Thursday, March 31, 2011

Who’s got the pain when they do the mambo?

I Zumba. A lot. If you are unfamiliar with Zumba, it is a Latin-inspired dance/workout class that is not for the faint of heart. For a lifelong dancer like me, Zumba is a dream come true. Four days every week I put on my dance pants and do my very best Shakira impression for 60 minutes at a time. This post is from a class I take at a nearby rec center. The class is filled mostly with older women who shake it far better than me. It’s a party—no lie. Until this point, I’d experienced one teacher and just loved her enthusiasm and energy. She’s great. This particular day, I experienced a new teacher.

The new teacher showed up late, looked like she had just woken up from a nap, put on her Zumba music and proceeded to lead us in a four minutes song of nothing but squats. I was pissed. This was not Zumba. I stuck it out and finished the squat song. As we moved on to the next song (my thighs yielding an uncomfortable burning sensation), the teacher began to count the music off incorrectly. The music obviously went 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. She yelled out "1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3-4-5". Then she began her very best samba which looked like a cross between the Tin Man and a little kid who needs to go to the bathroom. This lady was obviously a kick boxer (no offense to kick boxers who like to dance). This continued for a full hour. She looked bored most of the time and had the energy of a wet mop.

At first, I was really mad. Why was a lady who couldn’t dance teaching a dance class (of sorts)? When the class was finished, I realized I had still had a great time. If nothing else, it was fun to watch her. Who cares if the teacher can’t dance?

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Worst Soup of My Life

Once every six months I allow myself a “cheat day”. This is the day I can have any gluten-filled craving my heart desires. I look forward to every March and every September when I can throw caution to the wind and have whatever I want. My past two cheat days have been at Greek Souvlaki where I order the Chicken Souvlaki in a pita (my favorite flatbread in Salt Lake). This March's cheat is special. This cheat is all about the chicken strips at Hoppers. Generally, I don’t like Hoppers. I have been disappointed time and again by their bad menu selection and even worse food preparation. Their chicken strips, however, are the exception. They are delicious.

Yesterday was a particularly stressful day at work. I ran around all day like a chicken with my head cut off and was even pulled aside by one of my superiors to ask if I was ok. I was in meetings all day and rushing to meet some very pressing deadlines. Finally, I caught my breath at 3pm and texted Andy “Do you want to go to Hoppers after Zumba?” I had Zumba at 6:30 but thought that some much needed chicken fingers (my first in over a year) would do my soul good.

I went to my hour of Zumba and left feeling satisfied after my long day. I no longer wanted chicken strips. In fact, the mere thought of something fried made me sick to my stomach. Andy and I decided we’d go to Hoppers anyway since I wasn’t very hungry and Andy had been planning on it.

We went to Hoppers and were greeted by the nauseating sound of their live music where a well-intentioned woman was doing an unplugged version of “Living on a Prayer”. After requesting the farthest table from the live music, the hostess seated us, told us the specials, highly recommended the soup of the day, and left. We were faced with the underwhelming menu that Hoppers has to offer. I grimaced as the singer continued to sing too high for her range and Andy happily fixed his focus on the ever-present basketball games that make March as insufferable as it is.

Our waitress came to our table and we ordered. I decided on the soup: turkey chili (since it came highly recommended) and Andy got his usual: garlic burger. After a little while, our meals came out. Andy’s looked pretty good whereas mine looked like chunks of unrecognizable meat floating in what seemed to be teriyaki sauce. It was DEFINITELY not chili. Andy and I looked at my bowl in disgust.

Andy said, “That looks…”

“Terrible.” I finished. “Will you taste it and let me know if I’ll like it?”

Andy (the trooper) took the spoon and swallowed some of the soup. He stared at the table while smacking his lips a few times.

“Well?” I asked. “How is it?”

Andy contemplated the question. “It’s salty,” he said diplomatically.

I took my spoon and filled it with the brown liquid and put it in my mouth. Salty was about the nicest description it could have been given. Really, I would have described it as “Ass in a bowl”. “Poop flavored salt lick”. Or perhaps just “effing disgusting” (that’s right, effing). Andy and I came up with some other descriptions that are just too graphic for a classy blog such as this.

Anyway, I was not eating this soup. Andy and I wondered aloud if the hostess knew what she was promoting when she “highly recommended” it. I understand that restaurants have their staff push certain menu items, but I believe this is the quickest way to lose a customer. A new customer might think If they are recommending this bowl of excrement, how much worse is everything else on their menu?

The waitress noticed I had pushed the bowl aside and asked “Oh, did you not like it?”

“No,” I replied with a smile. “It’s really terrible.”

I ended up not ordering anything since the brown mystery stew and thoroughly killed any appetite I had. Sick.

On our way out, I mentioned to the hostess that she should probably not push the soup. It was really terrible. Hoppers has topped themselves yet again.