Welcome to Off-Menu, where we'll be rounding up all the food news and food-adjacent internet ephemera that delighted, fascinated, or infuriated us today.
- Last week, Beto O’Rourke made the long-awaited announcement that, yes, he will be joining the other 154 (approx.) Democratic candidates who are running for president. Within the first 24 hours of BETO 2020, he out-fundraised every other would-be nominee, pulling in $6.1 million in donations from more than 128,000 donors. Although, so far, he’s been light on policies—his website is still mostly just a shop and a donation button—he’s already pretty, pretty committed to climbing on countertops.
As his campaign stop calendar fills up, bartenders and baristas are all preparing themselves for the very real possibility that he’ll climb on their counters at some point. “We’ll make sure a space is cleared off for him, just in case he decides to jump on anything,” Tuckerman Brewing Co. co-owner Kirsten Neves told Politico. Others are less enthusiastic about O’Rourke’s own enthusiasm. One Brooklyn coffee shop manager told the Daily Beast that Beto was “definitely not” standing on any flat surface other than the floor. “He can be heard and seen perfectly well standing on the ground,” Connor Finnegan said. It is 594 days until the election. Five-hundred. Ninety-four. Days.
- On Sunday, Kyle Simpson and Gayland Stouffer were both wearing rubber boots and woolen hats, slogging through the soggy fields left behind after heavy flooding in Linwood, Nebraska. Before they squished back to their cars, Stouffer noticed a sturdy looking black box in the middle of the field and, when the two investigated, they realized that it was a small refrigerator—one that was filled with about three cases’ worth of Busch Light and Bud Light. (And you thought this story had a happy ending). “Sometimes [Mother Nature] taketh away. But this time she giveth,” Simpson told KLKN. Thanks to social media, the men have identified the fridge’s owner and they’ve contacted him to make arrangements to return it to him. “Minus a couple of beers,” Simpson said. Busch Light isn’t much of a finder’s fee, but take what you can, I guess.
- Last week, the Troy (Mich.) Police Department tweeted a press release that detailed the results of a recent internal investigation, one that led to 20 police officers being disciplined by the department. “In the interest of transparency,” the department revealed that these cops have been officially scolded because they, uh, ate some snacks that were meant for the fire department. The officers all had key fobs for the fire department’s locked snack closet, and they said that they believed that it would be cool if they helped themselves, because they’d been “invited to partake” in the past.
That apparently WAS NOT the case, and the cops have been officially uninvited from eating the fire department’s Frito stash. “This matter is considered closed by Police and Fire Department administration,” the press release said. Thank goodness: now the Troy PD can get back to tweeting about its official station cat, Pawfficer Donut.
SORT OF SWEET, REALLY
- Sometime between 3 PM and 5 PM today, Ron and Diana Watson will sit down at their favorite booth at the Texas Roadhouse in Wichita, Kansas. She will order “The Road Kill,” a chopped steak with onions and mushrooms, and he will get the barbecue chicken breast. They have done this—this same restaurant, this same booth, mostly this same meal—six days a week for the past 15 years. (On Saturday nights, Diana has to work late, so they go to a BBQ joint instead.) “It’s just about as cheap as going to the grocery store, buying your groceries, coming home, heating up the kitchen and doing the dishes,” Ron told the Wichita Eagle. “If your time’s worth anything to you, it’s about the same as eating at home but you get a lot better service.” Last Christmas, they bought a $200 gift card, which came with the promise of five free appetizer shrimp with every meal for a year. Six days a week, Ron carefully slides those shrimp off the skewer and cuts them in half, so he can share them with Diana. I never knew that I needed someone to take me to Texas Roadhouse every night for quiet time and shared shrimp, but now, that’s the only thing I want. The only thing.
- It’s March Madness, which means that it’s either time to mute the words ‘bracket’ and ‘busted’ on Twitter, or it’s time to schedule a vasectomy, depending on how into this shit you are. A soon-to-be-published study says that the two most popular months for getting surgically sterilized are December, which is probably because dudes have reached their insurance deductibles, and March, because college basketball.
Buffalo Wild Wings knows exactly what your post-op groin needs, so they’ve put special “Jewel Stools” in two of its restaurants (complete with built-in icepacks and the words JEWEL STOOL on the seatback) so you can watch Gonzaga destroy Fairleigh-Dickinson while strangers are forced to think about your scrotal skin. SPORTS!
- Remember that episode of The Office where Kevin spills a gigantic pot of his Famous Chili all over the carpet in front of Pam’s desk? Of course you do, because you’ve watched “The Office” at least four times, mostly between the hours of 2 and 4 AM, when you’re trying not to think about that time your 8th grade boyfriend broke up with you DURING the Spring Fling dance, so you pretended that you sprained your ankle and just sat in the bleachers until your dad came to pick you up. Remember that? ANYWAY, here’s what Kevin would’ve looked like if he’d been a twentysomething woman who spilled 22 quarts of Ranch dressing, instead of a pot of chili.