By now you've dug out from under the mounds of wrapping paper and leftovers generated over the last few days and are almost ready to return to work so that you can start paying the minimum payments on your credit cards. Sure, Christmas is wonderful, especially for kids, but the holiday letdown is even more painful than the hangover you're going to wake up with in a few days. That's why it's time to slowly re-enter mundane life.
Do what we did and head to the nearest T.G.I. Friday's -- in our case, the new location at Northfield (8104 East 49th Avenue). This chain was started by two guys who'd already filled their garages to overflowing with posters of Farrah Fawcett and Morgan Fairchild and needed a place to put all the street signs they'd stolen from construction sites when they were out drinking together. And if they didn't get rid of those damn Sousaphones, their wives were going to leave them. So they bought a building and started moving in all their junk. To help with the moving process, they installed kegerators in the new space. Smelling beer, passersby would drop in, and the guys would pour them a glass. Then they started offering snacks to their visitors. And thus the Friday's conglomerate grew.
I'm not ashamed to admit it: I like Friday's. This place has exactly what you want for dinner but are too lazy to make. The fried mac-and-cheese balls are only slightly more unhealthy for you than crystal meth; in fact, they demonstrate the only known way to make meth more dangerous: fry it. Friday's also has a nice happy hour with a key feature -- oversized beer glasses. And for entertainment, there's no shortage of TVs.
But the real entertainment is looking at all the detritus on display. This Northfield outpost has some dandies. I saw a picture of Adam Ant and immediately wondered what people do if they don't drink or smoke. I saw Leif Garrett and puzzled over how the hell he got so popular in the first place. Max Headroom made me want to punch him in the face, and Spud -- that dog from the old Bud Light (motto: only slightly worse-tasting than Drano) commercials -- loomed overhead, causing concern that he might have marked his territory in the bar. The highlight was the photo of Lynda Carter near the bathroom. I remember watching Wonder Woman with my dad when I was a kid; I never knew why my mom got pissed when he called her "Wonder Bosoms." Truth in advertising is all it was.
A visit to Friday's is a return to basic American values, including cheap beer and cholesterol-laden food. The ancient images give you an excuse to reminisce about your younger days. Best of all, it provides hope that all us guys with too much crap lying around the house will someday find a way to get rid of it.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.