Friday, August 22, 2014

Fast food

Happy Friday to all.  Hard to believe that summer is almost unofficially over, but it's true.  They'll be playing football very soon, and that's always the surest sign to me that summer is nearing an end.  I also think that way in reference to the baseball season---when football starts, baseball is winding down, at least for the regular season.

This morning I have food on my mind, and not just because my breakfast today consisted only of a banana.  Full disclosure--when we buy bananas at our house, they become my "property" when the peels achieve that speckled, darker appearance.  My wife won't touch a banana in that state, except if she plans to make banana bread.  Likewise, I don't like them when the peel still has a greenish cast to it, too firm and not sweet enough.

Anyway, I was about to prepare dinner a couple of nights ago, with boneless/skinless chicken breast on the menu.  I looked at the weather forecast earlier in the day, weather appeared to be clear enough, but when I went outside to uncover and light the grill, the skies looks rather ominous.  So I pivoted quickly and decided to bake these breast pieces instead.

The heavens opened up a few minutes later, and I congratulated myself on my judgment, as I had avoided some weather issues.  About twenty minutes into their preparation, though, the storm had passed but then our power went out.....and our oven and range are electric.  Hmm.  What to do?

So I went out, uncovered and lit the grill, and proceeded to prepare our dinner on the grill.  Sweet potatoes that would have been prepared in those handy plastic micro-bake skins were instead wrapped in foil, and the frozen corn I was going to prepare accompanied said sweet potatoes to the grill.  The chicken, which was about 3/4 done by the point where I moved outside to cook, went a bit later.  By all accounts, the meal was passable, but my wife and I thought the chicken was rather dry.   That's the problem with cooking it partially, allowing it to cool as the oven temperature declined, and then cooking it some more, I guess.  Anyway, we didn't go hungry, even though we were without power for about three hours.

I had a couple of other experiences with food away from the house recently that are worth sharing.  First up:  a new age McDonald's just opened, within sight of an older unit across town from us.  We had business on that side of town, needed a quick lunch (sorry, but I still LOVE McDonald's) and so we gave it a shot.

Brand new building, which meant that they had registers on one side of the service area, and a separate area to pick up your food, which is well overdue.  The service person had a little trouble with the register, but only because it was new to her and the store.  Anyway, we got our food quickly and accurately, which is always nice.  Comfortable environment, too.  I hope to see more of these, as McDonald's is on my "they have Wi-Fi" list for when I'm out in the field and need to do some computer stuff!

I had to go to my sometime office yesterday for some meetings, and rather than commute there mid-morning, I decided to go before an early morning conference call began.  And often that means breakfast on the run, so yesterday I decided to visit a nearby Starbucks.  Ever been in one near 8:00 AM?  It's a ZOO!  The drivethru had about ten cars in line with more trying to join in, and when I entered the store, there were about six people ahead of me.

Despite this, everyone was waited on briskly, and served in turn, which is how it should be.  Pretty impressive, since most everyone else was ordering a mocha-decafe-latte-somethingorother and I was just having black coffee (Komodo Dragon blend yesterday!).  I ordered two small croissants and that required more time than pouring my black coffee, but no more than I would expect.

Then last night, my wife and I surrendered to the hectic pace of the day we'd each had and decided to go out for a burger.  This time, that meant Burger King, which generously circulates some pretty good deals via coupon regularly.   Dinner for both of us was around $8.50, which was only a little more than my coffee and croissants had cost that morning.  And it was served very quickly, hot and delicious!

The only downside was that Burger King has apparently done away with their lower calorie SatisFries, which I found to be quite tasty.  Oh, well, I suppose somewhere they're selling those alongside the aborted McLean Deluxe that McDonald's used to sell (which I also liked, although I was very much in the minority, I'm sure).

I firmly believe in credit where credit is due, you know, but also will pass along the negatives, too.  Good recent streak of positive service experiences, and I certainly hope it lasts.

Have a great weekend!


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