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Brocato’s and Join Chickens, Like Your Aunt Nina Probably Had
August 22, 2012
Joint Checking – A surrender of sorts. But there comes a time in every newly married woman’s life where she has to decide “Am I going to share all of my hard earned income with my husband?” Why yes, why the hell not? It’s not the sharing I’m concerned about. It’s the monitoring. What the hell is Ryan going to do when he finds out how many democratic contributions I’m making each month, or how much a “sale item” at Nordstrom Rack actually costs?
My father’s strategy seems to work well and I may adopt it. Insert fatherly voice here: “Always take a cash cut before depositing money into your joint checking account. That way, there is no paper trail leading your spouse directly to the bar, Keno, ice cream or scratch tickets.” I like his style.
So, Joint Checking it is. Or as people in this neighborhood call it “Join Chickens” (Oh, by the way, we’re in a different neighborhood. Our local Bank of America is not open on the weekends). Anyway, in the DINK (double income, no kids) scenario, the couple should be able to put away a great amount of savings so long as they’re living within their means.
What exactly are “our means?” We’re hoarding pennies and keep dining out to a minimum but there is this damn itch that must be scratched every so often. After an 80 hour work week with nothing but my computers, my cat and our 2 new fish, I felt compelled to go out last night and get bombed. Ryan had plans to go for an early morning jog but I had a cocktail waiting for him when he got home and he was an easy sell.
So anyway, this itch creates a double standard. We save and we save and we save but then think nothing to blow $200 + on a single night of drinking. We deserve it. We work so hard. It’s been a stressful week. It’s a celebration. We have friends in town. There is always a reason to scratch.
Nobody likes to use the word addiction or alcoholic but… here is the reason some may call it an issue: Do you ever find yourself justifying a splurge purchase by comparing it to the number of cocktails to which it’s pricetag is equal? I do it with shoes all the time. Which sounds worse, a new pair of shoes for $90 or a new pair of shoes that you can justify by skipping nine cocktails? Too bad the cocktails rarely end up getting skipped. Before you know it we’ll be trading in our cocktail financial analysis for diaper finances. In the middle of our discussion this morning Ryan blurts, “People talk about how expensive children are but realistically, think about how expensive our drinking and eating habits are. Clearly we can’t booze at our current rate once we have babies and I suspect that trading in the vices for a child will actually increase our disposable income.” Right on. Expensive kids. Pshhh.
Back to brunch: While we’re in this neck of the hoods, woods, (the land of mini storages, warehouses, car dealerships and strip clubs) we decide we should check out Brocato’s. However my dream of devil crabs and meaty Cuban sandwiches is interupted by the slick guido wearing a fuscia shirt and shiny black pants who demands $6000 in one dollar bills from the teller next to us. He insists that he hurry because he has to “hit two other banks.” Are we being robbed!? I think our teller caught on to my confusion because when I looked back he mouthed the words “Strip Club Register Stock.” Nice neighborhood.
Back to the dream – I’ve enjoyed Brocato’s twice but it was many years ago. Ryan has never been. Today is full of new things. Little background on Brocato’s: A Tampa favorite for more than 64 years, and home to Tampa’s best devil crab. The food is “just like Aunt Nina used to make” and I have little to no idea what the hell that means because my family does not have a Nina.
As we enter Brocato’s, we enter a typical scenario for this establishment: an extremely long line of people picking up call-ins, waiting for tables, ordering lunch or simply raping the soda machines. I try not to get into politics but that’s what I’d like to call a more “legitimate rape,” assuming “legitimate rape” is a rape in which the body “shuts the whole thing down” and can’t actually get pregnant. Thank you Representative Todd Akin for clarifying that this past week. I have been legitimately raping soda machines since I was a child and it feels good to get that off my chest.
Ryan decides that we are going to order the entire menu: 12” Cuban Sandwich, 2 Devil Crabs, 1 Stuffed Potato and an order of Black Beans and Yellow Rice. Our food comes with 2 fountain drinks and 2 bags of chips, chips which are presented based on the honor system. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Ryan in my short life with him thus far, it’s that you should never base anything food-related on the honor system. He helps himself to what he calls “the chip buffet” and takes his turns trying various flavors. In his defense, they’re kettle cooked and the cashier did suggest that he “help himself.” A blank stare is delivered by me and his only reply is, “how was I supposed to chose between Jalapeno and Mesquite bbq?”
We wait 30 long minutes for our food. But so does everyone else. If you’re ever in need of judging an establishment without actually trying their food – take that into consideration. Would people, many of which are obese, really squeeze themselves in to a hot tiny establishment and wait 30 minutes for their food if it wasn’t the best fucking grub around town?
We bring Brocato’s home to inhale it on the couch and more easily slip into a food coma within the privacy of our own home. Mmmmmm. Where do I start?
Cuban: The size of a small infant. Ham, Salami, Roasted Pork, Pickles, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Provolone Cheese, Onions on a 12” traditional Cuban Loaf. Ryan informs me that a traditional Cuban doesn’t include the “rabbit food” and is supposed to consist only of meat, cheese, mustard, pickle and crispy pressed Cuban bread but I like Brocato’s “go big or go home” style.
Devil Crabs: Now, Carmines of Ybor makes a delicious Devil Crab. But we’re sorry, #1 goes to Brocato’s. A mixture of lump and backfin crab meat, peppers, onions, hot sauce….. A beautiful golden crunchy Panko bread crumb crust. As we mentioned before, a sign in Brocato’s reads “just like Aunt Nina used to make!” Well it’s a very good thing my family doesn’t have a Nina, because I would have literally had sex with her and her crabs.
Stuffed Potato: Again, Panko bread crumbs, but the inside is truly a surprise. Not only are these fried babies the size of softballs, they’re filled with mashed potatoes, ground beef, and other mysterious spices we can’t seem to put our finger on.
Black Beans and Yellow Rice: Well, it’s your typical (and delicious) black bean and yellow rice combo with chopped raw onion, and a roasted red bell pepper on top. But, there’s simply no room for that if you’ve also ordered the 12” Cuban or softball sized potatoes.
ZzzzZZZzzzzz…… It’s hitting. Blood rushing to the abdomen. Brain deprived of oxygen. Fat nap within the next few minutes. We’ll all rest easy now that we know Brocato’s is a short 5 miles from home.