Monday, August 17, 2015

Follow the Flame!!! Better Burgers. Better Breakfast.

Apollo Burger is a family owned restaurant that's been in business for nearly 30 years and is now serving the breakfast you deserve, at a price you can afford, seven days a week. Fall out of bed and into one of their delicious new breakfast sandwiches, built to destroy your hunger pangs! Their signature sandwich is the Athenian Burger. Personally I love their Gyro (YEE-ros)sandwich and homemade onion rings. Apollo Burger also has a lighter side. Try a heart healthy menu offering such as Cranberry Walnut Salad. Get hooked on made-from-scratch rice pilaf or try their broiled chicken sandwich on a whole wheat bun.

Today I visited their location in West Valley, located on the north side of 3500 South at 2950 West, walking distance from the West Valley Intermodal Hub. Ample parking is available for dine in customers or if you're in a hurry there's a drive through option. One of my favorite sandwiches is the patty melt. I ordered the combo for $8.28+ tax which comes with a regular fry and drink. Patty melts are served on marbled rye with melted cheese and your choice of raw or grilled onions. Apollo Burger fries are thick and tender. Fry sauce is available at no extra charge. Their soda fountain has 8 Coke products to choose from including two non-carbonated and two diet drinks. There was a container of lemon wedges on the counter.

The dining area was clean. I relaxed in a comfortable booth and listened to Here Comes the Rain Again by the Eurythmics, playing overhead. Tables display a mouthwatering picture of an Oreo shake with the words: Don't let your sweet tooth get you down. Dive into one of our delectable new hand scooped shakes! I always find that particular marketing tack humorous, as if anyone would try to scoop ice cream with their feet. Other dessert menu items include baklava and rice pudding. I notice the little touches, such as (complimentary) individually wrapped mints, to freshen your breath and improve digestion. You bus your own tray, no tip is required. The women's single stall restroom was clean but didn't smell good. The entire restaurant could do with a makeover. I noticed one of the burgundy cushions, in a booth for two, had been lifted up and no longer fit snugly inside it's bench.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

How Provincial was my Palate

Having challenged myself to dine somewhere new each month, I asked a wellness guru for her recommendation. "Caffe Niche (pronounced Neesh)," she said, without hesitation, "everything on the menu is good." Conveniently located on the NW corner of 800 E & 300 S, this downtown Salt Lake City neighborhood restaurant is just two blocks from the 900 E. Trax Station. Indoor dining as well as patio seating are available and there's a hitching post for bicycles. The noise level was a little loud because of an event going on that night. The menu lists sixteen different beverages, in addition to adult livations. I had a diet virgin Cuba Libre in a tall glass with a lime wedge.



The atmosphere is relaxed, their decor is simple yet elegant. I was seated promptly. My server made sure my water glass was always full. I began the meal with a house salad consisting of organic mixed greens tossed in zesty lemon vinaigrette, Niche candied walnuts and dried currants. Then ordered an entree, organic half chicken roasted in a marinade of herbs, garlic and lemon with a side of warm red quinoa and arugula. Eating quinoa was a new experience for me. Here's a description from Dietriffic.com "The taste and texture of quinoa is a bit like brown rice crossed with oatmeal. It's fluffy, creamy, crunchy and somewhat nutty, all rolled into one."

The women's single occupancy restroom was clean and neat with fragrance sticks from Golden Braid Books. After washing, I used a cloth like linen wipe and my hands were in heaven. I had to ask where they order them - Hoffmaster. Having made room for dessert I ordered chocolate verrine. That's what you call chocolate mouse, salted caramel, white chocolate pearls and whipped creme fraicne layered artfully in a small thick glass. Texture is important to me. For instance when enjoying a soft chewy cookie I don't want to bite into a hard candy shell. Though aesthetically pleasing and tasty, balls that go "crunch" don't belong in this mouth, when it's full of rich creamy pudding.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Does Santa Exist? by Eric Kaplan



I'm a big fan of the sitcom Big Bang Theory so when actress and PhD, Mayim Bialik endorsed comedy writer Eric Kaplan's book Does Santa Exist? on the back cover I picked up the book from a Libranian's Choice shelf and began reading. I'm a purveyor of trivia so while I don't agree with many of Eric's assertions I decided to share what I'd learned by posting an excerpt of an excerpt on my fb status as follows: Tantric Buddhist(s) get over dualistic consciousness by drinking menstrual blood and phlegm and mucus out of a skull- "Food and drink should be had as it comes and not be rejected by thinking in terms of what is acceptable and what is prohibited. One should not perform the rituals of bathing and cleansing or avoid vulgar behavior....He should eat all kinds of meat....He enjoys with all kinds of women having a mind free of all trepidation....He must eat the Five Nectars, drink liquor made from molasses, eat the poisonous Neem, and drink placental fluids. He must eat foods which are sour, sweet, bitter, hot, salty, astringent, rotten, fresh and bloody liquids along with semen. By means of the awareness of non-dual knowledge there exists nothing inedible." (Necklace of Jewels of Yoga) Footnote: The Tantric Buddhist leader Osel Tendzin had unprotected sex after he knew he had contracted HIV, spreading the disease to male and female followers. *Butler, Katy. "Encountering the Shadow in Buddhist America." Common Boundary Magazine (May/June 1990).

To which my brother in law commented "Love you kid but that's really hard to like and I know you were brought up better. Try to be more positive people love you." I realize the subject matter is not fit for dinner conversation but didn't expect my upbringing to be brought into the discussion and found it overwhelming since shimmering images remain of him telling my older sister (referring to our mother) "She's no platoon sergeant." anytime my older sister complained about her three younger siblings' lack of discipline. Other times he said my family is "inbred". She responded with laughter. I couldn't discern whether she was greeting his statement with nervous laughter or considered herself apart and laughed in derision of her own family; but she certainly did not defend, her younger siblings, (of which I am the eldest) or her heritage. Upon returning home from summer vacation I posed a question to my mother, "If this is the way he feels, why did he marry her? She's part of our family." Mom said, "People in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks." As a result of probing for specifics, I learned his father committed suicide.

Had I known, Eric Kaplan, who purports to "neither believe nor disbelieve in Santa/Christ" would treat those who keep the spirit of Christmas and or Santa Claus alive, with more disdain than humor- this gift giver and receiver, would not have picked it up. I am a blogger who watches Christmas specials in July and believes in the free expression of Christmas cheer. I expected a fun romp, perhaps a diagram of the reasons why, (even if they do exist) flying caribou along with Santa and his sleigh would com bust due to atmospheric pressures etc. Unless it comes after page 128, there was none of that. The reading did facilitate me sharing something about myself to my mother, "I have Sheldon Syndrome, and can't just stop reading a book I'm nearly halfway through, regardless of whether or not I am enjoying it." Then proceeded to read a passage to her. Upon completion, she said, "I give you permission to stop reading." Another thing the book has done is inspire me to write. Given, Does Santa Exist? passes for "The funniest book of philosophy since... well, ever." according to Matt Groening, I feel my stylus can do no wrong.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dreamlog Star Date 68353.9

For the umpteenth time, last night, my internet crashed. Giving up I put in a book on CD, John Grisham's The Rainmaker. The computer monitor went to sleep. Even though my eyes were closed, the absence of light, brought me out of near sleep. The tick tock of the clock served as a form of psychic torture, I wanted to tear if off the wall. After trying and failing to coax myself to sleep, I get up and put in the next CD.

Ah, the narrator's voice is peaceful, images of Matt Damon danced through my head. Drifting off to sleep, I thought-my writing has become darker than usual. I must have a lot of pent up anger trying to express itself. When my electric rooster sounded off for the third time this morning I roused and unlike most mornings, remembered my dream.

As well as I can put it together chronologically the story begins with me leaving my apartment. There's a group caroling outside which seems strange in the daylight. When I open the door, to leave, their ring leader tries to hand me some literature and or shake my hand. "I'm a Christian." I said. He doesn't like my tone. To be honest I'm feeling inundated with evangelists and just want to get on with my day.

"You don't sound like a Christian." He said, then pushed me back inside. I fall back against the door, but as I look up notice two men sitting in a car along the curb. The driver gets out and comes to my aid. He tells the evangelist that we're married. In truth he's a virtual stranger, but I play along.

The pushy evangelist takes out a table knife and expresses his disbelief by drawing a line across the man's bald head from one temple to the other. When he reaches the man's right temple blood appears. I'm terrified, but rather than, scream, like woman do in movies; I apply my "I'm an alien from another planet" skills and think- huh, I didn't know you could draw blood with a table knife.

While the evangelist with a taste for blood is dispensing "justice" he believes this man and I are living together, in sin; I run out to the man's car, briefly relay what's happened to my rescuer's passenger and start the car. We don't stop until we come to a rest area. While the young man uses the facilities I wait in what has now transformed into a van, the way things magically transform in dreams.

A vehicle full of the evangelist's minions pulls into the rest area. The van won't start so I put it in neutral and coast backwards. Now I can see my passenger, his head poking out of what looks like a foxhole. I open the sliding van door, signaling him, it's now or never. He doesn't move. I shut the door and try again to start the van. The engine sputters then ignites. The van is off, my assailants recede, no longer visible in the rear view mirror.

The scene changes. Having relocated, all is well until I start to enter a strip mall. Their security guard is no other than the evangelist. He questions me, as I walk away. Spotting a couple ahead of me, I clasp the man's hand and ask him to pretend to be my husband. Looking over my shoulder I whisper, "Someone is following me."

His female companion goes to their car and we proceed to mine. The man is bludgeoned and falls to the ground. I use random strangers as a human shield, by pushing them in the evangelist turned security guard's path. While dashing to my car I turn and see a trail of shoppers behind me. They look like fallen dominoes.

link: http://trekguide.com/Stardates.htm

Friday, November 21, 2014

Consumers vs Constituents

Did you remember to go to the polls on November 4th? If your confidence in the political process is waning, vote with your dollars. Your purchases drive future investment and production choices. Shopping online is like voting using an absentee ballet. You can do both from home in your underwear.

According to the latest Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index, which surveys 500 Utahns, optimism concerning business conditions in Utah and residents' feelings about the value of their homes has increased. Sadly, disparaging consumer reports, the number of shoppers trampled on Black Friday and boycotts get more media attention than positive shopping experiences.

Make no mistake, consumers are voting for “winners” and “losers” with their purchases. Products that do not sell as well as expected receive fewer resources. I'm going to share with you a few places I support with my dollars and why. Your choices may differ from mine, but every purchase counts, so go out there and shop your conscience.

Trader Joe's is a grocery store with amazing food and drink from around the globe and around the corner. TJ’s treats its customers like rock stars. Every time I'm there, I have a WOW experience. Staffers wear comfortable clothes and are full of product knowledge and shopping suggestions for any and everything in the store. A second Utah location in Cottonwood Heights is scheduled to open sometime in the first half of 2015, at 6989 S 1300 E, the site of a former Fresh Market grocery store.

Eat to give at Even Stevens in downtown Salt Lake City, 200 S 414 E. For every sandwich sold in their restaurant, a nutritious sandwich is donated to a local non-profit. Every sandwich, every day, no baloney! Food is more than just the means to end hunger; it's an opportunity to build a strong and healthy community. All donated sandwiches are made with sprouted wheat bread, high quality deli meat and natural cheddar cheese. For more information visit evenstevens.com

IconoClad offers exciting new clothing, local art, d├ęcor and crafts. Bring your lightly worn clothes to 300 S 414 E and you keep 50%! Anything that doesn't sell will be donated. When you buy any pair of Sesame brand earrings you can take an item from the free bucket, where there's something for everyone. View Seeds of the Sesame's full selection at www.seedsofthesesame.com

Happy shopping!

Monday, October 27, 2014

SAY 'YES' TO DREAMS

By Christine Ireland

Have you ever wondered what a strange, odd or just plain silly dream meant? I’ve had a few weird recurring dreams. Some I can only recall random pieces of, others flow through my brain like a mental movie (complete with rolling credits!) I woke up feeling both exhilarated and sexually frustrated after having phone sex with Wonder Woman. The face of a rotary dial phone literally appeared on my genitals. She lovingly put her finger in each number’s designated hole and slowly turned.

Perhaps your dreams have been boring lately. If so, choose to expose yourself to new experiences throughout the day. Dreaming allows our subconscious to process the day’s events. I work in a call center and watch superhero movies. New stimuli will make your dreams become exciting once again. Regurgitating one’s subconscious on paper may seem tedious or even ridiculous, but many a midsummer night’s dream or winter’s tale have given birth to narration. An alternative to writing your dreams is to keep a tape recorder near your bed or under your pillow so that you can verbally recount what happened in your dream.

Oscar Wilde said, “They’ve promised that dreams can come true, but forgot to mention that nightmares are dreams too.” Even those dreams that wake us up with our heart pounding and beads of sweat on our forehead can be used as a tool. With shut eyes nineteen year old Mary Shelley saw the pale student of the unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. Mary recounted the nightmare in her 1831 preface to Frankenstein "I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion."

Whether writing for pleasure or profit, your dream log could be a gateway to published imagination. Dreams can be recorded in a paper diary (as text, drawings, paintings, etc.) or via an audio recording device (as narrative, music or imitations of auditory experiences from the dream). Many websites offer the ability to create a digital dream diary. The very act of recording a dream can have the effect of improving future dream recall. Keeping a dream diary conditions a person to view remembering dreams as important. Keep it daily to preserve details, many of which are otherwise rapidly forgotten no matter how memorable the dream originally seemed.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

R.I.P. Robin Williams

I was very excited about being promoted to the second grade, because during mixed group my first grade class joined the second grade. Their teacher had long flowing red hair and emitted a positive vibe. Instead of returning to my elementary school in Edison, Ohio the powers that be had me bused farther away, to an elementary school in the village of Mount Gilead.

There I met, one of my favorite teachers, Mrs. Parks. She called me over for a one on one math quiz. I sat across from her and put my hands under the table. When she realized I was counting on my fingers she said,"You don't have to hide your hands, you're allowed to use your fingers." I breathed a sigh of relief.

One of my classmates, JD Junk, frequently imitated Robin Williams' character from the popular TV series Mork & Mindy. JD would seemingly absorb milk through his finger and used the word, ShazBot, as an expletive. When called on, he gave us a fun diversion from the topic at hand. His signature move was to point at the lighting above our heads and say, "Na-Nu Na-Nu" (pronounced "nah-noo nah-noo"). At which point we waited for something magical to happen. This reminded me of watching Bullwinkle Moose try to pull a rabbit out of his hat. But even Mrs. Parks went flush when, no sooner were the words Na-Nu Na-Nu out of his mouth, the lights went out. Coincidence is a funny thing. Mrs. Parks resolved the current must have been interrupted, but for that brief instant, JD had ignited the willful suspension of disbelief.

Pam Dawber told ET NOW (4/10/2014) "That show made people really happy. It was a happy time of their lives, they loved it." This was certainly true for me. My dad was a fan of Jonathan Winters who played Mork & Mindy's child Mearth. He sometimes watched the show with me. I remember telling him, "I want to marry Robin Williams." When he asked, "Why?" I said, "Because he makes me laugh."

President Barack Obama: "Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien -- but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit," Obama said in an official statement Monday evening. "He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most -- from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin's family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams."