The Phantom City

Notes from our travels across a mysterious world.

Category: Food

Diet Soft Drink Advertising

One of my more recent Twitter statuses had what sounded like an ad line for Diet Mountain Dew, so I came up with a few more while waiting for .Net Framework 3.5 to install.

“Diet Mountain Dew – You get used to it.”

“Diet Mountain Dew – Shhhh, don’t fret…the cravings stop after a while.”

“Diet Code Red (Cherry Mountain Dew) – The flavor combination that never occurred to you.”

“Diet Dr Pepper – You’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

“Diet Dr Pepper – Making Dr Pepper taste like root beer since 1991.”

“Diet Dr Pepper – Diets and Doctors, in one bottle.”

“Diet Coke – Does this taste funny to you?”

“Diet Coke – Bleh, I think I got your Diet Coke.”

“Diet Coke – You’ll never forget the taste…at least not for the next hour or so.”

“Diet Coke – It’s the first thing you’ll want after waking up from a coma.” (Inside joke. Sorry.)

“Coke Zero – Go from Coke to Diet Coke, and then to Coke Zero. It’ll taste great!”

“Diet Rite – For the last time, we’re not the store brand!”

“Diet Rite – We make Diet Coke look better!”

“Diet Pepsi – For when the restaurant doesn’t carry Diet Coke.”

“Diet RC – Just try to find me!”

“Tab – What the hell was that?!?”

“Tab – Check the date on the can.”

“Tap Water – Why can’t you love me?”

Trade Rice for Knowledge

Like vocabulary words? Like filling bowls with rice? Then FreeRice.com is the place for you. For each word you successfully define, 10 grains of rice are donated through the United Nations to alleviate world hunger.

Free Rice!

My favorite line from their FAQ: “FreeRice is not sitting on a pile of rice–you are earning it 10 grains at a time.” 🙂

What’s Wrong With Us?

If I wanted to start a series of these, I doubt I could keep track of the numbers past the first hundred.

Anyway, here’s the gist of a story happening in Raleigh. One restaurant in an expensive location closes down. Its ownership group is embroiled in lawsuits. The restaurant had also sold a bunch of gift certificates that have apparently not been refunded.

Second restaurant opens in the same location. Agrees to honor the previous restaurant’s gift certificates at the urging of mall owners, but stops when they realize they’ve already given away $4,500 in free food. (They were absorbing the cost of the certificates.) They had no legal obligation at any time to honor the gift certificates, since they weren’t involved with the previous restaurant. They did it for the sake of creating and keeping good will with customers.

Here’s a quote, from after they stopped taking the gift certificates, from one of those customers who didn’t get her $100 certificate redeemed:

“I’m sorry he got stuck…It’s not my problem…He should have done his due diligence. Or he should have sucked it up and paid out those gift certificates.”

Seriously, that’s the representative quote The News & Observer got from one of those customers whose good will is valued. I’m hoping other people didn’t react the same way, but the misguided anger is amazing.

Anyway, South, the new restaurant, has agreed to take the certificates until August 31. It sounds like the old ownership will pay for them. I haven’t been there — Durham’s more my area — but I’ve heard the food is good. If you’re in the area, try them out. They’ll probably enjoy having folks in who will pay the usual way. 🙂

Always interested in barbecue

Luke McIntyre, in Go Triad, recommends Country Barbecue as the best in North Carolina.

I’ve never been there, but I’ll have to try it out now. However, “the best barbecue” is highly subjective, so I have a feeling it still won’t hold a candle to Fuzzy’s in Madison.

Link courtesy of Automatic Writing

Our Thanksgiving Trip, or There’s No Place Like Home

One of our traditions is to not spend Thanksgiving with family…well, except for the family comprised of my wife and myself. It got started when we first got together and decided instead of trading off the Thanksgiving holiday between our families we were going to take advantage of a long weekend and go on trips ourselves. We see our families pretty regularly anyway, so no one worries about it. I think it’s seen as just one of our quirks.

The first time we took a trip on Thanksgiving, we went to Wilmington, NC and figured out the real trick to traveling on Thanksgiving is finding a place to eat. We ended up with Waffle House for lunch and room service for dinner, since we didn’t have reservations anywhere. We had a good time, though, and the city turned into one of our favorite long weekend destinations.

We decided to recreate it this year and drove down to Wilmington on Thanksgiving day. We stayed at a place downtown, and had Thanksgiving dinner reservations at the Pilot House. (Lunch was a convenient Wendy’s.)

We found out that the hotel’s staff was going to be out of town for the day, so we were able to let ourselves in and pick up our key. One advantage to more of a bed-and-breakfast-style place, but we really didn’t see anyone around much otherwise either, despite a few trips past the office. I’m guessing Thanksgiving may not be a big travel holiday for them.

Dinner was good. The Pilot House has a fairly traditional Thanksgiving menu, despite its reputation for seafood. No pecan pie left by the time our reservations rolled around, unfortunately.

Our hotel room was…interesting. I’m not going to mention the name, because I don’t want to give an unfavorable review to a place I’ve only stayed in once. However, I’ll just say the best I could describe the decor is “quaint,” by which I mean “1985,” we had one 20″ TV that was situated to make it hard for both people to watch it from bed, and no alarm clock. I’m cool with the decor, and the TV, but the missing alarm clock was different. Admittedly, they didn’t list alarm clocks as one of the features of the room, so maybe I shouldn’t complain. 😐

Breakfast/lunch (brunch?) the next day was at Front Street Diner. Good food, and normally crowded with locals. I miss their fried bologna sandwich, but it’s probably best that it’s gone. I think the greasy goodness probably cuts my life expectancy short a few minutes each time I have one.

I started to take some pictures of the trip, and the camera battery died immediately after taking the first shot. You can see photos from our past vacations here, though, and imagine what I would have taken pictures of this time. 🙂

We hit a used bookstore, as usual. This trip was to McAllister & Solomon Books, which has a decent selection of pulp SF & Fantasy novels. I always end up finding a couple of Doc Savage novels I don’t have. Another good bookstore is Daughtry’s Old Books. Mr. Daughtry is usually in his shop, and he likes to talk to visitors.

Dinner was at Caffe Phoenix, another downtown eatery that we’ve walked past in recent years and passed up because the food seemed too…ah…complex for our tastes. Trying it this time was a good decision. Thinly-sliced marinated flank steak for me, and vegetarian lasagna for Lorrie, were both excellent dishes. We’ll be back when we get down there again.

The next morning, after the skylight in our room started leaking, we realized we really didn’t have anything planned for the day that required us to be in Wilmington as opposed to our house. So, one early checkout and a remarkably easy drive later, we were back home, relaxing in familiar surroundings. Not the most exciting trip, but fun because of the company I shared it with.

I will have to say, though, I’m still craving the one thing Wilmington…well, Wrightsville Beach…has that we couldn’t replicate back home: The Oceanic. We’ll be back in Wilmington again soon, though. It’s one of our places.

Google Gulp

Given that Google’s last April Fool’s trick/release turned out to be Gmail, I have to wonder about Google Gulp. None of the flavors sound good, though. Although, I am drinking a Grapeade Snapple right now, so my taste is in question.

Sample FAQs:

7. How can I get my hands on a Google Gulp?

This “limited release” beta product is available to anyone who turns in a used Google Gulp bottle cap at any local retailer. If you don’t have any Gulp caps, ask a friend to give you one.

8. What if none of my friends have a Gulp cap to give me? Can’t you just give Google Gulp to anyone who wants it?

Well, we’re thinking about it, but, um, you have to understand that there are many considerations which go into deciding how to distribute —

9. I mean, isn’t this whole invite-only thing kind of bogus?

Dude, it’s like you’ve never even heard of viral marketing.

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