A Very Special Update!

Hello Very Special Readers!

I know I’ve been sporadically posting for the last few years. The truth is, I just cannot stand the way WordPress is setup now.

Oh how I long for the days of that old school “classic editor”! I can’t tell you how many times I accidentally deleted shit when writing last year’s Summer of Swayze and I kinda just didn’t want to finish it because the formatting process was so cumbersome and unfulfilling. And I don’t feel good about how many projects I’ve deprioritized because it takes too long to make them work on here.

That’s why I’m going to move on over to Substack. I hope you’ll join me! You can either read “The Very Special Blog” directly on Substack or subscribe to receive my newsletter directly to your email. It’s real easy, just head to: https://theveryspecialblog.substack.com/

I’m starting a new series this summer where I will be covering the “Malibu Sands” episodes of Saved by the Bell. In addition to my hot takes on Jesse Spano’s perfect beach waves, you’ll also be receiving a cool homemade ice cream recipe with each episode. (I couldn’t even crack an egg when I started this blog, so if I can make ice cream, then you can too!! As an added bonus my recipes do not require an ice cream machine.)

I’m keeping this blog active because there’s almost eight years worth of content on here! And I’m not ruling out posting on here in the future…but I think it’s time for something new.

Cupcake Wars: Hanson

535a6c6b2f220790c96812e05ff7d331I know, I know I said I didn’t have time to post. But when you hear that Hanson is scheduling a 25th anniversary tour (coming soon to a city near you!) and you may finally have the opportunity to hear your favorite song of all time played live, you have to RE-PRIORITIZE. Plus, I’ve seen this episode before so it shouldn’t take long. Back in 2013, Hanson stopped by Cupcake Wars to promote their album “Anthem.”

Round 1:
The Challenge – Oklahoma (BBQ Pork, Fried Squash, Sausage Gravy, etc. The teams have to use three ingredients to make a cupcake reminiscent of Hanson’s home state. It sounds pretty disgusting).
Cupcake 1 – Brown Sugar Corn Cake, Graham Cracker Crust Strawberry Filled, Black-Eyed Pea Cream Cheese Icing, and Fresh Strawberry Garnish.
Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 10.05.30 PM
Taylor said, “I think you took the challenge and actually wove it into a whole flavorful cupcake that I would actually want to serve to someone. I can see this at the after party to launch the tour.”
Cupcake 2 – Sweet Corn and BBQ Pulled Pork Cupcake, With Brown Butter Strawberry Cooley, honey butter cream, and fondant corn on the cob.
Isaac said “the flavors were impressive and the frosting was really good.”
Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 10.02.48 PM

Cupcake 3 – Sweet Corn Cupcake filled with Strawberry Braised BBQ Pulled Pork, topped with Strawberry Italian Butter Cream, and garnished with fresh strawberries.
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Zac said, “This cornbread felt like an Oklahoma meal to me. Oklahoma’s kind of Southern food, barbecue, cornbread, and so the butter cream to me tasted like the way people put butter on their cornbread.
Cupcake 4 – Cornmeal & Grit Cupcake, Filled with Strawberry Glazed BBQ Pork, Strawberry Frosting, and Garnished with Strawberry on top.
Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 10.00.48 PM
Taylor said, “It was great to have the barbecue in there. I thought that was really creative.”
(Sadly, this was the losing cupcake. Sorry, cupcake.)

Just in case any of this sounded at all appetizing to you, here are some recipes from the episode!

Round 2:
The Challenge – Make 3 cupcakes of your own choosing and make them look pretty (50% taste, 50% presentation).
Cupcake Set 1 – Boston Cream Pie, Apple Pie Cheesecake, Citrus Beer
Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 10.14.04 PM
Taylor said, “I think there’s a lot of creativity, but it doesn’t particularly represent this album. It looks a little bit more like a country band. I’m not sure you nailed it.”
Cupcake Set 2 
PB&J, Coffee Liquor and White Chocolate Ganache, Chocolate Stout Beer
Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 10.16.59 PM
Isaac said, “I didn’t love them.” (Spoiler alert, this team lost.)
Cupcake Set 3 
Sweet Potato Pie with Blueberry filling, Raspberry Cake, Creme Brulee
Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 10.19.08 PM
Zac said, “This is like the worldwide smash hit. The flavors are great. And I think you did a great job.”

Round 3:
The Challenge – The 1000 Cupcake Display!
Display 1 – A guitar on a stand with a spinning record that shows the name of their record in lights.
Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 10.28.11 PM
Display 2 – A Hanson stage with a drum kit, piano, and electric guitar sitting on the stage. The name of the album will be above the stage, big, and in red. (THIS ONE WON!)

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 10.29.07 PM

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Inside The Max

Dear Very Special Readers, I have good news and bad news. The good news is I took a crap ton of photos of “Saved By the Max” for you. The bad news is my camera flash wasn’t on. All night, I couldn’t figure out why the photos sucked. I even blamed The Max for having poor lighting, shame on me! It’s not you, The Max, it’s me.

Since they’ve extended their run through December, I’ll post new photos if I ever visit again. And I do promise to double check that my flash is on if I make it to the Rue La Rue Cafe. But for now, this is all I have to give:

I tried to document everything, but there was one section that I failed to snap a photo of entirely. It was a little random “nook” that was setup to look like Mr. Belding’s office. It wasn’t big enough to be a set in and of itself, so it just seemed kind of random. I would have taken a picture, but I felt like the three people sitting at the table there wouldn’t have appreciated that.

The food was top notch, but our reservation was so late that I mostly just nibbled on a little bit of each of my 3 courses. This was all while shifting around in my seat and snapping pictures. (They ask you not to stand up and take photos until you’re done with your meal.) But the best part was the waitstaff. They were super friendly even though they were probably listening to the same 90 minute loop of early 90’s hits and songs by Zack Attack all night long.

On a more critical note, the aesthetic was a little confusing. The level of detail in Kelly’s locker, for example, was wonderful (anachronisms aside). However, the juke box was so thinly painted that you could see the wood beneath it. I know it’s a set (I remembered that the hard way when I shut the bathroom stall door too hard and the whole stall rattled). However, it would have been easier to dive into the fantasy if everything had been on the same level. Take for example that shiny, inviting vinyl on the booth. It was so comfy to sit in. But then there’s the juke box without even a gloss coat of paint and a bunch of blank song cards. I must admit that I built props in college so I probably care more than the average person, but it was distracting nonetheless.

And ordinarily, I don’t get political over here, but this is a pop up diner in which they literally built the rooms from scratch–yet there was no gender neutral bathroom. There was the girls room with a pink door and a group photo of the female members of the cast on the outside and the corresponding blue/group photo for the boys room. With everything happening in the world and the fact that this was built by design, recently, I couldn’t help but notice that choice.




Inside Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar

UntitledLast month, I went to Disney World for Christmas. It was a bittersweet trip for me because they’re gutting my favorite park (Hollywood Studios) and turning it into Star Wars land. I like Star Wars, but I love the “Golden Age of Hollywood” and I especially liked having someone teach me how to draw Disney characters all day long.

But we did venture over to Downtown Disney, which is now called “Disney Springs,” so that we could check out Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar. If you’re a fan of Raiders of the Lost Ark, you’ll recognize Jock Lindsey as Indiana Jones’s pilot buddy. Since it was Disney, I figured they would make the bar pretty detailed and full of atmosphere, but this thing was so amazingly detailed that it made the whole freaking trip for me.

IMG_2090We sent our waitress away like three times, while I poured over the menu. It’s setup like a scrapbook, so I had a lot to look at. Tons of tasty drinks and quick eats, which were also delicious. (I think we ordered at least a third of what was on the menu.) This place is decorated from head to toe in “memorabilia” that’s collected in the Hangar Bar over the years. Think of it as a museum for things that Indiana Jones couldn’t actually consider museum-worthy.

And lucky for you I documented everything! But you should really go on your own and experience it yourself if you are able. It’s definitely something any Indiana Jones fan should experience! I’m just dying for them to open up Club Obi Wan and then I’ll probably move to Orlando. Check out the photo album below for more photos from our trip. And if you do get to check this out for yourself, might I suggest snacking on the “Good Dates.”

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