Chick-fil-A’s First 100

Well, you’ll never guess what I did in the past 24 hours. I participated in Chick-fil-A’s First 100. What is that, you ask? I’ll tell you. When Chick-fil-A opens a new store, they have this thing called the First 100.  The First 100 get to celebrate the Grand Opening of a new Chick-fil-A by pressing their luck in a raffle that takes everyone who shows up 24 hours before the grand opening, selects 100 participants + 10 alternates, and then they camp out on the lot for 24 hours, get fed 3 meals throughout the 24 hours, and then if you stay on site for the WHOLE 24 hours; in the end you are rewarded with 52 free combo meals!!! Which equals to be one free combo meal a week for a whole year, total contest winnings equal approximately $250!!! Ummmm, heck yeah!

We showed up at around 5:20 am in Five Points, Birmingham, AL to see that there were already 50 people in front of us. What we has assumed is that they take the first 100 that show up… no, no, no. They take everyone that shows up (in our case we were lucky, there were only 124 people), and then line everyone up (see above) and then they give them all a ticket. Then the raffle begins. I was the 3rd person called!!

After they call your name they place a bracelet on you, give you a cup, and put you in a group. They have check-in’s to make sure that you are on site when they feed you and they do that by making sure that you have a bracelet. A lot of random people kept showing up asking where they could get the free food and drink and we would have to let them know that they just weren’t cool enough, sorry. j/k

And then it was time to set up camp and get ready for our 24 hour stay. They set us up based on how many people we would be camping with. Some people had groups as large as 9. They tried to keep us within the parking lines; however, some people just have really big, ridiculous tents.

Yep, that’s a really ridiculous tents. One tent was called the Vacation Home Tent… obviously these people have never been camping in the woods. Tents should not come with a case with wheels. But that’s just my personal opinion.

So I’d be curious about what they feed people if they were to stay on site for a whole day — so I’ll tell you.

  • Morning: Chicken Biscuit
  • Lunch: #1 Combo Meal: Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich, waffle fries, and soft drink
  • Dinner: 8 piece chicken nugget with a side (btw, we tried their chicken salad – DELISH)
  • Desert: IceDream with toppings 🙂

People brought tons of junk with them. We just brought each other and the bare essentials: small tent, pillows, sleeping bag, book, iPod and iPad. That was it. We didn’t brings food or board games (although, maybe we should have) but we also try to travel light.

Before we knew it, there was a DJ, a hula hoop contest, a dance contest, a Miss Chick-fil-A contest and many other fun games throughout the day. It was a good time to be had by all. And then it was time for bed. Now, something funny about camping out in the middle of downtown Birmingham is that there are a A LOT of bars in the area, so at 12, 1, 2 a.m. … etc. we heard them. There were also fire trucks, police cars, dump trucks… we heard those too. But oddly enough, I slept pretty well. It was probably because I was fed so well.

We had a 5 a.m. wake up call and then it was show time and the Grand Opening began and the ribbon was cut.

And finally, what we worked all night for, the 52 free meals. I can’t thank Chick-fil-A, or CHICKY as we have all come to know it, enough. We had a really good time. And there really is something to be said about good people and good food. And it CAN be found in fast food. Standards can be set and followed when it comes to quality of food and Chicky follows great standards and excellence in customer service.

The First 100 has a bit of a following. One man in The Group; this was his 15th Grand Opening that he has attended! The couple in front of me, this was their 5th. A girl who knew me from high school told me that she had been to one other opening and people there recognized other contestants from past Grand Openings, “Oh, I remember you from the Dayton, Ohio opening” – “Weren’t you at the Louisville opening?” Hilarious. Advice: DO IT. It’s rare that you’ll ever do something silly like this again.

And nothing beats a good sunrise.

Today I am thankful for: being apart of the FISRT 100.

Food Team: Sheng Sushi

Can y’all believe that I have not had ANY Japanese food since I’ve been in China? Unbelievable, right? Actually, other than Vietnamese Pho, I don’t think I’ve had any other Asian cuisine other than chinese food. I’m not complaining. I love chinese food. But this week, I’ve had a craving for some delicious sushi. My roommate found a new hole-in-the-wall sushi restaurant that we just had to try! So we went. Here’s the info:

  • The Place: Sheng Sushi
  • The Food: Yummy Sushi
  • The Location: 63 Yongkang Lu, near Jiashan Lu
    永康路63号, 近嘉善路
  • The hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m
  • The digits: +86 21 135 6459 5115, +86 21 138 1641 8701

This place is delightful. And what I love most about it is that it is sooo tiny. There might be 8 chairs inside and they can enclose the back kitchen so that the servers can’t pass back and forth and add another chair where that partition was. You might find yourself asking to refill someone else’s tea cup but it’s all in good fun and it’s apart of the ambiance. In the back kitchen area there is a ladder resting at a 75 degree angle where the wait staff will quickly go up and down and bring out more tables and chairs as they are needed outside. This is one of those really unique places that you have to go to. The wait staff is super friendly and while they may not speak any english, they do their best and usually understand. A+ guys.

Oh yeah. Friends, meet The Denver Roll. Mango (my favorite) with cucumber and crab roe with tuna salad. Oh my goodness I cannot even put into words how yummy this was.

Eat it facebook! This is a wall of love notes. Forget “liking” something… All of these people LOVE it.

Today I am thankful for: my BFF finally being finished with her BAR exam!! Congrats V. You’ve been working your butt off. AND I’m finished with work! Woohoo! Now the countdown for home is really on!

USA countdown: 4 days : 21 hours : 25 minutes

Spread the Good Word: PLTW

Bull Noodle or Noodle Bull

We have a new favorite restaurant. Its called Bull Noodle… We think. It wasn’t until recently that we noticed that it’s really called Noodle Bull. I don’t even know what that means. The food is delicious and it’s really simple — and to me, that’s the best part — aside from the cost. There specialty, the “Bull Noodle”, only cost 35 Yuan. Which means it barely cost 6 USD. I’ll let you know a little secret… after we first found this place… we went 4 times in one week. SHAME SHAME SHAME. Oh whatever, it was delicious.

I usually get the Bull Noodle, but this time I thought I would try something different… Bull Rice. I still prefer the noodles. YUM.

Eric got something new too. It was the trio. The trio included the hot and sour soup, braised pork soup (very good) and the Bull Noodle. I think our favorite is still the Bull Noodle. Once I get stuck on something it’s very hard for me to order something new.

Look at Eric! He’s so happy. Actually, right now he is sickly — but nonetheless… a little noodle soup goes a really long way.

The other thing that I really enjoy about this place is that they have an awesome interior. Super simple and focused on materials that I love —  Concrete and Dark Wood. Its sexy. Get into it. They also have a rockin’ playlist playing. We heard a remix to Simon and Garfunkel’s: Sound of Silence. We still can’t find the exact one. The search will continue.

Details: 1/F, 3B, 291 Fumin Rd., corner with Changle Rd. | 富民路291号1楼3B,长乐路口 | 021.6170.1299 | 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.

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Today I am thankful for: a good weekend. I finally have something to post about. Sorry about the past week and little blogging — we had to work this past weekend with very little time off in between.

USA countdown: 10 days : 21 hours : 25 minutes

People 7 with the Fam…

Some of the wonderful dishes that we had tonight. We had Fried Mushrooms, Scallops + Rice Cakes, and Softshell Crab, and then we also got a long Spring Roll with Fresh Veggies… and they weren’t kidding…

See what I mean?? That’s one long roll. Tonight we actually got to sit down and enjoy each other in this funky restaurant. My bro and sis are staying in a super ritzy hotel. It’s so fancy. We went to the bar for ladies night (free champagne to all the ladies!!) and there were super models and all sorts of fancy people on this roof top bar. Super swanky. Hate to say it — I stuck out like a sore thumb… I’m not so ritzy and glamorous. I’m okay with that. Here’s a pic of the super cute couple for all of those who are keeping up with them from back home 🙂

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Today I am thankful for: Family Time. It’s so nice to get off work and have your family there.

 

 

 

Food Team: People 7

So Food Team definitely met up this weekend! AND this is going to be one of the first places that I’ll take my brother and sister when they come and visit! Here are The Deets:

  • The Place: People 7 Bar Shanghai
  • Where: 805 Julu Road, by Fumin Road.
  • The Digits: +86 (21) 5404 0707
  • What up?: Bad Ass Bar with specialty beverages and unexpectedly Bad Ass Food.
So, my friend William has been telling me about this bar that we just had to go to. I said, “OK sure, I’ll go get some expensive drinks…” He said, “Just wait.” One of the nice girls at our office made our reservation and then gave us the password… Say what? PASSWORD?? Yeah, that’s right — Password. So we took a cab ride to this very quiet street with white walls and William looked back at me and said, “You’re right in front of the place — don’t you know where to go?” Yeah right. No one, on their first time, would know where to go. You have to go into this darkly lit part of the wall and then go up some shady looking stairs and then you are greeted at the top by these holes (picture above). And that is when you use your password. If you get it wrong… A door slides open and you look into a mirror that says “Gotcha” on the other side. So. Cool. When you do get it right, the big concrete door opens and you are greeted by two very nice hostesses. We ordered our drinks and sat in the “waiting area” until our table was available, which of course was right on the nose at 8 p.m. And this is what we ordered.
Broccoli on Ice. Have you ever had broccoli without the tree on top? And served in an Ice Bowl? I think not.
Drunk Cold Chicken with Diced Ginger and Scallions — this was delicious. The Chinese really find a nice textural balance between fat and meat. It really was wonderful.
Ok… this one wasn’t my idea but Sea Cucumber. O.M.G. Please don’t get me wrong — this was delicious as well — but I have serious issues with certain forms of slime and goo being thought to be edible. The “sauce” aka goo had the texture and look of snot. Ughhh… I will not be ordering that again. But I can say I tried it. And it’s not nearly as bad as stinky tofu… It’s just a texture thing. Please see below…
This is just like a dang Kiwi. It’s awkward… and gross. Moving On…
Tiny Wonton with Pork and Shrimp. Dad — we need this recipe. These were lovely.
And last, but certainly not least, the Soft Shell Crab. This was the absolute best that I have ever had in my life! Bit of an exaggeration? I. Think. Not. These were absolutely perfect. Certainly the way to any woman’s heart… Crabs. haha
And my new favorite drink: Kiwi Juice. Kiwi’s are a lot less awkward when they are ground up and juiced. (Is ground or grinded the past tense of grind… I’m sure my mother or English Major friends will correct me!)
Moral of the night: It would be a shame for anyone to be in Shanghai and not go to this place. Let it be the fancy restaurant you go to while you are here. Plus, food is so affordable in Shanghai. Everything we ordered was between 35-75 RMB ($5.30-$11.50) and when you eat Family Style, it is super affordable. So maybe, go here as often as you can.
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Today I am thankful for: Southern Belle this evening. It is Memorial Day after all – I have to have a burger. SHAME, I know.

are you… PHO REAL?

Yeppers… that’s where I ate dinner last night. My friend, William, wanted to go there before he left Shanghai last summer but could never get in. As we were walking by last night we noticed that they weren’t very busy so we had take one of the few seats that they had available. The availability must of had something to do with the fact that it was the geriatric dinner hour of 5:45 p.m. so we got seated right away.

I absolutely love the name. All of their dishes were incredibly fresh. We ordered the Shrimp and Pork springrolls and then we each ordered the specialty, the Pho Soup. It was a lovely broth-y soup with some onion and what-not in it, along with rice noodles (yuummmmmm), and they laid on top some wonderful pieces of raw beef (i think) and it cooked into the broth. My father would have loved it! That’s how he cooks a lot of his soups.

I thought that the inside and outside were both pretty cool. I think it’s quite obvious that ADA rules do not apply in China–as there were no ramps to this lower area of the restaurants. However, the architecture was quite simple and played up by the excellent use of interior design. I love those baskets hanging on the ceiling — but all I could think about was how they would be hell to dust.

Today I am thankful for: finally being able to talk to most of my family  — even if it was by email.

PLTW

Food Team: The Smoking Pig

Woohoo! So my buddy Mitchell told me about this awesome BBQ place on the way to Anderson. So last weekend my boyfriend and I decided that we would try it out and it was–HANDS DOWN–Awesome! So I took a few pics and decided that Food Team would have to come here! So… Food Team had its first official semester meeting last night.

  • The Place: The Smokin’ Pig
  • The Food: Awesome BBQ
  • The Location: 6630 U.S. 76 North (Anderson Highway)
  • The Hours: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
  • The Digits: 864.787.7827 or 864.646.5150

We decided to go on a Friday night at 7:00 p.m. right after the Opening Baseball Game of the Season (good call Food Team Cap’n). Needless to say there was a line out the door. There are a mixture of people there: families, old guys, and, of course, college kids. In the two rooms dedicated for seating (none of which can be saved or reserved before you order) our group of 14 were had a difficult time finding a picnic table (oh yes, picnic table) that would fit all of us. Unfortunately we had to split up. But for a while we were rolling 5 deep on each side. Now onto the food!

Above is a pic of my dish: Chop Pork plate with two sides — fried okra and their famous (as deemed by me) ‘Nana Puddin’. And then my boyfriend got the Chop Pork sandwich with a side of okra. It was delightful. The pork was moist and full of flavor. The rolls are made fresh and then slathered with butter. I saw them coming out of the oven last night.

Now something that South Carolinian’s will appreciate, they have all of the Carolina sauces. The have the Mustard based (Low Country), the Vinegar based (Midlands), and the Sweet Based (Upstate). I tried them all. I really liked the sweet and then I mixed it with the vinegar and then I still really enjoyed the mustard. Yummmmm…

Now, let’s take another look at this beautiful Banana Pudding. DELICIOUS. I seriously wanted to lick this little Styrofoam bowl but then thought  better of it.  You can also take a to-go order with you. I love that stuff!

I think it goes without saying that I really enjoyed this place and I cleaned my plate thoroughly 🙂 I forgot to mention, there sweet tea is great too, I must’ve been too overwhelmed by the yummy food in front of me.

My friendly food team (+/- a few).

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Today I am thankful for: 12 hours of sleep after an all-nighter AND for a beautiful 70+ degree day that allowed me to go hiking!

GOOD DOG : Chattanooga, TN

GOOD DOG

I love Chattanooga! And this restaurant has to be at least one reason why. Read what GOOD DOG has to say about their own awesome place:

GOOD DOG is a quick-service restaurant that serves great food in the form of all-beef, natural casing hot dogs, the very best veggie dogs, homemade chili, hand-cut twice-fried fries, fresh salads with hand-crafted dressings and freshly baked cupcakes.  We are committed to making fresh, fast food accessible to all while keeping it affordable, fun and socially responsible.

GOOD DOG believes in GOOD things, GOOD food, GOOD folks, GOOD times and a GOOD earth.  Our restaurant was built using re-claimed and re-purposed materials.  We strive in daily operation to minimize waste, promote recycling and create the smallest environmental footprint possible.  Our french fry oil is collected and used as bio-diesel fuel.  We believe that one fry at a time, we can help to make a difference.

AWESOME, right? We were off in the North Shore District in Chattanooga (checking out 1 of the 6 gear shops we looked at during our awesome road trip) and I pass by a door way that looks something like this…

ummm… yes please.

So, I see a Cupcake with a halo and then a Hot Dog with a halo and I’m as good as done. This is where we were meant to be. Check out the menu.

I got the BBQ Dog and my boyfriend got the Chicago dog. They were EPIC. So epic that I forgot to take pics of them (sad day, I know). I was just way too excited.  But check out my other pics.

Crown Molding and Door Frames

Their counter tops are accented with old crown molding and old door frames. I love this.

Yes Ma’am – GOOD CUPCAKE

I LOVE CAKE.

These guys rock! Check out the main website here and check out their blog here and make sure you show your support and go there.