Buffa’s Buffet: 5 things that are on my mind

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DAN BUFFA , SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

Who’s the bald, bearded guy with the loud voice and all these opinions?! It’s me, Dan Buffa. Many of you already know me as the sports and entertainment guide here at the Jewish Light — so think of this new column as a way to get to know me even more. Let’s have a quick cup of coffee first. I’m a proud South City family man who thinks of Kingshighway and Macklind as his neighbors.

I proposed to my wife after just four months. My son, Vinny, is already a wicked negotiator at just nine years of age. We have five pets, two dogs and three cats. My best friend is my dad, the Cards are like a second wife, and movies are my escape. What I hope to achieve with the Buffet is to provide a versatile array of topics. So, grab an open-minded plate and let’s get started.


1) What is it about gas station parking lots that make me nervous these days? Take the QT off Loughborough and Gravois roads for example. The building and parking lot are bigger than the Yellowstone ranch, but getting in and out of it feels like something I should call Tom Cruise for help with. Inside the convenience store, everything is machine-like and routine. One attendant is filling what looks like 16 containers of fresh iced tea (more on that later) while 3 to 4 employees at the register plow through long lines with ease. Once you get out of the place, though, it’s like leaving a monster truck rally with leaking gasoline. Cars flying in from one each street, nobody looking either way, and people walking all over the lot. They’re on their phone, looking for cash, or mad about something. Here I am, simply trying to escape without having my insurance raised by an accidental bump.

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I’m not one for gas station parking lot attendants (maybe they’d serve ice cream cones or hand out taquitos at the same time), but since the lots and buildings have turned into mini movie theater concrete slabs, it may be required for safety. Also, you’d create more jobs and safety for your establishment. Just a thought.

2) Kevin Hart fans will adore his new dramedy, “Fatherhood.” The new release was No. 1 on Netflix over the weekend, producing a story that should go down nice and easy like a chilled bottle of Bud Select on a 100-degree day. Hart, who sells out arenas across the world on his comedy tours when he’s not portraying underachieving protagonists onscreen, plays a man in the toughest of spots: a newly widowed father who must raise his little girl without the safety net of his wife, who dies at the hospital a day after birth. That’s the first 10 minutes of the movie, which is based on a true story and chronicled in a book called “Two Kisses for Maddy” by the real-life Matt Logelin. Paul Weitz, who directed Hugh Grant in the great “About a Boy,” has covered this terrain before quite well, but taps into an ingenious hybrid of laughs and tears with Hart.

This isn’t anything drastically new for the comedy star, but he does stretch dramatically a little bit while giving people the usual maniac Hart humor that they will click “play” for. Paul Reiser has a nice supporting role as Matt’s boss-while Alfre Woodard and Lil Rey Howery also score big in their respective roles as skeptical mother-in-law and best friend. But the real scene-stealer is Melody Hurd, who portrays the young Maddy. She forms great chemistry with Hart and that makes the movie worth watching.

3) Everybody needs good iced tea in a St. Louis summer, and I have just the one for my readers. Bread Company and Crazy Bowls and Wraps offer tasty yet more expensive options, but QT offers the best bang for your buck. Before you make like Mad Max and blast out of that parking lot, get the 32-ounce styrofoam (it’ll stay cold longer and bleed water less) of unsweetened iced tea and take a few sips. For less than two dollars, you can get a 32-or-42-ounce fountain drink and get some of the best-tasting and freshest tea in the city. They have regular flavors as well as Passion Fruit, Raspberry, and Pineapple. Take a break from iced coffee and diet soda, and get some cold iced tea in your life.

 

4) Adam Wainwright threw a complete game yesterday, striking out 11 and only allowing a single run on three hits in seven innings of work. With doubleheaders carrying softball rules and games only being seven innings long when teams have to play two that day, the St. Louis Cardinal pitcher turned back the clock yet again. He lowered his earned run average (average number of runs allowed per nine innings) to 3.74 and now has 84 strikeouts to 25 walks issued. For a 36-36 team looking out into a dark landscape of bad teams ahead, “Waino” has been the nearest air mattress for a team constantly struggling to score runs consistently or walking half of the other team. Imagine 2021 without Wainwright’s efforts and it’s a rough scene. No matter what, it’ll be a dull sight without him and Yadier Molina playing catch every fifth day and showing the youngsters how it’s done. I’ll have more on the Atlanta, Ga. native later this week.

5) Trading coffee memes with my mom via text is the best of times for a 39-year-old like me. While I got my film addiction and sense of humor from my dad Rich, my mom Elizabeth Buffa — a former nurse at St. Louis Children’s Hospital — supplied this writer with a warm heart. It was just last year that I finally cracked the code and influenced my parents to get smartphones, turning in their priceless artifacts that were once referred to as a flip phone and Nokia–and one of the goals in mind was trading text messages with my mom. So, I will be sitting in my house and hear the ding on my phone. I unlock the page and see a sweet coffee meme. A recent one written by Nanea Hoffman read, “before you come to me with any nonsense, ask yourself if it looks like I’ve had my coffee.” The bittersweet thing is my mom can’t have regular coffee these days, but she still sends me the memes due to how much I love the dirty water. That’s a great mom.

And that’s enough for this week. In case you missed last week’s buffet, check it out right here.