A Normal Thursday Rundown

Don’t Blink because February is more than halfway over. Here we go with my latest Thursday Rundown…

Latest Buffalo Wild Wings Visit – As I mentioned in a previous post, I am going to update you on all the meals we enjoy from the many gift cards we received at Christmas. My sister and brother-in-law gave us a card to Buffalo Wild Wings and we used it this past Friday. We usually order wings and split them, but this time around Sidney and I ordered our own non-wing items. She got the Bayou po’boy chicken sandwich and I went with the new buffalo mac and cheese. The mac and cheese comes with chicken covered in your favorite BWW wing sauce (spicy garlic for me) and it is topped with bread crumbs. Although it looked like kind of a small serving when they brought it to me, I soon found out that it was more than enough. Best of all, it was delicious.

We enjoyed a Buffalo Wild Wings date night on Friday.

Grammy’s Review – Over the past couple of years, I have been pretty hard on the Grammy’s. It just seemed to me that the content and quality of the show kept declining. I think 2017 was a step forward for the awards show. The energy was back and it seemed like the Grammy’s ditched efforts from the past couple years to be as artsy and symbolic as possible. It was more about the awards and performances this year. I actually even thought James Corden, someone who I am not a big fan of, did a great job with the hosting duties.

The Lego Batman Movie – On Saturday, my father-in-law and I took my nephew to the theater to watch “The Lego Batman Movie.” I assumed the film would be completely geared toward kids but I was wrong. I actually enjoyed “The Batman Lego Movie” and laughed often throughout it. In fact, at times it felt like I was watching something off of Adult Swim. But don’t think that the film was lost on the children! Harrison was so engaged with the movie that he refused to go to the bathroom, doing his best to fight off nature’s call (he was successful) until the credits started to roll.

The “Lego Batman Movie” was pretty good.

Latest Netflix Documentary I Watched – I recently finished watching a documentary titled “Curse of the Man Who Sees UFOs.” The film profiles this guy who believes he sees UFOs pretty much on a nightly basis. He has video proof but it is sketchy at best. However, what really stands out is his personality. I was shaking my head in amusement throughout the whole documentary at the degree of eccentricity the dude constantly displayed. If you are weird like me, you will like it.

If you pass “Curse of the Man Who Sees UFOs” on Netflix, give it a try.

Marco Rubio – One year ago today, Sidney and I attended a Marco Rubio rally. At the time, he was at the peak of his popularity in the Republican Primary race. However, Chris Christie would soon embarrass him on the debate stage and he eventually dropped out. But Marco has nothing to be ashamed about. He won re-election to the U.S. Senate and he is very relevant on the national stage. He will run again for president one of these days.

A year ago today, Sidney and I met Marco Rubio.

————

Hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day. I will be back on Sunday to share an interesting experience with you. Have a nice weekend. Don’t Blink.

My Top Ten Casual Dining Restaurants

The other night, Sidney and I sat across from each other at Outback. As we waited for our food to come, we discussed what national corporate restaurants we would choose to work at if we had no other choice. It all started when I asked her if she would rather wait on tables at Outback or Olive Garden.

Well, this discussion sparked a blog post in my head. Because I haven’t written enough about food and eating over the years, I figured you would be interested in hearing my top ten casual dining chain restaurants. When compiling this list, I kept in mind my own criterion for what a “casual dining chain restaurant” is:

– Not a glorified fast food place such as Waffle House or Fuddruckers
– A place that would be acceptable to go for a birthday dinner. Thus, the restaurant puts in enough effort to sing “Happy Birthday” or an equivalent song for guests on their special day.
– A place that is “national” enough so that my friends on both the east coast and west coast know what I am talking about.

Here is my list…

10. Applebees – I use to despise this place on the same level as Red Robin but over the past couple years my attitude has changed. I have come to tolerate and mildly appreciate the theme. Having traveled to a bunch of them now, I do appreciate that each location tailors the “junk” that it keeps based on the community it is in. While I don’t care for the main entrees, I do enjoy the appetizer sampler and the yummy milkshakes.

9. Texas Roadhouse – I love that Texas Roadhouse restaurants offer peanuts. I also enjoy the large portions that they give out. Conversely, I also hate the large portions that they give out. No, that is not a typo.

A meal I had (the closest plate to the camera) at Texas Roadhouse about four years back.

A meal I had (the closest plate to the camera) at Texas Roadhouse about four years back.

8. Hooters – While I am not a big fan of the signature item at Hooters (just to clarify, I am talking about the wings), I do love their burgers. There might not be anything better than ordering a western BBQ burger and a cold Blue Moon. I just wish the restaurant wasn’t as tacky as the slogan happily brags about.

7. Olive Garden – This is another restaurant I didn’t always care for. I will still go to my deathbed saying that the breadsticks are completely overrated. But over the years I have warmed up a little more to the Olive Garden. A couple of experiences with outstanding service and a couple others with pretty good food when I was really hungry has helped to change my tune.

6. Outback Steakhouse – I really enjoyed my dinner with Sid the other night. I had a 12 ounce steak that was cooked perfectly and topped with blue cheese crumbles. Food is always pretty decent but I do think items are a bit overpriced and I have never been too impressed with a blooming onion.

Enjoying dinner at Outback on this past Saturday night.

Enjoying dinner at Outback on this past Saturday night.

5. P.F. Changs – When I think of P.F. Changs, I think of special dinners with my family. The five of us would go out on occasion to the restaurant and we would each order an entrée. We would then pass them around and share. The white and brown rice that comes before the main course is nice and the show the server puts on while mixing the sauce is cool too. Also, the lettuce wraps are completely legit.

My family loving life at P.F. Chang's in November of 2011.

My family loving life at P.F. Chang’s in November of 2011.

4. Carino’s Italian – This is probably the most obscure restaurant on the list but it is a national chain. Wikipedia says it has 130 restaurants. Carino’s is an Olive Garden competitor with a similar menu. In my mind, however, Carino’s is quite a bit better than its more well-known opponent. In my opinion the food is less expensive, but better, than the Olive Garden. I also would say that the bread offered at Carino’s is 5X superior to that of OG. Last but not least, I find the restaurants at Carino’s quite cozy, a far cry from what you find at Olive Garden.

3. Longhorn Steakhouse – I apologize because this restaurant violates the final condition of my criteria. You see, I am pretty positive most people out west don’t know about Longhorn Steakhouse even though the chain has almost 400 restaurants in 35 states. In fact, I actually had never heard of such a restaurant until I moved to Myrtle Beach. Good thing I did though because I love the place. The steaks are better here than at Outback and I think the value is a step up too. I also don’t eat that much salad but at Longhorn I will gladly chomp away because their mix is always so fresh and light. Also, I enjoy the fact that Longhorn is a well-lit restaurant. Many steakhouses like to dim all the lights and I don’t particularly care for that. Don’t get me started on their fantastic desserts.

2. Buffalo Wild Wings – I am a Buffalo Wild Wings fanatic. You know what? I never really even liked wings until I tried out BWW. It doesn’t matter what location you go to, the food always tastes great. My favorite thing to do is go to the restaurant with Sidney or my brother and split 20 boneless wings divided up among four different sauces. However, if for some reason I am not feeling wings that day I have no problem ordering a burger as I think the chain does a great job at creating delicious and unique selections. Of course BWW does the sports theme better than any other casual dining restaurant and the beer selection at the bar is always vast. I will never turn down an invitation to go to Buffalo Wild Wings.

1. The Cheesecake Factory – I have always enjoyed the Cheesecake Factory. In fact, without any influences the restaurant would be highly rated on this list. However, I think Sidney and her family helped me decide to catapult it to the top spot. When the Mathis family goes to a town that has a Cheesecake Factory, they are going to eat there no matter what. When we were in Atlanta together this past summer the first Cheesecake Factory location we went to had a two hour wait. Instead of going to another nearby restaurant, we drove to the other Cheesecake Factory location across the city and dined there. But you see, the food really is that good.

Sidney and I enjoying the Cheesecake Factory in Baltimore

Sidney and I enjoying the Cheesecake Factory in Baltimore

You sit down and receive different types of bread to munch on while you look through the most expansive menu in the restaurant business. You then enjoy an entrée that tickles your taste buds and makes you think it must be coated in butter. Next comes the signature dish, a decision where you can’t go wrong no matter how many different types of cheesecake you have to choose from. Plain and simple, the Cheesecake Factory is just delicious and fun.

—————

This isn’t the first nor will it be the last time I make myself hungry while writing a blog post. If only there was a Cheesecake Factory in Myrtle Beach. Don’t Blink.

The Week Before Thanksgiving

Just a week away from Thanksgiving, are you excited yet? I sure am. With Turkey Day on my mind I present to you my weekly Thursday rundown blog post. How about we jump right in?

Buffalo Wild Wings Visit: Only in my blog would you find someone ramble on about an ordinary BWW dining experience. This past Saturday, Sidney and I went to eat after the Chant football game. In a rare move for me I ate something other than wings. I ordered the Italian burger and let me tell you, it was loaded. It was two patties, pepperoni, garlic sauce, AND mozzarella sticks. It was a miracle that I didn’t die from a heart attack right then. It was probably even more of a miracle that I managed to keep my food down after I watched the women’s UFC fight between Jessica Eye and Leslie Smith on the restaurant’s big screens. Eye almost took off Smith’s ear as blood splattered everywhere. My hatred for UFC will be for another blog post.

This was my Italian burger that I ate at Buffalo Wild Wings on Saturday night.

This was my Italian burger that I ate at Buffalo Wild Wings on Saturday night.

Newspaper Love: Our student newspaper here at Coastal Carolina University is called The Chanticleer. Over the past couple of issues, #CCUSocialMedia has had a focal point in both. In the issue that came out a couple weeks ago, Wyatt Davies did a story on our Yik Yak Takeover. You can read it by clicking here. This week the newest issue came out and I had the honor of being the feature in a piece by Dylan Cordaro. You can read it by clicking here. While I enjoy coverage from the professional media organizations, it is nice to have the work I am doing  featured by the population I am trying to serve the most, our students.

A photo of the physical copy of the latest story that dealt with #CCUSocialMedia.

A photo of the physical copy of the latest story that dealt with #CCUSocialMedia.

Football Saturday: I am beyond excited for college football this Saturday. I will be on the sidelines as the Chanticleer football team goes for an unblemished 12-0 season as they face Liberty at 1 p.m. in Brooks Stadium. As it is a rivalry game with a lot at stake I expect a hard-hitting and intense contest. A win for Coastal will cement a top seed in the playoffs, a Big South Conference championship, and a regular season #1 ranking. After I finish up my work from the game I will be off to my favorite bar to watch the Griz-Cat football game. I will be yelling hard as Montana looks to improve its already lopsided edge in the Brawl of the Wild Series with another victory over Montana State. I couldn’t say it when I was working for UM but I can say it now: Grizzly Athletics in every single facet is so incredibly superior to Montana State! I never tire seeing that point made time and time again. I can’t wait for kickoff.

Brynn and I on the field after another #GrizCat football victory in 2013.

Brynn and I on the field after another #GrizCat football victory in 2013.

Hair: Tonight I have the pleasure of attending my first play in ages. I will be attending Coastal Carolina University’s production of “Hair.” I am looking forward to seeing our talented students act and sing on stage. A big bonus is that Robin Russell is directing the production. Robin is the host of “Coastal Now” and has provided me with tremendous support and encouragement since I started my “Social Circle” segment on the show. I am thrilled that I have the opportunity to send some of that support back her way by attending tonight’s play.

This is the door that leads to the Black Box Theatre at Coastal Carolina University. As you can see, it is decorated for "Hair."

This is the door that leads to the Black Box Theatre at Coastal Carolina University. As you can see, it is decorated for “Hair.”

I Meet My Niece Next Week: This latest update on Mikayla is special because it is the last one I have to make before actually seeing her for the first time next Tuesday. Now 11 weeks old she is flailing her arms and kicking her legs like crazy. My family says she is just as excited to see me as I am her. Counting down the days!

Here are the latest photos of Mikayla. I meet her soon.

Here are the latest photos of Mikayla. I meet her soon.

————-

Well folks, I am off to a play. Thanks for your readership. Because of my Mick Delaney tribute post on Monday, this has been one of the best weeks ever for Don’t Blink. Make sure to cheer hard for the Chants and Griz this weekend. Don’t Blink.

What Passionate Fans Do

This morning I got to work and as I walked from the parking lot to the entrance doors of the Adams Center it looked like through the still dark conditions that a homeless camp had formed right outside the last entrance door. Humans sprawled out on the cold cement covered in shaggy blankets started at the door and then went up some nearby steps. I started to think about why Missoula’s transient problem had extended all the way to campus but then a light clicked on in my head…tonight was the Macklemore concert!

The rapper’s hardcore fans had already started to line up at 8 a.m. in the morning for a show that didn’t start until 7 p.m. However, I didn’t think they were crazy for lining up so early with the hopes that they would get an awesome view of their idol. Rather, I thought they were a little uneducated for thinking that it might guarantee them an all-access, front row position for the whole concert. You see, these fans were lining up for general admission standing room only spots on the floor. It doesn’t matter if you are the first one in or the 2,000th person in, if you are aggressive and sneaky enough, you can work your way to the front and bypass people who had been waiting outside for eleven hours longer than you.

But that is not the point I am trying to make. Rather, I am sticking up for the Macklemore fans who bummed outside the whole day to at least improve their chances of getting the best possible view during the concert. The best fans are the passionate ones and if you don’t mind throwing a full day away to sit on concrete I salute you.

I love the stories of students at Duke camping out in Krzyewskiville just to get tickets. I nod my head in approval at the people who stood outside of the Missoula Buffalo Wild Wings for hours on end in anticipation of the grand opening (and a year’s supply of wings). Even though I hate “Harry Potter” I admire the maniacs who wait outside the theater in ridiculous costumes in order to get tickets and have the best seats in the house.

I have such a high affinity for these types of people because I am actually one of them. Throughout my lifetime I have been the guy that has started lines and waited double digit hours to dash into a venue and get preferential seating. Whether it was to see Santa Claus (seriously), be the first one to register for classes in middle school, get the courtside seats for our rival high school basketball game, obtain Griz-Cat football tickets, or to secure floor seats for a handful of different concerts I have stood patiently in line for long periods of time throughout my life.

But let’s get real here. Of course people like me and the people who were lined up for Macklemore today don’t do it solely for the gratification of getting our desired seat or ticket. Rather, we put ourselves through these long waits because in a way it is fun. There is something about being that first person and there is something about hanging out with other passionate people that just makes it exciting. And even if it turns out that you have to sit out in miserable weather and even if you end up spending 9 hours next to the most annoying person in the world and even if you end up not even getting your ticket or desired seat you still have something: an experience.

Even though I wouldn’t walk across the street to see Macklemore perform, or in my literal sense, walk down some steps right outside of my office, I respect the throng of 18-24 year olds I walked past this morning. At this time right now Macklemore is probably taking the stage and I hope those kids are having a great time. Don’t Blink.

Using Vine to Diversify Your Social Media Content

It used to be bad enough when people would link their Twitter accounts and Facebook accounts together and send the exact same content simultaneously to both services. I cringed seeing a 50 word post that originated on Facebook get cut off halfway on Twitter. Or maybe even worse, I got turned off right away when I saw a tweet show up on my Facebook newsfeed with five different hash tags and a big Hootsuite or Tweetdeck logo accompanying it. Forget the fact that Facebook now has clickable hash tags, back then it just showed laziness and lack of understanding by the user over two different social media outlets.

Of course, over time this issue of duplicating content over different social media outlets has gotten worse. As new platforms have come in and gained popularity, people can now easily share the same content over three or four social networks at once. A year ago the annoyance I saw too many people do was take a picture on Instagram and send it out to Twitter and Facebook simultaneously. Besides the formatting nightmare that this reflected on the social sites other than Instagram, it just became tiresome to follow a certain person through various networks and know that you were always going to see everything they posted 3X.

Before I get to the main point/solution of this post let me say this: Sometimes we take awesome pictures that do need to be shared across all of our social networks. I get that. It happens with me sometimes and it also happens through the accounts I run at Grizzly Athletics. However, when this is the case post the picture separately on each respective account just so you can format it correctly. Not only will it make you look not so lazy but it will also make your posts look much cleaner and you will gain many more impressions, “likes’, retweets, etc.

When we do something worthy (or even unworthy) that warrants posting to all of our social media accounts, I firmly believe we need to document it in a unique way on each of our social platforms. So yes, preferably, when you go to Buffalo Wild Wings you need to cover it in a way that your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts all show something original from each other. A few months ago this principle that I am preaching would take quite a bit of work and require a lot of different shots with your iPhone camera. However, since then, a service has come along that has made this process easier.

Hands down, Vine is the coolest and fastest growing social media service available right now. About a month ago I gave a glowing review of the service so if you need a refresher on the details of Vine, check out that particular blog post. Anyway, not only is Vine a tremendous app by itself, but the content you record off of Vine can dramatically bolster your other social media outlets.

Make sure to follow me on Vine (@BrentReser)

Make sure to follow me on Vine (@BrentReser)

Just like everything else, please refrain from posting every single Vine you record directly to Facebook and Twitter. I would advise to never post a Vine on Facebook. It looks awful on the timeline, a lot of people on Facebook don’t get it, and most Vine videos rarely receive any “likes”. If you make a really cool Vine and your caption for it translates to Tweet-speak go ahead and post it to Twitter but make a general rule to only do this for 15%-20% of your Vines.

Okay, enough of all of my disclaimers! From time to time it takes me a while to get to the point. Anyway, with Vine you have a six second video of some story, event, or situation. Within those six seconds of video, you have hundreds (maybe even thousands) of images at your disposal. Remember back when you were a kid and it was so much fun to pause a video you were watching and capture still images?! Well you can do that with Vine only this time around the picture is clearer and with one simple move you can save it forever.

This move is simple. When the Vine video is playing, simply tap the screen to pause it. It will take some playing around but once you pause the video at the exact time that you want, activate the screen capture command on your iPhone. Now go to your camera roll, pull up the picture, and crop out the Vine interface surrounding the image. Save your work and you now have a perfect image that you were crafty enough to capture off of video. Cool, huh?

I caught this cool image by using a Vine video that my girlfriend took. Would never have been able to capture this with an iPhone.

I caught this cool image by using a Vine video that my girlfriend took. Would never have been able to capture this with an iPhone.

Use images captured from Vine videos to supply unique content to each of your social media outlets. Let’s go back to the Buffalo Wild Wings example. Let’s say you take a Vine that includes you entering the restaurant, sitting at the table with your friends, ordering from the waitress, scanning the numerous televisions, scoping out everyone’s orders, and finally smiling with a big plate of wings in front of you. Okay, you got the cool Vine video taken care of with you at BDubbs but now you got to document the experience on your other social networks too. Working directly from your Vine video, let’s get to work.

Let’s first start with Twitter. A perfect tweet for this occasion would be something like this: @BrentReser Watching the NBA Finals at BWW with @ImaginaryFriend , @FriendWhoDoesntExist , @WishIHadFriends #winning . Okay, now you use the Vine footage you took of your table to produce the picture that will go with this Tweet. Just pause the video right when it gets to the shot of your friends and go through the process I outlined. Attach that picture to your tweet and send away!

Time to move onto Instagram. Vine is PERFECT for making collages and this is what we are going to do for our Instagram image. For the make believe Vine video to Buffalo Wild Wings I mentioned six different scenes. Simply capture a photo from four of those scenes to make a cool collage (I am leaving out the two scenes that we are using for the other social platforms). You will have a nice montage of the actual restaurant, the waitress taking your order, the cool TV set up, and then the table full of everyone’s delicious wings. Give the collage a simple title such as A night out at Buffalo Wild Wings #BWW #Winning .

Now time to finish with the king of the social networks, Facebook. This one is all about you. Simply take the ending scene of the Vine video of you with a mile wide grin and a big plate of wings and capture it. Now post it to your timeline with a caption such as Great night at Buffalo Wild Wings. Time to devour these wings. Watch as this single original picture you put up garners numerous likes and comments.

It is important to form a consistent brand of yourself throughout all of your social media networks but it is equally important to establish it in a unique and fitting way through each individual service. Vine has made it easier to accomplish this goal. Be creative and give your followers something different through each one of your social platforms. Don’t Blink.

A Typical (but great) Missoula Weekend

As I sit here late this Sunday night (technically Monday morning) I can’t shake this soothing feeling of content that has filled my body as the result of this past weekend. Mind you, I did nothing special. I simply stayed here in Missoula and lived out a couple of normal but awesome days in God’s Country. But you see, right now is bar none the absolute best time to live in Missoula. The summer is young, the days are long, and the living is awesome. So if you don’t mind, I want to quickly recap my enjoyable weekend.

On Friday night I went over to my girlfriend’s brother’s house for a big family BBQ. Paige’s sister was in town all the way from Hawaii along with her husband and two kids. Throw in Paige’s dad, her aunt and uncle, and her brother’s family and you got quite the gathering. Paige’s brother has a beautiful large backyard so we had a great time hanging out back there while eating burgers and visiting. Later in the night we all gathered around their backyard fire pit and roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. While that activity was mainly to make the four young children happy, I had just as much fun trying to make the perfect golden brown marshmallow as they did. At a little after 10 p.m. with a fair amount of daylight still in the Montana skies, we called it a night.

I had a great time making s'mores...and eating them!

I had a great time making s’mores…and eating them!

 

Saturday morning came and I awoke with great energy and eagerness for the busy day ahead. It all started off at Missoula’s farmer’s market at Caras Park. Paige and I walked around enjoying all the hustle and bustle of health minded Missoulians scouring the plethora of fresh produce covering tables all around the market area. When everyone from Paige’s family who attended the BBQ the previous night arrived we greeted them and I assisted in taking about a dozen different family portraits with all of their cellular devices.

After the Kodak moment I walked about 100 feet over to the Missoula Carousel to cover a great event that our student-athletes were involved in. Called “Griz Day at the Carousel”, several members of our football team were on hand to sign autographs and pose for pictures with youngsters. The players even hopped on the carousel themselves and rode side-by-side with elated children who couldn’t believe that they were hanging out with Griz athletes.

Our Griz football athletes helped out the community once again this past Saturday at "Griz Day at the Carousel".

Our Griz football athletes helped out the community once again this past Saturday at “Griz Day at the Carousel”.

After about 40 minutes at the Carousel I had to leave Downtown Missoula and head off to the next thing on my agenda. I hopped in my car and drove out to Southgate Mall where the Garden City Shootout, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, was taking place in the shopping area’s parking lot. My main objective was to cover and support the best mascot in the world, Monte, as he entertained the youth at center court. He put a smile on every kid’s face as he shot baskets, sprayed silly string, and rode a bike. After about a half hour of bringing a lot of joy to the event, the mascot from Red Robin showed up and the bear and the bird played a game of Thunder with the children on hand. The silliness and fun that ensued was pretty entertaining.

Monte interacting with the Red Robin mascot.

Monte interacting with the Red Robin mascot.

When that Thunder game concluded I was off again, this time traveling to yet another different part of town to Paige’s workplace, Pattee Creek Market. The store was having a community BBQ and after not eating the whole day, I was ready for some lunch. Paige and I got a burger, chips, and drink for the low price of $2 and sat up against the outside of the store under the shade and gobbled up our food….and then went back for seconds! After we filled our stomachs Paige still had about 45 minutes before her shift was to start so we went to a nearby restaurant and had a cold drink while watching the U.S. Open. Work time then came for Paige and I returned back to my apartment where I watched the rest of the U.S. Open third round.

Paige and I under the shade enjoying the BBQ.

Paige and I under the shade enjoying the BBQ.

I then transitioned nicely into watching Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals and by the time that game hit overtime it was 9 p.m. and I was hungry again. I met my friend Dallas and his roommate at Buffalo Wild Wings and we watched Boston even the series at 1-1 while scarfing down some great food. Paige later joined us at the restaurant and from there we checked out a few places downtown before ending a great day.

Today I rose up at 8 a.m. and read the paper and did some housekeeping items. I then hit the pool! At my apartment complex we have a pretty decent community pool area and besides just a brief time last week, it was my first time really getting to enjoy it. Paige bought us milkshakes and we had a great time getting some rays and splashing around in the water. Long after Paige had left to go to work, I myself exited the area at a little after 4 p.m., probably getting a little more sun than what I needed. Sweaty and exhausted from the heat, I settled down into my nicely air conditioned apartment in time for the last six holes of the U.S. Open. I was pulling for Phil but congrats to Justin Rose.

Not long after the conclusion of the golf tournament the NBA Finals (Game 5) came on. I watched the first half at my apartment and then I went and watched the second half at the Silver Dollar where Dallas works. I took great pleasure in watching the Spurs destroy King James and the Heat to take a 3-2 series lead. I came home and did things to get ready for the upcoming work week and here I am now…writing this blog post. These are the best days to live in Missoula and I am not taking them for granted. One great weekend down, many more to come. Don’t Blink.

Buffalo Wild Wings

When Buffalo Wild Wings opened up in Missoula one year ago, I am pretty embarrassed to admit that I had never dined, or even stepped foot into, one of their numerous locations nationwide. I know, right? How could an obsessed sports guy like me never have taken the time to walk into what is widely considered as the Mecca of sports themed casual dining?

Probably the main reason for my prior absence to BWW centers solely on the fact that I have just never really cared that much for wings. My basic attitude throughout my life was that wings were messy and they never really did the job at filling me up. If I went to Hooters or Pizza Hut, I would always pass on both places self-proclaimed “famous wings” and order a burger, or, big surprise, a pizza.

Buffalo Wild Wings opened up to large fanfare in Missoula. The grand opening was built up with lots of advertising and much anticipation. A promotion was staged that guaranteed a year’s supply of wings to the first 100 people that walked through the doors. The media covered the event aggressively. Customers crowded the restaurant non-stop. Everyone I knew could not stop talking about it. Despite all of this that was going on right underneath my nose, I never really felt a strong desire to go eat there. I stayed away.

A couple weeks passed and the buzz continued to swirl. In my opinion it felt like people were going a little overboard on how awesome this place was. As part of my internal backlash, I somehow managed to block out the endless praises of the place and latch onto the minor criticisms I heard whispered, namely that it was too crowded, the food came in box trays, and there were few healthy options on the menu (like I eat healthy anyway). However, after lasting a month with never entering Missoula’s newest dining gem, I entered BDubbs for the first time.

A couple of my friends had developed a little obsession with the place. They had developed a schedule where they were going there a few times each week to eat wings, watch their favorite teams, and banter with the wait staff, many of whom they were on a first name basis with. After some convincing, I decided to join them.

My reaction upon walking into Buffalo Wild Wings for the first time? THIS PLACE IS COOL! Televisions are plastered on every piece of real estate those walls hold. Better yet, each TV is set to a game (or other sports programming). The booths come with mini built-in televisions and the volume is set in a way that you can clearly hear the announcers of the featured game yet you can comfortably have a conversation with the people at your table. My first go-around at Buffalo Wild Wings I followed my preconceived idea of what my taste buds like and I ordered a burger. I got chastised by my friends for committing such a heinous act in a place where wings are king. But let me tell you what, I had no complaints about that burger. It was at least a ½ pound and came topped with bacon, pulled pork, and an onion ring!! I couldn’t believe I had neglected this place for a month.

After another visit of ordering something other than wings, I finally took the plunge and ordered twelve spicy garlic wings the third time I went. My whole life I have ate food that was supposedly supposed to be so good that it might make you live forever only to be let down at something that failed to meet expectations. Expecting to not fall in love with the famous delicacy in front of me, I chewed the first wing skeptically. About two seconds after I chomped down, I became a believer. Let me attest to you, the wings at BDubbs are the truth.

It just took that first wing to make me realize why people love this place so much. I don’t want to get too deep into the taste, texture, flavor, etc. about the wings themselves but please just believe me when I say they are the real deal. In fact, Buffalo Wild Wings made me become much more accepting to wings in general. I have now ordered wings at other restaurants and I use BWW to compare them (which is totally unfair because nothing comes close to Buffalo Wild Wings). At the restaurant you can choose from numerous different types of wing sauce, you name it and they probably got it. Spicy garlic is still my number one favorite but their mango habanero is a close second.

How good is this place? My parents even liked it! Whenever they come to Missoula I usually take them to a less casual place with more, how shall I put it, fine dining options. However, this past time they came up we went to Buffalo Wild Wings and had an enjoyable time as we munched on wings and watched Stanford upset USC. We left the place with my mom saying she wants to go back another time.

If you are a wing fan and you have not tried Buffalo Wild Wings, what are you waiting for?! If you are not a wing fan, still try the place….you will be a wing fan afterwards. When I travel to other cities and eat out, I tend to avoid the chain restaurants that I have in my own town. One of the few exceptions I make is for Buffalo Wild Wings. Man, I just got myself very hungry. Don’t Blink