Strange Bedfellows

Welcome to Masters Week, sports fans! Even if you don’t know the first thing about professional golf, you’ve probably heard of The Masters.  The tournament begins again this Thursday (for the eighty-sixth time) at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. If you have nothing better to do this weekend, you can watch a dozen mind-numbing hours of the television coverage. While you’re at it you’ll discover the Masters traditions, like the champion’s green jacket, the clubhouse top-story “Crow’s Nest” (where the amateur golfers reside), the famous pimento cheese sandwiches, and of course, Waffle House. Wait, Waffle House?

Question: When do waffles and golf belong in the same sentence?  Answer: When it’s April at The Masters. Why?  Because alongside the golf hats, shirts, and commemorative this-and-that for purchase at the souvenir shop, you can buy a limited-edition pair of Adidas golf shoes for your long walk along the course.  The shoes will set you back $200 – a little pricier than most – but hey, they’re limited-edition.  You’ll be among the select few advertising Waffle House on their heels.

Before you think waffles and golf shoes are the most random “pairing” (ha) in the history of merchandising, remember; The Masters is in Georgia.  So is Waffle House.  Their headquarters is right down the road in Atlanta and they have over 400 restaurants across the Peach State (way more than any other state).  In other words, a pair of Waffle House Adidas at The Masters may earn as many thumbs-up as strange looks.

Speaking of strange, Adidas took the breakfast look of its limited-edition shoe to an extreme.  Besides the rear-facing logo, a square-after-square print runs along the side, in a muted tone meant to represent waffles and syrup.  Adidas calls it “batter-like colorway” (a phrase you’ll never hear again, ever).  Including syrup in the design and labeling it “batter-like” might be how Adidas keeps distance (and lawsuits) from competitor Nike, which famously created its first shoe using a waffle iron. Whatever. Shoes and waffles still make strange bedfellows.  I mean, look at the marketing photos spaced throughout this post.  Clever yes, but isn’t your first thought, “Get your dirty sneakers off my dining table!

[Props to Adidas, if you have buyer’s remorse with your breakfast kicks, at least you also get a shoebox looking exactly like a teeny, tiny Waffle House.]

I’m not on my soapbox to knock Waffle House; quite the opposite.  Any restaurant keeping the doors open sixty years after the very first plate deserves my respect.  So does a restaurant where waffles are the main event because I love waffles.  If they’re on the menu, I’ll order waffles whether at Waffle House, Belgian-style, or made-to-order at the finest champagne brunch.  I’ve even been known to eat an Eggo or two.  Ideally, top your grids with strawberries and Chantilly cream, with syrup on the side for dipping.  Heaven on earth.

I’ve only been to Waffle House twice in my life.  Was it a memorable experience?  NO.  Both times I perched on a backless stool at the counter.  Both times I sat next to characters I’d never, ever choose to dine with.  Finally, the Waffle House kitchen is right there in the wide-open so you can watch your breakfast being prepared.  Wouldn’t say it was the most sanitary process I ever saw.

Waffle House does have its charms, however.  The original menu had just sixteen items; today, well over a hundred.  Each location is open all-day-all-night, which has some customers believing Waffle House doors don’t lock.  Each location also has a jukebox, including favorites from the “Waffle Records” label (Ex. They’re Cooking Up My Order by Alfreda Gerald, released in 2006).  Finally, two percent of all restaurant eggs in America are cracked at Waffle House.  Two percent is rarely a big number but in this case, it’s got a lot of zeroes.

Waffle House did make a famous mistake once.  In the 1960s, the chain was approached by one S. Truett Cathy, looking for an outlet for his proprietary chicken sandwich.  The sandwich was added to the menu for a short time, but sales were so strong Waffle House worried its waffles would lose the spotlight.  So Cathy moved on, and of course, Chick-fil-A soon became an even more popular place to eat.

Note the Waffle House shoebox

To be fair, the Adidas shoe isn’t the first time waffles and golf crossed paths. In 1996, Kevin Costner starred as a down-on-his-luck golfer in Tin Cup, which included a memorable scene at a Waffle House just before the U.S. Open.  Somehow this worked better than waffle-golf shoes.

According to its website, Waffle House has 10 locations in my home state of Colorado versus 439 locations in Georgia.  Do the math.  If a hundred Georgians order two waffles a day in each of those restaurants, Waffle House is cooking up over 600,000 Peach State waffles every week. WHOA. Now there’s my excuse to go to The Masters!

Some content sourced from the ESPN.com article, “Waffle House and Adidas team up for waffle-themed golf shoes”, and Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia”.

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Lego Grand Piano – Update #12

(Read about how this project got started in Let’s Make Music!)

We’ll be “playing” the keyboard for the next few weeks. Bag #12 – of 21 bags of pieces – added another seven keys to the five I constructed last week, which puts us not quite halfway across the board.  I’m showing the complicated mechanical action in the photo because once the keys are installed it’ll be hard to see.  Notice how pressing the piano key down makes the rounded counterweight to the left go up.  The weight strikes the piano string above it (once inside the piano), and Voila! Music.

When you work on one of these Lego projects for almost ten hours you notice things. Little things. Today I realized, for the first time ever, Lego imprints its logo on every one of the thousands of raised “bumps” on its pieces (like the beige bumps just to the left of the black piano keys here).  A perfectionist would have all of those logos facing the same direction. Nope, not gonna happen; we’re on a one-way street here.

Running Build Time: 9.6 hours.  Musical accompaniment: Handel’s Water Music. Leftover pieces: 3

Conductor’s Note: Water Music is a collection of short pieces for a large orchestra.  Because Handel wrote the set of suites for King George I for a concert on the River Thames, Water Music is often performed outdoors.  Next to his choral work Messiah (“HA…lle-LU-jah!”), Water Music is Handel’s best-known composition.

24 thoughts on “Strange Bedfellows

  1. Hi Dave,
    I just learned more from Waffle House than I ever cared to know lol
    I am not a waffle person, and never been to the Waffle House, but I will keep an open mind if ever in one.
    The piano is looking amazing! I would be that person that goes back and makes sure that all the logos are facing the same direction lol.
    Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Research is part of what I enjoy about my blog topics. Now I’ll never look at a Waffle House the same way again. As for the piano, I’m glad I didn’t see the tiny logos until I got too far into the project. I would’ve doubled the build time just to be sure everything faced the same direction.

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  2. You might recall I wrote about Truett Cathy on my blog a few months back. (You commented, so I know you read it! : ) ) Even after researching his life over a number of web sites and articles, I did NOT come across that tidbit about his connection to Waffle House (although not for very long). Interesting! Also interesting: your progress on the piano! Those Lego designers are amazing. So many pieces! Such precision! Your skill at putting it together is also impressive. Can’t wait to hear your concert, Dave!

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  3. I thought about you when I read the bit of trivia on Cathy, Nancy! Didn’t want to take the spotlight off of Waffle House but felt the Chick-fil-A connection was worth mentioning. As for my future piano concert, I’m considering Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”. I’ll have nowhere near eighty-eight keys when I’m done but I think the melody will still “fit”.

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  4. I wonder how many shoes they will sell. I saw there is a no running rule at Augusta, so you have to speed walk to get a good spot. I haven’t won the lottery to go, but I’ll be watching all day long. My dad has been twice and he raves about how the beer was only $2 even though they could’ve easily charged $10 a cup. I’ll be rooting for Rory this weekend, he could use a green jacket.

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    1. I’m betting the shoes will sell out, Lyssy (but I’ll save my $200 for something better). As much as fans pay for the tickets they’re probably all over the merchandise too. Yes, watching a round or two in person is on my bucket list as well. I really just want to see Amen Corner, where the drama seems to unfold year after year. Rory McIlroy would be my choice as well (needs to complete that Grand Slam). Adam Scott is also one of the “good guys” and an endearing winner as the first Aussie a few years back. Wow, you’d think I’d back an American or two ha. Koepka maybe?

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      1. True – my dad bought me a flag 😂 I forgot I have to root for my fellow Spartan James Piot. I think only the practice rounds and par 3 allow cameras/phones unless they changed the policy. Would be so hard for me to see Amen Corner and not take pictures.

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  5. I’m not sure I’m seeing this right, but in one of those pictures it looks like they’re pouring syrup into one of the shoes. Not sure I’d want to wear filled with syrup or even eat a shoe covered in syrup. I must be missing something.

    and yeah, Lego has an insane level of attention to detail.

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  6. You’re seeing it right, Andrew. Their advertising people must’ve thought themselves clever but as I said, “strange bedfellows”. I prefer to eat my breakfast in slippers.

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  7. I’ve never been to a Waffle House, but boy do those pics of waffles look mouth watering. That’s some interesting advertising by Waffle House. In the downtown business district of Toronto, for many years, in the tunnel beneath Eaton’s Department Store, there was a vendor that set up shop and he sold hot waffle ice cream sandwiches. The smell of the hot waffles would waft through the tunnel and into the store. It was a thick slab of vanilla ice cream between two waffles and you had to hold them in your hand and they’d melt pretty quickly. You have to try that sometime Dave. My mom would make them with Eggos sometimes.

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  8. Waffles and ice cream are nostalgic to me, even though I’ve never tried them. They bring to mind old-school carnivals before the ice cream cone came into its own. You make them sound delicious, Linda, more of a dessert than a breakfast item. Eggos are a poor excuse for a waffle but credit to whoever invented them. Much quicker to make than the “real thing”.

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  9. I’ve eaten in a Waffle House once. I thought it was lousy, but I didn’t have waffles so my bad. I remember Tin Cup. I liked that movie, but don’t remember why I did. I watched about 5 minutes of The Masters then remembered why I don’t follow golf. Too slow for me.

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    1. Too slow for me too, Ally (and I’m a golf fan!) I turn on our TV in the living room and bedroom and then get a lot of stuff done around the house while occasionally glancing at the screens or just listening to the commentators. The winner of this year’s Masters had the victory locked up well before the finish, so the typically dramatic final holes never happened.

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  10. Me again – I read this article about one of the super tall skinny buildings overlooking Central Park you have possibly pointed out on my blog, and this article reminded me of something you’d write on your blog so I thought I’d share

    https://apple.news/A2bJ9gtJvSLq6YVCplThyBw

    Hopefully that link works, if not the article is from the guardian and titled
    The Coffee Stirrer: New York’s super-thin skyscraper is ready for residents – just don’t mention the swaying

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lyssy! This story hit my newsfeed and I gobbled up every word as soon as I saw it. Total coincidence; I shared the story with my son yesterday, who lived in NYC for two years after college graduation. He said the same sort of profile is beginning to appear in Austin. As a former architect, I just can’t reconcile the slender profile with the rest of the NYC skyline though. I’m sure it’s a structural engineering marvel but in my mind it feels like it could break in two ala the Titanic, with a good burst of wind (and surely it sways, as you say). Maybe the biggest ??? for me is: who and their millions buys these units? There’s a somewhat hidden world of “rich” out there and I’m not one of them. Just happy to be able to pay my mortgage ha. I appreciate the blog topic. I’d rather read a street-level tour from you as a local, pointing out this building and some of the other interesting ones in NYC (as you’ve done before).

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      1. We live on the 40th floor and on windy days our building creaks so loudly. It doesn’t feel like it ever moves, but the creaking is pretty freaky. It is crazy how people want to pay those millions of dollars. We like to watch expensive apartment tours on YouTube, and million dollar listing, so we’ve seen a few in those crazy thin buildings. Yesterday we wanted a house tour in Dallas that was $19 million and I was saying imagine having to pay for heat/electricity, and Jon said if you have to wonder the house isn’t for you ha! I’m sure that cost is pocket change for the uber rich. Seems like in big cities luxury buildings are getting a bit out of control!

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      2. The Dallas house tour reminds me of the Rodeo Drive shopping district in Beverly Hills, Lyssy. I grew up in a modest neighborhood nearby. Every now and then my friends and I would get up the nerve to walk into some of the Rodeo boutiques but we never understood why nothing had a price tag. It was years later we realized, as Jon says, if you wonder how much it costs on Rodeo, you shouldn’t be shopping there. Rodeo shoppers are probably the same people considering a purchase in the Coffee Stirrer.

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  11. Any piece on waffles will suck me right in. I think I may have been to a Waffle House exactly as many times as I’ve been to the Masters, or maybe just one more. So, either zero or one – so long ago I don’t really remember it.

    There are 16 locations in Indiana and I have now resolved to try one of them. If I skip buying the shoes, I can probably hit all 16 locations with the money I save!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of our two WH visits was because we were in search of breakfast on the Monday morning of a holiday weekend in Charleston… and so was everybody else in the city. Waffle House was the only place with less than an hour’s wait. We were pleasantly surprised with the food, given the modest setting and kitchen chaos (although maybe restaurant kitchens behind closed doors also look like this?). And waffles seem to be just what you’re looking for no matter where you get them. I like your plan to hit every Indiana WH location. Like the courthouses, you’d have a great topic for the blog.

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