J's Page

Originally established for times when I needed more than 140 characters to finish a thought on marketing or media.

Crank it up, Chick-fil-A!

Over on my Tumblr, I’ve started a new series of sorts called “What I’m Googling” because I seem to spend much of my day Googling things that pop into my ADD-rattled brain.

Anyway, today’s post reads like this:

I’m googling this today after a co-worker — who isn’t cranky — mentioned it after hearing about it on television. More info here and here.

Chick-fil-A smells marketing opportunity. From the Ledger-Enquirer story:

The always optimistic folks at Chick-fil-A advise us via Twitter to buy cranky co-workers milkshakes.

If a milkshake doesn’t solve your problems, consult The Emily Post Institute for advice about dealing with crude-talking co-workers.

Sharyn, if you’re reading, I’ll take Cheetos. Or Taco Bell. Lady’s choice.

I LOVE how Chick-fil-A jumped on this “holiday.” Quick thinking!

Passing the ‘Bucks: The magic of Starbucks VIA

Sometime in January, I developed a new addiction: Starbucks’ (NASDAQ: SBUX) VIA Ready-Brew. I must admit I’m not a huge coffee snob, I’ll take my caffeine anyway I can get it, but VIA was really tasty — and the instant-ness of it offered me something I value more than caffeine: no Starbucks experience.VIA: This box doesn't need to know my name.

I know Howard Schultz has built an empire on the Starbucks experience, but frankly, this grouch just wants a quiet cup of Go-Juice to get through the day. And I want it without having to fight D.C.-Metro-area traffic or tolerating the hipster doofus who wants to know my name and will take 10 minutes to pour a cup. For me, VIA isn’t about a caffeine fix or instant gratification; it’s about my time. The older I get, the less time I have. There are not enough hours in the day. (I risked being late for work just to finish this post.) So if I can get a terrific cup of coffee at home within the space of three minutes — as opposed to the 20+ it would take me at my local Starbucks — then I will happily invest $3 (for the 3-pack) or $11 (for the 12-pack) of my discretionary income in the cute little boxes filled with caffeine, the cute little boxes who won’t ask me my name or try to fake a friendship in hopes of selling me a cardboard biscotti.

In addition to expanding VIA’s presence beyond the Starbucks coffeehouses, the coffee giant continues to build the line by releasing the VIA flavored coffees in caramel, mocha, cinnamon, and vanilla. These are medium-bodied coffees, not the punch-in-the-face extra bold Italian Roast I’ve come to love and need in recent weeks. The Starbucks blog suggests pairing the VIA Vanilla Flavored Coffee (their capitalization) with the Petite Vanilla Bean Scone (“to create dreamy vanilla nirvana”), and VIA Mocha Flavored Coffee is supposed to be a “chocolate dream come true” when paired with the Double Fudge Mini Doughnut. To enjoy these expanded dream-state experiences (sugar rushes?), you have to travel to your neighborhood ‘Bucks and suffer through the tedious up-sell. And the chatter. And the lines. Meanwhile, I’ll be at home, “never without great coffee,” having my own Starbucks experience.


Jockey’s Ribs: Great food, no bones about it

I should probably be embarrassed about how many times I’ve mentioned barbecue on this blog — it’s certainly not intentional — it just happened that I went through a barbecue phase a couple of years ago. Every outing was a mission to find good pulled-pork barbecue. I’m happy to report that we didn’t often fail.

A favorite on the Outer Banks is is Jockey’s Ribs in Nags Head at Mile Post 13, near the famed Jockey’s Ridge State Park. The smiling service and cold beer make for a nice treat after a hot day of hiking the dunes, but the menu is most important when I’m tired of seafood and want something else. I will always recommend the barbecue sandwich, Eastern N.C. style, with extra sauce on the side. While you’re at it, also order a side of the house rib sauce. I’m usually not a fan of the really thick sauces because 1) I’m from Eastern North Carolina, not Memphis and 2) the thick sauces often taste too much like ketchup, but this one has a distinct smoky-sweet flavor I loved but couldn’t quite place. (A touch of bourbon, perhaps?) The sauce complements the pork nicely, and because I’m a 7-year-old boy at heart, it’s also good on the fries, the onion rings, the awesome fried dill pickle chips — and whatever else is handy to dip. Ditto for the tartar sauce. (Not that I eat that on my barbecue.)

The tartar sauce was actually served up with the crab cake sandwich during our last visit. Good crab cake sandwiches are everywhere in our area, and although yummy, they’re not terribly distinctive. What sold us on this sandwich was the added fried green tomato. The sandwich didn’t disappoint — it was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had, and it’s because of the fried green tomato, which was a wonderful substitute for the lemon. I did add a little of the tartar sauce, but not much — the sandwich didn’t need it. The broiled cake itself was nearly all crab, little filler, and not dry at all. The sandwich was a terrific $10 deal.

Traveler’s Advisory: The gumbo is rumored to be fantastic. I cannot confirm this, however.

Where: 3948 S Virginia Dare Trail
Nags Head, NC 27959

Phone: 252.441.1141

Wood Chicks: A pit stop in Chesapeake

A couple of years ago while vacationing down at the Outer Banks, my husband and I ended up stuck in Chesapeake, Va., for an entire day.Wood Chicks BBQ in Chesapeake, Virginia We would say the day was a waste, but we stumbled on Wood Chicks BBQ and are mighty glad we did.

I’m not one for breezy, breathy descriptions of food, so I’ll just say that Wood Chicks served us some of the best pork barbecue I’ve ever had and ever will have.  Lee Ann Whippen — who is featured on TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters — cooks up a meat that is juicy, tender, flavorful, and although the sauces are delightful, you don’t need them because the pork is so well-seasoned with the signature dry rub, which you can buy here.

My favorite on the menu: the pulled-pork sandwich and fries.

Where: 1025 N. Battlefield Blvd
Chesapeake, VA 23320

Phone: 757.549.9290