I first must state that Italian food is not my favorite, but if you like it that’s fine. It’s been about 12 years since I’ve been to an Olive Garden. I can tell you that it hasn’t changed a bit. A beautifully decorated restaurant with food that tastes like Marie Callender’s out of a microwave. I was really excited for the breadsticks they are proud of, however they tasted a bit odd. The olfactory aroma was similar to the inside of a brown paper bag.
The trick is they fill you up on salad and bread so you won’t be able to finish your meal. Then you take the bagged boxes out in public and advertise to draw more people into the restaurant. By the time you finish your leftovers you realize it wasn’t really that big of a portion. The best part of the meal was the salad however there was only one olive the entire bowl and not a garden of olives as I was expecting.
Service is still slow, but that’s because they are always crowded and fielding complains from the guests. I heard someone a few tables over say their food was disgusting. There was a 10 minute daily in getting our child menus and a 15 minute delay between two halves of our table being served.
Someone from my party actually got sick from their meal. I’m glad my Tour of Italy didn’t finish it’s route at the bottom of my toilet bowl.
There is no question that Fish and Chips is one my favorite meals. Whenever traveling I always look for a good basket of authentic old country goodness.
I think it all stems back to my childhood when I was having my double hernia operation. The doctors wouldn’t release me from the hospital until I stopped throwing up. It was due to the hospital food being quite terrible and bland. One evening, it seemed as if a super hero entered my room with a long flowing cape. Under that cape was Fish and Chips from Long John Silvers. Nothing that I remember has ever tasted so delicious. Needless to say the next meal that the hospital placed before me stayed down with no problem. Turns out, my stomach was missing an essential layer of grease that would help the bland food stick to my innards. I was released thanks to the healing power of Long John Silvers!
I don’t know why, but I decided to start drinking coffee in 2002. Having just started a new job, I was finding it difficult to adjust to the time zone difference, recovering from the move, and dealing with new co-workers. I called a friend who had commended something called a “press pot”. I started from there skipping over the whole drip coffee maker ordeal that my parents had when I was growing up. No wonder I never liked coffee.
At first I bought ground coffee. Millstone Foglifter to be exact. Then I discovered that the coffee tasted better if I bought the whole beans in the store and ground them and brought them home. Next I found out that I could grind my own beans at home right before brewing, big improvement. Then I figured out filtered water tastes even better with the coffee.
Next I formed an alliance with co-workers and formed a super-hero coffee club. We vowed to fight coffee injustice by only grinding the freshest beans and preparing the coffee at the right brewing temperature. It was a in-house debate which temperature was superior. I preferred 192.5 F and others preferred 185 F. We bickered about grind settings complaining that some were too coarse while others were too fine. We hurled insults if someone let the coffee steep too long, so we had to start using a timer.
We then discovered that we could roast our own green coffee beans. That opened up new layers of complexity that we could fight about. Roast settings, under or over roastings and how the coffee sometimes tasted like drinking boiled string bean water out of a brown grocery bag. I finally had to move away to a new job to get out of the coffee club. I now know the secrets to true coffee bliss. Throw a K-cup into a machine and drink the contents once it squirts out. So easy…
This is where product review gold is found. You will find the most minuscule of complaints about how a product didn’t meet expectations. Complaints like, the a golf GPS not lowering your score because you are not able to hit your pitching wedge 170 yards like Dustin Johnson.
My favorite so far is reading a Yelp one star restaurant review. The restaurant wasn’t known for making wraps. In fact, they didn’t have wraps on their menu. The lady asked them to make her a wrap and she had to explain what a wrap was. So when the wrap didn’t come back as she liked she complained and gave a 1 star review of the entire place.
I understand one star reviews for products that are terrible, but bringing your subjectivity into the complaint is another thing. I tend to either leave five or one star reviews. There is no middle ground for me. All it takes is one small experience and I will never go back.
I like the idea of the Coca-Cola Freestyle and I love the options, however it’s not worth the anxiety attack. Once you get to the front of the line you are inundated with a plethora of beverage configurations. As you are mashing buttons a line begins forming with anxious patrons with lids half cocked waiting to fill their containers with carbonated corn syrup and artificial flavoring.
I’m all for consumer options but this machine basically causes a traffic jam. I’ve even seen these in airports, a place where there is enough traffic. I’m a bit disappointed that there’s no button for an extra shot of caffeine, which would turbo charge any beverage selection. This would also be a great product placement for a Xanax button for a shot of relaxation. This would ease the anxiety about the five people in line waiting to stab you in the orbital socket with a bendy straw.
JUST PICK ONE!
While great in theory the execution can be painful. If you have these in your restaurant then have a minimum of two machines. People have enough trouble retrieving sporks and straws and now you present them with thousands of flavor combinations?
Think about what flavor you want beforehand. There is nothing more frustrating that watching someone hunt and peck for Orange Flavored Sunkist when it’s not even a Coke product. Have an additional dispenser for just ice and water, this will speed up the queue and reduce the glacier of ice that has formed because of trigger happy customers. I would also be nice if these machines could detect the type of drinking vessel so that you don’t cascade the soda over the cup onto your hand. Or maybe just have one size for this machine and tune it for proper filling.
When I was first married, I thought it would be nice to slowly introduce the spouse to some of the food I enjoyed while living in the Deep South. One night I prepared Red Beans and Rice with cornbread. I went all out and bought two boxes of Tony Chachere’s from the local Food Lion. Well after a few bites in she decided it was too spicy, and plus I forgot about her terrible acid reflux.
So what now? I had a huge pot of red beans and rice that I didn’t want all that Cajun goodness to go to waste. Well, I suffered through and consumed red beans and rice for every meal for the next few days until it was gone. Let me tell you, re-hydrated red beans are probably the most gassy. At first I thought all the farting was hilarious! But after a full day of constant farts every 5 to 10 minutes and gut wrenching gas that felt like someone was using an air compressor to inflate my large intestine, my pucker muscle was fatigued. I just wanted it to stop and so did my wife.
I was starting to leave permanent odors on my office chair from trying to hold them in. I didn’t want to kill any of the office plants or cause workman’s comp cases for my co-workers. Some lessons you learn the hard way.