Oliver's Chili Peppers

Oliver's Chili Peppers

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Art of Saying Goodbye

So, I've been to some restaurants in the city. More than most, less than some, and I am generally considered amongst my prestigious and lovely group of friends and family to be well versed in restaurant culture. I understand coursing, table turns and wine service. I understand the business and I can spot an unhappy customer from twenty feet. Of the places that I have visited in the city over the past few months, I have noticed a few to have a very strange policy; the "you have used your time allotted, kindly leave, so that we can get more bums in seats" policy. Have you been privy to this odd and rather rude approach?

I am of the humble opinion that people like me and you must choose how and where to spend our precious, hard-earned entertainment dollars. I often choose a restaurant, food truck, farmer's market or gourmet store over movies, clothing or electronics. If I choose your restaurant, then my small expectation is that I be able to experience it at its best, and for as long as I like, within reason (I am not talking about 8 hour dinner marathons here). This is especially true if I have chosen your restaurant as a celebratory venue to mark a special occasion, whether with two or twenty people. 
Would you like your dessert to go?

I have noticed the "hurry up and don't let the door hit you on your way out" practice covertly printed on bills, whispered on reservation systems, and most commonly, embarrassingly voiced by uncomfortable servers. Servers who can see you are neither finished your glass of wine, nor, ready for dessert, but that are forced to muster up the courage to ask you to pay your bill. For, even though I took the time to make a reservation ahead of time, have chosen to spend my money here and am obviously not complete in my experience, there are people waiting desperately for my table. My party and I are not afforded the luxury of the thirty extra minutes, a thank you or a see you soon. 

Why do restauranteurs wish to leave the bad taste of "rushing" in the mouths of their guests? Especially when, in most cases, the experience up until that point has been excellent? In my mind, it undermines the quality of the restaurant and seriously affects whether I plan on returning or not. 

If you must run your business this way, be unabashed about it. Have your host state it when I call, let me know that we have a time limit. That way I can choose whether my money is fit for your place, and not feel, dare I say it, used. 

Ok, rant over. Love to hear your thoughts on this topic Blogland! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Happy first day (ish) of Spring out there! Are you expecting snow where you live today? We are here in Calgary, and that is par for the course in Spring. But, I am considering starting my tomato plants and perhaps a few others to make my kitchen window lively and green again. Plus, I have a bunch of new blog entries in the works for you... really I do! 

In the meantime, my friend and dietitian/nutritionist Andrea posted a great article on her blog about kids and veggies that I would like to share. Take a read! I hope you enjoy!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Food Guilt

Empty Fridge
January is a good time to talk about resolutions, making commitments, and change, don't you think?  I am in favour of change and find myself often saying that this is the week to start... workouts, clean eating, being a vegetarian, making the bed... you get the idea. 

The problem that I struggle with is the great power that food has over me. Yes, sometimes feelings like happiness and joy are derived from a good food experience for me (quick, call the shrink!). Homemade food, healthy food, restaurant food, new food creations, all excite, inspire and interest me. I am also aware that over-indulgence is bad for my waistline and my health. I like my coffee with cream and sugar. I would rather eat lasagna with garlic bread than steamed broccoli, but hey I like steamed broccoli too! Like most cooks, I prefer butter to almost anything. I am in constant battle with how what I want to eat differs from what I should eat.

Clean Food Filled Fridge
I would like to strive toward a healthier lifestyle, and for me, this must include less meat, more veggies, more local and more care in preparation (aka cooking).  Last weekend, I watched the TEDx discussion on Changing the Way we Eat, which motivated me so much. I am also ignited by writers like Michael Pollan and Kris Carr who tout the benefits to your body and the environment of choosing better food. With their powers combined, I am committing myself to a couple of "better for all" strategies; Meatless Mondays, 30 day work out challenge and bring my own lunch to work. To kick it all off, I have started an Herbal Detox that includes a food program free of dairy, gluten and sugar for 12 days. 

Brown Rice Pasta & Puttanesca Sauce
Over the next few weeks, I will bring you some original recipes inspired by the changes that I am making. I hope they are interesting, flavourful and help make an easy time for a person like me, who needs variety and BIG flavours to be satisfied. And, so that I can still manage my insatiable need to find food innovation everywhere I go, my overhaul will be subject to change.

I would love to hear your stories of food changes. Have you kept your New Year's resolution?