What I Learned This Week: #16

 Sunday, August  27  – Saturday, September 2


This Week In Living in the Thick of Things: All summer the call of social life from living downtown has been strong. Even evenings when I plan to stay in after work are turning into adventures. On Tuesday, as it was getting dark, I was sitting in my apartment reading. That and maybe a bit of straightening up the place was my plan for the evening. I heard voices and saw people in the soon to be opened park outside my window. It was the light company re-positioning the direction of spotlights. I went outside to watch them for a few minutes. The folks in the apartment that was taking the brunt of mis-aimed lights shouted down their appreciation for the activity.

Anyway, the night was so ridiculously pleasant that I walked across the street and sat on a bench for a bit. A Springer Spaniel dog bounded up to me and I talked to his owner for a bit. The two of them go out bird hunting. I don’t meet a lot of hunters in the urban core.

Before I headed back inside, I checked Facebook and saw that my friend Warren was at MOTR Pub’s writer’s night, a mere block away. I went and had a drink with him. Writer’s night is a regular occurring event with different themes and objectives. This week the event was open, so I saw some new songs performed, heard some poetry, and saw a short stand-up routine. I dragged myself home at about 11:30. My place was still messy and I’d made no progress in reading, but my night was just fine.

Writer's Night Performance
I didn’t catch this guy’s name. He performed a couple new songs for us.

This Week in Salad Dressing: Every now and then on my way to my part-time job, I stop in the Chick-Fil-a that’s in the same parking lot. It’s convenient as hell. Funny that I mention hell in a Chick-Fil-a post, as they are a noted Christian-ran business. I’m not pleased with some of their ideals, but am pleased with others. And I’m not going for theology, I’m going for a sandwich or a salad.

What kills me most about Chick-Fil-a, again, a noted conservative restaurant, is their salad dressing choices which I think are wild no matter who’s running the show:

  • Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing
  • Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  • Chili Lime Vinaigrette Dressing
  • Fat-Free Honey Mustard Dressing
  • Garlic & Herb Dressing
  • Honey Sesame Dressing
  • Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
  • Light Italian Dressing
  • Reduced-Fat Berry Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Spicy Dressing
  • Zesty Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Those are downright wacky choices and a lot for a fast food restaurant (McDonalds offers just 7 choices). They offer Ranch (of course, Ranch, the opiate of the people) and Italian, but only Light Italian and no Thousand or French. (Those are the four most popular dressing flavors in America.) The Chili Lime Vinaigrette is what I get. It’s good, just an unexpected choice. Also, I didn’t know that they had a “spicy dressing” until I just looked it up. I don’t recall being offered this selection. Spicy dressy from the conservative restaurant sounds like the best choice for a heathen like me. Next time…

This Week in Chips and Salsa for One: One of the great dinners for single people in America is chips and salsa. To accompany last week’s Southwestern Chicken Stew, I bought a bag of tortilla chips (On sale for 99 cents!). It as been a long while since I bought tortilla chips, and of course, you can’t buy chips without buying salsa. And you can’t have chips and salsa in the house without thinking, “I guess I’ll just have chips and salsa for dinner tonight.” Great having an old standard back in the kitchen.

This Week In Restaurants from My Youth: My parents believed in “starter restaurants” for us kids when we were growing up. They took us to casual, family-friendly restaurants to teach us how to behave. We ate at Frisch’s and Ponderosa to start, and graduated to Bill Knapps and Red Lobster. Ponderosa introduced me to steak and to the buffet concept. It was a treat to go there. Having said that, I haven’t eaten at a Ponderosa in probably 30 years. When I think of Ponderosa at all, it’s to ask “Are they still open?” They are. I’m just not going. I eat better steak now and I don’t stuff myself with the carbs that populate the buffet line. Still, great memories. I hope other families are starting their kids off right, too.

Ponderosa is still open…for me!




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