The Pick Six: Best NFL Games of the Day

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Happy Sunday everyone! I really mean that, unless of course you’re a fan of the Eagles, Giants, Redskins, or 49ers, then I hope you’re day is terrible from start to finish, but for everyone else, all the people out there that deserve to be happy, I hope your day will be just that. Someone at work the other day asked me what my favorite day of the week was, and the obvious choice was Sunday because that’s when you can spend all day watching NFL football and napping as needed on the couch in front of the TV, which is one of my favorite things in the world because apparently I’m seventy-seven, not twenty-seven as my birth certificate would have you believe. The only downside to Sunday is the fact that you have to go to work the following day, which is kind of a bummer as that reality hits while the Sunday Night Football game is winding down, so despite liking the NFL more than college football, I might have to say that Saturday is my favorite day of the week since I don’t have to get up for work the next day, plus there is football on all day Saturday as well. My point is, Sunday is one of the best days of the week, and now that it’s here, let’s all enjoy it by keeping a close eye on the games I’m about to tell you about that are the most interesting of the day. Here’s the Pick Six.

6. Cowboys/49ers at 3:05
You know your favorite team isn’t having an ideal season when they are only four point favorites against a San Francisco team that still hasn’t won a game through six weeks, but the good news is that the Cowboys still have plenty of time to turn things around and get back on track, which I think they will begin today with a win over the 49ers. I will say that although the Niners haven’t won a game, that’s a deceptive fact because in reality most of the games have been really close, so there’s a chance it could be that way today, but I’m not counting on it. Dallas is coming off a bye week and I’m banking on the whole team, which includes our abysmal defense, to be ready to play today and win by more than four points.

5. Broncos/Chargers at 3:25
When the Cowboys and 49ers game is in commercial breaks, this should be your go-to afternoon game, which is a rematch of the second game in the first Monday Night Football doubleheader of the season, where the world was introduced to the one and only Sergio Dipp, who in turn introduced us to Vance Joseph, the talented young coach of the Denver Broncos. The Broncos won that week 1 game by a field goal, and while they are coming into the game today with a better record, I’m looking for the Chargers to keep it close today. Denver is a 2.5 favorite on the road, but I’m taking Los Angeles to get the big home upset over their division rivals.

4. Redskins/Eagles on Monday at 7:30
When I was a younger, more petty man, I used to hate watching games between two NFC east teams when the Cowboys weren’t playing, because as a fan of the Cowboys, I never wanted any other NFC east team to win, ever, so watching a game where one of them had to win was really annoying, but now that I’ve grown up a little bit, I can appreciate watching these games now. I can appreciate and enjoy the entertainment of two good teams playing a good game of football while not dwelling too much on the fact of how the game will effect the Cowboys. I’m so mature. Am too. Am too. Am too. Am too. That being said, I would love to see the Eagles get beaten since they are sitting at first place in the NFC east right now, but unfortunately I don’t see that happening. Philly is a four point favorite and I think they’ll win and cover.

3. Saints/Packers at Noon
I think Green Bay is my least favorite team in the NFL because without a doubt, Aaron Rodgers is my least favorite player in the league, and while you never want to see anyone get hurt, you gotta make lemonade out of the lemons life hands you, so it should be pretty enjoyable to watch the Packers struggling without their arrogant superstar quarterback. Saints are favored by four on the road, but I think they’ll win and cover and Packers fans will be crying into their cheese hats for the rest of the year.

2. Buccaneers/Bills at Noon
I thought the Bucs were going to be really good this year and the Bills were going to be awful, but we’re coming into this game with Buffalo having the better record. It seems unfathomable to me how Tampa Bay has only won two games giving all of their weapons on offense, but I think their struggles will continue today on the road in Buffalo, especially since Jameis Winston is coming off a game in which he injured his shoulder. I would love to say that Winston will be fine, that he will come out and have a huge game today, but I don’t think he’s going to be a very effective passer, which is why he’s on the bench in my fantasy league this week and Jared Goff is getting the start. I know, I’m screwed, but my point is, the Bucs need Jameis throwing the ball if they’re going to win, so I’m picking Buffalo -3 to get the win and to cover.

1. Falcons/Patriots at 7:30
It’s a rematch of the last Super Bowl, which was an incredible game, making it the obvious choice for the best game of the weekend. The Patriots have really surprised me by how pedestrian they’ve looked so far this season with the absence of Julian Edelman. We knew that their defense was awful, but now their offense doesn’t look like what we’ve come to expect with Brady at the helm. I’m hoping New England has figured out some of their offensive struggles because they’re going to need to keep pace with the falcons offense, which is going to have its way with the Patriots D, in order to keep the game close. New England is favored by 3.5, but I just think that Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense is going to be too much for the Pats to handle, so I’m picking Atlanta to do what they couldn’t do in the Super Bowl and get the win.

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The Pick Six: Best Games in College Football

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Being sick is never fun, especially on the weekend when you have so many things that you want to do, but when you wake up sneezing uncontrollably with your nose stuffed up, there’s not much you can do but roll with it, so rather than focusing on the negatives as I tend to do so often, let’s look at this in a positive light. Maybe being sick on a Saturday is actually perfect since resting is key to the healing process, which gives me the perfect excuse to sit on the couch all day and watch college football, which I will absolutely be doing, at least until the Benadryl I’m going to take knocks me out, but first, I’ll give you this week’s Pick Six, because that’s just the kind of guy I am, giving other people what they want while pushing my personal well being to the back burner. I think the word hero might be word you’re looking for. Alright, let’s do it.

6. Tennessee/Alabama at 2:30 on CBS
I love the afternoon CBS SEC games, but since the SEC has been so abysmal this year I haven’t watched many of them, so I’m looking forward to doing that today. I put this one at six because I really don’t think this is going to be a good game, but it should be pretty entertaining to watch Alabama destroy an already dejected Tennessee team. This team has been calling for their coaches job since the beginning of the season and each week seems to get worse and worse for the Vols, so I can only imagine how fun social media here in Tennessee will be after the Tide rolls annihilates them. Alabama is a 33 and a half point favorite, which seems like a lot, but if you watched the Ole Miss or Vanderbilt match ups then you know what the Tide is capable of, so I’ll take Alabama to cover.

5. Syracuse/Miami at 2:30 on ESPN
I never thought I would put Syracuse in one of the most interesting games of the day, but I also never thought Syracuse would beat Clemson, which is exactly what they did last week while Miami was struggling to beat an unranked Georgia Tech team. The week before that the Hurricanes only beat unranked Florida State by 4 points, and what the scores of these games tell me is that Miami is not an offensive powerhouse that is going to just come and run right over you, which is what I believe Clemson to be, so if Clemson struggled against Syracuse, then it only stands to reason that Miami will as well. I think the Hurricanes will win, but the point spread is 14 and a half which seems absurd, so I’m picking Syracuse with the points.

4. LSU/Ole Miss at 6:15 on ESPN
I can’t figure out LSU, much in the same way I can’t figure out their head coach; I mean is he a human being or some type of pig alien that has adopted a somewhat human form? I have no idea how they pulled off the win over Auburn last week, or how they lost to Troy earlier in the season; their ups and downs are a complete mystery to me. Ole Miss just hasn’t really looked good at all, with the exception of their win last week over Vanderbilt who was exposed fairly early in the season when they got destroyed by Alabama. In all honesty I don’t think either of these teams is good, but I do think it will be a close game. Ole Miss is a 7 point underdog at home, and I’m taking them with the points.

3. Louisville/Florida State at 11 on ESPN
So this is the only game on the Pick Six today that features two unranked teams, but despite that fact, I think this will be a really good game. Both of these teams started the season ranked in the top 10 so we know they have raw talent, and it will be fun to watch that on display today. Florida State is a 6 and a half point favorite at home, but I think without their quarterback, who was injured in the first game of the season, Louisville is the better football team and will get the upset win today.

2. USC/Notre Dame at 6:30 on NBC
Here we have two top 25 teams that are both still hanging around, hoping to get into the college playoff at the end of the year, a dream that will end for one of these teams with a loss tonight making it their second loss on the season. Notre Dame is a 3 and a half point favorite at home, but I think the Trojans are going to show up to play today knowing what’s at stake, and will get the big road win.

1. Michigan/Penn State at 6:30 on ABC
This is the big one, two top 25 teams, number 19 on the road against number 2. It’s the marquee match up of the day, the one I’ve been seeing commercials for all week, so that’s why I have it in the number 1 slot because it’s probably the game most fans of the sport are looking forward to. That being said, I think Penn State is going to run away with it. I’ve watched Michigan play a couple times this year and they haven’t looked good at all, and I don’t think that on the road in Happy Valley will be any different. Penn State is a 12 and a half point favorite and I think they cover easily.

I hope you all enjoy this Saturday full of college football and make sure to come back tomorrow for the NFL edition of the Pick Six to see what games to watch and my picks against the spread. I’m about to head to the store to get some soup and medicine and then hopefully won’t leave my house for the rest of the day and I’m sure I’ll be feeling better in no time, because football makes everything better.

Playita Mexicana: Dad’s Birthday Dinner

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“Bienvenidos!” painted over an arched doorway and murals of presumably Mexican beaches adorned the walls, an effort to transport us from Memphis to Mexico in the blink of an eye, by walking through a single door into Playita Mexicana, my favorite Mexican restaurant in town. We were there for celebratory purposes, my wife, my dad, and myself, enjoying a meal together for my dad’s birthday. For those of you who have never eaten at Playita Mexicana before, you need to quit reading this stupid blog and go over there right now, trust me. So what if you don’t live in Memphis? It will be well worth how ever far you have to drive to eat this food. It doesn’t matter how many times I eat here, I never walk in knowing what I’m going to get because there’s just so many good things to choose from, and last night was no exception, having to send the waiter away more than once while we tried to decide what to order, while munching on chips and cheese dip, the one constant on every visit.
 
My dad and I both ordered chimichangas, ground beef for him and grilled chicken for me, and my wife got a steak quesadilla. As always the food came out pretty quickly, well my dad and wife’s did, while mine came out a few minutes later because apparently they had to catch, kill, and pluck the chicken before throwing it onto the grill. My chimichanga arrived, and the first thing that came to mind was a bean bag chair because of how enormous it was, not only in length and width, but in height, it was just monstrous, and without a  doubt the biggest chimichanga I’d ever seen. A mistake I always, ALWAYS make at Mexican restaurants is eating too much of the chips and salsa/cheese dip before the actual entrée arrives, so by the time it does, I’m not that hungry anymore. It’s not like this sneaks up on me out of nowhere, I know it’s going to happen as I dip chip after chip into the queso and strategically move it towards my mouth so as not to let little white drips of melted cheese fall onto my shirt, but yet I continue to do it anyway. It’s good, yes, but moreover than that it’s just there, in front of me looking completely irresistible, so all thoughts of ruining my appetite are pushed to the side, telling myself that maybe just the once I can eat unlimited chips and cheese dip without it having any impact on my appetite whatsoever, like maybe there exists a day in the universe where the laws of hunger don’t apply, like a supernatural cheat day, and I just so happened to walk into a Mexican restaurant on that very day, the lucky man that I am. I tell you this, expose my utter lack of self control because it happened again, and by the time the biggest chimichanga I’d ever seen was placed on the table before me, I wasn’t exactly full, but I wasn’t really hungry anymore either.
 
The plate before me was completely filled, the massive chimichanga taking up about half of the large plate, with rice and beans on the other half. In the middle of the plate sat a small bed of lettuce with diced tomatoes, and sour cream, things that would normally be put on the chimichanga or eaten alongside it, but the thought of adding more ingredients to it, daunting as it already was, was completely unthinkable and unappealing given the fact that I wasn’t even hungry anymore. Despite the fact that I was having major doubts about whether I would be able to eat the meal before me, it did look absolutely delicious, topped with a red sauce, melted cheese, and queso. I took a bite, and it tasted even better than it looked, the chicken so juicy and flavorful and the melted cheese and the sauce marrying together perfectly to make it the perfect bite. It was the first time that I’d ever tried the grilled chicken before here, and after having had it yesterday, it’s going to be incredibly difficult for me to get any other kind of meat going forward because it was just that good. The beans which I’ve previously praised before weren’t as good last night. Melting cheese on top of something is a reliable way to improve just about anything, which is normally the case with the refried beans here, but they tasted overcooked and had a bit of a strange aftertaste last night that no amount of cheese could cover up.
 
I ladled some of the queso onto the rice, taking the cue from my dad who had gotten the idea from my cousin Bailey who has been eating her rice like that for many years, but I really didn’t eat that much of the rice because of how full I was and wanted to fit as much of that glorious chimichanga into my stomach before I could eat no more and didn’t really want to take up any of that crucial real estate with rice. I finished a little more than half  before I just couldn’t eat anymore, except for the chips and cheese dip that I continued munching on until it was finally time to leave for no other reason than that they were still there in front of me and no matter how full I am, it always seems like I can eat one more chip, because who can’t eat one chip, and that mentality repeats itself over and over again until absolute misery takes over. The meal was really good, and now that I’ve had about sixteen hours to digest it, the other half of that chimichanga is starting to sound pretty good right about now, and although the meal was great, the real highlight was just getting to see my dad on his birthday for the second year in a row, something I don’t remember happening any year before then, so hopefully this new tradition will stick and be observed for many years to come.

Booing Chandler Parsons

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Your home is a literal shelter. It should be a safe haven from the cruelties of the outside world, a place that brings you peace and comfort, a place filled with people that accepts you for who you are and will support you through all times, the good and the bad. Home is, according to one of the definitions in the Random House Dictionary that is falling apart in one of the cabinets at my workplace says that a home is a place of refuge, which is defined as a shelter from danger, or trouble, so that, at its essence, is what a home should be, so it’s reasonable to expect that the home court of a basketball franchise would also serve as a place of refuge for all of the home town players, but last night, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. When Chandler Parsons came into the game last night and missed two consecutive free throws, his first two attempts of the season, which was met with a smattering of boos throughout the FedEx Forum, the home court of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Last summer, the Grizzlies signed Parsons, to a four year, ninety-four million dollar deal, which was in retrospect, a mistake on the part of Memphis. Even when the deal was signed it seemed like we were risking so much for the very slim possibility that Parsons would be the player he was before all of his knee injuries. We got screwed, but that’s not on Chandler, it’s not like he’s going out there trying to play poorly, but he just didn’t look that good and seemed to hurt the team more than help us when he was out on the floor, so he ended his season early and had another surgery, hoping that by doing so he would have enough time to rehab and get back into basketball shape before the next season began, because like it or not, he’s still under contract for three more years. I will admit, last year there were times when I was upset and even took to Twitter on occasion to voice my displeasure, but by the end of the year I decided to let go of the resentment I was feeling, because it wasn’t Chandler’s fault that the Grizzlies had spent so much money on him, and also because I realized that nothing good would come from my negative feelings, so since that time, I’ve tried to be optimistic, hoping for the best out of Parsons and looking forward to the time when he would be a big time contributor to the team and prove all of the haters wrong. I hoped it might be this year, but his preseason play left a lot to be desired, but still I remained hopeful going into the season.

When it was announced earlier in the week that he wouldn’t be in the starting lineup and would instead be coming off the bench, I was annoyed. Since we gave up Z-bo and Tony Allen this offseason, it was sad, but it seemed like we were moving into playing a new style of basketball, one where Chandler Parsons would be counted on to step his game up if we wanted to continue having success and make it to the playoffs. We were relying on Chandler to be one of our top scorers, so it only makes sense that it would be in the starting rotation and getting a lot of playing time, but the coach decided to have him come off the bench, so there was nothing to do but accept it, move on, and hope that he would have great success in the role, which is exactly how I was feeling last night when he came onto the court in the first game of the season, hoping for the best, but then he missed those two free throws, and some fans, fans of the team he was playing for, started booing at him. I was upset, not because he missed the free throws but because fans of the team I support, people who live in the same community as me were being so disrespectful to one of our own. I get it that you might be upset that he is being paid so much money and isn’t producing results that are up to your preconceived standards but to yell “booooo” at the man that is on your team, the man that has been training and working hard to help your team, is not only classless but absolutely ridiculous.

We are supposed to be the city that rallies around and embraces our players. The city is one with the team and the team is one with the city, in this together, working hard and grinding, on and off the court, so to ridicule one of our own, at home, booing him for missing free throws, just isn’t what we’re about. We need to lift up the players who are struggling, encouraging them and cheering for them through thick and thin instead of what too many people are doing with Chandler and looking for reasons to dislike the guy. For the record there were a lot of people at the game standing up and cheering for him after the boos started, doing what needed to be done and showing Parsons that we as a fan base were behind him, but it’s just frustrating that there are people out there, who claim to be fans of the Grizzlies, that would treat one of our players that way. I’m still holding out hope that Chandler will start playing at a higher level, but I think that’s a lot less likely to happen if there are fans in the stadium on our home court audibly ridiculing his every mistake while he’s just out there trying his best to be the player everybody, including himself, wants him to be. Maybe we can set aside how we feel individually about Chandler and come together in spirit of unity rather than one of division and support the effort that he is making, and hold onto the hope that it will eventually pay off. It’s a lot more fun being optimistic than it is looking for things to be upset about; I’ve lived both ways, so trust me, I know.

Worst Restaurant in the World

When I went to France for the first time thirteen years ago, it was my first trip out of the country and I was excited both to see all of the magnificent sights that Paris had to offer, but also to experience and try all of the unique food that is renowned as some of the best in the world. Going in, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Sure my dad had given gone over some of the basics of French cuisine with me, getting me well acquainted with crepes in the years leading up to the trip, and talking about escargot anytime I needed a good laugh, but past that, I wasn’t really too knowledgeable about the food aside from the fact that it is considered to be really, really good. The food in Paris lived up to it’s reputation, leaving me to walk away from every meal full and completely satisfied. It’s almost like Paris is a dream world, because you eat and eat, sometimes spending a couple hours eating multiple courses for dinner, and by the time you leave the restaurant you are completely full, unable to eat another bite, but somehow you are able to summon the energy to walk back home like you hadn’t just eaten a four course meal that was so good you didn’t have the willpower to leave any food on the plate uneaten. So yes, for the first few days in France, everything was perfect and despite having never eaten any of that stuff before, I was really taking a liking to the food, but then one fateful night, we veered right, completely swerving off the path of traditional French cuisine, and ended up in the murky swamp of Parisian Thai food.

Sometimes when you are dating someone, that person can posses a certain amount of control on your mind, using that power to get what they want, say for instance, Thai food in Paris, which is exactly how my dad and I ended up in a Thai restaurant with my dad’s friend Brian, and his girlfriend, Laurence (pronounced Looo-honce). I think to the extent which Brian is to blame is only that he was dating somebody who liked this particular restaurant, because even though he acted like it was partly his idea and that he wanted to eat there, I think he was clearly urged in that direction by Laurence via the aforementioned mind control. We walked into the restaurant which was brightly lit, bathing everything in an obnoxious hue of yellow. This is one of the few things I remember about the décor which should tell you how bad it is that I still remember that bright light vividly more than a decade later. Where going toward the light is normally a reference to heaven, this was more like walking straight into the depths of hell but instead of being tortured for all eternity, it only felt like that long.

We didn’t have to sit on pillows around a low table, but honestly that probably would have been a lot more comfortable. The table we were led to was a small one that was fairly low to the ground with two benches on either side of it, which doesn’t sound all that bed, but that’s only because I’m not finished describing it yet. The benches, that were like rectangular ottomans were bolted to the floor, completely unmovable, which wouldn’t have been so problematic had there been more space between the bench and the table. As it were, the only thing that could have slid comfortably into that microscopic space was a single sheet of printer paper, which didn’t bode well for us humans. I put my left leg over the bench and wiggled it until it found breathing room below the surface of the table, then brought my right knee up, contorting my body like I was a member in Cirque de Soleil rather than an American teenager in a French restaurant, and somehow managed to slide that into place under the table without pulling something out of socket or tearing any major ligaments, which might be the most impressive thing I’ve ever accomplished.

The menu came and it was fairly big which is usually a good thing since there is a lot to choose from and you’re more likely to find something that looks good, but this menu was in a language that was foreign to me. I don’t know if it was in French or Thai, but it definitely wasn’t in English, not that it should have been, but the point is that I couldn’t read the menu at all and my dad seemed to be nearly as clueless as me. I probably could have asked Brian or Laurence for help translating, and that is absolutely what I should have done, but playing the part of the adventurous traveler, I just decided to point at something on the menu, and hope that it was edible. I think to that point in my life I had never eaten Thai food before so I didn’t have any prior knowledge as to what I would like anyway, so asking for a translation might not have affected the outcome at all, unless there was something on the menu called chicken tenders with honey mustard. The waiter arrived with the food, and sat completely at attention, completely still, partly because I was nervously waiting to see what I had ordered, and partly because I was so tightly wedged between the bench in the table that any movement at all was completely impossible.

The plate was set on the table before me; four green bundles stared up at me, leafs wrapped around something that hopefully looked more appetizing than the first impression that I was getting. I unwrapped the leafs like little gifts, optimistically thinking that good things come in small packages. After the small piece of twine was removed and part of the leaf flopped open to the left, as if it couldn’t wait to get away from whatever was inside of it. The air rose out from within the leaf, like the last stale breath before death finally sets in, hitting me square in the face, letting me know that I made a very bad decision. For the life of me I can’t remember what was wrapped in those leaves, but I know that I didn’t eat very much of it, picking at it with my fork and taking small and invisible bites until everyone else finished eating and we were able to leave my least favorite restaurant in the world behind. As we walked back to Brian’s apartment, the Eiffel Tower lit up the night sky, flashing it’s hourly greeting, reminding me that I was in one of the greatest cities in the world, and nothing, not even a terrible meal at a Thai restaurant could change that.

Breakfast with my Wife: Mediocrity at McDonald’s

IMG_4315The best way to start the day is with breakfast, and when I was younger, McDonald’s was the place to get it, which I think had more to do with the sentimentality of that being the place my dad and I would always go when he would come visit rather than the quality of the food, which we can all agree is complete crap, amazing, delicious crap. I remember one time when I had spent the night over at my great grandmother’s house, and in the morning she asked me what I wanted for breakfast, going over all of the many options that she had to make, biscuits, eggs, sausage, fried potatoes, toast, or cereal, all perfectly good options, most of which I would prefer now over going out for breakfast, but my young mind was centered and solely focused on McDonald’s, so that is where we went. I got the sausage biscuit with a hash brown, the only thing I ever got back then. Once I had branched out and tried the breakfast burrito before going to a water park for the day, and that didn’t turn out good for anyone, so the sausage biscuit and hash brown was it from then on. Breakfast was great, the guilt trip I got later in the day from my granddad was not. He told me when offered something, you either take it or you don’t, but you shouldn’t suggest something else that you want more, because that’s rude, a valuable lesson learned at a young age. What made it worse was the fact that my great grandmother had everything at home to make what I got to eat at McDonald’s which I didn’t realize because I was so focused on what I wanted and wasn’t really paying attention to the less desirable homemade options.

Close to twenty years have passed since I snubbed my great grandmother’s home cooking for McDonald’s, and while my love for their breakfast has certainly wavered and fallen off quite a bit, it hasn’t completely disappeared. This past weekend, my wife and I were both up pretty early, before she had to go to work, and lying in bed, as if she had read my mind, suggested we go get breakfast. This may seem like a normal thing for couples to do on the weekend, but it’s actually a very rare occasion for us, not only because she has to work basically every weekend morning, but because my wife actually kind of hates breakfast. It’s crazy, because breakfast is by far the greatest meal of the day, but my wife and I are basically polar opposites when it comes to our feelings on the matter, but for some reason, she suggested it, and of course I was one hundred percent on board. There are several places here in town that I love to go for a good breakfast consisting of either biscuits and gravy, or sausage and eggs with hash browns, but since we were in a little bit of a time crunch and my wife had to leave for work before too long, we wouldn’t have had time to eat at any of those places, so we did the next best thing, and went to McDonald’s.

It was an overcast and dreary morning, and a slight drizzle was descending down on the city, which didn’t seem to deter anyone from getting their breakfast as the parking lot was so full we had to circle fully around the building and found a parking spot on our second loop. Although it was crowded, this McDonald’s was the picture of efficiency, with multiple register opened, taking orders and getting through the line quickly, and then stepping to the side of the counter for maybe two minutes at the most until your food was ready and your number was called. My wife and I both got the hotcakes and sausage with a hash brown, which I added to my order first and my wife decided to piggy back on my gluttony, and coffees for the both of us, vanilla iced for her and a hot pumpkin spice latte for myself, which would probably be embarrassing to admit ordering if it weren’t so freaking good. We found a booth near the window and watched the rain fall from the dark sky on a mild October morning. I “buttered” the pancakes, which I put in quotation marks and say with skepticism because I don’t know what I was spreading on the pancakes but there’s no way it was butter. It would have been nice to equally portion out the syrup between the three flap jacks, but not wanting to risk getting sticky syrup on my hands and ruining the rest of my day, I just dumped it all out on the top pancake, figuring I would just use the excess syrup that ran off and pooled near the sides of the plate as a dipping sauce for the others.

The hot cakes were not so hot, and in fact weren’t even warm, but were actually kind of cold, which did nothing to enhance the flavors that weren’t all that great to begin with. The sausage I actually enjoyed, and the best bites of pancake were the ones that were skewered on the same fork as a bite of sausage and dipped in the syrup. The hash brown was heavenly and just the way I remembered, and the pumpkin spice latte was really good as well, although I must say that it isn’t anywhere near as good as the one from Starbucks that started this whole trend, plus, I got a medium and the cup was only filled up about three quarters of the way which seemed like a bit of a rip off, but the warm taste of fall worked wonders in not allowing me to be bothered by that fact. Overall the breakfast was good but not great, and would have been so much better if the hotcakes had actually been hot, but I realize it’s probably a lot to expect of a McDonald’s product to live up to its name. I probably should have gotten a sausage biscuit and hash brown, because to this day, that meal has never let me down.

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An Embarrassing Lunch at Huey’s

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Never in my life have I ever had my debit card declined at a restaurant, but there’s a first time for everything unfortunately, and Saturday it happened to me. I was out to lunch with my dad and his mom. We had been at the hospital that morning, visiting with my uncle Brett who had been in there since Monday due to an ulcer that had been building up unbeknownst to anyone and finally had to be operated on in emergency surgery. It was good to see him, and although he was still in a little bit of pain, he was doing and feeling a lot better, and only had a couple more days left in the hospital to make sure he didn’t get an infection. We were there for an hour or two, and by the time we left it was nearly one, so naturally we started talking about getting something for lunch. The only thing I could think of in the area was Huey’s, so that’s where we decided to go.
 
It was crowded when we arrived, a fact that always brings me comfort in Huey’s, and is the only restaurant I can think of that has that affect on me. Normally crowded restaurants mean a long wait, either for a table, your food, or both, but here it just seems right that it be crowded. Despite the fact that the restaurant seemed packed to the brim when we walked in, we were immediately ushered to a booth, somewhere amongst the many voices of the cheerful lunch goers surrounding us.  I looked briefly over the menu, which always seems to be a waste of time since every single time I eat at Huey’s, I get a burger, but I like to browse nonetheless, and float some ideas through my mind, putting them in a head-to-head matchup with the burger to see if anything can beat it out. This time I thought about nachos, or just getting a basket of the new tater tots with bacon and cheese, which sounded delicious, but the more I thought about it, the less it sounded like a fulfilling meal and more like an appetizer. The nachos sounded good, the perfect football food, which was fitting since TV’s lining the walls were showing all the college games that were currently going on, but I saw somebody else’s plate of nachos, and decided against it. There is a huge difference in nachos that have shredded cheese and those that have cheese sauce, and as a person who prefers the latter, I decided against the grated cheese version offered up by Huey’s, and went with the always reliable burger.
 
There is a vast selection of burgers to choose from depending on your preferences and mood, and after glancing at the numerous options, I decided on the Bluff City Burger, which is one of my favorite burgers in the city for which it is named. A thick patty topped with bacon, barbecue sauce, fried onion straws, lettuce, and pickles, the Bluff City burger is a in a word, fantastic. My biggest hang up on Huey’s in the past has been the side dishes, because I don’t like their steak fries which in my opinion are too big and devoid of flavor, and I don’t like their onion rings, which are literally the biggest onion rings I’ve ever seen, and the fried batter on the onion doesn’t stay attached very well so inevitably you end up munching on a big chunk of hot onion, but now Huey’s has stepped their game up with the new addition of tater tots. I got them as a side, and this was the first time I’ve ever eaten at Huey’s and thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the meal, so it’s definitely going to have a place on my short list of favorite restaurants to go-to because everything from the burger to the tots was perfect. PERFECT. The only bad part about the meal had nothing to do with the food or the restaurant itself, but with me, or rather my debit card, which was declined when attempting to pay for my food.
 
I had enough money in my account, so I couldn’t understand what could have possibly gone wrong. The waitress had the good grace not to announce to the table that my card was declined, and instead told me that the machine couldn’t read my card, but we all knew what was going on. Thankfully my dad stepped in and handed back his card, saying that he would pay and we could settle up later, or else I wouldn’t have had any idea how I would come up with the money because the only card I had on me was the one that wasn’t going through and I had absolutely no cash on me. I pulled up my banking app at the table, just to make sure that money hadn’t been taken out of my account without my knowledge, and, as expected, my account still had the balance that it should have. The problem ended up being that my card was locked, something my wife did as a precaution last weekend after our other account was used fraudulently to make unauthorized purchases, and my wife just forgot to unlock it again. I was embarrassed that for the first time my card was declined at a restaurant, and that it happened in front of my dad and Mimi, but at least there was a logical and reasonable explanation for why it happened so I guess that was kind of  a relief. Despite that one misstep, everything about the meal was great, and I would one hundred percent recommend you checking out Huey’s ASAP to get a fantastic burger and to try their new tater tots, just make sure before you go that your debit card hasn’t been locked by your wife or you might end up having to wash dishes at the restaurant, or possibly getting your dad to bail you out.