Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Food and beverage

-It's so tough to find good help these days. But actually, kind of? Service is indeed... I'm not sure I'd say bad, when a more precise term would be odd, at NYC restaurants-loosely-defined. The branch of the food movement I will refer to as Hipsters Make Your Food is all about a dynamic between server and served that used to be (as recently as 2008!) restricted to coffee bars. The taco place to which I swear undying devotion comes with its own complicated set of rules customers must obey, including the word "chillax." (Did I mention that hipsters make great food?) All of this is of a piece with paying more for "farm-to-table" ingredients, and having to tell yourself that it would be unethical for a small individual pizza from a stand not to cost ~$10. Oh, and with the food-truck phenomenon, one that's well and good for ice cream or if you're taking food back to an office where you make a salary so high that you don't notice when takeout costs the same as a meal in a restaurant, but otherwise... Under the HMYF regime, the diner must be neck-deep in liberal guilt, and must believe that the dining establishment is actually a kind of social-justice enterprise. The diner must understand that the server is not merely a version of himself too rebellious to work an office job, but someone with a deep commitment to compostable cutlery. My sense (from salivating over restaurant reviews when it's almost time for lunch) is that HMYF extends to restaurant-restaurants as well, but as I tend to eat at lower-end HMYF establishments, so my knowledge here is limited. But if service really is worse across the board, this would be my explanation.

-Jessica Grose, who not long ago attempted to frame her pre-wedding diet-and-exercise routine as feminist empowerment, now wants us to believe a $500 dress she bought (to be distinguished from her $400 blouse) is evidence that she's a professional, not a socialite. Gar! Can't she just admit to having some conventional desires, and, as the kids say, own it?

-My husband got me the water bottle I'd been talking about since forever, one with a filter attached, convenient for parks, etc., where the water taste isn't so hot. At the library, however, the fountain water is now specially filtered, making my water filtered twice above and beyond whatever's done to tap water normally. This is some fine-tasting water. And I own it.


Jeff said...

running through the filter a few times also does wonders with cheap vodka

J. Otto Pohl said...

If fast food is now $10 in the first world I think I might just stay in the third world forever. I pay about $2.25 for a prepared meal here in Ghana and the quality is generally far superior to what you can find in the US.

Phoebe said...


Huh. I was more wondering if you can put, say, coffee through it and get water. Not that I'd want to, just the principle of the thing.

J. Otto,

A few hipster parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan =/= "the first world." $10 for fast food remains odd. But by all means, if your priority is eating for less, poorer parts of the world may be the way to go.

David Schraub said...


MythBusters tried to see if filtering (or filtering several times) cheap vodka made it the equivalent of more expensive stuff. They had a vodka expert and Carrie do a blind taste test.

The vodka expert wasn't fooled, but Carrie loved the thrice-filtered cheap stuff (she also got totally blitzed, and it was hilarious).