Friday, October 28, 2011

who doesn't love boobies?

Everyone loves boobies, it's true, you can't deny it.  But here's a question for you, do breasts ever make you uncomfortable?  

Sure sure, the response from most will either be, "Nah, I have a pair of my own", "Actually I find the bosoms of a woman to be a natural and beautiful part of our world" or "BRING ON THE TITTY SHOW!!!".  But I'm sure there are a number of people in the world who are somewhat off-put at the sight of naked flesh of any kind - think Amish and ankles.

Why in the world would anyone want to tackle this topic? I guess I just don't have enough controversy in my life at the moment, surely this will divide many of my readers into two camps.  1. We support breastfeeding mothers, it's natural, they should be welcome everywhere!  2. We don't want to talk about it, we will pretend to agree with whoever is the most vocal.

Now, as with many issues that I have tackled here in the past, location and discretion are of utmost importance.  The etiquette in a fine dining establishment is different than a fast food joint - and varies in between.  But you will argue, IT'S NATURAL, a mother should be allowed to do this anywhere.  Not true, pooping is also natural, making sweet love to your significant other - NATURAL.  There are many wonderful natural things that exist in our world that I do not want happening at the table next to me in a restaurant.  

I personally feel that breast feeding is an intimate moment shared between mother and child that need not be broadcast to everyone in the vicinity.

However, with all that being said, if I may quote someone who prefers to remain anonymous - but who contributed to the dialogue regarding breastfeeding in restaurants - "timing is everything'".  Perhaps the moment while your server is taking your order and you are describing to them that you'll have the caesar salad but with no crouton, light on the dressing - here's my boob coming out and here I go hoisting baby up to suckle, got a good look at my nipple didn't ya? - oh and extra bacon; this, maybe, is not the time.

Discretion is the other thing.  I have to admit I do have a soft spot personally for breastfeeding women.  There's a warmth and tenderness to the vision of a baby held close to its mother's breast (so long as the child is not toddler sized or beyond! Another topic for another post).  But, perhaps it could take place under a blanket, or one of the cute hats in the picture at the top of the page?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jesse's Deli disappointment

I feel saddened.

While out running errands I thought I would stop in to the newly opened Jesse's Deli, located where the William's Coffee Pub on Ontario st. used to be.  Though this is a new spot in town I have heard very little about it, they haven't created much of a buzz to launch their new venture.  Despite this, the place was quite busy - almost full - and I felt a little excited as I was seated and given the menu.

The menu itself is the highlight; filled with breakfast options (served 7am-3pm): regular bacon and eggs, 'ecceptional french toast' (yes, I spelled it wrong but took it straight from the menu) which is served with cream cheese and fresh strawberries topped with strawberry sauce, and a variety of eggs benedicts (hollandaise not made in house but should be equal to Features).  Lunch items are available from 11am until close and consist of mostly sandwiches and wraps in a variety of styles - great for a reasonably priced quick bite to eat in the afternoon.

The execution of the menu is where things start to fall apart.  I really was hoping this could become a new staple as a breakfast joint to widen the variety in my life but the food is rife with disappointment.  My breakfast sandwich has some shell left on the circular formed rubbery egg, the sausages beneath are greasy and overdone, like little pool-shrunk wieners.  The square of cheese is desperately trying to be a sharp cheddar but leaves me actually longing for Kraft singles.  Homefries seem to be an attempt at boiled potatoes, mushy texture, little seasoning - like my grandma makes at every family dinner (note: my grandma is a terrible cook).  The side of cottage cheese tastes as though it has spent the last few days making love to the fruit cocktail, not completely unpleasant but certainly strange.

The coffee is undrinkable.

I want to like this place, and will consider giving it one more try but with so many strikes against it, there seems little reason to make the trek.  Please, if you have had a good experience here do pass it along.  Should I give it another try?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

beat that clock

(photo taken from Molly Bloom's Stratford Website)

I have woken to find that it is Thursday yet again.  What should I have for dinner on this dreary Thursday?  There is a simple and delicious answer to this question that you may not be aware of; In my own life this is a newly found treat.

Every Thursday Molly Blooms Irish Pub offers its guests an opportunity to "beat the clock".  But what does that mean?  Well, basically it works like this: starting at 5:00pm you can purchase an 8oz striploin and potatoes for $5.00.  As the clock ticks by, you may place your order at 6:15pm - how much is your steak then? - it's $6.15.  Whatever the time on the clock is the price of your steak.

But man can not live on steak and potatoes alone!  

That's okay, go ahead and add sauteed mushrooms and onions to your steak (generous portions for about $1.00 each).  Can you make it a loaded baked potato? Of course.  Feeling like you haven't had your veggies today?  Add a side of mixed vegetables for $1.29.  A little known secret suggested by a staff member - get a side of aioli for your fries for only $0.49

You are required to purchase a beverage with the deal but they've made the choice easy - besides practically giving away their hand cut steaks - Thursday also means $3 domestic bottles.  Bring on the 50.

The staff at Molly's are always friendly and capable and the food has never failed to impress me far beyond average pub-grub.  I would challenge you to feed your family a steak dinner at home that is this good, for this price, with good service and someone else does the dishes!

Note: steaks can sometimes be a little over their intended temperature, order your preferred colour one step down from normal (ie. if you like Medium try Medium Rare).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

am I wearing service-repellent bat spray?

I do my best to spread my dining dollar around to the different restaurants in Stratford, but admittedly, I have a few favourites, don't we all?  I'm beginning to think that it will be necessary to seek out some different places to get some decent service until the old stand-bys give their heads a shake and perhaps fire the less-than-stellar staff they are currently employing.

Two of my most favourite joints: Pazzo Pizzeria and Foster's Inn, seem to have lost sight this summer of the whole 'offering their guests good service' thing.  I know this has been a tough year and servers and disheartened and unfocused but it's not going to help the bottom line to be slow and discourteous toward guests.  The core staff have maintained a level of service that would have, in the past, brought me back time and again but there are servers cropping up in these restaurants that are giving them a bad name.  Thus the service is bad as often as it is good and my dollars are going elsewhere.

Now, I'm not talking about a busy night, run off their feet, can't keep up, bad service.  I'm talking, only table in the place (or one of two), lazy, uncaring, bad service.

Here's a little pat on the back for two other places in town where I can't help but get better than good service  every time (you may find me here more often than I'd like to admit):

1. Down the Street offers great service consistently.  Whether you're grabbing a quick lunch on the patio or being indulgent late night for too many cocktails and shots of whatever; I have yet to experience a miss from Susan Dunfield's team!  (Awesome aside to the girls working the bar who gently-but-firmly prevent guests from driving after having a few too many!)

2. The Boar's Head also has continuing great service.  The long-time staff (like DTS they seem to last) are quick, appropriately surly and incredibly capable.  I never sit without a drink in my hand, the food is prompt and I am always 'quality checked' for excellence.

I guess for me it is about consistency.  I want to be able to return to a venue that gives me the same level of product, both in food and service, every time I go.  The trouble seems to be in the variety of service staff at some of these locations.  There are some very capable servers, but there are some serious weak links as well.

Bravo to those maintaining a high level of service, and I hope my old favourites will pull themselves together so I can return to delicious comfort.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I know the owner!

This is one of my favourite statements that immediately gets my ire up.

This comment always arises when you tell someone that they cannot have/do something.  A perfect example is a fully booked restaurant where someone arrives without a reservation and is told they cannot have a table.  "But I know the owner!  Surely you have room for US!".


Everyone thinks they know the owner, everyone wants to feel special, but the reality is, if the owner of the restaurant is any good at all, the patrons should know them.  This does not mean that you are entitled to any kind of special treatment.

You are not going to get a discount, you will not get a better table, better service or better food.  In fact, as soon as the words leave your mouth you automatically get placed into the irritating, pretentious category of customers and the quality in your service will decline sharply.  After all, your server is not saying 'No' just for fun.  There is a reason, that reason trumps you knowing the owner.

If you truly know the owner, they should know you are coming.  They will have already informed the staff that you deserve extra perks while dining, you don't have to tell us.

Remember, you may know the owner, but so do we.