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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Reader Review: ValentinaLand

Last night as I was reclining by the fire puffing on my antique Meerschaum and reading a rare collection of letters from the lost Andean explorer Miguel San Cristobal a horrible rapping at my front door shook me from my reverie of lost cities of gold on the roof of the world. The snifter containing the last of my 1945 Malvazia Barbeito crashed to the floor as I shot from my chair.

Who could it be at this late hour? Had my dalliances in the black arts finally come back to haunt me? I cautiously opened the heavy wooden door and was shocked to see a bedraggled man, near death, or perhaps, as I feared, undead, standing before me. The man took one step forward and uttered a sound I hope to never hear again and pressed a tattered sheet of paper into my hand. I instinctively recoiled but held onto the note whatever it was, shocked it did not burn through my hand. The poor wretch then collapsed and slowly dissolved into the thin air.

I hurriedly unfolded the paper. Twas not a warning or curse from the minions of Nath-Horthath at all, but a missive from Jack Jackson. It was merely a restaurant review, but clearly a restaurant review from a man teetering on the edge.

Below I reproduce this document in full as it may be the last we hear of this brave explorer of the far reaches of local theme restaurants.


By Jack Jackson

I should’ve known that it was going to be a bad night, by the shit on both of my shoes after I came home from it all. But that would mean that I somehow had pre-ordained/forethought/dreamt that this night would happen, and I would’ve/should’ve missed the turds that my dog likes to leave by the entrance carpet.

No, this night was not predestined, not fore-ordained. It was caught up in the Neverland of the opposite of faster, better, cheaper: it was caught up in the land of hatred, pain, and evil. If I were an accomplished writer, it would’ve been caught up in the land of pain, evil, and hatred, for no other purpose than to achieve a tricolon crescens, a Latinate rhetorical figure which is marked by three constituent parts, each increasing in either syllables or length.

Messineos, Alesios, you all should be ashamed of the eating monstrosity that is now known as Valentinaland, the location of my first minimum wage job, the Bishop Heights travesty you created out of money lust. I know the story, for it was related to me by an insider. You wanted to end the lease, but you knew a dude who had some extree token machines and ticket machines. Shame on you, shame on you, shame on you.

My entrance, for my niece’s fourth birthday, was marked by an uncanny lack of service. As a matter of fact, there was no one, not one single employee, there at all. No one was there to greet, no one was there to sit, no one was there, to my utter shock, to take our money.

How, I wondered, would we spend our money, if no one was there to take it?

Silly, I later was, to think of such a question.

Valentino’s, for those uninitiated, is the Twinkies of pizza in Lincoln. Oversweet and low-quality, it pleases the masses in no way any good pizza could. That’s why you find the truly good pizza places of Lincoln low on the KFOR lists, like Piezano’s and Yia Yia’s (although I think Yia Yia’s sucks, it’s better than the diabetic shock you get from Valentino’s).

Let me assure you, Valentinaland may be advertised as a fun blast (BLAST!) for the whole family, but it is the Worst Place on Earth. Worse than Iraq in Winter. Worse than camping without fire. Worse than New London of Winston Smith’s “1984”. This place is pure shit.

Why? For starters, their salads are brown. I wouldn’t eat it. My family asked why not. I said, “I don’t eat brown lettuce.” They said, “It’s always like that here.”

Okay, so then why do you order it? If you know it’s always shitty, why pay for it? I said, “Send it back.”

But then I became the jerk, because I wanted to fresh(er) lettuce.

I want to express one thing I liked about Valentinaland: the mouse mascot, or whatever it is, is economically correct. I mean, er, anatomically correct. It has five fingers, five toes, each hand. That’s impressive. Some hack local artist took the time to make sure the black lines were there to ensure you know it has five fingers and toes. That’s a rarity in shit-ball money-grubbing mascots.

What about the pizza? I used to work there, long ago. Had I served a pizza that had the dough bubbles in it that I was served, I’d have been fired. But apparently it’s completely okay to let bubbles rise in a pizza now, and burst, and then overcook, and burn the cheese, and then be served.

Did I mention that it’s impossible to get service? Do you know why? Because there is no service. I suppose that means profits are high. Capitalism is minimizing costs and maximizing revenue after all.

And that brings me to the machines. A token is a quarter. You play terrible games like Spider Smash and Skee-ball for tickets. I saw my niece blow five bucks to earn fifteen tickets. And that was enough to earn a Tootsie Roll. Way to teach kids all about capitalism, because the truth is “garbage in, garbage out,” after all.

I want you to know that I did get over, though. I filled my “water” glass with “fountain drink” at one point. Actually, I did it twice. But I know that that cost about two cents, and I didn’t really get over. It was the thought that counted.

By the way, two scruffy old men came in to play a claw machine while we were there. They weren’t part of any party, and they dumped two dollars to lose nothing. Addiction? Pedophilia?

Can anyone explain to me why they serve breadsticks with freezing cold marinara sauce?


Anonymous Mr. Wilson said...

Jack, why do you have to be so blasted ambiguous. Tell us what you really think!

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Jack Jackson said...

And to think I held back a little...

9:12 PM  
Blogger Swoof said...

Yeah, it was a bit mild coming from you.

I still can't believe the place exists.

11:19 PM  
Anonymous ms b said...

Wow! I can't wait to try it out!

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is interesting news in light of the little-remembered fact that the Bishop Heights Valentino's was in fact the third-ever Valentino's (after the original East Campus and the 70th & A) and when it moved in in '78 or '79 it replaced a poolhall/pinball/gameroom/marijuana source called The Joker. So now Vals has gone back to being an arcade of sorts? Interesting.


12:15 AM  
Anonymous Gary said...

I hated to see them close the Bishop Heights Valentino's. I haven't been and don't intend to go to ValentinaLand. Now I know I'm not going to go there. Sounds awful.

Why does Valentino's insist on closing it's restaurants? I rarely eat their pizza anymore because there is no convenient location to go eat.

8:32 AM  
Blogger J said...

Sheesh, it's not likely Lincoln has a surplus of non-national franchises for dining options.

Lay off Val's, honestly!

It's no haute-cuisine, but at least it's not some soulless restaurant-in-a-box selling the same exact food you could get anywhere...

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been there once. I will not go again. Most of the games are broken and they had a lesbian working behind the counter. The food was terrible and some of the games were broken, but not labeled as so. I would have asked for a refund for money lost into the broken games, but feared the lesbian. That lesbian had less character and charisma than the animated monkey at Chucky Cheese when he is shut off.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This place really sucks. I have 2 small children and after reading this I am conviced that my orginal thoughts on Valetinos were correct. They Suck. Thank you for your honesty.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay first of all i am extemely offended by this post.
1) there is NOTHING wrong with lesbians.
2) the marinara is cold because we dont want to kill you off from it going bad you jackass and if you wanted it warmed up you could ask and they would've done it for you
3) you are the most pessimistic person i have ever even heard of
4) we refund any game that the costomer complains about
5) when we fix the games we have alot of tickets come out and we just give them away
6) its really not that hard to get tickets you throw balls into baskets and drop a coin in and it gives you tickets
7) valentinos doesnt have enough employees your right but are pizza is never bubbly and why is bubbly pizza bad in the first place omg a bubble were all going to die!!!! it doesnt even change the fricken taste.
8)our salad is never brown
9) maybe you just hate fun

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what the fuck is wrong with you people. you should be ashamed of yourselfs. Especially the person who remains anonymous about the lesbian part. Grow up. What just because someone is different than you, you wont go there. omfg! What just because they like the same sex they cant have a job. Holy shit are we in the 1960's again. And maybe if you had a problem with the store you should contact the owners instead of being pussy's and making a webpage on it. grow the fuck up! i'll remain anonymous just like the rest of you assholes!

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off, if you dont like somebody because of their sexual preference than keep your damn comments to yourself. No one wants to hear your homophobic comments.
Second, i'm sorry your niece sucks at playing games. you should probably help her next time. And have you ever been to Chuckie Cheese, atleast Valentinaland has more options to choose from than that shit hole. And they do refund you your tokens, maybe you are just an asshole so they dont want to help you. so maybe you people just never go out in public, we dont need you assholes.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Brianna said...

When one is trying to make an arguement, one is supposed to present facts from both sides of the equation. Negatives and Positives. I believe your topic was uninteresting, so you decided to run on with a sociopathical rant about a pizza place. If I was your teacher you wouldnt receive a grade. I also would like to apologize for the person who wrote the comment about the "lesbian" behind the counter, you should be embarassed for that comment. And to all others, Eat at valentinos and taste the tradition, proud sponsor of CORNHUSKER Football!

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Nonie Sue said...

From reading your article I guess I'd gather that you don't enjoy life or family much. I've been to the Valentinaland you refer to many times. The majority of the people who work there are extremely friendly and work hard to make sure your food and dining experience is above satisfactory. To those of you who have not been there please do not listen to a one sided opinion go check it out for yourself. You will be glad you did. There are a lot of places that are not kid friendly this certainly is not one of them! I'm a Mom and a Granmother so I know. Those of you who make reference to others sexual preference and find it distasteful, I'm at a loss to understand how you would know! Maybe you were someone who was jilted or turned down and could find no other way to lash out. I feel sorry for you! Let God be your judge as he will be everyones in the end.

8:44 PM  

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