Sunday, January 18, 2015

Mr. Pibb is not Dr. Pepper

Nearly a month into the new year and there are already a lot of changes.  Late last year, Gonzo and I embarked on a new adventure in California.  He had a job offer he couldn't refuse and I went along, because, after 8 years, we are a packaged deal. 
We moved from a 2 bedroom, 1500 sq ft. house in Dallas Texas, to an 840 sq ft. apartment north of Los Angeles.  It's been a change that is for sure.  A lot of downsizing. A lot of adjusting to having loud upstairs neighbors.  A lot of adjusting to California.

Driving is some what different here.  There's a lot more traffic than anywhere I've lived before.  There's a lot more horn honking than anywhere I've lived before.  People are generally more rude when behind the wheel here, than anywhere I've lived before.  (you see the pattern I'm using here)

Food...well let's just say, there's a lot to be desired here.  Yes, produce is a little fresher, things seem to last longer when you bring it home...but when it comes to eating out...which Gonzo and I did a lot of back in horrible (with a few exceptions).  We've found a fantastic pizza place and a wonderful Italian restaurant.  Mel's drive in and Bob's Big Boy are both super.  It's the lack of two of the most important things we ate back in Dallas that make us extremely homesick when it's dinner time.  BBQ and Tex-Mex. 
There are BBQ joints (I only have a small amount of experience with this in Southern California so maybe there's a place out there in CA that is what I want)...some that even tout that they are based in Texas, or have Texas roots...but they are not what you are looking for.  They will be a distant taste pallet from what you are expecting.  If you've never had BBQ in the state of Texas (I'm sorry if that's the case), then you might be fine eating the BBQ in CA.  I am not fine with eating the BBQ offered at the places I have tried.  They over complicate the taste with too many spices.   
Tex-Mex?  Doesn't exist as far as I can tell (although I hear word that there is a place in Santa Monica that might be what I'm looking for).  There are Mexican food places- but they are traditional Mexican fare.  Again, I've been in Texas for the past 13 years so my "Mexican" food, needs to be spicy, and they better be serving queso...which at an authentic Mexican restaurant they will not be.  They don't seem to even have a clue as to what queso is...all I want is a bowl of melted gooey spicy cheese to dip with chips. 
Aside from that, there is a huge problem with the restaurants in this part of California.  Both fast food and sit down restaurants are offenders.
Being from Texas, if you aren't drinking alcohol with your dinner, then you're probably ordering sweet tea OR Dr. Pepper.  Because let's face it, the only reason to actually drink a soda is because it's Dr. Pepper.
In the Los Angeles area (I'm including cities just north of the LA metro area because those are the areas I have been in), if you order a Dr. Pepper, you have a 50/50 chance of actually receiving Dr. Pepper.  50% of the time, you will indeed taste the delicious sweetness of a Dr. Pepper.  The other 50% it's Mr. Pibb.
Dear California,  Mr. Pibb is not Dr. Pepper.  It's not.  Mr. Pibb tastes like a mis-calibrated soda fountain attempting to dispense Dr. Pepper.  The carbonation to syrup ratio is not correct.  I'm not even sure it's legal for a restaurant to tell you they are selling Dr. Pepper and then give you a glass of Mr. Pibb.  It's not the same thing.  KFC has Dr. Pepper listed as an option, but when you try it, it's Mr. Pibb.  Jack in The Box has Dr. Pepper.  Thankfully most places don't even offer Dr. Pepper here.  A few places legitimately list Mr. Pibb preventing the confusion from happening, because who in their right mind would actually, willingly order Mr. Pibb (besides my poor misguided brother from Wisconsin)?
Last night, we went to a restaurant (that shall remain nameless) and Gonzo ordered a Dr. Pepper (sodas were not listed on the menu so he had to ask), the waitress nodded and went to get his drink.  He wanted me to try it, but I'm trying to stop drinking carbonated beverages all together, so I passed.  He told me it was really good, so on his first refill I took a nearly gagged.  It was Mr. Pibb. Why did this anger me?  #1. The waitress didn't even correct him (the receipt clearly stated Mr. Pibb).  If you order a Coke here and they only have Pepsi they will tell you...but if you order a Dr. Pepper and they only have Mr. Pibb they say nothing?  Like it's interchangeable?  Are Coke and Pepsi interchangeable?  I think not.  #2. It made me angry because Gonzo has clearly been served the wrong soda enough times he can no longer tell the difference. 

Anyway, aside from the food and Dr. Pepper aspects, California is definitely a lot to get used to.  I think I'm calmer here, aside from dealing with the upstairs neighbors.  I don't feel rushed to do things, or go places.  There's a mountain down the street from us.  There are wild parrots that fly around.  The temperature is consistently in the high 60s-high 70s, at night it's usually in the 50s.  It's rained a handful of times, but has lacked the thunder I was so accustomed to in Dallas, instead it's a soft steady soaking rain that lasts all day (much like the spring rain I grew up with in Wisconsin).  It's nice to not be freezing for months on end, or sweating to death for much of the year.    

I don't know how long we will stay here, but for the time being I'm ok.  Gonzo's ok.  California is ok.  I'll overlook the lack of BBQ and Tex-mex, and I've already stopped ordering sodas, so the Mr. Pibb's won't bother me.  It will still bother me that someone is being duped when they order a Dr. Pepper and it's not one, but I won't be one of those suckers.     

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