EppsNet Archive: Restaurants

EppsNet Restaurant Reviews: Pea Soup Andersen’s

18 Apr 2016 /

I’ve driven past Pea Soup Andersen’s many times in my journeys from SoCal to NorCal and back . . . finally decided to give the split pea soup its day in court.

The waitress seemed to be always teetering on the edge of exasperation, at my table and at others as well. She said things like “Let’s do this” instead of “Are you ready to order?” I don’t know if surly waitresses are part of the Andersen ambiance or whether that was just the luck of the draw.

The soup was delicious though, served with bacon bits, croutons, diced ham, scallions and grated cheddar cheese, all on the side so you can customize the soup any way you like it.

Rating: 5 stars . . . no deductions for the waitress as I feel she was within the normal bounds of surly coffee shop waitress comportment.

Split pea soup


The Art of the Meal

18 Mar 2016 /

We Guarantee You There’s No Problem.


Tony Robbins’ Wealth-Building Tips Seem Pretty Useless

18 Jan 2016 /
Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins has 6 tips for Building Wealth Now. Let’s look at each of the tips and apply the “would anyone advise the opposite?” filter to assess the value of Robbins’ advice.

  1. Don’t lose money. I’m not kidding, that’s the first tip. Would anyone advise “Lose money”? No. So this “tip” is useless.
  2. Look for investments in which rewards far outweigh risks. Would anyone advise “Look for investments in which risks far outweigh rewards’? No. Robbins recommends using “the 5-to-1 rule,” in which the potential returns on an investment are 5 times greater than the potential losses. Why 5? Why not 10? Or 100? Where do you find these investments? I have no idea.
  3. Don’t overpay taxes. Would anyone advise “Overpay taxes”? No.
  4. Diversify. Would anyone advise “Don’t diversify”? Possibly. There’s a couple of schools of thought on diversification: 1) Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; and 2) Put all your eggs in one basket, then watch that basket. So there’s a tip for you: Diversify.
  5. Watch out for mindless spending. Would anyone advise “Spend mindlessly”? No. Robbins says if you spend $40 a week on restaurant meals, consider inviting friends over for a low-cost dinner at home instead. “In a year, you’ll have saved $2,000. If you invest that $2,000 every year, in 40 years you’ll have half a million dollars.” No, in 40 years you’ll have $80,000. Maybe. Given some assumptions about your rate of return, you might have half a million dollars, but on the other hand, you might make some bad investments and wind up with nothing.
  6. Stop sabotaging yourself. Would anyone advise “Sabotage yourself”? No.

See You in Hell

8 May 2015 /
Satan

Satan

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE]

Greetings from the underworld!

Friends have asked my opinion of the new Diablo hot sauce from Taco Bell . . .

  1. I love the name!
  2. You call that hot?!

See you in Hell . . .

Diablo


The Day is Off to a Disappointing Start

11 Feb 2015 /

Del Taco in Denton, TX

After I already ordered and paid for my breakfast taco and extra large Diet Pepsi at Del Taco, the girl informs me that they’re out of extra large cups.

“I can’t believe it,” she says. “And I already charged you for it!”

“Hmmm . . . just give me a large then, if you have any large cups around.”

“I’m so sorry. Next time you’re here, I’ll give you a free one.”

“The extra large soda really holds the whole morning together for me.”

“I know, I’m a big soda drinker myself. My boyfriend is too and so is my dad. He lives on extra large sodas.”

“Drinking extra large sodas is one of the great pleasures of life, in my opinion.”

“The large cup feels small in your hand, doesn’t it?”

“It does. I like things that feel big in my hand.”

Very disappointing. This never happens at Taco Bell . . .


Lasts

14 Jan 2015 /

End-of-winter-break dinner at BJ’s Brewhouse, after which the boy headed back to school for his final semester . . .

BJ's Brewhouse


I Can Still Eat

5 Sep 2014 /

Hi everybody! It’s me, Lightning! My owner bought each of us a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A. He’s a fast eater but I ate my whole sandwich before he was even half way done with his!

I’m very old now. I can hardly see, hear or walk. But my eating ability has not dropped off AT ALL!

— Lightning paw

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Last Night at the Beppo

17 Aug 2014 /

The Buca di Beppo restaurant in Irvine is closing tomorrow. We stopped in this evening for a final meal. It was a sad occasion. Buca has been one of our culinary mainstays for over a decade. Here we are laughing to keep from crying:

Last night at the Beppo

We had antipasto salad and baked ziti, a very close call over the spicy chicken rigatoni.

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Eat Mor Chikin

1 Jun 2014 /

I like Chick-fil-A. I like that they put people with a mastery of English at the drive-thru, and I especially like that, unlike every other fast food outlet, they never ask me if I’d like to try the latest menu item.

Carl’s Jr. is the worst offender in this area. They seem to constantly have new items on both the breakfast menu and the regular menu so no matter what hour of the day I show up, they have something to force feed me.

“You have a huge picture of that item right here on the menu. It’s not like I’m unaware of its existence. Why can’t you just let me order what I want to order and stop badgering me?”

It’s rude. They don’t do it face to face because they know it’s rude. They don’t “would you like to try” you if you get out of your car and go in to the restaurant, but in the anonymity of the drive-thru it’s okay to badger me and waste my time.

Cows at Work


Minimum Wage Proposal: $0.00

10 May 2014 /
Fast food strike

You can’t make ends meet on 8 bucks an hour? I can see where that would be a problem. When did fast food jobs become jobs for family breadwinners? Fast-food jobs are for high-school kids.

You want to make $15 an hour? Simple: get a job that pays $15 an hour. What’s stopping you? Other than your lack of skills, education, motivation and accomplishments? If no employer is willing to pay you $15 an hour, then guess what? You’re not worth $15 an hour. You need to do something about that.

Why is $15 an hour the magic number? Why not $16? Or $17? Why not $50 an hour? At $50 an hour, everyone would make a nice 6-figure income and poverty would be a thing of the past, right?

If you raise the price of a product or service, the demand for the product or service goes down — at least a little bit. Is there a counterexample where raising the price of something makes the demand go up? I can’t think of one.

Let’s go a step further: If you set the price of a product or service at an artificially high level, e.g., double the market value that people are currently willing to pay, the demand for the product or service will fall off a cliff.

Example: Instead of setting a minimum price for labor, imagine setting a minimum price for cars: $30,000. What would happen? No effect on the market for cars that already cost $30,000+, but the market for Honda Civics, Toyota Corollas, etc. would dry up. No one wants to pay X dollars for something that’s worth a lot less than X dollars.

A lot of low-skill jobs have been or could be automated out of existence. Think about that the next time you pay a machine at a parking garage or tool booth, or use an ATM, or check out your own groceries at the supermarket.

I was in a sandwich shop the other day and there were no humans taking orders. Instead, there were several tablet-sized touch screens with card readers. Swipe your credit card and select your order.

Fast food restaurants can’t get rid of everyone overnight, but there’s nothing like doubling the cost of labor to get business owners looking at all possible labor-reduction options.

P.S. I didn’t cherry-pick that photo. It’s from a Salon article that’s actually supportive of a minimum wage increase.


Overheard at Subway

28 Feb 2014 /

Subway

“Last time I was here, I decided to have a pink lemonade instead of a soda. Biggest mistake of my life.”

“The biggest mistake of your life was buying a pink lemonade?”

“Yeah. My whole afternoon was ruined.”


Overheard at Souplantation

9 Feb 2014 /

Customer to Mexican busboy: “Great soups today! I love the albo-dingus!”


Japan, Day 8: Walking in Tokyo

29 Dec 2013 /

Things you notice when walking in Tokyo . . .

1) There are lots and lots of people . . .

Walking in Tokyo

Walking in Tokyo

Walking in Tokyo

Walking in Tokyo

Walking in Tokyo

Walking in Tokyo

Walking in Tokyo

Walking in Tokyo

2) Most of them are not very tall . . .

Giant among pygmies

Giant among pygmies

3) Because there are a lot of people in a small amount of space (even though they are small people), Tokyo is built to take advantage of vertical space. For example, I’ve never seen a two- or three-story fast food restaurant in the U.S. but they’re common in Tokyo. Businesses that usually are two or three stories in the U.S., like department stores, in Tokyo are eight or ten stories.

Tokyo is a vertical city

Tokyo is a vertical city

Is that a McDonalds up there?

Is that a McDonalds up there?

Sake

Sake

Ueno Park

Ueno Park

Flying back home tomorrow . . . sayonara!


Japan, Day 0: Floyd Mayweather at Panda Express

20 Dec 2013 /
Panda Express Logo

We saw Floyd Mayweather at LAX . . .

Actually, my son saw him. When the boy pointed him out to me, all I could see was the back of a smallish man in a black hoodie surrounded by half a dozen of the largest human beings I’ve ever seen. You have to get past those guys to get your shot at Floyd.

They were all standing on line at Panda Express in one of the food courts. Normally, I don’t envision famous, wealthy people eating Panda Express, and if they do, I don’t picture them standing on line for it. I picture them sending someone to fetch it while they hang out in the first class passenger lounge.

Good advertisement for Panda Express. Better than those ridiculous goddamn talking pandas.

In other close encounters with boxing legends, I once saw Sugar Ray Leonard and his family at Juice It Up.


ADHD in the Making

9 Dec 2013 /

My family and I are enjoying a meal at a Japanese restaurant. In the booth behind me are a husband and wife and five kids, the oldest of whom looks to be about 12.

Adderall

One of the kids, a boy of about 5, is standing up and running a toy car back and forth along the divider between his booth and our booth. He gets bored with that after a while and starts drumming on the divider with a pair of chopsticks.

The boy’s activities don’t bother me much . . . what bothers me is that it takes 15 minutes for one of the parents to tell him to stop it and sit down. He doesn’t do either and nothing else is said or done about the matter.

In the near future, this boy’s inability to sit still and follow directions will get him “diagnosed” by a schoolteacher as an ADHD kid, even though the real reason he can’t sit still and follow directions is that his parents never taught him to sit still and follow directions.

And folks, don’t have five kids. Raising a kid requires more than 20 percent of your attention.


A $15 Minimum Wage is Not Going to Help You

6 Dec 2013 /

Fast Food Workers Will Strike On Thursday In L.A. : LAist

Fast food workers staged a one-day strike for “living wages.” More specifically, they want the federal minimum wage to be raised from $7.25 an hour to $15.

Fast food

(Photo credit: H Dragon)

You want to make a living wage? I’ll tell you how to make a living wage. I’ve had a lot of jobs and this method has never failed me.

Here it is: Before accepting a job offer, you always ask yourself, “Does this job pay enough for me to live on?” And if the answer is no, then you don’t take that job.

If you want to earn $15 an hour, do what I do: get a job that pays $15 an hour. Who’s stopping you?

If no one’s willing to pay you $15 an hour, it’s because the skills, intelligence and motivation that you bring to the table don’t allow you to do anything that’s worth $15 an hour. You need to do something about that. You need to be able to deliver $15 of value to an employer. Figure that out.

Setting the minimum wage at $15 is not going to help you. If you set the price of something at more than it’s worth, people are not going to buy it.

Imagine this: My friend Paul Epps is a programmer. Let’s say we passed a Minimum Wage for Programmers law that says that programmers must be paid at least $200,000 a year. Is that good news for Epps?

No, it isn’t.

His boss calls all the programmers into a meeting and says, “Well, according to the new Minimum Wage for Programmers law, I can’t hire any of you for less than $200,000 per year. You know what that means?”

“We all get a big raise?” Epps suggests hopefully.

“No, it means you’re all fired. Get out of here.”

Or imagine this: We pass a Minimum Price for Restaurants law that says you can’t get a meal in restaurant unless you pay at least $15 for it. What will that do to sales of Quarter Pounders and Jumbo Jacks?

People will stop buying those things. Many restaurants serve meals for which customers are willing to pay $15, but a fast food burger isn’t worth $15, even with fries and a drink, so people will stop buying those things.


At the Drive-Thru

14 Sep 2013 /

“Hi, would you like to try our new [insert product name here]?”

“Do you think I’ll like it?”

“Uh, I don’t know.”

“Then why are you recommending it? Don’t you want me to be happy?”


The Aliens Have Landed in Irvine

8 Sep 2013 /

It’s about one in the afternoon at the Irvine In-N-Out Burger. A guy who looks to be in his early 20s comes in wearing a backward baseball cap, dark sunglasses (which he never removes) and — despite a temperature in the high 80s — a pullover sweater.

Aliens

To simplify the storytelling, let’s call this guy Alf.

Alf waits in line, places his order, then immediately walks over and stands in front of the pickup counter. The place is packed, and I can tell from looking at the number on my own ticket that there are about 10 more orders ahead of me, and since I ordered before him, there are about 15 more orders ahead of Alf, so there’s no reason for him to be standing at — in fact, leaning on — the pickup counter.

After a few moments, the kid at the pickup counter asks Alf what his number is.

“Eleven,” Alf replies.

“OK, we’re calling numbers in the 90s, so it’s going to be a few more minutes.”

Alf then sits down on a bench to the left of the pickup counter, where he waits patiently until they call order number 6, which happens to be my number, at which time Alf asks the kid at the counter if his order is ready yet. It’s the same kid he talked to before, and the kid knows Alf’s number is 11, so he says, “No, not yet.”

When the alien invasion come to your town, you will know them by the following signs:

  1. Inappropriate attire, e.g., sweaters in a heat wave, dark glasses indoors, caps on backwards . . . no, scratch that last one. Some Earthlings do that too.
  2. Ignorance of the most basic social scenarios, like how to order and pick up fast food.
  3. Inability to count.

Taco Warmer

7 Sep 2013 /
Day 320

Photo by supjchwa2

“Jack in the Box tacos have to be eaten when they’re hot, so when I buy them at the drive-thru, I also buy a bag of french fries, set the fries on top of the tacos and use them as a taco warmer to keep the tacos hot until I get them home and eat them.”

“Do you eat the fries as well?”

“No, I don’t eat the fries. I just use them to keep the tacos warm.”

“The french fries keep the tacos warm?’

“Right.”

“What keeps the french fries warm?”


Eating in Restaurants

5 Sep 2013 /

Before venturing out of your home to eat in a restaurant, learn to chew with your mouth closed.

This applies whether you’re 7 or 70 . . .


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