cooked it on a counter-top panini¬†grill and attempted to give it some nice criss-crossed grill lines before letting it cool and cutting it into “cubes” with less knife skills than Stevie Wonder. ¬†I wanted to know I was eating chicken. ¬†I probably put some season¬†salt on it.

MirepoixI made a mirepoix, I think.  I put some butter in the bottom of the soup pot, and heated up some finely chopped carrots, celery (stalks and some of the leafy top), onion, & a bit of parsley and the lazy-people chopped-up-already in a jar garlic.  Did those last two mess up the mirepoix?  Salt and pepper went in there too, because the Food Network says to season every step or something like that.

Then I added some random boxes of stock & broth from Aldi. ¬†Really. ¬†I couldn’t decide. ¬†So, I got lowfat (that’s all they had) chicken stock, chicken broth, and low sodium chicken broth. ¬†They were all those creepy giant juice-boxish containers that no doubt every chicken aspires to reside in someday. ¬†I almost bought a vegetable stock, but didn’t. ¬†How do you get vegetable stock anyway? ¬†Isn’t that just broth? ¬†Isn’t the difference between stock & broth the inclusion of bones?

After that, I added the meatballs and chicken and let it boil for a bit. ¬†Maybe on like 7 or 8? ¬†I hate when recipes say “medium-high” heat. ¬†Give me a number, damnit. ¬†There are numbers on my oven. ¬†Are they there for no reason? ¬†How long? ¬†I don’t know. ¬†Long enough to chop up the “fresh” spinach.

My helper.I went for the fresh spinach in a plastic box at Aldi. ¬†I didn’t see any with the produce, didn’t catch it in frozen, and bought a can as backup just in case. ¬†They didn’t have any endive or escarole that I noticed. ¬†I wasn’t sure about Kale but may try that next time. ¬†I probably could have added the canned spinach too… it could have used a bit more maybe? ¬†Although, my meatball helper who crushed about 4 or 5 meatballs after we cooked them wasn’t a big fan of the soup itself because “big kids don’t like spinach sometimes.” ¬†She will eat pasta, grilled chicken, carrots, and meatballs all day every day. ¬†But the spinach was a no-go I guess. ¬†I think I added about 4 cups of water and 2 chicken bullion cubes in there somewhere.

I added the spinach and the box of acini de pepe at the same time.  I let it go for the recommended 9 minutes.  I know I had been advised to not do it that way.  Cooking the pasta separately first then adding the rest of the soup over it in a bowl would be the level-headed thing to do.  I was ready to eat by that point though, so in it went.

It was delicious on the first run if I do say so myself.  Upon having leftovers, the acini de pepe swelled to ridiculous proportions.  Ha ha.  Next time I will cook the pasta first or only use half of a box.  Or, I will do it the same way and have wedding pasta.  Your soup means nothing to me!  My total meat and carb domination can not be culled.

Well, on to the recipe if you even made it this far:

 


Non-Italian Wedding Soup Recipe:

This is not your ordinary recipe. ¬†I don’t measure much. ¬†I just throw stuff into a pot, especially with meatballs and soup. ¬†Obviously, use whatever you have on hand. ¬†Make substitutions. ¬†This is a recipe in the loosest sense of the word. ¬†This is how I did it this time. ¬†I may do it different next time. ¬†There probably are some good details above that I neglected to mention down here.

Thanks, Alfred.

The Meatballs:

  • 3 lb. Ground beef (I think it was 80/20?)
  • Seasoned Croutons (grab your favorite)
  • Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian dressing
  • Seasonings
  • 2 eggs, beaten.
  • Parmesan/Romano “shake cheese”

One day when making meatballs, I grabbed the dressing & croutons because they were on the counter. ¬†We were probably having salad with our spaghetti or lasagna. ¬†It’s just breadcrumbs & oil with some seasonings in it. ¬†I usually smash the croutons by hand, but crushed some of these with a plastic sandwich bag & the Parmesan cheese container since I was trying to make smaller(ish) meatballs. ¬† I added some more ¬†spices (see below) with the beaten egg, and mixed the meatballs by hand. ¬†I used a fancy mellon-baller with an ice-cream-scoop like trigger mechanism that my mom had given me for a few of them, to measure… but they got out of hand easily and I had my 3yo helping. ¬†So, they were probably bigger than they needed to be. ¬†How much dressing and croutons? ¬†Eye it. ¬†I do. ¬†I like meatballs that are mostly meat, not bread.

The Soup:

  • A few handsful of Carrots (I started with the baby-cut ones because the kids snack on them.)
  • Maybe ‚Öď of a bunch¬†Celery? (I chopped up the stalks & some leaves.)
  • An Onion
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Spinach – I got a box of the “fresh” stuff from Aldi.
  • Grilled & poorly diced Chicken Breasts (I did mine on the panini grill)
  • Home-Made Meatballs (…or use frozen ones from the store.)
  • 3¬†creepy juice-box-like broth/stock containers. I literally got 3 different kinds of chicken broth.
  • 4-sh cups water
  • 2 chicken bullion cubes
  • Minced garlic in Olive Oil (because I’m lazy & don’t want to mince my own.)
  • Butter (enough to cover the bottom of your soup pot when it melts)
  • Parmesan/Romano “shake cheese”
  • Shredded Parmesan (Aldi had a fancy little container.)
  • De Cecco Acini De Pepe

Mmm...I started out with the butter melting on the bottom of the soup pot, then added the carrots, celery, onion, & some parsley.  I sauteed that for a bit, then dumped in the 3 weird juice boxes of chicken broth/stock over top of that and brought it to a boil.  I reduced the heat a bit, and added the chicken and meatballs.  I let it get back to a boil and added some of the shredded Parmesan & Parmesan/Romano shake cheese to the broth.  I let that simmer for a bit and eventually added -ish more cups of water and 2 chicken bullion cubes.  (Maybe beef bullion would have been cool here?)  Once that boiled again, I added the pasta & spinach & boiled for another 9 minutes.  It was tasty.  I burned my tongue.  Let it cool.  Be patient.

Spices…

  • Season All
  • Paprika
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Crushed Black Pepper
  • Sea salt
  • White Pepper
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Parsley Flakes

When I refer to seasonings or spices, it could have been any combination of these.  I just grab & shake whenever.


Please, let me know if you tried your own inspired by this one. ¬†Let me know if you do your own a totally different way. ¬†Let me know what I did right, or let me know what I did “wrong.” ¬†Thanks for reading!

Boiling Soup

Check out some of my past recipes:

 

Are You Serving #Cookies or #Dookies? Click to not break your guests’ hearts.


Nothing kills holiday cheer faster than when someone offers you Christmas cookies; you gleefully accept and are presented with a tray covered in little jelly-filled things, lemon bars, and crap with nuts or coconuts all over it.

“Cookies” implies deliciousness, like chocolate chip, Hershey’s Kiss or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup cookies, peanut butter cookies (fork-pressed cross-hatches with no chunks of nuts), Rice Krispies treats (in any iteration including chocolate and peanut butter shenanigans), Christmas wreaths, or even lady-locks or lady-fingers (or whatever you call them). ¬†I’ll even give you buckeyes.

“Cookies” does not include anything with jelly in the middle, anything with nuts on or in it, lemon squares, Fig Newtons, anything with coconut shavings or flavoring. ¬†These are (in a term coined¬†by my friend Saurav I believe) in fact “Dookies.”

Cookies vs. Dookies

Sugar cookies and shortbread are barely passable as cookies.¬†(Sorry, Eat n’ Park.)

Pizelles can be tricky.  Some of them are delicious, and some taste like what I imagine licking the inside of a dumpster in August would be like.  If you use a spice called annis that sounds almost like anus, you get what you deserve.

Chocolate covered pretzels, Oreos, peanut butter crackers, etc. are acceptable.

Red licorice is OK, black licorice is not.

Thumbprints can be tricky too.  If they have chocolate icing, usually only the icing is edible.  The rest is tasteless powder formed into a cup of lies.

Do we need someone to make a flow chart? ¬†Are you getting this? ¬†Don’t ruin someone’s Christmas by offering cookies when you’re presenting dookies.

Please, sort it out in the comments.

Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce, or Honey BBQ Mustard?


Today, I was so excited/inquisitive, that I forgot an “l” in this tweet;

Then I got an answer:

Tonight I Googled Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce & Honey BBQ Mustard:

I need to start looking for this stuff.

I’m not a catering service.


Well, I haven’t done one of these in a while. ¬†One day, a phishing spam caught my eye and I had to torment them a bit. ¬†I have no idea where they get my email address. ¬†Must be bots or I’m on a list I guess. ¬†Also, I have no idea why they think I’m a catering service.

From: jones sandra <jonessandy101@gmail.com>
Date: 2016/08/04
To:
Subject: Catering Service

Hello, My name is Sandra Jones i would like to know if you will be available to cater for my Mums Birthday on the 25th of august,I await your response,hope you accept credit cards for payment?.

Simple enough. Why not be polite and write back?

W(aL)D <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com> wrote:

Hello Ms. Jones,

I would be happy to cater your event. May I ask how you found me? I like to give discounts for referrals.

What kind of menu would you like? We specialize in Mexican-Asian fusion with an Ethiopian twist. Our signature entree is a teriyaki beef & brocoli burrito served over a bed of spanish rice and chick peas.

Unfortunately I do not accept credit cards. I can only except cash, in unmarked bills, in a breifcase, left at a drop point to be agreed upon. I also accept labor in trade if you would like to wash any dishes or help cook for other customers.

Your friend,
Juan Chang

“U CAN GET MORE DAN ONE TANG WITH JUAN CHANG!”

I bet that style exists. Somewhere.

From: jones sandra <jonessandy101@gmail.com>
Date: 2016/08/05
To: “W(aL)D” <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Catering Service

Good,am hearing impaired and i can only communicate via text and Email……Menu is ribs chicken brisket and potato salad for about 70 guests,i want the food dropped off by 1pm.where exactly are you located to know if you are close to Mum before we proceed please.,i just want to make the arrangement a big suprise for mum,its her 70th Birthday..I await for your response asap.

It gets interesting right away.

W(aL)D <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com> wrote:

Awesome.

I still need to know how you found me for referral kickback purposes. I can deliver via drone like Amazon, so just give me the address. I am located everywhere.

We can also drop balloons and confetti for an extra few dollars.

We have some Chicken Fried Spanish Rice, spicy pork burrito, and Korean BBQ rib quesadillas… os that OK? Perhaps we can work up a potato side like Taco Bell’s spicy potatoes with some Mexican or Ethiopian flair.

Will you be paying in Pesos or Yen?

Aloha!
-Juan Chang

Everyone likes balloons. Right?

From: jones sandra <jonessandy101@gmail.com>
Date: 2016/08/06
To: “W(aL)D” <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Catering Service

Ok i want to know the brief estimate now so that we can make the payment arrangement , For everything to be in order and i will like to know if you have a Chase,Wellsfargo or BoA Bank…If you have any of these three Banks you can call them and they will set you up for a merchant for free…I await for your response asap..

That’s not shady at all.

W(aL)D <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com> wrote:

I thought we agreed on cash only at a drop-point? Will you be paying in Yen or Pesos? I don’t trust banks. They are the tool of El Diablo.

We should be able to do 70 people for about $700 including a meal, appetizer, drink, and dessert.

Would you like to hire our Manchurian Mariachi band? They compliment the food perfectly.

-Juan

A Manchurian Mariachi band may also exist. OK.  I Googled it.  This is damn close, and so is this.  And this:

Manchurian Mariachi

I can’t believe the things¬†that come up when you Google crazy stuff.

From: jones sandra <jonessandy101@gmail.com>
Date: 2016/08/06
To: “W(aL)D” <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Catering Service

I can only make payment via credit card..Kindly let me know if it can work out for good..Thanks and hope to hear from you soon..

Pushy.

W(aL)D <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com> wrote:

Sandra,

I thought we had a great party being planned here. I can’t do credit cards. The credit card company fees are way too high. If I can’t pay the credit card fees, they figuratively come over and make me “drop trou” for a solid rogering.

Surely you can get your hands on some Yen or Pesos?

How do you feel about my proposed menu and the musical entertainment?

-Juan (& Only) Chang

And “she” won’t answer my highly important questions regarding cuisine or entertainment.

From: jones sandra <jonessandy101@gmail.com>
Date: 2016/08/09
To: “W(aL)D” <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Catering Service

Thanks for your response, i can only make the payment via my credit card only and regarding the charges fee to accept the credit card add the bills to the total estimate of your own service charges and i will give you my card info to charge everything on my card..Thanks and hope to hear from you asap..

At least she was polite. I guess we don’t have a deal. I’m not sure how this scam is supposed to work anyway.

W(aL)D <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com> wrote:

I guess we don’t have a deal then. You may want to try a local Boston Market or Panera Bread. I hear they may cater. They probably also deal in credit cards.

Good luck with your Grandma!

Your Friend,
-Juan

I thought I had planned one hell of a party. Anyone want to go into business?

Wait. What? (The Bob Evans saga continues.)


I never emailed these names. ¬†Seriously. ¬†Someone must have sent Jon¬†the text of my blog, or a link to my blog. ¬†My original email contained the names which I then changed to something I thought would be ridiculous and obvious, so I didn’t accidentally call out another real employee.

Am I being trolled?

On Thursday, November 19, 2015 8:54 PM, “0503, BER” <Unit_503@bobevans.com> wrote:

Hello,

                I am following up on a bad review that we had charge to our store.  I was hoping to get some more information, as we believed our location received this review in error.  We don’t have servers by either name mentioned in the review (Maleficient and Lincoln), and would like to find out which store you were actually at.  Then we can send this along to them, so that they can address these issues.  Thank you for your time.

Jon Herrmann
General Manager
Bob Evans #503
Bridgeville, PA
(412) 257-1369

Shenanigans.¬†‚ėė

I wrote back.  Nothing interesting besides pointing out that I never sent those names in an email.

I also got an email from LeAnn confirming our Dormont address, so I passed along the¬†new one. ¬†I wonder if I’ll get a T-shirt?

If it’s gift certificates, does anyone know of a charity that accepts them or of a family in need?

Maybe they’re sending someone to dispatch of me. ¬†Maybe I should ask King’s to weigh in?

This still makes me laugh uncontrollably:

YOU GET A CRAYON!

Smiling & coloring rule.

I did get a really insightful comment on the last post though. Doesn’t seem like it’s gone down that way so far.

 

All we wanted were some crayons.


So,¬†this past Saturday¬†night we had an interesting experience at the local Bob Evans. ¬†I have blogged about one of our experiences with an¬†angry¬†server there before, but haven’t touched upon the 3 or 4 other times that “the kitchen held up the order” while she talked to other customers at great length about slot machines at the Meadows, or the time that she rolled her eyes at me while the wife and I were discussing the seasonal shrimp on the menu in regards to where it was cooked and my allergy. ¬†This time we were most likely doubly annoying as we had two small children with us. ¬†The saga begins…

From: Eric Carroll <me@my.email.addre.ss>
To: Leann D. Purdy, Nathaniel A. Riggs, BE-mail

Hello Leann and Nate,

I hope this message finds you well, and that you’re both still with the Bob Evans team! ¬†You may remember that I had contacted you in the past about¬†the #jelly3x rule¬†and a bad experience at the Bob Evans in Bridgeville Pennsylvania,¬†and blogged about that alongside¬†your enthusiastic response, and even more¬†thorough follow-up.

We have since had a few other experiences with that waitress, including one where she rolled her eyes at me and said “well, you don’t have to order it” when I was discussing the shrimp stir-fry available seasonally. ¬†Clearly, she has absolutely no grasp of¬†cross-contamination. ¬†The running theme with her¬†seems to be that the kitchen is always late & to blame with any service issues.

Being that we have generally excellent food & service at the Bridgeville location, and it’s now even closer to home since we have moved to Bridgeville, we have gone in to dine and simply requested with the host or hostess to not be seated in her section.

Sadly this weekend, we didn’t spot her upon our arrival and did not inform the hostess of our preference. ¬†We were quickly welcomed by the hostess, seated in her section and decided to go with it as it had been a while since we had Maleficent¬†as our server.

Nowadays, we have a 2¬Ĺ year old and a 7 month old in tow. ¬†Bob Evans is a great place to get a full meal for a family without breaking the bank, yet another notch in the proverbial “pro’s” column. ¬†(I mean, have you spent the same amount of money at Panera or Steak n’ Shake? It’s not even half of the food. ¬†Maybe local heroes Eat’n Park can almost compete.)

Maleficent quickly came to the table and took our drink orders. ¬†Our eldest ordered apple juice, I asked for an iced tea, and the wife went for water. ¬†Our drinks were brought quickly and our waitress shot a nasty look to the table beside us as the hostess sat another family with 3 older children as she set our drinks down. ¬†She came back a bit later to take our food order and my wife politely asked for straws which we didn’t get with our drinks and some crayons that weren’t included with our kid’s meal place-mat menu.

Maleficent Immediately huffed as she slammed down the straws and remarked that she didn’t have time to get crayons because she just had two other tables seated in her section. ¬†We were only wanting crayons because it had taken her a while to come back and take our food order, well before anyone else had been seated in our section.

I forget exactly what the exchange was that followed. ¬†I know my wife had mentioned that we had had several problems in the past with her service. I was pretty much shocked into jaw-agape silence at that point. ¬†My wife ended with standing up to go speak to the manager, and Maleficent yelled (yes, yelled)¬†“Lincoln, take tables 54 and 56!” or something to that effect.

After my wife came back from a conversation with the manager, one of the aforementioned customers beside us said “Wow. I can’t believe she told you no on the crayons.” ¬†We gave the super-condensed version of our history with Maleficent as they continued in their wide-eyed disbelief.

Maleficent continued to serve that family, but we and another nearby table had been reassigned to a young man named Lincoln¬†(Linkin?), on either Maleficent or the manager’s authority. ¬†I wasn’t present for my wife’s conversation with the manager, but it was apparently full of knowing nods and angry head-shakes as she regaled the manager with tales of our past adventures with Maleficent. ¬†I do know that my wife apparently characterized me as a madman about to lose all patience to bolster her point. ¬†Perhaps that’s why the manager never came to the table to offer either an apology or an explanation.

Now, reading back on this, the story so far does sound like we are being absolutely ridiculous over the exclusion of two crayons for the amusement of our child who’s behavior, rearing, and amusement are wholly our responsibility. ¬†Do you also see how the past history and an apparently poor attitude towards customers and a potential tip factor into this moment? ¬†It must have been some serious shenanigans in order for the next table to notice.

The lesson I have learned is that we will keep crayons and a coloring book in our family vehicle for just such a purpose. ¬†It is not Bob Evans’ responsibility to develop my child’s creativity and fine motor skills, nor to provide a means to pacifying the insatiable need for constant activity or the lack of patience to wait for a delicious prepared meal. ¬†Despite evidence to the contrary, we were indeed prepared parents with our own plastic mess-prevention and environment-sterilizing place-mat for our son. ¬†He can’t color yet, but he can shovel tiny bits of food into his mouth at a rate destined to require another kid’s meal sooner rather than later.

This leads us to Lincoln (Linkin?). Lincoln was certainly on top of his game after being saddled with two more tables in addition to his already presumably busy/full section.  He came through and delighted our daughter with a two-pack of pink and purple crayons. Lincoln took our order with a smile, brought the food out quickly with no conspiratorial kitchen issues, and was just all-around pleasant.  We even had to ask for a replacement fork as we had somehow lost one.  It was brought out amid a flurry of what I presume to be normal Saturday restaurant activity with no hesitation, and rather quickly.  We even got jelly on one request.

After our meal, we thanked him for being such an incredible server, and I remarked that I was glad he was so understanding because I was nervous about being labeled as some sort of problem after requesting a new server. ¬†He indicated that it was not a surprise, happens regularly, and that he didn’t come to us with any preconceived notions. ¬†He also added that people inexplicably (my words, not his) come in and request to be seated in Maleficent’s section and Maleficent’s section only.

We will request Lincoln’s section in the future, and barring that option we’ll just request not be seated in Maleficent’s section. ¬†I can play that game. ¬†We cleaned up as best we could from our inevitable child-induced mess, left close to a 50% tip, and found the errant fork before we left. ¬†The table directly beside us (I assume the other table taken by Lincoln¬†at the same time we were handed over) also rather audibly and publicly thanked Lincoln¬†for being such a great server. ¬†I’m not sure if they also had issues that we weren’t aware of? ¬†I told the cashier how happy we were with our service upon checkout.

I don’t want to pick on a server. ¬†I do want to illustrate the contrast between what I see as poor service as it relates to incredible service and how it didn’t seem to be any more difficult than you make it. ¬†I do hope Lincoln¬†is rewarded for a job well done and his overall attitude. ¬†I’m sure it reflects in his work effort and in his gratuities. ¬†I would hope that you can again pass this email along to all of the appropriate parties. ¬†Area coaches and the store management, correct? ¬†I really feel like we were nothing but polite and reasonable up until we were denied crayons, and we remained polite and reasonable immediately after that whole exchange. ¬†That seems like an absolutely insane sentence for one adult to write to another. ¬†Do I have a valid point, or am I just super way out of line here?

I would just drop the entire issue and move on, but Bob Evans is one of the few places that I can safely get a meal with¬†my shellfish allergy, I can comfortably order anything on¬†the menu (outside of the seasonal¬†Lent-deathfish), it’s very close by, and I feel like we really get great value for a dollar when we dine at your establishment.

Last time you sent out some gift certificates. ¬†Please save them this time. ¬†I don’t want free food, I just want a stress-free dining experience. ¬†If you must send gift certificates, can you direct them to a Pittsburgh charity that can give them to people who do perhaps need a free meal? ¬†Thankfully I can put food on the table for my family while many others struggle to do so. ¬†We need to get our butts out on a kids-eat-free promotional night if we want a free meal.

I realize that in the grand scheme of things, my complaints are trivial.  I realize that some would enjoy any meal regardless of the way in which it was delivered.  What if though, this had been that meal for someone?  What if this was one night out that they looked forward to and it was met with the kind of service that we regularly receive from one apparently disgruntled waitress?  Is this how Bob Evans wants to be perceived?

I plan to blog this adventure also.  I do less of that these days, but this seemed to be appropriately entertaining.  Of course, the names will be omitted or changed.

I also look forward to your response and insight.  Thank you once again for your time and assistance!

Just crayons?

-Eric

https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com

me@my.emailaddre.ss

I can’t wait for a response. ¬†Sadly, I see from the Yahoo! mailer daemon that Nate is no longer with Bob Evans. ¬†I think I knew he outgrew them a while back. ¬†I may try to ping it out to a few more people. ¬†I have contacted others at Bob Evans in the past, during my pre-Wordpress days. ¬†I even had someone send me a “safe” list of where things were cooked and what would be OK for me to eat while they had shellfish on the menu. ¬†Overall they have stellar corporate customer service, but we just have this continual issue with a crazy server who reminds me of the mailman in the movie Funny Farm.

Bob Evans - Tuesday Night is Family Night

Tuesday Night is Family Night