May 21, 2004

Get a Life

I've noticed an abundance of really bizarre—and at times misleading—ads on TV lately. There is this one promoting Skippy bars with dancing elephants wearing "bling" (this per their advertising agency, mind you). This commercial wouldn't be nearly as bad as it is if it gave you any information as to what, exactly, a Skippy bar is. Then there is this ad for some type of pregnancy test that promises early detection. It claims, "There is such a thing as being a little bit pregnant." For whatever reason, I don't remember learning that in fifth grade sex ed. Can you imagine calling your parents and saying, "God, Mom, you are totally overreacting. I'm just a little bit pregnant."

These are just small potatoes, though, compared to my personal favorite, which I saw just this week. The commercial is for a product called Skyy Sport, and that itself is the joke. Marketing alcohol as a sport drink is creative idea, and by creative I mean bizarre and deceptive. First off, the drink has 150 calories (but, have no fear—it's "low-carb"). Plus, it offers all of the dehydrating properties of regular alcohol! Personally, I think that this beverage fits into the same category as the cookie dough Gatorade that Saturday Night Live introduced a few years back.

Every television station acts as a host for commercials that target the particularly impressionable portion of its viewership. TLC gets the shady pregnancy tests, while ESPN gets the alcoholic thirst quencher. While I get my fair share of Perfect Proposal and A Wedding Story, I had been neglecting the ESPN programming—and missing out on a whole set of absurd consumer goods—until just recently.

Why the recent increase in quality time with ESPN? The NBA playoffs, of course. My roommates are obsessed—as they should be, as one hails from Minneapolis, the other from Sacramento. Surprisingly enough, we haven't had any catfights yet, but there have been multiple sets of eyes glued to the TV for the last two weeks while they root on their teams to battle it out to the NBA Finals, a.k.a. the land of milk and honey.

While I am a basketball fan, my interest has been slightly subpar with my Chicago boys out of the running. With no hopes of a championship for my team, I have to seek out the milk and honey right here in Chi-town. Luckily, I was able to find it right on Division Street.

Offering the basics (as well as a variety of more interesting menu items), Milk & Honey Café is a sublime destination for a weekend lunch or brunch. The daily lunch menu consists of salads, soups, and sandwiches, ranging from tomato and mozzarella to a divine crabcake sandwich with chipotle mayonnaise. (All sandwiches are served with a pickle and delicious homemade potato chips.) On Saturday and Sunday, this quaint little restaurant serves up a brunch complete with casserole-style huevos rancheros, lots of ooey-gooey cheese, orange brioche French toast, and a pancake of the day, with varieties ranging from banana to toffee. The brunch is served pretty late, so even if you are a lazy bum and don't get there until 1 p.m. or so, you are still good to go.

The location of Milk & Honey Café is, in my opinion, fantastic. There are bunches of little random shops and a bakery with $1 frosted cookies just down the way. My friend Paige and I had no problem blowing a small sum of cash on witty cards and homemade caramels that we obviously needed. In short, on a nice day, Division Street is perfect for wasting an afternoon. The café itself is bright and cheery, and both the diners and the staff are eager to recommend their favorite menu items with smiling faces. The menu varies often, so the place manages to maintain an all-around fresh feel.

Take a jaunt up Milk & Honey Café this spring before the crunch of finals. Sip an iced tea and slip into a state that lets you forget about the wind and the humidity of this otherwise cool city. Although I didn't notice much milk or honey on the menu, I've come to the conclusion that the name is not just another case of false advertising—since the café supplies all of the goodness that it promises.