Tuesday, September 23, 2014

On the patio

The first time all summer we've sat on the outside deck/patio at our neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant, and what did we find but more than a dozen huge Asian gourds growing from the roof trellis!

Most of them were about a yard long.  We were discussing how strong the stems would have to be to support the weight (they had also been tied up with string) and the waiter, overhearing, showed us how you could use them as punching bags without breaking them loose.

He said the gourds often appeared in the employee meals and didn't taste like anything.  He also volunteered that he wasn't fond of the fish heads that also are prominent on the employee menu.

Neither item was on the customer menu.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Grocery shopping for dummies

Our grocery store has a great olive and antipasto bar, where you can buy a wide variety of delicacies like roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, marinated artichokes, dolmas, and of course, a dozen different kinds of olives, $7.99 a pound.  Grab a plastic box, dish out your choice of goodies, pop the top on the box.

Doesn't sound too hard or time-consuming, does it?  So it's a surprise to find that six feet away you can buy pre-packaged boxes of the same delicacies, not exactly as many as you might have dished out yourself, and not customized to pop in a couple of roasted garlic cloves on top of the tomatoes in case you're going to use them for pasta.

But hey, you save the 55 seconds of spooning out the food and putting a lid on the box, so it's worth an extra buck a pound, right?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

In praise of continuity

How many times have you showed up at one of your regular restaurants only to find that they have a new menu?  I usually hate that.  Either they have raised all the prices, or they have taken away my favorite item, or both.  I find that the disappointment of losing what I loved far outweighs the occasional thrill of a new dish.  And it takes so long to study the new menu and find out just what they've done.  But maybe I'm just old and crabby.

So it made me happy to discover a restaurant where menu continuity is important.