Putah Creek Cafe in Winters, CA

The food itself is good, SOMEtimes…  We’ve been here a couple of times and the first time the tomatoes on my burger were farm fresh!  The burger itself was tasty.  My daughter had the chicken fried steak and eggs meal and the potatos were fresh and the meat was fork tender.  We decided to come back and it was never the same.  I saw fresh squeezed orange juice in the mimosa so I had them bring me some (without the mimosa part) and I can see WHY they need the mimosa part.  This so called fresh squeezed tastes like minute maid or some other box from concentrate OJ.  Sooo disappointed!

The burgers are still OK but I guess we were there like right after farmer’s market day or something because that first time everything was fresh tasting!  The times after that, not even close.  So the food is, I guess, a hit or miss at this place.
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But the service, oh my god, the service is HORRIBLE at this place.  The staff kind of forget about you and even to pay is a nightmare.  I could have walked out in the half an hour it took to stand in line to pay only to have some old BAT come in at the last second, CUT IN LINE, and pay her bill.  I said to the staff, I was here before her but do you think they cared? Nope.  Not about the line behind me or anything, they just said, give me a moment and took the bat’s money.  Ask me if I gave them a tip? Go ahead…

That’s right a BIG FAT ZERO is what they got. I should have been nice though… put on their receipt under tip: “Please pay attention to the people who eat at your place!”  I don’t feel bad for the zero tip. Not ONE bit. No one worked even slightly hard for their tip.  In fact, it must be so expected they don’t do anything at all and get paid to bring your food out to you and then YOU have to get up, stand in line to pay the bill.  This isn’t fast food, people!!

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I expect to be told the wait is blah, get seated, get my water, and then about 5-10 mins not a half hour (!) to get someone to get my order.  I think this is why the wait times are so long, because like I said, the staff forgets about you.  Now, it could be a serious understaffing problem but I don’t know, I did see plenty of bodies around but who knows, maybe they were all dishwashers.  In any case, I don’t see myself coming back.  Winters looks like a nice little town but yeah, we’ll probably find another place to stop by on the way to Berryessa.  Oh well… Like Alton said:

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Life sure is funny… Child Support intricacies.

Yup, life is definitely funny… Today I had to work on a case about a man who ran off to El Salvador instead of paying child support. It’s a bit ironic since I was just talking to my brother about my donor who kinda did the same thing. Of course, he was told that no, the donor paid child support and never skipped out.  I’m sure my brother got the lines fed to him and as a child, how would he know any better?  Who wants to think of their dad as a deadbeat?  I get it because it’s not a good word but how else do you describe someone who ran off and never looked back?  As a grown up, how can you see facts and still deny them?

My brother said, of course dad (his dad, not mine) paid, otherwise he’d be in jail!  Clearly that never happened  so he must have paid, right?!  Well no.  The man ran off to another country.  We have no jurisdiction there for one and for two while some deadbeats DO go to jail, the majority get away with murder, in a sense.  Why?  Because we rather give them the chance than throw them in jail where they have no chance.  But don’t run our patience to the ground.  There ARE those that go to jail.  The donor was lucky he didn’t get arrested on the spot when he came back into the country.  He’s very lucky that a lot of things that should have happened, didn’t.  But if he were a man he’d step up and say yeah, I screwed up but I’m here to own up to my responsibilities.  Here’s copies of the payments I made.

I have deadbeats who turned human in my office.  People who stopped running and owned up to their mistakes.  Some just want to start over and I love helping those people.  See, to me, you’re not a deadbeat if you’re trying.  But if you don’t even try, what am I supposed to do with you?  If you’re constantly running, what am I supposed to do with that?

Now see, back to the money issue.  The donor claims he has paid child support for all those years.  I don’t know how many but it probably wasn’t for 10+ years.  I know of two month’s worth, nothing more.  The sad thing is, it was only $50 a month for TWO children.  See, he was hiding back then too.  He had income but he told the judge he had none so he got set at a very low amount.  That much is also on record, that he told the judge he had no income but considering he was the only one working and couldn’t get on social services, he HAD income because they weren’t homeless.  He had an Audi which isn’t a cheap car, gas for said car, an apartment and presumably food on the table for him, his wife, and my brother.  How can a man afford such things without an income?  I guess it’s magic.

 
Growing up we didn’t have a lot of money so I doubt that $50 ever came in but who knows, maybe it did but somehow it magically came from El Salvador too I guess because he ran off and remained for many years.  No contact, no hey are you OK? Nothing.   But of course, he says that was my other donor’s doing. She didn’t let him see us.  Right… except when we turned 18 what was your excuse then?  See, the man has a lot of excuses and very poor action so forgive me if I don’t give him the benefit of the doubt too often.  I tried.  For MANY years I tried and all I got were a bunch of excuses with nothing to back things up.
 
Now the donor’s back in the country and well, I’m sure his debt is quite high but of course he can’t “pay” now he’s old and decrepit and blah blah blah. I hear the stories every day. It’s fine. Karma or God or whoever will take care of that guy, same as the other guy who ran off to El Salvador.  I seriously doubt he will step up to the plate now.  I seriously doubt he even cares to make things right.  He’s too caught up in people feeling sorry for him that he can just skirt by and people forgive him because he’s sick or feeble or whatever.  My life was harsh, very harsh, growing up so I have no sympathy for him.  I don’t swallow his lies nor do I care that he’s supposedly sick.  He’s not sick enough to travel all over, is he?  He wasn’t sick enough to work in El Salvador was he?  But to pay child support?  No, no, much too sick for that.  Yeah OK, sure.
 
Super long story short? A man who skips out on responsibility is NOT a man and never a father. Doesn’t matter if he was a “good” father to the other children. When your first born children become third class citizens, you’re not a father. You’re a SAD excuse for a man.  I cannot and will not respect that. I have enough BS at work to even start with that.
But it’s ironic, like I said, that I work where I work and in the department that I work. I didn’t pick it. Life just sent me that way for a reason. Perhaps to dig up the truth or to find out that not all guys are bad. To see both sides of a very convoluted and often sad sides of the coin where children are the ones who suffer because people just can’t get along.  I can understand hating your ex or at least strongly disliking them but don’t let the children pay the price because you chose the wrong person!  And that’s often what happens.  Children are the ones who pay the price for the stupid decisions so called grown ups make.
But all isn’t lost.  I do see the good ones and the ones who are trying. They collect cans and do whatever jobs to pay their support, however little they can for THEIR children. They get up when they’re tired, keep going even though they can’t or shouldn’t, they do whatever they can. THOSE are the real men.  THOSE are the fathers. But the fools who can’t even pay a dollar a month for their kids?  Those are not even human.  How can  they eat something and not pay ONE DOLLAR to their kids?  Ridiculous!!  Oh yes, I have a bunch out there who’s support order is that little.  Some are low enough that you can’t even buy a fast food meal with what they’re supposed to pay a month.  But do they?  Nope.
There are some support orders which are crazy, in my opinion, but I don’t make the rules, judges and courts do.  I just have to follow what they say.  So if there’s a support order out there and it needs to change, I know it’s a hassle to do the court stuff, but help yourselves and get help if you need it.  If your job is taking half your check and you’re still not paying the full support order, something is not right, you need help.  If your employer is taking more than half, something’s really wrong!  Call your agency to get that sorted.
Now I know I’ve been talking about men but I want to note that it isn’t just men who are deadbeats.  I have women deadbeats too.  Women who dump their kids on aging grandmothers and grandfathers.  Women who get knocked up and add to the burden.  Women who went to get something from somewhere and never came back.  As a mother I can’t even comprehend the level of, whatever it is, that’s going on.  You had LIFE inside you.  You felt the kicks and wiggles. But you just walked away?  I know parenting is hard.  I was a single parent myself but to just walk away?  Makes no sense!
What makes even WORSE sense is the women who’s men are TRYING desperately to connect with their children and the women say no you can’t because you don’t pay (enough) support, because you didn’t buy the right shoes, because you didn’t let the child eat (insert item.)  So many children out there are struggling and these women have the golden tickets but they say no.  It’s crazy!  Again, I say, it’s the children who pay the price.

Now I’m sure my donor will say that my other donor did this to him.  But since the dude ran off to El Salvador and never looked back, well, that story just doesn’t fly, does it?  Plus he had time to call me when my child was born, why didn’t he connect then?  Instead he got himself back on the pity bus and ran off again.   I tried to give him sooo many opportunities and well, my patience ran thin and now it’s gone.   I don’t need anyone like that in my life.  You go be the happy sack of whatever it is you are and leave me alone.  I know enough now to kind of figure out who’s a deadbeat and who isn’t.
And that was a hard lesson to learn too.  You hear the word deadbeat and these poor guys, they get called that, even the ones that are trying and there’s such stigma!  My job is to help those that are trying to figure something out.  And I do help.  I help those that reach out to me and ask for it.  I sometimes call and they sound so ashamed but are hopeless.  Some are so high in arrears that it makes my head spin and some feel they can never get out. But there is always hope and there are ways to help.
Although some probably think they can’t because they keep making bad decisions with a lot of women.  Same with the women who keep getting pregnant then dumping their kids or keep struggling with their kids, keep getting pregnant, and have several different fathers, sometimes as much as one kid, one father, 6 kids, 6 fathers, well you get the idea.  I would think these people would learn and stop but well, that’s another blog post.  Who knows what’s going on there.  Men and women both make bad decisions in my world.
I think it’s always a good idea to ask and get the facts.  Don’t run away, that just make things worse.  Don’t throw out your court papers or summons, that usually ends in disaster.  And for goodness sakes, think of the children you helped come to this crazy world.  Don’t make it worse for them because you and/or your ex are being idiots.  If you messed up before that’s OK, it happens, but don’t keep running away from your responsibilities.   One day, one of your kids might write a blog piece like this.  What would like them to say about you?  Wouldn’t it be better if they wrote, hey, at least they tried vs. nope, they were deadbeats through and through.  My donor doesn’t seem to care.  Don’t be one of those people.  Be human and be a grown up.  The truth is, I rather have had the time with the donor than the money.  But I got a raw deal and so do other children out there.  We are the voices that no one’s heard before.  I hope I have given them a voice now.
I’ll leave you with one last piece, one last story, if you will.  I had a guy call me and saying he’s not a deadbeat but he thought our office thought of him that way because he couldn’t pay his full support.  He took his child half of the week, every week, sometimes all week.  I said to him, sir, you’re not a deadbeat.  The fact that you take your child and that on top of that you try what you can to pay the support means you’re not a deadbeat.  Let’s see what we can do to help with the support amount.  I sent his case to be reviewed.  His original court order said he did no visitation and clearly that wasn’t the case now.  So you see?  People do change.  A man can go from deadbeat to human.  It happens in our office and it happens everywhere.  Men and women stand up for their kids.  Be that guy or that girl.  Make this nation of ours great by contributing to the upbringing of your kids.  Those are the stories that keep me going.  Those are the stories that make me think that the deadbeats can go human.  Even my donor, if he tried.  I think that ship is sailed but well, a girl can always have hope, right?  One day after 40 years a deadbeat can go human.   Hey, stranger things have happened, right?  You just never know.  And maybe someone out there will read this and turn human too.  I can always hope, for the sake of the children, that it happens. I always keep that in mind.  It’s about the children.  Let me be their voice and help these grown ups come to an agreement so the children can be better off.  I can’t do custody fights, that’s for the free family law facilitators, which I can send/give you information for but I can help when someone’s trying and struggling.  Those are the ones that make my job easier and most prideful.  I give my hats and my cheers to those people.  They surely deserve it!

Burger King, whyyy?! Your 5 for 4 sucks!

So… lately there’s been a lot of chatter in the fast food industry about your mini deals or great bang for your buck yeah yeah yeah’s…  McD’s has their 2 for 2 which here in Cali translates to 2 for 2.50 those jerks…! Wendy’s had their 4 for 4 and so I guess BK decided ey, we want to do something too!  AND SOOO… their deal comes in…5 for 4 and this is what comes in it:

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But of course we all know this is plastic food… the real deal looks NOTHING like this…  In fact, mine was so sad the bacon looked like it was done six days ago and was pleading for it’s life!  It was burnt but not cooked well, how the heck does that happen!?

Anyway the burger itself was sad because the meat was tiny and I guess they left it in too long because it was leathery and tough, and the chicken nuggets were sorta burned…the fries are not the best (but that’s nothing new, I don’t really eat fries so they get a pass, I guess) and lastly the cookie… a flavourless round thing with something that resembles chocolate.  I’m not a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies as it is, but I’ve been known to much on a few Ms. Fields and even the chewy chips ahoys which you know, are kind of little disks of god knows what plastic cookies…  Even they’re tastier than the BK ones…

I’ll make this blog short because honestly, there isn’t much to say about it.  I have no idea what went wrong but this is THE WORST $4 (plus tax) I’ve ever spent.  Maybe it was that branch or maybe BK never had good baby burgers and nuggets…  I think I’ll stick to their Whoppers.  When it comes down to fast food burgers I still prefer them over others.  Unless you fancy Habit Burger which to me isn’t really fast food, but man, they’re the best!  I should write you a blog about that so stay tune!  Thanks for reading.

Oh Rubio’s, I was sooo hoping you were good!

I yelp-ed about this already but I can give you a longer story here.

Our day began with wondering where to go for lunch.  We ended up at Rubios in Vallejo because I had never been there and my lunchmate said it was good and kinda healthy.

My first impression is, OK, nowhere to sit but outside in the 400 degree weather…but whatever, we were already here.  The line wasn’t that long, we were like the first ones there.  I think there was only two other people before us.  The menu was odd…lots of fish taco type stuff…but I found nachos and figured that was safe.  I ordered steak nachos…I found the sticker price obnoxious but we were already there so here goes the yelp review, see my comments after:

If I could, I’d give this place negative 5 stars!  Where else can you find 9 dollar steak nachos with barely ANY meat that take 30 plus minutes to make?!  HERE!!!!!!!  That’s where.

When I inquired about the long wait, the manager said “They’re supposed to cook the orders as they come.” To which I said, “Then why did you give that guy and that lady their orders when they came after I was sitting down waiting?”  The lady also ordered steak nachos… suspicious?  Maybe…

My friend says the last time she was there they forgot her order and refunded her money and apologised profusely.

This “lovely” manager didn’t even apologise and was in fact, irritated and walking away when my lunch mate said “You’re just going to walk away and not do anything?”  He came back doubly irritated and said “What would you like me to do for her?!”  She said “Refund her money or something.”

At this point, Mr. irritated pulled out this HUGE wad of comp cards and handed me one without saying a word and walked away.  I was like wow…  Guess what buddy, you’re going on my blog!  And here I am writing in Yelp.   My blog is over on wordpress under cnith’s thoughts and I am going to blog there about this too, so it wasn’t an empty threat.  Not that he woudl have heard me had I said it anyway since in three sprints he was back in the counter looking clueless.

I’m never going back there again!  Did I mention about 6 people, INCLUDING my lunch mate had to inquire about their food in order to get it?  Yeah, this place is disorganised! NEVER go there unless you want frustration with your meal or have six hours to wait for your food!

Now you might say, OK well they were busy, come on now…  But honestly, this isn’t some fancy restaurant, it’s a step up from FAST FOOD.  My lunchmate’s food took like ten minutes less and all she had was TACOS.  Tell me in what world do tacos take 20 minutes to make when it’s just tortillas and meat?!  Apparently, at the Rubio’s world, this is normal.  But WHY!?

And why does a man pull out a huge wad of comp cards if this was a simple oops?  No.  Obviously it happens ALL THE TIME so he needs a huge wad so he doesn’t run out!  That’s just crazy, you know?   I’d be ashamed to have to give one of those out but no, he handed it like it was nothing, albeit with annoyance that he had to pull out his wad again.

How about you guys just fix your issue.  First order comes in first one to come OUT.  It’s simple math and logic, what the heck!?

Red Robin’s at Vacaville across from BJ’s

HUGE hype over the burgers which are way overpriced!  For 11 bucks I expect the damn burger to melt itself in your mouth.  This one was more or less a fatter mcd’s patty.  Yeah no, no way.

Something’s wrong if you think this looks better than what you got at Red Robins…

Do yourself a favour and go to BJ’s for a burger.  Bigger, better, and cheaper!  I’ll write a review on BJ’s later.  They’re no saints but at least their burger is better.

The service here is OK and I like their little gadget of “calling your server” via an ipad on a stand looking thing but they ignore the blaring red light so what’s the point?  They probably see it all the time and know to ignore it…?  I have no idea.  Either way we waited a while before she “saw” the light and came over.  Honestly though, any good waitress knows to come over REGARDLESS of the light.  And it’s not like they were super busy and only one girl, they were normal and had, what looked like, normal staff.

In any case, it is the last time I’m going there.  If I wanted a watered down drink and overpriced burger because hell, I just won the lotto, I’ll go here again… but yeah, no… you’ll find me somewhere else eating a burger…and I’ll make my own watered down drink, thank you!  Save myself the 7 bucks for said drink too!  Not like I expect top shelf for 7 bucks but come on, a splash of rum in a mai tai (their specialty drink, even!) is NOT what I call an alcoholic drink by any stretch of the word.  I’m a light weight.  I should have been buzzed but I wasn’t even phased.  Hubs had an AMF and I think they gave him blue juice with a splash of something that resembled alcohol in some former life…


So like I said, save yourself the trouble.  Go somewhere else.  Unless you like paying high prices for low quality, then, in that case, how odd for you, but then yeah, go here!  But I’ll be wondering what happened to make you like this sort of thing…