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Monthly Archives: September 2010

Funny post – Seven Habits of Highly Annoying Servers

I love this new post from the Citypages blogs about highly annoying servers. My biggest pet peeve is probably when the waiter takes away your dish before you’ve finished eating. And you’ve left some little morsels to scoop up with your bread:

6. The Premature Evacuation
Thank you for snatching away my nearly finished plate of food. I had been looking forward to eating those last, delicious morsels, but you’re right–I really don’t need the extra calories. I’m already full, which is why I set my fork down for a split second, which no doubt gave you the idea that I was done. And I appreciate you not asking me if I was through with my entree, or the bread rolls, or that last couple swallows of wine. That would only have tempted me to answer no. Thanks for saving me from myself. Yeah, thanks very much.

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Posted by on September 29, 2010 in Food Reads

 

iPads in Restaurants: Hot and Trendy, and Apparently Very Effective

iPad wine lists are the hot new thing in the wine/restaurant world right now. A recent New York Times article focuses on several restaurants that allow diners to select their wines from an iPad. I recently took a couple of friends to Barbacco in San Francisco, and lo and behold, we got to select our wine from the iPads. Since none of us are iPad owners, we were particularly delighted to play with the fabulous, sleek tablets. And yes, we ordered wine.

My friends wondered if it was really cost effective for restaurants to offer wine lists on iPads. After all, tipsy people, liquid and electronics usually don’t mix. But according to this little article in Gizmodo, people are wowed by the gadgets and are more likely to order. But it’s not the fancy technology, they assert: they’re more likely to splurge because they have a chance to read reviews:

In just two weeks, Bone’s – Atlanta’s most famous steakhouse – sold 11 per cent more wine than in the three weeks previous to the iPad introduction. Like Bone’s, many restaurants around the world are having the same experience. Everyone using iPad wine lists are having big sales jumps. It’s not the novelty factor, owners and clients say. The reason is simple and logical: reviews.

I don’t always agree with wine reviewers, but when you don’t have much information about a wine, the truth is that you’re probably going to rely on something that can help you choose a wine. So you find a great Robert Parker or James Laube review, and bam, you’re sold.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2010 in Restaurant Buzz, Wine

 

Don't pay extra for luxury liquor

Pull up to the bar on a busy Saturday night at your latest hot bar or club and you’re likely to get asked which brand of alcohol you want in your drink. Brands have gotten so good at selling us the idea that luxury brands like Ketel One, Level, etc. are more delicious that we’re happy to fork over a few more dollars for a branded experience.

But are you just wasting your money?

Yes, says Brett Arends at the Wall Street Journal, and I agree.

“I recently held a blind taste test comparing super-luxury Grey Goose (I paid $22.99 for a bottle), a brand favored by conspicuous consumers, to another French vodka I happened to see in the liquor store—little-known Pinnacle.

Pinnacle’s cost? Just $8.99 a bottle. (That day there was a money-off voucher, too.)

My handful of tasters couldn’t tell much of a difference.
If anything, they slightly preferred … the cheaper stuff.”

Vodka is a grain or potato liquor that has very little flavor. Add some fruity juices or tonic water, and the chances that you can tell the difference between one brand and the other are nil.

But there is someone who cares about what you drink: the liquor companies. According to Arends, for the behemoth company Diageo, which owns brands such as Ketel One and Smirnoff vodkas:

“Gross profit margins are a thumping 58 cents on each dollar of after-tax sales.”

So keep drinking your fancy vodka, and you’ll keep fattening Diageo’s pocket. Bottom’s up!

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2010 in Food Reads

 

FDA to Meat Producers: Get Ready for Limits on Antibiotics

It’s about time!

The FDA is expected to release strict new guidelines that would “would end farm uses of the drugs simply to promote faster animal growth and call for tighter oversight by veterinarians,” according to the New York Times.

Given the number of food recalls in the last few years, it is incredible that it took the FDA this long to release these new guidelines, but it is exciting nonetheless. In countries where antibiotics are strictly controlled, food-borne illnesses — particularly the antibiotic-resistant kind — have gone down dramatically.

Food producers are crying foul because the guidelines will raise the cost of food, but as one scientist put it, “Is producing the cheapest food in the world our only goal?”

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2010 in Meat

 

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