He Says/She Says: Smashburger

Joel Says: A couple weekends ago the wife and I went to check out the new Smashburger located on 86th Street in Clive. I didn’t know much about the chain other than it serves burgers. Groundbreaking, I know. But you wouldn’t know it by checking the place out. Its modern décor and color scheme make it look more like a GameStop or a strip mall bar that serves apple martinis than a burger joint. But it was nice, clean and different from your average grease bucket, so even though I felt like a gamer, I didn’t mind the atmosphere.

After gazing at the menu for a couple minutes I decided to go with a 1/3 lb. build-your-own burger with bacon, smash sauce, sharp cheddar and a side of Smash fries (seasoned fries with rosemary, garlic and olive oil). I have to admit, I didn’t really care for the fries and I wished I would have ordered some plain ones instead. But, that’s what you get when you try to live too dangerously. It should be noted, however, that the burger did live up to the hype. It was juicy, seasoned and cooked to perfection. The bacon was crisp and the Smash sauce added a nice kick. I was impressed. I was fully expecting to be underwhelmed like I am whenever I visit a Fuddruckers. But the service was good and the burgers were made with love so I would definitely visit again. Overall, Smashburger gets my stamp of approval.

Ashley Says: I wasn’t really feeling a burger, but it was Joel’s day (that’s what I tell him anytime I let him to choose what we do) so Smashburger it was. I ordered the State Fair Smashbrat, which is a bratwurst. And I’m fairly certain that is the least safe choice possible at a restaurant you’ve never visited. It was supposed to have a bunch of random stuff on it like bacon, onions, mustard… but I’m not a condiment girl, so I just got mine plain. And I ordered the haystack onions (skinny onion rings) on the side.

I was regretting my choice when the brat came to the table, but it was actually really good. And the onion rings were awesome! I would go back just for the onion rings actually. I’m sure we’ll be back. And it won’t even have to be on “Joel’s day”. Of course, I have to end this post with a shot of me snarfing down my brat. It was that good.

She’s Out of My League

So who’s in it?

Jay Baruchel (skinny guy from Knocked Up), Alice Eve (TV stuff), T.J. Miller (no clue but he’s really funny), Mike Vogel (Grind), Nate Torrence (Get Smart)

What’s the gist of it?

Kirk Kettner (Jay Baruchel) is a big nerd. His life as a lowly TSA agent at the Pittsburgh airport is filled with empty laughs and constant disappointment. That is, until he meets a gorgeous girl named Molly (Alice Eve) who shows an interest in him. Despite their noticeable differences, everything between the couple is good until Kirk’s own insecurities and general nice guy-ness threatens to end the relationship before it can even start. In short, it’s your typical romantic comedy: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy tries to get girl back. But unlike most romantic comedies, there is actually comedy involved. Translation: it was actually funny. Basically, She’s Out of My League is the movie version of Undeclared, only they’re not in college anymore and it’s rated R.

Why I liked it?

I’ve watched enough episodes of the reality show Average Joe to know that dorky Joes or, in this case dorky Kirks, don’t ever get the girl. Let’s face it, nice guys finish last. Especially nice guys who still live in their parents’ basement. But if you can get past those major flaws and a little bit of the cheese factor, I think you will enjoy the movie. It was funny and interesting and had some laugh out loud moments. Yeah, it used standard gross out comedy tricks to get some cheap laughs. But, even with the extra cheese, I found it to be surprisingly clever, endearing and most importantly… funny!

Who stole the funny?

T.J. Miller, the Napoleon Dynamite look-a-like properly called Stainer in the movie, stole a vast majority of the comedy. His one-liners are worth the price of admission. And I have to admit, I have never seen or heard of the guy before but he undoubtedly will be making a comedic return in the near future and I’m excited to see it.

Should you see it?

I think it’s definitely worth the rent and possibly a good date movie for those who don’t mind a little bit of crude humor mixed in with their romantic comedy.  I liked She’s Out of My League even though it’s story line lacked originality and fell prey to tired clichés. I like it because what it lacked in originality it made up for in humor, charm and wit. It’s not the best romantic comedy I’ve ever seen but it’s entertaining enough to overcome a majority of its flaws.

Yeah Baby!

Two girlfriends and I hosted a baby shower for my best friend Lindsay on Saturday. We had so much fun and my favorite mom-to-be looked so dang cute! I made a diaper cake, which I’ve done for quite a few friends in the past, but this was my first four-tier cake. The bottom two layers had 115 diapers in them, and I stopped counting at that point. My guess is that it had somewhere around 175 diapers total. But it was a beauty.

The stars sprouting out of the cake are origami paper stars which I attached to floral wire. And the letters down the front are foam bathtub letters. She’s naming her baby boy Cole if you couldn’t figure that out!

We ordered the cake from Hy-Vee and they did a great job decorating it to look like the invitations that my co-hostess Nicole sent out.

We also had lots of fruit and veggies, tortilla wraps, pasta salad and cheese and crackers. It was definitely difficult to stop eating! Nicole suggested that we iron patches onto onesies to keep us occupied… and it turned out so cute.

Below is a picture of my co-hostesses Alissa and Nicole, mom-to-be Lindsay and me.

I hope Lindsay had as much fun at her shower as we had planning it!

Busy Bees

It’s been a week since Joel or I posted anything on here because we’ve been a little busy. I was in Chicago visiting friends and drinking green beer over the weekend while Joel was in Minneapolis doing the same. This week, I’ve been getting everything ready for my best friend’s baby shower on Saturday which has pretty much consumed my evenings… and my living room. And Joel has been getting himself prepared for a long weekend in Vegas with the boys. He left yesterday and I’m already missing him. So that’s what’s going on with us. Hopefully next week we’ll be back in the groove of things. But, for now, I’ll leave you with a couple pictures from Chicago with friends I don’t get to see often enough.

St. Patrick’s Day

At first blush St. Patrick’s Day seems pretty great. It’s a good excuse to wear green, do some day drinking and act like you’re not really German. Everybody wins except for the Germans, right? I suppose this true. And I suppose since my wife already calls me a ginger, and I’m half Irish, I should probably love this light-hearted holiday. It’s a good excuse to wear a dorky t-shirt, drink beer that’s been dyed green and act like I’m 20 again. Whoops, I meant 21. On the surface, St. Patty’s Day looks like a win-win situation for everybody. But I’m not so sure I like this pseudo-holiday anymore.

You see, the part that I dislike most about St. Patty’s Day is trying to justify my apparel decisions to some guy who’s dressed like Lucky the Leprechaun. Sorry, Lucky, but your judging privileges were revoked when you decided to put on that green leisure suit.

I also really dislike the “Green Police”. You know the people I’m referring to: that “special” guy or girl who goes around harassing anyone in the bar who isn’t wearing green. “Why aren’t you wearing green?” they question. “Why are you still breathing?” I respond. I’m sorry, but these people deserve to be throat-punched.

And then there’s the “I’m way more Irish than you” guy. He’s always the drunkest guy in the bar and his sole goal is to prove to everyone that he’s more Irish than anybody else. He’s been growing out his thick red beard for weeks in anticipation. St. Patty’s Day is the only day of the year that having a bright orange mop and matching chin strap is considered acceptable, so this guy has to take full advantage. But, dude, nobody cares that your 100% full of shit.

If it weren’t for the likes of these people I think I could actually enjoy St. Patty’s Day. But, besides green beer and the triumphant return of the McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes, there’s just not a whole lot of upside. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud to be Irish. But, celebrating your Irishness by reinforcing your cultures worst stereotype seems kind of dumb. That’s like the Native Americans having a “Casino Night”. Sure, it sounds fun. But it doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense.

In Ireland St. Patrick’s Day is actually a religious holiday. The people of Ireland celebrate their heritage by honoring the death of St. Patrick, the Roman who spread Christianity to Ireland (yeah, I Googled it). I’m sure they eat corned beef and cabbage, dance and drink pints of Guinness, too. But I doubt they wear plastic Leprechaun hats, drink $2.50 dyed green Miller Lights and act like lunatics. Of course, I’ve never been to Ireland, so I’m only guessing here.

Regardless, there’s a good chance come next Wednesday I will probably cave and end up celebrating like I have in years past. You know, by wearing a green t-shirt and drinking beer in some bar called O’Sullivan’s. I’ve never been one to turn down an excuse to party. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s a little ridiculous.

Burnt Pizza

This is the reason Joel is no longer allowed to use household appliances like the oven:

That black brick used to be a frozen pizza. Trust me, it’s not frozen anymore. Joel cooked the pizza for 4 hours, when I finally woke up to the intoxicating scent. Joel won’t forget his mistake anytime soon because the whole house smells like burnt pizza even after days of scented candles and freezing our fingers off attempting to air out the house. I think Joel will be reminded of his little mistake again in a couple weeks when we get our heating bill.

The Catcher in the Rye

I bought this book at the same time I bought To Kill a Mockingbird, which is my favorite book ever. I started to read The Catcher in the Rye but I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t like the way the main character Holden talked. I think at the time I percieved him as self-absorbed and somewhat ungrateful. The book sat on my shelf for quite awhile. But I thought about giving it another shot after J.D. Salinger died.

I ended up reading the book all in one day. I couldn’t put it down. I liked Holden much better because I saw him more as confused than ungrateful. He doesn’t care about school even though he’s actually really intelligent. He doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life, but he is really warm-hearted and generous. Basically, he’s just a normal teenager trying to get through the day, night, week, month. He doesn’t really think ahead or look back. And I really wouldn’t mind knowing whatever happened to Holden Caulfield.

Undercover Boss

I kind of love Undercover Boss. Joel mentioned that he saw a preview for it and wanted to DVR it. I ignored him because we’re newlyweds and that’s what we do. But then my Corporate Governance professor mentioned it because it has to do with CEOs and whatnot. So, I DVRed it. (I’m not sure if that’s really a verb, but deal with it.) And Joel and I have been watching it for the past few weeks. Although we haven’t watched the most recent episode because I spent three hours last night watching The Bachelor instead. And, yes, Joel watched all three hours with me.

Anyway, the premise of the show is that the CEO of a company goes undercover as one of the front-line workers within the company. They scruff the CEO up a little bit, so he looks like one of the sorry people (I couldn’t help the King Curtis reference there). A camera crew follows the CEO around claiming that they’re filming people trying out new jobs.

My favorite episode had to be the Hooters episode because Jimbo, the general manager at one of the franchises, was such a dirtbag. He made the girls play “reindeer games” like licking up a plate of baked beans with their hands behind their back in order to go home early.

The sad thing is that Jimbo should be fired. But I’m not sure of the legality and all that, so he gets another chance to be a more respectful boss. Regardless, if I was caught behaving that badly, there’s no way I would consent to be on the show. Although, now that I think about it, maybe that’s the reason he was allowed to keep his job.

Sunday’s episode was White Castle, and I can’t wait to watch it tonight. I’m hoping they catch someone bathing in the sink or something. On second thought, I would still like to be able to ingest a burger and fries without gagging.