Entries from July 2006 ↓

Restaurant/Bar Review

My sister and I both needed out. We wanted a bar where we could order some food and people watch. We decided to try The Flopping Kicking Chicken on Main Street in Summerville. Prior to staying home I worked in the food and beverage industry for nearly ten years, both “front and back of house.” I feel quite comfortable critiquing as I have been in their shoes, sometimes with wet socks for double shifts.

The bar service was fine, but it’s probably a good thing they weren’t extremely busy. We arrived on the tail end of dinner on Friday. The bar was moderately full by the time we left. Watching the bartenders, you’d assume it was three deep at the bar. It’s quite possible they are still working on finding their groove, the restaurant hasn’t been open long. The male bartender was very nice, friendly without being creepy, and somewhat efficient.

My sister says I’m biased against gauchos. Perhaps I am, but the gaucho/tube top combo on another bartender, who otherwise was very pretty, disturbed me. I was morbidly fascinated, waiting for her top to give up completely. Management should initiate a dress code for the bartenders. Clothing should be clean and comfortable and not need to be adjusted five hundred times a night, when one is required to touch drinks and food.

On a positive note, they have Newcastle on tap.

Don’t order the food. If you must, order something safe, like the stuffed pretzels. At least those came from a box and were cooked in the fryer. It’s truly hard to destroy something of that nature. Even though I ordered straight from the menu with no tweaks, tossing my chicken sandwich in the wing sauce and adding cheese was a task beyond their capabilities. It arrived bathed in grease, lacking flavor. If nothing else, any bar that pretends to serve food should have good fries. Bar fries should be sprinkled liberally with salt, preferably seasoned. No such luck, my fries were sadly limp, tasted like a freezer, and in sore need of salt. Salt and hot sauce were truly a difficult request for the gaucho girl, but she appeared busy so I was patient and only reminded her with “the stare” after several passes. Wing sauce should be a buttery concoction of heat, not a watery device for adding crushed red pepper and some unidentifiable herb. The blue cheese dressing was probably Kraft.

That atmosphere is tolerable for a local chain. There are plenty of TVs, the music had some variation, and a band was setting up to play. One man confused me; I was returning from the restroom and allowing him to pass. I thought he was waving at me, so I half heartedly returned it, wondering why simple politeness merited a wave. Well, he wasn’t waving, he was offering a high medium five. Since I had comitted to a wave, he missed, making full contact with my chest. Whoops.

The Kicking Chicken is not a bad place for a beer or cocktail, as long as that’s all you require.

As I obviously need to get out more, does anyone have any recommendations for decent bar food on the North end of town? Better yet in Summerville or Goose Creek? I love the Dog and Duck, but it’s quite the haul and I would have to take out a loan should I need to call a cab.


How do you tell someone with a broken heart that it will mend? Do you just repeat it over and over?
-It’s all going to be OK. I know a lot of things are changing quickly, but it
will get easier, I promise.

Do you just barge in and help because you know they are too embarassed to ask or do you wait?
-I’m here when you are ready.
-Call me if you need anything.
-Call me even if you don’t, I just need to know you aren’t drowning.

I’ve never had someone else’s grief hurt so badly. I just want to take care of all the little details for a little while.
-Here, let me do this, I don’t mind.
-Really, I want to.
-Please, let me help.

Brief Hiatus

Between family drama, the husband on night shift, and Mark being sick, my hands are full. I’ll see everyone in a few days.

Partly Crabby

with occasional outbursts. . .

Perhaps it’s the weather, the news, or this feeling of impending change. I’m not exactly sure, but something has turned me into quite possibly one of the least patient people on the planet. Some snark has been slipping out and it needs to stop. Of course, I don’t think standing at the checkout for forty minutes helped.

Can anyone with a preteen help me put a stop to the incessant movie / TV show retellings? I’d like to do it in a kind manner. I don’t want her to stop talking completely, I just really do not want to hear another point by point dissection of The Prince and I.

A friend of my husband is on his way down. He was in Virginia this weekend and decided to take a side trip to see us. He decided yesterday afternoon; he’ll be here today. Oh, it gets better. My husband is working night shift this entire week, which means I get to entertain him for the entire visit.

The checkout is a good place to mull things over. I didn’t have much to do, beyond watch the ice cream develop a rime of frost that slowly formed a puddle on the conveyor belt. I love colorful phrases and there are some I wish I could use. I once heard someone order coffee “black as night and as sweet as sin.” I just roll that around in my head, on occasion, savouring the feel. Unfortunately, I prefer mine with milk and no sugar, “light and bitter” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

I saw my favorite small town character, yesterday. He looks as though he stepped out of a fairy tale. Yesterday, I passed him on his way to church, He ia a wizened elfin man dressed in his Sunday best. It’s funny, just seeing a familiar stranger can make my day. I’ve see him making his rounds several times this week, and yesterday’s sighting just made my heart light. I always feel a little sad when people disappear from the periphery of my life. I know they have just moved on to another stage of their own, but I do miss their presence.

I need to do something special for my husband, it’s his birthday.

This is love

To some of you, this will seem like a bizarre birthday gift.

The ones who know me well, will understand.

My husband loves me.

Now, I have to hide my loot before the rugrats are up.

For your amusement

My eleven year old daughter frustrated me this morning. However, I think I struck upon a fantastic solution. She had to write an essay on “Respect For Property.”

This is her rough draft, she’s working on the final. I’m actually impressed with how well thought out it is.


  • The baby, ten months, has been hitting major milestones this week. He’s walking and finally sleeping through the night. I’m trying to catch a little video, but he won’t cooperate. As soon as I break out the camera, he has to try to poke the lens.
  • I am getting uninterrupted sleep for the first time in seemingly forever. I am having the most bizarre, intense dreams. The past two nights have been impressive. It’s like my mind is doing a memory dump. There is no continuity. The dreams are vivid, flashy images and vignettes. It’s unsettling, like someone has a remote and is cycling through the channels. I used to dream in epics, nighttime quests that were never satisfied.
  • We’re headed to the Children’s Museum today. It could be fun; it could be a nightmare. I’ll report back later.
  • I have to provide food for tomorrow’s MOPS meeting. I guess I have to bake today.
  • Let’s place bets on whether or not Tim remembers it’s my birthday tomorrow.

Hmm, my stepdaughter decided to act up, so no museum for us. Well, now I can get some work done around the house.

The Cost of Health

Richard Todd from The Morning Buzz on WTMA has been harping on the high cost of healthful eating versus the inexpensive nature of fastfood. I must disagree with him.

For argument’s sake I will define healthful foods as not necessarily organic, but as fresh as possible. Cost effective eating takes planning, some work, and preferably a little extra storage space. Two years ago we invested in a large freezer, if you don’t have the funds watch sites like Craigslist and Freecycle. Old fridges and freezers show up fairly often.

Certainly, Whole Foods is a foodie’s dream. I salivate from the moment I enter the store, but I avoid it as often as possible, the cost is just too high. The only things I buy there are in bulk. Rolled Oats are $0.88 a lb and bulk spices are much cheaper than jarred. In addition, there are dried fruits, beans, and grains which are typically cheaper than buying off the shelf in other grocers, but one would be wise to double check.

With adequate freezer space, U-Pick farms are a wonderful way to save. We picked sixteen quarts of blueberries for $19.00. If you compare that to the $3.00 per pint that I typically see, we saved around $75. I included the cost of storage bags. Not only was it cost effective, it was a learning experience for the kidlets. I take full advantage of the produce stands near my home. Bananas are often $0.10 – $0.20 cents a lb cheaper, which adds up quickly with my family of monkeys.

Buying meat in bulk helps, as well. Beef is $2.19 a lb at Burbages when you buy a side. It’s a large initial cost, but when ground beef has risen to over $3 a lb, it pays for itself. Cutting and wrapping is included.

The ethnic aisles of the local grocers and ethnic grocery stores, themselves, are often great places to find common foods sold under different labels. For instance sweetened condensed milk tastes the same to me whether it’s sold as Eagle’s Sweetened Condensed Milk or Mamacita’s. (I made up the second name, because I’m currently out), yet the latter may be $0.50 or more cheaper per can. Generic foods have also come a long way, with a few exceptions. The husband has requested that I never buy generic ketchup again. I’m fine with that.

Finally, I never buy milk at the grocery store. It is nearly $5 a gallon for Coburg or Pet. The off brand isn’t heinous, but it has been running around $3.80 or so. I make a stop at CVS where they sell milk a few cents over cost, typically around $3.20 for Coburg. The gas station sells Country Fresh for about the same price.

Unfortunately, there is a learning curve to planning a food budget, knowing where to get the best buys, and being able to plan a menu. It takes time and effort to build up a pantry. Also, assuming an average cost of $4 per person per meal, the price of fastfood will quickly outstrip the cost of planned meals.

Here are a list of sites that I use for recipes and tips:
Living on a dime (www.notjustbeans.com)
The Dollar Stretcher
Your 24 Hour Pantry
How to Stock Your Kitchen with Staples
Teri’s Kitchen – The Well Stocked Pantry
Steph’s Country Kitchen Goodness
Budget 101.com
Organized Home

Update on Poor Pitiful Puppy

It was a copperhead snake. The swelling is already starting to go down. He’ll be fine in a day or two.

Poor Pitiful Puppy

We have two basset hounds, Wallace and Gromit. They are indoor/outdoor dogs, who for the most part prefer their own company, unless food is involved. They are good dogs who tolerate the boys.

Yesterday, Wallace started puking; he’s the one that is always getting into something. As it was full of grass, which is par for the course with him, I didn’t think anything of it. This afternoon, I noticed he seemed a little lethargic, he’s a basset, it’s not that far from normal. So, I gave him some extra attention and noticed his neck felt warm and swollen. I brought him out into the yard (we’d been in the garage) where I could get a good look and I didn’t care for what I saw.

I know he reacts badly to bee stings, but I’m still worried, poor puppy. He has an appointment at five.