Sunday, September 5, 2010

Culture: American Shopping & Food

Not exactly popculture, but wanted to do some random, quick thoughts on the short shopping trip Michelle and I took to Detroit (well, Troy) today.

* Michelle wanted to go to a mall she'd heard about from people called, oddly, the Somerset Collection. It's in Troy, Michigan, which is... part of Detroit, kind of... like a related town/city that falls into the General Detroit Area, I guess? I could be wrong. Anyway, this mall, I was told, has two parts: one side for regular shoppers and one side for wealthy shoppers. The two parts are divided by a street, joined by a skywalk. Sounded strange to me, but whatever.

* I hate crossing the border. American border guards just unnerve me with their rudeness and stupid, inane questions. My favourite is still from just under three years ago when I was going to a Neil Young concert in Detroit. I took the tunnel bus across and was asked how long I'd be in Detroit and said until the concert is over. A reasonable answer. Not for the border guard who demanded to know how long that would be... because I tell Neil Young how long to play for... Never had a good experience with border guards. And, trust me, if you look at me and think you're dealing with someone you should be worried about, you're too paranoid.

* The mall was a mall. Except for a lack of a single bookstore or music/DVD store. What the fuck?

* The food court was odd, for us, since there weren't any food chains represented... at least none that we recognised. They all seemed like generic stands. I'm used to food courts with KFC, New York Fries, Dairy Queen, Taco Bell... you know, places you've heard of outside of food courts.

* Michelle was once again reminded that I'm a better shopper than she is. Just a fact. Give me a mission and I will get it done quickly, efficiently, and for a good price. Then again, I've read studies that suggest men are better shoppers, so...

* One of our goals was to hit White Castle since I love burgers and it's a chain that isn't in Canada. I've heard about it and wanted to give their (in)famous sliders a shot. Michelle found the closest one online and it happened to be located next to a 7-Eleven, which is great, because that would give me a chance to check out any Slurpee differences, different types of chips, and different types of pop. I may like to eat crap, but I revel and love that crap.

* At White Castle, we decided to play it relatively safe and try a few things. Since I'm not a cheeseburger fan (don't like cheese on my burgers), I got three sliders and a pulled pork sandwhich, while Michelle got a slider, a bacon cheeseburger, a jalapeno cheeseburger, and a pulled pork sandwich. Prior to ordering, we asked what comes on the burgers and were informed that only ketchup and mustard are standard. This was a lie as we found out later, since onions and pickles are also standard. This didn't bother me, but Michelle prefers his burgers with no toppings at all.

* Ah, the slider... it was pretty disgusting. I like greasy burgers, I do, but even I balk when the bun is so greasy, it sticks to the cardboard container it rests in. I didn't want to touch the thing. But, whatever, it could still be good... not so much. It lacked flavour... I couldn't taste the meat, so overpowering were the pickles, onions, mustard (there was ketchup?), and, well, the taste of the greasy bun itself. On such a small burger, they really needed to lay off the toppings a little. Its texture was also unpleasant. The pulled pork sandwich was tasty, though. Michelle and I both enjoyed those quite a bit. The sliders... well, I ate her regular one because of the extra toppings. I managed to eat three-and-a-half of the four I had before just not wanting to shove that shit in my mouth. Michelle also quit halfway through her last one. While White Castle was disappointing, I was glad to finally give it a try, because now I know that it's not great. No more wondering and wanting to give it a try. (Also, eight burgers for seven bucks? Not a bad deal if you like 'em.)

* 7-Eleven was fun as I learned that Americans have such a weird selection of chips. In some areas, you have many different and odd flavours -- endless variations on BBQ from Lays, for example, except for... well, BBQ. Ruffles, a favourite of mine, has few flavours. Apparently, All Dressed is a flavour only available in Canada. Weird. No Sour Cream and Bacon, either? Doritos were mostly the same with the random different flavour, or name... I think our 'Sweet Chili Heat' is called 'Spicy Sweet Chili' or something. It was a little disappointing, but I did get a small bag of Sweet & Spicy Buffalo Wing Lays (that I'm having tomorrow thanks to being full tonight on slushy and supper).

* The clerk at 7-Eleven stopped me when I went to fill up my Slurpee mug, because they don't have refillable mugs for Slurpees, just Big Gulps? After inspecting the mug and seeing that, yes, it IS a 7-Eleven Slurpee mug, he let me fill it. I went with Coke, which was more carbinated than it is here. Michelle got a small Pina Colada one. I did enjoy that there were two straw sizes.

* Also got a 2L bottle of Cherry Coke, since they stopped making that here years ago. Was disappointed to find no Vanilla Coke. Michelle got a Twix ice cream treat and liked it quite a bit.

* We stopped at Kroeger's, a grocery store, to check things out a bit more, seeing a wide variety of chips -- kettle chips Lays? I guess we just have Miss Vickie's...

* Discovered Vanilla Coke... but it was only sold in cases of twelve cans at a price that's higher than our 12-packs, which was strange. Did notice that Pepsi is available in a few different varieties like 1 calorie Pepsi (why that AND zero calorie Pepsi?) and 'Throwback' Pepsi made with REAL sugar... what the fuck?

* Michelle nearly went crazy in the ice cream aisle with a few flavours not seen here.

* It was busier getting back into Canada than the other way around... strange.

All in all, a pleasant day. Nothing really interesting except to Michelle and I. But, it was fun.

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