So-So Dinner, Splendid Company

For dinner tonight, we headed to Cranky Pat’s, a local pizzeria, to celebrate my brother’s 26th birthday. When I called to make a reservation for fifteen, I agreed to the waitress’ suggestion that we partake in the Monday special of a dinner buffet. This was a bad decision on my part.

I’ve only been to this particular pizzeria once before, at a different location in Neenah. We ordered several pizzas off the menu, and they were all delicious. Since I told the woman I spoke to on the phone today that we would be all there at six, I cannot completely blame them for the subpar selection. It is inevitable among our group of family and friends that if we intend to meet somewhere at one time, the entire group will not be all in one place until at least an hour later, if not more. Tonight was no exception.

While we waited for the party to gather, I had a Leinie’s Fireside Nut Brown:

Followed by a club soda:

Curious one evening as to the difference between tonic, club soda, and seltzer, Dave and I looked them up online. Since I couldn’t remember tonight, I had my brother check on his phone. Seltzer is basic carbonated water, club soda is carbonated water with sodium and potassium added, and tonic is sweetened carbonated water flavored with quinine. I guess I just like the taste of baking soda!

When everyone was finally seated at 7:30, we headed up to the dinner buffet to find a salad bar with iceberg lettuce, barren toppings jars, and no forks. Luckily, after checking every few minutes, I finally scraped up some reasonable toppings and a few slices of pizza.

Salad before toppings were refilled

Salad after toppings were refilled

My salad consisted of iceberg lettuce, a few olives, carrots, cucumber slices, mushrooms, tomatoes, green peppers, and hardboiled egg rings. I know there was a mushroom pizza, but I’m not quite sure what the other two slices were. Perhaps my expectations were set too high from years of saying “We should go to the Cranky Pat’s in Green Bay!” but, needless to say,  I was disappointed. The pizza was lukewarm, greasy (I used three napkins to dab off grease), and relatively floppy (thin crust is not my favorite but I like it crispy). I could have eaten another piece of pizza, but I decided to save room for dessert. If we go there again, I definitely intend to order off the menu. Freshly baked pizza is worth it!

Since the staff said it was perfectly fine to bring in our own dessert, we had it at the pizzeria. The Nutty Chocolate Dream Pie (aka Ty Pie, because it was created exclusively for my brother) was everything I hoped it would be. The two first layers were barely distinguishable in color, but the overall effect of nutella, peanut butter, and mascarpone with dulce de leche and graham cracker was superb. I’m definitely going to make this again. (For those interested in nutritional stats, one slice of this pie [1/16 of the overall pie] was 250 calories, not terrible considering a slice of French Silk pie is about 600 calories).

My group of friends convinced me to go out for a few drinks afterwards and since it was relatively early, I couldn’t pass up the chance to hang out for awhile longer. We went to C Street, a downtown bar with a candle-lit atmosphere, cocktail servers, and good music…if you choose it yourself)! I had two vodka seltzers with lime.

Vodka Seltzer in candlelight

I talked exercise with a few of my friends throughout the night. Many of them, like me, are anxious to get back to being fit; one of the braver ones is even making her way through P90X! On the drive home, I was thinking of an I Love Lucy episode Dave and I watched a few weeks earlier. In the episode, Ricky tells Lucy if she can lose 12 lbs in four days to fit in a particular costume, she can be part of his show. Lucy spends the following days eating nothing but celery sticks, running around the apartment, and sweating off the last few pounds in a hot box she rents.

It is amazing the things we will subject our bodies to to lose weight. Depriving ourselves of carbs, eating nothing but cabbage soup, powering through the day on only coffee and cigarettes, exercising like maniacs, performing ‘detox diets,’ running in the sun covered in a black plastic trash bag (yes, I saw people in high school wrestling do this to get down to their weight goal).

I think (or perhaps hope) the ‘diets’ and ‘skinny fads’ of the past are ‘lifestyle’ and ‘fit fads’ of today. Instead of wanting to be skinny, it seems more people are focused on being healthy and strong. We want to eat real food, exercise, and feel good about the way we look and feel. We want to get out of the shower, see ourselves in the mirror and say “Damn, I look good. And I earned it.”


6 thoughts on “So-So Dinner, Splendid Company

  1. So this is an older post, but I just wanted to let you know that your tonic/club soda/seltzer paragraph caught my attention. I gave up soda for Lent (and hopefully mostly for good!) so I’ve been trying to drink a lot of water, but sometimes you just want something fizzy. So today I bought a bottle each of club soda and seltzer to try them out. Currently sipping a club soda with ice and lime while working on lesson plans. Verdict: delicious! Thanks for suggesting it. I have high hopes for not craving super sugary sodas anymore. 🙂

    • I’m actually starting to prefer club soda or seltzer as a mixer instead of tonic! My craving for sugary drinks was never high, now it’s nearly nonexistent. I do still enjoy a soda every once in awhile though. The new Zevia sodas are fun!

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