Friday, January 31, 2014

DO YOU REMEMBER SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS?

From days of long ago............

From uncharted regions of TV channels......comes a legend, the legend of Saturday morning cartoons!

For those of you not old enough to know, cartoons were something that you couldn't just watch any time you wanted. Especially before streaming media came along like Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, and such, and even before cartoon network and nicktoons tv, cartoons were rare and could only be seen at certain times of the week. Saturday mornings were the prime time to see brand new cartoons, some of which could ONLY be seen on Saturday mornings.

Keep in mind that Television was set up differently 30 years ago. Nickelodeon was in its infancy and believe it or not, they had none of their own cartoons and very few other cartoons. Cartoon network didn't exist yet so you couldn't just watch cartoons all day. Even after school, cartoons were hard to find. Disney Channel used to have day time cartoons but the big problem here was that the Disney Channel was a pay channel, just like HBO and Cinnemax. If you wanted it, first you had to have cable, THEN you had to order and pay extra just to have it, something not everybody did. Cable was its own thing and not everybody had that. Satellite dishes were all alone and they didn't have companies like Directv or DISH. So where were all the cartoons?

Saturday mornings! If you had cable or not, everyone still got NBC, CBS, and ABC. As for Fox, it wasn't around either but later I'll explain how Fox used cartoons to pol-volt into a major network. For a kid there was nothing better than waking up on your day off from school and watching TV all morning with shows JUST FOR YOU! Kids weren't catered to as much as they are now, like I said before, we didn't even have a network that was just cartoons for us to watch.  Each channel had its own lineup and they all competed for children viewers. ABC is owned by Disney (not sure if you know that) but they had a lot of Disney cartoons that you couldn't find anywhere else.

At the end of each network cartoon morning came a finale show that really just topped off the end of the morning and helped to transition into a slightly older viewing audience. Saved By the Bell was one of these, Pee Wee's Playhouse was another. These live action shows were geared towards kids but they came at the end of a long line up of cartoons.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.....
With NBC, ABC, and CBS all fighting  for ratings a kid has a really tough choice on what to watch. ABC had the upper hand in the Disney shows but that didn't mean NBC and CBS were fighting for second and third place, no, on the contrary, each kid has his or her own preference and in some households you didn't miss a certain show. I would guess that in most houses, like ours, you flipped back and forth to what you liked the best in that time slot, giving you 3 choices. (before FOX)

I'll now take you through a typical Saturday morning in the 1986-1987 season as I chose what to watch. First show of the day was Wuzzles on ABC, a Disney cartoon that was created to help push their stuffed animals, the Wuzzles, although short lived, was a must watch considering the alternatives. Next you had a choice, would it be The Gummi Bears or the Care Bears? Surprisingly the Gummi Bears were on NBC even though it was a Disney cartoon. Disney had two bear cartoon shows on at the same time but on different channels.....genius for marketing, HOWEVER a bad move for ratings because clearly Gummi Bears was a must watch, leaving ABC to pick up the scraps of younger viewers with their Care Bear show. (A year later "Care Bears" was exclusively shown on The Disney Channel, making it inaccessible for us nonpaying customers.)

Next, at 9:00 am things got tough. You really had to put thought into the next one. Smurfs on NBC, Muppet Babies on CBS, and Flintstone Kids on ABC.....shit just got real. I watched all 3 but our house was a Smurf house and you didn't miss the Smurfs in our house. However the Smurfs had an hour and a half block so you could watch the Muppet Babies and when it was over switch back to the Smurfs. None of that mattered because at 10 on ABC came the Ghostbusters and I always wanted to see that. After that you had a toss up between Pound Puppies and Punky Brewster.

By 11:00 am TV was starting to get old and you could really sense an end to your morning cartoon day. This is when Pee Wee's playhouse came on CBS and it was something you didn't want to miss, unless Alvin and the Chipmunks was good. Either way Bugs Bunny and Tweety was just one thing I never cared to watch and although this is a complete guess, it must have been swallowed up in the ratings for that time period.

At 11:30 am I was usually tapping out but CBS did have a cool show they put on here, it was called CBS Story Break, and if I was still watching TV at this time I knew it was the end of my day. It was a cool cartoon show that had a new and different story each week. Like most of these Saturday morning shows, the opening title sequence and theme song was the best and the only part worth watching. Of course this was in 1986-1987, in 1988 CBS Story Break came on at 12:30 and it stayed there for years and remained my clear signal that the cartoon day was over.

In 1988 at 10:30 CBS introduced us to Garfield and Friends, a new favorite and one we never missed. The only thing it was up against was the cartoon Alf, and we all knew that show was a sick joke compared to the true real-life Alf that we all knew and loved. We also got "Hey Vern, It's Ernest!" Which came on at a 11, being a live-action show that signaled the end was near to our cartoon day. My older sister and I were big fans of Ernest and we always enjoyed this one.

In 1989 NBC put Saved By the Bell on at 11:30 and there was NO other choice. One simply did not turn on the TV at 11:30 am and miss Saved By the Bell. Unlike most of the other "end of the dayers" kids actually looked forward to this one. But now we were on the doorstep of the 90's and an end of an era was in sight, although none of us could see it.

By this time adults started to get wise to what kids liked on TV. In 1990 Nickelodeon had exploded in popularity and dubbed themselves, THE FIST NETWORK FOR KIDS. What do kids like? Cartoons, and why wait for Saturday mornings when they could be putting stuff on during the day, after school, AND on weekends? Besides that, there was a new channel in town. FOX.

Fox was a brand new station and needed to play catch up, but instead they decided to turn things upside down by gaining an audience no one else really cared about until now, kids! Fox put cartoons on all morning and right after school, this had our attention and honestly they did have some pretty good shows. So when it came to Saturday mornings, they were already right in the thick of things! And although NBC, CBS, and ABC had far superior cartoon shows, "Bobby's World," a FOX original, was watched frequently in our home.

Although at this point in my life Saturday morning cartoons were seeming less important and other things had my attention, there were some pretty awesome shows that appeared during these years. Some notable ones were "Hammerman," that was M.C. Hammer's superhero cartoon show, "Wish Kid," that was Macaulay Culklin's cartoon show, "Where's Waldo," a cartoon made from the idea of the popular books, and "Back to the Future," a cartoon version of the movies. This was also when you could see NEW episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The Saturday line up desperately tried to keep viewers interested but with so many more options during weekdays, the excitement just wasn't there. I would watch the Ninja Turtles 5 days a week after school, why would I want to watch it again on Saturday morning? It's like being forced to finish your ice cream before you can have some cake. Perhaps I was just getting older and cartoons weren't as appealing to me anymore? I think more accurately the face of TV was changing.

 Kids got their cartoon fixes everyday after school and whenever they wanted from Nickelodeon, who, by the way, was starting to make their own brand of cartoons called, "Nicktoons," in 1991. These cartoons were shown at night in prime time instead of Saturday mornings. Then in 1992 the dagger was sunk deep into the heart of Saturday morning cartoons when the Cartoon Network was launched. 24 hours a day of nothing but cartoons made Saturday mornings seem so unimportant and nothing special, and honestly at this point, that was true.

Cartoon Network also was the beginning of the end for the USA Cartoon Express, an idea of putting a block of cartoons on in the early evening. This had always been the odd man out with its strange time slot and bad cartoons but the once odd man out was now becoming the norm and early evening cartoons were being shown on many stations. USA was a cable network so it didn't really have an impact on the early 80's TV audiences. USA lost most of it's Hanna-barbara cartoons when Turner bought them, taking them away from USA and straight to the Cartoon Network.

It was the beginning of the end. In 10 short years there would be a channel souly for Nicktoons, the cartoons made my Nickelodeon and the demise of Saturday morning cartoons would be a distant memory that no one remembered. No longer do kids anticipate Saturdays like they once did. No longer will kids know the excitement of getting to see brand new shows ONCE a week. Saturday morning cartoons will go down in my generation's memories as a thing of the past that was made extinct by technology and changing times. We will always look back fondly on these mornings.

I for one can still remember lying on the living room floor watching the claymation beginning to Pee Wee's Playhouse, enjoying every second of the opening theme song and hearing my dad yell at me to turn off that crap.

Kids today are totally missing out on an event they'll never have the privilege of knowing, but that's just my two cents.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

BAYFLOWER MOVING GROUP REVIEW

I have decided to share my experience using the Bayflower Moving Group. Let this be a warning to ANYONE and EVERYONE who is considering using this company. Keep in mind this was MY experience and these are MY opinions. Although you MAY have a different experience, please consider the following. I want to prevent anyone else from having to endure what I have gone through.

So I moved from Williamsport PA to Dallas TX, no short drive by any means. Having a moving company take my stuff down for me as I drive at my own leisure sounded like the perfect idea....boy was I WRONG. At least I was wrong to use Bayflower, yes I said Bayflower and not Mayflower, your first indication that this was a poor choice, they had to make their name sound so much like another already established moving company just to get business if you ask me. A pathetic little trick I might add.

HIDDEN FEES
I was quoted a price when the company knew what I had, where I was going, and how they were going to get it there. HOWEVER, once at my home for pick up they started to explain how their pricing actually works. You see there is MUCH MORE to their quoted price, that's just where the price STARTS, that's before they even touch anything. When they arrived LATE, by 3 hours from when they said they would be there, they showed me the quoted price that had already been established over the phone. I agreed with it and said that was my understanding. They then sit you down and go over all the expenses you will now have to pay, they charge for such things as tape, packing bubble wrap, other kind of wrap, cloth, and so on because as they said, they have to wrap everything, especially if I haven't taped anything myself. I understood these requirements so I of course agreed to it. NOW HOLD ON, what if I decided I didn't want to pay all that extra stuff? What if I had my quote in mind and not a penny over?? If that were the case I would have been in big trouble, and you may be too if you aren't expecting it. How much more did I pay AFTER the quoted price? over 1,100 dollars. Yes folks, 1,100 for tape! They taped EVERYTHING, even if I already had. Apparently your taped boxes won't be good enough in their eyes. I say hidden fees but it's more like hidden right in front of your face, again what was I supposed to say, "No, I won't pay for that extra stuff." If I had, I would have had a big problem on my hands considering I was leaving the state that night. They obviously know these things and therefore add on extra charges knowing you'll have to pay. AGAIN, that was over 1,100 dollars added on to the quoted price. It could have been much more than that too, lucky for me it wasn't. It depends on what you have and what they have to do with it, some things they said they HAD to use certain kinds of wrapping with, and if it cost more to do that, well then you're just going to pay it.

They pointed out many things that would cost extra. A lot of it was understandable and I agreed to it but a lot of it was just to make money. 10 dollars here, 50 dollars there, and 5 bucks for this, 20 for that, and soon you're over a thousand dollars. Trust me, it's exactly what they did to me. For example they said if they had to carry stuff into the new home and their truck was more than 75 feet away from the front door, it would cost extra. Carrying things upstairs would also cost extra money. (Later I was told no, this was false, well then who do I believe, it was the same company.) Point is, for a full sized house I can see this getting to be in the thousands. I had a two bedroom apartment and my extra fees added up to over 1,100 dollars. Keep in mind, that was ON TOP of what had already been quoted to me. I had to pay half of this right then and there and the rest when they got to Texas. Remember that if you aren't expecting to pay that much money right out of your pocket that day because THEY WILL NEED IT.

I will say the 3 guys that showed up to do the moving were very fast and polite. Didn't speak English all that well but I'm not one who cares about such things, but if you are, beware. Later when I unpacked I found a lot of stuff I had told them NOT to take, this may have been part of the language barrier due to one of them that spoke NO English at all seemed to be doing his own thing. So near the end the main guy pulls me aside and says his guys, (the two other people) worked really hard for me here today and deserve a tip. I said, well ya sure I don't have a problem with that. As an afterthought I said, well how much does a person get for a tip?? He replied, "Oh for this much stuff and this many hours, people give them 20-30 dollars." I thought, ok, that's fair, I'll do that. He then asks me if I want to pay that tip in cash or just add it to the bill's total. I said, I have cash, oh well, no, go ahead add the tip to the total bill. He then proceeds to add 150 DOLLARS for the tip. 150 dollars folks. 150. Not only did he raise his quoted 20-30 dollar tip to 50 dollars, but he added himself! How rude and unprofessional to give yourself a 50 dollar tip, your two buddies 50 dollar tips and tell me 30 bucks was customary. Hey, I guess I'm just a big tipper! and I didn't even know it. They didn't do 50 dollars of tip money worth of work that day and even if they had, shouldn't I be the one to make that decision? They made it for me, WITHOUT my ok.

WHAT YOU CAN'T TAKE WITH YOU
The movers first pointed out everything that they can not pack into the truck. Plants are one item that they will not take. This was personally upsetting because although I had figured this, it was hard to let go of some of my plants. I took what I could in my car but the rest had to find new homes. The movers also said that they couldn't transport anything liquid. So keep in mind, everything under your sink and many items from your kitchen will not be taken. They wrapped everything like my couch and chairs and tables, which was good because I didn't want anything to get scratched or broken. They said it wasn't their fault if it happened though. Odd......not sure how they figure that one BUT ANYWAY, they told me that my computer desk would have to be taken apart, which they would do before they loaded it up. Much later they said they were just going to try to put it on the truck instead of taking it apart and if it breaks, well that was just a risk they were willing to take because they couldn't guarantee it will make the trip. Fast forward several weeks......yes, it broke in the move.

HOW LONG DOES IT ACTUALLY TAKE
December 21, 2013 is when they came and moved all of my belongings into their truck. I write this January 22nd and I do not have all of my stuff yet. I made the trip from PA to TX in 3 days, going at my own pace and stopping each night. They called me right before Christmas and said they felt they would be there the day after Christmas and I thought, oh good, that's not too bad! Well that day came and went. The next week came and went too. Eventually I started to call them to ask where my stuff was and they told us that, "they didn't know." but don't worry, "they were somewhere." Later they told me it took so long probably due to the holidays and bad weather. Excuse me for sounding unsympathetic here but who the hell cares? I paid you to do a job, period. You can't just take your time! OR CAN YOU? According to Bayflower yes, you can. See they won't give you an actual delivery date, they just mark it as, "as soon as possible." Well that doesn't mean a 3 day trip as I did or even 3 weeks. That could mean a month or more, it just depends because, "as soon as possible" is subjective. Keep that in mind if you want a speedy move, and again I understand I was moving several states away but you know what........so did they.

Finally they called me out of the blue to tell me my stuff would be here the next day at 8am. Thank you for a call on a Sunday, the day before I start my brand new job! Nothing like asking the new boss if the new guy can take HIS FIRST DAY OFF on his FIRST DAY OF WORK. Well I just couldn't make that but I had been waiting so long for my stuff what was I to do? Also you HAD to be there at delivery, it was Bayflower policy. Again, thank you so very much for the heads up the night before. I actually figured they would be late to their estimate of 8am considering they were over 3 hours late when they came to pick up the stuff.Well my sweet girlfriend took off work to be there just so I could get to my first day of work. They showed up EARLY, called and said they were there, inconveniencing us yet again. The easy, quick, convenient move I had planned in my mind had already been a headache but it was just about to begin.

DINGS, DENTS, AND SCRATCHES, OH MY!
After they moved everything off of the truck and left they called back hours later stating that they realized they had forgot a few things on the truck and would have to come back. They said they would just leave the stuff on my door step and it should be ok. Oh really? It SHOULD be ok? What if it wasn't ok? That was another risk they were just going to take, MY stuff sitting outside in broad daylight with NO protection. Not sure how they forgot an entire dresser, considering it was one of two that had been moved but they did and left it for me on my door step. They also forgot a wooden stand that they had broken IN HALF, and left on my door step, thanks for leaving what was now nothing but garbage. Annoyed and disappointed, I moved the dresser inside my home without their help, as they were already gone. They left all of my stuff in the living room piled on top of itself. Many of the boxes were upside down but since they were all taped with dozens of rolls of packing tape, I'm sure they assumed the contents would be fine. I will actually say, NOTHING inside my boxes was damaged. Of course, I was the one that packed the boxes, so.....good job Andrew! Now the stuff outside of the boxes.....that's another story. There were a lot of scratches and broken items including, the wooden stand, one of my dressers, my computer desk, my coffee table, and my TV stand. I was really disappointed with this, with all the wrapping they did you wouldn't think anything would be hurt but here we are . My TV stand and coffee table both had a lot of glass in them and I would like to say all the glass was fine in the move and not broken. All in all at this point I was annoyed and disappointed but at least I had my stuff finally!!! OR DID I? No I didn't.

MISSING BOX AND THE REAL TROUBLE BEGINS
I finally unpacked everything and was down to the last box, this was the box that would have everything in it that I hadn't found yet. As I opened it and started to take out objects I started to wonder how everything missing would all be in here. Well, it wasn't in there. I was missing a box, a big box, the biggest box on the truck in fact. This box, among other things, contained the cushions to my couch. Why they packed those in a box instead of keeping them on the couch when they wrapped it up entirely like a mummy is beyond me, but they did and then they forgot to deliver that box to my house! As a side note this box also had my computer mouse and keyboard in it, making my IMAC useless to me for over a month.

Here comes the most annoying and unprofessional part of the whole experience, and that's saying a lot since so far they had excelled at being unprofessional. I called the movers that delivered the box to let them know they forgot a very large one. The man said, (in his broken English) that he was just the driver and had no idea where my box was and that he was sure he had delivered everything of mine that was on the truck. (REMEMBER HE SAID THAT, JUST REMEMBER THAT LINE FOR LATER). I tried to call the main number but being after 5 there was no response. I would have to wait at least one more day before I got my box. (haha, as if it would only be ONE day!) The next day I called to find out where my box was, after being on hold for 15 minutes, yes 15 entire minutes, I know because I set down my phone after a while and refused to hang up just to see how long it would take. I was told they had no idea where my box was but that they wanted to call the warehouse in Maryland because odds were, THAT is where my missing box was. Maryland? I live in Texas, why was my stuff EVER in the state of Maryland in a warehouse instead of being driven straight to my door??? Well that's just how they do things! Before they could hang up someone started to ask if that was Andrew on the phone, and the person talking to me was surprised but said, why yes, she was talking to Andrew. They already found your missing box, they know where it is! Oh good! It's not lost anymore, it's just not where it needs to be. They tell me that it was delivered to the wrong house, someone in Dallas has it at their house. Remember what the driver told me? He was right, he did deliver everything of mine that was on the truck......HE JUST DID IT AT THE WRONG ADDRESS.

But hey, mistakes happen right? We're all human, and although this was EXTREMELY annoying and cumbersome, I wasn't angry. I was relieved that my box wasn't lost or stolen or something but now I had a new uneasy feeling that my belongings were in some other person's home. Now is where the company gets very unprofessional. They tell me that if I would like, I can just drive over to the guy's house and get the stuff myself! They'll give me his phone number and I can just call and set it up. Well, first of all, I said that box will never fit  in my car, besides the obvious fact that I DIDN'T screw this up and I shouldn't have to be the one to go get it. They then suggest that the guy just brings me my box. On his own time? His own gas money? His own effort? Wait a minute......who made the mistake? Who should correct it? YOU are a professional company, YOU fix YOUR mistakes when YOU make them. How dare you suggest we fix YOUR problem. Yet, I wanted my box. So I said, well call him and see what he wants to do. They said if he wouldn't bring me the box they could just ship it UPS or FedEx. That was my choice just because the last thing I want to do is inconvenience that poor guy that has my big annoying box in his home. They said they would talk to him and get back to me.

THEY NEVER CALLED ME BACK. So a week later my dad decides to call and find out what's going on, not that I wanted him involved but he was pretty mad at the crappy service. Everyone around me was saying how insane this was and that I needed that box and I should have it by  now. He called me after talking to Bayflower all proud telling me they know where my box is and who has it and that they think the guy is willing to drive it to me or I can just go get it. I told my dad that I knew all of that and it was what they had already told me a week ago AND they still hadn't called me back and we weren't any closer to a solution than we were when I spoke to them.

As each day goes by I expect to just find my giant box waiting for me at when I go home every night, but it's never there as if it hasn't been shipped to me yet. Another week goes by and I still haven't heard back from them. My girlfriend decides to call because she is really annoyed at this point because let's face it, this whole situation is ridiculous. She calls and says she will just go ahead and go get it herself and to give the guy's number to us. Well that WOULD solve this problem, if WE do it OURSELVES. Just go get the stupid box, after all it has been an entire month since it left PA. But should we? No, not in a million years should we have to do anything out of our way. I PAID to have that box and the rest of my things delivered to my house and they weren't, NOW they want me to spend MORE money to get the same result that I ALREADY paid for??? I can take the broken items, I can take the long time, I can take the extra charges and fees, and I can take all of them being uncoordinated with a lack of communication but I WILL NOT take this! Getting that box to me should have been their first priority. They really have done nothing in 3 weeks to get that box to me. It might as well be the day I first called them about the missing box because NOTHING has changed since that day. This is just plain UNACCEPTABLE.

So I called back  today to say, we aren't going to go get the box, and the guy isn't going to come give it to me on his own time and dime. It is THEIR responsibility and THEY need to take care of this. They said we can just get it ourselves and that would be the easiest and fastest way. Really? For who? Ohhhhhhh, right, for YOU! You already have the money right? Why do anything else even though you screwed up? I told them I didn't care if I had to wait longer for the box because it's already been a month. The person kept trying to talk me out of this idea, the idea of THEM fixing this problem and that I should just do it myself at this point. I refused to fix their problem and soon I was talking to someone else, they were very rude by the way. Didn't appreciate THAT considering I was the one that SHOULD have and COULD have been rude and yelling and demanding, yet.......they were being inconsiderate to ME??? Shows what kind of company this really is.

If you call the company number expect to be talked down to, talked over, and with a lack of respect and common curtsy one would hope NEVER to find from a professional company. All they were trying to do was wash their hands of this situation in the easiest and cheapest way they could get away with. WELL I'M NOT LETTING THEM GET AWAY WITH IT. You're a moving company and you moved my box to the wrong address. Customer service that fights with the customer? That's what you'll get if you choose them.

All in all if I could do things differently I certainly wouldn't use this company. I certainly DO NOT recommend it to ANYONE ever. They were untimely, unprofessional, unreliable, misleading, at times rude, unhelpful, and annoying to work with. There are plenty of moving companies out there and I sincerely hope they are not all like this, although I have not tried them. If you still want to use them that is fine with me but remember the key points from my experience.

  • They will charge you more than what they say. 
  • They may not show up when they say they will.
  • They may take their time getting to your destination.
  • They may break your items. 
  • They may lose your items. 
  • If there is a problem they will not fix it in a timely manner. (giving them the benefit of the doubt here considering they have YET to fix my problem but I am saying they will fix it.)
  • They will be very difficult to get a hold of if you need them.
  • They may become rude when you want them to fix a problem they caused.
  • Once they have their money they will NOT want to hear from you. 
Here is a quote from their website:  " As a leader among home movers and moving companies, we have the experts and options to ensure your employees’ or families’ possessions are moved professionally and on-time"    Well.....not for me, it wasn't on time, it wasn't professional and your experts were rude and or misleading. And as for being a leader among home movers.....I'd hate to see the last place company! The whole website really is a joke, it makes them look really good, again VERY misleading.
Go ahead and use Bayflower at your own risk. It's going to be one in my opinion. I should have done it myself, I at least would have all of my stuff right now and I know none of it would be damaged. Those things I can guarantee but Bayflower CAN'T. If you're looking for a moving company PLEASE, keep on looking.


UPDATE
2/2/14 Bayflower told me on the phone that they would go ahead and ship my box to me. After waiting and waiting for that I finally needed to go get my box on my own because I heard NOTHING from them. I contacted the guy that had my box and met him at his place (35 minutes away from where I live btw). The box was way too big for my car so I had to borrow a van to go get it. He told me that HE had contacted Bayflower Moving Group first about my box and then NEVER HEARD FROM THEM AGAIN. Odd....they told me they called him several times and continued to try to get a hold of him. He also agreed that he would never use this company every again. So add LYING to the list of things that Bayflower does. 

And add that they DID NOT resolve the problem that THEY created. Refusing to finish the job that they were paid to do. 

What a terrible company. I sincerely hope you go with another choice to help you in your move after reading this and I really hope I save some people the headache, money, frustration, and anger that they will probably face if they use Bayflower Moving Group.




Friday, January 10, 2014

Resturant Review: Cacharel, Arlington Texas

I am going to review the fine dining venue, Cacharel in Arlington Texas.

I was looking for somewhere fancy and classy, the place I was hoping the Reunion Tower would have been. (Read my review of the Reunion Tower to get the whole story on that DUMP.) I haven't been able to find the place of my sophisticated and classy dreams....UNTIL NOW!

Trust me when I say Cacharel IS the place you're looking for if you want a fine dining experience, and I carefully and purposely use the word experience, because that is EXACTLY what you'll get when you dine there, and I use the word DINE because that is EXACTLY what you'll be doing there, not eating, not hanging out, but dining. This place is the romantic, old world restaurant that is perfect for an elegant night on the town or special occasion.

When you first arrive at Cacharel you will notice it is on the 9th floor of a 9 story building. This makes the view the best in all of Arlington. Not nearly as high as the Reunion Tower, HOWEVER, the view actually was ten times better for ten reasons. The second you step off the elevator you realize very quickly that this place is going to be fancy. When I walked in they addressed ME, not the other way around. They called me by my name, (i had made a reservation before hand), I didn't have to say who I was and that I had reservations there, I was COMPLETELY IMPRESSED at this point and this was the first minute. They told us we had to wait just a few minutes, which surprised me because I could see many empty seats plus I had made reservations. We waited in a very high class area with leather sofas and fine art on the walls. We were told we had to wait because they were getting a very special table ready for us, ok, I forgave them for this wait, IF it were true. It was true. Our table was a table set for two in a corner with two big windows, very cozy, romantic, and secluded enough to be personal but open enough to still feel part of the restaurant, in a word.....perfect. The view was wonderful as well, you could see all of Arlington lit up at night and Dallas in the distance. Right away we knew what kind of a night we were in for, and it was the first 5 minutes.

The atmosphere was exquisite, that's right, I said exquisite and for the first time in my life I get to use that word to describe something. The lighting was low not just to create an ambiance, but so you could see out of all of the windows without an annoying glare, UNLIKE the Reunion Tower. There was classical music playing, should you expect anything less??? No, you shouldn't. The tables had elegant table cloths and EVERYONE sitting at them was dressed up, not a single pair of jeans in the entire place. At this point our waiter approached us with the menus.

Here is the difference between real waiters and the ones we are all used to. This waiter was a true waiter, he didn't bring us water, he didn't bring us the bread, he knew what he was doing and he did it well. He was overqualified to do his job and THAT'S who you want waiting on you. Oh he knew his stuff and his timing was perfect, there was NO waiting, NO rushing, NO wondering where he was or what he was doing. He explained the menu and the food, after we ordered the wine, which he got RIGHT when he brought it to us, we looked over the menu and the others brought us bread and filled our water glasses. We were being waited on hand and foot the way you would expect, UNLIKE the Reunion Tower.

The menu was amazing in itself. It is changed DAILY and seasonally. The date was printed right on the page which proves that it is changed daily. Everything on it sounded so good and they had classics like lobster and steaks, but I went with the pork chop. This was no ordinary pork chop, it was a huge, so thick and cooked so perfectly I was confused at how they did it. There was a sauteed mushroom sauce and it was all on top of mashed potatoes. It was by far the best pork chop I've ever had in my life. When I first bit into it I was shocked because I thought it was raw in the middle, but after a few chews I realized that it wasn't raw, it was cooked perfectly and was sooooooo juicy I had first thought it was raw. Yes the three course meal was expensive but I have never had a Caesar salad made like that before, everything was hand made from scratch, not a single boxed prepackaged frozen food item in the whole kitchen. And it showed.

All in all I give the Cacharel an A+ for the view, atmosphere, ambiance, and class. I give it another A+ for the food, arguably the most important part of any restaurant. I give it an A+ for our waiter, Captain Chris and for the service. I give it an A+ for location, it was only 15 minutes from home and being on the top floor of a tall building gave it that little something extra special. For the Cacharel as a fine dining experience I give it my best score ever, an A+++. If you want a romantic, classy, refined, cultured, special night with excellent food, service, and atmosphere, then there is ONLY one place that can give you all this and more. Cacharel. Do yourself a favor and make a reservation tonight, as for me I'll be getting ready to make one for Valentines Day because there is no where better for a romantic evening, but that's just my two cents.