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    Columbia, SC, USA
  1. Never thought of that but it sounds like a good idea! Even though that's the method I use to pick up my dog's poo!
  2. I think it's definitely the coffee thing. This might sound incredibly backwards, but we got our 1st standalone Starbucks in 2003. There were the Starbucks in the Barnes & Noble cafes at the malls, and a couple of other places, but NO standalone Starbucks stores, until 2003. Now there are are 6 or 7 or so. The Piggly Wiggly by my workplace is one block from a Starbucks, yet it has a separate Starbucks cafe, and also one of those prep-and-go "Dream Dinners" or "Super Suppers" or whatever next to it (they are test marketing it - figuring busy moms will want to shop and gab about their tennis game while their Thai chicken casseroles are being prepped in the same store). The Dunkin is across the street from my new office so it's convenient. It's one of the old converted Mr. Donut shops. I get an iced coffee every couple of weeks, usually on Monday morning when I'm too hungover from the weekend partying to get up and make my own coffee... lol. It's decent but my only complaint is the sugar that sits on the bottom of the cup. I guess it's really weird that people think of the South and they think we are surrounded by Krispy Kreme... And growing up here, it's always been Dunkin Donuts (Mr. Donut previously). I don't know where these mystical Southern places are where they had a KK on every corner - not here! I guess, oddly enough, it annoys me that they expanded all over the country and pretty much ignored their native Carolinas! To me growing up, they were those crappy day-old ones you'd see at the gas station or the supermarket. They were crap unless fresh... It took actors filming "Fried Green Tomatoes" and "Driving Miss Daisy" to make them some wonderful Southern delicacy. I had never heard of fried green tomatoes before that movie, and now they are on every Charleston restaurant menu in season. If KK limited their expansion and opened only a few stores in tourist areas of Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, Biloxi, Atlanta, Charlotte, etc. (it would look tacky, maybe, but it's all about a good business plan, marketing, and the bottom $).... and maybe 1 in Vegas, 1 in LA, 1 in NYC, 1 in Toronto.... they could have successfully built an "empire" while keeping the "cache" of their product. People would still be lining up for hours to get something so "special". Instead they decided to sell those crappy day-old donuts in supermarkets across the country (and now in the UK and Canada, apparently). Putting themselves on the level of week-old Entemann's and those Merita Sweet Sixteens! LOL.... BTW, do they still have the orange pencil drawing of the girl playing tennis and all the other active people on the side of the package with those? I doubt Merita Sweet Sixteens are part of an active lifestyle, unless somebody's baking the powdered sugar coating it in their backyard lab... Blah blah blah.... I rambled on. Anyway, I just don't understand what the hell Krispy Kreme was thinking when they decided to expand so quickly and make themselves ubiquitous. That spelled a recipe for disaster to me in the very beginning. What were they thinking? And Dunkin encouraging a franchisor to go from 3 to 30 franchises within a 2 year span?? There are probably 30 McD's across town, so I'm sure the market could potentially support that many of them. But, to go from 3 to 30 in 2 years? Isn't that completely oversatuating the market at once? I just see red-colored numbers in parentheses on the income statement. Stores that can barely sell two donuts never selling any flatbread sandwiches or mini-pizzas... Is that not disaster waiting to happen?? I am no marketing guy myself, but I don't understand how some of these companies are convinced into making such stupid decisions... Oh well!
  3. Some recent news about Krispy Kreme and what's going on in my town led me to search for this old topic. I knew Krispy Kreme's rapid expansion was doomed to begin with. Just because people spent hours lining up for Krispy Kreme to open in their city, didn't mean that they would want them on every corner. The "mystique" of Krispy Kreme donuts was ruined when you could get them anytime, anywhere in major cities across America. I live in Columbia, SC - not too far from KK's Winston-Salem beginnings. The original KK here closed down when I was I little kid in the early 80's. We had 3 "Mr. Donut"s then as well - all of which became Dunkin franchises. In 1993, a new KK opened. It still does well, but it is still the ONLY Krispy Kreme for a metro area of 500,000. When KK expanded out of the South, they ignored their home territory. If they couldn't succeed here, what made them think they could succeed elsewhere? We still have the 1 KK and 3 Dunkin Donuts. Now, 30 Dunkin franchises are planned across town (the Columbia metro area is called "The Midlands"). Yes, 30! I could see 4 or 5, but now they're getting a little ambitious. http://www.thestate.com/business/story/322045.html
  4. Interesting theory, but I think it really just boils down to the cheftestants. I tend to think "superficial" and plastic when I think of Miami (well, South Beach specifically) rather than laid back.
  5. I was really hoping for a "reveal" of the Top Chef 4 premiere date sometime during the show, but all they kept saying was that it was coming in 2008. There's some modeling competition coming up after Project Runway, and who knows what else will come first. But I hope it won't be too long before it airs! Hopefully sometime in the Spring. In other unrelated news.. Found out runner-up Dale Levitski is now dating Project Runway 4 contestant Jack Mackrenoth: Link here.
  6. I just saw an episode of the new series of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (UK version) on Tuesday on Channel 4 in the UK. The 5th series premiered in in October and this was the 5th episode ("The Priory" - Wikipedia info about UK series). Judging from this episode, they have "amped up" the UK version a lot. I still think it's better than the Fox version, with that stupid overly dramatic orchestral music playing in the background. But, the drama and seems to have been brought into the UK version now. Not too much though. But, a little bit. Gordon is a little more over the top, but the restaurant staff doesn't seem to be made up of aspiring actors. And he gave them £6000 worth of new kitchen equipment, so he's giving away a lot more now. But, all in all it was still entertaining on the same level as the older series. I wonder if BBC America will air these eventually? (edited after I finished watching it)
  7. My ex and his family are all from Emporium - he grew up there. I'll have to ask him...
  8. deibu

    Rachael Ray

    I think that Rachael Ray fits into a niche of her own that I'm just not willing to criticize. No, she's not a chef by any means, and she certainly doesn't claim to be. On the other hand, I think that she brings a significant amount more ambition to the kitchen than Sandra Lee - the two are not even comparable! This Youtube clip (cheaply recorded with a webcam off a TV - but you can get the picture) - sums up Sandra Lee: I think the fact that she is a "little Miss Sunshine" personality is the reason why people hate her so much. I think a lot of people don't like her for that reason alone. Perhaps if she dressed like Siouxsie Sioux and was a big Cure fan she might be taken more seriously amongst those of us who don't identify with her cheerful personality. I might not be a fan of her show, but I don't deny that she has an ideal amount talent and charisma, and way more of both than I have in what she does...
  9. In SC, the Total Wine stores have a glass partition between the beer/wine/mixers section and the ABC liquor area, with separate checkouts, so they are effectively separate stores...
  10. I got the virus 4 years ago at a Christmas party. 11 out of 14 of the guests who were there got it. Many didn't even touch the food...
  11. Have to concur, growing up here in the South, with everyone who is from either area... Deep frying was pretty rare at my house. In fact, my mom couldn't even make fried chicken - it was "shake n bake" (blech) if we had anything similar. I grew up actually liking a lot of vegetables, and french fries and fried okra were things that we only got when we went out to a cafeteria restaurant for Sunday dinner. My mom did fry "cubed steak" and pork chops (thin and pan-fried to a tough salty crisp that I hated as a kid, but it's how my dad liked them) but other than that there wasn't really anything pan-fried. For health reasons fatback and other stuff like that was kept out of veggies even before I was born... We did have a "Fry Daddy" like every family in the 70's, and they brought it out maybe 2-3 times a year when I was a kid. I don't think there was really anything fried in our home cooking that I can remember honestly. The only thing I can think about that might be considered unhealthy in the overall Southern diet is the use of pork fat.. We pretty much never deep-fried. "Chicken fried steak", at least in South Carolina, was something I never heard of as a kid... Most of the deep-fried food we ate out were on trips to the beach, chowign down on fried shrimp and hush puppies. But, I think as the years went on (once I was about 10 or so) we ate WAY too much fast food, and that was the root of the problem. LOL... I think my family and me were kinda pioneers when it came to fast food consumption - it's totally commonplace now, but when I was a kid 20 years ago I was the one with the cable TV and Nintendo in my own bedroom, chowing down on Domino's Pizza - not Southern fried food. Not to criticize my parents, but that's the kind of behavior that is truly unhealthy... Nowadays, I exercise A LOT, but I enjoy eating fried foods and whatever I want to eat. As long as my keep my calorie consumption in check, and my cholesterol is okay (132 two weeks ago!), I don't see anything wrong with eating as I do. Speaking of deep-frying in restaurants though, nobody has mentioned Scotland! The home of deep-frying everything, candy bars and pizza... I guess it's an interesting, although relatively recent, phenomenon...
  12. The wikipedia article on Kroger has a comparison of their three generic brands: FMV, store-name, and Private Selection. They've been carrying the Private Selection stuff for a few years now and most of the stuff seems pretty good. Usually I still have to hit Earthfare, Fresh Market or my neighborhood market to get a few things like Parm-Reg, fresh mozzarella, etc. Doubt you'll see those at any of the Krogers here soon since they can't really put a label on those things, and all of the Krogers here except one are very dated, early 80's style.
  13. Having gotten 68% Dixie on test #1, and 28% Dixie on the "advanced test", I'm not sure how much I'd rely on those tests...
  14. Hmmm... Growing up in South Carolina, have to say our fridge was always stocked with Hellman's. My mom was a Miracle Whip-snob, and she looked down on some people using it ("don't anyone ever tell me *that* was supposed to be mayonnaise"). And my grandmother (her mother) always used Duke's mayo, but mom preferred Hellman's. I think my father's side of the family might have used MW though...
  15. They double it? I really think they should triple it! You're totally right about the medical profession, and also I think it's the media which constantly chides us about our vices and the damage they cause us... Of course, we live in a culture where "binge drinking" is considered more than 3 drinks in one sitting. I'll admit I'm a binge drinker, several times over, and quite a few people that won't admit it are too - a lot of people worry about being "lectured" instead of facing their problems and their guilt. I'll readily admit that I can't drink, at all (not even one glass of wine or a beer - they always lead to another), without binge drinking. Not a good thing, but I do my best to avoid drinking too often, and do my best to avoid it, but try not to feel guilty about it. I believe the guilt (self-placed and from external sources) is what makes so many people take things to extremes. Fortunately my doctor is someone I see out pretty frequently, so he knows exactly what I'm doing, and I know what he's doing, and he doesn't make me feel guilty, and I don't make him feel guilty. Nobody should have to impress anybody! If we'd all be open about our eating (and drinking, smoking, etc.) habits, and realize that nobody, even the doctor, is perfect, it would help... If people could just listen to advice realizing that many people who are giving it are only trying to help -- they aren't perfect and often need to listen to their own advice!! -- they'd get rid of these neuroses. Bringing this back to food -- I think the puritanical streak that comes in us as Americans is the fact that we always need an ideal to live up to -- whether it is the ideal of those at the pulpet, or celebrities in Hollywood -- there's always an ideal image of perfection. If we can stop idealizing others, we can start seeing ourselves, and not feeling guilt about the fact that we aren't perfect... You sure your mom wasn't a closet Catholic?
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