Feb 192011
 

I was fast asleep on my bed in a weird, upside down configuration, as in my head was where my feet usually go, as in to eliminate the possibility of falling asleep in the first place, as in my body is quite accustomed to associating my bed with the greatness of sleep (or at least the pursuit of it), when I received a call from Curdo that the Gadamn car pool would be arriving shortly. Still fighting a terrible bug in my body which started as a death rattle and has since been tamed to a head cold, I knew it wouldn’t be my night. I expressed excitement in returning to Hooters earlier in the week. I think I was the only one who had ever been to one, and I remembered my experience being satisfactory in the sense that I went to an establishment where I was served wings and cheesy curly fries. As I contemplated the state of my body and how much junk I’d be able to eat, I decided that I might have to save a little face by getting myself a classy Hooters tee. By the time the boys got here, I had come up with plenty of arbitrary reasons for me to have that tee, and I felt confident in my plans.

When we sped off from my house, Dreams asked me what was for dessert. I guess there was some gain to last time’s pain, and Dreams was looking to make the experience that much more uncomfortable for everyone. Thinking within my budget, I requested the $1.00 McDonald’s sundae. Damn, I love that caramel. He agreed and it was set. We were off to see some Hooters.

I was surprised how nervous the boys were. Once we arrived, I immediately jumped out of the car and headed towards the door with them slowly dragging behind. I thought to myself, don’t boys like scantily clad girls flirting with them for the sake of a better tip? Apparently not. I guess men and women aren’t all that different in the end. But I assured them, there was nothing spectacularly grotesque or amazing about Hooters. It was just kind of average apart from the orange hot pants. Maybe they were anticipating some poles and mothers. After scoping out the waitstaff, I’m pretty sure they were just a bunch of daughters.

I lost steam after reading the menu. With Curdo and Dreams gushing over the prospect of a 50 wing platter (which, low and behold, would be gushing with grease), I immediately lost my appetite, started feeling a little dizzy and wanted to turn my ears off. My senses were already being accosted and I hadn’t even placed my order. Knowing none of this would end pretty, I took control of my life, ordered the fail safe grilled cheese to buffer my innards from any harm a platter of 10 hot boneless buffalo wings might cause. This was the best idea I had all week. I mean, apart from not finishing said wings.

That’s right. I DIDN’T finish my food. And I’m proud of it. The grilled cheese was fine and went down smoothly, but the boneless wings? Good God. What happened? The first few bites were… decent. The chicken was kind of dry, but the outside was crispy and saucy, just the way I like it. And then I took a 30 second break and the grease decided to show itself. I bit into another chicken chunk and tasted a flavor that I can only describe as a feeling: the feeling of your mouth being coated. I wanted to die, kind of. Except not. I tried a different one, hoping I simply received a bad nugget. Nope. That one turned on me too. As a matter of fact, they all turned on me. And by all, I mean everything, even Curdo and Dreams’ nearly brilliant but-totally-not mountain of wings. You see, I traded them a boneless wing for one of their drums. The bite it received hardly constituted a bite before I immediately returned it. All greasy breading and no chicken does not a buffalo wing make!

That weird coated feeling and taste had spread to my stomach. I fantasized of ginger ale which, after Ruby Buffet’s Gadamn, had saved my life. Nausea isn’t the worst thing in the world, but throwing up is, and I was ready to prevent it with all my might. After all, I did just take a 12 hour decongestant and my sinuses were not ready to part with it. I watched Dreams eat two more chicken wings, filming them with my phone even, all while grimacing. I’m not sure why I’ve never asked myself why I spent so much time with these people, but I was definitely asking myself then.

My efforts were hardly glorious as you can see, so I bet you’re all wondering about that tee. Well, first off, I was more taken by the new tank tops the waitresses wear. I mean, I have to keep this genuinely trashy, do I not? Why go baggy when I can be skimpy? So I inquired about the merchandise. Go ahead and guess how much.

Nope!

$35.00.

You heard me. $35.00 for a lousy tank top that’ll make me feel cheap anyway. I expressed my disappointment and our waitress consoled me. I guess the only way I’ll be getting that stupid top is if I pick up a shift. I think it’ll be better for both Hooters and I if I didn’t. Sorry.

Feb 102011
 

Well, it appears that the Gadamn crowd were among the last of the patrons of this South Jersey family dining establishment. Said one reviewer on Yelp!, “why??? why??? why??? i weep for thee!” Said another, “I love Hooters. I always have horrible indigestion after Hooters, but who cares?”

Who cares, indeed. New Jersey is a little sadder, a little flatter, and maybe even a little healthier, but they’ll find a way to overcome, I’m sure.

So it begs the question: Where will all of those backed-up, paunchy business dudes and their younger, flat-brimmed-backward-hat-wearing counterparts of the bro persuasion go now that the Hooters in Maple Shade, NJ, has shuttered its doors for good? The answer, of course, is, “Why, the Hooters of Bensalem!”

Thanks for the memories, Maple Shade!

Jan 212011
 

Hooters: New Jersey Style

It had been a busy week. A good chunk of it was taken up by a visit from my friend Y2Keith (this guy) who had come down from Queens for a three-day visit. We laughed, recorded at The Sex Dungeon (this place) and just had a grand ol’ time. We also ate. Boy how we ate. The first night we ended up getting Subway AND Taco Bell for dinner before coming home to Banji who was making home-made macaroni and cheese. The next night we got a veggie platter, pita and hummus (seriously) then topped it off with 4 boxes of more macaroni and cheese, THEN topped THAT off with soft pretzels dipped in 7-11 chili and cheese. Keith and I understand something about gluttony and excess that few other people understand – it’s an unspoken constant of our friendship – if you’re going to do it, do the fuck out of it… then fucking do it some more.

That being said, Keith left on Wednesday and my deepest bowels gave out a big, stinking sigh of relief. “Now I can go back to my regular food-intake level,” thought I, “what joy!” But my joy was premature. I had forgotten about The Good GADAMN.

Last month, during the Pizzeria Uno fiasco, Dreams had suggested that the next GADAMN eatery be a Hooters… but not just any Hooters… a Hooters in New Jersey. Of course we all concurred, I mean, how much weirder can you get without going to a Hooters in Utah where the girls are required to wear thick, woolen turtle-necks and unflattering Dickies work pants? The answer: not much weirder… or so we thought.

Niquisha seemed pretty excited to arrive. I, on the other hand, was gripped with extreme fear as soon as I exited the vehicle. I don’t know if it was the “All You Can Eat Wings on Tuesdays” banner nailed to the outside wall or the fear and anxiety of being a Hooters virgin, but something certainly felt amiss in Maple Shade.

I pushed through the fear and mustered the courage to enter the door directly underneath the orange, glowing sign that seemed to proclaim “you are morbidly overweight and entirely alone.” Upon entry we were told, by three different members of the wait staff to sit wherever we would like. We chose the table that was shaped like New Jersey, complete with the obligatory indication that YOU ARE HERE, in beautiful…

… as though we needed a reminder. Everyone started flipping through their menus. Milton wanted the Fried Chicken Cobb Salad with a side order of curly fries; Maahk, a cheese burger with a side of “naked” chicken wings; Niquisha, a grilled cheese with boneless buffalo wings. All appropriate choices. Good, healthy American choices, no less.

Dreams and I, on the other hand, never made it past the first page of the menu. “50?” he said to me. “Only 50?!” I replied. After some back and forth decided on fifty wings, pickle chips and tater tots, plus the obligatory order of celery and blue cheese with an extra cup of blue cheese. Oh. And beer. Pitchers of beer.

After we placed our order, we sat and observed our surroundings. We had noticed that, much to my disappointment, our waitress didn’t seem interested in us what-so-ever. There was another waitress running around, wrapping her blue business shirt wearing customers around her little finger. She even honed in on the beanie-wearing stoner Jersey kids sitting by the front door… what did we get? Nothin’! She didn’t even go after Dreams, the looker of the group!

Look at him! I mean COMMON! I wanted some serious awkward situations! I wanted to feel some honest-to-god shame for how I chose to spend my Thursday night… But if Hooters taught me anything, it was that I should be careful about what I wish for.

Would you look at that? I got my wish! That platter is made up of wings and “drums,” as their referred to in Hooters Land. I did the math on this one. If each living chicken has, at most, two wings and two legs and if the proportion of wings to legs in this picture are equivalent, then twelve and a half poor, little chickens were harmed in the making of this platter. I just hope Dreams’ human hand does justice to the size of what we had set out to consume, and if it doesn’t just let me drive the point home…

WHAM! Needless to say, we immediately regretted everything. We ordered enough food for 10 people, easily, but since there were only five of us. We were going to have to work overtime.

Very quickly, Dreams and I learned that these wings were about a 1/4 lb each. They were breaded, so the deep fat fryer was able to infuse the meat with grease, then seal it inside the breading making each bite, as Maahk put it, “like eating a Gusher filled with canola oil.” I maybe put down 13 before I had to stop and go stand outside. Dreams managed an extra two on top of what I had eaten. Together, we had realized that the hardest part of the feat was breaking through “The Wall,” which made swallowing the food almost completely impossible. We ate as much as we possibly could, before we started paying close attention to our gag reflexes and were forced to put the food down and stop.

The shit-kicker of it was that I was still hungry but the sight (and smell) of fried food was making my stomach turn. I decided that being hungry would be much better than throwing up all over the filthy toilet in the men’s bathroom, so I officially chose to bow out. We got everything that we didn’t eat on the table boxed. The box that held the wings was exponentially heavier than the three others that held the tots, fries and pickle chips. It made me wonder how the waitress wasn’t struggling in the slightest when she brought out the platter in the first place.

It was time to leave, and thank god for that. We paid the check and left. I almost threw up in the parking lot, but managed to keep it down. We all piled into the car and I, thankfully, was designated to be the navigator and was able to sit in the spacious front seat. Alas, this also meant that I had to sit with the food, the smell of which was overwhelming to my senses. I may have been done with Hooters, but Hooters made it clear that it was in no way finished with me. As i climbed into the passenger seat, I thought I heard a rip followed by the sharp sting of the night air. That’s right. I had split my pants.

Split them wide open, I did. So this trip, in addition to costing an arm and a leg, also cost me the only pair of pants deemed acceptable enough to wear in public. You won this round, Hooters!

During the car ride, I managed to keep the nausea at bay by breathing through my mouth and getting plenty of fresh, freezing air into the car via the window I had opened wide. We had made it back to Philadelphia with a “little” piece of New Jersey in tow.

Taller than my toaster oven. Barely fit in the fridge. But enough about the food. I don’t want to remind myself that I have 10 lbs. of boxed grease downstairs. I kind of just want to haul my refrigerator outside and set it on fire in the street, effectively putting the whole experience behind me forever.

Fun3

The movie we had chosen, in lieu of Milton joining us on this glorious outing, was a movie that previously had only been suggested in jest. The joke typically goes something like this.

Milton: “What do you want to do tonight?”
Curdo: “I don’t know, man. Wanna watch a movie?”
Milton: “Yeah, fuck it. What movie?”
Curdo: “What about CUBE2: HYPERCUBE?!

Then we laugh and laugh and laugh… but tonight was the night. Tonight, we would finally watch…

It was more incredible than I could have ever imagined it to be. You see, in the first “Cube” a group of seemingly complete strangers wake up inside a cube. Duh. They find out that each cube connects to six other cubes, except the more they traverse the cubes, the more each cube kills off each character them until one final character is left, the character who is mentally handicapped… He crawls out through a duct in a cube and into some unknown white light just before the movie ends. It’s great. It’s just totally, totally awesome.

This one started out almost identically. A few strangers in a cube. They all meet up and are confrontational at first, but then begin to start to help each other through the cube, perpetually looking for an exit. They all at some point realize that everyone in the cube has something to do with a weapons manufacturer called IZON and think that there might be a connection between IZON and the cube. Pretty much the same old song and dance, my friends.

However, the plot and progression of this Cube movie differed from the original on a few key points:

  1. This cube did a piss poor job of trying to kill them. One room had some kind of false wall that fried a guy. One room has a hypercube-turned-hypersphere that chopped up the first Jerry into little pieces (more about the Jerrys in a minute). One room sped up time to a point where the two young “actors” in the “film” died while making sweet, sweet love in anti-gravity.
  2. This cube was chalk full of parallel dimensions, which didn’t do much of anything to the plot nor to the characters themselves, other than allowing the same character to “come back from the dead” when the writers felt it was convenient. We did see, however, in one parallel dimension, the knife-wielding character Simon (more about Simon in a minute) referring to the old-lady character, Mrs. Paley, as a “cunt” mere moments after stabbing her in the back, just before his head was removed by a crystalline structure that protruded from the walls of the cube he was in. That was a pretty cool alternate dimension.
  3. This cube had a partially German, extremely stabby, cannibalistic Private Eye character named Simon who, when he realized that the cube was full of parallel dimensions started stabbing and eating all of the Jerry’s that he could find… but he didn’t stop at Jerry’s. Oh no, no, no. He found another, completely random character in the cube named Rebecca (or “Idiot Face” as we all referred to her while watching the movie) who he also hunted, stabbed and ate as many times as he possibly could. Each time a Jerry would be eaten, he would take and wear the dead Jerry’s wrist watch as a trophy. Each time a Rebecca would be eaten, he would adorn his jacket with another one of her her clip-on IZON-employee laminates. So by the end of the movie, from where I sat, he had eaten a total of four Jerrys and six Rebeccas.

Now cannibalism has always been an “interesting” topic to me, at the risk of quoting George Carlin. Typically, I gauge all cannibalistic activity that I hear of against the most epic cannibal I’ve ever read about, Albert Fish. Albert Fish kidnapped, murdered and ate a 10 year old girl. He then wrote a letter to the mother of the child and delicately explained that it took him 10 days to eat her daughter. An average, healthy weight for a 10 year old girl is somewhere between 65 and 80 lbs. A full grown Jerry was, roughly, 250 lbs. while Idiot Face must have been close to 200 herself!

Based on Fish’s rate of consumption, a full grown man can eat about 5 – 7 lbs of human flesh a day. That would mean that it would have taken Simon approximately 30 to 40 days to consume a single Rebecca, and 35 to 50 days to eat a Jerry… meaning that, during Simon’s stay in the cube, he spent between 300 to 440 days eating human remains. That’s eating human flesh pretty much every day for a year, if not more! Fish also mentioned in his letter that his meat was cooked whereas Simon did not have the luxury of a campfire or conventional oven at his disposal. 300 to 440 days of eating raw, uncooked human flesh while you’re trapped in a cube of unknown origin. Fucking incredible.

This, of course, brings me to my conclusion. I think that they should make a Cube3: ULTRA MEGACUBE (which would technically be Cube4, since they already made a Cube Zero – precursor to the original Cube) where the story just focuses on Simon, living inside one part of the Cube, stabbing and eating anyone who dared enter his cube.

I’ll just leave you with that.

Jan 212011
 

Maahk’s Two Cents, Part II

The last culinary event ended at the South Philly Wendy’s, where Milton and Dreams, not yet done in by their Hooters exertions decided to indulge their sweet teeth. Milton ordered a tub of red liquid sugar and I ordered on behalf of Dreams, whose head was tossed back in paralyzing stifled laughter (or so it seemed), a medium chocolate milkshake. What else can I say about this? Nothing. Nothing else.

Before we got to Wendy’s, though, we tried the South Philly McDonald’s, which happens to be a hundred yards from the South Philly Walmart, home to yet another South Philly McDonald’s. But nothing came of this. The workers were definitely cooking and moving around, so they weren’t on strike, but they decided not to serve anyone. So, we left the few hopeful fatties sitting there waiting to wait a little longer…

Stay tuned for the third and final installment: Maahk vs. The Hypercube!

Jan 212011
 

In all honesty, going to a Hooters has never been on my bucket list. So when Dreams suggested last month that January’s outing should be to this fabled brosbeersandboobs establishment, I was a little uneasy. Hooters, to me, always seemed taboo, a place that no self-respecting person would admit to going to enthusiastically. I expected loud music, tables surrounded by paunchy middle-aged businessmen taking in the “scenery” more or less inconspicuously. Flirtatious girls with ample bosoms paying for their Associates Degrees in Women’s Studies from Camden Community College by pretending to enjoy the attention lavished on them by sexually frustrated…paunchy, middle-aged businessmen whose wedding bands were safely hidden among the spare change in their pockets. I expected to have to walk in with my coat collar turn up, my hat pulled down near my eyes, maybe even wearing a pair of Groucho glasses. I expected that, once in, I’d be troubled for a place to point my eyes because, you know, it’s rude to stare at a lady’s bazoombas.

It turned out that my trepidation was all for naught. The Hooters on Route 38 in Maple Shade, New Jersey, was practically empty when we sallied in at about 8pm. It was, of course, a Thursday, so maybe they get more business on the weekends, but I won’t be going back to find out. Naturally, being from Philadelphia, we, in light of our perfectly justifiably bias against the Smelly State, ironically chose the only table in the place that was shaped like the State of New Jersey. It turned out to be an awkward choice though, putting us at weird distances from each other.

I was literally starving. I had started my day with tea. Then for lunch I had a cup of coffee. Then for a snack when I got home from work, I had a cup of tea. I was juiced on caffein and READY TO EAT. Once the pitcher was set on the table, we got down to business. Curdo and Dreams decided to share a platter for fifty hot wings breaded, fried pickle chips, and tater tots smothered in a big dollop of white shit and sprinkled with bacon sprinkles. Niquisha went with the Grilled Cheese, a safe and satisfying choice by any reckoning, and an order of boneless buffalo wings. Milton, who’s been absent from these excursions for the past two months, ordered a Cobb salad with fried chicken bits and curly fries. I ordered a cheese burger (which I’d been craving) and a 10-piece platter of wings, mild, but “naked.” Read this list again, and try to imagine just how much food this is…

For five people.

Now, my burger was passable. That’s all that can really be said for it. It was undoubtedly frozen before it was cooked, probably purchased at a Sam’s Club in bulk. I asked for American cheese, so I expected that it would be whitish in color, but it was actually yellow. It was yellow American cheese. The only kind of yellow American cheese in existence is the kind that comes pre-packaged in individual slices, which means that it’s not cheese at all. Of course, I ate the burger. I was dying for it! I ate every damn, average, boring bite of it. And it hit the spot, but just which spot has yet to be determined as it is less than twenty-four hours since I ate it.

When the waitress asked me how I wanted my wings, breaded or naked, I responded by saying “naked.” I have no idea why I said this. Being ignorant in culinary matters, I didn’t expect that the breaded wings that Curdo and Dreams ordered were actually how wings are meant to be served, at least at a place like Hooters. What sat on my plate of wings were ten fleshy, sad-looking chicken parts. When I picked up the first one, grease literally dripped down my hand. I made it through four of these things before I pushed the plate aside. I would definitely have made it through all ten had I been a little more wing savvy, which you’d think I would be considering that I’m from Northeast Philly, but I let myself down.

But all was not lost because by the time I housed my burger it was clear that Curdo and Dreams were beginning to struggle. They had barely touched the fried pickle chips (can you believe it?!) or the tater tots. Have you ever seen a plate of FIFTY BUFFALO WINGS? It’s a pile of flesh and bits and grease the size of cow’s ass. A cow’s ass, I say! So I did my part and took one or two or three, but this still wasn’t enough to really put them down. Milton, Niquisha and I hit our walls pretty quickly. For me the warning to stop came from the last thing I put in my mouth, a tater tot. Remember those kid snacks back in the 90s called Gushers? They were basically fruit snacks, but with juice on the inside that would “gush” out and flood your mouth when you bit down on them. Well, friends, I popped a tater tot in my mouth and — squish! — a gush of oil exploded in my mouth. It was more oil than potato. My eating for the night was at an end.

We boxed up the left-overs and headed back for Philadelphia. The left-overs filled three and a half to-go boxes, which Curdo kept on the floor of the car between his legs for the ride home. In fact, getting into the car proved to be a bit of a challenge for a certain individual who is now getting through life with one less pair of jeans. I’ll let him explain it, suffice to say that I laughed so hard that I opened the car door and leaned out for fear that I might lose everything I’d so painstakingly put into my body. Why I presumed that it might exit orally is anyone’s guess. (Eat up!)

Scroll up for Part II: An Aside, Brought to by America’s favorite freckled darling, Wendy McDonald.

Jan 172011
 

Several unnamed persons will be dining in an undisclosed Hooters franchise this Thursday, January 20, 2011. One of their number isn’t thrilled about it. In fact, being inclined toward “alternative lifestyle choices,” he’s really quite wobbly over the prospect of being surrounded by so many ample whatchamacallits. BUT FEAR NOT, FATTIES!!! He shall overcome! So stay tuned for posts on our next outing!