I don't know much about you beautiful beasts, but I do know you read certain parts of the Internet because that's how we became friends in the first place. So I trust you've heard that "This American Life" had to apologize for faking parts of a story about how awful working conditions are at Apple-affiliated factories in China.
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Draft beer and variety are two of my favorite things, but I generally avoid bars with too many taps, because I don't trust that the turnover's high enough to keep all the kegs fresh, and the sad fact is that a clean Miller Lite tastes better than a dirty anything.
Bottom Shelf research director Emily has suffered from occasional migraine headaches since early teenhood. You're probably thinking the same thing I was when she told me this on our first date: Not my problem, but you seem nice enough, so good luck with your dysfunctional head, now please stop interrupting my stories about high school, yes it is technically interrupting if I never stop talking, in fact that's kind of the definition.
Bottom Shelf research director Emily and I recently decided to re-sign our apartment lease, with mixed emotions. Our building is OK but we could do better for the money; there are all sorts of fancy amenities that don't interest us, such as underground parking and unintimidating neighbors. I'd rather trade in the meek empty-nesters—who, to their credit, never make noise and rarely steal my FedEx packages—for an extra bedroom or better dive bar proximity.
You've probably seen the corny-but-cute commercials where 70s-looking dudes in a 70s-looking car order this near-perfect pie; I'm not usually drawn to goofy retro advertising—and almost never drawn to retro eating; I'm not a big "comfort food" advocate—but I'd gladly grow sideburns while waiting in line for gas if there was a Chunky Chicken Pot Pie involved.
Welcome to a Very Special Episode of Drinking the Bottom Shelf. Today I will be working off a gambling debt to Serious Eats Overlord Ed Levine, and we will all be learning valuable lessons about kale juice, mortality fears, and betting against a man with the words Serious and Overlord in his job title.
A couple of months back Domino's introduced out Parmesan Bread Bites to round out their menu. Are these mini breadsticks worth popping into your order? We ordered some up in the name of research.
Bottom Shelf research director Emily came down with a sore throat Monday afternoon, which gave me a rare and welcome opportunity to play heroic caregiver. I don't get a lot of chances to nurse Emily back to health, because she's fairly sturdy, plus she works with a bunch of doctors and also believes a little too strongly in the healing powers of Advil and detective shows.
A kindly publicist sent us a new bottle of booze last week, about which I offer the following mixed review. Let's lead with the bad news that Malibu Red is a pretty lackluster name for a tequila, rum, and coconut liqueur hybrid. There's a good bit of red on the label, but the liquid itself is clear. Malibu Black—which is basically just a higher-proof version of the original Malibu coconut rum—has the good sense to be black, but I can't think of any reason why the Red isn't named Blue or Kai or any other little word.
Complacency is a very dangerous state of mind, which is why I just put Grape-Nuts in my leftover black bean soup. It's not February anymore, people: We can no longer be content to merely make it through breakfast without tears or blood or whiskey. These March days are here to be seized in a hopeful and high-fiber way.
Many people scoff at the notion of light fast food, and with good reason; many more people scoff at white-meat chicken for no good reason. Popeyes has a new "Louisiana Leaux: Get Up and Geaux" menu of lower-calorie grilled chicken options. Ridiculous name aside, I actually expected good things from my leaux-down dinner of a Naked BBQ Chicken Po' Boy, Naked Chicken Wrap, and Naked Tenders Meal.
McDonald's introduced the Filet-O-Fish 50 years ago, when it was much more common for Roman Catholics to forgo meat on Fridays year-round; most other chains have followed with similar token fish gestures. I understand why one would order this stuff for religious or cultural reasons, but as a fast-food free agent, I've never been tempted to stray from beef and chicken sandwiches. But it's my duty to break down the strengths, weaknesses, and tartar sauces of the four leading national fast-fried fishwiches.
I'll drink light beer when it's handed to me, but otherwise I base my beer choices on several different criteria, none of which involve calories. I'll get the cheap one or the good one or the high ABV one or the weird one, but I'll never get the one that wants a pat on the head for sparing me half an apple's worth of calories.
Tuesday was a mostly great Valentine's Day because I had low expectations and a partner who was thoughtful enough to suggest dinner at the beer and hamburger place by her office. Things got even more perfect when Emily made the surprise announcement that we would each be ordering our own individual meal! This almost never happens.
In honor of Valentine's Day, we're hearing from the better halves of a few of our favorite columnists today. First, we'll get Research Fiancée Emily's side of the Bottom Shelf story. Take it away, Emily!
I don't like to brag here, but I need you to know that last Thursday I pulled off the underprecedented quadfecta of working a full six hours, breaking a recreational sweat, making a precisely gravied shepherd's pie, and going to see live music. I'm usually more of a two-task-max kind of guy.
I actually like gift-giving and I love revelry, but I'd prefer to do both at my own pace. I fancy myself an inspired thing-slinger and day-commemorator, so I hate resorting to cliché garbage at the last minute when the muse declines to visit in time to appease the tyrants at the calendar factory. This presents a particular problem on Valentine's Day, because by the middle of February my thoughtfulness reserves have been depleted by all the regular winter holidays plus Emily's birthday, which her parents recklessly decided to stage on February 7.
Even though Bostonians are deprived of real Californian Mexican food, we still have enough Mex-run taquerias and burriterias around that I've never felt the urge to go to Qdoba. I haven't avoided Qdoba on purpose, I've just never trained the fast-food-chain-shopping part of my brain to sync up with the burrito-eating part: I've never been to Chipotle, either. But I found a reason to try Qdoba last week when I saw a poster for their Mexican gumbo.