Locally Grown

He Who Controls The Friday Spice…

Dearest Tens,

So many things to write about, and so little time.  Today we will have fun in a different kind of way.  A way that we have never had fun here at the LG before.  I am going to personally go on record as agreeing with the DD on her review of the newly owner-ized Library Cafe.  It was a nice preliminary visit write up and made me want to go pay them a visit.  I also have it on good information that they have a great beer selection, including a stand alone tap of my personal favorite brew, Pabst.  I may go there tonight in some skinny jeans riding a fixie to get the hippest experience from my long time love of a beer.  We shall see.

Great Job FCP! You did not invoke the French Connection!

So here is a link to this ground breaking piece of food writing (it does not mention Star Bar or France even in a remote way) (although in a twitter conversation DD did admit that she wishes it was on Ingersoll, which I just figured out was most likely a humor joke related to the SB thing.  That is funny.  I am a little slow on the uptake some days). (Ever seem like there are too many parenthetical statements on this blog?  I thought so.)

Link To Datebook Diner Library Write Up

Go read and enjoy for yourself.  I bet you feel like going there to eat after you read.  Nice job to the Library Cafe staff and the fine folks of Full Court Press for doing a great job.  Making everything in-house is legit.  I will be there soon for some good times.

I love cats and Frank Herbert. And this picture.

See you next week, tens.  I have a few things half written in the que for you all.  It is sure to piss in many many bowls of round oat-laden breakfast cereal.

The Cook.

Why Tigers Love Pepper, Especially On Val-Day

Happy Day To Spend Money On Someone Who You Hang Out With!  We of the Restaurant Industry love this day sooooo much.  So much.  We appreciate your business.  We appreciate your easy going attitudes and low expectations on this day.  The greatest part of the end of the Holiday Season in restaurants is the Last Holiday, Valentine’s Day.

Let's hope you didn't get this card from anyone this year.

We here at Locally Grown hope that you and your loved ones enjoy wherever it is that you choose to eat your prix-fixe choice of Steak, Chicken, Shrimp, or Pork.  May your evening end with some sort of chocolate dessert incorporating something heart shaped.

See you tomorrow for some actual posting, if we all make it through this, the most *cough* romantic of holidays.

The cook

Haters Keep Hatin’: The Cook Gets (Not) Served
2012/02/10, 7:55 pm
Filed under: restaurant reviews | Tags:

Lovers love, but all love comes to an end.  Criers cry, but the tears eventually dry up (or they die of acute dehydration).  Huggers hug, but there will always come a time in their hugs when they may have to take care of important business, such as the business of using the bathroom, requiring the diversion of their hugging arms to said um…business. 

but haters keep on hating no matter what.

Everyone has a little hater in them, from something small like pet peeves to larger problems such as plotting murders.  You have a little hater in you…as do I.  I know, you probably figured that out a while ago.

Tonight I had a bad experience at a local restaurant.  It wasn’t terrible, just a little misunderstanding.  A misunderstanding as to whether or not I wanted to get served.  I was pretty sure I wanted a margarita, as was my dining partner.  The bartender, on the other hand, was absolutely positive that we were happy with the waters in front of us and went about serving the more non-homeless looking people sitting around the bar while simultaneously ignoring us.  We sat there for about 20 minutes, five or so of it was spent trying to choose an appropriate drink to accompany our appetizers we were planning on ordering as our dinner.  A nice margarita/small plate dinner seemed like a good end to a stressful week.  Not according to our bartender.  I mentioned my predicament on Twitter, tagging in the restaurant on my twheat, with no response from the restaurant (which is okay, I know the kick ass woman who does their social media, and wouldn’t fault her for not responding to a grumpy man, whom she knows to be grumpy at 5 pm on a Friday).  I decided it was time to pull the plug on the waiting game, and upon getting up from the bar top and making leaving movements the bartender gave us a sincere-ish smile and thanked us warmly.  For what? I said “thank you for not serving us” and walked toward the door.  My dining partner said the bartender claimed they thought we were still looking at the menu.  I sincerely doubt her claim.  We looked like a well dressed homeless couple, or a shabbily dressed homed couple.  Evidently our money was not needed by the restaurant or the bartender. (The spot we did end up at was more than happy to see us and had been following my twitter gripes.  Love those persons at the High Life)  Cool.  I will not be going back to this restaurant again.  Until the patio opens back up and mojito mondays in the sun are in season.  So, shitty service restaurant, I guess we will meet again in April.  I can’t wait. Meh. Thanks, Dos Rios.

Tens, what went wrong here?

1. I felt judged by the service staff.
2. I did not get served. Well, we did get waters. 
3. There was a second bartender whom also ignored us. Completely
4. There was, and still has been, no attempt at righting the sitch.

Am I a hater?  Almost always.  I am always overly critical, but generally keep it to myself if possible.  Was I wrong to broadcast my problem immediately to twitter?  No.  That is what it is there for?  Will I be going back?  Absofuckinglutely not.  Will they miss me? They didn’t even know I was there.  So…no.  Will I go online and leave an annonymous shity review on some stupid restaurant review site?  No, I like to own my words and I see anonymous shit talkers as cowards who should keep it to themselves.  Wait.  I actually did write a bad review, but it is just here and I am sure that no person would ever check my opinion before going to the offending restaurant. 

Anonymous internet shit talkers are cowards. 

But then again, Haters gotsta hate.  Have a great weekend.

The Cook

No Kidding: Pizza Hut’s $10,000 Engagement Party Package
2012/02/09, 2:18 pm
Filed under: Total Rubbish | Tags: , , , , ,


I lieu of writing more rants today I would like to share a link to something that may be of interest to those of you whom love chain restaurants, fireworks, and having your wedding proposal denied.  Pizza Hut has a wildly appealing new Engagement Party Package, I would make fun of it further, but you can just folow the link and draw your own conclusions.


The cook

Urban Spork Yelps Wolf, Part Deux
2012/02/08, 1:34 pm
Filed under: Local Food Commentary | Tags: , , , ,

As we were attempting to state yesterday, we here at LG are very much interested in the internetular knee jerk reactions some diners have when um…dining out…and ESPECIALLY the anonymous negative reviewers…

Let’s start off with something I like to call the “I like my restaurant, created an account to tell the world, and also to say that I don’t like the restaurant that is my closest competition” Here is a textbook example:

The best food , the best service , chef baru thank you for giving us such a good restaurant .

The person responsible for this review goes by the handle David, sort-of-ironically the same name as the chef at said restaurant.  This person registered, left one review of one restaurant, and gave a “thumbs down” to another restaurant of the same cuisine.  Now, you are probably thinking to yourself “why would someone use their own name when doing said deed” and yes, it is a common name.  Do I have any hard proof?  No.  But the body of evidence speaks loudly.  This happens more than you would think, and I have actually witnessed two different restaurant professionals perpetrate this childish act.  (disclaimer: not people I have worked for)  Watch out for these types of reviews, they are usually vague one-offs which are designed as ego-strokers.  Judging by the other glowing reviews, internet and printed, no ego stroke is needed in this case.

Next are the “Negative Nasty Nancies.”  These are people who seem to have a bad experience at every single establishment that they visit, and make it a point to leave a negative review for any minor service infraction.  I recently came across the worst of these N3’s, the “I Heart Chain Restaurants and Hate Local Business-ist,” a heinous brood dedicated to the abolition of all local food, a deviant group dedicated to places like Cheescake Factory or Legends…or worse.  They want nothing more than to be able to have the exact same dish in any town they might happen upon, and use extreme prejudice when dealing with local restaurants.  In fact, I am surprised when one of these folks even bothers eating a local spot.  I digress.  The N3’s have a mission to tell the world just how bad whatever little problem they have encountered has affected their tragic lives.  Spot on their spoon?  Bad Review.  Food took 45 minutes on a Friday night in a packed restaurant?  Bad Review.   Kitchen didn’t have ranch dressing?  Bad Review (no shit, I have actually seen this happen).  It doesn’t take much of anything to get the motor started on this group, just a rude host and a smart phone.  Thanks, US/Yelp

Another horrible group is the “Can’t Say Enough Nice Things” party.  I fall under this heading on Urban Spoon, but I have only written about places I actually like.  Sue me.  Wait!  That wasn’t a real invitation…the LG Legal Fund was drained long ago…  I don’t doubt people who leave only positive reviews, but when they are almost the same exact review for every restaurant…what exactly are they doing?  Are they helping you pick a place to eat, or just practising their superlatives?  It’s hard to tell, but beware of the Overly Positive…that’s how people get sucked into cults…

What is the point here?  The point is that I personally believe that sites like Urban Spoon and Yelp at best a list of restaurants in each city.  The reviews are shoddy and unreliable.  Yes, US has different categories for Bloggers/Pros/Diners. Nice touch, but those other groups are not always the most trustworthy. Yelp…tyrants.  Nothing more.  There was controversy when Yelp was accused numerous times of extorting small businesses.  Yelp was also named in a class action suit, which was later dropped.  This makes me believe all that I read on their site as truth, yes?

So should you trust your dining dollar to the Inderrwebular Restaurant Reviewing Illuminati?  Can you trust anonymous reviews?  Nope.  Don’t do it.

Go forth unto the local dining world and discover for yourself.  Rep Local.

the Cook.

When UrbanSpork Yelps Wolf
2012/02/07, 3:40 pm
Filed under: restaurant reviews | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Here at LG, we have focused much of our attention and energy on avoiding writing blog posts.  When our energy is diverted and we get duped into writing actual blog posts our attention has been almost solely focused on a small handful (aka one) of people who do a fantastic (aka piss poor) job of reviewing (aka we don’t really know what to call what they do…but it isn’t reviewing) our local DMZ food scene.  With those (that) people (person) currently in France (Dear France: can you please keep her this time, she loves you and belongs amongst your inferior boots,  long, crusty loaves of bread and mini-desserts), our subject base has been truncated at best.

So with no recent reviews deserving of our heavy handed attention leaking forth unto your eyes through the soy ink stained pages of the Register, our attention was turned to the hundreds of fine folks who share their opinion with other fine folks via the really awesome user-review sites found all over the splinternet.  I registered on the UrbanSpoon web site (and yes, you can find me there under the name of “the cook,” go ahead and be my friend there.  I have already posted some poorly written reviews of a couple spots) and took to the virtual streets, looking for the real jems, those with that certain little something (isn’t there a French phrase for that?).

(this is getting way to long and pointless again. thanks for following along if you made it this far)

It always meh-mazes me how much opinion people are willing to spout out with an adjoining small bit of thought.  So many of the reviews that were encountered  were just knee-jerk-off reactions to one specific event involving a disgruntled customer and a misunderstanding.  So many of the misunderstandings/situations seem so easily remedied.  Sometimes just talking to the staff like a human being can go a long way.

Okay, this is going to have to be continued tomorrow.  I am losing track of the subject matter…seems to be a constant problem around here these days.

The Cook

Friday Frenchtastic Fun!
2012/02/03, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Total Rubbish

Tens, last week I had promised you a new, fun-er format for our Friday times together, something between skydiving and a book club discussion of Tuesdays With Morrie.  That leaves things fairly wide open.

fun. er.

And it was a great idea.  There are a few fun posts planned, all aimed at making fun of the DD, since that is clearly what the majority of you would (including me) find entertaining.  Then this week someone was visited by the Excuse Fairy.

In my world the Excuse Fairy is a really cute pair of racoons.

And I thought about all the posts I had written about how you can be a better customer while dining out, and why it seems like your server is thinking about sending you on a dirt nap.   I found this video on the interwreb, written and performed one of those saltyservice personnel folks.

Oh, look at who can’t embed video properly.  whatever.

Anyway, I am totally out of time here.  so…looks like on the “Skydive-Albom” Scale we erred to the Albom side.  See you monday.


the cook.

Happy Anniversary #2, LG: Under(pants) It All
2012/02/02, 9:25 am
Filed under: Personal

Sometimes it is difficult being a horder of behind the scenes information.  In the beginning it was almost impossible to keep certain facts from you Tens of readers, as tens of you witnessed during the 2010 “Let’s Threaten Locally Grown With Lawsuits” season.  Funny thing about that, at least one person involved in that situation has proven their true colors are not far from our speculation.  Other times the lid was blown off of situations which caused a certain food writer type to completely ignore me in 2011, even though I was operating a new food business in town.  (Yes, I know she considers the Farmers Market so below her even though markets are a very French concept) Said person DID respond to a tweet of mine this year…but that didn’t last long. Whatevs. 

I can’t wait for her to not review my food again this year.  In fact, it doesn’t really matter.  Everyone else is content with Tacopocalypse, one more opinion won’t really matter…although I would love her feedback on the light fixtures.

Some other situations arose during the last two years, and I commented on them.  The tens of you LG loyalists were privy to more information than most, as usual. 

Wait, where am I going with this?  I still have tons of juicy insider info but, like our Congress, insider trading has been recently frowned upon.  I will sort through this and figure out a way to share certain bits…selected bites…over time. 


And for those of you whom have been here from the start (and I know who you are), thank you for sticking around.  Here’s to more educating of the masses and pissing off of the ‘food establishment’ in 2012.

The cook

A (re)Beginning Is A Delicate Thing
2012/02/01, 1:28 pm
Filed under: Local Food Commentary | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Dearest Tens,
…the Greater Known Universe plays host to the planet Earth which, for a very short portion of its existence, has played host to a race of creatures known as humans.  During their short lived (and current) stay on this blue-green marble humans have had an ever-evolving diet first consisting of plant things found within their immediate suroundings, then after the invention of the Barbecue Grill (aka fire) craftier bipeds found ways of spearing, snaring, or otherwise killing other living creatures for which to share the heat of the barbecue, albeit in much closer proximity than the hunters themselves.  These were simpler times, with the mortality of these humans mainly dictated by the surrounding environment.

Then one day, many thousands and thousands of days ago, a few humans thought to themselves “there must be a way to live in one place, yet still manage to feed our people.” This is the day that the concept of agriculture was born.  Agriculture would prove to be one of the most powerful forces in developing the various cultures and cuisines of the humans around the Marble.  Our ancestral upright walking/thinking organism worked their respective lands growing the crops supported by local climates and dined upon a constant regional cuisine

As time drew forth some of the humans saw much more in agriculture than just feeding one another…they saw that it could be a BIG BUSINESS.  More land, more workers, more food (for the wealthy classes), more profit, more greed all followed.  First there were those that worked the lands of the powerfull, then the industrial age came and paved the road to where we are now. 

The current year relative to time known by we, the people is two thousand no hundreds and twelve.  The current state of agriculture is that of power, money, pollution,  corruption, lobbyists, politics, and laws made by giant companies which are designed to strip the small farmer of their rights to work the land if they raise but a word against the powers that be.  BUT on the other hand the dining community has been trying to move towards a diet of locally raised produce, humanely treated livestock…a diet free of the chemicals and genetically modified dna fund in the products of Big Agriculture.  People are trying to move back to the beginnigg, when things were simple, where every single meal was a “100 mile” meal, and where you either raised your food yourself or you knew the farmer that did.  Big Ag doesn’t like this insolence. 

People, Big Ag has been trying to kill you for your entire life.  Maybe this isn’t the intended outcome of their greed, but you can can look at the state of world health versus the “advancements” in agriculture over recent history and see that as agriculture advances (and more chemical laden, cheap, processed foods are made available), the state of human health slowly declines (cancer, obesity, more cancer, more obesity). 

It makes this cook think hard about what the world would be like today if agriculture had remained as it was, a way of subsisiting off the land instead of a huge money business. 

What would a world without clothing, restaurants, late-breaking news items, or blogs hyping “locally grown” foods be like?

I suppose if everything was local, this blog would just be called “Grown” to avoid redundancy (like we ever avoid THAT).

Or maybe just “Groan.”

The Cook.