Wretched Excess: The Restaurants
I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed the continuing chronicle of what my friends have often called Wretched Excess. I can’t really remember who first used the term, but it fits our bachanalian, free food Friday!, all-roosters-and-no-hens, and oh, by the way, won’t this be good on Saturday or Sunday, maybe it would even keep until Monday approach to dining on Fridays while we watch movies…
There is almost never any alcohol involved in these events, so I suppose I misused the term bachanalian here.
Bojangles: Really, you even have to ask why? We’re three southern men, and you’re asking why we go to Bojangles? Fried chicken and spice have something to do with this. So does the fact that you can get a whole fried chicken and eat some on Friday night and then have more for the weekend. Recently we also discovered the cat carrier, which speaks for itself:
Chili’s: They have an online ordering menu paired up with their take-out, and I always overdo it here. I think the Triple Dipper is really what gets me into trouble. I mean, how can you pass up on a sampler where you get to pick three things that go on the plate, AND it comes with dipping sauces? But somehow for me that doesn’t work by itself, so I wind up getting an entree, too. The guys don’t seem to have any problems like that with this place, but I don’t seem to be able to stick to reasonable behavior on this one.
Cookout: It’s a burger joint, and you might think that puts it in the “local version of fast food” category. Probably true. But have you ever gotten close enough to one of these places to smell the food cooking? It may not be burgers on my charcoal grill, but it’s close. Plus they have a hamburger tray in which corndogs, quesadillas and chicken nuggets count as sides.
Dickey’s: It’s a Texas-based chain that does barbeque. No, not the eastern North Carolina barbeque, (we’ll fight you if you don’t agree ours is the best), but big slabs of meat. Look, any place that sells meat by the pound, with sides, is going to get our attention. Nine kinds of meat. Twelve sides with appropriately high fat and caloric counts. Free ice cream. Big yellow cups. Really, the question was never if we were going to try the place, but how long it would take before we did.
Domino’s: Not something we do often, because there’s such good pizza available in downtown Greenville…or there was, until they closed Boli’s. Personally I’m a huge fan of Michelangelo’s, and I tend to eat lunch there once a week, but my tolerance for pizza is pretty high (as in, I could eat it three or four days a week without complaint). At any rate, Domino’s usually does a solid job of putting together a pizza, and their pricing is much, much better than I remember. On top of that, ordering online puts a whole new spin on the process, making it substantially easier and giving you convenient lists for what constitutes the best deals (unless, of course, those deals tempt you to order more than you might otherwise have ordered…).
Jet’s Pizza: I’m not sure why pizza seems to bring out the worst in our little group. I know it’s my favorite food, one that I’ll continue to eat when I’m no longer hungry because I love it so much, but I’m not sure about the other guys. At any rate, Jet’s attraced our attention because it has sicilian style deep dish pizza, and our first foray with Jet’s was a rousing success. They do some neat stuff with their crusts, have an extensive menu which puts them on a par with other pizza chains, and even serve salads for those of you interested in such things. They have an online ordering system which is definitely preferable when you have a group like ours…
Grilling out: No, it’s not a restaurant. I have a charcoal grill that I’m almost always willing to fire up, and personally I don’t see the point in even starting a fire unless I’m going to do at least two pounds of hamburger and some chicken or something. We’ve seen all kinds of amazing things come off that grill: steak, chicken, pork chops, ka-bobs, hot dogs, hamburgers, various kinds of sausage…Any time we grill, you can count on at least two of us bringing enough food to feed a small army with the specific idea of having food for later. Plus my mother, a delightful lady, loves the taste of charcoal-grilled burgers so I always make her a few, and while I’m at it some marinated grilled chicken would be a nice thing for her to have, and you’re beginning to see how these things spiral out of control, aren’t you?
Kentucky Fried Chicken: Another chain fast food place. It really qualifies as a place of wretched excess because some of us will buy enough fried chicken to keep it and eat it later on. Or in the case of one of us who has no self control where fried chicken is concerned, eat it all over the course of four or five hours and then wonder where the whole chicken went. Good sides, some of the best fast food biscuits you can get, decent value, high portability and great left-over potential. And they’ll put a jug’s worth of ice tea in a cup too big to hold which actually comes with an-over-the-top handle. I only wonder why we don’t do Parker’s (a local barbeque joint, practically an institution in our hometown, with excellent fried chicken) instead…
Wings Over Greenville: Mark and Chris really, really, really love wings. And it’s true that this place—another chain restaurant, actually—brings something amazing to the table. It’s sort of our default place, and one of the things that gets us into trouble here is, once again, the high left-over value.