A Reader Suggests: Fictional Restaurants

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It’s been a while since we’ve done a reader generated topic, mostly because no one has been submitting any ideas. Believe me – I’d love to let you guys to the work for me; coming up with blog topics is harder than y’all think. A few months ago, my pal Dino sent me this article from The A.V. Club about fiction restaurants that their writers would want to patronize as possible fodder for the blog. It was a great topic, but I wanted to mull it over since they highlighted some of the more obvious choices. Los Pollos Hermanos from Breaking Bad? Of course! Who doesn’t want some fried chicken with a side of meth? I’m fascinated by the burger of the day specials on Bob’s Burgers, so I would absolutely drop in for a bite if I was able. A chance to experience Luke’s gruff demeanor and watch some classic Lorelei and Rory banter at Luke’s Diner from Gilmore Girls – count me it! I’m positive that a night at Jack Rabbit Slim’s (Pulp Fiction) would be memorable; I’d absolutely order a $5 milkshake. The A.V. Club writers know their way around pop culture references, so if I was going to add anything to the conversation I was going to dig deep to think of some other fictional restaurants where I’d like to dine.

But I love a challenge, so I’ve been mulling this around in the back of my mind. I wanted to pick restaurants that I actually wanted to frequent – either because of the food, the ambiance or the people – rather than simply restaurants on shows that I like. They had to actually serve food as their primary purpose, so as much as I would love to hang out and throw some back beers at Paddy’s Pub it couldn’t make the cut.

So with those limitations in mind, here are some of the pop culture eating establishments where I’d like to spend some time:

The Dream Café (Seinfeld)

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I bet you thought I was going to say Monk’s, which wouldn’t have been a bad guess. I am, after all, a little obsessed with Seinfeld and the diner was one of the gang’s favorite hangouts. But other than spending some time with Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer, there isn’t much to recommend about Monk’s; the food never looked that appetizing (especially when Paco was working) and fittingly not too much really happened there.

Instead, I would rather dine at the establishment run by Babu Bhatt. The Dream Café had something for everyone; where else are the specials tacos, moussaka and franks and beans? Nowhere! No matter what you were craving, they had it on the menu – until Jerry came along and ruined the whole thing. Plus there were never any other customers, so I’d have the run of the place and it would be nice and quiet. On a good day, you might even get to help someone cheat on an IQ test.

 

Merlotte’s (True Blood)

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True Blood is borderline unwatchable at this point, but I still think Merlotte’s Bar and Grill might be a fun place to grab some onion rings. Seriously – I don’t know how they film those things, but they look delicious. I have no idea if Lafayette is actually a good cook or not, but I don’t know that it even matters – just to see him back there, throwing around some witty one-liners would be reason enough to give them my business. I imagine that the service sucks – one waitress in particular is always late to work or distracted by some drama – but the  visits from supernatural creatures and the cold beer would make up for it. You literally never know what is going to happen while you’re there. Sadly, Eric Northman makes fairly infrequent appearances at Merlotte’s which is probably the biggest mark against the establishment

 

Desautel’s (Treme)

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I am way behind on Treme, but one of the things I enjoyed about the show is learning more about the culture of the city of New Orleans. Not only has Treme expanded my knowledge of music, but it has also made me want to make a trip to the city just to taste some of the food thanks to the story lines involving chef Janette Desautel (Kim Dickens). When the show begins, she is struggling to keep her restaurant afloat after Hurricane Katrina and anything that she makes always looks delicious. I’m not even sure if I would actually like some of the food – I’m a total wimp when it comes to spiciness – but I’d be willing to give it a try. I’m craving crawfish and muffuletta just writing this – two things I’ve never actually had to eat.

Mel’s Diner (Alice)

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This one makes the list simply so I can hear Flo say “kiss my grits.” End of story.

 

Freddy’s BBQ Joint (House of Cards)

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Good BBQ is hard to come by and apparently there is no finer BBQ than Freddy’s. If Frank Underwood is willing to take time out of his plotting and scheming for some ribs, that’s some good eats.

 

JJ’s Diner (Parks and Recreation)

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Like Leslie Knope, I am a girl who loves waffles. I would eat waffles multiple times a week if it was socially acceptable. I’ve been known to give waffle irons as gifts, even to people who don’t really want them (I’m looking at you, dad). So if JJ’s Diner waffles are good enough for an overachieving perfectionist like Leslie, then this is a place that I need to be. And if I ever tire of waffles (heresy!), I can always try the heart-attack inducing The Four Horse-Meals of the Egg-Pork-alypse (a twelve-egg scramble, bacon, sausage, ham, hash browns, chicken-fried steak, and a giant tower of buttermilk pancakes).

 

Nuovo Vesuvio (The Sopranos)

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The Sopranos is one of my all-time favorite shows; not surprising given the brilliant writing, the gifted cast and its unflinching look at the mafia. But somewhere around the second season I noticed an interesting side effect – this show was making me hungry. By the time each episode was over, I was starving. I’m not even a big fan of Italian food – well, American Italian food – but all the meals on the show looked amazing. This was especially true of the Artie Bucco’s Nuovo Vesuvio, a frequent hangout of the Soprano crime family. Not only is the food mouthwatering – at least in the beginning – but there is always the possibility that you’ll be the witness to some illicit mob activity. That might not be appealing to everyone, but that’s a fun night for me.

 

Joe’s Pie Diner (Waitress)

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I’ve always thought that the 2007 film Waitress is underrated and deserved a wider audience. In the movie, Jenna (Kerri Russell) is stuck in an unhappy marriage and banks on winning a pie contest with one of her creative concoctions to earn her the money she needs to flee her husband. Her pies are regularly served at Joe’s Pie Diner and have secret names related to what is going on in her life. The marshmallow mermaid pie is called “biblically good” in the film, which is a pretty sound endorsement. Plus you get to hang out with Andy Griffith and that’s always a win.

 

Phil’s (Murphy Brown)

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The bar and grill frequented by the staff of the television newsmagazine FYI, I’m not sure if the food is the real draw. As a political scientist, I’d love to hang out at a watering hole frequented by DC insiders and politicians. Yup – I’m a government nerd, but I’d have a grand time speculating on all the backroom deal and political intrigue that was occurring in this Washington institution.

 

Steak Me Home Tonight (Happy Endings)

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I’m a big fan of food trucks; I was frequenting them way before it was trendy to do so. Back during my ill-fated tenure at UConn, one of the few things that really made me happy was a food truck on campus that made what seemed like the greatest breakfast sandwiches of all time. I looked forward to grabbing a bite there once a week – my treat for making it another week in the program – and I would be so bummed out if I missed them. That’s part of the thrill of food trucks – their unpredictability. There’s a burgeoning food truck scene here in Albany, which is quite the positive development. So it’s no surprise that I’d want to swing by Dave’s Steak Me Home Tonight from Happy Endings (R.I.P. – still not over it). I love me some cheesesteaks, which happen to be Dave’s specialty, and who doesn’t love some punny word play with their sandwiches. Plus he won the coveted “Truckies” award for best sandwich in Chicago – and those are people that know their sandwiches – and Colin Hanks has been known to drop by, so you know this place is legit.

Now it’s your turn – what fictional restaurants would you want to break bread? Sound off in the comments section. Bon appétit!

Got an idea for a blog post? Let me hear about it!

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Awards Season Edition

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – no, not Christmas, but the beginning of awards season. While some people are looking forward to decorating their tree or picking out the perfect present, I am anticipating all the great new movies that are coming out and who will be nominated for all the top awards. To me, December 25th is the day that The Wolf of Wall Street comes out; is there something else going on?

Until we are inundated with awards ceremonies, kill some time by perusing my biweekly roundup of pop culture stories that you may have missed. There is a lot of pop culture goodies this week.

  • Someone made a recreation of the mall chase scene in The Blues Brothers with LEGOs:

Shh….don’t tell anyone, but I’ve never seen The Blues Brothers.

  • Stephen Colbert, a huge Tokien fan, will have a cameo in the second The Hobbit film.
  • I am still mad at you people for not watching Happy Endings, but you can redeem yourself when the entire series airs on VH1.
  • This is great – some child actors re-enacted the “triple-dog-dare” scene from A Christmas Story on a NYC subway:

Seriously – my subway rides are so boring compared to this.

  • Lady Gaga is going out on tour; I’m trying to convince myself that I don’t have to go.
  • The Anchorman 2 publicity train made a stop at Saturday Night Live last weekend:

 

  • Ron Burgundy does some legendary sports calls:

 

  • Though his hosting duties on Sportscenter were scrapped, ESPN released Ron Burgundy’s interview with the great Peyton Manning:

 

  • Starting December 27th, AMC is airing every episode of Breaking Bad. So all you people that haven’t caught up officially no longer have any excuses. It will be followed by a marathon of The Walking Dead.
  • If you are still on the fence about seeing Frozen after my review, watch the full performance of the song “Let It Go.” If that doesn’t convince you, nothing will.
  • Everyone’s favorite local sports anchor is back with a segment with 43 Christmas Vacation references:

 

  • Speaking of…meet the contestants for the 6th season of perhaps America’s greatest reality show.

 

  • See Mad Men’s John Slattery before he became a silver fox:

 

  • Some Breaking Bad graffiti turned up in Leicester Square:

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  • There is a petition to name a newly discovered planet after Doctor Who’s homeland Gallifrey.
  • This star of Inside Llewyn Davis does a folk version of Katy Perry’s “Roar” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:

 

  • Dann Florek (Captain Cragan) is leaving Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
  • We have done something to anger the Gods; Rebecca Blank (“Friday”) is back with a new song, the aptly titled “Saturday.” Only 5 more days to go and this nightmare is over:

 

  • The Kardashian/Jenner clan (klan?) have released their Christmas card and it’s batshit crazy  (and missing a lot of people):

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  • The Killers cast Owen Wilson in their new music video:

 

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  • I have never had a barista this talented:

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  • Watch Snoop and Martha Stewart make some mashed potatoes:

 

  • Chris Elliott will appear on this season of Community.
  • Bart Simpson made an appearance on American Dad:

 

  • Actress Malin Akerman and her husband have split.
  • Jay Z ranked his own albums.
  • Benedict Cumbatch reading R. Kelly lyrics is fantastic:

 

Trailer break!

  • Barefoot with Evan Rachel Wood

 

  • A red band trailer (NSFW) for Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, Bad Words.

 

  • A teaser trailer for the new season of Community:

 

  • Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis in Jupiter Ascending:

 

  • A teaser trailer for the new season of Justified:

 

  • The Asylum is really committing to this whole shark thing with Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (yup – that’s Debbie Gibson):

 

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s new reality show is coming in January:

 

  • Heisenberg Bryan Cranston in Godzilla:

 

  • The Amazing Spiderman 2:

 

  • The ABC comedy The Goldbergs will do a Goonies inspired episode.
  • In advance of Muppets Most Wanted, Disney is releasing a series of web episodes. The first one features Gordon Ramey (and The Miz, if you know the WWE):

Serious question – when did the Swedish Chef start having human hands? I noticed this during the Lady Gaga special on Thanksgiving and it FREAKS ME THE HELL OUT.

As always, we end with the Mashups and Supercuts:

  • Bohemian Rhapsody meets Star Wars:

 

  • President Obama sings “Jingle Bells”

 

  • The Hungover Games (a parody of The Hunger Games and The Hangover, among other things) is a REAL MOVIE:

I am totally watching this.

  • Mean Elves (Mean Girls/The Hobbit mashup):

 

  • A Doctor Who/A-Ha mashup:

 

  • A mashup of 68 songs from 2013:

 

  • 50 TV theme songs in five minutes:

 

  • And finally, Sesame Street has been killing it with their parodies. See them take on Lord of the Rings in Lord of the Crumbs:

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Getting Old Edition

It’s my birthday this weekend, which is usually cause for celebration, at least in my eyes. Everyone else just kind of humors me. This year, however, I’m just not feeling it and am kind of dreading having to say that I am a year older. There is not legitimate reason for this apathy – it isn’t a “milestone” birthday or anything – and I know turning a year older beats the alternative, but I’m just not in a celebratory mood at all this year. Perhaps I’ve finally gotten over the excitement for my birthday that everyone else got over when they were a kid. Perhaps it is because this year a lot of people have yet to respond to my unofficial party or can’t come. Perhaps it is because I do so many awesome things throughout the year that I don’t really need this excuse to make a big deal out of one particular day. Whatever the reason, as Saturday approaches, instead of my usual giddiness, it’s being greeted with a shrug. I’m happy to see my friends, but that’s about it.

Pop culture, on the other hand, still makes me excited and I had a lot of fun compiling your biweekly roundup of all the pop culture goodness that you might have missed. I just kept finding all sort of cool things to include. So while I attempt to determine what exactly is bumming me out, kick back and enjoy:

  •  Congrats to Bob Newhart for winning his first Emmy! The full list of Creative Arts Emmy winners can be found here. The Primetime Emmys will air on September 22. There may be a live blog.
  • The West Wing fans – Allison Janney performed “The Jackal” last night on the newly revived The Arsenio Hall Show.

 

  • Everyone that I know that watched the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Canelo Alvarez fight last weekend was disappointed. Snoop Dogg Lion, however, won over a pound of weed on that fight.
  • After a lackluster performance at the box office, the planned sequel to The Mortal Instruments has been delayed indefinitely.
  • A new season of Key and Peele debuts tonight:

 

  • Best. Parents. Ever.
  • Doctor Sleep, Stephen King’s sequel to The Shining, will be released next Tuesday.
  • People keep making Breaking Bad musicals. Check out Walter White and the Mazing Blue Crystal Meth:

 

  • This is probably NOT a good sign: Pirates of the Caribbean 5 has been shut down indefinitely for script maintenance. Probably for the best; this movie is wholly unnecessary.
  • Eddie Murphy did a reggae song with Snoop Lion. I have no idea if this is supposed to be a joke or not:

 

  • The O.C.’s Sandy Cohen and Ryan Atwood (Peter Gallagher and Ben McKenzie in real life) reunited at Gallagher’s daughter’s concert.
From @petergallagher

From @petergallagher

  • The O.C. is getting a a remake – in Turkey.
  • I am a fan of both Metallica and bluegrass, so I really enjoyed this cover of “Enter Sandman:”

 

  • The first three hosts for SNL have been announced; Tina Fey kicks the season off, followed my Miley Cyrus and Bruce Willis.
  • Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” video is greatly improved with the addition of Nicolas Cage:

 

  • Watch this guy do 13 Muppet impressions in a minute:

 

  • Speaking of Muppets, they did all sorts of great stuff since the last round up. Cookie Monster spoofed some movies:

 

  • Elmo (or a reasonable facsimile) hung out with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen:
@SirPatStew

@SirPatStew

  • Grover sang with Dave Matthews:

 

  • Cookie Monster also found some time to hang out with Loki:

 

  •  UC Irvine is offering a free online course on The Walking Dead. I’m not a huge fan of the show, but I may have to take this just for kicks. I’m thinking that could really spruce up my resume.
  • Ha! Watch Todd from Breaking Bad gun down Justin Bieber:

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No Biebers were harmed in the creation of this GIF

No Biebers were harmed in the creation of this GIF

  • He’s still really good looking, but I’m not digging Joe Manganiello as much without his beard.
  • Eminem turned up during the Michigan/Notre Dame game. It was awkward, to say the least.

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  • Michael Jackson’s Thriller recreated with LEGOs:

 

  • Britney Spears is rumored to be earning $15 million per year for her Vegas residency. Seems as good a reason as any to finally plan my first trip to Vegas.

 

  • This local sports anchor worked 41 Seinfeld references into his segment:

 

He also did a segment full of old school rap references and wrestling references. I think this guy and I could be fast friends.

  • Also announcing tours: Robin Thicke, Jay Z and Kanye (the latter who I am going to see in Madison Square Garden!)
  • Cecily Strong is joining the soon departing Seth Myers at the SNL Weekend Update desk. The last few people to sit at the desk (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon) have gone on to some pretty great things.
  • A writer at UPROXX wrote a tribute to one of the greatest episodes of It’s Always SunnyChardee MacDennis. I wholeheartedly concur.
  • The Ohio University marching band preformed a rendition of Ylvis’ viral sensation The Fox during their game against Marshall.

 

Haven’t see the video for The Fox yet? Here it is, in all it’s weirdness. Watch it now, thank me later.

  • Breaking Bad fans are the best. Los Pollos Hermanos now has its own Yelp page, full of reviews.
  • Fiona Apple covered “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka for a Chipotle ad:

 

Trailers! Get your trailers here:

  • Nicole Kidman in Grace of Monaco:

 

  • National Geographic’s Killing Kennedy, starring Rob Lowe and Ginnifer Goodwin:

 

  • Kill Your Darlings with Daniel Radcliffe and Michael C. Hall (that’s kind of a weird combo):

 

  • Will Forte and Bruce Dern star in Nebraska, the latest from director Alexander Payne:

 

  • James Franco and Jason Statham are in a movie together. Yes, I’m serious.

 

  • A photo of Justin Bieber holding a script for the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie almost broke the Internet.
@justinbieber

@justinbieber

No – he isn’t playing Robin.

As always, we end with the supercuts and mashups:

  • Who knew that Marty McFly was such a screamer?

 

  • A Billy Joel/Kanye mashup sounds way better than you would think:

 

  • Blurred Sanford mashes up Blurred Lines and the Sanford and Son theme song:

 

  • This supercut proves Bill Murray is an awkward kisser.

 

  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail gets a modern trailer remix:

 

  • Les Miserables…..with light sabers:

 

  • Good Will Batman (NSFW):

 

  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia gets the Cheers opening credit treatment:

 

  • And finally……The Dukes of Heisenberg:

 

Have a great Wednesday!