The Secret Ingredient


Food :: Ingredients :: Delicious Ingredients
Delicious Ingredients in Food :: Rewards Programs :: #FloresRewards

So writing Restaurant Kryptonite the other night… I didn’t realize it until much later but I missed one of the most potent ingredients in the michaelj ingredients vulnerabilities list. Perhaps the most potent non-prime beef ingredient of them all!


Yes, dear readers, delicious pecans.

I love pecans. The are my number one nut. My dad and sister and wife like these ludicrous nuts such as almonds. But to me, pecans are the holy grail of nuts. Perfect pecans are crisp, Snap like a Bruce Lee roundhouse, and make otherwise excellent desserts absolutely perfect. There is nothing like dropping crumbled pecans on rice pudding, ice cream, whatever.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

Given my new project Flores Rewards it is probably not a surprise to you that I am a rewards program junkie. I have carried an AmEx for the last ten years even though it costs a couple of hundred dollars a year (and other credit cards literally chase you to be their customer). I love rewards. I love points. Ultimately I love awesome free stuff.

Here are all the random rewards cards I carry around all day:

First Column (treats) – Tasti D-Lite (and two old Tasti D-Lite punch cards from individual locations), Crumbs coffee card, Tim Horton
Second Column (coffee) – Two Whole Foods cards, Joe, Starbucks Gold
Third Column (mostly lunch) – ‘wichCraft, Baja Fresh, Hale and Hearty Soup, Go Go Curry (lucky curry), Food Merchant

Basically  I figure you gotta eat (or drink coffee, or whatever), so you might as well pick an option that has a great rewards program.

Anyway, for the first time in my adult life I have been trying to stick by a budget in a specific and concerted fashion. Since 1999 I have been “paying myself” $100 in “fuck you” money [cash] that I spent pretty much on whatever (mostly food, coffee, treats).

Katherine asked me to try to limit myself to $50 in “lunch money” per week as an effort in discipline.

I was initially apprehensive given that:

  1. I make much more money now than I did when I was, you know, 23.
  2. Money is worth less than it was 11 years ago.
  3. Like basically everyone, I am resistant to change when it affects my immediate comfort.

I realized pretty quickly, though, that I was blowing about $6 a day in iced coffees from Crumbs and that represented approximately $30 of the $50 delta. Therefore in an effort to conduct towards marital bliss, I never realized…

… I was only one punch away from my free medium iced coffee / free Crumbs cupcake.

So I sauntered into Crumbs to get my final punch, and what did I see but…

Chocoalte Pecan Pie!

What the!?!

The cruel, cruel irony is that I forced the girl at the Crumbs counter to describe for me the constitution of this exercise in fudge-y pecan wonderment. I cannot honestly tell you what she told me. It was like that Tom Cruise movie about making less money or whatever.

“You had me at ‘Hello.'”

I did not get the Chocolate Pecan Pie cupcake. That would entail paying for it. I would not pay until much later.

First I had to run this:


So I got my final punch so that I could shotgun / topdeck / mise the Chocolate Pecan Pie cupcake the next day.

I don’t know if I mentioned this, but I like anything pecan basically. Examples would be choosing pecan-based extra toppings at toppings bars, erring on pecan-ish flavors in selections of coffee, ice cream (for example butter pecan), whatever. So the combination of pecans + Crumbs cupcakes was an easy decision for me.

How can I describe this product?

The Chocolate Pecan Pie cupcake is essentially the Vitamin Water of ingredient marketing-driven decadence. There is like a nickel’s worth of pecans sprinkled up top, and no pie at all. It is a chocolate base cupcake, but has a deep fudge filling. Initially I was going to take pictures of a bisected baked good, but both the chocolate cake and the fudge infusion share a kind of muddy midnight color; differentiating one from the other by sight was next to impossible when it was a few inches from my face… The structuralism was all in taste and texture. Thumbs up to both.

And as for paying later? I have become un-used to eating the random snacks all week that constituted the $50 “fuck you” money that I no longer get to walk around with. A woman at work even asked me if I am losing weight this week! As such, I was not prepared for the 540 calorie yum yum bomb that I dropped into my belly. I felt terrible for the rest of the day. I would gladly do it again.


  1. Did I mention I love rewards programs? It is not so much that I am “cheap” but that I love shenanigans. Every time I get that little punch in the card that brings me 8% or whatever closer to a free $7 salad I feel like I am pulling one over on The Man, that I am picking the pocket of some wealthy scumbag CEO [that I someday want to grow up to be].
  2. That is why I made Flores Rewards for you! Get ready for a heady combination of shenanigans, free stuff, and fun!
  3. I still owe cake. I am going to research this week if they will make the Chocolate Pecan Pie cupcake into, I dunno, some kind of gigantic forty-person mutant cupcake Forbidden Dance. If so, I will soon no longer owe cake.
  4. Tarmogoyf! Baneslayer Angel! Jace, the Mind Sculptor! <– I dunno, what else was I supposed to do? This is mostly a Magic: The Gathering blog, still.


facebook comments:


#1 GRat on 09.04.10 at 10:27 pm

Crumbs is amazing!

#2 MTGBattlefield on 09.05.10 at 8:48 am

The Secret Ingredient…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

#3 Amarsir on 09.06.10 at 1:58 am

I feel like you’ve achieved Wakefield status as a writer in that I clung to every word and yet I’m not sure you really say anything. 🙂

Actually if you’d care to oblige, I’m curious for your marketer’s opinion on rebranding the Pro Tours into “Magic Weekends”. The theory makes sense (might as well let your road show be a road show), but I don’t really have a sense of who does/doesn’t/would attend a Pro Tour enough to speculate if it will actually lure more people.

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