All posts by highbrowreviews

#011 The Cheesecake Factory

This week on Highbrow Reviews we take a field trip (more like a grass trip or a bud trip, anyway, you get it) to Cheesecake Factory. This place is famous for its gaudy decor, big portions, endless menu, and what else? I can’t think of single other thing it could possibly be known for. Like, maybe a dish of some sort? Ah, oh well. We go there to test out the restaurant’s food and amenities to see if it really is a high dream come true.

But first, how about we force you into listening, and indulge ourselves in playing, a pretty long game of “P-weed Password?” That’s right, we’re bringing this game back and with each round, we are either wicked quick or painfully slow. Listen in and judge us heavily. But hey, although the game is long, we unpack history, the rules of hopscotch and man, if Chris can’t get his mind off Snoop Dogg!
We arrived at The Factory and put our names on the list. As high people do, we huddled in the smallest corner of the foyer to keep ourselves from getting into an accidental conversation with strangers. Chris was very concerned we wouldn’t hear our name called but Claire reassured him that her ears were sharp. It seemed as though hours had passed, so the three of us wandered over to the cake display just to tantalize our taste buds. Immediately Chris, who was a Factory virgin, turned and said, “Looking at these cakes in a deli case, I could be convinced that I’m just at a Ralph’s.” Hm, that’s not great for a restaurant known for… actually I can’t think of what they’re known for.
Finally, we’re seated and the table is blessed immediately with steaming logs of bread. Max and Claire know exactly what they want but Chris deliberates for a while between two, essentially identical, items on the menu. Eventually, we do order and then our minds are free to wander. So we take in the scenery: the historically accurate faces etched into stone pillars, the historically accurate wall of tvs and the historically accurate dated pop music.
Just before the food comes, our waitress throws us a curveball by announcing her departure for the day and introducing her replacement. His name is something like Kevin. But, as Kevin brings us our food and asks us how we’re enjoying the meal, we keep spotting our original waitress around the restaurant. Naturally, we jump to the conclusion that there’s some kind of operation underway, that we’ve been bugged and are under investigation. We still decide to stick around and share a slice of original cheesecake. You can’t leave before you’ve had cheesecake! Because that’s what they’re known for! Pushing and pushing you to order dessert.
Back in the studio, we’re sated and cozy and we tell you *spoiler* just how perfect The Cheesecake Factory is if you’re high. Also, Claire forgot her boxed leftovers at the restaurant and she’s still thinking about it.

#011 ASMR videos on YouTube

Things get weird this week as Chris, Max, and Claire get high and review ASMR videos on Youtube. Listen along and experience ASMR along with your giggly hosts!

On this episode of Highbrow Reviews we spend a lot of time-solving the world’s most outstanding dilemmas. How to confirm you like a soft drink flavor before buying the twelve pack. How to take full advantage of the Trader Joe’s sample policy. How to cook meat with just a blanket hot out of the dryer. And finally, we answer the question everyone has been asking, will pink in your chicken cause you to lose it at both ends?

Our game this week is called “One Word Impressions” where we each throw out a one-word impression of “some celebrity.” Quickly though, it becomes clear that we can only do different impressions of the same, one celebrity, Gilbert Gottfried. Oh, wait, except for Max who has a great go-to impression that everybody knows. Just listen, I’m sure you’ll get it right away!
At twelve minutes and twenty-two seconds Chris taunts you listeners with the promise of a cutaway, that honestly, we don’t have. This goes on for several minutes and it’s become the will they, won’t they of 2019 that everyone’s talking about.
Eventually, we do make it to the review of ASMR, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, which is an involuntary tingling sensation brought about by certain sounds like whispers and clicks. We watch a few different ASMR videos on YouTube to test whether or not we experience it. After a thorough sampling of combs on windscreens, brushes on shower caps, dry mouths smacking and pickles crunching, we conclude whether any of us experience the phenomenon. I won’t give you the answer but I will tell you this, there is one sound that we all can agree we like, and it’s the sound of the ocean.
Also, we try our hand at ASMR, so listeners, write in and tell us if we got you tingling!

#010 The Christmas Chronicles on Netflix

Just in time for the holidays, we bring the chronic to Netflix’s The Christmas Chronicles! And right out the gate, we have questions. Up top, the title is confusing seeing as it’s only one story (hopefully) rather than a series. Or does the word chronicles refer to the cut together found footage of the Pierce family’s Christmas mornings? But we’ll get to that later.
In the meantime, we discuss the lofty SoCal price for a Christmas tree and whether or not the tip counts in the overall height. We’ll be honest, Max is Jewish, so for him, the tip is a sensitive issue, or less sensitive…? It’s up for debate. Either way, when it comes to your tree, size does matter.
Along the way, we share our different Christmas traditions. Chris divulges a really personal one that blows everyone away: he, and everyone in his family, open one gift on Christmas Eve. Oh wait, that’s something we all do. Hold on though, he has another tradition that’s sure to be unique to him! Listen to find out if it’s a Christmas morning ritual you just simply cannot relate to.
The game we play this week is… actually I guess we were high enough already.
Onto the review. We break down the movie for you so there are spoilers galore. But I don’t want to spoil our show by telling you everything because honestly, it’s more entertaining than the movie. Tune in to find out the story of Kitty Kat, Teddy Bear and a testy Kurt Russell.

#008 Overcooked on Nintendo Switch!

Hot off the grill, Highbrow Reviews is back this week to review the smash hit video game, Overcooked on Nintendo Switch!

Join us this episode for an unrelated deep dive into the world of chickens, eggs and which came first: balut, the developing embryo delicacy or Baloo, the beloved Jungle Book bear? For the birds out there listening, we’re sorry to report that you’re not our desired audience. But for the humans out there, continue on because this show is for you!
Claire has just returned from Japan and she tells us a little about her trip which involves bowing at the wrong time and enjoying the local cuisine that Max pretends to know all about. The three of us completely forget to play a game to see if we’re high enough, which I think answers the question and we go straight into the experience.
I feel like it’s fair to say that Chris and Max have played Overcooked a few times before recording this episode, so they’ve got a handle on the kitchen. Claire, however, is still learning the ropes. We quickly learn that Max naturally takes on the role of head chef. After every round, he is rearranging stations and delivering “pep talks” and “constructive criticism.” We chop the onions, we get the orders out, we’re bringing in tips and pretty soon, we’ve got the rhythm down. Just when we’ve graduated to a high-functioning kitchen, Chris turns off the console and reminds us we have an episode to record.
Reluctantly, back in the studio, we break it down for you. This is kind of a short episode and I know it’s because we hurried through our review just so we could get back to playing. But! The takeaway for the game, and life in general is, “if your kitchen is moving efficiently, a pot should never be burning.” Unless it’s pot, like weed pot, in which case, it should always be burning.
If you’ve ever wanted to visit Pasadena, California, just play Overcooked, it’s basically the same thing. Currently available to play on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.


#003 PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds video game [with Cris Mertens]

On this episode of Highbrow Reviews, we enlist video game aficionado Cris Mertens to show us PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)! As a special treat, hear us experience the game in real-time as we attempt (and fail) to stay alive. Plus, a game called Weed Association…and a whole lot more!

On the drive over to play the game at Cris’ place, we quickly learn that none of us know much about this video game… or video games in general, except for Max who must make it absolutely clear that he has some, albeit limited, gaming cred. Unfortunately for us, we’ll be playing this game for the first time with a bunch of strangers online and the likelihood that any of us will be good is slim to none.

Upon arrival, we meet Cris’ puppy, Penny. She’s a wiener dog with a small body but a large bladder that she graciously unloads on Max. Cris has got a great setup with multiple monitors and surround sound but no snacks. Hunger will have to wait though, because the game is about to begin. Cris shows us the ropes along with his friend Josh who will be playing alongside each of us as we take turn at the keyboard.
Claire goes first. Does she like this kind of battle royale, war game played with random people on the internet? No. Is she any good at it? Probably not. Chris follows next and his mind is in the closet. He spends most of his time styling his character to perfection but will the purple vest and new haircut save him in the end? Max finishes us out with some truly heroic maneuvers but is his outstanding cred enough to crown him winner, winner, chicken dinner? Listen to find out.
After playing our hearts out, we return to the studio with Cris to learn more about PUBG and review our experience. As we suspected, Cris has all the information is kind of a pro player himself. I wouldn’t say we feel bad about ourselves in comparison, but there is a clear divide in skill. Anyway! No one is bitter…
Just as we’re wrapping up the show, Cris reveals that being a guest has been a long-con game of his own to bust us for getting high. Is this where the podcast ends? Only three glorious episodes before we’re all carted off to jail while Mayor Eric Garcetti awards Cris the keys to the city for his unprecedented undercover performance? No, of course not. If you fell for that, then you’re probably high because don’t forget, in California, weed is legal.