Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It has been a while

John here ...

First off, let me congratulate Matt on being 11.5 lbs down as of this past weekend. Home boy is dominating and it ain't stopping any time soon. To put it in 1980's terms so Matt can comprehend it, he has the "eye of the tiger". Keep on keepin on my brutha.

It had been two weeks since we were able to get out of the office for lunch together and it was having an affect on our relationship. I found myself very short with him and easily irritated. If I had a work related question for him, he wouldn't give me the time of day when answering. It was a brutal few weeks but these are things we have to endure. You have to really want it in order to make it through.

We ended our drought this past week and thankfully, didn't miss a beat. It felt like it did back in the early days when we were care free and spontaneous. We were back at Wegmans (one of us dramatically lighter) and all was right with the world.

I can't remember what Matt ate for lunch but I do remember him schooling me on the benefits of salmon. If it has been written up in Men's Health, Matt has read it and shared it with me. So if I had to guess, he had sushi with salmon ... wait ... now I remember. He had some sort of sushi with sweet potatoes in it. Go figure. I didn't know that it was even a possible to mix fish and sweet potatoes. But again, I remember also being educated on the top "super foods" and sweet potatoes were at or near the top

Dude knows his shit.

We finished lunch and thankfully had some time to wander the aisles at Wegmans. Because I am just about in the same class as professional bodybuilders, I made a beeline to the protein powder.               

Don't kill the dream. You'll also notice some vanilla yogurts in the basket. Those are the only yogurts my son will eat. Another reason to bow at the altar of Wegmans.

Each and every time we "shop" after lunch, a trip to the "candy" aisle is a must. Yes I am 41 years old. My choices for the day were the following:

I know, tough call right? Beef Jerky or New Orleans Chili chocolate? Both sound so damn good, it is an impossible choice to make. 

I ended up passing on these options because $5.99 for a chocolate bar isn't my idea of a good time. As much as my curiosity was killing me, I just couldn't splurge. So I went back to a personal favorite that didn't break the bank:

Chocolate and sea salt "anything" is a winner and this one is no exception. 

Matt, aka Dr. Oz Lite, disappeared and after screaming his name and asking for help at Customer Service, I finally located him in the vitamin/remedy aisle. I snuck up on him and took this pic (cause that is what men in their 40's do, right?).

Do not adjust your monitor, that is him reviewing the nutritional information of chia seeds. What the f? Who is this guy? We're both up on nutrition and all of the trends, but this is in a new stratosphere. Of course now that he has since educated me on the benefits of said chia, I will now be buying it and reaping the benefits as well. One of us can never out do the other.    

At check-out, I was still laughing at the thought of chia seeds and wouldn't let Matt forget it. But as we exited Wegmans on our way back to the real world, I did something that trumped "Operation Chia".

True story.

I came to a halt when I saw a display of ... wait for it ... wait for it ... wait for it ... poinsettias.  

Many of you know that I am an avid gardener and plant lover but this was taking it too far. 

How hideous is that color by the way?

Anyway, I caused a back-up like we were on the Major Deegan and I'm pretty sure I saw Matt drop his head in shame. There were disgruntled housewives in workout clothes everywhere. A rubber-necking delay like no other. 

We have yet to discuss my faux pas since and I thank him for that.

All in all, it was good to get back in the groove and hopefully we won't hit such a dry spell again.    

Thursday, November 14, 2013

1 Cup vs 1/2 Cup

Matt here......

My buddy John is not making this Weight Watchers mission any easier by posting these insane mouthwatering pictures of chocolate caramel sea salt tarts and delightful looking doughnuts that could stop traffic. Thanks John for all the support, I appreciate it. 

This past Saturday yours truly was ready for his weekly weigh-in. I was feeling a bit anxious and wanted to see how I did after being pretty strict and counting every crumb that made it's way into my dish. Saturday mornings are the moment of truth and make me start to second guess myself. I'll say things like, "Maybe I should of had a 1/2 cup of rice instead of a whole cup", "Maybe I could have done without that bowl of cereal" or "I should of added some cayenne pepper to speed-up my metabolism".

Unreal...1 cup vs. 1/2 cup. Mr. Dainty. Wait, let me go put my make-up on and fix my skirt.   

During the week you could say I put away a few pomegranates (my favorite), Red Delicious apples the size of pumpkins (Thanks Costco) and enough bananas that would make King Kong proud (All zero point foods on WW).

Being a "carb-oholic", the night before weigh-in I make sure to ease up on all the evil foods and salt. Oh and by the way did I mention that I'm a salt addict as well? Uh Yeah. Can we stack the odds any higher against me succeeding on this mission? On the doctor's scale (conveniently located in the basement next to the exercise equipment that hasn't moved in 2 years) I go. Scared to death that I did something wrong or miscalculated my points during the week, I start to move the little metal scale slider trying to pin-point my weight right down to the quarter pound. Yes, 3 pounds lighter! What a relief, 3 weeks and 9 lbs. Whew, now I can enjoy the rest of my weekend and forget about "1 cup vs. 1/2 cup"

Earlier this week, my wife and I went to her favorite place Whole foods for lunch. She chose to go with her usual favorite salad stuff (You can bank on some kind of Kale, Cabbage and Beets to be included in that container). I on the other hand went in a different direction and did a little browsing of the various food stations whole foods had to offer. Wouldn't you know, I found myself in a trance at the brick oven pizza station. Sure you must be thinking I was ready to cheat huh? I know, given up on me already. Nope, not me, I went for the Balsamic Broccoli Rabe and Pesto on Flat Bread Pizza. Yeah Baby!

27 days into this. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Best Thing I've Ever Eaten

John here ...

My wife and I recently ate brunch at our absolute favorite spot - Lovin Oven - in Frenchtown, NJ. This restaurant is off the charts delicious and has an incredible local vibe. You can taste and smell the authenticity and it is the kind of place you could hang in for hours. But enough of my stellar review ...   

About two years ago I was watching the Food Network show - "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" - and the food being ogled over was a chocolate caramel sea salt tart

The Food Network personality discussing this ridiculously sweet looking dessert had me watching with my tongue hanging out. I had never seen anything look this good. And then when it was revealed that this beauty was from Lovin Oven, I almost fainted. You mean I can go like get this in under ten minutes by car? Holy crap'n crap.

Fast forward two years and I had yet to try it. Even after numerous trips eating at the Oven. Don't ask me why, there is no excuse.

But that all changed two weeks ago. After brunch my wife and I bought a slice and planned on sampling it as soon as we had room to eat again. That was about 38 seconds after we walked in the door at home. Out came the forks and we went to town.

Seriously, it was life changing. Decadent doesn't begin to explain it. The combo of caramel/sea salt/chocolate is always a win, but this was beyond that. It was magic and almost painfully good. Three bites in and I was done; it was that rich.

I think my wife and I talked about the tart for the next hour and that lead to the inevitable discussion of "what was the best thing we ever ate". This topic always pains me as it is an impossible exercise, especially if your memory has started to blur like mine has. I usually tend to blow it off and did this time as well ... until now.

Yes, welcome to my dissertation on "The Best Things I've Ever Eaten". I have broken it down into 4 categories:

Best appetizer
Best entree
Best dessert
Best drink

In line with my discussion on the Lovin Oven tart, today I will pontificate on my favorite dessert. And yes, there was something better than the chocolate sea salt dessert.

Back in 2000, my wife (and fellow foodie) took a ten day trip to San Francisco and Napa/Sonoma. The goal was to eat and drink ourselves (not necessarily in that order) to oblivion. And we did. Included in that eatapalooza was a trip to the "ultra difficult to get a reservation" French Laundry. It was the pinnacle of our trip. This is one of the top ten (at worst) restaurants in the country and yours truly was nervous about how to handle myself. I'll spare you the details, but just know there were close to ten courses and it was a three hour dinner. And the cast of Friends had been there the night before. I was that f'n cool.

And then to top it all off, this appeared for dessert: 

I can't even do it justice by trying to explain how fantastic it was. Read the recipe for Coffee and Doughnuts and you'll see what I am getting at. Imagine the best warm doughnut you ever had and then wrap that in another warm doughnut times three. Thrown in the "coffee" and it was death by deliciousness. Not only was it the best dessert I ever had, it was the best thing I've ever eaten. Pinky swear.  

Up next ... best appetizer I've ever eaten.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

For the love of Peanut Brittle

Matt here ...

Has your kid ever come home from school with one of those catalogs offering the most delicious looking chocolates? Sweets ranging from dark chocolate truffles to chocolate covered pretzels, cookies, gourmet hot chocolate and yes my all-time favorite, Peanut Brittle.

Ahhhhhh Peanut Brittle.

The kind where you run the risk of losing 3 teeth and detaching your gums right from the roof of your mouth. It really is one of my favorites and well worth the risk of requiring some serious dental work.

The problem with ordering from those catalogs is by the time you get your stuff, your kid is graduating from college. It's true. Recently, I came home from work and noticed a big box in the living room that just came in the mail. It was torn open with papers everywhere from the packaging but my eyes made it right to the box of gold. The Brittle. Our eyes made contact and for a moment everything just STOPPED (slight pause) and all I could hear is Etta James sing....."Attttt love has come along". For a moment it felt like it was just me and the Peanut Brittle alone in the room. The box I ordered from like 3 years ago had finally arrived.

So hear I am 18 days into counting Weight Watchers points and having to figure out how I am fitting in this sugary beast into my daily point allowance. There is no way I'm turning my back on this one.

Like most things on Weight Watchers you have to weigh your portions. I know, big pain in the ass. But if your gonna do it right you need a scale.

So, I break out the scale, tear open my new box of happiness and check to see how much of this brick with nuts (I said "brick") I can have.

3 points for this little niblet? Are you kidding me? Please look at that picture. Talk about portion control. This wouldn't satisfy a gnat.

So to make sure I don't have more then a fairy fly portion, I put them in 3 point Ziploc bags.

The next order I place is for the gourmet hot chocolate, that has to be lower in points, I think. 

Until next time.

Monday, November 4, 2013

My yogurt evolution

John here ...

I still remember the day, roughly 33 years ago, when I was watching the nightly news on TV (I was that evolved at age 8) and heard that the key to living to one hundred years of age was eating yogurt. This isn't the case of a fuzzy memory all these years later; I distinctly remember hearing those exact words and the effect it had on me. I was terrified of the concept of "death" at that age so the idea of living to three digits was one I took very seriously.

But I had a big problem ... the idea of yogurt disgusted me, like big time.

I could not watch someone mix the "fruit on the bottom" without dry heaving:
It looked so lumpy and curdled and that smell .... oh lord that smell ... it was like a combination of baby puke and spoiled milk. I could not imagine taking even one bite without vomiting all over the walls.

I had to accept that I would die way too young.

Fast forward 24 years and I was ready to embrace the idea of yogurt again. Healthy eating was finally on my radar and I was mature enough to give yogurt another whirl. I started with Dannon blueberry (the only one I was willing to try) and meticulously mixed the fruit and yogurt to the best consistency possible.

It wasn't too awful, but I didn't like it by any means. I fought on, determined to make myself enjoy it and its numerous benefits. Truth was though, this wasn't going to last. I was going to have to seek out my nutritional benefits elsewhere until ... I discovered "pre-mixed" yogurts, specifically:

The texture was perfectly smooth, that nightmare smell was eliminated and the taste was, well, bearable. But bearable was good. I was back on my path to living until the big century mark.

So now let's jump ahead a few more years, and I'm back to blowing off yogurt again. It just wasn't tasty enough to keep my interest but dammit, I knew that yogurt was too damn good to simply disregard.

And with that, we welcomed in the era of "greek yogurt". When comparing to your "traditional" yogurt, there was no comparison: 

Thicker consistency - check
Double the protein - check
Fewer carbs - check

I was all in and ready to make it a permanent part of my morning dining routine.

So I jumped right on the Chobani bandwagon.

Vanilla was my flavor of choice and I added fresh blueberries, homemade granola and whatever else fit my fancy. I swear to you I physically felt a difference. It was as if the bacteria was eating the badness out of my intestines. For the next year or so, I probably had yogurt 5 out of every 7 mornings and as a snack 1 or 2 additional days.

But best of all, it tasted phenomenal. Home boy was hooked.

But we're not finished there. No, it gets even better.

One day, a few months ago, my wife was eating this yogurt with a bunch of greek symbols on the container. The packaging looked odd to me but she insisted it was "to die for". I inspected these little cups and was intrigued by the separate compartment that held the fruit/mix-in. Was I up for the process of mixing in again? I was still damaged by this concept from my childhood.

My wife insisted that once I tried this yogurt, I would be hooked. She even referred to it as "tasting like a dessert". How could I not try it? She has never once steered me wrong (Steel Magnolias being the exception).

I tried one with "honey" and mixed it in as well as I possibly could. After one bite, I knew this was the real deal. Holy thickness, smoothness and creaminess. This stuff was killer. But we're not done yet (bet you never knew yogurt could be this dramatic?).

I tried a few other varieties of my new favorite greek yogurt but one was emerged as the victor:                                    

Fage blueberry yogurt. Holy deliciousness.

As I mentioned before, the blueberry mix is in its own attached compartment: 

I mixed it in with ease and was a happy camper. But guess what? You guessed it, yet even more yogurt excitement. 

Turns out, you aren't supposed to mix in/blend the blueberries into the yogurt. Nope, if you look carefully, the label on the container indicates one should take a dab of the blueberries and then dip it in the yogurt:

Dude, this is magical stuff. Perfection.

I have it EVERY morning and I would pay $10 a pop for these beauties. No lie.

I have found my yogurt and there ain't no going back.

See you in 2072.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Food - It's a sick but tasty habit

Matt here ...

As John mentioned in his last post, we are incredibly excited to share with you all things food related. How it impacts our every move and why it's in our every thought. Well maybe not every thought, but every other thought. Food is the main ingredient in our "Bromance". Allow us to now take you into our culinary world where we will reveal all of our deep, dark secrets and bizarre habits we both share around one of life's greatest pleasures ... food.

The opening line to one of my favorite movies is "As far back as I could remember I always wanted to be a gangster". Don't know the movie? You're no friend of mine. Google it and get back to me.

Anyway, I can relate to that line since my life is kinda similar in that "As far back as I could remember I was always fat". Not big boned or husky or stocky, just plain fat. Plain and simple. No sugar coating allowed. I feel the need to keep it real or keep it to myself (I think I just made that line up).

Back in the summer of 2012 I lost 55 lbs. Big accomplishment. I was on top of the world. I did everything by the book and swore I would never go back to old habits.


1 year and 55 new "friends" later, all at about a pound each, and I was back to square one. Ugh, watta waste.

I "met" my 55 new friends due to some weird eating habits:
- Eating too many potato chips because the bag said "100% Whole Grain".
- Eating too many Edy's Ice Pops because they were "sugar free".
- Eating too much ice cream because it was "1/2 the fat".
- Eating too much dark chocolate covered Acai berries - dark chocolate and Acai is good for you, right?
- Eating one too many bowls of cereal because it had "Flax Seed"
- Drinking too much diet soda. Hey, it's diet right?
- Spending 30 minutes peeling a Pomegranate and following it up an hour later with a Ham and Cheese on Italian Bread (Hey it's OK, I had the Pomegranate earlier).

Now do you see the sick mentality I have?

On a positive note, today is day 13 on Weight Watchers for me and I am down 5 lbs so far. I'm back to logging points and weekly weigh-ins. It's tough, but so is pushing past XXL.

The one thing I would say will never end, is the obsession I have with needing food for the long ride home from work. I pack it religiously every day as it is my security blanket. For example, today was an apple and Chobani Yogurt with of course ... wait for it ... wait for it ... POMEGRANATES!

I'll continue to monitor my successes and failures here and even share some of my absolutely amazing tips. 

Let's do this.


Monday, October 28, 2013

A road trip of terror leads to new blog direction

John here ...

We have tried to update this blog on a semi-regular basis and if you look back over the last year or so, you will see that we have failed miserably.

Well, here we are yet again, ready to announce a new direction.

Actually, let me rephrase that. Our original "new direction" lasted all of one day before we realized what our true direction should be.

Allow me to explain.

For years now, I've been fascinated by "the most terrifying road in the U.S", Clinton Road in West Milford, New Jersey. If you read the Wikipedia page dedicated to this horror-filled road here, you'll see it has quite the interesting history. I have vowed to visit this road at night to witness the paranormal activity in person, but never found the time to do it, until one day at work when I decided Matt was going to be my passenger. I knew Matt was scared of his own shadow (I can't even say the word "exorcist" in his presence) and thought it would be hilarious entertaining to bring him along. I convinced him it would be a great bonding experience to attempt the ten mile trek back and forth and see if we could stay alive doing so. He reluctantly was coerced agreed and we formally set a date.

That date was last Monday night.

I secretly hoped for some sort of "incident"; a zombie attack or a hybrid freaky animal attack or even the car breaking down unexpectedly. I get a rush from that stuff, especially after consuming The Walking Dead and American Horror Story over the past few years. 

Matt, on the other hand, prayed for nothingness.

After work last Monday night, Matt followed me in his car as we headed towards Clinton Road and our impending doom. The plan was to find somewhere to eat dinner along the way and then leave my car in the parking lot there so we could drive and experience the fear together. We eventually settled on an Italian restaurant in a strip mall (not too many of those in NJ ... right) where we had a lousy dinner (more on that later).

After eating, I grabbed my camera, a zombie survival kit and a copy of my last will and testament and hopped in Matt's car. Off we went ready to document our experience.

I won't divulge what happened on our drive, but will tell you it was relatively free of terror yet pretty damn intense. The highlight was one lonely creature that sent Matt into a tailspin ... but let me stop there. I'll let the video below (more audio than video) tell the story.

As you can now tell, Matt was excitable and damn entertaining. We had a ton of fun and enjoyed the experience immensely.

So now back to the "new direction" of this blog.

Together, we had discussed taking more trips like the aforementioned Clinton Road adventure and filming them all. It seemed like an interesting and potentially funny new angle ...

Until we realized that all we wanted to talk about after that drive of horror was our unsatisfying dinner.

We were consumed with the fact that the sandwiches we ordered in this nice establishment did not come with any chips or even a pickle on the side. Not even a single parsley garnish.

I was appalled that my Chicken Milanese sandwich had crappy iceberg lettuce and only a drop of balsamic vinegar.

Matt was critical of the weak attempt at fresh mozz on his sandwich.

As we rehashed our crappy dinner, we came to the realization that an easily forgotten dinner can trump the most terrifying road in the U.S. FOOD is our everything. Hell this blog started because we were so consumed with our daily lunches.

So as we now move forward with this blog, it will focus on food and the role that it plays in both of our daily lives. We'll investigate Matt's obsession with Chobani and pomegranates. I'll teach you the appropriate way to eat an apple while driving. We'll take a tour of local eateries and show you how to shop at Wegmans in 15 minutes or less. Matt will share his tips on following the Weight Watchers diet (already down 5 lbs in week one, big props to him!) and oh so much more.

Stick with us this time, we promise to deliver.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

A BLK lunch

John here ...

So here's the routine:

I walk to Matt's desk without saying a word.

He gets up and we walk out of the building without a bit of kvetching.

We get in his car, close the doors and head out to Wegmans for lunch.

The second the car starts moving, we start chatting like two 13 year old girls and catch up on the others activities from the prior 24 hours.

We pull into the Wegmans parking lot, park in the same row, enter through the automatic doors and walk into heaven.

Once inside, we split up and never do we consult on our lunch options.

We each pay, head upstairs and reconvene at one of three tables that overlooks the fruit displays.

After sitting down, we each take a quick peek at what the other purchased, suffer some order envy and then dive in and gleefully chow down like it is our Last Supper.

This routine never really changes and we like it that way.

So today we are in our seats and just about ready to scarf down our turkey wrap and chicken parm respectively, when we both notice that without any prior discussions, we both purchased the exact same beverage. Not all that out of the ordinary normally, but this was downright bizarre. The beverage of choice was one neither of us had ever tried before but for reasons only the Lord can tell us, we both bought BLK water.

Matt with his:

And me with mine:

First off, yes we took these pics in clear view of numerous other diners but didn't give a rat's arse. This was too good not to capture on film.

Secondly, for those of you who watch the fascinatingly entertaining show Real Housewives of New Jersey, you know this is the product that is run by the Manzo boys and their uncle Chris Laurita. Matt and I could write a thesis on why this show represents the the universe in general but that is a story for another day (in fact, Matt promises a future post on why he wishes Chris Laurita was his uncle - and yes, it will not be creepy one bit).

We have talked in the past about finally trying this water but never talked about when we would do it. To have this occur at the same time was kismet. And let me tell you, the water was damn good. Refreshing and delicious and I was less affected by the black coloring than I thought I would be. I think we both know this will be a drink in our lunch repertoire for the foreseeable future.

But the best part of this BLK and Wegmans mash-up, is that the crew from the RHONJ will be at OUR Wegmans this Sunday promoting their new flavored BLK beverages. Are you friggin kidding me? If you tell me Joe Gorga will also be there, I may pass out. Matt and I are still working out our plan to stop by and stalk say "Hi" so more to come on that one.

To top off yet another fantastic lunch, Matt followed up with a tweet to the BLK gang and guess who responded?              
Pretty cool, eh?


Monday, September 16, 2013

Wegmans or Bust

John here ...

Wegmans is Disney World.

When we walk through the doors each afternoon at approximately 12:09 P.M., it feels like we've escaped to an imaginary world of culinary adventures. I swear to you, even the nastiest of business dudes has a smile on his face as he surveys what deliciousness is on tap for the day. At that moment, the outside world doesn't exist as it is all about eating and even some singing and dancing if you're in the mood. Matt has been known to grab a chef and polka with them.   

Nothing will get in the way of Matt and I finding our way to Wegmans for lunch. We found our way there right after Hurricane Sandy convinced that they would miraculously find power through a higher being in order to serve us. We have navigated snowstorms just to get a Cajun Kettle Salad with extra chicken. I'm sure even after Matt and I retire, we will find a way to meet up there as it has become a part of our DNA.

Which brings us to last week.

Actually, let me allow Matt to take us through it as it was another example of our determination to never eat lunch outside of the Bridgewater, NJ Wegmans.

Go on Matt ...

Thanks John ...

As we have mentioned in numerous posts in the past, John and I would rather have our pinkie toe clipped off then miss a lunch "date" together. Missing that moment at 11:55 A.M. at the office, when we both look at each other and say “You Ready?” is music to our ears.
It’s a moment that says it’s OK to say what you want and unload on anything that comes to mind without any need to self-edit. It’s a moment that feels free of any judgment or criticism. The floor is yours at that time, so use it or lose it.

This precious hour is used to update each other on what’s going on in each of our lives and any other burning "manly" topics that need to be addressed like “The Real Housewives of NJ”, “The Bachelor” or the last episode of “Snooki & JWOW”. Did you expect us to watch anything different? OK, John does watch “Homeland” and “American Horror Story” and I watch “Live with Kelly and Michael” but that’s a story for another post. 

This past week it rained like nobody’s business. I mean it friggin poured. Did that stop the dynamic duo? Ummm let me think ... ahhh no. As we were about to exit the building we stepped aside, looked at each other, muttered "You Ready?” and made the mad dash to my car.

Being the portly fellow that I am (a nice way of saying fat) you have to make sure your belt is extra tight or these suckers are falling to my ankles when any kind of running occurs. I tightened my belt and off we went.

Lets just say I felt like I was sprinting but it’s really just a lot of movement with not much progress. Speed never comes into the equation when your talking about me and running. On the flip side, John, Mr. Bruce Jenner, is running like he’s in the NYC marathon. He’s got the running thing down to a T. Perfect form, like watching a deer run.

Lucky Bast$#% he is. I on the other hand am dying with every breath hoping we don’t have to call an ambulance to pick me up.

I wanna eat before that happens.

The rain stops just as we get in the car. That’s just awesome. We are completely soaked. Keep in mind my clothes are heavy even when they are dry, but now they are dripping buckets of water, it feels like I’m carrying another person on my back. It’s hard being me.

It was so bad, here is a picture of me John took after we finally got to the car. I was drenched.

Lunch was it’s usual awesomeness discussing everything from fantasy sports to Howard Stern to what we wanna be when we grow up. Riveting stuff. This is what life is all about. Making time for the important stuff, family, friends, a 7 inch whole wheat sub loaded with cold cuts that could choke a horse and a zero calorie pomegranate drink. Hey I’m trying to eat healthy.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Cashier peer pressure

John here ...

I know that I have the maturity level of a 15 year old. There is nothing that can be done to change it so why bother fighting it? I can hide it well when the moment calls for it but just know it is simmering at the surface.

Case in point.

Matt and I were at lunch the other day and after stuffing our immature faces with sushi and sweet and sour chicken, we did some shopping/strolling around Wegmans before heading back to work.

We picked up a few things - Matt some newly designed dark chocolate bar with antioxidants and me some vitamin the all-knowing Dr. Oz suggested - and headed to the cashier.

Matt was first in line and was greeted with a friendly face as his purchases slid down the conveyor

The cashier then innocently asked Matt is he wanted to donate a dollar to "blank" charity. Without thinking much of it, he mutterred "Nah, I'm good."

I completely lost it. Giggling like a schoolboy.

"Nah I'm good" sounded to me like the cashier was offering him a dollar and he was turning it down. I don't know if anyone else would have even given this a second thought, but my inner 5th grader couldn't let it go.

But then it was my turn to receive the offer and I began to panic. What is the correct response? There was a large crowd behind and all around us and I didn't want to piss anyone off.

Very quickly, I ran through all of the possible responses to the charity request:

1)"No thank you" - simple enough but again, I am not being offered the money so this doesn't really apply.

2)"Oh, I've previously donated" - that's great and noble, but we're talking a dollar here.

3)"Um sure, I'll donate" - but now "they've" won. I am only doanting because of peer pressure and that defeats the whole purpose of being charitable, doesn't it?

4)"Tell me more about how my dollar can make a difference" - OK, this was never really an option

5)"Mumble, mumble, no" - this was the winner!

I think there was some disgust from my fellow shoppers but we quickly bolted out of the store without looking back.

On the car ride back to work, I was still laughing thinking about "Nah, I'm good" and I'm still not sure if it is really all that funny but damn if it doesn't crack me up. I love those small and unassuming interactions that most people blow off or quickly forget. We can take those moments and overanalyze them for days. I don't know if that makes us keen observers or two guys who need to focus more on the important things in life.

Monday, June 24, 2013

When did the meatball sandwiches end?

Quintessential lunch at Wegmans today.

As Matt and I carefully located our sushi, turkey wraps, sweet potato chips and pear and provolone salads, I noticed a bunch of dudes who walked in with dirty, ripped t-shirts and big ass boots. I watched their entire lunch grabbing spree as they grabbed meatball subs, Fritos and Mountain Dews. As I stood there in my stellar polo shirt and nicely ironed khaki pants, I wondered when it all changed. When did my lunches become so ... sensible and ... healthy ... and non "guy" like? How did Matt and I start eating when we first started going to Wegmans every day for lunch eight years ago? I wouldn't change a thing, but it was a telling moment. Most people eat lunch at their desks or in a cafeteria or on a picnic table and don't give it much thought. Matt and I? We philosophize the entire time, and I friggin love it.

But it gets better.

After downing our lunch and taking the last sips of our Honest Teas, Matt and I gave each other the look. Not that kind of look you heathen ... the look that said "Let's shop". So off we went to the aisle where we spend most of our time, the candy aisle (Sounds creepy, huh? Two 40 year olds cruising the candy aisle).

Matt was reading up on all the exotic chocolate, like this ridiculously priced "bacon bar":            

When he came across another one that he vehemently hated and vowed to never eat again:

Just as he was ripping on all things chipotle and chocolate, a woman came up to him and said "Seriously? That is my absolute favorite!" That led to a ten minute discussion on high end chocolate between the three of us that was as stimulating as any conversation I've had in a long time. And the best part was that we never found it to be odd or uncomfortable. In fact, it was right in our wheelhouse. What have we become?

After the last sea salt and caramel dissertation ended and we said our goodbyes, Matt grabbed his purchase for the day and we headed out. And I swear to you, I am not making this up, this is what he bought:

"Love poem inside"? Bet construction boot guys would approve,eh?


Friday, June 21, 2013

Goodbye Tony Soprano

John here: I still hear the theme music in my head from time to time, "Woke up this morning, got yourself a gun", and wish I could watch Tony Soprano walk down the driveway in his robe to grab the newspaper one last time.

No show has ever pulled me in more than The Sopranos and not only because the backdrop was my beloved New Jersey; the writing and character development was near perfect. Important plot points were never wrapped up in a nice little bow and I found myself hating the characters I loved most of the time. It was messy and that was appropriate. Even the "fade to black" ending makes so much sense now and was a brilliant way to end it all.

So in memory of James Gandolfini, I've asked Matt to interpret three different photos of Tony Soprano as only he can. If I was an obsessive watcher of the show, Matt was obsessive to the 2nd power. He's that guy who has every line from the Pine Barrens episode memorized.

Off we go ...             

Matt here: First let me say that I am crushed that James Gandolfini is no longer with us. He was a tremendous actor who created a memorable character that will go down as one of the best in television history. Rest in Peace Mr. Gandolfini.

Photo #1
This is Tony at his best. Clearly pissed off and annoyed. No, it's not by what is going on at the table, but by something he's still steaming over that happened back at the Bing. Maybe someone ate his Lo-Mein that he had hidden in the fridge that he was thinking about all the way there or maybe it was just as simple as him finding out Vito was seen at a bar wearing a motorcycle outfit dressed like one of the Village People. That would piss me off too.

Photo #2
This is clearly the crew going to have a sit down to discuss who said "Ginny Sacramoni had a 95 lb mole removed from her ass.".  Now that's not nice.

Photo #3
This one reminds me of the softer side of "T"; charming, respectful, family oriented, one who brings his wife furs and jewelry for no reason. This is not the face of a guy who would whack Ralph Cifaretto over a horse or sleep with Svetlana, Gloria Trillo, Irina, Valentina or Charmaine Bucco. Nope, not him.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lunch time annoyances

Two recent observations while dining at Wegman's:

1)I want to smack parents who allow their children to drink soda on a regular basis 

Yes, from time to time, my wife and I will allow the kids to drink a soda, but it is only on the rarest of occasions. I've observed these forgivable situations when the child grabs a soda bottle from the shelf, holds it up in front of the parents eyes and begs and pleads to have it. The parent will usually say "no" but once in a while said parent grimaces, exhales and gives in reluctantly. They know they are allowing a pile of crap to enter their child's body and they can't believe they are OK with it.

I can deal with that parent.

The parent that infuriates me is the one who continually allows their child to drink the stuff each and every day as if they never heard about how bad it is or that it is the # 1 reason kids are unhealthy.

And they wonder why their child is an insufferable brat post sugar comedown 

These oblivious parents need a friggin smack. They are the ones who need protection from themselves as Mayor Bloomberg of New York had suggested. You dopes should just pour the sugar bowl down your kids' throats
41 grams of sugar? Have you not heard of the internet or Dr. Oz? C'mawn people.

2)I despise parents who push their kids in those car-like shopping carts
Wegman's (where Matt and I eat lunch almost daily) is a supermarket with an out of this world "market". So as we grab our lunch each day, we semi-interact with "food shoppers". Most of these shoppers are mom's in expensive workout gear who succumb to their child's wish to ride in these giant mobiles. I'm pretty sure these moms have never uttered the word "no".

As you may imagine, these mack truck like wagons don't take corners very well and even worse, can clog up an aisle as mom looks for her favorite coffee sweetener. They are a nightmare. All so the kid can turn a plastic wheel for a few minutes.

Without fail, the child eventually falls out, knocks over a display and screams bloody murder.

F'n brilliant shopping cart marketers.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Two Guys at Lunch return - part XIX

Matt and I haven't written in almost six months. It is equal parts lack of time, laziness and real life getting in the way. But that is neither here nor there (which is a phrase I have despised for decades but I'm placing it here as an inside joke ...  for who, don't really know).

Anyways, I have pretty much mastered the art of over promising and under delivering during my blogging days. But that is not going to happen again. Write it down ... but in pencil.

No more over the top goals of getting in prime physical shape.

No more talk of becoming a vegan (maybe a one week trial?).

No more missions to seek out NJ urban legends and report back.

Nope. We are going to keep it simple. Pinky swear.

We are who we are (which is so much more meaningful than "it is what it is").

And that is two 40 year old men who have families, love bad sports teams, love bad TV shows, talk about working out like we are still 19 years old, read food labels at Wegman's like we are professional nutritionists, get annoyed at things that most people never notice and most importantly, cherish our lunches during the work week.

That is where we shine.

That is where we are smarter than Dr. Oz, funnier than Chris Rock, more knowledgeable about pop culture than the entire staff at Entertainment Weekly and more angry and annoyed than Denis Leary and George Carlin combined.

Let that soak in for a a minute ...

Got it? Good. Now remind yourself to check back in regularly for gosh darn good old fashioned entertainment.

Two Guys at Lunch

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A message delivered in the men's room

Yes I know, it's been more than a month since we last posted. I won't make any promises as to when the next one will be, so enjoy this little ditty from Matt.


Maybe it’s fate or maybe just my life and the crazy things that happen, but I have to share one of the most embarrassing, funny and awkward moments that has ever happened to me. It happened just yesterday. Here’s some background first….

Up until November 2012 I lost a bunch of weight. I ate right, exercised and changed my life for the better. For 9 months I felt great. I had a schedule and followed it like a champ. Nothing was going to stop me. Well, maybe…

Once the holidays rolled around I reverted back to my old ways. Thanksgiving was the trouble maker and the trigger to start eating like I had a month to live. Since then I have put weight back on (the same weight that I worked so hard to take off). Not all of it, but enough for me to start to feel it in my clothes. The transformation of the old Matt was happening.

Well yesterday was a sign from God telling me “Are you gonna wake up or what?”. Yes, God spoke just like that to me. Yesterday I wore pants that I had tailored because I had lost the weight. Mr. Big shot walking into the cleaners “Can you please take the waist in on these pants they are just too big”. What a Loser. Little did I know a few months later I would turn into Fat Elvis (without the hair and looks of course).

Here is where the fun started and God spoke. I walk into the Men’s room (nothing disgusting here so relax). There is a guy sitting in the first stall so I go in the middle one next to him. I always like to be as quiet as possible. I unbutton my pants (they were snug to begin with so I was cautious), all of a sudden the metal slide button that buttons your pants from the inside pops and goes flying. It was like life all of a sudden hit sloooo-motion.

The metal slide button hits the floor and actually makes a loud “Ting” noise. I immediately say to myself “Oh God this did not just happen”. It lands directly under the guys pants sitting in the next stall. Now what? Do I put my hand under the wall and just expect him to hand it to me without saying a word to each other? Awkward! Do I say hey can you pass me my button back? Awkward! Is he cracking up laughing on the other side of the wall? Does he know who I am? Do we see each other leaving bathroom and I have to say “Hey sorry about the button”. Awkward! All I can do is think to get the heck out of there as fast as possible. However, now I have no button. I find inside my pants another button on the waist but it’s a lot farther away then the one that popped. Now my pants will be tighter then before. Damn Thanksgiving started this all. 

Now, I’m in the stall sticking in my stomach to button my pants on a notch that turns my pants into a kids size pants (well maybe not kids but you get the point). I’m now having to pray that this button doesn’t pop also and take someone’s eye out. I make it out of the bathroom not having to see this guy who may have my button somewhere intertwined in his pants or shoe. Ugh the thought and embarrassment. I washed my hands and run for the hills as fast as I can being as cautious as ever not wanting to lose my last button. I got through the day but never said a word to anyone except now. I had to. Was too funny to hold in (not my stomach, but the experience).

There you have it. Stick to your New Years resolution if it has to do with weight loss. You want to lose the weight, not your buttons!!
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