The Not So Perfect Valentine’s Lunch

Yesterday was one of those rare days where my wife didn’t have work or school. It’s an occurrence that doesn’t happen to often because she works thirty to forty hours every week at her job, and is a full time student two days a week, but yesterday, on Valentine’s Day, she had to do neither, which seemed like a pretty lucky coincidence. I still had to work, so we wouldn’t be spending the whole day together or anything, but I thought it might be fun to go out for a nice lunch together since that’s something that our schedules generally don’t allow these days, so I asked Leticia if she wanted to meet me for lunch at Buckley’s Lunchbox, a restaurant that’s only open for lunch and is a subsidiary of Buckley’s Grill, which is more of a fine dining restaurant. I’d only been to Buckley’s Lunchbox once, years ago, when I came to visit my dad, and I don’t remember a ton about it except for the steak burger that I got was incredible and was instantly one of my favorite burgers in Memphis. My wife looked over the menu, something she often does before we eat somewhere she’s never been, because God forbid we make an important decision about where to eat lunch without doing extensive and tireless research, and excitedly agreed after finding a menu item, the cheddar bacon burger, that was up to her standard.
A few minutes after one, my designated daily lunchtime, I got in my car to make my way towards the restaurant where my Leticia was set to meet me, in about five minutes, but the train had other plans. To get to Buckley’s Lunchbox, I have to turn left out of the parking lot at the stoplight, but since the train happened to be going by at that particular time, even though it wasn’t blocking my path, I still couldn’t turn left because the traffic continued to flow on the busy street thanks to the stoplight that was choosing to completely ignore the people like me who needed to turn left. By the time I got to the restaurant it had taken me almost fifteen minutes, but luckily my wife had been running late as well so she wasn’t left waiting on me for too long. We squeezed ourselves through the front doors of the crowded restaurant, wedging ourselves between everyone else in the city that apparently had the same idea for a romantic Valentine’s Day lunch that we did. Once we made it to the counter, the hostess informed us that it would be a fifteen minute wait, so on top of the fifteen minutes it had taken me to get there, plus fifteen minutes waiting, my hour long lunch break would be half over before we even sat down at our table. Given how crowded the restaurant was, it didn’t seem likely that we were going to get the super quick service required to order, eat, and pay the bill, all within twenty minutes so I would be able to arrive back at work on time.
Based on the numbers and knowing that I needed to be back at work on time so that the next person could go to lunch, I informed the hostess that we wouldn’t be able to wait and that we would have to come back another time. I haven’t been in this situation too many times, but I would assume if you tell the hostess that you will have to come back another day because you don’t have time to wait today, that the hostess would thank you or say something like “We’ll see you soon.” This hostess did neither of these things, and didn’t actually say anything to either me or my wife, but she did give Leticia a look, a sympathetic look, a look that said “I’m so sorry he’s ruining your Valentine’s Day” or “What kind of jerk would make you leave over a fifteen minute wait?” The look was sickening. This person didn’t know us or our situation, she didn’t know that I had to get back to work so that another coworker could take their lunch, and she didn’t know that my wife was completely okay with leaving and going somewhere else, something we discussed before walking in when we saw how crowded the parking lot was. If there was a wait, we would just go eat lunch somewhere else, so that’s what we did.
We decided to try the Half Shell, a restaurant both we both like that wasn’t too far away, but when we got there, even though it was nearing 1:30, the parking lot was completely full, as in there wasn’t a single open parking space. Using my Sherlock Holmes detective skills, I figured out that if there was nowhere to park, then the restaurant would be really busy and there would probably be a wait, so Leticia suggested we just go to Lenny’s, the sub shop next door. It certainly wasn’t crowded, and the sandwiches we ordered were pretty good, the roast beef for her and the American club, a sandwich with ham, turkey, bacon, and cheese, for me. It certainly wasn’t the lunch we expected to have when we made plans to meet yesterday, and even though the quality of the food probably wasn’t as good as we would have had at Buckley’s, it was nice just to share a Valentine’s Day meal with my beautiful wife.


My Wife’s Birthday Dinner

Never in my life had I ever uttered the words “too much beef,” and before yesterday, I would have thought it impossible for those three words to exist next to each other, because in my experience, beef is good, and more beef is better, but it turns out there’s actually a limit, and I happened to reach mine last night. My wife’s birthday is on January 4th, so my dad took us to dinner last night to celebrate, and my wife chose to Playita Mexicana, my favorite Mexican restaurant. Although it wasn’t my birthday, I was pretty excited about the night; a free dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, what’s not to love? We arrived around seven, and my dad was already waiting at a table for us, and as soon as we sat down, a server took our drink orders, as well as an order for some cheese dip, or as I like to call it, white gold. The server returned with our drinks and cheese dip, and took our order, the red snapper for my dad, carne asada for my wife, and the combination number (numero) eleven for me, which included a burrito, enchilada, and a taco. We talked and laughed and my wife opened up the birthday gifts my dad had brought for her, and in no time, the entrees arrived, piping hot from the kitchen.

The other dishes looked good, but I didn’t spend much time admiring them, because lying right before me, was the most beautiful thing I’d ever laid eyes on, a plate of food, covered in white cheese dip. Sure, I’ve had enchiladas and burritos topped with the queso before, but in those instances I normally have to pay extra to substitute cheese sauce for the traditional red sauce, but not at Playita where they don’t even bother making you choose between the queso and the much more inferior, red sauce, plus out of all the Mexican restaurants around, their cheese dip is my favorite, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to have it basically covering my plate. Now, when people talk about how they feel the first time they hold their baby in their arms, I’m going to be able to relate, because I’m sure it’s the same way I felt looking down at the plate. I took a bite of the enchilada first, then the burrito, and finally the taco, and individually each one was good, but together, it was just too much.

I didn’t realize when I was ordering that everything on the plate would have beef inside of it, and it did seem somewhat unlikely given that basically a taco, burrito, and enchilada, consist of the same ingredients, figuring that there would be some chicken or steak somewhere to break up the monotony of tortilla, ground beef, and cheese, but unfortunately there was not. Granted, none of the tortillas were exactly the same, the enchilada made of corn, the burrito and taco made of a flour tortilla while the burrito was fried so it was almost like a chimichanga, but it did seem to be too much of the same thing. About halfway through my plate of food, I realized that it was just too much beef, and knew that I would never order the combination number (numero) eleven ever again. My dad and wife liked their food, and my dad let me eat one of the fish eyes, which is something I’ve wanted to try for a while, although it didn’t taste that great or anything. To me it basically just had a fishy taste, so personally, I don’t get what’s so special about it, but I finally tried it, and that’s the important thing. All in all it was a really good dinner, with good food and good company, and while I won’t be ordering the same thing ever again, there’s no question about whether or not I’ll go back; Playita Mexicana is still my favorite Mexican restaurant in town.

The Anniversary Breakfast

I had it all planned out. Four years is a solid amount of length to be married you know, so I wanted to make sure the anniversary went perfectly, so I started it off by surprising my wife. Even though I didn’t have to work until eleven yesterday, the day of the anniversary, I still woke up pretty early so I would have time to shower and make my wife a special breakfast before she had to leave for work at 8:30. It’s not like cooking breakfast for Leticia on December 27th is a tradition or anything. We’d gone out for breakfast a couple of times on the day, but I’d never cooked for her before, mostly because she doesn’t really like breakfast, but a thought popped into my head of something I thought she would like, that she’s never had before, so I decided to surprise her.
Over the past few years, my wife went from hating dark chocolate, to really liking it. It’s really been quite a disgusting transformation from making fun of me for liking dark chocolate, to her buying dark chocolate candy bars that are 90 percent cacao. Aside from eating straight cocoa powder, a mistake I made once that I’ve vowed never to repeat again, the dark chocolate candy bar that she likes is the single most bitter thing that I’ve ever tasted. In her journey to the dark side, my wife discovered that a great pairing for the bitter chocolate is raspberries, and I’ve got to admit, as someone who was never a big raspberry fan, aside from the sugary flavoring mixed into tea and lemonade, I actually enjoyed the berries, which are a nice compliment to the chocolate, so that was the basis for my grand breakfast idea. I would make my wife some dark chocolate raspberry pancakes for breakfast, making it a happy anniversary indeed.
It had been a while since I’d made pancakes, not because I don’t like them, but I guess because I never really think about them. When I was younger I used to make them more frequently, most of the time for my younger brothers, because they more than I were seemingly comfortable starting their day off with sticky syrup all over their hands and everything else that they touched. I remember one time on their first day of school when I decided to get up and make them breakfast. We were living at my grandparents house at the time, so I pulled my grandmother’s griddle out from the cabinet beneath the stove, then went about preparing the pancake batter. I don’t remember whether I added chocolate chips or not, but what I do remember, is that I wanted it to be a special pancake, the best they’d ever had, so I proceeded to cover the entire griddle in the pancake batter, attempting to make the world’s largest pancake. I don’t know how I managed to flip the thing, but the pancake gods were looking over me, and managed to help me slide it off the griddle unbroken and unscathed. The only problem was, I have two brothers, so I immediately had to cut the world’s largest pancake in half to feed them both, so sadly there is no picture evidence of my accomplishment, but the fact remains that it happened, proving that I used to know my way around the griddle back in the day.
But it had been years since I’d flipped a flap jack, and never had I made them with raspberries, so I looked online for some recipes, and while most of them were complicated and required like an hour of prep time, I did find what I was looking for, a confirmation that It would be okay to mix the raspberries into the batter with the chocolate chips and that the heat wouldn’t do them any harm. I pulled out a mixing bowl, which was actually just a really large bowl, not your typical glass mixing bowl that a professional might use in the kitchen, because apparently we don’t have one, and began scooping the powdering pancake mix from the cardboard box into the bowl, making a mess as pancake dust fell from the measuring cup and onto the counter. I studied the box for a moment, then added the correct amount of water to make the perfect pancakes. Next I opened the jar of dark chocolate chips on the counter and added a handful of those, because in all the best cooking shows, the featured cook adds a pinch of this or a dash of that, without conforming to the monotony of directions forced on society by Betty Crocker, so I followed suit.
I did the same with the raspberries, following the recipe of my heart, dropping the berries one by one at random intervals as the splashed into the batter as it swallowed them below the surface. Once I was satisfied that there would be a good enough ration of pancake to chocolate to berry, I stirred until everything was mixed then began the search for the griddle. I was sure we had a griddle, the ideal cooktop for making pancakes, but each cabinet that I opened and peered into, revealed no such thing, so I doubled back and looked again. No such luck, so I figured I could just make them in a skillet. I turned on the stove, placed the skillet on the burner, and sprayed some pam cooking oil onto it so the pancake batter would not stick to the pan. Something compelled me to open the fridge and check for butter, and there it was, sitting on the shelf on the inside of the door, just waiting to make the pancakes even better. I know I’d already sprayed pam, but since butter is just so much better, I cut off a little piece and dropped it into the already hot skillet where it melted almost instantly, converging with the cooking spray and filling the bottom of the skillet in a hot liquid that seemed to be spitting at me. If you’re ever making pancakes and you’re wondering if it might be a good idea to use cooking spray and butter on the pan, don’t, because it’s not. Trust me.
I lowered the temperature on the stove until the hot butter started to calm down a little bit, then poured in some of the batter, which formed a shape that was less pancake round, and more like the deformed head of an ogre. I waited until bubbles started to form in the topside facing pancake batter, then wedged my spatula around the corners and underneath, then gently flipped it over, causing the dangerously hot butter to splatter out of the pan and onto the stove and counter. It didn’t look great, but pretty soon my first pancake was finished and I started in on the others, which seemed to get better as I went on, looking more and more like the pancakes of old. I finished just as my wife was getting out of bed, and told her to come into the living room where the stack of pancakes were sitting on the table topped with three fresh raspberries.
She totally wasn’t expecting that and was completely surprised, so I started off the day in a good way. We sat together at the table, drizzled some maple syrup over the warm pancakes and ate together in romantic bliss. Personally, I thought the pancakes were fine, but certainly not the culinary masterpiece that I built them up to be in my head. The taste was pretty good but it could have been a lot better, but they looked absolutely terrible and wouldn’t be on the cover of a magazine anytime soon. My wife was abundant in her praise, talking about how delicious they were, and I suppose she could have been being honest with me, but in my opinion, it seemed a little over the top which makes me think that she might have been trying to cover for the fact that she didn’t actually enjoy them. Either way, she ate them all and told me how much she loved them, so it was something of a nice ego boost, as if I needed a bigger head than the one I’ve already got. It was a successful breakfast, not because of the food, but because of the person I was able to share the food with, my best friend.

The Lost Phone

Today started out normal, or as normal as any Saturday can be expected to be when awoken by loud banging on the door. It wasn’t my door, but my neighbor’s, the one I’d written about previously that doesn’t leash his gigantic dog or pick up the excrement that it drops all throughout the grass between my apartment door and the car. From what I gleaned on the note left on the door by the person who looked an awful lot like a police officer, my neighbor was being summoned to court or something, not that I got too close of a look at the note, still wanting to protect the privacy of that person, I only glanced at it in passing, without touching it, in case the neighbor was secretly watching through the peephole. Once the madness of the door banging died down, I got back and bed and read for a while, occupying myself until my wife woke up, gracing me with her presence and allowing us to start our day together. At some point whilst reading, I fell back asleep, waking up a couple hours later and realizing that now I was the lazy one still in bed while my wife was up and waiting on me.

We had a pretty full day planned, but before getting started on any of the things that we had to do, we decided to do something that we wanted to do, and had an early lunch at a Chinese restaurant. The food was decent, and I might go into more depth about it later, perhaps in a future blog where I review the full experience, but today, I’ll move past it, because it’s ultimately insignificant to the story that I’m telling today. Full of food, which is a terrible way to begin a bunch of errands by the way, we headed for Lowe’s where my wife wanted to get a replacement air conditioning filter. I wondered aloud if that wasn’t something that our apartment management team should take care of since the air conditioning is part of the apartment, but my wife reminded me at best, that the fine folks that work here get to service requests a week or so after they’re made, if they don’t forget about them completely. Touche’. We bought the filters, a three pack, and hit the road, next destination Kroger. The grocery store was overcrowded with people and cars, but we were in and out rather quickly, only there to pick up a few gift cards that we’re giving as Christmas gifts this year, as well as some toilet paper, which is a story for another time.

Next stop was the United States Post Office, where we planned to zip through and drop off my brother’s birthday gift at one of the big blue boxes stationed on the outside of the building. We’d originally planned to skip the post office altogether, thinking that somewhere we were going today would have a big blue box out front, but to our dismay, there were none to be found. We circled the parking lot, in which all of the arrows seemed to be pointing in the direction that I was driving, meaning I was driving the wrong way, but there weren’t any cars coming, so my cavalier attitude took over, “screw it”, and I continued forward. The package was too big to fit into the mail slot, of course, so I dropped my wife at the front doors to run it in and drop it in the larger chute. Following the post office, our last and final errand was going by Advanced Auto Parts to pick up some brake pads and some other car things that I am unknowledgeable about so my wife can change the brakes on her car this week. She amazes me. Just before we arrived at the car parts place, my wife, who was going to pull up the order number on the confirmation email in her phone, realized that said phone was not in her jacket pocket as she assumed. She frantically began feeling her pockets and looking around her on the floor while I guided the car in the parking lot. She asked me if I had seen it, and stupid me who tends to smile in uncomfortable situations, which this was because iPhones aren’t cheap, cracked a smile as I shook my head no, which made her think I was just messing with her and I actually did have her phone. I didn’t, but it took some convincing on my part, none of which was easy as my uncomfortable smiling continued.

We got out of the car and proceeded to look under the seats, behind the seats, and in the Kroger grocery bag, none of which held her iPhone. I called her number from my phone and it rang and rang, but there was no answer, nor were we able to hear another phone ringing inside the car. At practically the same time, we both realized that I could pull up the find my friends app and locate her phone, that is if somebody hadn’t found it and turned it off by then, planning to keep it for themselves. I opened the app and I found my wife…back at the post office. She said she didn’t hear it fall from her pocket and we were both worried that she had possibly tossed it down the mail chute with the package, but at least we had sort of found the phone, so we jumped back in the car and backtracked all the way back to the post office. It wasn’t on the ground in the parking lot, and when I opened up the app again, the phone had moved a couple streets from where we were. Could I chase down these people, be brave, and reclaim my wife’s phone? Certainly not, so I tried calling it again instead, and this time, a woman answered.

I said “Hi, I think you picked up my wife’s phone”, which was an incredibly stupid thing to say because of course she had picked up my wife’s phone since she had answered when I called my wife’s phone. Thankfully she didn’t call me out on my stupidity and explained that she had in fact found the phone on the floor of the post office, where it must have fallen out of my wife’s pocket. She was very nice and told me she lived right around the corner from the post office and I told her that’s where we were, so she gave me her address and less than two minutes later were sitting in front of her house. My wife looked at her wallet and realized that she didn’t have any cash and neither did I, so we hoped that the kind stranger would accept one of the gift cards we had bought from Kroger earlier. She tried to refuse, but we insisted, and the trade took place, an iPhone for a Starbucks gift card, a much better deal for us than for her. On the way back to the auto parts store we talked about how lucky we’d been for the phone to have been picked up by such a nice person. Anyone could have found it and I feel that a lot of people, in that situation of finding an expensive phone, would keep it for themselves or try to sell it, but it’s nice to know that there are people out there who still do the right thing, even if it it’s not in their best interest.

Nachos and Basketball: A Date Night with my Wife

IMG_4476If I ever opened up a restaurant, I think I would call it Nacho Libre and the only thing on the menu would be different kinds of nachos, because nachos are one of the most awesome foods in the world. Of course I would have the traditional Mexican nachos, with beef, steak, or chicken, but I would also branch out and have unique varieties too, like spaghetti nachos, that would be topped with spaghetti sauce, beef, and parmesan cheese. There would be pizza nachos, with pizza sauce, pepperoni, and melted cheese as well as breakfast nachos with scrambled cheese eggs, sausage, and bacon, with or without syrup. There would be seafood and barbecue nachos, which are two of my favorite varieties, as well as others that I don’t feel like wasting anymore words on right now, but you get the point, nachos are great, which is why when my wife and I went to dinner at Central BBQ the other night, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind as to what I was going to order.

I normally get the pulled pork barbecue nachos at Central, because they are delicious and one of my favorite things to eat in Memphis, but I decided to try something new, and got the barbecue chicken nachos, on the homemade chips of course, because I’m not an animal. I’m not exaggerating when I say that ordering the barbecue chicken was one of the best decision I’ve ever made in my life, because it was one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had. The chicken was juicy and flavorful, the chips were nice and crisp, and there was so much cheese, sauce and shredded, that it would have been a fantastic dinner had that been the only ingredient atop the chips. The jalapeños added a nice kick and the barbecue sauce was perfectly portioned throughout the dish. It was so good that I’m going to have a hard time going back to the pulled pork, because while the pork is great, the barbecue chicken was phenomenal.

After dinner my wife and I headed downtown for the Grizzlies game, courtesy of my brother Logan who got me tickets for my birthday. I always love being inside Fedex Forum for a basketball game, which is one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday night, and we had a lot of fun, despite the fact that the Grizzlies were dominated by the Houston Rockets. You can’t win them all I suppose. By the time the game was over and we left the arena to head back to the car, the temperature outside had dropped into the thirties, which was absolutely marvelous. All in all it was a great night, filled with basketball, great food, and nice weather, and I look forward to doing it again soon in the near future, only next time, maybe the Grizzlies will win the game, but given the way they’ve been playing lately, I’m not going to hold my breath for it.

Bragging on my Wife

IMG_4298When I was in college, which seems like many years ago, it was a struggle for me. I think I took the same Statistics class three semesters in a row, and made a bad grade, every single time, although it wasn’t for lack of trying. The last time I took it, I had my wife, my then girlfriend, go over my homework with me and try to help me to understand math, which admittedly was my worst subject in school. We spent countless hours of her trying to teach me, and me not being able to grasp the concepts, and all in all, despite her best efforts, it didn’t make much of a difference, because I still ended up with a bad grade in the class, and then subsequently dropped out of college, but that’s not what this blog is about. No, this blog is not about negative college experiences, but positive ones, which is why I won’t be focusing on my years in college for the remainder of the blog, but will be focusing on a success story, which isn’t to say that my years spent pursuing a higher education were a complete failure, but that’s just not the focus today.

I’m going to brag about my wife, because this is my blog and I can write about whatever I wants, so if you don’t like it, feel free to movie along, because it’s my blog you can’t tell me what to do. When life hands me lemons, I make beef stew. So my wife started back to school this fall, after more than a year away, at the university here in town. I’m proud of her for going back to school, because I know how hard that is after being away for an extended period of time because there are so many excuses that can be made about how hard it would be to go back, but my wife did it, which would be enough for me to be proud of her, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

For as long as I’ve known her, my wife has talked about a career in mechanical engineering, and that’s what she studied for her first two years of college, but with some time off to think about it, she decided that her interest lay elsewhere, in the excruciatingly exciting world of accounting, which isn’t for everyone. My uncle was an accountant before realizing that it was unenjoyable, and my cousin was majoring in accounting, until he interviewed for an internship and got an up close look at how depressed the accountants employed there were, prompting him to immediately toss accounting out the window and take up marketing, but for my wife, it might be the perfect fit. In her first semester as an accounting major she is really taking a liking to the subject of accounting, one she had never previously studied, and is excelling at it. I don’t know this for a fact, but she’s got to be one of the top accounting students in her class, which is evidenced by the fact that her lowest exam grade for the semester is going to be dropped, and she informed me last night that her lowest grade, the score that will be dropped is a 100. That’s right, my wife’s lowest accounting grade for the year is 100, because on all of the other tests she has gotten bonus points so that all of her other scores were even higher. So basically, my wife is the most promising young accounting student in the world, and I’m happy to be able to brag about her, because she certainly wouldn’t talk about it herself.

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.