Apr 302016
 

Maahk stumbles out of the cold, dark wood. He is naked. He is starving. His eyes search for a glowing screen but find none. Somewhere in the distance, he knows, there is a meal and a flick – and they will make him feel God Awful.

After a long slumber, God Awful Dinner And Movie Night is hitting the road in 2016!

Nov 032013
 

buckaroo_banzai1

Hey Everyone.

I know it’s been all too long since I’ve posted to this bad-boy, but last night I found myself in the GADAMN dimension once more, but this time rather accidentally.

For whatever reason I really wanted to check out Champps Restaurant & Bar down in the South Philly IKEA shopping center parking lot. Why I wanted to go to an eatery located in a parking lot, I’m not sure, but I wanted to see what it was all about. I quickly realized that it was a sports bar that very much appeals to those people in our area with the thick is-that-jersey/is-that-north-east/is-that-deep-south-philly accent. Every single TV they owned was bigger than any single TV I had ever seen. I swear there was one that was 10 feet, corner to corner. It was a moving picture wall, more than a TV.

We sat and I perused the menu. Thankfully they had all of the calories listed right below the food titles, so I could do some swift calculations on how bad I would feel immediately after the meal. Their “Mile High Nachos” came in at a whopping 3329 calories. That was an appetizer.

I didn’t get it.

… but you better believe me when I say that I wanted to.

The waitress came over and asked us if we wanted any appetizers. “Interesting question!” I said to her and ordered a Patron Lemonade in the meantime. I left the decision up to my fiancé while I trotted off to the bathroom to take a leak. When I walked in I saw, what looked to be, a bright orange-maroon splooge of cat barf all over the sink and the floor. As if some bipedal, four and a half foot cat couldn’t quite make it to the sink after eating an order of nachos all by themselves. The bathroom smelled like some terrible maple syrup flavored pumpkin candle and an automatic oder neutralizer spritzer had a baby and I was smelling that baby’s ass.

When I got back to the table the buzzardly waitress ran up and started grilling me about the appetizers. I said we weren’t going to have any, and we’d just skip right to “the food.” She said “well, maybe dessert then… What’ul ya’ have?”

We both got salads. Shannon’s was the steak salad. Mine was the cobb. There was literally nothing notable about either, other than the wild farts and gut blasting diarrhea I’ve had ever since eating them. Like, I mean, if there was a way for me to embed a fart smell on a website, believe me, I would. You need to know what this smells like.

I had Instagram’d the sign out front (and hashtagged it #gadamn, of course) and a mutual friend responded with “They had one of these shit holes in the concord mall in Wilmington DE. I used to call it Chumps because you’d have to be a naive idiot to pay what they were asking (which for Wilmington, DE was too much!” and immediately “My gentle apologies if you ate there and enjoyed it.” He was so right. If this blog had a rating system, I’d put this place somewhere between Cici’s and the dumpster behind Cici’s.

Anyway, the night concluded with The Adventures Of Buckaroo Bonzai Across The 8th Dimension. The storyline is as follows:

Neurosurgeon/Rock Star/Superhero Buckaroo has perfected the oscillation overthruster, which allows him to travel through solid matter by using the eighth dimension. The Red Lectroids from Planet 10 are after this device for their own evil ends, and it’s up to Buckaroo and his band and crime-fighting team The Hong Kong Cavaliers to stop them.

My fucking god. That movie was doing acid on a mushroom trip inside of a pregnant woman huffing gasoline and shooting mescaline into her eyeballs.

Anyway, John Lithgow plays the villain, Jeff Goldblum plays a character named “New Jersey” and Christopher Lloyd, a character named John Bigboote.

Definitely worth a drunken stare-at, in my opinion.

 

Aug 182011
 

Well, Children of the Poo-Corn, it’s time for another entry, although I confess that if you’re looking for a review of a horrible meal you’re not going to get it here. For I, your humble eater, Maahk had…AN EXCELLENT MEAL! The meal in question took place at Three Monkeys Cafe on James St in Northeast Philadelphia, just down the road from Holy Family University and directly across the street from Torresdale Station. You city dwellers have no excuses – just hop on the El and it’ll dump you squarely onto the Three Monkeys’ outdoor tree-canopied patio. A finer meal will be had in no other restaurant in Northeast Philly… Seriously, this is the only serious restaurant in Northeast Philly. Five Guys, Wawa and the Dunkin Donuts/gas station hybrid are not serious restaurants.

I sallied into Three Monkeys on the warm, dry evening of August 17, 2011, with two fellow diners who shall remain nameless in order to protect the guilty. I’ll call them Mom and Dad. After spending most of early dusk swearing at the evening news with a beer in one hand a Bud Lite in the other, it seemed right to forgo cooking and take a nice meal out, so “Dad,” “Mom” and I packed into Dad’s GMC Yukon Denali, one of General Motors’ more upscale Earth-rapists, and drove the mile and a half to this quaint, tucked-away bar and restaurant.

The low lighting and gilded fixtures along with the burgundy colored walls and curtains lend a certain Victorian quality to the indoor portion of Three Monkeys. Outside is equally nice, yet nothing like the indoors in either style or atmosphere. Diners needn’t worry about having the hot summer sun baring down on them as trees and canopies shade the entire terrace. Our party opted to remain indoors as we had gotten there just as the outdoor portion had filled up. And while there were enough old people inside to qualify Three Monkeys for God’s Waiting Room for the 19114 zip code, the atmosphere suited our purposes just fine. It was so good, in fact, that we barely noticed the occasional squawks, cackles and misunderstandings of the chronically hard of hearing. “Grace?! She died 30 years ago!”

I started off with a Guinness, naturally. Meat has been unkind to me lately, and I to it, so I opted for the next worst thing: Cheese. The Grilled Chimp-an-Cheese sandwich is not overly greasy and surprisingly light (in your hand) compared to grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve had in other gastro-pubs. Overflowing with American Cheddar, Provolone and Mozzerella, it was so tasty that I made quick work of little bastard. The salad that accompanied it, a wiser option over heavy, unhealthy fries or chips, was also a little more upscale than you’ll find in most restaurants round these parts. No iceberg lettuce in sight – spinach, romaine, sliced carrots, tomato and cucumber, all of which I ate raw and unadorned. It was a nice segue into the cholesterol laden sandwich which was soon to stop up my…well, everything.

While my dish was quite good, I couldn’t help feeling a bit covetous of the two other meals on the table. “Mom” ordered the Tuscan wrap, which is grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato and parmesan dressing wrapped in your choice of plain or spinach tortilla. It looked quite heavenly and, unless your making one yourself, I don’t know of many restaurants in NE Philly that serve up this kind of fare. While I didn’t sample the wrap, I can guess accurately, I think, that the best dish on the table was “Dad’s” chicken quesadilla. I helped myself to a slice and believe you me, you’ll want to try this when you make your own trip to Three Monkeys.

Also, I have to mention the house beer: Horny Monkey Ale. It’s a tasty red beer that goes down very smoothly – and you’ll never guess you’ve had three until suddenly you’re ordering a slice of cheesecake…and another Horny Monkey Ale.

The cheesecake was standard fare. Nothing special, but it hit the spot…that spot, just over a little, next to the left ventricular whatsit. Right there! By chasing the grilled cheese with a piece of cheesecake, I think I’ve actually INDUCED lactose intolerance on a body which, I’ve always felt, could handle the rich creamy goodness remarkably well. The sleepless night, punctuated by sharp abdominal pangs and cacophonous abdominal geshreeyehing may have converted me to almond milk for good.

While there is no movie to accompany this entry per se, I did spend the small hours watching a delightful British documentary series called Stephen Fry in America. Worth a watch. And it goes well with gastro-insomnia and a hot cup of chamomile.

Aug 042011
 

Hey there, all you Gadamn people. Sorry for the extended absence; hear me:

Like high school math, I just didn’t feel like doing the homework. Even MORE like high school, here I am in summer school making up the work. I got some free time on my hands, so hopefully I’ll be able to cover all the posts I missed during the school year. Go Panthers!

Jul 312011
 

We’re a bit behind the times…or ahead of them. I don’t know. It’s too damn hot and the rent’s too damn high.

In May, in the year of Our Dark Lord Satan, Two Thousand Eleven, your faithful gluttons tramped into the Nifty Fifty’s on Grant Avenue, again in Northeast Philadelphia, for a little light refreshment and heavy burgers. Joining me, Curdo, Dreams and Niquish was Don Angle, who noted how relaxed my driving was. A little inside, I know. (Note: The name of the restaurant – Nifty Fifty’s – is possessive. I asked the fellow behind the counter if I could speak with Mr. Fifty, but he didn’t get it.)

But we’re not here to talk about that. We’re hear to talk food. Yes, I had a standard, run-of-the-mill cheeseburger. Yes, I chased down the burger with the artery-clogging “Reesey”* Peanut Butter Cup milkshake – just to fill in any gaps left by said burger. Yes, I enjoyed my meal with a Passion Fruit soda. Yes, I asked for a Nifty Fifty’s coffee mug as a souvenir to be added to our bill, and No, I didn’t get it because the lady just done forgot. The meal had the same effect all of our meals have – a full tummy, stretching the stomach’s normal capacity to the point that it becomes accustomed to hosting lots of food not just on one occasion, but on EVERY occasion, inviting more and more overeating one meal at a time.

After our big meaty dinner, we waddled into the parking lot. It was a warm spring evening. The sun had gone down. It was real nice, even though we were in Northeast Philadelphia and not far from the Boulevard. Real nice. After managing to bend my body into a borrowed Honda without wetting myself or involuntarily voiding my innards, we headed back to Curdo’s place in South Philly for the movie: Death Wish 3.

Here’s what you need to know about Death Wish 3. Charles Bronson thinks chicken is good. Charles Bronson likes chicken.

…that and he blows away a bunch of people…

…that and cities in the 70s and 80s resembled the futuristic urban landscapes in an Octavia Butler novel…or the first four Police Academy movies…and the sixth Police Academy movie.

But not the seventh Police Academy movie.

Or the fifth.

(Read books, jokers.)

*That horrible bastardization is my only complaint with the establishment.

Also, sorry for the long absence. More to come shortly. Promise.

Apr 252011
 

In my Catholic family, Easter is a big deal. Like most American Christians, we don our Sunday finest and spend the day with family and food. Lots of food. In case you don’t know, Easter is the day we celebrate the Resurrection of the Risen Bunny, who is seated on the right-hand serving tray of the Father, who died for our anorexia, was shot, skinned and eaten. He will come again to judge the health nuts and their arugula, and His Kingdom will end by the slow death of obesity and diabetes. Amen.

It is in this Easter spirit that I chose to take April’s Gadamn excursion to Golden Corral. It was kind of like that time way back when that dude passed out loaves and fishes that seemingly came from nowhere. It all just kept coming and coming and coming. And the faithful turned out in droves!

GC is another buffet, which now make up half of our culinary misadventures. I arrived a little earlier than my compatriots, so I had a chance to observe some of the poor early birds leaving the establishment before the sun even set. From my parked car I observed a rather rotund man stumbling out of the Corral. Half way through the parking lot, he stopped dead in his tracks, belched, and proceeded onward to his minivan. The fact that he had to stop in order to orally release his pent up dinner joy heartened me. It was as if he thought to himself, “Wait. I wanna get this right on the first try. BUUURRRRP!!!” It told me that my high expectations for GC were totally warranted.

Once inside, I found Curdo, Dreams, Niqueesh, Don Angle and approximately fifty other people waiting IN A CORRAL for their turn to hand over money for the GC experience. The high school kids behind the register seemed to be doing well enough under the pressure, although that’s probably because they weren’t tasked with the job of clearing away plates from tables, plates stacked four, five or six high and full of half gnawed chicken bones and taco residue. But, hey. In 21st Century America, a job’s a job. It ain’t 2005, so no looking down on the grunt workers from here on out, dig?

Anyway, the five of us wasted no time hitting the buffet for Round 1. My first trip yielded a large piece of rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, a piece of the Awesome Pot Roast, and a heaping helping of sweet potato casserole. The Awesome Pot Roast tasted like pot roast, so you’ve got a winner right there. It didn’t take forever to chew and it wasn’t in the least bit fatty. The only weird thing about the APR was that it crumbled as soon as the fork made contact with it. It just…peeled off in strands… Is meat supposed to do that by itself? The large hunk of Rotisserie Chicken was also quite tasty. Moist and delicious, I found it satisfying. My only beef with the chicken >snort< was that I couldn’t identify which part of the chicken it was. Breast, thigh, wing? No clue. The sweet potato casserole was also very tasty, but equally ambiguous. I assume it was SPC because that’s what it said on the sign above the serving tray, but there was no orange-brown color to it, so who knows? Maybe it was plane old stuffing. It sure tasted like it. I have to say, though, that the tastiest selection of Round 1 was the mashed potatoes with gravy. They tasted a lot like KFC mashed potatoes, which are always a winner with me. I’d be perfectly satisfied with a KFC meal made up entirely of their wonderful, salty, salty mashed taters. ROUND 2. I once subbed as a drummer for a band called Round 2. That band sucked more than a meal at CiCi’s (and my drumming didn’t help), but this was not the case with Round 2 at Golden Corral, let me tell you. Like most of the people at GC, I couldn’t get back to that buffet fast enough. For Round 2, I scored me some pepperoni pizza, macaroni and cheese, a slice of meatloaf and MORE mashed potatoes and gravy. The potatoes repeated their brilliant performance with a stunning encore. The mac and cheese was a little too runny for my taste, and the “cheese” had a powdery texture to it, which made me think that the line cook in charge of preparing it didn’t stir it into the butter long enough. The meatloaf, like the Awesome Pot Roast, was very tasty, but, as with the APR, it crumbled upon contact. I found myself scooping the bits onto my fork with my knife. The pizza wins runner-up to the mashed potatoes in the ranking of pre-dessert samplings at Golden Corral. It was far and away superior to anything I ate at CiCi’s and well ahead of any pizza I sold for fundraisers in high school. ROUND 3: Biscuit + Dessert = A Very Bloated Man. Ever see a very sad man in a plaid short-sleeve shirt with a very ample gut? No? Join us next time and keep your eyes on Old Maahk here. Round 3 is when I put myself over the edge. The biscuit looked like a Red Lobster biscuit, but wasn’t nearly as moist or zesty. It just kind of made a home in my innards and I doubt it will vacate anytime soon. (Poop joke, ho yeah!) For dessert I tried a chocolate cookie, a piece of chocolate cake, the “no sugar added” chocolate pudding and, finally, a bowl of chocolate soft serve. Have you puked yet? I didn’t, so MAN UP! Anyway, the chocolate cake was unremarkable. It was scrummy and chocolatey, so what more could I expect? The pudding didn’t do it for me – at all. The cookie was probably out of a packet of generic brand chocky cookies from Aldi. Topping everything off with soft serve was totally unnecessary and I may have suffered a stroke at the table while eating it. It was either a stroke or brain freeze. All I know is that I had a terrible pain in my head and no control over my facial muscles for about fifteen seconds. The meal at Golden Corral accomplished much of what we set out for here at Gadamn. The food didn’t taste half as bad as CiCi’s or Ruby, but it did make us feel terrible once each of us was tapped out. So I’ll call this one a rousing success. Many sighs and exhalations would follow…

Apr 232011
 

I never thought there would be a day that I’d give the infamous and now-cult-classic The Room any form of a written review let alone a second viewing. But life if unpredictable like that and GADAMN would not be GADAMN if we didn’t pay any attention to this God damn disaster.  Don’t get me wrong. There is a part of me that loves The Room. I gave it to my best friend for Christmas for a reason. But sometimes our emotions are like a circle. Once you’ve made a full cycle of hate, you might as well start loving.

Apart from being so bad it’s funny (unlike Zardoz which was so bad it was sad), there’s a lot of mystery to why and how The Room has come to exist. Allow me to introduce you to Tommy Wiseau.

Writer, producer, director, and star of The Room, Tommy Wiseau looks like something you’d peel off the bottom of your stool in the dirtiest dive bar in town (you know, the one with the topless waitresses). There’s something incredibly fishy about Wiseau right up front. For one, his origin. His accent gives the impression he comes from somewhere else which would excuse his inability to speak fluidly, but the man claims to have been raised in New Orleans. Fine, whatever. But how he acquired money for The Room is still up for interpretation. According to Wiseau, funding came from a leather jacket export business to Korea, but come on. Movies are expensive, even bad ones, and The Room cost someone a really pretty penny. Sets, 35mm and HD technology adds up quick. Like, $6 million quick. That’s right. This monstrosity against cinema cost over $6 million.

What gets my goat the most is how the The Room was filmed. With $6 million to blow, Wiseau had the privilege to choose between using 35 mm film or rising HD cameras. Unable to decide (and possibly needing to find a way to spend his suspicious money), Wiseau settled for both. I repeat, both. And I don’t mean interchanging cameras between scenes. I mean building a double shooting apparatus so all scenes could be filmed with both cameras, simultaneously. Needless to say, every single damn shot is off-center. In the special feature interview with Wiseau on the DVD, he claims he will be writing a book comparing the two medias. Yeah, this guy really is out of his mind.

I find it important to cover these topics of interest before ever trying to explain to someone what The Room is actually about. It makes it more compelling than “some love triangle between a busted up chick, her physically deformed and possibly psychologically damaged fiance and his best friend who, by anyone’s standards, is actually pretty normal.” To be honest, after two viewings, I’m still not entirely sure why it’s called “The Room.” It seems to me there were actually two rooms that had any sliver of significance. Oh, and a roof deck. But that’s just because that’s where the majority of them film took place. I digress.

So this chick that everyone just can’t seem to get enough of, Lisa, well… What is there to say about Lisa? Not much. I mean, I’m all for women breaking the Hollywood standard of beauty but Lisa could have easily been played by a plank of ply wood with a smiley face painted on it. There’s something creepy about Lisa, and not in the manipulative way intended. It’s like we’re watching her being taken advantage of and somehow, she doesn’t even care. I guess she really believed this was her ticket. According to a random cast member, she was 18 and right off the bus from Texas when Wiseau insisted on kicking off filming with the ultra uncomfortable softcore porn-esque love scene with his barely legal blond bomb shelter. Again, there’s just something not right about that guy.

Anyway, Lisa is engaged to Johnny, played by Mr. Wiseau. He is by all means an upstanding citizen and the idealistic husband. He works, he’s charitable, he loves Lisa endlessly, buys her flowers, adopted some creep kid named Denny and paid for his school and he doesn’t even drink. Bored with life, Lisa gets the man drunk, tells everyone he hit her and sleeps with his best friend, Mark (not to be confused with out very own Maahk).

…Yeah, that says it all.

Oh, except this part happens too.

Yeah. I think that’s enough summary.

So what’s entertaining about The Room? All the stuff that isn’t. The terrible acting, the terrible dubbing, the terrible filming, the terrible sets and again, the terrible acting. Wiseau struggles to defend The Room, so he’s learned to go with the hype and bank. He’s reverted to claiming the humor is completely intentional, but when you see this guy, you just know he has no idea what he’s talking about and is willing to hold onto any fleeting thread of a recognition, not matter what it means.

In conclusion, everyone should watch The Room. Why? Because pointing out the abundant and  obviously terrible factors of this film can bring a whole room together. Maybe that’s why it’s called The Room after all. It’s a means to bring world peace by bringing us all closer together over something that everyone can agree on: this film fucking sucks in the best way possible. Bless your heart, Mr. Wiseau, wherever you came from.

Apr 012011
 

*translate-pirate.com mode*

Ahoy, me dear mateys. Please gather yer ‘salt-blasted hides round while I tell ye an incredible tale. If ye heard bout our last adventures, ye know that we spent time comb’n th’ depths o’ th’ briny deep in search o’ buried treasure at Red Lobster. What a blunderingly glorious feast! A meal fit fer a king! I would give aloft me parrot if I were able t’ eat this unseaworthily ere moon.

*1950’s radio announcer mode*

We here at GADAMN make sure we bring you the very best in complaining. Sure, we could go to Zagat™.com, find a real nice place – a place fit for “normals” or “pinks” – and tell you about how pinkly and good it is…but where’s the fun in that? YOU, sir or ma’am, want the very best in complaints! You thrive on negativity and need more and more of it to live a normal life! Thank God you’re here!

* CurdoTone®*

So there I was: my turn to pick the next restaurant and I was going up against Niquisha’s previous selection. Red Lobster. The one place everyone absolutely loved (followed by Zardoz, the one movie everyone absolutely hated, but that’s besides the point). I had to choose right. I had to make the right choice. I had to… I had to choose CiCi’s All-You-Can-Fucking-Stuff-In-Your-God-Forsaken-Noise-Hole Pizza Buffet!

Go ahead. Click the link. Their website fucking talks to you!

Immediately I realized that I could not let Dreams know where we were going before he got out of the car and saw what horrible fateful iconic sign was sure to be staring down at him like a tremendous, demented cartoon sun, smiling and passing by overhead in slow motion as he falls to his knees, mouth open wide, teeth showing, yelling and beating his chest like a sliverback gorilla (also in slow motion), extending his arms to heaven, spitting and cursing whatever God above him for having ever meet me in the first place as I stand in the distance, squinting and maniacally rubbing my hands together. At least that’s how I envisioned it all happening.

The reason being that he and I had already been to a CiCi’s before and he knew of the horrors that awaited him.

What really happened is I fucked up 2 days before we left while inviting Sean and Mark from Fat History Month who were down at the Sex Dungeon mixing their new album for the week. I just blurted out “Hey, are you guys going with us for our god-awful dinner and movie night? We’re going to CiCi’s All-You-Can-Eat Piz….. zzzaaaa… bu….. ffet…” They didn’t even ask “Where are you guys going?” I just fucking said it.

And Dreams was upset. Oh boy, was he ever, but it had no where near as many explosions as I had wanted.

Pizzarama-rama

I had been working all day (gasp! I know!) so when 6:30PM rolled around, I had no idea where the time had gone, but i had every idea of what was about to happen to my insides. A wonderful thing. I need to explain that Pizza (and you’ll notice the capitalization) is extremely important to me. Without Pizza I would die, as it makes up a large percentage of where I get whatever nutrients my body consumes that aren’t provided by the beer I drink. The only way we could be closer would be if Pizza had somehow saved my life at one point or another. Maybe it did?

It would be the Fantastic Four tonight. Not the movie – I’m referring, of course, to the four horsemen of GADAMN. We were supposed to be joined by Don, Sean + Mark and Jare, but I suppose that they managed to rethink the offer. I mean, all-you-can-eat-pizza sounds great on paper… but common.

I knew it was gonna be a pooper (pun definitely intended), but I was trying to keep the spirit of the night alive! Gotta make sure we don’t get too cushy on our beds of beautiful steak drizzled in parts of sea-living creatures. Glorious. Anyway, while we were driving there the heat of the day hadn’t yet warn off and we all had our windows down. Right inside of Camden we were hit with, what I had described as, “the smell of a fat man’s insides.” It was a monster.

We took a few wrong turns but eventually ended up right where we needed to be…

…this face said it all…

I was excited at least. And fuck me, you can’t beat all-you-can-eat anything for $5.99. I would go to a dog shit buffet for that price! But then again, after having actually been to Fec… er… CiCi’s, maybe I wouldn’t patronize another dog shit buffet.

Let me tell you now: dog shit doesn’t taste good.

Some pre-mixed, bacon bit encrusted, Ranch dressing soaked green crunch, two wet butter-sticks, four pieces of what seemed like pizza and a little tasty spinach square. Nothing tasted too bad to eat, for me at least, but nothing tasted good… except for the slice of only BBQ sauce and the desserty apple pie pizza. It certainly lacked a train ticket to Flavorton, but that didn’t stop me from eating 15 fucking slices of it, not counting the that little fucker right there or the bite of lemon custardsemen pizza I had.

That was the damage right there. Would you look at that shit? I certainly got our money’s worth but at the cost of a friendship. I don’t think Dreams will ever forgive me.

… it certainly rhymes with feces for a reason.

I guess all I can say was the pizza was bad, sure, but there were so many people there eating it that upon recalling the experience I realize that maybe I’m just a pizza snob. I mean, it is the main source of nourishment in my diet, so I’d like to think that i’m a bit of a connoisseur.

The Room (of sheer insanity)

When I was a younger boy, being taught the ways of terrible movies by the best – my uncle, coupled with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 cast – I would ask my uncle, “Al? Why don’t Joel/Mike, Tom and Crow make fun of movies like Plan 9 from outer space? It seems right up their alley.” The answer? “Well, my dear nephew, that’ would just be toooo easy.”

So, after much deliberation I’ve decided NOT to pick apart and openly mock this film, leaving the job to the professional of our group – our very own Niquish. She’s a film student and will tell the tale of this terrible televised travesty much better than I… But I will say this… I didn’t trust Denny.

He looked like the kind of kid that ate other kids.

Mar 282011
 

Of all the Gadamns, I looked forward to Cici’s Pizza Buffet the least. In fact, I actually looked backward, to Chicago Uno Grill, where a finer meal was never had…except at the Olive Garden, Ruby Buffet, Hooters and Red Lobster. For me, our sixth adventure into the depths of culinary hell ranks at the bottom of our experiences, although you’ll probably find some disagreement from the other Gadamners who joined me on the night of March 18 as we made our way to New Jersey – yes, BACK to New Jersey – for a night of flourescent, fatty self-abuse at Cici’s Pizza Buffet in Cherry Hill.

I love pizza. I really do. I think it’s one of the finer creations of the mind of man. You eat it with your hands, someone else makes it for you. They’ll even bring it to your doorstep if you ask. Less bombs and more pizza, that’s what I say! I used to think I’d eat pizza anytime, anyplace. Hell, the website for CiCi’s even boasts, “Almost too good to be true!” Well, thank goodness for little qualifiers.

The “pizza” at CiCi’s was such that it had me dreaming of Domino’s, a butter product I swore off long ago after a night of lonesome, tearful pizza bingeing. That night, I thought of being not with friends, but alone in a dark, hot living room in the middle of July, waiting for the doorbell to ring…somewhere round midnight. After our meal at CiCi’s, however, I found myself pining back to relatively fonder memories of the Domino’s after effects – dry mouth, heart burn, sleeplessness, dehydration, bloatedness. Such was the sight of this restaurant and the diners inside that these sensations seemed a welcome alternative.

Standing outside the establishment at about 8pm, waiting for cigarettes to be smoked, I found myself embracing – more like bear hugging – my own sense of cosmopolitan snobbery. I felt no shame about it, either. Curdo, Dreams, Niqueesh and I were probably the only patrons wearing pants with flies and buttons rather than elastic. It was a good feeling to feel better than everybody in that place because a place like CiCi’s invites you to be less by eating more and more and more. Pay less to be less. Go you. I felt no shame about it.

The shame, of course, would come later.

The cost of admittance was $5.99, a sum so affordable that I splurged and got a cup for an additional $2, which turned out to be quite a bargain because, for just a full third of the cost of the meal, I was able to have as many refills of Cherry Hill tap water as my kidneys could handle. Throw in the bridge toll to get us back to civilization and the evening cost me $12.43, the cheapest Gadamn of all, but still too much by far considering the quality of the food.

Back to that shame. Against every instinct, I stuffed myself with pizza, going to the buffet four or five times (I didn’t count) to collect little slices of runny – that’s RUNNY – greasy evil. I’ve stuffed my face shamelessly plenty of times, at least twice a week, for most of my adult life. But this was different and it was because of the other patrons and the restaurant itself. I was ashamed of sitting under lighting so white it appeared to be reflected off the surface of the moon, of paying to dine in a place with Cheez Whiz yellow walls and Mylie Cyrus music piped in for all the kids running around, dodging table and adults like obstacles in a fun house. (Although, I suppose that might be a good thing because they’ll need all the exercise they can get if they hope to live to see the inside of a high school). I wanted the smokey dankness of my favorite bar. I wanted the trendy air of a Philly gastropub. (Yes, a gastropub; I said it!) I wanted the hominess of my mother’s dining room, to be looking down into a plate of her addictive fried egg plant, chicken parm and a bowl of homemade rice pudding.

Go to CiCi’s and you’ll find there’s more ambiance in a purple plastic tunnel at Chuch E. Cheese’s.

So…CiCi’s wasn’t my favorite. Maybe it’s because all of the people who joined us on our last adventure couldn’t join us this time around. It was just the four of us: good company, to be sure, but a stark difference from the Red Lobster Extravaganza. Maybe it was the obvious cultural inferiority that kept those other dudes away. I guess they couldn’t handle all that pizza. After all, it takes a backbone to carry all that food around… So maybe some of our past adjunct Gadamners will join us next time at Golden Corral in Bensalem, the closest thing to a South Jersey township as you’ll find in Pennsylvania.