VIP Wing Passes

Posted on: 09/10/10 4:27 PM | by Jonathan McKee

For the last few weeks I’ve been asking Lori, “Anything in the mail from Buffalo Wild Wings?”

I was like a kid, waiting for my Captain Crunch super secret decoder ring.

Today it came!

Sorry… I’m so excited. Let me back up a minute and explain.

I’ve been waiting 20 years for a good wing place to come to my city… and next Monday a Buffalo Wild Wings opens right by my house!  That’s why I’m pretty excited about the VIP passes I just received in the mail for this weekend! More on that in a minute!

If you live where I live, in the Sacramento area of California, then you have NO idea what I’m talking about. Because in the Sacramento area there are slim to no wing places.(I’m proof reading this right now… this sounds like an infomercial! Ha!) We have a couple Wing Stops– decent wings, not much in the area of atmosphere. We also have a family owned place in a rough neighborhood called Granites… really good wings, but you need to know martial arts just to get to your car.

That’s why I almost did a back flip when I found out that the national chain Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW) is coming to two locations in the Sacramento area… one just 4 minutes from my house. (This has really bad ramifications. I’m really skinny comparatively right now… this might just change things!)  🙂

Some of you might be wondering… why the fetish over wings? It’s my wife Lori’s fault. She grew up eating wings with her family and friends in the Phoenix area. It was something they always did as a family. And sure enough, the Phoenix area (Mesa, Chandler, Tempe, etc.) has a bunch of really good wing places. Sacramento… nope! So Lori got me hooked when we first started dating. I don’t know why. There really isn’t much meat on the little wings and legs… I think it’s more of a social thing. Most of these wings places are like pubs-plenty of good social time with friends and family over food.

So as I’ve traveled over the years, one place I could always count on for good wings has been BWW. This place is always a good sized sports bar, plenty of flat screens with every sport imaginable playing, open late, fun family atmosphere. Not to mention… great wings. (and these really tasty sliders too!). They actually have 17 different sauce flavors… from mild to “Blazin” hot. They even have a contest where if someone can eat 12 of their “Blazin” hot wings in just 6 minutes… they get a t-shirt and their name on the wall. (I’ve tried one before… it made me cry!)

So when I heard that BWW was coming to town, I strolled into the restaurant while it was still under construction (wearing one of my BWW shirts- from a BWW in Nebraska). I introduced myself and let her know that I had been emailing corporate asking them to bring a BWW here! She put me on a VIP list and told me that she’d mail an invite to one of their “Pre-season events” the weekend before they open (to train their staff for opening day).

And so I’ve been waiting… and waiting…

Today they came in the mail! Lori said I acted like I just won the lottery!

The pass instructed me to call and RSVP if I wanted to attend. I called and RSVP’d the whole family for tomorrow’s event. I can’t wait.

In addition… I’m driving by on opening day Monday at about 5:30 in the a.m. If the line isn’t big… I’m going to get in line. The first 100 people get free wings for a year! (Oh man… I can taste em’ now!) (So I might be sitting in line all morning with my laptop, writing my Youth Culture Window article on the MTV VMA’s on the night before.)

Now if I could just get Giordano’s Pizza to come to town!

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Posted on: 08/2/10 7:19 PM | by Jonathan McKee

The weekend has been nuts. If you missed my blog Friday, my dad had a heart attack and gave us all a big scare. He’s home now and doing great.

But a funny little tidbit… when we were at the hospital this weekend we did several trips to the hospital cafeteria. For breakfast they had the calories and fat content, etc. posted for each item of food. I always look at two things when I’m eating something: Calories, and Calories from Fat.

The hopital posted the dietary information for “Bacon.” What’s wrong with this picture?!!!


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40th Birthday Giveaway

Posted on: 03/18/10 1:04 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Well… my 30’s have just ended. It’s now March 18, 2010 and I am officially 40-years-old.

That’s right… I’m now old!

So to celebrate, I’m going to give away some presents to the first 15 of you that can answer one question!  The answer is something that my blog readers probably will be able to gather from previous blogs. (WE ALREADY HAVE WINNERS… SEE BELOW)I’m going to halt on posting comments until I get all 15 winners who answer correctly. Here’s the question:

QUESTION: What is one of the best presents that I would enjoy receiving through the mail?

Hint: It’s a food, and it’s around $20, but shipping is expensive. I’ve received it as a gift before in the mail and have ranted about it several times in this blog. You need to be specific.

PRIZES- The first 15 people that answer get their choice of the following:

I’m giving away 2 brand new DVD’s of the Sandra Bullock film The Blind Side, coming to DVD on March 23.

– I’m giving away 9 sets of the Touched by an Angel Inspirational Collection on DVD- the FAITH and LOVE DVDs (2 DVDs).

– I’m giving away 4 of my new book CONNECT: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation.

Tell me the answer and the top two prizes you prefer. First come, first serve.

And those of you outside the U.S…. I’m sorry, it’s just too dang expensive to mail to ya. So I have to limit this one to the U.S. subscribers.

WINNERS: Yes, we already have winners! Some people didn’t specify which prize they wanted, so I went by “first come first serve” … and those that followed intructions and specified what they wanted got dibbs on that prize. Blind Side was definitely the most requested- bummer that I only had two copies to give away, then my book CONNECT was the second most requested- only 4 of those, then the Touched by an Angel DVDs (no comment).  🙂

Here they are. If this is you, email me at [email protected] with your mailing address.

Justin Ross- BLIND SIDE
Rick Acred- BLIND SIDE
Heather Plazak- CONNECT
Jason Ruis- Touched By and Angel
Matt DeMateo- CONNECT
Susie Daggett- Touched By and Angel
Chris- Touched By and Angel
Kevin Becht- Touched By and Angel
Janine Graybill- CONNECT
Aaron Vance- Touched By and Angel
Jared Stewart- Touched By and Angel
Jenny- Touched By and Angel
Samantha- Touched By and Angel
Adam- Touched By and Angel

Happy Jonathan’s Birthday!

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Cookies So Good You’ll Cry!

Posted on: 12/21/09 10:48 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Okay… last year I opened a door to something that can’t be closed. It was around last Christmas, and I shared a blog about my hot wife baking cookies in the kitchen… the best cookies in the Milky Way! These are a recipe from my wife’s friend Dixie, and I promise you, your taste buds have never experienced this kind of pleasure!

In this blog last year, I gave you the recipe for these cookies. In the weeks to follow, I began getting emails… with DROOL on them! That’s right… e-drool! They are that good!

Those of you that tried them last year, feel free to comment!

Guys… bake these for your wives or girlfriends or mother! They’ll ravish you with love! I dare you to bake these cookies! Once you try these… you’ll never go back!

Here’s the recipe. It makes a huge batch!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Dixie’s Recipe

2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
5 cups oatmeal
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
24 oz. chocolate chips
one 8oz. Hershey bar
3 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

Cream together- butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Set aside.

Using a blender, grind all of oatmeal into fine powder (do a small amount at a time). Pour into a LARGE bowl. Next, grate chocolate bar and combine with oatmeal. Now add flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda to same bowl and mix well. Combine creamed ingredients and dry mixture (here’s where the stirring takes some real strength, a strong spoon… and a big bowl!) After well blended, add chocolate chips and nuts. (and this is where I eat a bunch of the dough!)

Make golf ball size cookies. Place 2” apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for about 9-11 min.

Oh yeah… you are gonna thank me later for this!

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Battle of the Chicago Pizzas

Posted on: 11/13/08 9:33 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Lou Malnati’s or Giordano’s? That’s really what it comes down to.

If you’re familiar with the Chicago area, you know exactly what I’m talking about. There are really only three places that Chicago dwellers talk about: Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s, or Gino’s East (Sorry, Pizzeria Uno is good, but it’s not in league with the other three).

I fell in love with Giordano’s years ago when my cousin Wendy took Lori and I there. Since then, she’s been known to send me one via Fed Ex on special occasions. Over the years I have had Ginos East on several occasions and enjoyed it; it’s just no comparison to Giordano’s. But for whatever reason, I had never tried Lou Malnati’s. So I made it a priority to try it as I passed through Chicago this week.

Wednesday I flew into Chicago, stopped by my favorite Giordano’s restaurant, and headed up to Wisconsin where I was to teach a workshop for EV youth pastors in the district (fun group- we had a great time). After teaching the workshop Thursday, I headed back down to Chicago (only a few hours drive- worth it, rather than laying over in Chicago). This time I mapped out where a Lou Malnati’s restaurant was… and I stopped in for dinner.

You have to realize… Giordano’s is pure heaven to me. It would almost take a miracle for another pizza to surpass the “heaven sent” goodness of a Giordano’s pizza. So Lou Malnati’s had it’s work cut out for it.

The atmosphere of this particular Shaumburg location was really inviting. The booth was comfy and the waitress was nice. I told her that this was my first Lou Malnati’s experience. She told me that there was no comparison… Lou’s was the best. I was glad to hear it. I eagerly ordered my usual toppings (pepperoni and mushroom) and took the waitress’ advice by selecting Lou’s famous “butter crust.”

The pizza took 30 minutes, as do any good deep dish pizzas (Giordano’s actually takes 40 minutes because I always order the stuffed crust… drool, slobber…).

I was surprised how good the first bite was. My first thought, “Uh oh, Giordano’s has some competition.” Not that Lou’s was better mind you, but definitely in the same league. The sauce was what really caught my attention. Perfectly spicy. One of the best I’ve ever had.

As I dug deeper into the pizza, I realized that I wasn’t crazy about the crust. It’s good, mind you. But it’s no Giordano’s.

In Lou’s defense… it might be that I ordered the “butter crust.” I’m not a big fan of Gino’s East for that very reason. They literally have a yellow crust, very much like the buttery crust I tasted tonight at Lou’s. Next time I’m in Chicago, I’m going to have to give Lou’s a second chance, ordering the normal deep dish crust.

Well… there it is. Giordano’s maintains it’s position as #1 in my book. Not just #1 pizza place… #1 PLACE! (I’d take Giordano’s over Disneyland any day!)

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Ruby Tuesday

Posted on: 12/30/07 2:28 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I’m easily impressed.

I’m a food connoisseur, but not like you would think. I’m an aficionado of simple foods. Where some people are impressed with obscure little French restaurants with five star reviews… I’m a fan of a large bacon burger at Chili’s.

Call me shallow, but I love ribs, burgers, Chicago style pizza and Costco hot dog meals.

But does my blue collar taste for food exclude me from being a fan of good food? I hope not. I just spend a lot less money than most people on my dinners out! When some of my friends dine out at Ruth’s Chris, for the price of one of those people I take my whole family out to Outback.  🙂

Today I passed a Ruby Tuesday.

Some might scoff at this restaurant, a mere Chili’s or Marie Calendars to many. But it holds a high regard in my book.

Our city didn’t have one so I discovered it on the road years ago. I was impressed with the salad bar and the burgers. But then I accidentally stumbled into something wonderful- the ribs! I’m a big fan of good ribs. But I rarely find them the way I like them. Ruby Tuesdays makes a fine rack of ribs, let me tell you.

My friend Tom King will vouch for me. Tom is a food snob (he knows it). He watches way to much Emeril and cooks better than most chefs. When the two of us were in Knoxville, TN a couple years ago I told him about Ruby Tuesday’s ribs. He laughed. I told him, “You just wait until you taste them.” First we went to an authentic TN restaurant and had their ribs. They were very mediocre. Then we had Ruby Tuesday’s ribs. Tom was pleasantly surprised. Far better than the TN rib place, that’s for sure.

So I indulged in ribs and hot wings at Ruby Tuesday’s again today. I called my son Alec just to rub it in. He told me he was going to hang up on me.

If you haven’t tried them… give em’ a try. You’ll be surprised.

Oh… but believe it or not, one opened by my house (in Folsom) and it was really bad. I was so disappointed. Finally a Ruby Tuesday’s close to my house, and it was way below par.

I guess you can’t win em’ all.

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My Favorite Cousin

Posted on: 12/14/07 7:12 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Wendy is my favorite cousin.

No insult to my other cousins, I love you all too. But Wendy (some of you might remember her story here) just overnighted me the key to my heart: Giordano’s Pizza from Chicago. Truly my favorite pizza… no… my favorite MEAL worldwide.

Yep. I’m a simple man. And Giordano’s stuffed crust pizza is about as good as it gets. Whenever I speak anywhere within two hours of Chicago, you can bet that I’ll be stopping at a Giordano’s and ordering a Giordano’s stuffed crust pizza. Last time I was there I ordered one with pepperoni and mushrooms. (Oh man… I can almost taste it just talking about it)

Well, my cool cousin from Ohio just sent me my Christmas present. Giordano’s can be overnighted anywhere in the U.S. (not cheap, let me tell you). She sent a Giordanos stuffed crust cheese pizza (an excellent choice since I’ll be sharing with the family). Of course, I’m just assuming it was Wendy. It didn’t even have a name on it. But this is something Wendy would do. I left her a voice mail… it had to be her.

We’re going to be eating very WELL today!

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What? We Almost Had ‘Sausage Biscuit with Eggs’ All Day Long!!!

Posted on: 12/2/07 8:40 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I’ve got to talk to you about something very important that will effect youth ministers everywhere: McDonalds has been in talks about providing breakfast all day long. Yes… it’s true!
I’m not surprised. Everyone knows that their breakfasts rock! (and their lunches… well…) So why not offer the good stuff all day?
Well, someone up high in Mickey D’s isn’t buying it. United Press International reports here:
McDonald’s has no plans to offer breakfast all day long, even though it is the most profitable meal of the fast-food chain’s U.S. division, an executive said.  Here:

“Breakfast all day is certainly something we’ll always take under consideration, but I can fairly tell you it’s not something that is going to happen for a long time,” McDonald’s USA Chief Operating Officer Jan Fields said in a webcast news conference.

Breakfast accounts for 24 percent of McDonald’s Corp.’s U.S. sales and 28 percent of transactions, she said.
Wow. Talk about a bad decision.
Sigh. So close…

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