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    Northern California

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  1. The Ferry Building has the shiny new Boccalone shop, they've got all sorts of delicious stuff available and a beautiful display fridge full of cured meats. Go check it out. Immediately. I'll try and take some pictures on Saturday when I'm back at the Ferry Plaza for the Farmers Market.
  2. They can be imported fresh into Canada, they only seem to be available frozen (or defrosted) in SF, LA, and NYC - I haven't seen them available elsewhere in the states (aside from Hawaii and PR where they are grown locally).
  3. Restaurants charge a service charge for larger groups because they require more work and people tend to under tip at large tables. You're always welcome to discuss it with the staff before you order. A gratuity is optional. A service charge on the other hand, if it's printed on the menu and you order without saying anything, you're agreeing to pay it.
  4. At a mid-level restaurant I'd agree with you. At a place where the average cover is $12 in a state where the minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.65/hr I don't think adding on average a $2.20 service charge per customer to the bill is unreasonable at all. The staff needs to be able to afford to eat.
  5. The view from the cheap seats really must be something, eh? ← It's common for a restaurant to include a gratuity for larger tables, you were concerned about it you should have discussed it with the staff before sitting down. The difference between a 15% tip and a 20% tip is six bucks, you're splitting that with the other nine people at your table. I honestly feel for you if this is a critical issue in your life. If that's the case, you probably should be eating at home rather than going out and risking going a fifty cents over budget. This has nothing to do with anyone taking cheap shots at your expense. You went to dinner, you were served your food, you were given the bill and you short paid it. I'm not at all surprised at the response you're getting here - the behavior you describe is clearly inappropriate.
  6. And here's where we disagree. While I don't expect four-star, white glove service for 20%, I do expect to be asked if I need anything else, like, say, another revenue-inducing drink. And that's at the least. If all I need is the food I order to *not* be spilled into my lap, well then, they can get a trained monkey to bring it to me. At least I'd be semi-entertained by a trained monkey. I never tip less than $1, even if it's well above 20%. So those dipweeds who start parsing their $2.99 breakfast special? That's not who I am, either...chances are, that's just a $5 deal out the door. Even so, greasy spoon or not, I don't care whether my waitress is named Flo, chews her gum like a cow chews cud, etc. If they want to be compensated well for their service, then the level of service had better be commensurate with that expectation. If the $2.99 breakfast special gets dropped unceremoniously in front of me and my glass is empty without being addressed? I notice, and yeah: I adjust the tip. It's hard *not* to get $5 out of me on a special like that, but it *can be done*. I do not now, nor will I ever, believe that "good" service ignores empty glasses and baskets on the table. On the pragmatic side of the restaurant management, if I found out that my server *wasn't* trying to sell more drinks to a large party of diners, she'd be on the business end of a serious derriere-chewing, if not out looking for a new job. ← It's two bucks. Get over it.
  7. Allow me to *set* you straight: we did not get "good" service. I would have *recognized* that, had it happened. No, the service we received was merely "functional". I guess I'm just running roughshod over the service industry by thinking that a server should ask if we wanted more margaritas, sangria, etc., rather than just having the empty glasses removed. I guess that seeing empty baskets of tortilla chips is too difficult a clue that, gee golly!, maybe they should refill them. We ordered the food, it came, it didn't make us sick (that I know of). We served ourselves our own beverages in ridiculously small glasses, because we weren't getting more beverages that would have made the restaurant more money, and increased the server's tip. I'm afraid of your attitude, that anyone who schleps food in any joint, *however* they choose to do it, should thereby be entitled to whatever they decide their own service is worth, and that those who don't comply are thereby cheap, or curmudgeonly. Will I be assimilated? Is resistance futile? Is it so hard to imagine that others at the table weren't all that impressed by the service, either? At 19% for doing not a whole heckuva lot, I think she made out quite well, the more I think about it. I wish I could do so well for such work in my own occupation, which, believe it or not, is *also* very service-oriented. You'd have a point had we left 10%, and perhaps even at 15%, but at 19%, *KEEPING THE LEVEL OF SERVICE IN MIND*, I'm inclined to disagree, strongly. I think that's actually more than she should have received. To have asked for more, in my opinion, was out of line. ← First of all, I'm about as curmudgeonly as they get. If I'm paying twelve bucks for a meal all the service I expect is that my food be brought to the table without landing in my lap. I've got no idea what the cost of living is where you live, but I'd imagine a server with one table for the night at a dive restaurant is probably not driving a Ferrari, even if you tip 21%.
  8. So let me get this straight... We're talking about an 10 person table, you all got good service and spending two bucks a head to tip the server seems excessive? It's heartwarming to learn that you each saved yourselves nine cents since clearly the restaurant was trying to rob you blind! I don't know that people are being unduly rough on Boagman, I think that when you're eating at a dive and you get reasonably good service that leaving a few bucks a person for the server is the least you can do.
  9. Wow I wouldnt have gone that far, not saying its great, i might compare it as cheesecake: Cheesecake factory, I think the two concepts are quite similar but much much better food at PF changs. I had heard they were working on a new concept specializing in the non mainstream asian cuisines (thai, vietnamese), anybody hear this also?? ← I'd agree with whitetrufflechick that PF Changs is much closer to the Olive Garden than it is to decent Asian food. Then again, I'm not sure that the Cheesecake Factory is any better than either of them so maybe you two agree with each other...
  10. What was the outside temperature when you were able to hold 140*F? 220*F for 12 hours is a piece of cake in the WSM, lower is more difficult -- I just duct the smoke from the WSM to my grill when I want a colder smoking temp.
  11. There are a handful of Detroit topics, there doesn't seem to be any real consensus on which (if any) places are worth eating at. I think it depends what you're used to eating and what your expectations are. If you find something great, please report back!
  12. melkor

    Halal or Kosher Lamb

    I've spit roasted whole lambs that I've bought from a local halal butcher, they've been great. The reason Kosher beef is often terrible is because the market is small enough and there is enough demand to allow mediocre producers to sell their product even though it isn't very good. My halal butcher goes through several whole lambs a day, quality and freshness isn't a problem. I'd expect the same to be true in DC.
  13. Chestnut flour works quite well in pasta dough, just be aware that the dough will be much much firmer than it would be if it were made with 00 flour. I wouldn't use puree since that would reduce the amount of egg you could use.
  14. We stopped eating like that when cooks realized they didn't need to serve the same thing that their grandparents cooked. Molecular gastronomy aside, access to quality produce and seafood has changed the way we all eat. It doesn't look like there is anything in that meal that couldn't be stored in the fridge for two weeks. No question some of those dishes are delicious, but unless you live in the gulags you probably have access to more interesting ingredients.
  15. Call GE and complain, they should send someone out with a replacement.
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