Is the end really near?
Some people seem to think so, and I’ll admit, the mere mention of North Korea makes my stomach do a somersault.
Costco must think the end is nigh, since this week it started selling emergency kits ranging in price from $1,000 to $5,999.99. The cheapest option has a one-year supply of food and is made up of nearly 100 1-gallon cans of wheat, rice, granola, apples, bananas, peaches, strawberries, potatoes, carrots, beans, onions, corn, beef, chicken, milk, sugar and salt. The cans have 6,200 servings of food and will last up to 25 years.
Or you can just go to the super-sized warehouse and get toilet paper, water, a Costco-sized pumpkin pie, trail mix and hope for the best.
Some like to think they would survive in a post-apocalyptic possible “Walking Dead” scenario world. I know I would not. After family and friends, I would miss electricity the most. How would I charge my phone, heat my flat iron or watch Netflix?
The prospect of “roughing it” is not appealing in the least, which might explain why I have never been camping. But I did find myself at Mad Rex, the world’s first post-apocalyptic-themed restaurant on Tuesday night. With a battle truck in front, the new spot at 1000 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, is hard to miss, and it’s definitely a new concept in the area.
This is not your parent’s Hard Rock or Rain Forest café.
Mad Rex features a “Survivor’s Kitchen,” virtual reality lounge, day-after-tomorrow décor with a slight haze, survival-themed menu items and private VR booth in which a technician will hook you up to an IV cocktail.
I might be able to make it at least a week in this “new world” since there are cocktails (the Mehmet was my favorite – apple infused bourbon, apple cider, cider vinegar, cinnamon simple syrup with a dash of hot sauce), shrimp kebabs and ESPN.
Chicken fajitas are one of my favorite dishes, but Mad Rex takes the sizzle to the next level with black lava rock dining. “Survivors” grill, heat and flavor their own slabs of meat over the 500-degree rocks. Each Survivor’s Menu includes a choice of protein, a slab of Himalayan salt, lemon, seasonings and sauces.
“We want our patrons to feel like they are truly immersed in our post-apocalyptic environment, so we created a dining experience for customers to finish their own meals at their table on 500-degree slabs of rock and salt slabs,” said partner Michael Johnigean. “The natural theater of this method, combined with the juiciness of taste, and health benefits of this ensures that the diner has an unforgettable culinary experience.”
My penchant for sweet and salty was satiated, at least for an evening in the afterworld, with the Pink Himalayan Salt Ice Cream.
Mad Rex (short for Restaurant Entertainment Xperience) was the brainchild of Pavel Rathousky, a master butcher from Prague, and his fellow partners. They wanted to create a new meeting place, dining haven, and watering hole for revelers from “all walks of life.” Rathousky had a personal interest in the post-apocalyptic theme and noticed it had been gaining momentum and traction as movies (“Matrix,” “Terminator,” “12 Monkeys,” “Book of Eli,” “I Am Legend,” “Resident Evil,” “Insurgent” and “Mad Ma”), television shows (“The Walking Dead”), video games (“Fallout”), and international events gained mainstream popularity.
Like Rathousky, I notice a lot of interest in post-apocalyptic themes, but outside of a visit to Mad Rex, the end of the world is something I don’t like to think about. Especially during fall, my favorite time of the year. And it’s not because of pumpkin spice.
Fall weather is my idea of perfect. I savor the distinctive smell of leaves and a neighbor’s fire pit. It seems to me, it is really in the fall everything comes back to life.
This week, I also attended my first Oktoberfest, hosted by Brauhaus Schmidt this week at the 23rd Street Armory. At noon on the first day of Oktoberfest in Munich, the largest beer-drinking festival in the world, the mayor of kicks off the celebration by officially tapping the first beer barrel and shouting to the crowd, “O’zapft is!,” meaning, “It is tapped!” In Philadelphia, the honor went to Brauhaus Schmidt owner Doug Hager, who tapped the keg and help a “liter lifting” contest, which is much harder than it looks.
Back from the beach, back to school, back to not only my favorite time of year, but also one that showcases the many things to do in the area. It seems like every weekend is chock full of fall festivals, flea markets, car shows, and street fairs. Not to mention Philadelphia Eagles football.
If there is ESPN in the post-apocalyptic world, it hopefully means my beloved Birds survived the fallout. Maybe it won’t be too bad after all.