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Food Adventures

October 1st, 2020 Comments off

Did I happen to mention I bought a KitchenAid mixer this year? After all these years of making due with a hand mixer my mom gave me (before I even met Joe), I thought it was about time.

I originally ordered the KitchenAid Professional 5qt Stand Mixer from Target for $250. I then realized it was too tall to fit under the cabinets so I returned it (but not until after I got a replacement). KitchenAid was having a Christmas in July sale so I ordered a KitchenAid Classic Series 4.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer in Onyx Black.

Mixer

After taxes it was $191.24 and it arrived quickly (a week and a half later) despite getting an automated phone call, of all things, stating it was out of stock and they didn’t know when it would be available. It literally shipped the next day! Good thing I didn’t cancel my order like the call suggested.

I had a hell of a time ordering on their website, though, and had to call customer service to place the order. The guy I spoke to was a bit too relaxed on the phone with me (I swear he was high because he wasn’t necessarily unprofessional but he also didn’t come across the way most customer service people do). On top of that, the email confirmation didn’t include a price or a picture of the item I ordered which I thought was odd. KitchenAid is a large nationally known brand. You’d think they’d be a little better with their communication.

But it all worked out and I got my mixer a week and a half after ordering it and I love it. As of this writing I’ve used it several times to shred chicken and that alone was worth the price. I’ve also used it to make cookies and homemade whipped cream.

This got me thinking about food in general, and the fact that I went from having zero appetite for many months to wanting to eat everything in sight. I thought I’d share some of the highlights.

Back in June I got hooked on croissants. I’ve always loved them, but never really purchased them for some reason. The thing is, there is a such thing as bad croissants. I’ve tried them from Aldi and Mariano’s and neither impressed me. I’ve since come to learn and appreciate that Costco has the best ones. They charge $5 for 12 very large buttery mouth-watering croissants. You just can’t beat the price or flavor and I was a fool for even trying. I can’t possibly eat 12 croissants before they get stale so I end up freezing most of them but they defrost easily and don’t last long enough to get freezer burn.

Also in June we paid a visit to Atlas Chicken Shack in Geneva to pick up some lunch to go (who is eating in restaurants? not us!). Their sandwiches are nothing special but I have been craving their rice balls since trying them last year and they were just as good as I remember. I’m so glad we got two orders so we wouldn’t have to share.

Do you like peanut butter cups? Of course you do! If you also like dark chocolate you need to get Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

They rival any other brand. Sure, I will still grab a Reese’s from time to time, but my go-to is now TJ’s cups. They’re mini too so less of a calorie hit. I actually need to start watching my weight again. I dropped a ton while sick but now that my appetite is back in full force it’s becoming an issue. I’ve hit my ideal weight – 120 lbs – and I would like to stay there.

When we used to visit Indiana Beach theme park in Monticello Indiana one of the highlights was their Taco Shoppe. The beef tacos were beef and not very fancy, but oh were they good! I finally figured out what made them so good – cojita cheese!

Cojita

I originally purchased it to make my own elotes, but we used it on tacos and it was so much better than the Mexican cheese shreds we typically use.

Trader Joe’s frozen roasted potatoes with peppers and onions – get them now. They are good with breakfast, or as a side with dinner. Love them!

In fast food news – you must try Culver’s pretzel bites. I believe they’re for a limited time only. The cheese dipping sauce is the real MVP. Their special pretzel bun pub burger is also great. I haven’t seen it announced yet but am expecting it any day now.

Just the other day I tried an Impossible Whopper at Burger King. Their customer service sucking, per usual, aside, it was really good! I actually thought it tasted better than the regular Whopper Joe got. Best of all it was free thanks to a T-Mobile Tuesday deal.

Categories: Food Tags:

Red Robin Shenanigans

September 1st, 2020 Comments off

Saturday (8/29) we went to Red Robin for lunch. We had to drive out to the one in Warrenville since the one by us in the mall is temporarily closed. The food was actually pretty good, albeit not fun to eat in the car (still not comfortable eating inside restaurants), but it would have been very cold if we took it home to eat. The way we were charged is suspect, though. I submitted feedback through their site, posing as Joe, since this all occurred on his account:

My wife and I ordered curbside recently so I could redeem my free birthday burger. I ordered the mushroom swiss and she got the banzai. We also ordered the chocolate fruffles.

The initial total over the phone sounded accurate ($20+), but at the car they told us it was only $12.63 which seemed odd. After we paid we looked at the receipt and we noticed my burger was free (as expected), and hers was a discounted price ($4.52). We didn’t understand why, but thought maybe there was some special going on. I logged into my Red Royalty account later that day to see the restaurant not only redeemed my birthday burger but my free 10th item. Except it wasn’t free! We were charged for it, just not regular price.

This is very confusing and I would appreciate someone explaining what happened and why we weren’t given the option to save the free item for later if we weren’t going to be given the burger for free. No one told us it was being redeemed and we’d still have to pay a reduced price for the burger.

P.S. We were also disappointed that the chocolate fruffles came with sliced strawberries floating in water instead of the berry ketchup we’ve come to love. Strawberries floating in a liquid isn’t even a suitable replacement and is not berry sauce (as described on your website).

I also attached a screenshot of the redemption info. I would have included the receipt too if you could attach more than one thing.

Red Robin Redemption

Red Robin replied asking for a copy of the receipt so we emailed them a picture. They then apologized and stated (what we already knew) that only one reward could be redeemed at a time and what happened was a mistake. They didn’t address the comments about the chocolate truffles at all. Oh well, I guess they don’t care. They applied a $15 reward to Joe’s account that is good until November 1st. Our local restaurant is still shut down, but maybe if we’re in the area we can grab an appetizer or dessert so we can use it up and then be done with them. Honestly, I prefer Culver’s burgers now anyway. And they’re cheaper!

Categories: Food, Retail Experiences Tags:

Just Say No (To Starbucks)

August 21st, 2020 Comments off

Yesterday I was browsing deal sites and saw Starbucks was having a BOGO deal from 2-7 pm if you ordered via the app. Now, you have to know something – we rarely go to Starbucks these days. And by rarely, I mean the last time we went was in January to get my free birthday drink which I let Joe have because I was too sick to give a crap. I’ve spent more time in the local Starbucks’ parking lot meeting up with buyers from Offer Up over the past two years than actually buying any drinks.

But seeing that deal made me think it would be a nice treat, which was cemented by the fact that they now have a peach green tea lemonade. Chick-fil-a got rid of their delicious peach lemonade so I’ve been trying to get my hands on a good peach drink ever since (side note: Lipton peach iced tea drink mix is great. I call it tea kool-aid). Joe wanted to try their Chai Creme Frappuccino, so we decided to place an order.

Starbucks Order

I was perplexed why our local store wasn’t listed in the app, so I had to pick one a little further away. The app claimed our drinks would take 15-18 minutes to prepare and that it would take 13 minutes to get there, so I placed the order as we pulled out of the driveway. Mistake #1.

We arrived at Starbucks to see a huge line in the drive-thru, so we decided I would run in to get our drinks, but there were a bunch of people in line inside too, and we had brought Wookie, so we opted to get in the drive-thru line so we could be together (and also because I didn’t feel comfortable standing in line for god knows how long). Mistake #2.

Starbucks DriveThru

Wookie Waiting

We watched as people pulled into the parking lot and left five minutes later with their drinks while we slowly made it to the window 45 minutes after we got in line. My drink was watered down (although not too bad since I had requested light ice) and Joe’s was melted/liquid which we didn’t notice until pulling away.

I ran inside with his drink to ask if they could re-make it since it had clearly been sitting out for awhile and they said yes but it would be a long wait because there were other people ahead of me. Say what? I dunno, I think I should have gotten priority, but I wasn’t about to cause a scene – everyone was stressed out enough. I asked them to explain to me how mobile ordering works so I don’t get an old drink again and according to the barista they usually wait until you get to the order board to start your drink but when it’s busy they just crank out the drinks. That seems like a recipe for shitty drinks and angry customers to me, but what do I know?

I didn’t want to wait any longer (our little adventure took over an hour as it was), which I explained to the barista, so she gave me a gift card for $4. Not quite enough to cover Joe’s drink, but good enough. We took it home and stuck it in the freezer and it eventually firmed up enough to enjoy a little. Also, Wookie got a puppuccino which was nice.

When I placed the order, Joe was concerned our drinks would end up sitting out, but I really believed Starbucks would have a way to prevent that. Silly me. Lesson learned! I also found out that our local Starbucks, which is on a extremely busy major road, closes at 3 pm even though all the other stores in the area don’t close until 8 pm or later. WTF?

As for the drinks – the frapp was pretty good, but chai flavored drinks taste like Christmas to me, so it seemed out of place for this time of year. My drink was ok, even though I could taste more of the mint green tea than any peach or lemonade.

Peach Tea Lemonade

To add insult to injury, even though I only drank half of my venti around 4:30 pm last night, I could not sleep for the life of me. I didn’t fall asleep until after 2 am and only after taking a Midnite, which I haven’t had to do in four months. Then today I got bad stomach issues, if you get my drift, probably from trying Joe’s milk-laden drink. Ugh! I curse thee, Starbucks!

Overall, I don’t think Starbucks is worth the price, and definitely isn’t worth the hassle when they’re having what they call Happy Hour (or the baristas on the Starbucks subreddit refer to as Horror Hour). I have about $20 left in my account that we’ll spend on snacks and the occasional vanilla latte for Joe until we run out of funds. Then it’s hasta la vista, baby.

I much prefer Dunkin Donuts anyway.

More Spring Cleaning & Home Projects

May 2nd, 2020 Comments off

This past Sunday (4/26) it was warm enough outside for us to get in the garage to do some decluttering. Initially it was in the hopes to make room for a deep freeze, but we’ve decided against that. It was nice to go through all the empty boxes and consolidate the boxes of things we’d like to donate once Savers is open again. Plus we cleaned out the box where we keep extra computer parts. I also went through my trunk and cleaned that up a little.

About a year and a half ago a woman I know from the local dog park gave me her old doggy stroller. It’s been sitting unused in the garage because we haven’t had an occasion to use it, until we were doing our declutter. I put Wookie in the stroller so she could hang out with us without getting in the way. I pushed her around the block afterward but she really didn’t like that because she wanted to get out and explore all the smells. She doesn’t mind sitting in it when it’s not moving, though. I had thought about getting rid of it but I think it will come in handy when we’re sitting on the patio or out in front and she wants to be with us. I ended up cleaning it real good yesterday and today she sat in it for two hours while we worked on the garage some more. We consolidated some storage totes, broke down a bunch of empty boxes for recycling, added some wood shavings to old paint we want to discard, and cleaned up our bikes.

Other things I’ve done recently:

Rearranged the hall closet again and removed some towels we rarely used. I put them in space bags under the bed in the master bedroom.

Cleaned out the workout room closet so it’s ready for future guests and threw out a torn comforter and an old yellowed pillow.

Rearranged Joe’s side of the master bathroom cabinet.

Sharpened all our knives.

Rearranged the freezer.

Filed some paperwork that was piling up.

Made homemade hummus & zucchini bread, both of which turned out delicious.

Planted some green onion bulbs.

While working on the hall closet I found a brand new throw rug which is perfect timing since the rubber backing on the one in front of the stove was crumbling. I was having a hard time finding a suitable replacement online. There are some things that are just too hard to shop for remotely. We had been in the process of changing the color scheme in the master bathroom and had already purchased new towels before the lockdown went in place. I can’t seem to find a shower curtain or bathroom rugs I like, so we’ll have to wait until this is all over before we finish that process.

Categories: Food, House & Home Tags:

Weekend Recap

April 19th, 2020 Comments off

Couldn’t sleep past 5 am today so the day has seemed endless, but in a good way since the weather was so nice. I made breakfast tacos, and then baked a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. We took Wookie with us on drive around the neighborhood and accidentally made her excited driving through the parking lot of Northside Park. Apparently she recognized it and thought we were going for a walk but there were too many people out so we left. We grabbed Culvers (our second take home meal since this whole lockdown started; the first being Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza last night). After lunch we took Wookie for a walk and then I cleaned the windows while Joe put out the Malibu lights.

Categories: Food, Neighborhood, Pets Tags: