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If you’ve read my “About me” section, you know that I do not apologize for going to a restaurant once and then writing my review.  The reason? 

Like Top Chef judge Tom Collichio said in Season Two when a contestant complained why they’re only judged on that one day’s performance (paraphrasing here) — the first impression matters!  Your customers are judging you on the one day they come in so you had better be good!
I read this very interesting blog posting on how a former restauranteur banned himself from going to his favorite restaurant for a year.  While he was a regular going once every week (Thursdays to be precise), he no longer went due to a poorly cooked piece of pork and bad customer service.  He calculated how much this ban would conservatively cost the restaurant:
Each week I spend an average of $52.00 on my Thursday evening dinner. Multiplied by 52 weeks the number was $2704.00. On at least six occasions a year I would entertain another couple at the restaurant for about $200.00 a visit. Another $1200.00. At least once a month I would have dinner on a Saturday night at the restaurant for another $600.00 for a total of $4504.00. Add a 20% gratuity and the total loss to the restaurant was approximately $5400.00.
It’s expensive for restaurants when they lose the regulars…

I’ve bought grocery store sushi several times in the past, but I never could figure out why it taste weird.  Don’t get me wrong — it’s decent, but it’s not like what you would get at a sushi restaurant.

Even if there’s people making the sushi right then and there, it’s still not exact.  I bought the brown rice 9-piece Dragon Roll that would normally cost $12-15 in a restaurant, but at the grocery store, cost only $9-10.   So while it’s cheaper, what’s the deal?

I’ve come up with two ideas on why it taste strange:

  1. Temperature — I’m sure they have to do that for health law reasons, but the fish is always colder than you’d get at a restaurant.
  2. Additives/preservatives — While I was eating my sushi, I happened to start reading the ingredients list.  It was quite long with a lot of “stuff” added from various food dyes to preservatives.  Oh, and the wasabi?  It’s fake wasabi…

Grocery Store Dragon Roll  Grocery Store Dragon Roll  Grocery Store Dragon Roll

Do you have other thoughts/ideas?

While this was originally published on August 27th, there are major updates on Top Chef Season 5 so I thought I’d post it for today.  I know, it’s cheating.  I’m sorry! 

A side note though that is new — can you believe Top Chef is already in the fifth season?  Wow!  I remember the first episodes and I’ll be honest — I didn’t love it.  I fell in love with Top Chef Season 2.  Oh, and I forgot that Billy Joel’s wife, Katie Lee (that’s number 3 for him and she’s 32 years younger) was the first season’s host

It feels like it was just yesterday when Stephanie Izard won Top Chef Season 4 in Chicago, but already the tips on Season 5 are coming in.  BTW, no air date has been set, but I’d guesstimate that it’s going to be March/April 2009 (since that’s when the last couple of seasons started).  Taping for Top Chef Season 5 was completed on August 26, 2008 and will be airing starting November 12th (so much for my guesstimate!). 

The next season will be held in NYC and here’s the real list of the 17 contentants. contestants rumored to be on the show.  There’s another list here.  So far, it seems these are the new chefs:

  • Absinthe’s Jamie Lauren
  • Danny Gagnon of New York
  • Jeff McInnis of Miami
  • CIA student Patrick Dunlea
  • Stefan Richer of Los Angeles
  • Carla Hall of DC (chef-owner of Alchemy Caterers)
  • Jill Snyder of Baltimore (chef of Red Maple)

I can’t wait for the new season…think anyone from DC will be competing???  Can you tell from these photos?  Should we start a rumor?  Also, if you heard Rickles’s private chef, Stacey Slichta is one of the contestants, it’s a lie.

The economy…wow right?  But when I read this story, it really made me stop.  What it’s saying is that McDonald’s is a better credit risk than the US.

Here’s the explanation by Finland’s Helsingin Sonomat (as translated by Watching America):

The insurance risk-premium for a 10-year U.S. treasury bond shifted on Friday up to 0.3% according to a broker in a Finnish bank. In practice this means that if an investor wishes to insure 10 million dollars worth of U.S. T-bonds against a government default the insurance will cost 30,000 dollars. Such an insurance for the same amount of investments on Finnish bonds cost on Friday only about half of that at 16,000 dollars. Even loans to McDonald’s would be cheaper to insure than U.S.-bonds, at 28,000 dollars per 10 million.

CDS-derivative prices are an indicator of investors’ views and mood, but as such they reveal nothing of the true financial state and wealth of their targets. Thus, while Finland’s and McDonald’s risk of bankruptcy is now smaller in investors’ opinion than that of the U.S. this does not mean that Finland and McDonald’s would necessarily be any wealthier and thus safer targets of investment than the U.S.

This being said, it is extremely rare for a fast-food chain’s corporate loan to be viewed as a safer investment than the bonds of the world’s most powerful country. 

Strange, but true.  Burger King has develop potato chips that are marketed to taste like ketchup and fries. 

They taste more like ketchup than they do fries and the smell of ketchup is so strong.  They were fine, but I wouldn’t buy a big bag.  I am glad I tried them — I feel like I was adventurous.  Ha!

Burger King Ketchup & Fries Chips  Burger King Ketchup & Fries Chips  Burger King Ketchup & Fries Chips  Burger King Ketchup & Fries Chips  Burger King Ketchup & Fries Chips

Well, I’ll admit it.  I thought baby carrots were carrots that were picked from the ground earlier than the regular carrot.

And sometimes, that is what really happens.  But usually, baby carrots are actually mushed up pieces of big carrots that they’d normally give as feed to animals.  On the package of baby carrots, you’ll probably see the word “manufactured.” 

Interested in the story behind baby carrots?  Read this story

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