April 21, 2007


Let's Just Eat In...

Seeing as how I've been hit with three related articles in three different papers this morning, I figured it was a sign. The Spectator is launching a nasty-restaurant report, and while I won't miss a word of it, I admit to reading lists of affected restaurants with trepidation. The writer of this gut-twister, Fred Vallance-Jones, helpfully provides a place on their website to check out your favourite eatery. Or barfery, as the case may be. Click at your own risk.

Grabbing my mug of germ-free tea, I tossed the paper aside and plunked down at the computer. 'Something a little fresher,' I said to myself. I popped up the NYT, and was met with more of the same. This is the saga of what happens when one of those chi-chi restaurants gets slammed. The chef is devestated, and it sounds like the inspector may have had a side order of jerk before he went in, but still, buddy, it's food. As much as I want to pretend what happens behind that door is fabulous and wonderful, I've read too much, and seen too much, to believe it forever.

In one incarnation I worked for a place that cleaned the carpets at restaurants. When those restaurants bothered to clean them. There were several of the restaurants we cleaned that nobody in the company would eat at. The stories the lads came back with was beyond gross. Another friend's son lasted two days at a well-known upper class joint in this town (and this town is full of them) before putting out the word he wouldn't serve meat that had hit the floor.

You should be aware that a '24-hour' bug, as my mother used to call them, is rarely that. It's food poisoning. Food temperatures are a big, big deal, and if your gut's in a roar for a day or so, think back. My kids' Dad had a taco place experience that levelled him for a week. Hospital-levelled.

We have our favourite restaurants, and we're probably boring because we pretty much stick to the same ones. But they're places I trust, and bored is better than sick.

Oh, and the third story? From the Star, a look at getting better street meat. I love this idea. Read some of the proposed ideas - yum. And the thing with the street vendors, is the kitchen is right in front of your eyes. If they drop your weenie on the sidewalk, they don't try to stuff it in a bun and hand it to you anyway. Points for that, right?

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