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Everything posted by Tess

  1. Well, there's the sixty-four thousand dollar question: when?
  2. Dr. Praeger's vegetable pancakes. The fish sticks are terrible, though.
  3. I don't know if it's illegal, but it's awfully short-sighted. When my close family member was being treated for a rare form of cancer at St. Vincent's, he looked *awful* at times. I am happy to say that when he got out for a rare restaurant meal-- going to random places in the area-- he was always greeted enthusiastically and shown to a nice table. That meant a whole lot to him. That said, I get as pissed off as the next person with people who go out with bad colds, blowing their noses all over everyone and leaving balled up tissues everywhere. As least wash your hands before you touch me. You know who you are.
  4. Oh, good. There's butt-ramming. I hate it when he forgets to include butt-ramming.
  5. I think I spend about the same with credit as I would with cash, at least in restaurants. I know I tip way too well to feel bad about anything; I just don't like the feeling that a cut's being taken out. I feel it adds to the sense of nickel and diming that often comes with service jobs. Just an icky feeling I get.
  6. As a customer, I hate the idea of my server getting less money specifically because I decided to use a credit card. If I knew this was happening I would make a point of adding to the tip, but the server wouldn't know why I was doing that and would probably still feel s/he was losing money. I could just pay with cash or a check but I dislike both those options A LOT.
  7. Here in Chicago, with an admittedly short season for most markets, I find that as a consumer having the farmer there is really helpful. They'll tell me when a crop will be at its peak and stuff like that. Sure, middlemen may know some of those things but I always feel it's more accurate coming from the farmer, plus they know exactly what they plan to sell in the following weeks. When I was buying sour cherries last summer, one farmer told me he'd be selling bags of them pitted and frozen the following week. I made a point of being back there to get some. Also, I try not to be a pain in the butt, but I feel as if telling the person who used to sell (eg) currants that I wish they would again might factor into their decision, at least if enough people say something.
  8. Heh. Here is a rather similar idea.
  9. Blech on the corn syrup. I think the food/wine pairing is just another thing to make people feel like they are cooking when they are not.
  10. Oh, absolutely. For me, the question is how to get them to reflect, as opposed to giving them a lecture and end up sounding like a bore. Interesting that you should mention car dealerships. We bought a new car the other day. We heard a lot from the dealer about his side of the deal, the position he's in, blah blah. I absolutely hate buying cars because I hate this kind of discussion when trying to make a deal. And I've owned a couple of small businesses. I don't get irritated by discussing business realities until I am trying to patronize a business-- and then, my tolerance is extremely limited. I've really enjoyed discussing aspect of business with restaurant owners, including when I am dining at the restaurant, but that's after I know them and have made it clear that I'm interested. A restaurant owner that treats the restaurant like his/her soapbox? Not so much.
  11. I think most people simply don't understand this. They assume walk-ins will pick up the slack. In this regard, I don't think the main difference between restaurants and hotels or airlines is that people know better with the latter two: it's that no hotels or airlines really give them the opportunity NOT to pony up in advance, and if you don't show it WILL cost you. People don't like that or even understand it, particularly, they just have no choice. It's a dilemma when you are in business. Sometimes it's really tempting to try to educate people just a tiny bit about the realities of what you are dealing with. It's so frustrating when someone thinks they are an ideal customer when really everyone cringes as soon as they walk in the door. But everyone knows what it's like to encounter a business person who thinks it's his/her mission to explain things to the public and who thinks everyone needs to understand his/her business in order to patronize it. I owned a business with a guy like that and wanted to put a muzzle on him. You could just watch the customers' eyes glaze over as he started explaining the business to them.
  12. There are also times when some members of the party are unaware of the poor tip, like in the siutation someone described above with one person leaving a quarter. The two times I can remember being in a party that was approached, it was (once) because of some guy who insisted on paying the entire bill and then stiffed the waiter and (another time) because a woman I was dining with stole the tip money the rest of us had left on the table. Both times I felt the server was doing the rest of us a huge favor by letting us know. In the case of the theft, I think it was observed and the women wound up making a lame-ass excuse about thinking it was change that was due to her. Totally implausible; she knew we knew; we knew never to dine with her again.
  13. I have no doubt that some recent decisions by restaurant owners are pure political correctness or bandwagon-jumping. With this type of issue, though, Waters is not a bandwagon-jumper. She is the bandwagon. "Let the educated consumer decide" does sound nice, but what does it really mean, when you are talking about running a restaurant? Let the customers tell you what to serve? And how do you decide which consumers are educated? If you are an important chef, you are supposed to be a tastemaker. Why should you be expected to ignore your own conscience? People talk about this sort of thing like it's an issue of personal freedom. What about the chef's freedom? If they are blindly doing something like boycotting an ingredient because its use is frowned upon, then they are not acting freely, but the opposite. That doesn't mean, however, that every single time a chef stops serving something, it's a knee-jerk decision. Sometimes, there is a good reason for it.
  14. I'm glad to hear that. I would be annoyed if I got to a restaurant and found out they didn't have any kind of sparkling water. But then I always feel that restaurants don't have enough good nonalcoholic drinks. I live in the US and I do consider bottled water a fairly basic item to have in a restaurant, but in a way that makes me respect Waters's decision more. If that's what her conscience tells her to do, good for her. There are sound arguments behind what she'd doing and, for whatever reason, I don't doubt her sincerity.
  15. A brief discussion in the New Yorker is now online.
  16. I am enjoying the tips for specific cheap wines (or blends like Fat Guy's) in cooking and would love to hear more. What are some good cheapo ones for such standards as beef bourquignon, coq au vin and white wine or champagne sauces, like the one for scallops in the Les Halles cookbook? About sherry and marsala-- don't they keep a pretty long time? I use madeira for one recipe only and have never found it to go off.
  17. Please do try this place out yourself before you recommend it again. For the same price (or less) in roughly the same neighborhood, someone could go to Cafe Lucci and get a very large plate of pasta and a thoughtful wine selection. You will enjoy meeting the wine guy, Bobby.
  18. I've always thought this explanation of the origin of the term "blog" sounded likely: http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/weblog_history.html
  19. By "important" I mean "important to me" in the sense being the first few places I go to looking for information or discussion. There has never been a Chowhound or an eG for most subjects I'm interested in. In food, these types of sites are among my go-tos. When it comes to food, I'll never be more than a consumer and a fan, which may affect the kind of information I'm looking for in this field. I don't need insider information, and I don't care much about developing a critical perspective. Even if I did, though, I think I would be visiting the discussion boards. In my other fields of interest, I would probably visit them, but they don't exist.
  20. I watch literary and publishing blogs a lot. It seems to me that the ones with staying power are usually those that are part of networks, formal or informal. The writers are somewhat connected and in the know, and they read and comment on each other. They also have professional reasons to keep their blogs going. Most of the time, I only have two or three of these bookmarked and keep up with the rest through their blogrolls and comments. I used to write about sex professionally, and it was possible to do pretty much the same with that subject. With food it seems a little more difficult to identify nerve centers, at least in terms of blogs. For one thing, discussion boards are better established and more important in the area of food. At least in my opinion.
  21. Congratulations on everything! Losing weight while doing a food-based career must be most people's idea of impossible. I think there's a book in there somewhere. Really looking forward to your blog.
  22. Ronnie, you are the best! You may not remember this discussion, but it turned out that our relatives are buried pretty much neck to neck in Memorial Park. (My grandfather has an underground pipeline to Schafer's Liquors. ) Hope to see you in person before we both wind up there.
  23. Tess

    Ides of March Meal

    It would be a nice day to taste some wines with grapes from Campania and Sicily in honor of the major wines in Caesar's day. In fact, I am going to an Italian restaurant tonight and will bring this up with the wine guy. Please do explain the "hash" thing. I did hard time as a Latin teacher and I have no idea what you are talking about.
  24. Once in a while I find myself thinking, holy ****, what's with all the spotty service lately? That's when I realize I've been eating out too much and/or spending too much money on it. When I'm investing too much into dining out, I notice little problems more. Ditto when for any reason I'm having to eat out a lot just to get a meal. I try to cut back for a while until it seems like fun again.
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