Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Restaurant Week, Shmestaurant Week

It's Restaurant Week in Chicago. Every year I'm bombarded by advertisements - Daily Candy, Time Out, Metromix - and every year I get excited. And then pissed. Lies! It's all a bunch of lies! Especially this year because it's not even a week anymore - they've extended it to 10 days. Even the name of the event is a lie.

Supposedly more than 165 eateries are offering "discounted" three-course dinners and lunches. Lunches are a set price of $22; dinners are $32. But here's the thing: If you look at restaurants' regular menus and add up individual items on their prix fixe menus, the discount is negligible, if anything. One meal I looked up was actually a nickel more for Restaurant Week. B.S.

Now, I admit I haven't done the math for each option (and I'm not so good at math), but does this not sound like a rip off? I wonder if the waitstaffs at these restaurants are having a nice laugh back in the kitchen. I know I would be if I were still a server. Actually I'd probably be annoyed - as I was pretty much annoyed with any customer who asked about deals, required extra napkins, or expected me to serve them.

Anywho it appears the only way to squeeze a deal out of Restaurant Week is to go to the priciest of fancy pants restaurants participating (hint: probably not Connie's Pizza...) and to book your reservation months in advance. Lame.

Disenchanted by the whole thing but still susceptible to the restaurant itch, we did end up going to Dunlays last night (dinner out on a Tuesday!). Not only does Dunlays not participate in the Restaurant Week sham, but it's always yummy (cookie skillet!) and reasonably priced. And we used a Groupon, which are actually good deals. Watch out for the expiration dates though. Sigh... must there always be a catch?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Recumbent Nemesis

I have a gym nemesis, and I believe her to be a resolver. She has voluminous blond hair, often wears sorority t-shirts (bid day!) and reads US Weekly. Worst of all, she thinks my beloved recumbent bike is her beloved recumbent bike. Last week she swiped it right from under my nose. I saw it in slow motion, her slipping into the seat a split second before my book touched the machine, my method of securing one of three coveted bikes while I wipe off my treadmill.

Straining to assess the bike situation behind me in the mirror in front of the only treadmill I could get today, a fuchsia tank caught my eye. Her. On an elliptical (of course). She would be on the one right in front of the recumbent bikes, I thought to myself. I faced a grave disadvantage, all the way across the gym with only half a bike visible in the corner of my mirror. Damn her! I couldn't stop staring as I contemplated my game plan, and I think I saw her staring back. Challenge accepted.

Toward the end of my run I started looking over my shoulder at the bikes. I still had five minutes left when I spied an open one, and a girl wiping down the one next to it! TWO open bikes on a weeknight?? Unheard of! I got so excited I jabbed at the stop button and almost biffed it as I jumped off the slowing conveyor belt.

It wasn't until I was pedaling that I looked over and noticed the bike next to me was still empty, and my nemesis was still working away on the elliptical... Well, now it appears she's just playing with my emotions.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympic Fever

I don't know anything about men's figure skating, but I am now totally rooting for Evan Lysacek. I also want him to be my new BFF.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Probably not my kind of town

Some breaking news from the little office elevator TV I stare at to avoid stranger small talk: The city of Aspen has rolled out a new program to shed its unfriendly image. "Adopt a Tourist" matches visitors with locals who are willing to show them the town, and possibly their underpants.

Wonder if this is an attempt to undo the damage of VH1's "Secrets of Aspen"...

Regardless, I think it's safe to assume cast members won't be volunteering for the program... although it appears they're willing to whore themselves out for charity, "Adopt a Tourist" probably isn't quite glamorous enough.

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