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Culture Features Hit-Or-Miss Restaurants

Political Correctness Hasn’t Taken Down Hooters Yet, And I Don’t Know How

“All right, let’s go see some titties.”

That was, word for word, what one of my buddies said as I picked him up to grab dinner at our local Hooters in West Covina, California. It immediately reminded me what the main attraction has been for the restaurant, since, well, forever.

I hadn’t been to Hooters since 2007 when my friend held a birthday party there. I was 18, full of teenage hormones, and my immature mind was not properly equipped to process the amount of chest and booty cleavage around me. Thankfully, I was able to control the eggplant emoji in my pants, and didn’t have to suffer through an embarrassing adolescent moment.

However, the world has changed A LOT since 2007, so I was curious if Hooters had changed at all, or if it’s still the stereotypical boob joke that Adam Sandler loved wielding in his ’90s movies.

It’s 2018, and women are rightfully wielding their voices against sexual misconduct and harassment, especially in the restaurant industry. With famous names like Mario Batali, John Besh, and Ken Friedman linked to such behavior, the food world has been shaken up, opening up conversations about sexual harassment that were apparently swept under the rug for a long time.

The idea of wanting to eat at a restaurant where you can drink beer, watch sports, and ogle at women sounds like it is tailor made for 64 Jezebel think pieces on feminism. Yet in an age where you’d think a place like Hooters would be getting killed in the public eye, it looks like it is still hanging on to its booby-swinging values, for better or worse.

We walked in, and the way the hostess looked at my friends and I almost felt like we were being scouted. Like, she could read us, and selected the perfect waitress for us, specifically. I don’t know exactly what the benefit to that would be, but all three of us noticed it, as the hostess called out for “Sarah” (name changed for story) to come help us to our table.

“Sarah” literally sat down with us to take our order, a move that I’m sure is very much a Hooters thing, as the waitresses at Buffalo Wild Wings, TGIFriday’s, and well, anywhere else, have always just stood when helping us.

It was nice that she wasn’t overly cheery, and didn’t try too hard to get our attention like some of the other waitresses I observed in there. Then I thought, was that part of the initial scouting process? Did the hostess up front see three dudes in their late 20s, not dressed in sports jerseys, with fairly calm demeanors and think, “All right, let’s give them Sarah”?

It was a Friday night, 8 p.m., and the Lakers were playing the Pacers. You’d think a sports bar in Southern California would be jam-packed for a Laker game at that time, but it was a little more than half-full, with maybe 50 patrons occupying the spacious dining room.

The West Covina Hooters we went to was particularly interesting, as it went through a disgusting scandal in the past where a manager was caught filming women during their interviews back in 2004. Then manager Juan Aponte, made female applicants put on the Hooters uniform as part of the interview process, and even though he stepped out, many of the women suspected that they were being recorded while undressing. After the women reached out to police, Aponte’s personal laptops were seized, and officials found 180 audio and video recordings from 82 different women who were interviewed.

This Hooters is like a haunted house of sexual harassment. You walk in like an unsuspecting character in a horror film, not knowing that some crazy shit went down there many years ago.

With that said, I’m kind of glad that I was able to look around and see families, friends and kids just hanging out. For some reason, I expected to walk into a Mario Batali-like (allegedly) situation: A barnyard filled with perverted old dudes ass-grabbing, and chasing women around like in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland.

The extent of staring was just guys doing the “quickly look down at her butt, then back up, and repeat” move while being seated. There was a dude strategically walking behind his girlfriend so she couldn’t see the intense staring he was doing while the waitress navigated them around the other tables. Other than that, it was just the occasional glance.

Maybe the new generation is growing and being less perverted, at least outwardly.

Popular pornographic site, PornHub, conducted one of the most important studies of 2017, finding that millennials between the age of 18-24 were 19 percent less likely to search for breast-related porn.

Where does that leave ‘breastaurants’ of the future? Well, the number of Hooters locations have dropped by 7 percent between 2012-2016, with dormant sales, which doesn’t look good for the brand.

Even Hooters itself knows they have a negative image.

Hooters CEO Terry Marks said the ‘breastaurant’ was going to focus on delivery and pickup this 2018, catering to the people who “wouldn’t step foot in our restaurants, but they want our product.”

No, the deliveries are not done by Hooters girls, it’s just regular ol’ UberEats.

With the polarizing stigma still attached to the sports bar after all these years, how is Hooters still around?

Well, that leads me to one particular customer that caught my attention during our dinner. An elderly man at the main bar area, who at his age, might have a lot of declining physical abilities, yet his vision was good enough to stare down and eye-fuck every single waitress that crossed his path. With zero fucks given, this older man could have broken his neck with the rubbernecking he was doing.

It made me think that while every guy in there was distracted by the scantily-clad waitresses, maybe the blatant eye-fucking is being left behind with an older generation. Maybe we can visually admire these women without thinking, “She’s being nice to me, she obviously wants more.”

Maybe the age where men…wait, what is he doing? Damn it. My friend just left the Hooters waitress his number. All it took was her saying, “I’ll definitely remember you.”

Sucker.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Former Souplantation Manager’s Creepy Craigslist Ad For A Coachella Date Gets Deleted

With the recent news of Souplantation’s parent company, Sweet Tomatoes, filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, and rumors that some locations could close, it’s safe to say some employees are looking for a way out.  Well, one such former employee has made it clear that he’s clearly over his managerial role at the all-you-can-eat chain and is set on, “JUST FUN,” from now on.

Gordon, as he calls himself in a recently posted Craigslist ad — which has now been flagged for removal — is looking to attend Coachella with a, “travel companion.”

In his ad, the newly divorced 56-year-old former Supervising Manager at Souplantation from West Covina explained that after 11 years of marriage, he recently quit his job, cashed out his 401K, and wants to party — beginning with a fun-filled VIP experience during Weekend 2 of Coachella 2017.

Here’s an image of the now deleted ad.

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Gordie’s Craigslist ad seemed innocent enough at first, but quickly transitioned into a creepy, slightly questionable solicitation for a 19 to 25-year-old female with a, “(#3) … fashionable sense of style in the vein of typical coachella goer (i.e. cute indian headband, small ripped jean shorts, lots of colorful bracelets, etc),” who should be willing to follow a 20-point checklist of semi-repulsive requests during the the four-day weekend together.

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While Gordon’s first few rules aren’t that disturbing, things quickly progress into the transgressive realm, starting with stipulation #5.

5. Must keep hands and feet moisturized at all times.

Um, sure?

As the list grows, Gordon’s requests started to shadow a deep sense of fetishism and obsessiveness, not to mention some were borderline demanding.

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-3-50-43-pm

Rule #10 was especially critical: Being social is fine but no excessive fraternizing with other male festival-goers, and most definitely NO PUBLIC AFFECTION with other festival-goers (violation of this rule results in immediate removal of Tropic Motor Motel room privileges and maybe even return ride).

So, your guest isn’t supposed to interact with other people at a festival? Why not just watch it online?

Here comes the heavier stuff. Take a breath.

Rule #11 states, “Periodic moments of extended eye contact.”

Wut?

Rule #12 is pretty much where it all started going south.

12. Allow me to brush your hair once per day (not mandatory, but encouraged).

Huh? Why?

Gordon’s not done there. The list continues with awkward requests that seem to showcase a slightly voyeuristic personality, mixed with slight delusion.

For example, rule #15 stated, “Any personal grooming such as toenail clipping, eyebrow plucking or lipstick application must be done in my presence.”

It’s called personal grooming for a reason, Gordon!  Can’t we just go watch Beyonce?!

There’s really no explanation for the rest of his requests, but hey, here we go.

#17. At least twice during the festival you must tell me in a playful manner that “I am naughty.”

Nope.

#18. At some point in time during the festival you must tell me that, “you didn’t know how this would go, but you’re actually having a really good time.”

Why would I lie?

Rule 19 is probably is by far the creepiest request:

19. At least once during our stay after your shower, you must use the steam to write a cute message on the bathroom mirror for me to find later when I shower.

Does, “HELP ME!!!!” count?

Lastly, Gordon’s just there to have a sweet-ass time and just wants you to have a blast, as long as you’re not in violation of the 8,500,000 set of rules he has established.

20.  Must be ready to party and HAVE FUN.

It’s easy to see why this ad was removed, but still, it’s only fair that we hope Gordon meets the, “right one.” But, perhaps he should do so under some less invasive, and more moderately acceptable circumstances.

Categories
Features

Why I’ll Never Find The Perfect Breakfast Burrito

There’s a special place in my heart dedicated to breakfast burritos. I’ll smash a breakfast burrito any time of day, because there’s nothing better than an entire breakfast meal wrapped inside a warm tortilla. With that said, there are several characteristics a breakfast burrito must have, in order to make it an above average eating experience.

Even though you can basically wrap anything in a tortilla, like a glazed donut or a pancake, sometimes the simplicity of perfectly cooked hash browns, the fluffiness of scrambled eggs, the warm gooeyness of melted cheese, and choice of meat is all that is needed to tame the rumbling sensation in your stomach. I prefer bacon, but if I’m feeling crazy, I’ll go bacon and sausage, but never sausage only.

My first real experiences eating breakfast burritos came in high school. Maybe my peers and I were lucky, but the entire student body knew the most delicious breakfast burrito could be found at Classic Burger, in West Covina, Calif., literally one mile from campus.

ClassicBugerWestCovina

I can’t count the occasions my friends and I would sneak off campus and dart to my 1986 Buick Regal, risking truancy violations and dodging encounters will Officer Cole, the school’s police officer,  just get our hands on what could possibly be the best breakfast burrito in Southern California.

Even some teachers would send students to get Classic Burger breakfast burritos. I’m not naming names, but you know who you are.

It’s impossible to quantify what makes a breakfast burrito ‘perfect’. It all depends on individual taste and preference, but after trying a burrito from HAM ‘n SCRAM in Westminster, Calif., I knew there was nothing that could compare to my childhood favorite.

Ham-Scram-Burrito

Ironically, before eating the HAM ‘n SCRAM, I was told it was one of the best burritos around. You can imagine my disappointment when the first bite was followed with the aftertaste of burnt hash browns. It was the first time I realized how fortunate I had been growing up. Even today, living less than a mile from my high school — I am still able to enjoy the same mouth-watering, slightly greasy burrito with bite-sized chunks of the crispiest bacon.

I learned early on that a Classic Burger breakfast burrito is best eaten with ranch dressing and a little bit of Tapatio. Explaining this to members of FOODBEAST family, I received mixed reactions. To my surprise, Elie, who is normally open when it comes to food, couldn’t handle my ranch and hot sauce burrito topping combo.

ClassicBurgerBurritoBreakfast

“Ranch and Tapitio? Yo, that’s fuckin disgusting,” Elie said.

What can I say, it’s habitual — and that’s the most interesting part. Everyone has their own preferences. In that sense, I’ve noticed that regardless of how good the burrito tastes on its own — there can be variables that change the dynamic of the experience all together. Like, my obsession with eating Classic’s breakfast burritos with ranch and Tapatio, it’s just how I learned to eat them.

Another example of variable change inside the breakfast burrito experience, is Surfin’ Donuts Coffee House in Laguna Beach. SD’s salsa is the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of adding to my breakfast burrito, Surfin’s burrito is known as The Doughrito — because it has a pancake inside. Even then, the salsa made it that much more memorable. Is it ironic, though, that the most memorable part WASN’T the pancake?

It was through this analysis, I realized the quest for a perfect breakfast burrito would be an unending, flavor-packed adventure that varies in every community.

Still, I was unsatisfied. I needed more proof. Having written for FOODBEAST for six months, I kept hearing rumors that KTCHN DTSA, located in the 4th Street Market in Downtown Santa Ana, had a killer breakfast burrito — and it’s true.

KtchnBurrito

Two words: Chile. Verde.

“Oh, my God . . .” is the only phrase that can be used to describe the first mouthful of this saliva-inducing behemoth of flavors found inside KTCHN’s breakfast burrito. Perfectly fluffy eggs, pico de gallo, fried potatoes and chile verde pork make this burrito one-of-a-kind.

KTCHN may have solidified the answer for us, but the search continues.

We may never be able to pick the world’s best breakfast burrito, and that’s OK. As my love for the breakfast burrito continues to evolve, I will continue to discover what someone else’s favorite burrito spot is — while continuing to cherish the years I spent eating my hometown favorite.