Wednesday, September 16, 2009


This is the second installment of my recommendation feature, offering consumer experiences I recommend based on businesses and companies holding up their end of the bargain and giving me something I felt was worth the money.

Again, you may have a different point of view based on your experience, but based on MY personal experience with these products, services, and companies, I would like to publicly recommend them...and commend them for a job well done.

Most fast food chains don’t even TRY offering healthier alternatives, so I give a big thumbs up to Taco Bell for making an effort. Their Fresco Menu gives border runners a collection of delicious dining options lower in fat and cholesterol than the standard fare we know and love long time - late night or date night! Or maybe both. Yeah, that's how I roll. My lucky wife.

Even though I usually break down and dial up the Meximelt for dessert, I do feel better about hammering a half-dozen tacos when they're not accompanied by the unappetizing aftertaste of a guilty conscience.

Something else I like about the Fresco menu is the taste. They have a great tomato-onion-cilantro pico they use instead of all that cheese and sour cream you’ll find on a standard deluxe – and I actually find myself preferring it to the fattier fare. Simply remarkable. Yo quiero Fresco!

One last request for the folks at Pepsico...CHORIZO, mi hermanos. Fresco chorizo with low-fat chihuahua. That's what I'm talking about, Willis Tower. I might just make you my regular Saturday night.

And bring back the little talking dog, too. I miss that perro pequeno.

Okay, so this isn't really a specific store or a product - but there are a lot of companies out there throwing money at us...and most consumers refuse to accept it. How INSANE is THAT?

Coupons add up, folks. My wife and I recently considered canceling our subscription to the weekly newspaper because, while we enjoy receiving it, saving money is the name of the game these days. Then I did a little math and realized that the paper pays for itself (and then some) in all of the Sunday circular coupons I clip and use. YES, I clip coupons. And I maximize my savings by using those coupons only when the items are on sale at the grocery store. Yeah...retail is for suckers.

I am a power shopper, which also means I can do difficult math like solving the per unit price of a "6 for $10!" sale. Don't you hate the way they price food these days? Everything is a complicated division problem - 4 for $11, 3 for $8, and 5 for $7. What the hell is THAT? Just tell me what ONE COSTS! But I digress...I've been trying to keep things positive by pointing out things I recommend...and I highly recommend clipping coupons.

Look - it takes about 5 minutes a week and I am able to reconcile it with my masculinity by doing it while watching football and drinking beer. The bottom line is this: Virtually everything at the store can be picked up for less if you just wait a week, shop around, do your homework, and/or clip coupons.

These days, I'll take the savings - and I'm not embarrassed at all to be toting around that old, crumpled envelope full of coupons. (Okay, maybe a little). Still, it's a huge thrill for me to get $1 OFF something that’s also buy-one-get-one-free. Score, baby! It’s like finding a washed-up Washington in my pocket. George, not Denzel. Denzel's not washed up. Yet.

And if I haven't got you yet, think about it this way. The less I spend on toothpaste, the more I have for beer. Hard to argue with coupons when they’re blanched in perspective like that. And when I add it all up at the end of the month, I’m saving about $20-$30 on the stuff our family was going to buy anyhow. Multiply that by 12 and you're looking at a lot of nice gifts under the tree come Christmas. Giddyup!

This not-so-hidden gem wasn’t on my radar for the longest time, but ever since I discovered it I can’t get enough. They carry the most interesting shit (and I mean that it the nicest way), from food to furniture to jewelry. If you’re looking to find someone a gift that’s a little outside the norm, I recommend a stroll through World Market. Many of their wares are unexpected, which makes the shopping experience a novelty in itself. They also have an email list you can join that will keep you informed of special deals on things like wines from around the world and seasonal arrivals.

If you’ve never been to Roy’s Hawaiian, you are missing out. They're located all over - Chicago, Texas, California, Florida. The service and the food were exceptional – particularly the service. Their attention to detail was amazing as well. When we enjoyed our first anniversary dinner there, they personalized our menu prior to our arrival with a special greeting. They also created a complimentary dessert and surprised us with it after our main course. Staff was attentive, not overbearing, prices were reasonable, food was delicious, and the dining environment could not have been more comfortable. I'm not Phil Vettel here, but I have been to a lot of NICE (read: way overpriced) restaurants, and if you appreciate a 5-letter world called "value," I definitely felt I got my money's worth at Roy's.

Until next time...that's Aloha you need to know!