Monday, July 20, 2009

Advice to The Melting Pot

For those of you who don't know, as i am sure there are many, The Melting Pot is a chain restaurant that combines fondu and socializing for dinner. Despite the frightening website where punchy music overlays a moving picture of guests socializing and eating over massive portions of food and fondu pots. In New Orleans, the practically devoid of anything vegetarian city, we chose to go here one night. They had tofu on the menu!

http://www.meltingpot.com/ - check out the website, click on the fondu pots to see the creepy trendy people look at you!

We were greeted by our friendly waitress, Jasmine, who claimed to be Jewish, yet did not know that Ariel was a Jewish name; however, we found her to be quite sociable, yet perhaps misinformed when she claimed she had heard we would be a fun group. We assured her we would not be fun. 

First up, sharing fondu is cool unless you are vegetarian sharing fondu with meat eaters. Since we were a group of four, we only had one fondu pot to share, so we immediately asked for a larger table with two fondu pots. Jasmine obediently obliged our request. 

So far so good, until we get to the menu, which is needlessly complicated even for people with Master's degrees. However, your waitress will explain it in rabid detail and yet still it will go over your head. Besides that the food was delicious. Perhaps it was the one too many margaritas, but we came up with some lovely suggestions for the establishment.

We called poor Jasmine over and explained since it was advised upon ordering that if you are cooking meat in the pot you should leave it in at least two minutes, it would be helpful to have a clock. She thought this was a great idea, as she had heard it before, and offered to bring the owner over, as he was unfortunately working that night. 

As we waited, the drinks going to our heads, we came up with even more spectacular suggestions. The owner emerged reluctantly, and said "Jasmine tells me you all have some suggestions, I would love to hear them." Our poor Jasmine stood by supportively. 

Neil, our awesome friend (see pic below), kicked off the speech, while the rest of us looked on thoughtfully and seriously during the tirade. 

Neil begins, and I try, likely unsuccessfully, not too laugh too much.

First off, we thought you should re-name the cheese pots of fondu, as they have a kind of golden hue and resemble a pot o' gold. Re-name to pot o' gold. 

Second, you must fire all the staff and hire just little people (Jasmine's face was priceless & I'm pretty sure her manager was thinking of firing her at this point for having to hear these awesome suggestions to improve business). Trust me, Neil continues, people like themes, little people serving pots o' gold. 

And lastly, all the little people must wear shirts that say, "ye after me lucky charms!" 

We all look at the manager seriously. Despite Jasmine standing with her mouth wide open in shock, the manager surprisingly didn't flinch at the suggestions. 

Those are some interesting ideas, we will consider them. He leaves quickly, only to return moments later and says: I spoke with the district manager and he thinks there may be a trademark infringement on the "ye after me lucky charms", I believe someone like General Mills may own the rights to that. 

We all have a good laugh. Turns out the crusty manager did have a sense of humour, who would have thought. And poor Jasmine who at one time thought we would be fun guests, was just 

thankful to have a job at the end of the night.

We tipped well, as it was the least we could do for the havoc we may have caused that night and ran off to catch the St. Charles Street car home. No doubt New Orleans will remember the Canadians fondly, for being spirited fun guests!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cottonmouths, Carpetbaggers, and Drunkards - Welcome to NOLA!

Okay, a bit late on the welcoming email, since i arrived in New Orleans five days ago, but it is a welcome nonetheless.

My sister and I arrived on Tuesday, June 30/July 1, 2009 at midnight to a relatively quiet night in the Quarter. We decide to say hello to our surrogate home for the next two weeks by doing what we do best, drink and bar hop on Bourbon street.

First off, we head to “Jean Lafitte's Old Absinthe House”, whose only redeeming quality is that it is a historical building (opened in 1807), I think it is haunted by a sour bitchy bartender who insisted on giving me my first shitty vodka tonic south of the boarder.

Next we head East down Bourbon looking for inspiration, and we find it, unfortunately in a pseudo hot spot called "Fat Catz". A bustling night club spewing out R&B and a whole host of strange and delightful characters from the 65 year-old Indian man who tried to recruit us as strippers/hookers, to the drunkard tourists shifting their eyes to the beat to the delightful woman in the red dress with long blond locks looking for some tail. Two for one drinks at this establishment, which gives you a mild incentive for visiting this place, unless of course you enjoy watching 6'2", 25 year old trashed tourist men hitting on petite middle aged women. Does not matter how much you drink there is no excuse for this behaviour! We end up leaving after watching a young man serenade his woman with some fancy hip hop moves.

Next we end up on the street engaging in a lively discussion about relationships while standing underneath the "huge ass beers sold here" sign. Naturally we make our first friend of the night in the form of Will the street poet, who gives us a poem and a recommendation for another bar, which I will refer to as "Johnny Walkers" because I fucking don’t know what it is called. Thankfully this joint was adjacent to Bourbon; however, at the door we were greeted with a sign that warned us to be on the look out for "pickpockets and loose women". Surprisingly this did little to dissuade us. It was a darkly lit cute little joint, with a handful of Quarter denizens who insisted on mocking our accents by pretending to be from Chicago. I guess they didn't understand that Canada was a country not a suburb of Chicago.

Taco, our masterful bartender, poured me the best vodka tonic that night; however, with that heat (90 degrees Fahrenheit - almost 40 degrees Celsius) and lack of sleep, piss in a bucket would have been acceptable. Okay maybe not, but you get what I'm saying. Next we engaged with an elderly man named Steve, who told us Texan style jokes (Why don't you need to buy a woman a watch? Because there is a clock on the stove) and talked to us about universal health care. The latter became a regular topic of conversation with the people we have met on this trip.

Brittany Spears' "Toxic" comes on in the bar, we take our cue and move across the street for some grub - cheese pizza slices (1/2 the size of a large Canadian pizza) - the vegetarian's delight. It's about 3:30am now, and we make friends with a patron of the pizza establishment, named Stephen. Dr Stephen (he is a doctor, I'm not making this shit up) and us have many conversations ranging from topics of spirituality to parental abandonment. And then of course I try to recruit him to BC, unsuccessfully I might add - he doesn't want to work for a socialist country. Jebus! These Americans think we are socialist, are they fucking kidding me? Okay, maybe we are comparatively speaking. Ahh whatever, we were drunk, then we all headed to a gay bar, where apparently it was Michael Jackson night, but all I heard was Rob Zombie. When DJs start confusing Michael Jackson with Rob Zombie, it is time to go home.

We stroll into our hotel room around 5 am, and are pleased to find Angel re-runs on tv. We watch about 10 minutes and pass out. What a beautiful and fitting way to say hello to New Orleans.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sexy Advice on Sex part one

I received a comment from one of my readers; she was hoping that my blog would have a sex advice portion. Apparently I am well known in some circles for providing timely and effective advice on the "how to's" of surviving an intimate relationship with a misguided woman and/or man.

Naturally I obliged, as sex is one of my favorite topics.

Dear Andrea,

First off, I want to say you are awesome, and I so excited that you started this blog, so I can read you all the time! Anyways, back to my question, a guy that I'm seeing is a wet kisser, we are pretty honest with each other, but i don't know how to tell him this without hurting his feelings, how can i tell him tactfully?

Swimming in slobber in Kansas City

Well SSKC, sorry to disappoint you, but feelings are meant to be hurt. No but seriously, well they kind of are, okay moving on. Although i recommend good communication skills as essential to maintain any semblance of a functioning relationship (as my failed relationships can attest to), sometimes harsh news like this, just needs a good delivery. So I can assume you have tried all the passive attempts of trying to tell him, like an exaggerated wiping of your mouth after he kisses you, and he still hasn't improved his kissing technique. Naturally i would try humour as my next step. Like after he lays the next big wet one on you, say "hey Kansas city boy do you have a raincoat, it's getting wet in here". Likely, he won't get it and ask a follow up question like, "raincoat, it isn't raining, it hasn't rained in months, can you please elaborate on your statement?" And you will have to come clean at this point, and say, "actually it is kind of wet around my mouth area." And then wave your hand close to your mouth, so he understands. At this point, you are either forced to address the issue, and he becomes mortified and changes OR he dumps your ass. Either way is a bonus because he stops kissing like a dog.

Your welcome,

Andrea