Monday, March 7, 2005

Forest Park Restaurant (Forest Park, OH)

First off, I’ve got to say I’m thrilled to share this place.  I stumbled upon it rather accidentally; it’s rather inconspicuously hidden.  From outside, you can’t really see in; the only sign of life was the dry erase board outside toting “liver and onions”… which reminded me of that old episode of Doug.  One day Molly and I decided to put our fear behind us, and venture in for a trek in home cooking heaven.

First off… the interior!  I’ve never in my life been in a place more honest to goodness retro.  Everything about this place brings you back to the year it opened 1965.  It’s the vinyl chairs, to the color schemes, and so on.  This isn’t a theme restaurant though; it’s the real deal.  Our waitress didn’t fit the typical typecast, but she was talkative and kind.  We chatted with her about the charm of the place, and she retold a story about her husband who now works there and how 25 years ago as a rebellious teen he’d hang out with his buddies outside on the weekends showing off their cars then come inside for cheese coneys.

The food was quality, too.  Molly had a ham and Swiss double-decker on wheat that was yummy.  I got the open face roast beef with mashed potatoes, which came with the “vegetable of the day” that was not negotiable.  Although I’ve only really had lima beans once or twice in my childhood, I gave them a try.  I was real pleased with my meal, it wasn’t fancy; in fact, it reminded me of something my Mom could whip up in the kitchen.  But, it’s the charm of this place… the atmosphere and ambiance that made it amazing.  I fully intend on going back regularly now I’ve tried it, and will encourage others to give it a shot, too.

Overall Grade: A 

Super Rubber Ball – Win Real Money!

So I’m walking around a dilapidated mall when I stumble upon this little oddity.  Now, we’re all familiar with 25-cent bouncy balls.  We’ve all seen them, we’ve all bounced them, and most likely… we’ve all lost them.  These balls, however, got a hook; there are a couple randomly inserted balls that are really clear spherical capsules containing $1, $5, and $10 bills!  Forget the lottery… I could score a $10 for a couple quarters.

Here’s what I ended up getting… and as you can plainly see, I didn’t “win real money” at all.  First off, the white ball with the pastel color streaks… this color scheme would be perfect for a 1980’s windbreaker, but doesn’t do much for me.  And secondly, a blue ball… like I need another one of these in my life.

Overall Grade: B 

Attack of the Daredevil Candy

First off, the pictures taken for this article are several months old and were originally going to be used in conjunction with an article I was writing for my old website Misumasu.  Well, that article was never written, and I still fondly recall the assortment of Daredevil candy being amusing, thus a new article is born.  I remember being excited, yet somewhat apprehensive about the endeavor I was undertaking.

First off, we’ve got a Mighty Marvel Gummy Heroes rendition of Daredevil.  It’s in “Succulent Strawberry”, so, at least the name itself is appeasing.

Now, the candy was a little more difficult to comprehend.  Here laid a gummy Daredevil in a translucent red casket, awaiting his farewell with a profound fearlessness.  He wanted you to eat him.

Now, tell me that don’t just freak you out a little bit?  He stares you down as you prepare to eat his exquisite remains.

I ate with reckless abandon, devouring his head and upper torso with one big bite.

Next up, a little creation known simply by it’s flavor “Chillin’ Cherry”. This was a crazy contraption.  You had to apply pressure to it, and in doing so it’d release a mechanism that would shoot out a sucker for your sweet pleasure.

I recall this tasting quite good and packing a wallop of flavor.  So far I’ve been nothing but pleased with these somewhat unusual entries.

Now we face the Mighty Marvel Klik candy dispenser.  Basically, it’s a rip-off of Pez, but the dispenser itself is sort of cool.  However, I must make a statement about two captions on the candy’s packaging.  The first one being “Au’some Bubble Gum Roll”.  What?  There’s nothing dealing with bubble gum involved whatsoever, and what in the fuck is “au’some”?  Secondly, it boldly states “Creating Powers Unlimited”.  I have no clue what that’s supposed to mean.

You get two little packages of candies for your dispenser, some Smarties and some imitations of the latter.  They were so unbelievably stale.  Don’t believe me?

Look for yourself.

After finishing up with my inspection the Daredevil dispenser suddenly came to life, and apparently he took offense to my eating the head off of his gummy likeliness.

Guess I should have known better than attempting to take on three Daredevil reviews at one time.  I ended up losing my arm in the process of fighting off the enraged Daredevil dispenser, but I believe in the end I’m the true victor.  Celebrate your favorite comic book heroes in the hippest new fashion, by eating them!

Kids Cuisine - Rock'n Roll Taco Roll-Ups

There comes a time in every man's life when he must eat a Rock'n Roll Taco Roll-Up.  In the minuscule shopping plaza I work in there's not much else except a little Mexican restaurant.  So, obviously, I've found my way over there on several occasions.  My favorite item on their menu is called "taquitos" and they are essentially little tortilla roll-ups with shredded beef and vegetables inside.  So, when I saw everyone's favorite children's TV dinner company producing something similar I added it to my shopping cart immediately.

Here I am endorsing the Kid Cuisine line.  I'm not sure if that's a wise move or not, associating yourself with Kid Cuisine might be like wearing pink socks in fifth grade gym class.  I'll take my chances.

Although I can't really explain my fascination with TV dinners marketed towards children, I can show you what the food looked like.  On the left you'll see the food still sealed and just begging to be freed of it's plastic shackles.  On the right, you'll get a glimpse of what my meal looked like after I had finished microwaving it.  Doesn't look particularly revolting, does it?  I just might be safe.


Oh, shit.  Here's where things get interesting.  One of the selling tools behind this particular entree is that you get color changing crackling candy.  Say that five times fast.  We dare you.  Anyway, it seemed innocent enough.  The kids would love it!  I was actually thrilled myself, until..

What the fuck just happened to my pudding?  This mound of muck looks like something that'd shoot out of The Toxic Avenger's dick!  You've got to be kidding me?  I've seen fecal matter more appealing and appetizing.

After I calmed down from that little scare, I went on to finish the meal.  I kept waiting for someone to jump out of a closet or from underneath my kitchen sink with a video camera filming my embarrassing exploits and pointing his or her finger at me chanting, "rock'n roll roll-up!”  But, alas it was just my aching stomach and I.

Let's talk about the food itself for a minute.  The taco roll-ups themselves weren't seriously bad, but they made Taco Bell look like a five-star restaurant in comparison.  The cheese sauce had more personality than my last three girlfriends.  The pudding, well, look at the pictures above and I'm sure you'll be able to gauge a pretty accurate opinion for yourself.  I did taste it, and it was unbearably sweet but otherwise not that putrid.  As I assumed, the corn was the best part hands down.  Overall, I'm glad I made it through alive and will dedicate my life to warning others of color changing crackling candy.

Yes, I know the grade might seem a little high but there's some uncanny factor playing into it all.  Admittedly, the box artwork is cool and compelling enough to steal a glance.  The styling blue plastic TV dinner tray added some bonus points also.  The food wasn't retched, but I wouldn't recommend to anyone that actually has an appetite.  There's just not enough substance there.  Still, Kid Cuisine holds a special albeit odd place in my heart.  I salute the guitar totting duck on the cover; this rock'n roll roll-up review is for you!

Overall Grade: B 

Red Rose - Ice - Kiwi Strawberry Iced Tea

I was walking around the local Big Lots looking for condoms when I stumbled upon this beverage concoction.  Now, I like tea.  A lot of my friends are more inclined to partake in a soda, but tea is good in my book.  When it comes to flavored tea, well, Snapple is the king hands down.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad Snapple.  You can see where I had my doubts when approaching this one.

First off, I want to discuss the name and packaging.  Red Rose?  OK, that sounds like the name of a 1930’s bordello worker.  I’ve never heard of the company, and probably never will again.  Secondly, what’s with the use of the word “Ice” in the title?  I can’t discern its usefulness.  Is it a catchy buzzword?  Or perhaps it’s something more sinister?  Now, Kiwi Strawberry has surfaced as a flavor with growing popularity over the last 5 years or so.  Where did it come from?  Kiwis were not traditionally mixed with strawberries, so it begs me to ask the question who thought up this taste combination, and furthermore, are they single?  Rounding out that packaging you’ll notice the transition from white to blue, from the top to the bottom of the wrapper.  This is common effect most people utilize after one day’s training on any computer-imaging program.  I guess it does provide a little more visual flair, and the artist rendering of the fruit isn’t that bad, besides the fact that in realistic relation to the kiwi this strawberry pictured would be about 3 to 4 inches big which is a little overkill.

Now, let’s talk about the beverage itself.  I took the first drink with reckless abandon, although you can tell by the picture above that I was somewhat inquisitive.  Interesting.  Allow me to put it like this, my initial thought was that if I was blindfolded and told to take a drink of this Kiwi Strawberry juice, or Kool-Aid, or other form of fruit drink, I would have tried it and accepted that fact and believed it.  The reason being is that I couldn’t taste the iced tea portion of the beverage, which was supposed to be the base for it all.  I made sure that this thing was thoroughly chilled, as the last thing I wanted was a warm iced tea.  Although the flavor wasn’t too strong, and the cold liquid felt good going down, there was a bit of a residual aftertaste that tickled the throat.  Eventually, about halfway done with the bottle, I recognized that hint of iced tea flavor I was desperately searching for.  In the end, I thought that the drink wasn’t terribly bad, and I know you can do a whole lot worse for 59 cents.

Overall Grade: C+ 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Keychain – Donatello

I got this for the ridiculously cheap price of $0.65 on clearance.  The keychain is much too big to be actually used outside of sheer amusement.  Each of the four turtles has their individual keychain, and the basic idea is that utilizing a knob on the side you’re able to have your character train via attacking a dummy.  It’s almost as lame as it sounds, but thanks to the rebirth of this legendary series we’re enjoying a whole slew of new Turtles merchandise.  The package artwork is cool, an awesome picture on the front, and some undeniably retched promotional text on the back.  You’re urged to master the Turtles’ skills of stealth yourself from operating this little arcane attraction.  The overall design of the keychain is pretty neat.  There are some great T.M.N.T. stickers and the training dummy is a nice touch.  Donatello looks really, really incredible… except for his teeth!  Wow, he looks quite bizarre with these teeth monstrosities, and for being supposedly the smartest Turtle, he should have a better grip on dental hygiene!  Overall, I can’t complain, due to the cheap price.  It’s a somewhat weakly designed gadget, and only wholly necessary to pick up for hardcore Ninja Turtles enthusiasts or as a gift for a younger child to keep them temporarily entertained.

Overall Grade: B+ 

Kill Me Kiss Me – Vol. #1 by Lee Young Yuu

This is one of those series’ that’s beyond description.  Japanese-teenage-crossdressing madness (with bouts of blatant homosexuality) ensues… if that peeks your interest than this might be for you, and… you might scare me.  When Tae Yeon finds out that her dream man, a teenage model, is attending her identical male cousin Jung-Woo’s school she devises a plan.  They’ll switch places!  Tae will be able to get close to her idol, and, well Jung-Woo… he’ll be able to be around teenage girls all day, albeit in a dress himself. Sound zany?  It is. Is it worth reading?  I’d say most definitely.  This is a lot of fun, and the material is original and unique.  Read this… but wearing underwear of the opposite sex is not required for maximum enjoyment.

Overall Grade: B 

Bag of Crap #1

From the heavens it arrived, begging to be opened and loved with reckless abandon.

I knew what I had to do… review!  With a comically low price tag of 45 cents, this bag of junk deserved to be looked at with closer detail.  Just what exactly did it contain, and why was it capturing my attention in such a manner?

First off, a Spider-Man ball.  This thing could have been a kid’s meal prize, or something even stupider.  For what it’s worth, it will never be used again as shortly after I discarded it via throwing it into a neighbor’s yard.  Farewell.

There are many beautiful things in the World, and this is certainly not one of them.  What in the hell is this?  Someone out there must know the truth.  From what I can gather it’s a robotic insect hybrid with big eyes.  Next!

Just what I’ve always wanted, a plastic screwdriver!  Dumb.  Although, upon closer inspection I found the Lego name was on this, so that brings it up a few notches on the scale.  What scale you ask?  You know, the fluorescent plastic tool scale established in Boston in 1978?  It exists.  Yes, it does…

Here’s something extremely pointless.  I fumbled around with these two contraptions for all of 10 seconds before tossing them aside.  Other than being made in China, I know absolutely nothing about these.

A propeller?  My first guess was that it had something to do with the two objects above.  But, after trying to use them in conjunction, I found my efforts entirely fruitless and wasted.  Alas, it’s just a lonely propeller.

Probably the coolest thing in the bag, this renegade homeboy looks mighty tough on his motorcycle, all the while keeping in touch with his love for fashion, wearing purple pants and what appears to be a large bronze arm.

The most insipid spider web decoration ever.

When I first caught a glimpse of this thing I was excited.  It’s a kid’s meal toy and from the Transformers series, which rocks.  Then, after looking my prize over, I noticed it was broken and missing a good percentage of the actual toy itself.  It doesn’t get much shittier than this, folks, but there’s still one gift left.

What every collection of toys needs, a gun, of course!  Nothing better to get the idea of firearms as a plus in kid’s heads than by giving them toy counterparts of the real life thing at a young age.  The most mysterious thing about this gun, however, isn’t its violently bright orange shade, but the letter “M” written on its handle.  What does the letter represent, is it a sign, or just youthful scribble?  Somebody knows the answer, and they’re not telling.  I believe there are more bags of junk in my future.