Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Oatmeal #10: Protein Bar

Ehhh, I'm behind again.* Whatever.

*Google image search for "behind" resulted in this. Definitely not what I expected. I mean, yeah, I liked the book as much as the next person, but...ok. Never mind. I stopped trying to understand the rogue ways of the internet months ago. You win, internet.

Let it be known that I ate this oatmeal six weeks ago, and I seem to have misplaced my notes. So, basically, everything that follows is either 100% true or pure conjecture. I leave it to you, the astute reader, to determine which is which. Hey, I never promised that reading this blog would be easy. But one thing I can assure you (prepare to be ravaged by jealousy): this nonsense was gross, yo. An abomination akin only to The Real Housewives of Everywhere, Ever, Except Places Where People Are Actually Housewives. Let the bloodbath begin. (Obviously, I have decided not to build suspense throughout this post. I fully expect a last place finish here.)

The stage for this culinary cataclysm was Protein Bar, aka The Most Stupidly-Named Restaurant Ever. Yeah, sure, there are probably worse ones, but I like to talk in superlatives, ok? And their website has terrible formatting. (I mean, come on, making a website with horizontal scrolling is like...a car with no steering wheel. Kind of a Step 1 sort of thing.) They are at Fail Level 2 (Code Mauve) before I even walk in the door. Anyway, I guess the idea behind Protein Bar is to provide a chance for healthy, organic, protein-rich foods that allow for vegetarian and vegan options. Their menu has a lot of shakes, wraps, salads, etc., as well as to-go items like Greek yogurt (yum). In theory, it seems good, and a lot of stuff on the menu does seem potentially delicious. But (I recently turned 25 and am therefore now qualified to give advice) sometimes...sometimes things fail. Sometimes things that are wonderful on paper (oatmeal) can be brutally destroyed when entrusted to the wrong hands (this place). It is an important life lesson. (The parallels between this comic and this oatmeal visit are not accidental.)
  • Price: Zillions!! Not really, but it felt like it. I am pretty sure the oatmeal was $5.95 (WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE??), and then I got a medium coffee, which brought the total to somewhere around $8. (USURERS, THAT'S WHO!!) (Obviously, this is an area of the blog where not misplacing my notes would've been helpful.) I understand that specialty stores have to be more expensive or whatever (it's a status thing, like claiming to love documentaries), but come on. I don't know how they expect to be competitive when their oatmeal is well over twice the price of anyone else's, the serving size isn't anything amazing, AND it is BAD. Blech. I seriously considered giving no points, but I have to leave open the opportunity for them to raise their prices. (1)
  • Size: Herm...normal? You can see CM's dainty hand in the picture and use that as a comparison. For whatever reason, though CM seemed to get more than me. I blame my curly hair. It alarms people and makes them distrustful. And there was only one size. Threat level: Maroon. (3)
  • Toppings: There are three oatmeals on the menu, or you can build your own. I opted for "On El of An Oatmeal" (how dare they almost make me curse), which includes chocolate protein, milk, low calorie brown sugar (not sure how that is possible), cinnamon, and then a fresh fruit choice--bananas, in this case. While the three choices originally seemed to offer a lot of variety, closely reading the menu revealed that they are basically the same, just alternating between chocolate and vanilla protein and then cinnamon or maple syrup. The build your own is, in theory a great idea, and they have lots of fruit and milk choices (regular, skim, soy, almond, etc.). I think that is what CM did, and she had peanut butter and blueberries, along with potentially something else (Notes, again=handy.), and it seemed better. But since that wasn't my oatmeal, it is irrelevant. I don't know if it was the chocolate protein or the "low calorie" brown sugar, but something tasted like an artificial sweetener, which I HATE. About the only thing they didn't mess up was the banana (though, according to the picture, they only gave me half), which, retrospectively, was kind of a miracle. Grim conclusion: I paid $6 for half of a banana. (3)
  • Texture/Appearance: This was its best feature. Which I guess is like saying Saddam Hussein had really nice bicuspids or something. They use steel-cut oats, which I prefer, and it looks like pretty standard oatmeal. But it was kind of dry. Some more milk/less protein powder would've been appreciated. But CM's looks really good, with the peanut butter and blueberries. (4)
  • Temperature: I think this is the first time in the post-Jurassic period that someone got brain freeze from oatmeal. (Probably the first time in any era, come to think of it, because I bet the Tyrannosaurus Rex didn't eat oatmeal. Which is probably why it is extinct now. Poor decision. They probably all died of heart attacks. Who's the "tyrant lizard" NOW?) I know I complain about temperature a lot, but usually when I give something a poor score, it's at least lukewarm. This was BELOW lukewarm. It was flat-out cold. I just...don't understand. They took it out of the cauldron and handed it to me! (OK, probably was just a normal pot, but that would be boring. And nothing like Harry Potter.) And I sat right down in the restaurant and started eating it immediately! At what point could all the supposed heat vanish? Osmosis does NOT happen that quickly. Terrible. (A Google search for "cold oatmeal" disappointingly didn't result in hundreds of pictures of people puking/dying/throwing their food. So don't waste your time.) Threat level: Satan. (1, only because it could've been an oatmeal popsicle, in theory.)
  • Taste: Anytime someone takes a bite of their food and goes "It's so baaaaaaaad" like CM did, it's generally a poor sign. (I kind of wish someone had run up to me with their hands in the air shouting "NO" before I had eaten this. It would've saved me some trouble.) At some point, you have to wonder why I kept eating, because I think I finished at least half. It wasn't because I kept expecting the next bite to change my mind. ("You know, it's not half bad if you try really, really hard to think about something else while your eating. Or hold your nose.") Partly it was because I had to go to work, and I get unreasonably and unpleasantly grouchy if I don't eat breakfast. (Google image search for unreasonably grouchy resulted in this. I guess you'd be grouchy if you had to wear those all day.) But honestly, it was mostly so I could get angry about how much it sucked. I don't get the opportunity to be disgruntled (legitimately or otherwise) that often, and I frankly like to relish the moment. If you haven't realized it yet, it didn't taste very good. Threat level: Nosferatu. (2)
  • Calories: I will stab them.
  • Intangibles: I was wearing a really cute dress. And they were rocking some good tunes** in this joint, not that you hear them over the anguished screams of people who just tasted their food. The atmosphere was good. Very hip. (Just like me. Obvs.) And CM and JM made for good company, as always. I was really excited initially because they serve Intelligentsia coffee, i.e. the best stuff ever. HOWEVER, they managed to besmirch even THAT by putting artificial sweetener (a.k.a. Death) in against my wishes. Threat level: Edward Cullen. (0, a generous assessment, I think.)
**In defense of Protein Bar, this "song" was not actually playing, though I kind of wish it were. But allow me to say 1) Five dollars to the person who can explain to me what on earth this is.*** 2) This video gets exponentially funnier each time i watch it, which, I assure you, has been several times. 3) I love how it just says "no description available." I am sure this is the YouTube default when one isn't entered, but I prefer to think of it as them admitting "We aren't even going to try to classify this." 4) Me. You. Karaoke. This song. This weekend. Those arm movements. We can even practice lip-syncing that badly.

***Never mind. Scroll down. It's actually kind of funny. And yes, this is a footnote of a footnote.

TOTAL: 1+3+3+4+1+2+0=14

It reminds me of a conversation I had senior year of college with my then-roommate MG.

Me: Last year on my birthday, I wrote a paper about British soap operas.
MG: Mmmmm.....
Me: Do you want to read it?
MG: Almost.

It's so bad, you kind of want to try it. Almost.

Anyway, I'm a nerd. I'll let you decide if that clip is awesome. But the answer is "yes."


  1. Sooooo.... LOVED it! I had almost forgotten about your British soap opera paper. Too bad I now want to read it, since I'm sure we'd have a laugh over it! : )

    Keep writing, Sloops,
    <3 MG

  2. Too funny. I loved the varying degrees of Threat Levels.

    I kept expecting that guy to start singing actual words... but it never happened... Also, I concur. The Bronte video is awesome.

  3. This place rocks! Even much better than Freshii (esp. Monroe with that stupid management not professional and experienced enough). But the winner it is Randolph Location, with the freak (owner) directing the orchestra (He doesn't know what he's doing there) such an idiot.