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2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back?

April 12, 2005 at 9:57pm By: Mr. T Posted in 625 Elm Street

I stopped in at the new Dac Nguyen resturant that apparently just opened in place of the old Vien Dong restaurant across from UNL city campus. I was surprised to see it open since I was under the impression that it was going to be serving Teppanyaki cuisine and would thus need extensive remodeling to move in grills.

I was even more surprised when I walked in to find the same waitress who worked at Vien Dong - WTF?! Hmmmmm. Anway, the menu seems to be aiming for some sort of slightly sophisticated Pan East Asian experience. It seemed like the least expensive dish there was $7.50. I tried the chicken curry. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was almost an exact replicate of Indian-influenced Southern Thai or Malay style chicken curry (ie “Massaman” or “Muslim-Man”), with a coconut milk base, onions, and potatoes (hence the Indian touch). This is very different from the typical super oily chicken curry you would order at many chinese or vietnamese places. The ingredients were all fresh, vegetables were crunchy, and the chicken was nicely cooked too. Dissapointing was the fact that the curry itself was extremely mild, even for Nebraska tastes in my opinion. In fact it was about as spicy as a glass of warm skim milk, which was disheartening.

Overall, what was a bit unsettling at first is that the entire menu has been completely over hauled and much more limited. However, that is not to say that a smaller menu necessarily means its bad. As the french know, a restaurant with a small menu usually means that the listed items are all high quality! And there were a few items on the menu I have never seen before anywhere. Again, it seems to me like Dat’s is aiming for a more sophisticated clientale (ie grad students and faculty from UNL), just based on prices alone. I noticed that there was lobster and other seafood av

ailable on the menu. I was definitely dissapointed that virtually all of the pho that was previously offered at vien dong’s is now gone. Anyone with any culinary tastes knows that pho ranks among the best of dishes anywhere. And there is no teppanyaki available at all either, contrary to my earlier expectations.

Dat’s is probably worth a few more visits before a final verdict.

No se habla espanol aqui

April 12, 2005 at 7:02pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

English is now the official language of West Virginia. But don’t worry, West Virginia’s lawmakers is just idjits, they didn’t mean to be intolerant.

On second thought, that doesn’t make me feel any better.

News flash!

April 11, 2005 at 2:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Salk had help developing polio vaccine

In other breaking news:

  • World War II ends
  • Abraham Lincoln shot, killed
  • Ogg, son of Grogg, invents “wheel”

One Week Down

April 8, 2005 at 11:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

One week down, a whole bunch to go.

I survived week one at my new job. I hope writing this doesn’t curse me, but I have to say that so far I’m very pleased. This position is so much more “me” than my previous position was. I am meeting all sorts of people, and I’m being presented with all sorts of really cool opportunities. I definitely can’t complain.

I do miss the people from my previous job, and the work atmosphere was certainly more, umm, “lively” than it is here. (I don’t expect to have many rubber band fights any more.) But this office isn’t nearly as sterile as I thought it might be. Everybody is very friendly, and everybody seems to have very high job satisfaction. Many of these folks have been here, in one position or another, for years.

Oh, and I might get to go to San Diego for a few days, ostensibly to attend a conference. The hotel is right on the water. Good times.

So there you have it. Week one is in the books. I’m even going to say something I hadn’t said at my previous job in a long, long time: I’m looking forward to Monday.

Pork

April 7, 2005 at 7:58pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Once again, Ted Stevens (R-AK) leads the list of oinkers for 2005. Your tax dollars at work, ladies and gents.

Power to the Elected Officials

April 7, 2005 at 2:02pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Voters in Bennington, Vermont, rejected a 75,000 square foot cap on “big box” retailers, opening the door to Wal-Mart to expand its current store in that community. With the exception of one woman’s assertion that she “want(s) a bigger Wal-Mart,” the article is strongly biased against the mega chain. But one paragraph takes the cake:

Alicia Romac of the pro-cap group Citizens for a Greater Bennington said she wished the decision had been left up to elected officials. “It’s special interests interfering with what’s best for the community process, and I don’t think that’s really the best way to run a government,” she said.

Now voters are a “special interest” group? Somebody needs to smack Ms. Romac.

D-Day

April 7, 2005 at 1:23am By: Mr. T Posted in 625 Elm Street

That’s right fools…De Leon’s on 27th just opened, and I stopped there for an early dinner today. They were still scrambling a bit, and you can tell that counter service is something new to them (the original De Leon’s is drive through only). But hell, you dont actually go to fast food for service, or atmosphere for that matter. You go for the food at low prices, and De Leon’s is renown for good Mexican fast food at reasonable fast food prices.

I got a combo plate of 2 fish tacos with beans and rice at $5.49. It was pretty damn good, deep fried fish fillet chunks with pico on corn tortillas. The pico de gallo was definitely fresh, which I like (not the pale, sicky looking buckets of pico they have at amigos). The fish was fried to a deep brown and also hot, indicating it just came out of the fryer. The beans were good (for beans) and the rice was light and fluffy. All in all, a solid experience and definitely better than any of the other chains in Lincoln.

Few notes:

1) They do not have a salsa bar, which is something I believe they should consider. Intead, they just give you little cups of hot tomato salsa.

2) The service is still a bit clumsy…although expected seeing it just opened. Within a few weeks they will hopefully iron out how much labor is needed. When I was there there was only one attendant out front and she was clearly dealing with both sit in customers and drive through ones.

3) They lack other extras which would make it a nicer place. The salsa bar is one missing component. I would recommend that they also throw in a small plate of chips with their combo meals and/or a little cup of hot pickled vegetables. All their combo plates cost at least $5.29 or so, and at those prices, you should get at least either or both chips and vegetables in addition to the rice, beans, and main entree to make it similar to what you can find in southern california. All you can drin

k, serve yourself soda would be another plus.

In anycase, I can’t complain. I will definitely be headed back their tomorrow and also over the weekend to try their other meal sets, and I cant see myself going back to my old mainstay of Taco Inn anytime soon now that De Leon’s has opened.

I should also mention, they have a breakfast burrito menu, which includes a “Lincoln Burrito” and a “Nebraska Burrito.” I asked the lady what they were and she informed me that the former is eggs, bacon, cheese and potatoes and the latter is eggs, steak, cheese and potatoes.

I am guessing that this new De Leon’s will be a huge success. They already have a very loyal base of customers, its an ideal location, and the place is spacious and looks nice (for a fast food place) from both the inside and outside. With dine-in, De Leon’s will definitely succeed.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

April 5, 2005 at 10:26pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Chancellor Harvey Perlman of UNL sent this announcement out today to all UNL faculty and staff (abridged version):

Yet, we continue to face a significant challenge caused by our enrollment
decline this year and the tuition shortfall that decline precipitated.  The
shortfall could be as high as $6 million dollars. This means we will not have
sufficient dollars to fund this year’s budget and unless enrollment increases
rapidly for fall, we cannot sustain next year’s level of expenditures either.
I am afraid this means that we will have to begin looking at very real changes
in how we manage our resources and, yes, some reductions in current
budgets.

I believe the enrollment decline is in large part a lingering product of
the budget cuts and the significant increases in tuition rates over the
last four years.

....

Right now we are focused on minimizing the damage. We have enlisted faculty
and others to work hard to retain the students we have and to attract
additional students to the University.

.....

Because this shortfall has been
created by enrollment declines, one of the factors that should be
considered in making reductions will be patterns of enrollment within
academic departments
.

HMMMMMM. This could be Perl-speak for “departments with low enrollment rates might get axed.” Let the rumors, finger-pointing, and hysteria begin.

First Amendment? Bah!

April 5, 2005 at 3:42pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Here’s a great idea: let’s criminalize “indecency,” First Amendment be damned!

Day 1

April 4, 2005 at 7:17pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Today is my first day at my new job. It’s a weird feeling, sitting here in a new office around all these new people. I haven’t started a new job in over three years, and when I started at my previous job I was just a graduate research assistant. This is my first real job, with real benefits and real responsibilities right from the start. I guess that means I’m officially grown up, at least until I decide to go back to school.

On the down side, I start work at 7:30a.m., which means I have to hop on the 6:55 bus, getting me to my stop Downtown around 7:15. I used to take the next bus, about 35 minutes later. Right now it’s not a big deal to get up earlier, but boy is it going to hurt when I have baseball double-headers out of town, getting me home after 11:00p.m. without having eaten supper yet.

But that’s a minor quibble. This job will be good for me in a lot of ways. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

Sin City

April 2, 2005 at 4:16pm By: Mr. T Posted in 625 Elm Street

The movie version of “Sin City” is an, AWESOME, amazingly well done and very fun adaptation of the graphic novels. I saw it last night and it was a blast. I loved it. If you are familiar with the graphic novels, you will not be dissapointed. First of all, 99.9% of the dialogue is pulled exactly from the comic books and the stories are the exact same. Even the frames, angles, and costumes are virtually the same. The artwork is insane. If you are familiar with the comic, Miller perfected the use of black and white, particularly in pattern work, he first started using when he penned Daredevil. (Brief digression here: the Daredevil movie with Ben Affleck was also an adaption of Miller’s work when he both wrote and drew Daredevil, and was not nearly as good an adaption of Sin City.) The scenes are filmed in ways that replicate the frames from the comic.

The only 4 digressions from the comic I spotted are (SPOILER AHEAD????)  1) in the comic Kevin appeared to be older than he is in the movie. In the movie, he is played by the young guy who played Frodo in the Lord of the Rings movies. 2) In the fight scene between Marv and Kevin, in the comic I think Marv literally did lose his eye (or it could have been some other organ) and he mentioned something like “oh well, I only need one” or something like that. 3) I was always under the impression, though perhaps an incorrect one, that the original Goldie was actually a black or latino woman and not a white woman - albeit with blond hair. In the movie, she is white. Not that it really matters or anything, but an interesting observation about Miller’s work (and another reason why he was so groundbreaking) was that his storylines often featured interracial couples (see the original Wolverine limited series and the Ronin series he did with DC). 4) There are a few “interlinking scenes” with characters common to the 3 stories depicted in the movie that didnt exi

st in the comics. Again, not a major thing, but I guess they had to do it to make the stories connect with familiar faces sort of like in Pulp Fiction. Speaking of which, why the hell did QT get a “guest director” spot in this one? WTF?

My only dissapointment with the movie is, and this is by no means a negative remark, that it wasn’t as good as the graphic novels. The original comics are still better. And I think that’s the way its supposed to be (only exception being “The Godfather”).

So anyway, GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!!! NOW! STOP READING THIS. DO NOT WALK. RUN TO THE NEAREST MOVIE THEATER AND WATCH THIS MOVIE!!!! 6 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS!!!!! GO GO!  SEE THIS MOVIE!!!! NOW!!!

No Autographs for You!

April 1, 2005 at 9:35pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The Rhode Island Senate has approved a bill that would make it illegal for any professional athlete or entertainer to charge somebody under age 16 for an autograph. Somehow the bill passed unanimously.

The mind boggles.

A Damn Good Pizza

April 1, 2005 at 2:52am By: Mr. T Posted in 625 Elm Street

Driving back from the netherworlds of rural Nebraska today, I stopped in Mama D’s Pizzeria on 27th ave this evening to pick up a few slices for dinner. They had a sign on the door advertising 2 slices and can of soda for $3.25.

Pizza is a very personal thing. Everyone has their own conception of what is and what is not a good pizza. I am not a huge stickler on types of crusts, sauces or toppings. There are so many good pizzas and different styles that I have found myself liking all sorts and all sizes. Case in point: one of the best pizzas I have ever had in my life was made by a Swede, in Thailand, and the toppings were curry powder and bananas…. One thing that I really like however, is that feel of home made freshness…and that is rare.

When I walked into Mama D’s tonight, I asked “mama” if the $3.25 deal was still on, and she said yes. I asked what slices were available - assuming that they would have pre-made slices in an heater like most places - and she informed me that they make the slices fresh, AND you get to choose 3 toppings for your slices! I was pleasantly surprised to hear this, and looking at their menu of over 40 toppings, chose the burger, tomatoes and artichoke hearts. About the $3.25 deal, she remarked “its the only thing I can do so people can taste the best pizza in Lincoln.”

The kitchen is well lighted and in full view of the customer. I watched as Mama, literally rolled out the dough for my pizza, and prepared it with the toppings I ordered. About 10 minutes later, the pizza was done, and I took it home.

The pizza was excellent. Far far superior to the slag that is offered at that over-rated dungheap Valentinos. The dough and sauce tasted as if it was freshly made, not canned like what you get at chains. The topping portions were very generous. The tomato I ordered were literally slices of

whole tomato. The cheese was thick. And it wasn’t oversalted or greasy.

In conclusion, Mama D’s MAY be the best pizza in Lincoln (that I have tasted). Hands down, it is better than any chain. Although its not really comparable to Yia-yia’s, I would say that it is at least as good.

I give Mama D’s 4.5 stars out of 5.

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