Archive Page 2

20
Mar
09

Restaurant Mailing Lists

You ever wonder about whether to fill out one of those cards on the front counter, or included with your bill, at a restaurant and give them your vital information? Well, in this economy, between our thin wallets and restaurants’ sparsely populated dining rooms, filling out one of these cards at your favorite restaurant (and even a few you’d like to try but couldn’t afford) is not a bad idea.

Usually, these cards ask for your name, mailing address, email address, birthday and anniversary. Give it to them. And if you are not married, like me, make up an anniversary. I use my mom’s birthday at one place and my friends’ anniversary at another. Why? Because these places often send you a gift certificate in honor of your special day. You don’t have to use it that day — they usually give you a month — so you can still enjoy where you want on your special day and then go to one of these other places later. And while they can check your ID to see if April is in fact your birth month, there is no ID that lists your date of marriage, or even that you are married. Heck, some married people don’t even wear rings, so that’s what you can say, too. Thus, when it comes to declaring an anniversary date, give a different one to each restaurant, and you’ll get gift certificates all year round!

You’re thinking, how good can these gift certificates be, aren’t you? Well, I received $125 worth of them for my birthday this year. And they are true gift certificates. They may restrict from which menu you must order, or a time of day, but you can often order off the bar menu, and none of the ones I received required any kind of 2-for-1 type deal. It was just worth $25, or $50, towards a good meal.

Let me give you an example.

Last Sunday, I took a buddy of mine out to El Gaucho, one of Seattle’s swankier eateries, with a $50 birthday certificate. It simply said it had to be used for dinner. While I hear future certificates may restrict diners to ordering off of the dinner menu, this one did not, so we were able to order off the bar menu. If that wasn’t good enough, the bar menu is half-off all night on Sundays. So we ordered $90 worth of food, and when our server factored in the tax, our bill still came out to $0! Free food!!! We ordered a Caprese salad (g00d), crab cakes (very good), diver scallops (good), ahi tuni tartare (excellent), wicked prawns linguini (very good) and baby back ribs (over-cooked).

Oddly enough, in this famous house of meat, it was the meat dish that fell short, and they make a big deal about it being their original recipe since 1953 on the menu. Then again, I suppose I can’t complain too much. It was free. And they didn’t even require us to buy a drink (something you should always ask when availing yourself of a happy hour menu, as you can eat cheap with just water at many places).

So, the next time you are in your favorite joint (or just walking past it, or one you find interesting), fill out one of those mailing list cards. Heck, most places now only want your email address anyway, to save the cost of paper. For the cost of a little extra email, you could get $25-$50 worth of free food.

Advertisements
03
Mar
09

Pizza Hut makes it “Natural”

Speaking of Pizza Hut treating us like we’re stupid, what’s up with “The Natural”? I guess they figure none of us are quite smart enough to ask the question, “if this stuff is natural, what were they serving us before?” Why on Earth would anyone seeking a natural diet eat somewhere that is treating the concept as some sort of revelation? Instead, maybe try a local pizzeria that has always used natural ingredients.

To Pizza Hut, “natural” is about marketing trends, not lifestyles.

03
Mar
09

Pizza Hut Markets “Lasagna”

Would everyone who honestly believes that Pizza Hut went to Italy and surprised a bunch of Italians into thinking their corporate fast food version of lasagna was actually made by some Italian chef or grandmother please stand up? (Okay, I guess it is pretty difficult to count those of you standing in this format, so you can sit down again.)

Recently, Pizza Hut began airing a TV commercial for its new lasagna in which they paint a picture of setting up a restaurant full of Italians with lasagna they are supposed to think is made by a local restaurant that is in fact, surprise, made by Pizza Hut. Ignoring for now that lasagna is not something Italians probably are going out to eat, if they were, you’d think one of them might think something was afoot when everyone in the restaurant was eating the same thing. You think they also might have noticed the cameras everywhere filming their “candid” reactions — reactions that, of course, are full of big, sexy Italian words that no one in real life, even in Italy, would likely be using in that context.

Then, when the “chef” announces to everyone that it is, in fact, Pizza Hut lasagna, and a bunch of guys dressed in Pizza Hut uniforms walk in, everyone laughs and applauds. Never mind that it is probably more likely in Italy that the locals would be incited to riot against the invasion of their country by another corporate fast food restaurant. This is the birthplace of the Slow Food movement, people!

All this leads me to ask, does this ad prove that Pizza Hut thinks Americans are that stupid, or does it prove that Pizza Hut can even find stupid people with no taste in Italy?

26
Feb
09

Breaking News: KFC Has Cooks!!!

A recent TV ad campaign for KFC features a woman walking and talking. She’s talking about how fresh the chicken is at KFC. She explains, you see, that KFC receives a delivery of fresh chicken every day. Cut to the image of the Tyson factory-farmed chicken truck backing up to a KFC, as if Tyson is delivering its “chicken” directly to each of KFC’s 11,000+ “restaurants” directly, and individually, on a daily basis. As if.

Anyway, the woman then asks viewers rhetorically (since it would be pretty silly if she expected us to answer her, and even more silly if we did), “How do I know this?” She then answers her own question, now wearing her kitchen whites, with, “I’m the cook here. There’s one of us in every KFC.”

Stop the presses! This is serious. Apparently, if we are to believe KFC’s commercial (and I know there are some who won’t), there is someone in every single one of the 11,000+ KFCs out there actually cooking their food! Who knew?Sounds like KFC is jumping on the cooks cooking cooked food bandwagon. How knee-jerk of them.

I guess we can now all feel comfortable about eating at KFC, knowing they get chicken from Tyson, and that after they get it, someone there cooks it. What are they going to come up with next? A commercial that brags about their lights using pure and natural electricity? Now that would get me in the door.

24
Feb
09

Subway Stinks

Have you ever gone into a Subway sandwich shop? If so, you likely know its distinctive smell — the smell of its signature sandwich bread being proofed and baked. It smells exactly the same in every Subway everywhere always.

Have you ever been in the Vietnamese restaurant next door to Subway? Which Vietnamese restaurant next to which Subway, you ask?  It doesn’t matter. Pick any of them. Or a Thai restaurant neighboring a Subway? Or even an outpost of The Paper Zone that happens to be so unfortunate to inhabit the same building as a Subway, even if it they are at the opposite end of a large strip mall?

They all smell like Subway. They are all infested with the signature smell of Subway’s bread.  It permeates the entire building, polluting every cubic inch of air. That Vietnamese Pho shop can have the most fragrant basil and savory beef broth, but all you will smell when you walk in the door is the smell of Subway’s friggin’ bread.

I don’t expect Subway to change its practices in any way that would result in the protection of the airspace of its neighbors anytime soon, though you’d think there really ought to be a law about it. But I cannot stand that smell. It smells like big, corporate sandwiches to me — nothing like the hoagie and sub rolls I revere back East that vary in flavor, smell, texture and appearance depending on who made them, how they made them, or even what city’s water system they used. No, Subway wants it so that no matter where you go on Earth, your Subway sandwich will taste exactly the same, and no matter what kind of business neighbors that Subway, it will smell exactly the same, too.

My advice to any would-be restaurateurs, and anyone, really, who wants my business, is to refuse to sign a lease on any commercial real estate that shares a building with Subway. In fact, demand a clause in your lease that prohibits your landlord from leasing space in your building to Subway in the future. Maybe then, when Subway finds itself unable to lease any space for its omniodorous franchises, it will figure out a way to keep its smell from invading the space of its neighbors. I could hope for Subway’s sandwiches to stop being so corporate, but I think that would be hoping for too much.

22
Feb
09

More “Real Ingredients”

Everyone is getting in on the fun now with making their food products (not to be confused with food, of course) with what they call “real ingredients.” For the love of Mike, how stupid are we?!?

The latest to join the “real ingredients” claims craze is Stouffer’s Lasagna. They proudly boast in a television advert that their frozen lasagna is perfect for your family because it is “made with real ingredients.” Um, again, what did they used to make it out of?

22
Feb
09

“Made With Real Ingredients!”

Wow.  The fine folks at Kraft are proud to announce in a recent advertising campaign that their Kraft Salad Dressing is “made with real ingredients.”  Sorta begs the question, what were they using as ingredients before now, and why weren’t they real… and more fundamentally, how weren’t they real?

It also sorta begs the question, why would anyone trust serving their family something made by a company that at one point did not use real ingredients in their products?