This year for Christmas, Brenda got her standard Christmas present from her Grandmother: an Applebee's gift certificate. Back in New Jersey, we'd hit Applebee's once every couple weeks, since there was one down the road from us, and it was the lesser of several evils. Living in Middlesex County, NJ, we were within miles of basically all the chain restaurants in the universe, including TGI Friday's, a place where on one particularly sad summer afternoon Brenda was lamenting the lack of healthy menu choices and the waiter said "if you were looking for healthy, you shouldn't have come here".

Flash forward to winter, Boulder, CO. Here, surrounded by olympians and health fanatics, we have organic restaurants and the like. But corporate america being what it is (a slimy, pompous conglomerate always looking to make a buck), they still have set up outposts here in Boulder for their way of life. And so there is a Boulder Applebee's. And here's the thing: tonight, we went to cash in the gift card, and walked into the sleepiest Applebee's in the nation.

It was painfully obvious that the Boulder Applebee's does not sell anywhere near as many king-sized chicken-fried buffalo riblet platters as they do at the one down the street from our old place in Jersey, and Brenda & I took one look around and laughed.

I of course got a burger with bacon and cheese and fries, and probably made the cook's day, but it was funny seeing the empty dining room, in stark contrast to what I'm quite certain is a packed house at the Applebee's (and TGI Friday's, and Fuddruckers, et al.) tonight back in Joisey.