To cheat, or not to cheat

11 12 2008

cheatingI recently posted a blog about my upcoming pig roast in which I asked my readers to identify a few pop icon pigs. It really was not that difficult.  But if you are socially inept and culturally unaware, even Pigs in Space would have been difficult for you.  Oddly enough, it was my dad who was the first to respond.  Yes, with all the correct answers. I immediately smelled a pig.

You see, although my dad may be somewhat of a neophyte when it comes to pop culture he is, nonetheless, a very astute individual. I did not realize that when I had Read the rest of this entry »

San Antonio Menu site

16 02 2008

There’s a new feature on this site: San Antonio Restaurant Menus. Use this guide to San Antonio’s best (or worst) restaurants and their menus by clicking on the link here, or choosing the San Antonio Menu page/tab above. I’ve organized it by Cuisine Category to make things as easy as possible to find. If you don’t find what you are looking for, leave a comment and I will add the menu if it is available.

Like any major city, San Antonio’s restaurants serve a diverse range of cuisines:

  • Alamo City Classics (the mainstays and staples everyone knows about)
  • American & Regional
  • Barbeque (BBQ)
  • Breakfast
  • Burgers
  • Continental & European
  • Cajun & Creole
  • Chinese
  • Coffee & Tea Houses
  • French
  • German
  • Home Cooking
  • Ice Cream
  • Indian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Latin
  • Mexican
  • Middle Eastern
  • Pizza
  • Pub Grub
  • Steak
  • Seafood
  • Tapas
  • TexMex
  • Thai
  • Vietnamese
  • Many Value Restaurants

You name it, its here. Thanks for looking.

Coming soon…

9 02 2008

Its interesting how viewership trails off without constant upkeep.  I’ve taken a very short hiatus to catch up on a few things, so expect some postings soon. thanks

Picture menus: sin or savvy?

1 02 2008

Many restauranteurs would probably argue that pictures on a menu are just an outright abomination to the profession (Gordon Ramsey, for one). You don’t see any upscale restaurants with pictures on their menu, just a detailed description of the dish. To be sure, pictures on menus are reminiscent of fast food joints.

I’ll take the combo #2, super-sized.” No description needed, the picture says it all.

mmphogclakm zpechtorflam” is the reply from the speaker (that means “pull up” in drive-thru speak).

Is it a sin to have pictures on a menu? Any one of us can probably recall off the top of our head at least five restaurants we’ve been to with pictures on the menu (let’s see: Chili’s, Denny’s, Red Robin…hmm, all franchises – interesting). Do these restaurants know something that other restauranteurs don’t? I would venture to say that restaurants actually sell more of the pictured items, but I haven’t seen any data on this. Let me tell you what I think. Read the rest of this entry »

Will Starbucks get its soul back?

31 01 2008

starbucksA couple of days ago an article came through on the AP wire regarding a memo issued by Starbucks Chariman Howard Schultz. This memo, delivered to Starbucks top executives about a year ago bemoaned the “watering down of the Starbucks experience. He complained that the company’s unbridled growth had sapped the soul out of the company. In this memo he pointed to the fact that many people find the stores “sterile” and “cookie cutter.”

How often do you see or hear about someone in a position such as Schulz’s being so candid about the company they run? Admitting there is a problem is the first step towards recovery, and Schultz hit the problem right on the head. As Starbucks saturates the market, the funky and cozy coffee houses (remember when they were called that?) have gone by the wayside. People are driven by convenience and efficiency, and its so much easier to pull up to the Starbucks drive-thru to pick up the morning java than to stop at a favorite coffee house and drink inside out of a ceramic cup. The original intent and philosophy behind the coffee house has waned, and in some areas, disappeared. In fact, after Starbucks switched to the fully automated machines, the pungent coffee aroma that used to permeate the air almost completely disappeared as well. Likewise, the craft of “pulling” a great cup of coffee or espresso is non-existent.

Here in San Antonio, I can only think of one coffee house that has retained this eclectic charm and that also serves good coffee. I only know about it because I stumbled upon it. On the other hand, Starbucks has become so ubiquitous through their marketing that even cartoons mimic and parody their logo.

However, hope may be in sight. Schultz is taking steps to bring the soul back to the stores. Different ideas have been tossed around to accomplish this, (like firing the CEO) but their success remains to be seen. I will be waiting in anticipation as I sip an espresso made from my Jura Capresso at home.

Never assume what food your kids will like

26 01 2008

Last night I had to prepare a quickie since we had to be at our Pilates class by 7:15 (yes, I take Pilates) and we were short on time. I boiled some spaghetti, poured a jar of tomato sauce on it and called it dinner.

It wasn’t until my son was almost done eating that he noticed something in his pasta sauce.  In a surprised and delighted tone he exclaimed “Yay! Capers!”

Many people find the pickled, briny taste quite nasty, although I don’t think you are supposed to eat these by themselves like an olive. However, they enhance flavors in dishes when combined and used properly. Nevertheless, I think most people will tend to categorize these in the “Nasty” file.

I encourage you to develop and promote an environment for yourself and your kids that food (all kinds) is a wonderful thing to experience. It absolutely pleased me to hear my 9 year old last night.

Restaurant reviews online

25 01 2008

If you own a restaurant and do not have a website yet (I am an optimist, you know?), you must live under a rock. In addition, if you do not manage what is being said about your establishment online then you might as well board it up, because your prospective customers are researching your restaurant in droves.

I read an article in the “Restaurant Startup & Growth” magazine (Dec. ’07) that pointed to an interesting nationwide poll of consumers by AIS Media. No, I am not fool enough to miss the fact that AIS is a website design company (among other things), so we have to take the results with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, the poll found that 89% of consumers research a restaurant on the web before visiting. Many of those people (about 57%) look at the restaurant’s website. So, what if you don’t have one? Your prospects will then sift through the rest of the info Google has provided them with for meaningful information. I’ve looked for many restaurants online to find them listed only in a directory on sites like CitySearch with just an address and phone number (gasp! Not even a map!). However, there is usually no meaningful information there to attract me to visit. Even worse is to find disparaging comments on forums, or by reviewers who search these directories. I’ll give you an example Read the rest of this entry »