Tag Archives: food

Sweet, Sweet Ambrosia of the Gods

It was almost three weeks ago when I began to view the Swiss Farm Stores with curiousity. It’s a small grocery chain located only here in Delaware County, and their two main selling points are 1) that it’s a drive-thru grocery store, and 2) the buildings are shaped like large white silos. These two gimmicks alone practically assured my patronage, but the question was when that destined visit would actually occur.

This morning, I decided that today was going to be the big day. My stocks of Florida Orange Juice had been severely depleted, and this week’s schedule of soccer, frisbee, and intense research coring demanded vast amounts of Gatorade and/or Powerade. Visiting the website, I found that both Gatorade and Powerade were on sale, with the offer expiring today, imagine that! It seemed that destiny was already on my side.

So I quickly printed out an order form (not neccesary, but I’d rather fill out a form than talk to a person), and scanned the contents. Orange juice, check. Powerade (which was cheaper), check. Eggs, check. Breakfast muffin sandwich since I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, check. That was all I needed, I thought. But on one final scan, my eyes suddenly caught onto one additional product, inconspiciously listed and not on sale.

In my senior year of high school, I had three major concerns about coming up to Swarthmore. First was Swarthmore’s infamously brutal workload. Second was the cold yankee winters, and having to deal with snow in increments of feet rather than quarters of an inch. And third, the one which everyone laughed at me for, was how I could possibly survive without sweet iced tea. It was my favorite drink since childhood, the perfect complement to almost twenty full years of meals in the South. What else was there that I could possibly drink? I didn’t know, and I was scared, and I seriously considered staying close to home at UNC just for the sweet tea. I didn’t know what to do. I was lost.

Somehow, I’ve endured two long school years without my ambrosia. But here, on the Swiss Farm Stores order form, I finally found my salvation from the lonely months of suffering. When I saw that they carried Southern Brew Iced Tea in 1/2 gallon and full gallon containers, my heart exploded with joy. This is where I leap into the air, in slow motion, with a face filled with pure ecstasy, fists pumped into the sky.

My mind was filled with nothing but thoughts of sweet tea as I drove to the nearest Swiss Farm Store. I’m sure that I sped through about four red lights and didn’t even notice or care. Sweet tea is like my heroin, and I will go to whatever lengths necessary in order to obtain it.

The actual ordering process was completely anticlimactic. A surly high school dropout took my form and trudged into the silo. A few minutes later, he emerged with a few plastic bags filled with my goods…except…no sweet tea…I was sinking into a sea of despair…and loneliness…

“We ran out of the 1/2 gallon size of the Southern Iced Tea. Do you want the full gallon?”

The siren’s song lifted me out of my black seas of darkness, and I answered yes as angels began to descend from the clouds above. After I paid, I drove home and my car seemed to levitate above the ground, lifted by the white angels. So yes, it’s actually exactly like heroin.

So now I’m sitting at my computer drinking this Southern Brew Iced Tea. It’s not bad. There’s way too much lemon, for one. Certainly no Bojangles iced tea, but then again, what is? It’s better than Nestea or Lipton at least, and it’s the closest I’ve come up here in this foreign and hostile country of The North. All I can think about right now is: I need another fix.

Links to come later.


No Spinach For You

I’ve heard many things about Popeye’s, both good things and bad things. I’ve heard stories of chicken destroying digestive systems, and chicken completely transcending the realm of fast food chicken. And everything they have is somewhat spicy, which immediately perked my interest. So Barry and I headed out on a pilgrimage to the nearest Popeye’s last week, to dig up the real truth.

Barry is a bit averse to spice, so we ordered mild chicken, along with a side of mashed potatoes and some biscuits. Stunningly, Barry has never had coleslaw before in his entire life, which knocked my socks off. But we decided to play it safe, and ended up finding out that even the mashed potatoes and biscuits were slightly spicy, and amazing.

Meanwhile, the chicken was extremely mild, to the point where even the biscuits were spicier. It was also very greasy and very salty; I really wasn’t bowled over by it. But I vowed to return at some future date to sample their spicy chicken, which I hoped would come close to the style of the inimitable and immortal Bojangle’s of home.

Turns out, the return trip was made this past weekend, and I strolled up to the counter and ordered the spicy chicken, and some cajun rice, probably to make further Bojangle’s comparisons, as their dirty rice was my absolute favorite dish as a child. Somehow, it ranked higher than pizza, ice cream, hamburgers, or any of those other childhood favorites. Combined.

The cajun rice was quite good, but surprisingly it was still outstripped by the spicy biscuits and mashed potatoes. But not too bad at all. The chicken, meanwhile, was still salty and mild; I’m pretty sure they got the wrong kind of chicken for me, but by the time I found out I was already far far away, in the magical realm of Mary Lyons.

So in terms of spiciness, Popeye’s ranks its dishes as follows:
Mashed potatoes > Biscuits > Cajun rice > Chicken
Whereas at Bojangle’s, the ranking is:
Chicken > Cajun rice > Mashed potatoes = Biscuits
Nearly the exact opposite. Funny how the two are supposed to be compared then.

Overall? I’ll give Popeye’s a B thus far, though that grade will not be final until I have some truly spicy chicken. I find it amusing that I’m applying such culinary criticism to a fast food joint like Popeye’s, because I’m not even sure how I would go about giving grades to my fast food mainstays such as McDonald’s or Burger King. All I know is that Bojangle’s still gets an A+++. All you yankees and left-coast denizens just don’t know what you’re missing. Oh man, just thinking of Bojangle’s makes images of sweet iced tea and dirty rice dance in the air above my laptop’s keyboard.

A lot of links comin’ at ya:

Captain Crunch; The Beacon of Hope

I was beginning to suspect that everything Trader Joe’s touched turned to pure gold, in other words I was beginning to become one of those frighteningly cultish Trader Joe’s fans who seem to shop there everyday, and have started their own blogs dedicated solely to Trader Joe’s products and openings. Fortunately, I will not be heading down that road, as I’ve discovered that this Mango & Apricot Yogurt O’s Cereal is not one of the more delicious things I’ve ever tasted, and in fact ranks fairly close to the bottom.

I’m now intrigued by the silo-shaped Swiss Farm Stores that seem to populate the area, and how good their breakfast is, and will explore that possibility at some future time. Looking at their official webpage, which is basically one long flash cartoon with very little actual information, this has tremendous upside potential.

Today’s links:

Another photo: