Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tastykake - Claiming Hostess' Snack Cake Throne?

Brian, Eddie, and Nick of RtW check out some of the goodies from Tastykake a potential usurper to Hostess' former snack cake throne out in the frigid cold. Sampled and soliloquized are their Reese's Peanut Butter Kandy Bar Kakes and their answer to the beloved Twinkie their Dreamies Creme Kakes.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Old Lucy Christmas Cookie

I've grown into being a huge Peanuts fan.  Back in high school I randomly picked up the Peanuts holiday specials box-set on DVD.  I didn't have a major connection to them growing up and pretty much bought it as an impulse purchase.  What an excellent decision it was.  Ever since they've become integral parts of my Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  I watch them yearly and hold them up there alongside some of my most beloved cartoons and films. Less than a year ago someone mentioned The Complete Peanuts anthologies collecting the original Peanuts comic strips from 1950-2000 (they're releasing two volumes per year and are currently up to the late-'80's) and I realized quickly how foolish I had been not to seek them out sooner and immediately set to the library to put them all on hold and ravenously read them.  I'm still working through them but it's been an amazing journey and has led me to the opinion Charles "Sparky" Schulz is one of the greatest of all American writers.  My Peanuts love even leads me to lurking almost daily the live webcams at Redwood Empire Ice Arena (AKA Snoopy's Home Ice) an awesome ice arena Schulz had built in 1969 among the towering redwoods in his adopted home of Santa Rosa.  I saw a bonus feature on the He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown DVD that spotlighted the arena and planted the seed for an eventual visit for me as I fell in love with the place in a way I can't quite articulate nor fully comprehend.

The story behind this cookie itself is also worth telling.  I was in a Hallmark store at a mall and while I usually eye stuff there I'd like to write about it's usually way out of my price range so I just window shop unless it's the holidays and I'm buying an ornament or something.  As I was looking at a birthday card featuring an orangutang in a tutu I noticed behind the racking a lone cookie lying on the floor amid the mothballs and dust.  I retrieved it, promptly paid for it, and left as if I was fleeing the scene of a crime (like when Booker T robbed all of those Wendy's' restaurants).  Research shows this was from the 2011 Christmas season and that fact will not deter me from reviewing this odd edible.  I placed it next to trading cards of Vin Baker and Jon Barry of the '94-'95 Milwaukee Bucks for to give you an ideal of scale and size.

There's the "World's Greatest Fussbudget" herself, Lucy Van Pelt!

I decided I wanted to document in some way the fact I did try to eat this and also log courtroom worthy evidence I'm perhaps not entirely mentally stable.  This picture was like killing two birds with one stone in that case.

Sorry for the unsavory photo everyone.  That's what I spit into the sink after my one and only bite.  Maybe this should have been a video review (I tend to think everything should be a video -- writing takes far longer and do people even still read in this futuristic time we find ourselves living in?) so you could have seen the entering and exiting of Lucy into my mouth (that sounded more risque than intended).  The flavor was like a wax from a melted candle covering an old Nilla wafer.  Also of note was how damn hard it was to actually break with my teeth and then there's the black icing that turned my mouth two shades darker than Don Cheadle's taint at midnight in a pitch black Louisiana bayou where he happened to fall into a mineshaft into a waiting casket that's door slammed shut.  Yes, it was that dark.

Lucy, into the far recesses of my freezer you go, next to the leafy spinach.

Overall Grade: B-

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Batman Disc Launcher Game

Brian, Eddie, and Nick of the RtW crew try out a Batman Disc Launcher game. Wanting to imitate the caped crusader high atop the buildings of Gotham we trek to a really tall... playground. Will we take out the Joker?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Potbelly Sandwich Works

There's a lot of sandwich chains competing for your munching money.  I've had most of them and the race for the top spot is not unlike Excitebike and closer than you might think.  But for me the result has been decided as Potbelly Sandwich Works is my personal favorite.  The menu may not be as extensive as some places, but they more than make up for that insufficiency with quality ingredients and craft.  I also really like the interior.  It feels like a deli mixed with an Ivy League library.  At my local location there's a very small stage in the corner where they'll have live solo singer/songwriter acts perform and adorning the walls near it are bookshelves with some choice titles (thought about leaving one of my own there).

My wife will usually get  a salad and I'll always end up chowing down on some of it also.  My son Owen likes to dig in, going after chickpeas, tomatoes, bacon, and other morsels he can nab with his tiny fingers.  This time she tried the Farmhouse Salad with comes with all-natural chicken, hard-boiled egg, bacon, blue cheese, tomatoes, red onion, and cucumbers.  With the buttermilk ranch it was both delicious and flavorful.

Here's my spread!  I order the Turkey BLT on wheat.  Now, at one point this was the advertised special sandwich (which is ever-changing) but since then it doesn't appear on the menu, I still order it by name and that seems to do the trick and I'd certainly recommend it.  I also got some Zapp's Mesquite Bar-B-Que chips (Owen was definitely a fan) and their potato salad which is out of this world.  Seriously, whether you love it or loathe it most of the time, you simply need to try theirs, it's creamy and smooth and a very nice accompaniment to a sandwich.

Sandwich perfection.  Besides the turkey, bacon, lettuce, and tomato, I also got mayo, pickles (theirs are long and thin), onions, and Italian seasoning sprinkled on for the hell of it.  Their sandwiches come in two sizes and its always a good idea to go "Bigs" which is 30% more food for just a little more.  I've tried the Tuna Salad, Meatball, and Pizza Sandwich, but right now my easy choice is this Turkey BLT.

Brandon "Big Boss" Babel: Driver, get me to Potbelly!
Driver: Sure thing, sir! Uh.. what about the bound and gagged man in the trunk?
"Big Boss": Let him wait! AHAHAHA!

Overall, I really like this place.  It's not a fancy night out or a guilty pleasure burger joint or diner, it's a sandwich shop no pretensions; but rather on your lunch break, grabbing food to go, or dining in with friends or family, it's a solid option.  Part of the reason I personally connect to it is often when my wife, our kids, and I go out to the nearby mall and shopping area, it's usually a staple in our day out as we'll grab lunch there so it holds a special place for me.  You must try some of their baked goods, grab one for dessert or to take home for a late-night snack, my wife and I are both crazy for their Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie, it's moist and rich and we never visit without getting at least two!

Overall Grade: A-

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Leaving Behind Marjory the Trash Heap

So, apparently there's some decree that says you shouldn't worship false idols.  Sorry, Marjory the Trash Heap.  We've had a good run.

When I was lost and seeking answers you told me: "I'm orange peels, I'm coffee grounds, I'm wisdom!"  I only recently came to call you "Marjory", before I felt more comfortable with the more formal "Madame Trash Heap" or "Your Trashiness".  I recall when you first told me "Bring me your troubles, bring me your pain, bring me your woe" in an erratic Eastern European accent.  Sometimes your advice didn't quite make sense to me like when I asked about a problem at work and you told me "You can't do that without a hat".  Marjory, you were garbage, but you were never trash.