Monday, October 8, 2007

Bread Crumbs: Random Bits

If you didn't already notice, I redesigned things a bit here and I like it much better. Also, I added karaoke listings and links to the side bar. Tell you what - if you link to this site on your site, I will add yours to my blogroll. Likewise, if you come across any good local food, arts or night life sites I haven't listed, please let me know...

You know Sushi (or 寿司, 鮨, 鮓, as they say back in Japan) has finally become fully absorbed into North Idaho culture when you start seeing it pop up in every grocery store deli zone. Albertsons was first, selling trays of California rolls only. They were located way back in the meat department for some reason. It tasted OK if you bought it on the first day, but otherwise it was nothing to worry Takara about to say the least. Safeway started bringing in their own version of fast Sushi, and in a much wider variety of styles, including salty Unagi (BBQ Eel) and Inari (fried soy curd) along with the standard faux-crab California rolls. These were only sightly better on the edibility scale, but the store lets them linger for days and I've seen some pretty scary looking Sushi trays floating around there.

I'm not a regular Super 1 shopper at all, but I ended up at the Hayden store the other day and was amazed to see a vibrantly colorful deli case full of little Sushi packages in at least a dozen varieties. This Sushi actually resembled the stuff they serve in a Japanese cafe - It was difficult to decide what kind to try. Even more encouraging was the sign posted saying "Made fresh daily on site" so you know you're getting a fresh product and not something made a week ago and shipped in from Tacoma or somewhere. I chose the mini variety pack, which had a mini spicy tuna roll sliced into 6 pieces done maki style, along with several pieces done iniri style (slice of raw fish on lump of rice). The salmon piece was cold and buttery in texture, just like it should be. The Unagi (eel) selection was smoky and really good. I was quite impressed and am anxious to return and try the other varieties they offer.

Two bummers to mention, however. Super 1 Sushi costs a lot - I paid $6.89 for my little snack and I saw larger trays for around $12. It's cheaper to go to an actual Sushi restaurant I do believe. The other problem is the same with the other grocery store Sushis - why oh why do they only include one measly little packet of soy sauce? That's about 1 1/2 teaspoons worth and it certainly ain't enough to work with. Yeah, I have a bottle at home, but what if I was taking it to work or on a picnic. No one wants to eat dry sushi, and the large amount of wasabi they include will burn your face off unless you temper it with some soy sauce. Throw in some extra packets, folks! It's not gonna break ya.

I've been meaning to mention the billboard on Northwest Boulevard for the Fort Ground Grill, but Jane Q. Citizen beat me to it on this thread over on Huckleberries Online, where a bit of a controversy is broiling about the subject. Jane thinks it's "Hooters-esque" and demeaning to the poor young waitresses there who don't enjoy being objectified, and this makes their job performance bad, which explains why everyone thinks service there is slow. I disagreed, saying that I think it's fun and campy and that the waitresses ought to loosen up a tad and get a sense of humor. Consequently it was implied by several posters that I wouldn't understand because I'm just a dumb, chauvinistic male who thinks the waitresses should just "put up and shut up". Well, I find that pretty funny since I'm a totally not-sexist person and I don't even play for that team anyway. It's OK for them to stereotype all men as misogynistic, but it's not OK to supposedly "objectify" women by finding amusement in a harmless billboard. Hrrmph.

The way I see it, if the waitresses at the Fort Ground are unhappy with their jobs since the big bad billboard appeared on the scene, they have two options. Find a new job or get over it. They're merely staff and like any other establishment, staff has to deal with whatever decisions the owners and management make. The Fort Ground higher-ups decided they wanted to advertise the place in such a certain way and that's their call. I honestly don't think they intended to abuse their waitresses, they just found the image and the catchphrase to be clever and memorable. The fact that people are even talking about it means it worked very well. If they had used a buff, shirtless man instead would there still be such a kerfuffle about it?
People are so darn touchy these days.

I'm certainly not going to bother with giving the Appleway Burger King an actual Get Out review or mini-review. But I am going to mention that I think that place really needs help, at least service wise. Yeah, yeah - I know its fast food and all, and I shouldn't pick on little shits getting paid dirt wages, but there are some fast food joints that actually train their staff on good customer service skills, so I don't think there are excuses. McDonalds is actually always fast and friendly, and of course Sonic is all about making people happy. Burger King, on the other hand really stinks. I blame it directly on the management for not properly training those kids, cluing them into basic manners and politeness.

It was my mother's idea to pop in there the other day. We just wanted quick and easy. After ordering a chicken sandwich and fries, she asked for a side of mayo and was told by the tall skinny kid behind the register that they were fresh out .
"Out of mayonnaise?" we asked. "Well, what are y'all putting on the chicken sandwiches?"
The kid goes "Uhhh...mayonnaise I guess."
"OK, we'd like a side of that."
"Um, but we're out of the packets" he mumbled.
"OK, well take a scoop of mayonnaise from the jar and put it in a little cup or something."
"Um, I gotta ask my manager if that's OK."
So he starts looking around the place and totally disappears until we finally see him through the window outside chit-chatting with a manager who is smoking a cig. Two minutes later and the manager decides to put out her smoke and come in. Meanwhile we're is getting cold.
"Is there a problem?" she says.
"We just want a side of friggin' mayonnaise, my dear."
"We're out of packets."
My mother and I looked at each other in disbelief, but thankfully another "manager" who seemed to have half-a-clue must have overheard and emerged from the kitchen with a size-small drink cup FULL of the white stuff. It was enough to fill a small jar, certainly more than we needed. The quantity was kind-of insulting, like "Here, this'll shut 'em up!"

I got some BK coupons in the mail recently and included was a coupon for a free Spicy Chicken sandwich with the purchase of a meal, and a craving hit me. So I attempted to order in the drive through and the girl just COULD NOT understand my coupon. She kept telling me they didn't have Spicy Chicken sandwiches on sale right now. I kept telling her "OK, fine" but that didn't matter because I had a coupon. Anyway, long story short - she got progressively more rude in tone and manner as I kept attempting to order and after a few minutes I just said "forget it, I'm out" and raced away. Pish on you, BK - train your kids to be nice!


Phil said...

Carls Jr, on Appleway, is the same way. Dirty, smelly, poor service.

Burger King in Hayden isn't that much better for service. If they can't keep their ketchup bottles from becoming dried up and gross, why not just switch to packets like McDonalds?

Thanks for the Super 1 tip on sushi. We can't always get out to a restaurant, so it's nice to know there's some quality Japanese food that's easy to pick up and take home.

drama_momma02 said...

Ok so I know I am late posting to this, but better late than never. I am a server at The Fort Grounds and find the bill board amusing. It is working right? People are talking about the Fort Grounds right? Thats what they were going for. I have worked at the Fort Ground Grill for almost a year now and have never been 'objectified'. Yes, I have had people ask where our uniforms were. No, nobody has ever made me feel bad about it. As far as the service being a little slow.. come in for dinner and give us another shot. I have people who come in twice a week minimum and will only be seated in my section. We work hard and love what we do or trust me we wouldn't be there. Thanks for reading and be sure to tip based on service and personality not based on a billboard!