Red Robin-Disambiguated as it pertains to me (updated 2/16/09)
RED ROBIN #1: The restaurant
Tomorrow’s a national holiday, and my office is closed out of respect to the proud lineage of United States Presidents (Zachary Taylor, you da man, dog).
My plans for the day off are typically modest (or, as some circles might insist, lame). I’m going to Red Robin with an old friend for lunch and then hitting a matinee. I’ve never been to Red Robin, but have heard fables of their open tap of french fries. From what I’ve been told, this magical tap only gets closed off once your arteries close off and you go into full arrest.
Out of curiosity, I checked the Red Robin nutrition guide online. Here’s what I discovered, much to my horror:
The three burgers most appealing to me are the Guacamole Bacon Burger, the Whiskey River BBQ Burger, and the 5-Alarm Burger. Here’s how they shake out, in terms of calories, fat, and carbs…
Guacamole Bacon 1156, 77, 52
Whiskey River BBQ 1129, 69, 72
5-Alarm 909, 58, 49
Throw in bottomless french fries, and by the time I get up from the booth, my body will have aged ten years.
When other cultures speak of fat, lazy, Americans, this is exactly the restaurant they imagine recklessly adding to our national waistline.
Of course, once you’re committed to going to Red Robin, there’s no point in going half-assed. For instance, I could go for their garden burger option without a bun or sauce. That takes me to 145, 4, and 15. But where’s the fun and caloric danger in that?
I just got back from lunch, which included the Santa Fe burger, a couple rounds of fries, and chips/salsa/guac to start. I feel like a dwarf is trying to punch his way out from inside my abdomen wall. Mission accomplished.
RED ROBIN #2: The comic book
I just read that DC Comics will unleash a spate of new Batman-related titles on its event-weary consumers this summer, including the debut of a Red Robin comic. This announcement coincidentally fell at the same point of my life when I realized that, based on my enjoyment-to-expenditure and my life-necessity-to-expenditure ratios, I had to 86 my weekly comic book pull list.
Understand, I’ve collected comics since I was in the early single digits. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I learned to read because my parents bought me Defenders #4 from the local newsstand. Since those early years, I’ve always been aware of what’s been happening both creatively on the titles and in the comic industry proper.
These days, though, in this checkbook-decimating economy, I’ve had to take a hard look at where my money goes and have gone to great lengths to remove “frivolous spending.” Comic books are around three-four bucks apiece and take about five minutes to read. To keep up on all the tangential must-have plot points within the “big two” (DC and Marvel), it would require a commitment of at least 15 books a week. I just can’t do it anymore.
I’ll still buy comics, obviously, and will continue to look forward to my visits to Challengers Comics in the Bucktownish area. From an enjoyment and practicality perspective, however, it just makes more sense to buy comics a la carte…just like the old days.
As for Red Robin, the comic book: couldn’t care less. DC has stripped my enthusiasm for Batman clean away. Along those lines, they’ve also killed my joy over titles like Justice League of America, Superman, and Brave and the Bold, as well as characters like Captain Marvel and the Doom Patrol. And Marvel? Groan. I haven’t been able to follow the “X” universe since Kitty Pryde first joined the team. And really, does every title Ed Brubaker writes (Captain America and Daredevil, for instance) need to take years to reach a head?
I borrowed a handful of trade paperbacks from the library this weekend: a few “Hellblazer”s, the first two “DMZ”s, and a collection of Jodi Picoult “Wonder Woman” stories. I still have the interest in comics, for sure, just not the set commitment.
On a final note: I was serious about Challengers. My pal, Patrick, owns it, and does an amazing job with the place. It’s not the typical creepy comic shop where an inattentive, Heroclick-playing, owner ignores you when you walk in. It’s clean, friendly, and altogether kickass. If you have an interest in comics, go there and ask for recommendations. They’re the best.