Saturday, April 21, 2018

Baker's Ribs

Was craving some barbecue this evening so decided to give Baker's Ribs a try. It's been a long while since I last ate here, at least five years and probably longer. I do know the last time I ate at Baker's they were located on Greenville Avenue between University Blvd and Lovers Lane. That location apparently has now moved to NW Hwy and Skillman.

I got there around 7:15 p.m. and the place was mostly empty. There was a group of ladies who looked to have gathered for some meeting and were finishing up. There was an older couple sitting on the opposite side of the area. For all intents and purposes, it was dead! Not a positive outlook to start.

I ordered the three meat plate. It comes with a choice of two sides and either Texas toast or dinner rolls. I chose brisket, pulled pork, ribs, mac-n-cheese, green beans and dinner rolls.

I guess the ease of ordering was the best part of my visit. Here's my thoughts on the offerings I was served:

  • Dinner rolls look to have been pre-purchased versus baked in-house. They were soft but had no butter or any kind of flavoring added. They were served at room temperature in saran wrap.
  • Green beans tasted like they came straight from a can. No seasoning or anything. I mean simply adding salt and pepper would have made a flavoring difference. Instead it looks like there were white onions and almond slices which added nothing to the flavor.
  • Mac-n-cheese was quite runny. Watery cheese is not desirable. It too had no seasoning or even a cheesy flavor. After 7-10 minutes on my plate, the "cheese" started to show clumps which is a sure sign of too much water and not enough cheese.
  • Pulled pork was fairly dry. It had a little bit of smoke flavor but nowhere near enough to make it tasty or overlook the dryness. I had to add in quite a bit of barbecue sauce for some taste.
  • Ribs were tastier than the pulled pork. The meat pulled off the bone with ease. Ribs seemed to have a kind of peppery rub because I could feel the "burn" on my lips after eating one.
  • Brisket was much drier than the pulled pork, if that was possible! Marbling was nonexistent in the slices of meat I was served. The same slightly smoky flavor of the pulled pork was present. Due to the dryness, I tried adding, almost drowning, the brisket in barbecue sauce. However, it was still difficult to swallow the bites of brisket because of how dry the meat was.
  • Free soft serve is still offered. Many comments I've read speak of this as a final "blessing of the good eats" to have the free soft serve. I went to the soft serve machine and when I raised the lever, liquidy white stickiness sprayed all over my cone and hand. I guess my time was just not meant to end on a good note!

Things I take away from my visit:

  • It really reminded me of sub-par, quick, catering barbecue meal that serves hundreds at a big corporate meeting or company picnic because no one is paying attention to or cares about the true quality of the meal anyway.
  • The addition of a drive-thru window should have been a flag of expected quality. Quality cannot be served in a fast, drive-thru manner. To me, a drive-thru is for producing quantity.
  • Another flag. Even though the 'cooks' are right behind the 'cashier', they write my order in pen on the edge of the styrofoam plate so the 'cooks' know what to put on the plate. I was the only customer in line so how difficult was it to just tell the 'cooks' to add brisket, ribs and pulled pork to the plate? I'm not a freak about germs and poisoning but some people might be. As you can see in the photo, the brisket is splayed over the ink writing on the plate. If the meat was hot, it could cause the ink to run and/or seep into the food. This just shows me a lack of presentation and care from the business.
     
That's my experience. Take it as you will. I'm no "food expert" but I know what I like and what tastes good (to me) and there are too many other barbecue joints serving a better quality and much better tasting product, especially for $18.00! Therefore, I will not be returning to Baker's Ribs (at least the NW Hwy @ Skillman location) to fulfill my barbecue craving.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ

Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ. We've been talking about it for a couple of weeks so today, my coworker and I decided to take action.

According to Google Maps, Ferris Wheelers is 7.4 miles from our work place but because there is no major highway straight to their front door, it says it's a 21-minute drive. We questioned our desire to go for just a second before we decided to just do it!

So, with that, here's the lowdown from my perspective:

  • The mac-n-cheese was cheesy and mostly good but nothing to get amped about. I think it had BBQ Lays crunchies on top.
  • I got the moist brisket but also comes in lean or chef's cut. Brisket was tender and flavorful, especially the bark, but IMO nowhere as good as Cattleack's. I think it needs a little more marbling.
  • The ribs were pretty darn good. You can taste a hint of the brown sugar glaze and the meat easily pulls off the bone. Very tasty. I would go back for the ribs instead of the brisket which is a first for me. Again, the brisket isn't bad. I just know there is better elsewhere.

I ordered the two meat with a side meal and a fountain drink. I brought back four ribs because I had to return to work and would be uncomfortable or sleeping if I powered through it all.

One thing to note: YOU HAVE TO TELL THEM THE TYPE OF BRISKET YOU'D LIKE: MOIST, LEAN or CHEF'S CUT.

If you read the menu or paid attention to my mentioning of it above, the brisket comes in three choices. The default choice they will give you is chef's cut which is a bit of lean and moist. I know this because I read the menu and I also saw a brisket cut ordered by someone else that I do not like (dislike the cut of lean not the someone else). I asked the cashier about the meat choices and she explained what I just explained.

FINAL VERDICT: I think it's definitely worth a visit or two. There IS a ferris wheel but only runs on the weekends I think.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Bad Batch (2016)

The Bad Batch (2016). Just finished watching this movie...over two days. It took me this long not so much because it was tough to watch (though it was a little) but because I started it at work and then I had to go home for the day and didn't start watching it again until I was halfway through the next day at work.

So, I got this email that said something like "We've added a movie you might like." I clicked on it and added it to my queue for possible viewing later. I then saw a few random trailers that popped up on the internet about this movie being released. I didn't really know the concept of the movie but figured it couldn't be too bad since it had Jason Momoa, Suki Waterhouse, Jim Carrey, Keanu Reeves and Giovanni Ribisi.

I was wrong!

This movie was slow, boring, terrible and mostly without a very good story. I don't know who thought this would be good to make, who thought this was good after making or why the 'bigger-named' actors would have chosen to do this movie unless they thought it was 'indie'. I don't know. I just wasn't feeling it!

FINAL VERDICT: Pass. I'm not sure that I remember anything of relevance that would make me want to revisit this movie and watch again. Not fully or in parts.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Silence (2016)

Silence (2016). I had a coupon for a free Redbox movie and thought it would be a good thing to try this movie with it so I wouldn't have buyer's remorse if I actually spent money to rent it. The movie trailer and poster both have Liam Neeson prominently shown in/on them in his Jedi-esque form. However, Liam plays a very quiet and limited role. The main roles are portrayed by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver. Garfield's beard looks incredibly sad and fake. Driver's beard is much better but his physique is very gaunt and that's before he endures trials and tribulations later in the movie.

The synopsis on both IMDB and Redbox do not fully introduce what this movie is about. The Redbox version is way better though. I guess I just didn't read it very well or pay attention while I read it. It just wasn't what I expected. The movie is VERY long and I endured it to watch in one day but my wife was pretty much done after the first forty-five minutes. There are definitely parts that could have been edited down/out to make watching less of an endurance challenge.

VERDICT: I did not totally dislike this movie but I cannot recommend it to anyone. Like I said, it's long and drawn out. If you are really interested in the story and want to occupy two and a half hours of your time with a slow-moving movie, then by all means rent it. Otherwise, find a highlight reel somewhere.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Trolls (2016)

Trolls (2016). Watched this movie today...all by myself. My kids have gotten to an age where they don't really care to watch too many “kid” movies anymore. I try to just enjoy the entertainment value of the movies versus look at them as child, kid or adult.

Anyway, this movie has the voice-over talents of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Baranski,, Jeffrey Tambor, Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani, John Cleese, James Corden and others.

So the movie has a similar story line like many other animated movies or “family” movies in general: something happens bad; someone has to step up and save the family/village/day, someone(s) learns something special about themselves along the journey and in the end everyone (mostly) lives happily ever after. You get the gist.

The songs are poppy and relevant. The movie is mostly on the happy end of the spectrum (as it should be since they’re ‘happy’ trolls) with the occasional glum-turns to-glad scenes.

VERDICT: It is worth a $1.50 rental from Redbox or free if you can get it. I wasn’t wowed but I wasn't disappointed either. If you have young children about 9 and below, they’ll enjoy it for the sheer entertainment value from the bright colors and singing.


Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Velvet Taco - Dallas

I don't know how long it's been in Dallas but I got a chance to eat at Velvet Taco for the very first time.

We have a new employee in the office and as an office, we all went out to lunch to celebrate his birthday (even though his actual birthday was a week or so ago). I didn't really care to celebrate his birthday as he hasn't made the best of impressions upon me but I felt like I could use it as an excuse to try Velvet Taco as that was his choice for dining.

As you can see from the photo, I ordered the Grilled Flank Steak and the Cuban Pig. There was a little bit of a wait after ordering but both were pretty good. They aren't something that I would make a long drive to get but I will probably make a few more trips just to get a chance to try other options for a better assessment.

One thing to note about this location is there is limited seating and even more limited parking. I would definitely time a visit around their busy hours.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Packers defeat Cowboys 01/15/2017

Dear Cowboys friends and fans,

I must apologize and take responsibility for causing the Cowboys' loss to the Packers today.

No, it wasn't the seemingly blatant favoritism towards the Packers by the refs: their bad-calls/no-calls, no-calls/bad-calls.

It was me!

Frustrated, I stopped watching at halftime with Cowboys 10 Packers 21.

Sometime later while surfing the web, I saw an update showing the game score tied at 31. So, I turned the game back on with 53 seconds left and well, you know how it ended.

Yeah, I have that kind of power. The Force is strong in my family although I'm the only one who has it.

So anyway, again, it was me and not the officiating.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Jeep CJ66 Retro Wrangler

Just saw an article (here while it lasts) about Jeep showing a retro Wrangler concept vehicle to celebrate their 50th birthday.

In the photo, it looks like a Hot Wheels die cast toy.

All I can say is, "I want!!"

I miss my 1990 Jeep Wrangler. I should have never sold it.

I still don't know why I did.

Stupid.

That's why.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Hardcore Henry (2016)

Hardcore Henry (2016). Funny thing about this movie is that I was registered to attend a free screening of it a week or so before it hit the theaters. I'm a part of some screenings list—Gofobo I think it's called. I didn't get to make my screening because life happened. I was kind of bummed because watching the trailer I felt like it was an interesting way to shoot a movie. It's like watching a first-person video game without having to worry about controlling the character.

So when this hit Redbox, I knew I wanted to rent it. To double the fun, I got it for free with a coupon code! Yay, me!

The movie is fast-paced. It's like the poor guy never gets a break. There's a lot of action and blood. Perfect for the manly man...or woman. I could go on and on but I wont.

VERDICT: Rent it. It's not a cinematic masterpiece. It doesn't have an overwhelming story line or plot. It's just...pure fun.

Friday, August 26, 2016

I need to make more money

I'm about to move to a new place. Move in is September 1st. I have to prorate rent on my current place for three days, 1st thru 3rd, so I can move out and clean the place. It'll run about $210 for those three days. I have to pay $2,100 for the first month's rent. I have connection and reconnection fees for utilities.

It sucks!

This will be an extremely rough month financially, particularly because it follows an already tough month of August.

In August, there was school registration for both children, one college sophomore and one high school senior. Books for the college student. Band registration and fundraising as well as theater performance dues for the high school senior. Both need new laptops for school. One of the current nine-year old laptops is dead and the other one is dying.

I had to put our family pet's recent surgery on a payment plan with Care Credit. If I don't pay the $1,700 within eighteen months, I'll pay a whole lot in deferred interest.

I already had a payment plan for a recent ambulance ride and E.R. visit for the wife. That started out at like $1,400.

I also have a few more payment plans and just paying outs of accrued debt with interest that won't end for at least six months to a year.

But I try to remain positive. We have our health (barely/mostly). We have a place to move to (as long as nothing goes wrong). I have a job to pay for necessities as well as all this debt (well I have credit to pay and then some money from the job to make payments towards the credit).

So, life is good!