Category Archives: Guilty Pleasures

A&W Root Beer Served The Way Root Beer Should Be Served

On my way out of Palm Springs along Interstate 10, I found an A&W Restaurant just outside the Morongo Hotel And Casino. This was not a combination A&W store with another one of Yum! brands like Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Taco Bell, Long John Silvers, etc. This was an A&W restaurant that was just an A&W restaurant. This was exciting since all the San Diego A&W’s were combination stores and all of them withdrew the A&W portion of the stores, it means the only chance to sample A&W is on the road outside of San Diego.

When I got there, it was about a half hour before they opened. I was surprised they weren’t opened earlier as it was 10:30 am when I stopped by. I didn’t want to just find the next A&W because I might not see another one on the road ahead, so I went for a quick fill up on gasoline at Morongo’s gas station and then just waited for the A&W to open. At about 10 minutes left to go before the placed opened there was a line forming outside the door. Apparently I wasn’t alone in my want for A&W Food. Sure it’s not what I really should be eating but it’s an out of town treat.

Once it opened, I opted to get a burger combo and removed the bun, like I usually do at burger joints. But I was interested in the upgrade of the fries to Wisconsin Cheese Curds. Thanks to my friend Caroline Bender for introducing me to what Cheese Curds really are, I was anxious to try these. I had never tried Cheese Curds until Caroline introduced me to them because I didn’t know what a curd was and it sounded disgusting. So now that I’ve been corrected and know that cheese curds are delicious plain, let alone deep fried like they were here at A&W.

Continue reading A&W Root Beer Served The Way Root Beer Should Be Served

Tim Tam Shortage Not Happening Thanks To Cost Plus World Market

The disappearance of the Tim Tams at Target turns out to be not such a big deal. Despite Pepperidge Farm putting Tim Tams on a seasonal hiatus, leave it to another retailer to come to the rescue. Cost Plus World Market carries Tim Tams year round, directly imported from Australia and under the true manufacturer’s brand name. As these too are packaged for the US market, and Pepperidge Farm has the license to the Tim Tam name for the United States, they are simply called “Arnott’s Original” or “Arnott’s Chewy Caramel” at Cost Plus instead of Tim Tams. As anyone can clearly see in the picture on the package and the distinctive Tim Tam style package, they are Tim Tams even if Tim Tams is not printed anywhere on the package.

The only unfortunate thing is that the Tim Tams at Cost Plus tend to be a bit more expensive. However, joining the World Market Explorer Rewards Program, they send you frequent coupons. For example when I joined up they were having a member sale on the Tim Tams that brought them down to very reasonable price plus they emailed me a coupon to take an additional $10 off my purchase of $30 or more. So I was effectively able to drop the price down to $2 a package, which was a better deal than I found most of the times at Target. Additionally Cost Plus is always sending some form of coupon deal, so even though “Tim Tams” as packaged by Pepperidge Farm are disappearing shortly, a quick stop at Cost Plus World Market ensures it won’t be a summer without “Arnott’s Original” and “Arnott’s Chewy Caramel” biscuits (aka Tim Tams *wink* *wink*)

Continue reading Tim Tam Shortage Not Happening Thanks To Cost Plus World Market

Where Have All The Tim Tams Gone?

My recent visit to Target also brought about an unexpected and not so happy sight to be seen. The Pepperidge Farm Cookie section in Target not only had no Tim Tams left, there wasn’t even a spot on the shelf for them any more! This criminal injustice left me a bit angered at Target because in the heat of the moment, they were the easiest uhm… target… to be upset with.

If you’re not familiar with Tim Tams, they are just the most amazing cookies from Australia (although Aussie’s will correct you and state they are “biscuits” not “cookies”). In early 2009, Pepperidge Farms cookies brought them in to be sold at Target exclusively for a limited period of time to test them out to see if they’d take off in popularity here in North America. The Tim Tams are not actually made by Pepperidge Farms, but by Arnott’s of Australia, who in turn just wrap the cookies in Pepperidge Farms logo packaging and ship them off to America. So to those who think the Pepperidge Farms packaged Tim Tams are inferior to Australia’s Arnott’s labeled Tim Tams, they’re exactly the same and made by the same machines.

Of course, this original test marketing was right around the time I was starting the Belly Fat Cure so cookies were not part of that plan due to the high sugar content. I didn’t buy any of them during Target’s originally carrying the product but I certainly made sure to tell people about them because I really wanted to see them become a permanent product on store shelves here in America. I knew when the test was done they’d be gone, but I was hopeful they’d be back some day.

Continue reading Where Have All The Tim Tams Gone?

Press Your Luck Comes To The iPhone and iPod Touch

Press Your Luck was one of my favorite game shows from the early 1980’s. As a child I loved all the game shows of the period but one of the ones that always stood out was the short lived Press Your Luck with it’s host Peter Tomarkin. My brother and I used to enjoy the show, probably more for the Whammies than the actual game, as we were kids at the time. We loved to see the contestants hit a Whammy and have their money taken away so we could see one of the animated Whammy graphics come on and make the money disappear. They had so many wonderfully creative ones from ones that blew up a little dynamite detonator, to Whammies dressed like Boy George and the Beatles coming in to sing a little line from a tune before taking the money away. I also loved the sound effect from when the Whammy was hit, it just sounded like a dramatic electronic “Uh-oh.”

The game consisted of a round of questions where three players compete for the right to spin on the big board and earn cash and prizes, then a round of playing the spins followed by one more round of questions and then a final round of spins on the big board. The winner at the end of the game was the player who collected the most money in cash and prizes. Part of the strategy for the big board was to spin a few times to collect enough cash and prizes then to pass on the remaining spins to another player who would have to play those spins in the hope that the passed spins would force that player to hit a Whammy to steal their cash and prizes. It was a fun and high energy show that got quite competitive and a player could hit three whammies and stay in the game. A fourth Whammy eliminated them from the game.

Continue reading Press Your Luck Comes To The iPhone and iPod Touch

Indulging In A Little A&W

As some of my readers may recall, a few weeks ago I had a craving for some A&W food, and to my surprise discovered all the locations in San Diego County had closed up shop. (Click here to read about it if you missed it.) Since I was in Orange County for Robert Shadbolt’s birthday at Disneyland, I decided on the way home I was going to seek out one of the A&W’s on the way home from Disneyland. But I wasn’t really hungry and by the time I found the location in Mission Viejo with a slight diversion off the highway, it was a few minutes before they closed.

I didn’t really want food, so I elected to just get a Root Beer Float, except using the Diet Root Beer instead of the regular. Officially even those are a no-no items on my Belly Fat Cure program, because the ice cream has sugar in it, and the Diet Root Beer has aspartame in it. But as a Dr. Edward Taub frequently states, “Everything in moderation….including moderation.” And so I had a small Root Beer Float with two bad ingredients. On the Belly Fat Cure, I’m not supposed to have a meal that exceeds 5 grams of sugar and 2 carb servings or a 5/2. The Diet Root Beer Float was a 17/2, which is okay on the carb end, but 2 more grams of sugar than I’m supposed to have in a whole day. Still far better than the 57/4 getting the regular root beer version would have been. So I cheated on my program a little.

Continue reading Indulging In A Little A&W

Xanadu Returns To San Diego Tonight For One Night Only

XanaduTonight is the night that Xanadu returns to San Diego. No, it’s not the fantastic stage musical that was here for two months last year. (That’s actually opening up tonight as well, but further up the road in Costa Mesa.) Tonight, it’s the Original Motion Picture version of Xanadu starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly that is playing here in San Diego.

The movie is notoriously known for being a bad movie, as it has a very loose plot, but despite the fact the movie bombed originally, it’s soundtrack was a massive hit for the record label. The collaboration between Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and Olivia Newton-John (ONJ) on the title track, Xanadu has made the song one of Oliva’s biggest hits. Filling out the rest of the album are more fantastic songs by ELO and ONJ. Wisely, the songs weren’t put on the album in the order in which they appear in the movie, they were placed so that one side was the ELO side and the other side was the ONJ side. As the both acts draw different audiences, it made sure the fans of each artist could enjoy the work of their favorite if they weren’t as big a fan of the other.

Continue reading Xanadu Returns To San Diego Tonight For One Night Only

Virtual Speak & Spell

Speak And SpellIf you were a child of the 1980’s like I was, then you probably either had one or had a friend who owned a Speak & Spell toy from Texas Instruments. It was probably most popular after it’s role in the film, “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” as one of the components used in the communicator built for E.T. to “phone home.”

In probably the first time I’ve actually turned my television to see anything being broadcast in over a year, I passed by either MTV or VH1 and caught sight of a Speak & Spell unit in the video for “Fireflies” by Owl City. This sparked a Google search and I read about the history of the device on the Wikipedia page for the Speak & Spell units. And probably a highlight of my search was an online emulator.

According to the website for the emulator, the flash program was inspired by an eBay purchase of an old Speak & Spell unit, which unfortunately wasn’t in a working state when he obtained it. So his emulator is able to recreate the sounds and some basic functionality but not all the various modes of the device. The Speak & Spell was a revolutionary toy at the time as it was the first time an educational toy utilized speech that was not recorded on a tape or phonograph, it was built into the solid state electronics of the device.

Continue reading Virtual Speak & Spell

Junior’s Sugar Free Cheesecake Arrives In San Diego

Whole Junior's CheesecakeWhen I was in New York, I went to a Junior’s restaurant specifically to try a slice of their sugar free cheesecake. It was absolutely incredible as I detailed previously on my blog. (Click here to see my entry about the Junior’s Sugar Free Cheesecake. So needless to say, I decided it was time to order a whole cheesecake and it was definitely good enough to justify a price tag of $29.95 plus $11.00 for shipping.

I placed the order for the cheesecake a week ago and picked to have it shipped on Monday, October 19th, for delivery today, October 21st. I had actually forgotten I had ordered it by the time the email from Junior’s showed up in my e-mail box to indicate the cheesecake had shipped and the e-mail also provided the UPS tracking number so I could monitor it’s progress on its way across the country to me here in San Diego.

I watched the cheesecake progress from it’s arrival at the Lawnside, New Jersey UPS center, it’s transfer to the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania processing center, where it was loaded onto a airplane and arrived at the Ontario, California processing center. As soon as it arrived there, I even reported to co-workers I told about the cheesecake that my cheesecake had landed in California. And soon after the cheesecake was sent to the UPS center in San Diego where it was loaded into a truck and arrived at my door in a brightly colored box in the Junior’s colors.

Continue reading Junior’s Sugar Free Cheesecake Arrives In San Diego

Amazing Sugar Free Cheesecake From Junior’s Cheesecakes

Junior's Sugar Free CheesecakeMy mom is an avid fan of QVC and about a month ago, I somehow ended up on QVC’s website and one of the items that popped up to look at was a Sugar Free Chocolate Mousse Cake from Junior’s Cheesecakes of New York. I ended up clicking on it just to check it out and it looked amazingly good. There were endless reviews of how wonderful the cake was, so I was intrigued. I saw they also had a Sugar Free Cheesecake listed that also was highly reviewed. As I am on a low sugar program I thought it might be worth trying one of these, but I was a bit hesitant to spend $30-$35 plus another $11 for shipping for a whole cake and QVC also charges tax, so a few more dollars on top of it for something I haven’t tried. Plus that’s a huge chunk of money for a single cake.

Well since I had an upcoming trip to New York, I decided I was going to wait on these expensive cakes and take advantage of the fact Junior’s has restaurants in New York and hunt one of the restaurants down while in New York and try a slice of their cheesecake. I looked up Junior’s website and found they have several restaurants in the New York area and it looked like for my visit to New York, my best option was to find the one in Times Square, so I added it to my agenda for New York.

Continue reading Amazing Sugar Free Cheesecake From Junior’s Cheesecakes

A Peanut Butter Variation of Nanaimo Bars

Peanut Butter Nanaimo BarsWhen I went searching on Google for images of Nanaimo Bars to help explain what they are to a friend of mine who didn’t know what they were, I came across a site that had some interesting suggestions for variations for making different kinds of Nanaimo Bars. I was most intrigued by the Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars variation and thought the next time I made some, I would give that a try. And of course, I would make my variation completely sugar-free so that it can be compliant with Jorge Cruise’s Belly Fat Cure program that I have been following.

The main changes to the basic Nanaimo Bar recipe is that I would replace the walnuts with peanuts and leave out the coconut out of the base layer. In the custard layer I would reduce the amount of butter used and replace it with peanut butter. In this case, I used Joseph’s Sugar Free Crunchy Peanut Butter, and the top layer would remain the same. So not too much different to try the variation. Fortunately I had some raw peanuts to use, and the sugar free peanut butter on hand to make it.

Continue reading A Peanut Butter Variation of Nanaimo Bars