Friday, November 17, 2006

last night...

...I drove this crew of 5 guys up to the Duquesne Club in downtown Pittsburgh for dinner. There were all local physicians/hospital administrators - very pleasant. As expected, we ran into horrendous traffic on 79 about 2 miles before the parkway. Usually, it's not backed up that far, but last night was the Backyard Brawl at Heinz Field. Anyway, I was maneuvering a little bit here and there and managed to shave about 15 minutes or so off the trip. Once we got to Green Tree things picked up. Anyway, just as I dumped them off, I get a call from Josh - curious if anyone is watching the game. I tell him I'm caught in the downtown Pittsburgh morass. He mentions that Gary might have an extra ticket to the game. So I give Gary a call and he confirms. The problem is that I'm trying to get to the "NO PARKING" turn around at PNC Park and the traffic is ridiculous. Then they close Mazeroski Way so I have to go all the way around Heinz Field. Anyway, I finally make it and park the limo. Surprisingly, the turn around is completely empty. Usually, this is a good spot for limos if there's a concert or non-football event at Heinz Field. Anyway, I call Gary and he tells me he'll put the ticket in a blue plastic cup in one of the planters outside Gate B. I'm a little hesitant but I figure, alright, nothing to lose. Anyway as I approach Gate B, this black guy sees me looking aorund and says "Hey brother, you need a ticket" At that exact moment, I see the upside down blue cup and repsond "No, I'm good. In fact, I think there's a club ticket underneath this blue cup." I lift up the cup and lo and behold, there it is. I felt like that kid Charlie in the Willy Wonka movie. This other couple was killing their drinks and saw the brief episode unfold. They had this look of dismay and all the black dude could mutter was, "Ahhh, Shit, man." NICE. Anyway, I bolted up the ramp to the seat. Fantastic seats - 2nd level endzone club seating. This area was newly built and I'd never been back there. They probably decided to build it after the Superbowl win last year. Anyway, I hung out with G Max and Pita for the first half and then decided to make a move back to the city. Probably could have stayed well into the third quarter but I didn't want to keep my crew waiting in case they decided to leave early.
So I came back and used the restaurant in the Duquesne Club. This was a truly a bad-ass building. I'd heard of it but never knew where it was. Strictly a coat and tie establishment. A VERY private club. I was slightly intimidated but managed to ask where the restrooms where. Even the bums are intimidated. They won't even walk on that side of Liberty Ave. We cruised home in easily under an hour and I wrapped things up at the 19th Ho and then hit the Alpha for one last drink. The Ho was mediocre. They had this acoustic guitarist named Tim Ullom playing that night. I'd never heard of him but the bartender said he plays there quite a bit. The Alpha was pretty much empty by the time I arrived.
Then, I was hungry with limited options. I went through the Hardees drive thru. The lights were ON, but nobody was taking orders. Here's a novel idea - if nobody is working, turn the lights off. I settled for McDonalds and called it a night.
Great game - WVU won and covered. I love it when the Mountaineers play at Heinz Field. You always hear that Panther "RRoooaaarrrr" and then they lose.

Friday, November 10, 2006

2 for 1 apps.

Alright, it's like I never left.
Seeing that we go to the Alpha about 5 nights a week, I thought it might be reassuring to explore 2 for 1 appetizer night. Actually, Smithers ran out of ideas, so this special runs on concurrent nights (Wed. and Thurs.). It certainly beats hot dog night though. Here's a suggestion. Leave hot dog night to the Wakim's. Let them savor their luke warm chili dogs while commiserating over the Mollahan victory.
Back to the Alpha. Many people blame the oil companies for the high price of gasoline. Allow me to clarify. Exxon Mobil, British Petroleum and my personal favorite, Chevron Texaco do NOT control the price of gasoline. Here are the main contributing factors -

1) the price of crude
2) increased demand from China and India
3) refinery capacity
4) speculation in the futures market
5) to a minor extent - political instabilty in the Middle East
6) and most important, the purchase of Greek wings at the Alpha

Why is it necessary to lay 3 cups of oil on a dinner plate when they serve up their Greek wings? What kind of foundation is this? Why does the amount of oil the Alpha "exports" make Willie Nelson cringe? Why? I've never seen so much oil used since a bad episode of 7 Lives Exposed. I've got other wing related issues, as well. The bourbon wings are ok but the sauce gets a little redundant after the second or third wing. Much to the dismay of Danno and Uncle Ben, Old Bay is not an option. It's not even listed on the menu. It's basically akin to taking a heaping tablespoon of garlic powder and dusting a plate of wings and then proclaiming, "Allah Akbar, Garlic Wings, ye infidel!"
Next up is that Bruschetta thing. Here comes a prodigous half loaf of french bread (which takes up the entire table) served on a wooden slab. That wooden slab thing can also be used to spank Paigey. If anyone wants to steal me one of these wooden boards, I'd be forever grateful and I will use it to administer repeated "Paigey spankings." The bruschetta itself, I don't particularly care for.
Onto calamari - I'm not quite sure the city of Wheeling is ready for calamari. I know for a fact that the surrounding county is definitely not ready. One girl tried to order it, but incorrectly pronounced it "calamity." I think that pretty much sums it up.
The stuffed mushroom caps are tasty, but once again, prepare to embark on another quest for oil. Why stage a coup d'etat on the oil-rich government of Equatorial Guinea when a lifetime supply of oil is conveniently located in Woodsdale?
How about the spinach-artichoke dip? This stuff is tasty but I think the main ingredient is mayonnaise, certainly not spinach. If you are a devout Southern Baptist seeking a cholestoral laden weight gain adventure, this is the dish for you!
OK. What about that giant marinated portabella mushroom with feta and red peppers? This is my second favorite. My overall favorite are the citrus, and to a lesser extent, the tortilla shrimp. This is the right decision. 2 shrimp apps for the price of one might defy conventional wisdom, but rest assured, this is the best option.
I forgot - what about the cheese fries? I'm done with french fries. You know who cured me of that addiction. How about a baked potato instead. Right on, sister. And an advance happy birthday wish. I'm pretty sure you finally turned 26.
See, it's like I never left.