You should totally drink at the Rainforest Cafe.
The Rainforest Cafe inside the Mall of America is always a place I’ve wanted to go. I’ve walked by it countless times but have never ventured inside.
There’s always a crowd of people waiting outside. It’s tacky and loud. Animatronic animals shriek. The food is expensive and I’ve never heard anyone say it’s good.
The very first Rainforest Cafe opened in the Mall of America two years after the mall opened.
Back in 1994, Nickelodeon Universe was Camp Snoopy. Snoopy’s big, red dog bowl was an easy place to meet your friends. Sometimes my folks would take us to the Knott’s Berry Farm restaurant where I remember eating the best fried chicken ever. And inside the Rainforest Cafe, it didn’t just thunder and lightning, it also rained.
Ever since I saw that Office episode about Meredith trading sexual services with a supplier for a corporate discount and free Outback Steakhouse, I’ve wanted to eat at Outback Steakhouse. The episode closes with everyone in the break room happily feasting from a multitude of takeout containers. There’s no way you can watch that episode and not want to immediately go.
I’ve been waiting with bated breath to cash out my points for Outback Steakhouse.
At work we have a Facebook-like platform for recognizing our coworkers. Each month we get $5 worth of points to give away. Managers get more.
When you accumulate enough points, you can exchange them in the points store where you’ll find prizes ranging from jewelry to backpacks. There’s also gift cards to just about any chain restaurant you can imagine.
Some people hoard their points for years. Some only buy gifts for others. I cash out as soon as I get enough money to make a dent in a meal at a chain restaurant.
Upon transitioning into a more traditional 9-5 office job after moving back to the Twin Cities, I’ve become obsessed with office shows.
Office Space and The Office have a whole new meaning. Pete doing all those TPS reports, Andy putting a sandwich into his disk drive to break it so he can finally get a new computer. . .some may find these shows stressful but I find them cathartic.
Corporate (2nd season airing on Comedy Central) is like a more modern version of The Office. Sometimes it’s a little too real.
I’ve been thinking about the last episode of Corporate The Concert all week. It so perfectly and so comically depicts that pivot many of us made moving between our 20’s and 30’s. That of chasing as many activities as possible after work to being completely fine with chilling at home after work.
Someone should sponsor me to test out chain restaurant happy hours with friends. In exchange for sponsorship, we’ll eat and drink a bunch of things, after which I will post a recap (when it’s convenient for me) and even supply my own very average phone photo!
Why P.F. Chang’s?
There’s been a lot of discussion about Andrew Zimmern’s restaurant opening and Fast Company interview in which he calls P.F. Chang’s a rip-off and questions founder Philip Chiang’s Asian identity. Chiang had my favorite response to the whole shirtstorm in this Washington Post interview. He simply responds, ““I am not going to get involved in his muck. I am totally comfortable with who I am and with who I am not.”
I was also struck by local, third-generation restaurateur Edward Fong’s thoughtful response. Growing up in the south suburbs, one of my family members would occasionally invite us over for a take-out meal from one of the Fong family restaurants. It was such a treat and now I want to go back.
Every month I look forward to book club.
It’s a women’s book club that initially formed after the election via social media. We take turns choosing books written by women of all genres. I’ve learned I’m really good at is waiting until the very last minute to cram in each month’s book!
Besides the conversation and exposure to books I might not choose to read myself, I like trying new restaurants. Of course the places have to be conducive to a book club gathering (not too loud, not too small, not too busy where lingering at a table is going to cause an issue). We live all over the Twin Cities and rotate restaurants in different parts of the cities.
Restaurants have included Cooper’s Pub (fantastic veggie burger), Ginger Hop (loved their curries – though on the sweeter side) and Delicata (fantastic pizza with a crisp crust) and . Last month we met at Hy-Vee Market Grille in New Hope, MN. Yup, that’s Grill with an E.