A Night at Billy’s Burger Barn

Recently my wife and I stopped into one of our favorite restaurants (let’s call it Billy’s Burger Barn for now) to enjoy a comforting meal and perhaps a cocktail or two after a rough Monday at the office. As we drove into the parking lot our first thought was “Uh Oh, they look busy tonight” but agreed that we should stay because it was getting to be dinner time and no matter where we went it would probably be as hectic and busy as this.
Not one to like to wait in line, and having been in this environment as a restaurant employee, (it makes me edgy and I feel like I need to help out) I sighed and opened the door for my wife like the gentleman I was raised to be.
Yes indeed, the place was indeed packed to the rafters, but there was only one couple ahead of us and they were being led off to be seated.
“Table for two?” inquired the hostess”
“Yes please, a booth if possible” said the lovely and fetching Mrs. Politte.
“We have one in the back, please follow me” replied the young lady as she gathered our menus and graciously took us to our booth in the corner away from the children who were playing soccer with salt and pepper shakers in the aisle as the wait staff tried not to trip over them and their parent looked on with pride and admiration.
Out of nowhere popped up our server.
“Hello, may name is Debbie and I will be taking care of you tonight. Our specials are gorgonzola stuffed chicken breast with baby red potatoes and grilled asparagus, or a bacon and parmesan cheese frittata served with a Caesar salad. May I get you something from the bar?”
“Why yes please, do you have Sam Adams?” I queried
“Draught or in the bottle?” “We have both”
“A bottle please, and my wife will have an E & J Brady and diet in a chimney.”
“Great, I will be right back with your drinks, and I will let you decide what you would like for dinner.”
As we sipped our drinks and watched the hustling and pandemonium of dinner service, I couldn’t help but think how it is like a perfectly planned military assault. If you are prepared and trained for the battle, you will make a busy dining room hum along as precisely as the New York philharmonic. If you are not, carnage will consume the service. Luckily we were here on a good night.
Our food arrived a little later (a good sign the kitchen was in synch also), and it was fantastic. I had the Osso Bucco with Wild Mushroom Risotto, and the earthiness of the mushrooms in the Bordelaise sauce went perfectly alongside the tender pork shanks that were expertly braised in red wine. My wife had the Chicken and Fettuccine Alfredo that was so rich and velvety you could anchor a cruise ship with it. She usually lets me partake in what she cannot finish, but I received a fork to the back my hand as I tried with no success to take her plate from her.
Being too full for dessert, we order the triple chocolate cake to take home, paid our bill and said goodbye to Debbie and the busboys who were cleaning up the cracker crumbs and straw wrappers from the food fight at table 13.
As I reflected on our drive home, I thought to myself how sometimes we don’t appreciate all the things that have to go right in order for us to get a great meal and exceptional service, and how one little thing can ruin a night out-if you let it.
We should always remember those who take care of us when we do eat out, whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner, drive through or delivery. They work hard, very hard, and sometimes don’t get the thanks they deserve.
So thank you Debbie, cooks, busboys and bartenders. Thank you hostess, cashiers and managers, we had a great meal and we are glad you made it come to pass. We will definitely be back again.
But right now I am going home to have some cake and put Neosporin and band-aid on the back of my hand.

Tattoos Are In!

If you take a gander to the upper left, you can see yours truly (me) – and I am sure that you will notice some things right from the get-go. Hopefully it is not my ugly mug; which I think is not so ugly, but then again my opinion is obviously biased as I am talking about myself while not trying to come off as some egotistical and overly eccentric, self-infatuated clot. But there are several reasons as to why I have chosen to brandish my image on this post and sacrifice the realm of personal privacy for the sheer devotion to always keeping you all on the up-and-up. This time around, I am talking about tattoos—and how much of a permanent fashion staple that they truly are!

Getting back on track here, if you do look at good old happy me to the upper left, chances are that one of the first things that caught your eyes was the full sleeve tattoos that I have on my left and right arms. There is a story behind these tattoos for me – and most people that I have ever met that have tats usually offer some form of personal significance that they mean to them. For me, although hard to tell from the picture, they are dragons that are three-dimensional and are eating my arms as they breath fire down one side and ice down the other; the altruistic ‘fire and ice’ that runs wild in the spirit of humanity. The personal meaning of my tattoos: They are actually a two-headed dragon that covers my entire back and chest that is coyly named Fragor from a fantasy novel I recently penned that has been published (I won’t divulge the name of the novel because I am not writing this article to try and sell books).

But my main point is that a tattoo, although typically a permanent fixture upon your person, can have lasting fashion suaveness. In fact, I see people all over the place that have different tattoos, and who come from all walks of life. I generally get approached by them on a daily basis because my tats are rather extensive. So I suppose the point and case that I am making here is that if you are wise with your tat decision, you can enjoy a piece of body art that you will have and cherish forever!

Do they hurt to get? Heck yes! Mine sure did!

But then again, as the old saying goes: “No Pain, No Gain!”

Guys: A Simple Tank Top Can Add Some Sizzle to Summer Attire!

Well the summer is fully upon us, as we candidly enter the month of July, and that means that you have some serious wardrobe fashion options guys! One aspect of men’s summer fashion that I see often overlooked is the power of the tank top. There are so many ways that a tank top can really add that spice to your outfit and really make you shine; especially if you workout and you are trying to look all hunky for the ladies during these warmer months that lie ahead (see picture to the upper left for a great example of how sassy, sexy and manly a guy can look when the proper tank top is paired with the right men’s accessories; notice the designer men’s necklace he is wearing too?).

Perhaps one of the neatest parts about tank tops is they are cheap. Really cheap! You can easily find some pretty nifty-looking designer men’s tank tops online—and literally all over the place! You will want to make sure that you know what sizes that you wear. An easy way to do so is by taking the shirt size that you normally wear and upping it one size for a tank top. This is because once you get that sucker washed, it will shrink; as most tend to be made of cotton and will shrink in the wash. But that’s a good thing and allows for a tighter fit on the frame!

A tank top truly silhouettes the body nicely, rounding the curves and accentuating your pecks and really making your arms stand out (and if you have some pretty built up guns then a tank top truly will make you look fab!). So get with the picture guys! T-shirts are cool for the summer, no doubt! But a tank top can really make your image shine!

Dressing for Success

As businesses begin to stress comfort, creativity and personalization, there is a push within many businesses to allow casual dress. This used to be a Friday only affair, but anymore it is becoming a daily event. This is causing some problems within the office though. While business casual is fully acceptable, many people are taking this to the casual world and this is not acceptable within a professional office.

It is important to remember that you are a professional person. While it is not necessarily comfortable to be in a suit all day, it does have a very specific affect on the people who happen to enter the office. A suit gives a person the sense that the person wearing the suit actually knows what they are doing. The suit also gives the person an aire of authority and professionalism that is missed when a person goes casual.

This does not mean that business casual is out though. Not everyone needs to wear a suit and suits are not even necessarily appropriate all the time. It is important when wearing business casual that it is not casual. This means no jeans, no flip flops, and no comical tee-shirts. The shirts should be collared or professional. The bottoms should be made out of a non-denim material. Khaki and business pants are appropriate, but not necessarily shorts.

A good rule of thumb for business casual is that you should be dressed in such a manner as to be able to meet customers or the head of the business without concern about how you are dressed. You should always appear clean and well dressed when dressed in business casual. Avoid clothing that is baggy or excessively tight. This is a more classic dress style while casual is a more trendy dress style.

Accessories such as purses, briefcases and jewelry should be kept to a minimum. If carrying a purse or a briefcase, use the smallest one possible and keep it plain. If possible, match the case with the shoes. Make sure nothing is overly worn or in poor condition. This will give a very negative impression on anyone you would meet.

Don’t Forget That Designer Men’s Belt to Complete Your Outfit!

There is so many wondrous men’s fashion staples that exist today that can really add that finishing touch of charm to any outfit that you choose to wear, guys! Aside from some obvious accessories, like the always coveted leather cuff, or a designer necklace, or even some nifty shoes or a flashy pair of boots, another timeless piece is the always helpful designer men’s belt. Not too many outfits these days – at least in my humble fashion opinion – look complete without the addition of a really sweet-looking and saucy belt added to the mixture.

Belts not only serve to hold our pantaloons upon our person, but they can really add some fantastic sheen to any outfit that you choose to wear! The niftiest things about the many different designer men’s belts that you can opt to buy and sport these days are actually threefold; at least in my mind. For one, you can easily find belts that have interchangeable buckles that come with them; talk about options galore! Two, there are so many different designs of belts out there, that by adding just one to your wardrobe you really open up your options as far as matching color schemes and tones, and adding some additional flare. Lastly, it’s really easy to find men’s belts these days, especially flashy, classy and gaudy ones—if you simply look online for them!

If you were to ever see me strutting my stuff gallantly down the street on my way to a hopping night club on a Friday night, rest assured: A designer men’s belt and customized buckle is most certain to be upon my person! I just don’t feel that any outfit is done without them! Chances are that many people out there agree with me: Belts work wonders for wardrobes!

Mani/Pedi at Essence of Nails Salon

$29 for a Lickety Split Manicure and Classic Pedicure at Essence of Nails Salon ($90 Value)
The daily grind is tough on delicate finger and toe nails. Today’s Crowd Cut soothes scraggy digits for $29 with a mani-pedi ($90 value) at Essence of Nails.
Essence of Nail’s dedication to courteous service and top notch beautification permeates the air, nurturing healthy nails and granting superhuman rock-crushing strength. Friendly staff members spiff up finger caps using high-quality products and expert skills honed with decades of experience. Patrons will enjoy a posh manicure that starts with a stress-shedding hand massage and hydrating treatment, followed by a nail exfoliation, shaping, cuticle nourishing, and a polish of your choice. Meanwhile, down below, your tired feet and lags will be getting a complete makeover of their own. The pedicure blasts off with an exfoliating foot scrub and hydrating foot massage, followed by nail shaping, cuticle care, skin smoothing, hot-towel treatment, and a round of applause from an entourage of nail fanatics.
Friends don’t let friends into public spaces with obvious tension and unkempt hands and feet. Help the people you care about most return to a finely groomed state of mental happiness. Grab your mom or dad, sister or brother, friend or coworker–this Crowd Cut is perfect for gifts and a mani-pedi party.

Fabulosity

Fabulosity is the ultimate spa and shopping experience for women of all ages. Fabulous divas will cater to your every need.
You will find an array of beautiful handmade jewelry, shoes and unique clothing items from local designers and specialty boutiques from across the metro area. Enjoy the convenience of shopping at some of your favorite boutiques in one location. You will find the latest fashion trends and be able to save up to 50% off selected items.
Receive spa treatments from major salons. Relax and rejuvenate yourself at our Beauty Bar, where you will receive services, which may consist of waxing, eyelash & make-up application, mini massage or hair styling. The Beauty Bar will also serve cocktails and hor’d ourves.

Fabulosity will be the most unique shopping experience of your life. Live Fabulous, Feel Fabulous, Be Fabulous………

Who is Chef Zero?

We all know the French brag about being the best chefs in the world, but who really was the first one to put meat to a flame? Who was the first to season food and mix herbs and spices to make the dish better? Who decided salad came before the entree?

And what about gravy?

Every region in the world has its own style and native ingredients. Cuisine has developed over centuries of trial and error. In my opinion some of the best food in the world is is from the Middle East. Because of the trade routes that crossed from Spain and China introducing spices and products never seen or experienced, the food has exceptionality like no other area. Someone there knew how to blend flavors and cooking techniques to make great food, but how did it all come to be?

But let’s get back to the original question.

Who do you think was the first to form a cooking vessel, put a fish or beef shank in and boil it with roots or leaves called “herbs”? Who do you think had the idea of frying an egg or making a loaf of bread? And who came up with the idea of desserts after the meal?

Why are salt and pepper the most common spices, and sitting on our tables?

Much like an epidemic has a patient zero, leave a comment on who you believe chef zero was. Was it an Aborigine on an island craving a Cioppino, a caveperson tired of eating raw meat and preferred a medium well dinosaur, or a medieval knight produced the first kabob slaying a dragon.

Heck, for all we know Adam and Eve got tired of eating fruits and vegetables, and Noah had the first all-you-can-eat buffet on his ark.

Doomtree Art Show at CO Exhibitions

Doomtree Art Show at CO Exhibitions

Saturday night marked the grand opening of CO Exhibitions, a new gallery space in Northeast Minneapolis helmed by the folks at Burlesque of North America, the local design company responsible for some of the coolest screenprinted posters to come out of our fair state, and Joseph Belk of the design collective Permanent.  For their premiere, CO served as a space for the rap outfit Doomtree to showcase their artistic output over the last nine years, filling the walls with show posters, album covers, T-shirts, set design for live shows, and numerous images from the crew’s hard-won history in the local scene.

Album art

The notorious local hip-hop group is comprised of nine artists (P.O.S., Cecil Otter, Mictlan, Dessa, Sims, Paper Tiger, Lazerbeak, MK Larada and Turbo Nemesis), most of whom pull double-duty to some extent.  Beyond crafting beats and writing rhymes, many of the musicians contribute drawings, prints, calligraphy and other art to their projects, and their first ever show devoted to their art showcased Doomtree’s strong visual element in conjunction with their sound.

Posters

The event went from 7 til 10 PM, with the last half devoted to a performance from rappers Sims, Dessa and Mictlan, backed by DJ Paper Tiger, whose solo debut album is set to drop next month.  The MCs pulled out an impressive stage show as usual, and it was nice to see them perform in a little bit more of a relaxed atmosphere.  Sims was in rare form, having stayed up for a few days setting up and preparing the show, and took an audience member up on his suggestion to freestyle about “magic machines”.  Dessa showed off her polished road-tested chops, and Mictlan ended the night with his show-stopping closers “Game Over” and “Prizefighter”, both clear crowd favorites.

The Doomtree Art Show was unique and interesting in terms of gallery shows, and CO Exhibitions is bound to be a place to see some engaging displays of local art.  Keep an eye out for future events at the Northeast Gallery, including a Spinal Tap-themed show called “Smell The Glove” headed up by illustrator and musician Michael Gaughan. If you missed the opening, the show will be up for a few weeks. CO Exhibitions can be found at 1101 Stinson Blvd in NE Minneapolis.

A Neanderthal Welcomes Summer

Summer has made a premature appearance here in Minnesota, and beside the long-awaited thaw and the resurrection of baseball, golfing and fishing, we dream of the day we can pull our Weber’s out of the garage and anoint them with a slab of animal flesh to grill upon their hallowed embers.
I live in a row of townhouses with close proximity to our neighbors. I noticed all the men on both sides of my dwelling rediscovering their inner caveman as they pulled out their grills and loaded them with coals and raw lean protein in a humble offering to the gods of fire and vinegar based sauces.
Not to be outdone, I too uncovered my portable fire pit and drove off to Costco to hunt down a worthy prey. With one kill shot I brought down two racks of pork ribs for $24.19 to bring home and lay at my woman’s feet. As she prepared a dish called “salad”, I seasoned and rubbed the meat with spices and herbs to best augment the essence of the day’s hunt. It slowly crackled and seared itself to perfection with a teriyaki glaze while I enjoyed a refreshing beverage and listened to a baseball game on the radio, contemplating when I should take the fishing poles and golf bags out of hibernation.
My neighbors and I enjoyed our fire cooked meat and I knew that winter was over and all was right with the world, at least until the next snowflakes fell and the blizzards once again covered our caves. But until then, we will search our DNA, cook our meat over an open flame, and take pleasure in the fact that Costco is inexpensive and not that far away.