the combo – ribs & booze & lame (a flashback)

this one is long, but it should have a couple notes…

…firstly, it’s not “perfectly aged” because there was no bit for today. that being said, it’s old enough to drive (sixteen years old) and i haven’t been back to a friday’s since, and i didn’t go back to a chili’s for over fifteen years after. we call this “the uncle arthur protest”.

only if you’re

by sean ~ April 26th, 2006. Filed under: Uncategorized.

a manager, a hostess, three waitstaff, and a cook came to my table tonight…

…and it wasn’t even my birthday.

and it’s not like that one time…when i kinda let it slip that i just MIGHT be a food critic from the local weekly free paper…

…and then again i might NOT be.

no, this time i did something that they never expect, and i never expected the reaction i got. let me give you the back story – saturday, i went and got my car down in san antonio. i was in a good bit of dental pain, so i was hopped up on some fronted vicodin, and had an odd craving – ribs & booze. there was a chili’s. need i say more? we ALL know the fucking song, right?

”i want my baby back, baby back, baby back, baby back, baby back…ribs…”

so i got a margarita and ordered up some ribs…

…and both sucked horribly.

not that chili’s hits the top mark in either category in my world, but i didn’t expect lameness to this degree. no buzz from the rita (and the vic one fading fast) and the ribs were dry and lifeless – and there we were. dessert wasn’t bad, but that was all that was worth a shit out of the meal.

“kinda sucked” would be an understatement.

so today, i get off work, and alex is (shock, gasp, shudder) shopping – so i head to the arboretum (outdoor overpriced shopping area in north austin, that i will admit is kinda pretty, and has the coolness factor of being where kramer’s ex made us go for ice cream, only for me to have a puppy follow me into amy’s ice cream, and we now all know that puppy as “calum”). i guess i’m odd – after a stressful day at the office lately, i am in NO mood to look around, particularly in stores that sell exclusively female attire where my only job is to say, “yeah, that looks cute”, or “no, that doesn’t look cute”. in fact, thinking of that on top of the day i had made one word pop to mind:


so, i headed to tgi fridays, only to get derailed by the new cafe serrano’s they have out there now. this worked out grandly because serrano’s doesn’t have their liquor license at that location yet, so they can’t sell booze…but they CAN give it away. which they did tonight. limit two. but two FREE margaritas on a nice patio? that’s my kinda way to wrap up the day. i was thinking enchialdas until alex showed up and vetoed it – and asked if there was anything else i might want. the answer was simple…

ribs & booze

and next door was a tgi fridays! so, away we went – and soon i had a margarita the size of a fish tank in front of me, and was staring down the menu, which had not one, not two, but THREE baby back ribs options. had i died and gone to heaven? me thinks so…

…until me started to eat. then, reality set in. L.F.R.


perhaps this is the just the curse of the chain restaurant. although the logan’s roadhouse folk throw down some good ribs – but chili’s and friday’s? l.f.r., baby. twice in a row? my voice needed to be heard…just wait till i get my receipt. you know how you always get that toll-free number where you can call in? win a free appetizer? or a chance at $25,000? or BOTH? yeah, just wait till they get a load of me!!!

the bill came. no survey.


i looked all through the little black folder they put your receipt in – a receipt. a clear slot for a charge card. a little corner pocket for if you stuff in cash. the visa logo. an embossed “where it’s ALWAYS friday!!!” yeah, well, apparently friday is “lame fucking ribs day” in your world. but not in mine.

before we go any further with this, allow me to digress…there WERE three rib choices. how do i know i made the right one? simple – these were your basic choices.

a. ribs with jack daniels glaze (i’d had these before, and they were nothing special)
b. ribs with friday’s own bar-b-que sauce (and we know how i feel here)
c. ribs with BOTH sauces (how fun – double the mess, half the taste!!!)

here’s what it boils down to folks – these places put their signature glaze/sauce/slime on their ribs for one reason – the meat sucks. it’s shit quality. it’s cooked too fast, and as a result is neither tender nor falling off the bone like good ribs should…but if you slop enough slime on it, maybe nobody will notice.

i noticed.

at the tap room in san marcos i can kill a whole rack or ribs and never need a napkin, a wet nap, or a KNIFE. a fork will do, and it just falls off the bone. THAT’S good ribs. i believe i will go there this weekend. but for now, back to the friday’s story…

so, the waitress comes up to get the bill and run the card, and asks if, before she does so, i need anything else…and i reply, “yes – a comments card, please”.

time suddenly stopped, and for a few seconds, it seemed as if it might just stay friday forever after all.

“do you need to speak to a manager?”
“no – this goes above local management”
“was there a problem with the service?”
“no – you did fine…it was the food”.
“i’ll get my manager and the kitchen manager…”
“no, i just need a simple fucking card…”

she was already gone. and all of a sudden there’s a guy in a vest. you know what i’m talking about. and he’s accompanied by a guy in those ridiculous chef/clown/buff guy with the mullet at the gym pants. and other wait staff. and a hostess. i think the latter has to come no matter what – kinda like that required cop whenever a fire truck and ambulance have to come out. i almost waited for them to spring into some lame birthday song out of habit.

there was no song.

i called there bluff. four people standing over me in ridiculous outfits with a combined total income of the guy who cuts my grass is not going to phase me – sorry. i’m big. i’ve had large needles stuck through the head of my dick. i’ve had guns pointed at my face. you can’t do SHIT to me in a room with “charlie’s angels” posters and atari 2600s stuck to the walls. i just held out my hand…

“give me my receipt to sign and a comment card OR the number to some corporate comment line, please – this is above you people…don’t say a word, just do what i say and this all can end peacefully here…”

the crowd dispersed. i have my bill. i have a number. i have a slip, where after i make my comments i can write in a code and get a free appetizer…up to eight dollars!!!

i’ll write in the code…but i doubt it will ever get used.

folks, stop eating at lame fucking restaurants just ’cause they’re convenient. start choosing your food wisely – the only reasons these places with lame shit stay in business is because after a round of gapness or six hours at best buy it’s right fucking there – you already suckled at the corporate teet for the shit in the trunk – fill your gut with something worth while.

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