Thursday, November 11, 2010

Has true hospitality been toasted?

I am WAY behind on my updates on this and I have A LOT to share with you all. We have had a ton of things going on to make this transition of our lives happen. We have purchased the RV (The one below that I posted the pictures of on here a few months ago.) and have been living on the road fulltime for the past few weeks and it's great! We are super happy and very excited to get to our next stop. I will certainly get back to that in a bit. But, I wanted to touch on the subject of Hospitality in the food/coffee/wine industry. We eat out quite a bit and tend to tip big and rack up a pretty good size bill. Between the two of us for dinner and drinks our average tab is around $70 to $80. Also, I would consider myself a patient person and sure most of you that know me would agree…almost to a fault. When we go out to eat we don't expect the staff to welcome us with a hug and jump up and down with excitement or anything. However, we have noticed that with the food, restaurant/coffee shop "trend" there are a lot of places popping up that have very cool creative local organic concepts and I am all about supporting in them with my money. But I will tell you what, I don't care if you have the BEST food or coffee on the planet, if your service isn't good and your staff is not at least somewhat friendly enough to act like they enjoy their job on some level. We will never return. I would rather have good service with mediocre food any day of the week, than great food served by people that think they are too cool to be courteous and pleasant. I hate to sound like and ageist but honestly I find it with younger 20 to 30ish folks. Maybe they grew up with so much technology based interactions, that they didn't develop adequate social skills or something I don't know. I don't find that I experience this as often (but have) at established "fine dining" places such as Wildwood, Lincoln, Pazzo or Nostrana. Typically, and unfortunately it is a places that are great conceptually that I would honestly like to support and help succeed. Toast in SE Portland one of these places for example. I have tried it twice, hoping that the first time I just had pulled a bad card. Super cute place, great menu concept, and pretty good food (not great) but the service, is super-duper lame. I also seem to experience this same service in several coffee shops around town. There almost seems to be a cocky, quiet, reserved, arrogance that goes with it (Particularly in the Hawthorne/Alberta / Mississippi District). It seems like that crowd that is like…"I'm so cool in my grungy, artsy, alternativeness that I don't need to have manors or any kind of customer service etiquette". Again, I'm just saying… smile and say hello with some eye contact and be polite. Don't act like the customers are an inconvenience and your time is so damn precious. I don't know, maybe I'm just getting old or becoming a snob. I hate to just pick on one place I have experienced in several places in Portland, Seattle and Bend. It seems to be happening a lot more often and my fear is that I will have to spend $80 for dinner every time we go out to get decent service. I was just curious of what your thoughts are on this and what you have experienced out there. I don't want to turn this blog on a negative note, but I have heard it from other people too. I would especially like to hear from my friends in the industry.
Thanks all,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Eat Wild!

Here is a really cool link....This is your source for safe, healthy, natural and nutritious grass-fed beef, lamb, goats, bison, poultry, pork, dairy and other wild edibles...There is a lot of great info here to find great resources to healthier eating.

Monday, September 20, 2010

UW Lecture Series...Food: Eating Your Environment

My friend Kari shared this on FB and it looks like a really cool lecture series.  We are going to attend the lecure on October 19 - "Food Politics: Advocacy for Social Change" Speaker: Marion Nestle - Paulette Goddard Professor, New York University
There are several others that sound really cool.  I wish I could go to them all.  They are free so if you're interested you should really check it out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Slow Food

This is an organization that politically advocates for sustainable healthy food. I have attached a video in my video section for you to check out.  If you visit their website they also have a petition you can sign too help put tighter regulations in place to help prevent the poor and unsafe farming practices that are running of  control.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

UPDATE:Our journey is near!

I set the stage in my description of this blog and then, I sort of just started posting to this blog just about some local restaurants in Portland that I enjoy to get familiar with it. But the real focus is on our upcoming RV journey everywhere USA. So I just wanted to give a quick update on where we are on that.

We had a huge garage sale back in June and sold over 1/2 of everything we own. The rest we kept to stage the house and got a storage unit for keepsakes and such. I have to say that it was a great feeling to purge stuff. You don’t really realize how much crap you really have. When you make a decision to change your life and embark on a journey like this, it really offers you the opportunity to look at "stuff" differently. What you need, what you don’t, why you have been keeping it, storing it, shuffling things around for years…that type of thing. I mean, what do I really need? Granted, I like to have nice things and be comfortable. I certainly don’t claim to be Gandhi or some sort of live off the land kind of gal or anything. (As much as I admire it, it certainly wouldn’t be for me). We are purchasing a 40’ diesel pusher RV and towing a car behind it for God sake. I’m just saying how many cookie sheets do I really need? How many sauce pans and little dishes for olives and spreads and what not? It is completely ridiculous really. I honestly think we sold like 5 shovels. I mean what the Hell it isn’t like we run a landscaping business or anything. It just seems to happen. Well I am here to tell you it feels great to look around your life and really decide what you really need, really don’t and PURGE it. Other people are so happy to have it too. It’s almost as if it gets reborn and reenergized. Oh, by the way, I hate having a garage sale. I swear I will never collect enough again to warrant having another one. For the record, there were a few things I wondered if I really wanted to get rid of but did, and I haven’t missed them at all.

Since then, we have been prepping the house to put on the market. It was really tough in this particular market as you can probably imagine. The chances of getting any real return on your investment are slim to none. So mostly we just did the things to separate our house from the pack. A fresh coat of exterior paint, some interior paint, power washed the driveway and some refreshed landscaping ETC…Well, needless to say, it worked! We got an offer after 5 weeks on the market. We went through the inspection phase and now we are waiting on the appraisal to come back with fingers crossed. Soon we will be ready to move into this, or something very similar…

This is a 2010 40’ Itasca Meridian. We have not purchased it yet because we are waiting for the house deal to go through. But as soon as it does we will be on our way. The funniest part of this whole RV thing? Neither Chris nor I have even been RVing much less driven one. (Well my dad rented one when I was really little in about 1976 but I don’t really remember much.) Oh fear not we are going to purchase a video camera and shoot some videos for your and our enjoyment. It should be quite comical and entertaining. But for now we will just have to sit and hold our breath and hope the appraisal comes back favorably!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pok Pok

New link below...Pok Pok
Chris and I went here the other night.  It was amazing! It is Southeast Asian/ mainly Thai food that you would typically find in homes, pubs and on the street.  If you are looking for your typical Phat Thai or Curries this is not the place. (For that I recommend Chabba Thai on Sandy or Sweet Basil on NE Broadway.)  This is very unique and has a great feel to it.  If you have never been I highly, highly recommend that you try it. It is very authentic.  We shared the papaya salad, some of their famous (deservedly so) chicken wings "spicy" (and were!) and a wonderful soup special.  The cocktails were very cool too!  I had one that had pomegranate infused vinegar. Apparently a popular thing that I had never tried  nor even heard of.  It was divine and I will definitely play around with the vinegar drinks again. It opens a whole new World of cocktails.
Thanks Pok Pok ...Enjoy

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The link recently added...Protien University

I found out about this group from a friend of mine who entered the "Who's your butcher?" contest his name is Adam Sappington he is a local chef in Portland OR he and his wife Jackie own the Country Cat a wonderful local restaurant.  Check out the site and the videos that are in the contest.  There is a lot to learn about utilizing the whole animal, sustainable farming and butchering, a dying art. So much waste is created by machines and negligent butchering.  Not to mention how much better meat cooks and then tastes when butchered properly.  (If your not into meat, this link ain't gonna be your thang.) I am looking forward to attending one of their events on my travels...Also, I have added the Country Cat website.  Its a great place to eat and has a very comfortable atmosphere. Anyplace that puts homemade jerky in my Bloody Mary wins!