Tag Archives: Manhattan

Grocery Games: The Original Soupman Review

What’s the deal with grocery stores?

Yes, I did say that in my best Jerry Seinfeld voice. (Admittedly, my best Jerry Seinfeld sounds more like Kermit than Jerry Seinfeld.) 

Grocery stores are weird places. They’re like the airports of everyday life. Nobody really wants to be there. Everybody is a little bit too loud. Almost no etiquette exists.

If you really try, though, you can make your own fun at these often hellish places.

For instance, try to find the saddest tagline in the grocery store.

WAIT, I FOUND IT!

Celeste

I was able to get a list of the rejected taglines that the Celeste pizza company didn’t go with and guys, some of them are grim. 

  • Celeste Pizza. Pizza for just you because you’re so very, very alone.
  • Celeste Pizza. Might as well buy some cats.
  • Celeste Pizza. Kill yourself after.

Then there are the weird products you see. For instance, I saw Peeps flavored milk and eggnog. 

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Peeps are probably the most divisive candy out there. (Only slightly more disgusting than Cadbury creme eggs.) So, why would we ruin delicious milk with with the horror of a Peep? The people who make Celeste pizzas should sell them together.

  • Celeste Pizzas, now with Dessert Peeps. A cry for help!

And then, there’s this. 

Remember the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld? Apparently he has a line of soups that are sold in grocery stores.

If you don’t remember the episode (which is now 20 years old), it’s actually based on a real guy, Al Yegeneh. He was widely considered to make the best soup in Manhattan, but was also widely considered the meanest guy in the entire world.

It seems he has a bit of an empire now–lots of locations for soup, a soup line sold nationwide in gro stos, a soup line that is hawked by Shaq. Cause nothing says soup like Shaq.

Seriously, this is from the press release about their company, The Original Soupman:

Shaquille O’Neal serves as an advisor to and equity partner in the Company, as does Mr. October, Reggie Jackson and Emmy® and Golden Globe® nominated and Tony Award® winning actor Jason Alexander.

What must those board meetings be like?

Naturally, I bought two boxes. Peeps milk I will never try. But kitschy sitcom soup from Shaq and Mr. October?? Sure. Why not? 

 

First of all, this is the busiest packaging ever.

If you look at it, it’s got heating instructions! Details about Al and Seinfeld! Information about New Yorkers and their queueing habits! Potential soup side effects! They forgot one: eye rolls.

Do you see the bottom there? Al signed his name under the phrase “Love Life, Love Soup.” Do you think that Al Yegeneh ACTUALLY says “Love Life, Love Soup”? Like that’s how he signs his holiday cards or business emails or the Tetra Paks of soup that he signs at all the Soup Trade Shows? 

I tried two of the soups: crab and corn chowder and the lobster bisque. Neither of them look particularly appetizing here.

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Actually, they look pretty gross. Neither were anything to write home about. (Apparently, they were interesting enough to blog about, though.) I’d say that the lobster bisque was probably the best packaged soup I’ve ever had. I could actually taste sherry, so it had that going for it. I did go back for seconds with my tiny bowl.

Maybe there are more surprises to be found at the grocery store. Maybe there’s a line of Kimmy Gibbler rainbow macarons. Or Steve Urkel sliced deli cheese.

Maybe the grocery store isn’t so weird after all. Maybe, just maybe, it’s a little bit magical.

 

Love Life, Love Soup.

Bethany

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Restaurant Review: Guy’s American Kitchen

As you guys know, I non-ironically love Guy Fieri. His unabashed love of embroidered flame shirts. His bleach blonde locks. His phraseology. God, the phraseology. Full throttle!

My BFF Stowe and I share this love. So on my most recent trip to New York, he and I decided to hit up Guy’s first Manhattan restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen.

Stowe regreted our decision immediately. Understandable. He was not as drunk as I was.

Stowe: This is the most hipster thing we’ve done.

Me: Why?

Stowe: Because people there will be genuinely enjoying themselves and we’re going…

Me:…to make fun of it?

Stowe: Yes.

If I may be so bold, this was one of the worst meals I’ve ever had in New York City.

Now, it wasn’t all bad. In fact, I can give you two positives of my experience.

  • The service was good. The restaurant was very full for a mid-afternoon on a Saturday (fucking Times Square), so we sat at the bar. Our bartender was attentive, but not intrusive, and our food and drinks came out quickly.
  • The space was tastefully decorated, especially when you consider the source. The restaurant is huge–it seats 500+ people at a time and they turn the tables often (fucking Times Square). But it was very actually kind of pretty. They had some wallpaper in the women’s bathroom that I really rather liked. Also, they had TVs in the women’s restroom so I could keep up with the college football games. PHEW. Can’t miss a second of that College Game Day action. Go, Sports Team! 

Onto the many, many negatives. Starting with the worst offender: the food. 

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Garbage.

  • We ordered 3 apps to share: The California Egg Rolls, the Dragon Chili Cheese Fries, and the Buffalo Bleu-Sabi wings. The egg rolls were easily the best thing that we ate because they were served hot and tasted fine. The Dragon Chili Cheese Fries would’ve been good, guilty pleasure bar food. But instead, they were served stone cold. Should we have sent them back? Yes. But, we wanted an authentic experience. Don’t worry, we ate them anyway because our third app, the Buffalo Bleu-Sabi wings, was inedible. These are Buffalo wings made with a house made buffalo sauce that tasted sour or rancid. Something had gone terribly, terribly wrong. When I asked Stowe how they tasted and he said, “I’m going to let you be the judge for yourself.” Not a ringing endorsement. 
  • We each ordered a margarita. I got the Classic and Stowe got the Caliente Margarita, a spicy margarita made with jalapeno and cilantro. Mine was a decent margarita; not the best I’d ever had, but decent. Stowe’s came with so much cilantro in it that I looked away at one point, and when I looked back, he was tangled up in it like seaweed. 
  • We each ordered a house-brewed beer. I got the Morgan’s Red Ale and Stowe got the Golden State Lager. Mine tasted like skunky Newcastle. His tasted like skunky Yuengling. It might’ve been, for all we know. We poo-poo the Guy-brew.

These three mostly terrible appetizers and four drinks cost $93.09 before tip. Frankly, it could’ve been worse. It’s NYC and Times Square, to boot. If the food and drinks had been better, I wouldn’t have minded shelling out the cash.

I wish I was writing this telling you that my mind was blown. That my socks were knocked off. That my tips were bleached. (Admittedly, that one didn’t make sense.) I really wanted all my pre-conceived notions to be wrong. But, of course, my expectations were correct. New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells quite rightly trashed the joint in 2012.

Will I go back to Guy’s American Kitchen again? Not for all the flame shirts and bleach blonde dye in the world.

All future visits to Flavortown will be on TV and TV only.

Guy’s American Kitchen is located at 220 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036. But please, go literally anywhere else.

Some photos from our visit. Hover for captions.

 

 

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