Sunday, August 10, 2008

You Win Some, You Lose Some

My Head Is Bald coverOne of my favorite shows to listen to on the radio is the House of Blues Radio Hour. It can be heard on Rock 92 each Monday night from 11:00 p.m. to midnight. In addition, each night they have a "Midnight Blues Break". Both shows are hosted by Elwood Blues, alter ego of Dan Ackroyd and of course, one of the main characters of The Blues Brothers movie, one of my favorites. To go along with the radio show, they have a web site - - where you can get more info about the music they have on the show each week, along with a bunch of other stuff. I was there recently and they were having a contest for a CD (and I think a companion DVD) by Tail Dragger & His Chicago Blues Band. I checked it out as I don't like all blues music. The fact that it is Chicago blues was a pretty good indication that it might good and the snips I've been able to listen to over at Amazon's mp3 store sounded good. So I entered the contest. Lo and behold, I actually managed to win! The CD (and DVD?) should be on its way to me. It really didn't register with me, but the name of the CD - My Head Is Bald. Kind of appropriate. So in this case, I managed to win some.

On the other hand, there is my experience at Applebee's this past Saturday night. My mother was visiting and we decided to go out to dinner. After going through the whole, "where do you wanna go?" routine all afternoon, we had finally decided upon Applebee's. We tried to beat the dinner rush and managed to get seated by 5:45. Things were going fine until we got to my son's order. A steak with a baked potato. That was when we were informed that they did not have any baked potatoes. No baked potatoes? How can you have no baked potatoes on a Saturday night? At the beginning of the night?

Apparently either getting or managing baked potatoes is a real struggle for restaurant managers in Alamance County. There is a Sagebrush Steakhouse in Graham that is convenient for us and is usually not very crowded. Unfortunately, we have been there about 3 different times when they had no baked potatoes. At a steakhouse. Go figure. Anyway, they (Sagebrush) were already on my list of restaurants that I boycott due to their inability to operate properly. Applebee's looked to be on their way.

The deal was sealed when they brought us our food. Well, not all of us. For some reason, the kitchen had decided not to prepare my son's meal. So they had to put a rush order in to get his steak cooked up. We were told 3-4 minutes. That seemed kind of aggressive, but I can cook a steak at home on the grill in about 7 minutes and I know my grill is not as hot as a restaurant grill. Nevertheless, it probably took about 15 minutes. So we had some time to speak with the manager. It was during this conversation that I learned the reason they had no baked potatoes was because they were very busy during lunch and had used up their "potato budget". Plus, it takes 45 minutes for them to cook a baked potato. Personally, I would probably file that under the "not my problem" category of excuses. It also raised the question in my mind, "if it takes 45 minutes to cook a baked potato, and your problems started during the lunch hours, what did you do with the other several hours between lunch and dinner?" And, "if your potato budget is running low, could you not get some potatoes from the Sunday or Monday budget?"

Next problem - vegetable medley. Now, according to, a medley is "a mixture". Apparently according to Applebee's a medley is "broccoli". Yes, that is all that was included in my side dish of "vegetable medley" - just broccoli. Nothing else. Luckily I like broccoli, so it was not that big a deal. Except for the hints of false advertising the whole thing implied.

Finally, once my son's dinner arrived, I was able to start eating my own meal (I had been polite and refrained from eating while waiting for his). Of course, this meant my meal was lukewarm. No big problem as I had already written off Applebee's by that point, so what did I care whether it was any good? As I started on my own steak though, I realized that it was brown inside. Like medium-well to well done. The problem with that? I had ordered mine rare.

I'm not real sure what the manager's role in this debacle was. Obviously she either has a bunch of idiots working in the kitchen or they are trying to sabotage her. In any case, they made my life that much easier - when trying to decide where to go eat, Applebee's will no longer cross my mind as a possible solution. I guess I lost that one.

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