What the Deuce: August 2006

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mr. Chu's Hong Kong Cuisine

One of the more redeeming qualities of Miami is the annual Miami Spice Festival, a time where a penniless law student can impress a member of the opposite sex, or the same sex, with a lunch or dinner at one of the finer dining establishments in Miami. Participating restaurants offer lunch and dinner tasting menus that include appetizers, a main course, and desert for $20.06 and $30.06, respectively. Over the past two years, I've had the luck of being able to dine at places, like The Red Fish Grill and Ortanique, places that would normally add another year to my loan repayment schedule.

This past weekend, the Editor and I, who now co-habitate on Miami Beach, decided to try Mr. Chu's Hong Kong
Cuisine. As an service to my 1 reader, What the Deuce is going to now offer restaurant reviews. I haven't decided on some gimmicky scale, but I'm sure I'll come up with one by the end of this post.

Mr. Chu's Hong Kong Cuisine

Cuisine Type: Chinese, if you couldn't tell.
Location: 890 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Website: www.mrchu.net

Me Love You Long Time: Although Mr. Chu's menu offers almost anything you like, I wasn't able to find the Asian Beaver. The menu is physically daunting as its presented in a book that could double as a weapon because of its weight. Even though I didn't approach the seafood (I prefer to eat land dwelling creatures) I was impressed by the offerings including flounder, abalone, and even the Shark Fin Soup for those looking to jolt their libido. The selection of fowl, pork, and vegetarian dishes is extensive, so there is something for everyone to order. Oh yeah, they have a summer menu that has Chinese classics like Kung Pao Chicken and Mongolian Beef.

Two Cent Whore: The service was terrible.

Trying the Goods:
The food was excellent. Miami isn't the ethnic outpost it claims to be - it may have people from all over Latin America, but that's the extent of it...so the food selection here mirrors that. Getting good Chinese food made me happy.

The Editor and I decided to forego the Miami Spice menu because of Mr. Chu's vast selection of dishes and we figured that we'd still come out ahead in the end. To be fair, the Miami Spice menu offers some of the more expensive dishes on the menu, so if you're looking for a deal, its not a bad way to go. After much deliberation, we decided to go with spring rolls, hot & sour soup, the chicken in black bean sauce, and Singapore Rice Noodles. To drink, she had Tiger Beer and I sipped on a Tsingtao.
Spring Rolls: Crispy, filled with veggies, and not oily. Great from Miami, but average for New York.
Hot & Sour Soup: I like my food spicy and the soup was satisfying. Thicker than most hot & sour's I've had, but excellent. Lots of egg and pork. Not enough mushrooms. So filling, it could be a meal by itself.
Chicken in Black Bean Sauce: "Delicious. Chicken was perfectly cooked. Did not enjoy unexpectedly munching on enormous chunks of ginger," says the Editor. I enjoyed the spice and black beans, although there could have been more actual beans.
Singapore Rice Noodles: For those who have had Bangkok Street Noodles, this dish is pretty much the same thing. Cooked perfectly. Editor says, "Um...yummy and I got to eat all the shrimp." I haven't had something like this since eating at the Chicago Penang a couple of years ago. I was surprised to see it on the menu, had to order it, and glad I did. Can't wait to heat up the leftovers!

So, was it good for you?:

The Editor and I had reservations for 8:30 and arrived on time only to wait for the hostess to even notice us standing for about 5 minutes, and no, the place was not that busy. An omininous foreshadowing, to say the least. We waited at least another 10 minutes to order and only did when one of the few competent servers approached us asking if we had even seen the menus as she noticed that we didn't have any (another woman had come by and taken the menus from us in hopes of clearing some room on our table).

As we waited for our appetizers, we overheard the couple next to us complaining about how they had waited for 25 minutes for their food; later, the couple on our other side complained that the servers hadn't brought out all of the entrees together as requested.

The spring roll and soup came out relatively quickly, but we waited quite some time for our the chicken and noodles. While we were eating, the server never came to check on us. After we were done eating, we promptly received dessert menus but it was at least another ten minutes before anyone came back to us...and the guy who did wasn't even our server. At this point, we were both ready to leave but it took me grabbing a hostess to even get our check. On top of that, an 18% gratuity was already tacked on!

I'm assuming Mr.Chu's hasn't been open long and management has some kinks to work out, but according to The Editor who has experience in the food service industry, the problem was an understaffed kitchen. If her assessment is true, its completely unacceptable to not schedule enough chefs on a Saturday night. The servers looked lost, like they didn't know which tables they were assigned to...basically, everyone looked overwhelmed.

Mr. Chu's is like a hot girl who's good in bed...and she knows it, so she makes you wait such a long time, you're not sure if its worth it. With Mr.Chu's, its not, so just order in and avoid dealing with an overwhelmed staff.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bo Knows ND

ESPN has an ad campaign for Monday Night Football that accurately describes what I'm feeling right now. Instead of every Monday is one Monday closer to Monday Night Football, its every Saturday is one Saturday closer to College Football. With that being said, I"m coming across more MSM stories on the beginning of the season.

The Great Wide Open: SI's Stewart Mandel creates an artificial list of 16 teams that could contend for the National Championship. Added bonus: Each of the 16 teams has its own page of Mandel-ian analysis. My favorite has to be the "Good Omen," a wacky stat that gives hope to a team's fans. Iowa's has to be the best:

"Ferentz's contract pays him $2.7 million annually, trailing only Charlie Weis and Pete Carroll, who between them have won 5 titles (national championships or Super Bowls)"

I understand the gimick, but come up with something better than comparing Ferentz's salary to a guy who's only coached 1 year of college football and Uncle Pete.

Mandel's analysis of Michigan doesn't provide any new analysis as he makes broad generalizations that have become his hallmark. Although, his concerns are the same ones that most Michigan fans have - OLine, Blown Leads, etc.
Basically, its a gimicky article meant to get readers excited about the upcoming season while giving some fans hope while angering others.

Bo Talks to Media at Lions Camp: Bo graced the media with his presence yesterday after a Lions's pre season practice. He had some interesting things to say. While I don't agree with a lot he has to say or the fact he still looms over the program like Terrance did over Endeavor during his extended leave of absense, I do agree on his view regarding the Notre Dame series:

"We don't need Notre Dame. They need us more than we need them."

Earlier this year, my friend told me that Lloyd said he'd like to see the series with Notre Dame to come to an end because it posed an stiff non conference test and that in order to contend for the National Championship, Michigan needed to play an easier non conference schedule (this logic is based off Lloyd's assumption that going undefeated in the Big Ten surely would assure a berth in the Championship Game).

I don't know Bo's motivation for making this comment, but I do recall him saying something about Notre Dame's refusal to join the Big Ten. Economically, the question is whether ND receives a financial benefit from playing Michigan, MSU, PSU, Purdue, and occassionally Ohio State. Arguably, yes. Assuming the value of ND's television contract is based on ratings, the Irish stand to gain more by playing teams that will draw a national audience. In all likelihood, playing a schedule against the service academies, BYU, BC, and some other filler school would not draw similar ratings, thus eroding NBC's incentive to have an exclusive television deal with Notre Dame.

On the other hand, there is a good possibility that the Irish could replace its Big Ten opponents with other quality opponents from the other power conferences, thus making Bo's argument moot. Still, it would be interesting to see what the Irish would do if every school in the Big Ten refused to play them. In reality, it seems that the Irish need the Big Ten and vice versa as a victory over a renewed Irish would help in the National Championship quest.

Buckeyes' are Ballsy: I received an email from a friend last night highlighting the Buckeyes' non conference schedule for the next few years:

2006: Texas (back end of a home and home)
2007: Washington (played the dowtrodden Huskies in 2005; hopefully UW will be on the rise in '07)
2008-2009: USC (home and home)
2010-2011: Miami (FL) (home and home)
2013-2014: Cal (home and home)
2015-2016: Oklahoma (home and home)

That's balls. As much as I loathe OSU, I have to give them credit for scheduling games against "elite" programs. I would love to see this from Michigan, but as long as Lloyd Carr is coach and believes going undefeated in the Big Ten with a mediocre non conference schedule is the formula getting to the championship game, I'm not holding my breath. Another reason we shouldn't expect this is Lloyd's attitude towards winning and losing. I can't recall if he's always been like this or if this is something more recent, but its disappointing. There isn't any reason that Michigan teams cannot get out of September undefeated, winning their opening road game, something that hasn't happened since I was enrolled at Michigan. I firmly believe with preparation and the right mind set, Michigan could have a schedule that mimics OSU's and still succeed, contending for the National Championship.

For selfish reasons, mainly boredom, I'd like to see the Irish off the schedule. Assuming nothing changes, it would be too difficult, given Lloyd's attitude, to have ND and another "elite" program on the schedule and go 2-0. In reality, most years, 1-1 would be successful. Under the right coach, 2-0 could be a strong possibility but that is just speculation. Assuming the coaches and athletic department didn't want two "tough" games in the same year, I would rather see Michigan take on more home and homes with teams like Georgia, Texas, and SC. This would increase fan interest while also keeping the tradition of having 1 "elite" non conference game and 3 manageable/easy ones. I'm just really surprised that Bill Martin, a successful business man, hasn't lobbied more for big named opponents instead of debating whether to play that football powerhouse, Maine. Maybe he has but hasn't done anything because he's received resistance from Carr...who knows. But from a fan's standpoint, I'd love to see some new matchups instead of Eastern, Western, and ND. Maybe someday.

Other News: Clarrett arrested again. Its gone past the point of being funny to where someone needs to keep an eye on him at all times. Its only a matter of time before he's dead or on trial for killing someone (this isn't implausible - the only person I know who wears a bullet proof vest as a fashion statement is 50-Cent...and Clarrett reportedly had an assortment of weapons including a hachet). Starting TE Frost suspended for the year for violation of team rules. Southern Cal's Dwayne Jarrett ruled eligible.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Hooray College Football, Boo Lloyd Carr

Its hot. ESPN is showing a daily graphic summarizing the AL and NL Wild Card races. NCAA 07 came out a few weeks ago. All this can only mean the start of the College Football Season.

Lloyd Carr, Unfairly Criticized Coach

Gene Wojciechowski stereotypes all Michigan bloggers as disgruntled, disrespectful, and hungry...for Lloyd Carr's head. MGoBlog's opinion here and MZone's here. I initally felt some sympathy for Carr...but then I realized that Carr has put himself in this situation and he has no one to blame but himself.

Some of Carr's comments in the article provide further evidence into my tepid backing of Carr:

"I'm going to do what I want to do. The hell with anybody else, what they think."

If Carr really believes this is the best way to run a football team, I am deeply concerned. Carr's parochial view of college football has been a predominant factor in why Michigan is in the position it is currently. His unwavering loyalty to assistant who were cleary overmatched is what led to 7-5 last year. His reluctance to be agressive has cost Michigan more victories than I can count on one hand.

The individuals who are at the top of their respective fields are those who adapt. Hell, even JoPa realized that it might be beneficial to start freshman. In industry, once giants Ford and GM have been surpassed by foreign automakers because of their reluctance to change.

I'm excited about this upcoming season because some changes have been made. What remains to be seen is if those changes will be implemented or just put to the wayside as Carr decides to punt on fourth and short once again.

State of the Union

Mr. Maisel opines on the state of college football as fall practices begin across the country. In a gimicky article, Maisel annoints Michigan the Silver State - for its inability to conquer Ohio State, Notre Dame, or any opponent in a bowl game. Maisel declares Michigan the girl who can't seem to find a finacee - always a bridesmaid, never the bride. Guilty as charged.