Applebee’s has All You Can Eat Chicken Tenders so I Guess I’m Going to Applebee’s

They say millennials are killing Applebee’s and other casual dining chains. That we don’t go out to eat as much and our tastes are evolving. Well, Applebee’s just fired up the Bat-signal and I’m answering the call. Like a white knight riding into battle in the eleventh hour, this millennial is going to save Applebee’s.

How, you ask? Simple. In a desperate move to attract business, Applebee’s is offering all you can eat riblets and tenders for $12.99. They’re giving it away. They’re practically begging someone to come in and film a video of themselves testing the limits of the “all you can eat” policy. I’m not too proud to oblige them. So, to prove millennials still eat at Applebee’s, I’m going to Eat Good in my Neighborhood, and I’m going to eat a lot. Haven’t been to an Applebee’s since I left home (Applebee’s is a Rutland, Vermont delicacy), but next week I’m heading into Coach Taylor’s favorite dining establishment to see how many tenders I can eat (riblets are too hard to eat to truly binge). It will be captured on film, naturally. So start placing your bets before it’s too late. The early over/under has been set at 21.5, but it could change depending on the action. Get hyped, because I’m officially bringing Applebee’s Back.

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RIP Anthony Bourdain

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If you hadn’t heard already, legendary television host, chef, traveller, and author Anthony Bourdain committed suicide this morning at the age of 61. Normally I don’t really cover celebrity deaths unless they actually meant something to me. Anthony Bourdain meant something to me. Meant a lot to me, actually.

It’s a trivial thing, but I played football in high school, and every summer during two-a-days I would find a random show to watch in-between sessions. It helped me decompress and develop a (somewhat) soothing routine that kind of got me through some rough weeks. My sophomore year (first year of double sessions), it was American Chopper. Junior year it was Bizarre Foods. Senior year it was No Reservations. I had seen various promos for No Reservations before, but never actually tuned in. I had seen food shows and travel shows before, why would this be any different? It turns out it was way different than anything I had ever watched. The way he talked, the way he interacted with the environment around him just spoke to me. It felt like it was a real couple days in the life of a traveller, not another heavily scripted reality show.

I was hooked instantly, and, the more I watched No Reservations and Parts Unknown the more I considered Bourdain an idol of mine. I had always loved food and been interested in traveling, but he stoked a desire to experience the world through food that still exists today (even if I’m too poor scared to actually act on it). The way he could naturally bond with everyone around him and his complete openness to try new things were kind of a blueprint for how I, an extreme introvert with the people skills of a paper bag, could theoretically live my life. He made the world seem like a less scary place, and he showed that, regardless of where you live or what language you speak or what food you eat, everyone’s really just looking for the same thing. Which, of course, was the entire point of the show.

And more than anything, he was just so cool. He might have been one of the five coolest guys to ever live. Which just shows what a bear depression really is. I won’t insult people who are really suffering by saying I know exactly how they feel, but I know how hard it is to deal with. It’s not real depression or anything, but I frequently deal with bouts of overwhelming sadness and self-doubt, but since I’m too scared or embarrassed to talk to other people about it, it just kind of festers for a few days. Again, I’ve never been suicidal or felt like there was no way out of the tunnel, but I still sympathize with anyone who feels crushed by the weight of the world. Don’t be like me. If you’re ever feeling low, or trapped, or scared that there’s only one way to end the pain, reach out to someone. There are countless suicide prevention hotlines out there you can call. Or better yet, talk to a friend or family member. Sometimes it’s good to just talk to someone you know. You might think you’re burdening them, but believe me, anyone who cares about you would never think that way. No one should ever feel like there’s no way out.

RIP Anthony Bourdain.

Happy Opening Day of #HotDogSZN

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Don’t know if you people were aware, but it’s Memorial Day Weekend. It’s a great time to remember those who gave their lives to our country, celebrate the start of summer, and take some days off. That’s all well and good, but we all know the real Reason for the Season- it’s the start of Hot Dog Season.

While it’s true that the grill never sleeps, outdoor grilling season is really a Memorial Day through Labor Day window. Burgers, chicken, steak, veggies, literally everything tastes better in the summer when cooked on a grill. But, of course, the star of the show has always been, and always will be, hot dogs. If you’re hosting a barbecue without a metric ton of hot dogs being served, friend, you won’t find me there. I’m an established hot dog junkie, and when the weather gets hot, my dog cravings get hotter. As a hot dog expert, I, of course, have some (correct) opinions about the noble tubesteak. There’s a lot of bad hot dog takes out there, mostly by fools or people who don’t like hot dogs. Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like hot dogs.

Top Hot Dog Types

  1. Natural casing pork
  2. Natural casing beef
  3. Regular beef/pork mix
  4. Any other meat
  5. Non meat

Top Bun Types

  1. New England style
  2. Anything else

Top Condiments (don’t come at me with some niche sauce you made one time or that your favorite tiny local place has. How could I have possibly had that?)

  1. Yellow mustard
  2. Sauerkraut
  3. Deli mustard
  4. Relish
  5. Spicy mustard

Top Hot Dog Preparation Methods

  1. Grilled
  2. Not eating them at all
  3. Raw
  4. Boiled
  5. Microwaved

Top Hot Dog Accompanyments

  1. Chips
  2. Another hot dog
  3. Fries
  4. An ice-cold Bud Light Lime®, Perfect for Summer
  5. Potato Salad

It’s also time to start prepping for the July 4th Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island. I’m pulling up stats, breaking down film, building advanced statistical models to try and project a winner, all the normal things people do to get ready for the Nathan’s. I’ll be there regardless, but I may or may not have been put on a waiting list for a qualifying event at the end of June. I’ve sent them my highlight reel, but no word on if it’s improved my standing.

My Experience at MLB Foodfest

Two hours of pure concessions and drinks for $40. Not a bad way to take ten years off your life.

I was obviously excited about this, but I wish I could go back and do it over. Not to spoil the video, but I was only able to eat 25 of the 30 entries, partly because of the time (they screw you out of at least five minutes because they don’t let anyone in until your time slot starts, but then you have to leave the second your time slot ends. Factor in lines and stuff and I didn’t get my first plate until 1:09. Sad!), and partly because I did the exact incorrect strategy. Essentially, it was a big horseshoe around the perimeter of the dining room with the booths arranged in alphabetical order by city. I started with Washington and went in a circle, both because I wanted to eat the Arizona entry last and because it was closest to the door. This was the incorrect strategy. The bottom half of the alphabet was far, far superior to the top half. If Foodfest was the NBA, N-W was the West and A-M was the East. Absolutely no contest. So while it was nice to actually enjoy all the good food, that meant I had to eat the disgusting things on a full stomach. Not a good combination. I almost puked on camera two or three times, and, had I gotten whatever the Indians thing was, I know for a fact there would have been a reversal of fortune. You can get on me for getting full off of 25 bites (another bad strategy: I took multiple bites of some of the early food because, again, it was actually good) if you want, but 95% of those things were bread heavy. And the buns were all thick, too. Too thick, if you ask me. It didn’t make for a fun morning, I can assure you.

So I missed five teams: Tigers, Indians, Rockies, White Sox, Braves. As I said, the Indians Flamin’ Hot Cheeto abomination would have made me puke. The Tigers had chicken shawarma nachos, which seemed like a very bad thing to eat at 2:45. I actually had the Braves thing, which I don’t even know how to describe, in my hand, but once I got through the absolutely brutal Red Sox-Orioles combo, I couldn’t do it. I blame the coleslaw.  Coleslaw stinks and half the teams used it as a garnish. The Rockies and White Sox weren’t high priorities since they just had a regular cheeseburger and sausage, respectively, and I’ve had my fair share of both. The only sad thing is that I’m sure both were pretty good and I ate a Cheeto-lote instead. By the way, how to the Rockies not bring Rocky Mountain Oysters? I guess they figure everyone already knows the rating on them already.

Anyway, it was a good time. I hope they do it again next year (I’m sure they will), and hopefully other leagues get in the game, too. Now that I know to eat the horrifying and repulsive foods first, I think future Foodfests will be more enjoyable. Still can’t believe the Sox didn’t come with the hot lobster roll.

MLB Foodfest is Today

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It’s finally here. MLB Foodfest. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this my whole life. Two hours of stuffing your face with ballpark food without the hassle of going to an actual ballpark. I may have died and gone to heaven. My time slot is 1-3pm. Will there be a video of me reviewing all 30 items? You bet your ass. Will there be Snapchat (briancurran11) and Instagram (@briansden69) story updates? Yes. Will I eat something I regret? Without question. This is going to be epic.

Now that I think about it, MLB really dropped the ball not having this on 4/20.

As for what I know you’re all really here for, yes, going to the festival will cut down on my God of War streaming today. I’ll probably hop on later tonight as I digest, so be on the lookout. If you need a fix, here’s the full streams from yesterday, when I messed around and did two separate sessions.

https://player.twitch.tv/?autoplay=false&video=v252844613Watch Brian Plays God of War pt. 1 from JarringTiger on www.twitch.tv

https://player.twitch.tv/?autoplay=false&video=v252963933Watch Brian Plays God of War pt. 2 from JarringTiger on www.twitch.tv

I Think I Own the Barclays Center Now

I went to the Nets game last night, as all true New Yorkers are wont to do. As it was the last home game of the season, it was Fan Appreciation Night, which was nice up until they had DeMarre Carroll had to pick up a mic and thank the fans for their tremendous support, even though about 65% of the seats were empty. I’ll be honest that was a little awkward. But other than that, I, a longtime Nets fan, had a great time at Fan Appreciation Night. Got a free shirt. Did some modeling.

 

Ate some food.

It was nice. The Nets don’t deserve the Barclays Center. It’s so clean and modern and spacious and it’s pretty easily the best place I’ve ever watched a basketball game. The exterior was covered in rust-colored paneling, which I thought was actually rusted but, on further inspection, it was all aesthetic, which is the most Brooklyn thing imaginable. The food was expensive, but it was pretty good, and show me an arena that doesn’t charge an infinite amount of money for a hot dog and I’ll show you a G-League arena. It has free WiFi that actually works. The only downside is that literally no one cares about the Nets so no one goes. It’s a beautiful place, and the fact that it’s so nice is by far the most interesting thing about team.

As for the product on the court, folks, I think I speak for everyone when I say anyone who watched the game will remember it forever as the greatest game of Allen Crabbe’s career. The legendary shooting guard was on fire from the jump, pouring in a career high 41 points. I thought he’d get 70!

I haven’t spent much time watching Nets games, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that they flat out refuse to take 2-point shots. They’re second in the league in 3s attempted this season, and I’m pretty sure 70% of those have come in the last two weeks. They hunted 3s like Russell Westbrook hunts rebounds. D’Angelo Russell and Crabbe have the greenest green lights in basketball history, regardless of what percentages they shoot. Listen, the Nets are terrible, but I like what they’ve been doing the last few years. With no first round picks or stakes, why not pursue experimental playing styles? Why not try to acquire every bad or expiring contract? Why not offer every free agent, restricted or unrestricted, a short term deal for big money? At some point next century when the Nets get their first rounders back, things are going to start turning around.

Luckily, the Nets had an actual opponent last night. It would have been crazy if I just went to an open practice or something. Let me tell you: Bulls-Nets in the last game of the season is the least consequential sporting event I’ve ever attended. If you asked 100 diehard NBA fans if this game even happened, I’d be willing to bet at least 75% would have had no idea. But I’m glad I was there to witness it, because the Bulls put on a tanking display for the ages. Robin Lopez, Chris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and Denzel Valentine didn’t play. Justin Holliday had like 10 points in the first quarter and I don’t know if he got in the game after that. With three minutes left in a six point game, the Bulls lineup was Ryan Arcidiacono, Jerian Grant, Sean Kilpatrick, David Nwaba, and Cristiano Felicio. That’s not made up. That’s an actual NBA lineup. I’d love to see the per 100 possessions stats for that group, gotta be one of the the best in the league!

Surprisingly, the Nets won (even covered!), so the question needs to be asked: am I the new King of the Barclays Center? The facts are simple- in games in which I haven’t attended, the Nets are 27-53. When I do attend? 1-0. Kind of startling, honestly. Add in the fact that I was practically begged to sit on the Nets Throne and I sampled some traditional Brooklyn fare, and I think it’s only natural that the Nets offer me complementary season tickets and the deed to the Barclays Center. Ever since Jay-Z left, they’ve been dying for some star power. I’ll gladly become the new face of the Nets. I’ll go to team events, I’ll go to (some) games, I’ll do commercials and promo spots. All I ask is free food and a nice paycheck. Like $2-$3 million max, that’s it. I’ll even pretend to be a Nets fan, which is really the most difficult ask of all. The Nets desperately need buzz. I can’t think of anyone more buzz-worthy than me. So, come on Nets. Crown a new King of Kings County.