In which I broach some wildly uncomfortable topics re: chicken.
Look, I don’t really want to do this, but after several sub-par visits there are some questions to be raised about Chick-fil-A.
DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER!
What’s Not Great?
Tough Nuggets: Listen, *sometimes* the nuggets at Chick-fil-A are amazing. The catering trays have their charms, don’t get me wrong. But SOMETIMES the nugs are like deep-fried ROCKS. Hard and tough is great for an MMA fighter or your personal injury lawyer, less so for a chunk of chicken.
Waffling on the Fries: On their day, the waffle fries are fairly glorious. Golden, salty, delicious. But the balance is delicate and there are times it can taste like you’re eating elaborately cut cardboard. NOT my pleasure, Chick-fil-A.
Spicy Chicken Sandwich: CFA has never nailed this. It’s a great idea, but the sandwich isn’t crisp (due to the extra spices?), for some reason. And that just doesn’t work.
Sauces: Chick-fil-A sauce is great, though not in league of Cane’s or the little-known Cook Out Special Sauce. After that, though, things fall off a cliff. Serviceable barbecue (which they disastrously tried to retool before scrapping), awful honey mustard, “zesty” Buffalo and Polynesian are a waste of everyone’s time. Like, seriously, get out my face with Polynesian sauce.
Salty: Everything — everything! — is Taylor Swift-level salty.
Grilled Nuggets: Literal garbage.
Weak Breakfast: Chicken minis? The aforementioned nuggets wrapped in undercooked dough? Sounds *delicious.* And the biscuits ain’t no Bojangle’s.
Closed on Sundays: Loathe to criticize here, but it’s annoying!
The Good (to Great):
Strips: The best item on the menu, by far. Juicy, tender and flavorful. WHY ISN’T ALL THE CHICKEN THIS GOOD?
Pickles: Pickles make the chicken sandwich a star.
Conclusion: Chick-fil-A’s ultimate problem is consistency. Then again, on some level, I guess that could be said for most everything in life.
While flipping through the new DirecTV on-demand offerings recently (thanks, rain), it dawned on me it’s been years since a cultural milestone comedy has been released.
Now it’s possible that I’ve just moved far enough along in life that I’m not “hip” to all the cool new flicks out there, but what was the last big, quotable film in the order of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Office Space, Anchorman, Super Troopers, Step Brothers, etc.?
Alrighty then, I believe you have my stapler, That escalated quickly, Littering and …, The Catalina Wine Mixer. All classics that many people — well, particularly bros — reference to this day.
But what have the 2010s, and especially the last five years, brought us? Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates? Baywatch? (Perhaps The House, out this month and starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler, will be a reprieve, though that somehow feels unlikely.)
Take a look at these non-comprehensive, off-the-cuff lists of comedies from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Then look at the 2010s. Where are the laughs?
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Coming to America
The Princess Bride
Revenge of the Nerds
National Lampoon’s Vacation
This Is Spinal Tap
The Blues Brothers
Trains, Planes and Automobile
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
National Lampoons’ Christmas Vacation
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Happy Gilmore (The price is wrong!)
There’s Something About Mary
Dumb and Dumber
The Big Lebowski
What About Bob?
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Team America: World Police
Meet the Parents
The Other Guys
21 Jump Street
The World’s End
It’s possible the dearth of big-time funny films can be attributed to TV’s emergence as a prestige medium over the past two decades. Maybe audiences now prefer bite-sized digital content. Regardless, you have to wonder when the next massive comedy might come along.
Strip malls. Centres. Shoppes. Plazas. Whatever name you choose, there are a plenty of them — and a lot of gratuitous e’s — in Mount Pleasant. We’ve rounded up the MOST essential retail hubs that you totes gotta visit.
Here’s part I:
Star Tenant: Harris Teeter … Hey, did you know there are SEVEN Harris Teeters east of the Cooper River? That is an actual fact. Watering Hole: Starbucks Good Eats: Is Moe’s technically in Village Pointe? Who knows! Ali Baba and China East complete a world of flavors, we guess. Also Appearing: Minuteman Press (give them your printing business), Gwynn’s of Mount Pleasant, Rite-Aid
Fancy E: Yes
PATRIOTS PLAZA Navigating to Staples will have you saying, “Hey, parking here is not easy.”
Star Tenant: Whole Foods … Despite the nearby plethora of Harris Teeters, Whole Foods is forever the Official Grocery Store of Mount Pleasant. Side note: The average household income within a 1-mile radius of Patriots Plaza is $111,137 — almost enough to cover one Whole Foods run per month. Good Eats: Graze, Aya Cookhouse Also Appearing: Staples, Party Plan-It, Causey’s Barbershop Fancy E: No
JOHNNIE DODDS BOULEVARD
THE PLAZA AT EAST COOPER The prepositional usage makes no sense here. Neither did the decision to replace Pinz Bowling and More with an Aldi. =( … Interesting fact: The Plaza was also until very recently home of Radio Shack. Star Tenant: The aforementioned Aldi. Watering Hole: None
Good Eats: Pattaya Thai (?) Also Appearing: Firehouse Subs, Batteries Plus Bulbs, Pivotal Fitness Fancy E: No
BI-LO SHOPPING CENTER Star Tenant: Bi-Lo Good Eats: Langdon’s Restaurant & Wine Bar, arguably Mount Pleasant’s fanciest restaurant. Watering Hole:Collective Coffee, voted Best Mount Pleasant Coffee Shop — by the staff of RockandBrock.com. Also Appearing: Golden Garden, NMotion (Not a boy band.) Fancy E: Nah
QUEENSBOROUGH SHOPPING CENTER
Star Tenant: The largest of Mount Pleasant’s three Publix. Also what is the plural of Publix?
Watering Hole: Locals
Good Eats: The bomb sushi at Locals Also Appearing: Clarey’s Liquors, Animal Eye Care Associates, Angels &Rascals Fancy E: No, but they could have gotten away with one
ANNA KNAPP PLAZA/FAIRMOUNT SHOPPING CENTER Owned by the same company and they’re adjacent, so they mutated into a Super Shopping Center. Watering Hole: Tru Blue’s House of Wings Good Eats: Probably fiveof Mount Pleasant’s top 15 restaurants: Congress, Kanpai, Cuoco Pazzo, Charleston’s Cafe, Cinco Tex-Mex (should it ever open) Fancy E: No, but there is a silent K
CRICKENTREE SHOPPING CENTER One of innumerable smaller centers lining Mount Pleasant thoroughfares, Crickentree is home to arguably the best all-time pun-name retailer: Consigning Women & Men. Consigning Women! Could you imagine Julia Sugarbaker at a consignment shop? LOLZ. No, you could not. The 37-year-old shopping center was also once home to From Here to Maternity. Pun game is strong. Star Tenant: I think we just covered that. Watering Hole: None. RIP Village Tavern. Good East: Five Loaves Also Appearing: Eyecare Center of Mount Pleasant Fancy E: No
NEW MARKET CENTRE/STUCKEY FURNITURE
Literally in the shadow the Bowman Road flyover. Once home to a Blockbuster Video. Star Tenant: Stuckey Furniture Watering Hole: None since Kickin’ Chicken moved to greener pastures. The e-cig store will have to do. (Aside: Are vape shop and e-cig store interchangeable?) Good Eats: Asian Flavor, possibly. Also Appearing: Nothing Bundt Cake (That pun takes the pie.) Fancy E: Yessir
BOWMAN PLACE Once considered as a location for Mount Pleasant Town Hall, a massive 2015 renovation saw the removal of a Soviet-era KMart and a Little Caesars. Alas, RIP The Keg Club. Star Tenant: Dick’s Sporting Goods Watering Hole: TBD
Good Eats: Kairos Greek Kitchen from chef John Ondo of Lana fame seems to have real potential. Also Appearing: Urban Cookhouse, MidiCi (coming soon), J. Crew Mercantile, Nordstrom Rack, DSW Designer Show (It’s a fancy strip, what can we say?)
Fancy E: Surprisingly, no
HIGHWAY 17 NORTH
WANDO CROSSING: The parking lot features a main lane that bisects the entire blacktop from the entrance to the front door of Staples. Along the way is a seemingly unmitigated series of turnoffs and pull-through spaces. Anything goes! Star Tenant: Walmart Watering Hole: None Good Eats: We’ll say the recently opened Jim ‘N Nick’s is nearby enough. Also Appearing: Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Michaels, 5 Below (Also not boy band.) Fancy E: No
MOUNT PLEASANT TOWN CENTRE The retail behemoth of Mount Pleasant. Pro tip: The Mount Pleasant Police Substation there doesn’t sell hoagies, so don’t ask. Star Tenant: Belk Watering Hole: P.F. Chang’s (Ask my long-time associate Zach Wiegand about that. He is the Norm of P.F. Chang’s. Wiegand!)
Good Eats: Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
Also Appearing: Regal Palmetto Grande Stadium16 (fancy E!), Barnes & Noble, a bunch of high-class stores we probably can’t afford. Other notes: Five (5) roundabouts up in there. … Hand sanitizer stations are denoted on all maps.
Fancy E: Of course
SWEETGRASS CORNER You might think this is part of Town Centre. You would be wrong. Star Tenant: Bi-Lo Watering Hole: Charleston Sports Pub Good Eats: Tsunami, Taco Bell (Deal with it!) Also Appearing: Thomas Family Barber Shop, Marco’s Pizza Fancy E: No
MARKET AT OAKLAND The sweetgrass basket monument is cool. Star Tenant: Walmart Good Eats/Watering Hole: Chains for days — East Bay Deli, Wild Wing Cafe, La Hacienda, Wasabi, McDonald’s, Jersey Mike’s, Pizza Hut and a Chick-Fil-A that absolutely prints money. Also Appearing: At one point there was a Goin’ Postal location here. Who signed off on that name!? Fancy E: No
NATIONAL CROSSING Tenants include a bar, a gun store and an e-Cig depot. Star Tenant: Palmetto State Armory Watering Hole: Manhattan’s Good Eats: Peking Gourmet … It’s the closest Chinese takeout to us and you could do worse. Also appearing: Shear Madness, Accurate Chiropractic Fancy E: What do you think?
BELLE HALL Star Tenant: Yet another Harris Teeter. Watering Hole:Dog and Duck Good Eats: Restaurants seem to cycle out of here pretty quickly. The Granary, Pawley’s Front Porch, Hubee-D’s, Finn’s and more have all come and gone. (RIP Beef ‘O’ Brady’s.) There’s an Italian restaurant there. Is it good? Maybe! Also Appearing: Wonder Works Fancy E: I do declare
I like the gray, letter-embossed buttons, the cradle receiver and the curly, stretchy cord. I like that you can carry the base around. I like how, if you take a black-and-white photo of someone while they’re speaking into such a phone, it automatically looks like a Very Important Phone Call.
My first thought was to get one for work. My strategy chats with clients would no doubt benefit and I would sound more authoritative when speaking with reporters.
The gravitas would be palpable.
The idea was quickly shot down by Michele, who fills a litany of roles at the office, including making equipment dreams come true. She said a phone like that wouldn’t connect to our uber-modern telecommunications system and that if I wanted one I could use it as a “paper weight.”
As I continue to convalesce, my boss has been making regular visits to see me. Earlier this week he brought with him a sizable box. It was from Michele — and it was the red phone pictured above.
Touche again, Michele.
I quickly added a land line to my phone plan for a couple of bucks, tracked down a DSL filter, and started dialing people up on what I’ve dubbed The Brockline.
It’s glorious. The ring is amazing. The sound it makes when it comes on and off the hook is like poetry.
The line has no caller ID, no call waiting and no voicemail. It is simply a direct landline to my house. If you ring it and I’m home, I will answer. And if you’d like the number, message me for a Very Important Call.