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Braniff's Profile

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Minnesota State Fair foods?

Healthy-eating? There is! Go off the fairgrounds to a restaurant which serves healthy food or to your home. Whenever I've gone to the Iowa State Fair, I usually get my hand stamped and leave to have lunch at a Subway restaurant. Then I return. It'd be nice if the Iowa State Fair people would allow a Subway franchisee to operate during the course of the Iowa State Fair, but I doubt it.

Mar 22, 2012
Braniff in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Do Calories on Menus Really Help?

I agree. Those who criticize such restaurant chains as McDonald's and Burger King should be criticizing the independent restaurants (and the chains which provide little or no nutritional information at all) along with the food stands at such events as carnivals and fairs.

Feb 04, 2011
Braniff in Not About Food

Is It OK to Complain About Tiny Portions?

I would rather eat at a restaurant which serves portions that are too tiny and notifies me in advance rather than at one which serves me portions which are too big and too many without warning. I count calories and I want to know what I am getting myself into whenever I enter a restaurant where I don't know what I might be ordering. I use the Calorie Counter's Handbook (right title?) but I should be on guard since the portions might be too big or too small.

Nov 25, 2010
Braniff in Features

And Next Year, the Fair's Going Vegan

Why can't the Iowa State Fair food vendors people try it? They should be catering to those who are concerned about their health and are doing things such as watching fat and counting calories. Why can't fairgoers be offered a wide variety of fat-free healthy foods at the fair?

Aug 17, 2010
Braniff in Features

Don't Get Suckered on Valentine's Day

If you want to keep it simple, by all means do so. I agree with the others on this thread who are urging everyone to avoid the fancy restaurants. Try going to Subway, Champps or Village Inn/Bakers Square.

Perhaps you and your date can enjoy cherry pie--after all, this year's Valentine's day is the day before Presidents' Day (which started out as a celebration of George Washington's birthday).

Jan 29, 2010
Braniff in Features

Virgin Drink Reminder

Here is one point that has been practically ignored--the responsibility of the drinker and possibly the host if an alcohol-related accident should take place during or right after the party.

I hope all alcohol-related parties will have designated drivers--and some way to accomodate their wishes (such as favorite non-alcoholic drinks). Designated drivers should also have the right not to be abused by drunken party guests. Designated drivers should have the right to call the police if need be in case they are the target of such abuse.

The hosts of such parties should limit the number of drinks served to each guest. Such hosts should not drink themselves. They should be prepared to call for a taxi if need be, or if worse, call the police and have any out-of-control drunks arrested.

I am thinking about the forthcoming holiday celebrations that many will be attending in which drinking will play a key role. Often times, the police crack down big time on drunk drivers and drunkeness in general. Should party-goers end their parties behind bars and with a criminal record?

Oct 29, 2009
Braniff in Features

Raiders of the Lost Drink

The drinks were running a little low--seems as if that's a sign of trouble and not just of a lack of booze.

Think about the chances for DUIs and public intoxication charges--or worse, deaths from alcohol-related accidents or from drinking too much alcohol.

A good host will be sober enough to know when to lower the boom on the alcohol consumption before things get out of hand. That host may not be popular with the guests, but in the end, if the guests sober up (no pun intended) they will understand.

Sep 10, 2009
Braniff in Features

Your Order Is Politically Incorrect

Those who criticize their dining partners about what they choose to order due to politics or any reason for that matter often risk having their own table manners criticized. For example, there are people who will use the critic's own harangues as an opportunity to nag the critic about the critic's personal issues.

Years ago, I dated a girl who insisted on lecturing me about the follies of eating meat. She happened to smoke and was a heavy drinker. So I made her lectures an opportunity to nag her about her smoking and drinking. Alas, she did not get the habit and we eventually quit seeing each other.

Sep 10, 2009
Braniff in Features

You Break It, You Replace It

I'm in agreement with Ruth and Shattered. I'll add that whenever there's going to be lots of drinking, unknown guests (who might have the potential to get out of control if they have had just a little to drink) or both, then it's best to keep the chinaware and other heirlooms out of harm's way. This is one time when it is not a bad idea to use plastic, paper or styrofoam instead.

Aug 19, 2009
Braniff in Features

Should You Really Be Eating That?

If your friend is trying to get you to eat food that you consider is not good for you, then you should stand up for yourself. Refuse it--not even a single bite!! If you and your friend are at a restaurant, make sure it is taken back. It's your health. YOU come first. If your friend cares about you, then she'll honor your wishes. Otherwise you'd ditch her, pronto!

Mar 19, 2009
Braniff in Features

Kids Making Drinks

Kids shouldn't be allowed to make alcoholic drinks for the adults--and adults shouldn't be allowed to consume them whenever they're in the company of kids. For that matter, I think everyone would be better off if adults were to limit their own consumption of alcohol, period.

I speak from experience. My father suffered from liver problems due to his drinking, my sister was an alcoholic and my mother may have been an alcoholic as well. I recall when my mother was entertaining friends from out-of-town for my high school graduation. She could drink but I could not drink due to the drinking age (which was 18 at the time). She would not give up the alcohol because of my presence. To make a long post short--if there are kids, then no booze!!!

Mar 19, 2009
Braniff in Features

Key to the Liquor Cabinet

Whether you are serving business, first or private jet, always have something for the non-drinker. It could be sodas, it could be coffees, it could be fruit juice. Better yet, it could be a non-alcoholic beverage that would appeal to the drinker as much to the non-drinker. But the needs of the non-drinker should never be overlooked!

Feb 15, 2009
Braniff in Features

HELP--can't find Kellog's All Bran Extra Fiber in LA

Has that brand of cereal been disconnected? As a resident of West Des Moines, Iowa, I have tried to find it at two local Hy-Vee supermarkets, but neither one carries it these days. Moreover, it does not seem to be listed on the Kellogg's website. I'm sure that any information as to what happened to this particular brand would be appreciated.

Dec 15, 2008
Braniff in Los Angeles Area

How to Talk Politics Over Dinner

Years ago, I dated a girl who insisted on forcing her views down my throat whenever we went out to dinner. She had a drinking problem to boot. Moreover, although she considered herself to be a tree-hugger and one who wanted to save the planet, she would not honor my request to refrain from smoking in my presence. Needless to say, our relationship was stormy to say the least.

Oct 29, 2008
Braniff in Features

Indoor Voices, Please!

I have had a few meals while wearing a portable CD player (I was listening to music by Alan Hovhaness). It seemed to work, although perhaps the restaurant wasn't too noisy.

Oct 22, 2008
Braniff in Features

Did Madonna's Attitude Toward Food Ruin Her Marriage?

I have a reputation for being a tyrant at a restaurant myself; I insist on counting calories, getting small portions and eating healthy. But Mrs. Ritchie is a Captain Queeg when it comes to dinner. I hope she does not get custody of her kids. Her ex-husband should take them to such places as Subway, Dairy Queen, Denny's, iHop, Burger King, Wendy's, O'Charley's, Applebee's or even Long John Silver's (in moderation, of course).

If what Mrs. Ritchie did is true, then it is just as bad as pigging out all the time. Obviously, there's a lesson in it for all of us.

Oct 22, 2008
Braniff in Features

Ordering Off the Kids' Menu

I have to disagree based on experience. I asked for a kids meal at a Burger King in Windsor Heights (Iowa) on the 4th of July last year because it had fewer French Fries (meaning fewer calories and less fat) than their smallest combo meal. However, I got a toy car with it. Needless to say, I was pretty upset with the serving staff.

Oct 15, 2008
Braniff in Features

Bring Your Own Plastic Container

This is slightly off the topic, but I can't resist posting. Oftentimes whenever I eat lunch at my favorite Subway restaurant, I get more paper napkins than I can use. Alas, I'm reluctant to throw away the clean ones in the trash, so I keep one on hand for dessert, which consists of a soft-serve ice cream treat at the Dairy Queen that happens to be adjacent to the Subway restaurant. So far, my biggest challenge has been to keep the nutrition info about the Subway sandwiches out of sight from the customers and the staff at the local Dairy Queen. (Dairy Queen has its own napkins, complete with the Dairy Queen logo.)

Please let me know your thoughts on my thoughts. I'm trying to do my part for saving a tree or two, but I'm not sure if it's good manners.

Oct 12, 2008
Braniff in Features

Dude, Where's My Drink?

To make matters worse, the host should have had non-alcoholic alternative alternatives available from the time the first guests arrived. That is an essential element for any cocktail party these days. I doubt that if something should happen, such as an accident or a DUI, being clueless will let the host off the hook.

Aug 27, 2008
Braniff in Features

Attitudes toward restricted diets - your experiences?

People who don't respect their colleagues dietary choices should not be around other people period!!! Those people who push others to eat a food that might trigger a medical condition, or have an allergin or alcohol are the equivalent of drug pushers--at best they only care about themselves, not about the people with whom they deal. The victims (and I mean victims) have every right to call them names or even slap them in the face.

Stand up for yourselves!!! Don't give into food pushers!!!

Aug 26, 2008
Braniff in Not About Food

[MSP] All foods at the State Fair (more or less)

It's too bad the people who run the various state fairs--Minnesota, Iowa and elsewhere--tend not to publicize more the healthy foods that ARE available during fair time or at least provide nutritional guidelines.

As one who visited the Iowa State Fair last week, I avoided the corn dogs and other fried foods, just confining myself to a regular hot dog, a vanilla soft serve and a small diet root beer. I used one of those calorie books for guidance. If the guidelines are correct, I may have consumed less than 530 calories during my visit to the fair.

All county and state fairs should do more to publicize healthy eating both during the year and during the fairs. Why should anyone lay off low-calorie, fat-free foods just because a fair is going on?

Aug 16, 2008
Braniff in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Do Calories on Menus Really Help?

I disagree. There are a few restaurants in my area (such as the Cheesecake Factory, the Machine Shed and the food stands at the Iowa State Fair) which I will not patronize because the food items have too many calories and too much fat. If I were to know how much fat or calories their food items had, I'd feel better about going there.

Aug 11, 2008
Braniff in Not About Food

Do Calories on Menus Really Help?

Your comment begs a question: could state universities (i. e. extension services, perhaps) test the food of local restaurants for calories, fat, carbs and the like, perhaps for a small fee? Such services could also provide information about nutrition to restaurants, both local and chain (fast food and otherwise).

Aug 11, 2008
Braniff in Not About Food

"The 10 roads to Fatsville"

Andiereid--where did you live when you made that post? I happen to live in the Des Moines, Iowa area where the "nice" restaurants are known for bringing you HUGE portions of fattening food. Some of the culprits include the local steakhouses, the Iowa Machine Shed, the Cheesecake Factory and Cheddars.

In a way you're better off going to a fast food place such as McDonald's or Burger King. If a typical Burger King or McDonald's knows what it is doing, you'll find nutrition information posted in the restaurant for most of its items (save for the most recent additions, I've found) and you can plan your meal from there. That's more than can be said for a Cheesecake Factory or Cheddars which provide no nutrition information at all.

Even better are the Subway restaurants, which offer a great line of vegetable-intensive sandwiches and information about the ingredients (although some of their information about the calories and fat in some of the sandwiches can be confusing---i.e. what type of bread or cheese). Otherwise, I think it's the best of the bunch.

Aug 02, 2008
Braniff in Food Media & News

Kids Gone Wild

Dana__what, your posting begs the question: Has anyone ever witnessed a restaurant manager who has ever chastised a parent of a misbehaving child, a misbehaving parent or a misbehaving restaurant patron? And if so, how have the other restaurant patrons reacted?

Sorry but I couldn't help asking.

Jul 02, 2008
Braniff in Features

Kids Gone Wild

Kudos to those restaurants which say in advance, "no kids allowed", kudos to those restaurants which step in when the behavior of children gets out of hand and kudos to those restaurants which provide coloring pages and other sources of amusement.

I speak from experience. When I was about five or six years in age, I had to wait for what seemed hours with my elders and became very bored. Had I brought along a book to read, such as Seven Little Postmen or Smokey The Bear, that might not have been good manners, but it would have beat spilling my milk (as I did at an old Lum's hot dog place). I'm glad that many restaurants take kids into consideration nowadays; in fact there are some restaurants which have special nights for kids with entertainers who make animal balloons, perform magic tricks and more.

Jun 25, 2008
Braniff in Features

Birthday Butchery

If the question of cutting a cake is a problem--try an alternative such as serving pre-cut pie, ice cream dishes or pizza slices. Perhaps the candles could be put in those. Who says that the person celebrating the birthday has to cut a birthday cake?

Mar 28, 2008
Braniff in Features

Just Watch Me Drink

As a non-drinker, I can agree with you jmarcush. Last year as a member of a Catholic singles' group (which is notorious for getting together at bars), I hosted a happy hour, hoping that I would be accepted by the group. Unfortunately, only a couple of people thanked me at the end; otherwise, I was ignored during the run of the event. I felt like a fool because I did not drink, but I was not going to compromise my position just to please them.

By comparison, we had a couple of similar events which did not feature drinking. Only a few people showed up--as I understand it, those events are not being held anymore by the group due to lack of interest.

Feb 17, 2008
Braniff in Features

Cheesecake Factory and the Downside of Gargantuan Portion Sizes

In several cities such as Des Moines, Davenport (IA), Lake Elmo MN, Rockford IL and Olathe KS, places such as the Cheesecake Factory aren't the only villans when it comes to nutrition and outsized portions. Those cities are unfortunate (IMHO) to be the locations of Machine Shed Restaurants which feature Midwestern-type cooking. The portions are huge--even for lunch. There is no regards for low-carb diets, no regards for trans-fats (as far as I can tell). They use white bread instead of wheat or 12-grain. Nutrition information about the dishes at a Machine Shed restaurant? Forget it! You can get better information from a Subway, a Burger King, a McDonald's or even a Wendy's.

As for the Machine Shed, you have to negotiate with your waiter if you want something healthy--or better yet cancel the order period. I speak from experience--which involved a disastorous lunch and a breakfast that had to be cancelled because they didn't have a bran cereal on hand.

Jan 12, 2008
Braniff in Chains

Party of One

To qsw: Thank you for your response. Perhaps I was a bit too harsh on my judgment, but I thought the Iowa restaurant wanted to force its atmosphere of "old house attic" to everyone who ate there. Perhaps it had to do with the way the music was being broadcast--not just in the restaurant, but also in the adjoining hotel lobby and the skywalk which ran through it. Visitors cannot escape the music nor the fake relics (the pictures of the 1930s and 1940s celebrities who visited the hotel, for example). For example, I wondered which celebrities the hotel had served lately--after all, didn't the management know anything about the world-famous Iowa caucuses which are held every four years in the winter? But the restaurant and hotel seem content with their atmosphere that evokes the past (much like Disneyland, only cornier--no pun intended). That is why I avoid that place nowadays.

Nov 25, 2007
Braniff in Features