Wednesday, August 3, 2011

You Are What You Eat – Salad Wars!

A few days ago I was detailing and lamenting about a  rather shitty dining experience at the Elephant Bar Global Grill and Monkey Droppings Kitchen.  Among the many things I was bitching about was the crappy tiny salad they give you for just $4 extra dollars.  To be more precise, what I said was this:

It was bad enough that for four dollars, there wasn’t much there, but they used those damn miniature round tomatoes that I absolutely abhor.  And for four bucks, if they  aren’t going to use real tomatoes, you would have thought they could have put more in the way of vegetables in it, like maybe some olives, cucumbers, mushrooms, or onions.  I mean, hell, the salads at Denny’s are better than this and only cost me $2.95.  Now I know another reason why it was so damn dark.  They didn’t want you to be able to see how skimpy some of the food items were.

Yesterday my son Josh and I ate at a local Buffet restaurant in Bakersfield called Hodel’s.  For about $12 a person including drink, you can fill up on some pretty decent food.  In fact, if you decide you want just the salad bar you can do so for a smaller price then if you have a full dinner or lunch.  So I went to town on the salad bar, probably a bit much, loading it up as highh as I could without having it spill over the plate.  By the time I finished, this is what it looked like:


And I could have ate two or three of these if I so desired, but this one was enough.  Now I’m not going to wax poetic about it’s dietary properties or lack thereof, but a cousin of mine stated on Facebook: 

Omit the croutons corn and creamy dressing and swap the ham for chicken, and you've got a healthy salad.

To be honest, they didn’t have any little bits of chicken squares, although you could fill up on all the chicken you wanted at the dinner bar.  And I suppose I could have scooped up a breast and hand chopped it up into my salad, but the thought never occurred to me.  As for the corn, it really wasn’t that much but I guess I could have easily left it off and wouldn’t have noticed it was even missing.  And I debated for ten long seconds about putting on the croutons, I really did.  But some of  the little crispy buggers jumped up on my plate when I wasn’t looking. Yeah, my will power has been headed down Crapville Lane for about four or five days now.

As usual though, I’m getting away  from the point I want to make here.  The question is this:   why does a place that charges an arm and a leg for a meal, then charges you a knee and an ass cheek more for a tiny ass crappy salad with nothing in it? 

Take a place like Olive Garden as compared to a half assed place like the Elephant Bar.  At Olive Garden, you not only get all the damn tasty bread sticks you can eat,  you also get an endless salad, and it doesn’t cost you a penny more.  It’s part of your meal. 

And if Hodel’s, Sizzlin’ and even Marie Callendars  can give away salad by the tons  included with the price of your  meal or damn little extra, why the hell can’t the fucking Elephant Bar give you one decent salad for that damn four bucks?  I mean, is the cook pocketing about $3.50 of that and splitting it with the manager?  Or is the manager cheating on his food costs and taking extra home to save up for that bit 60 inch flat screen hanging around down at Best Buy with the stereo surround sound system and the 3d goggles?   If the salad had been worthwhile, I wouldn’t even mention the lousy four Washington spots.   But it sure as hell wasn’t worth what we paid for it, and probably wasn’t worth no more than two bucks if that much.

I don’t know.  Maybe I’m wrong.  The place was packed as evidenced by the fact that we had to wait 45 minutes for a table.  But then again, there were a couple of parties going on, and it was obvious that at least half of the patrons were crocked to the eyeballs.  So like I said, they probably didn’t even notice or care how really lousy the food was.  But maybe I’ll write a real letter to the company and be very precise and succinct in my displeasure:  Dear Elephant Bar:  You suck.

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