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Williams Sonoma Return Policy on Food [moved from General Topics]

Well-put as usual, jfood.

Here's to maturity and responsibility!

Dec 30, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

48" gas (dual-fuel) range: Wolf vs FiveStar vs Thermador vs Viking vs Dacor

UPDATE: Looking at more ranges and thinking of our kitchen configuration, we've decided to eliminate those 48" ranges that do not have a full-size oven. This eliminates Wolf (weird-sized ovens!) and Fivestar.

In the running still: DCS, Dacor. I really would love to see a Bluestar, but unfortunately, we do not have a distributor here.

Any comments on these ranges would be appreciated. TIA.

Dec 29, 2007
jayes in Cookware

Joy Indian Restaurant -disaster [moved from Outer Boroughs board]

FoodWine,

Please do not attribute my efforts at another perspective to be "twisting" your own points. I certainly do not mean to give you offense.

You've certainly accomplished your objective of letting people know that the restaurant in question is awful and unreliable.

I think you were right to post your original report in the NY board where that information could be acted upon by the readers. I took your post to be simply another incident of "bad food/awful service" in a restaurant, which, unfortunately, happens often to people who eat/dine out a lot. It's more insanity-inducing to treat these incidents as personal events. I would just chalk it up to "petty absurdity" and move on to the next bad restaurant. =)

Dec 27, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

48" gas (dual-fuel) range: Wolf vs FiveStar vs Thermador vs Viking vs Dacor

Thanks for the comment.

So far, we've narrowed it down to Wolf vs DCS vs Five Star. We're thinking of getting a gas range.

I like the DCS because the 48" range comes with a full-size oven. That's what we don't like about the Wolf. I wonder why they just don't make a full-size oven on the 48".

Will definitely look into the ranges more. It's the holiday season and most of the appliance stores are closed for the holidays. Unfortunately, we (in Vancouver BC) don't have a Bluestar distributor here, so we haven't had the chance to take a look at BlueStar.

Any comments coming will be appreciated!

Dec 26, 2007
jayes in Cookware

48" gas (dual-fuel) range: Wolf vs FiveStar vs Thermador vs Viking vs Dacor

Remodelling the kitchen and finally have space for a 48" gas range. Narrowed down the choices to Wolf vs Five Star, as these are the brands that are available locally. Other brands available are: Thermador, Viking, Dacor.

Comments on these brands? Any clear favourite? Dealbreakers on any of these brands? Any brands I should hunt down and bring in?

Any input you have would be greatly appreciated.

TIA.

Dec 23, 2007
jayes in Cookware

Joy Indian Restaurant -disaster [moved from Outer Boroughs board]

Seems like this train was headed for disaster from the get-go.

(1) OP didn't really want to order from the restaurant, but felt they had to.
(2) Delivery time -- which in the best of times is always an estimate -- took too long.
(3) OP seemed to have specific/particular requirements that the restaurant had trouble filling in the past. Hence, (1).

When the order came,

(4) Order was messed up.
(5) OP wanted the order rectified and the restaurant's representative had an inappropriate response.

It is the OP's right to have their order rectified. The response might be inappropriate -- but there was no malice attached. In a lot of Asian cultures, laughing or smiling is a way to say "I'm sorry" and to cover up embarrassment -- and, for sure, they were embarrassed about messing up the order.

(6) OP writes a post about how horrible the whole experience was.

OK. Point taken.

If it were me, I would just let it go. From the start, it didn't sound like the whole experience would end well. After (4), I would probably just chalk the whole thing up to. . .well, I don't know. . .but most probably, at the end of the day, I'd just share a laugh with the restaurant's representative at the petty absurdity of the situation.

Dec 23, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

What do you do when you know a customer IS wrong....it happens

Thank you, Tay.

"I think common sense has to rule." -- Yes, yes, yes!

Unfortunately, it seems that common sense is severely in retreat. Going back to the original thread, the whole mentality of "the customer is always right" has only served to embolden those who routinely want to take advantage of the industry's desire to please each and every customer.

For better or for worse, the industry has decided/has edged towards the total satisfaction of the customer as the objective of the eating/dining experience.

Personally, I think this is an unattainable goal -- and an unreasonable one. (How can one experience leave you totally satisfied?) Customers have come to expect and demand that their every desire and whim to be catered to and satisfied, down to a 99 cent burger. Some customers expect to be pampered, even when they're in a quick-service restaurant!

Interestingly enough, I think on the other side of the spectrum -- the more expensive the food -- the less likely it is for the customer to have the unreasonable demand of being totally satisfied. With the tasting menu example, I was recently served a liquified version of a Caesar salad (the lettuce was liquified) that I found disgusting. I didn't complain. I took a few sips and then decided I could not finish it.

Yet, there are other diners too who will keep sending a dish back, even on a tasting menu. I've heard one incident of a diner in Rob Feenie's Lumiere who kept sending dishes back, causing the chef to explode in expletives in the kitchen, expletives which were overheard throughout the restaurant and the diner. The diner supposedly cried.

These are extreme examples, admittedly. But your call for reason and common sense is well-heard. Let's take back the night, so to speak. =) I wish we can just all have reasonable expectations and a sense of fairness (not a sense of self-importance) when we dine out.

Dec 22, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

What do you do when you know a customer IS wrong....it happens

That would be rewarding her for her behaviour. Better to let her go and discourage her from ever coming back.

Dec 21, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

What do you do when you know a customer IS wrong....it happens

There are legitimate reasons for not *liking* a dish and not paying for it. In your case, the red pepper flakes were not advertised: had they been, you probably wouldn't have ordered it. You were within reason to request a replacement and the manager should have not given you a hard time about it.

I'm just wary of the inherent subjectivity of taste-sensations: too salty, too spicy, too sweet and its ilk. It's easier to tell when the dish crosses the line to inedibility (e.g. the cook poured half a cup of salt and it's too salty for anyone to eat), but in most cases we are dealing with gradations of taste. What might be salty for one customer might be just right for another customer. Would the first customer have a legitimate reason to send the dish back?

In the republic of taste and the democracy of dining, how far do we cede control to the chef/cook/restaurant entity? For instance, if I order the tasting menu and there is one course that is yucky to me, do I have recourse to ask for my money back?

Dec 21, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

What do you do when you know a customer IS wrong....it happens

I'd go a bit further and say that simply not liking what one orders is not a reason to get their money back. *Liking* something is so subjective -- that, in my opinion, disqualifies it from being a legitimate reason to complain.

Just a sidebar: where would you draw the line?

(1) I don't like this dish.
(2) I don't like this dish because it's not cooked properly.
(3) I don't like this dish ecause it has an ingredient that I'm averse to.
(4) I don't like this dish because I don't like the flavours.
. . .

Other distinctions?

A more general question from this thread: when is the customer not right?

Dec 21, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

What do you do when you know a customer IS wrong....it happens

Thank you for speaking up.

People who try to take advantage of the foodservice industry's desire to please customers take advantage of *all* other customers. To compensate for all their unreasonable and unfair requests, restaurants have no choice to inch their prices up and up. In the end, *we* pay for the meals of these so-called customers.

Dec 20, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

Peartree (Vancouver) -- credit card# for reservation? [Moved from Western Canada board]

"Even worse, I dislike having to pay a price for someone else's lack of manners."

Welcome to this day and age, dolores. Those who still abide by the rules of common decency and civility often have to pay the price for those who don't.

But what can you do, eh? We can't all devolve into mannerless cads nor do we want to.

In the restaurant's case, they really are just making the best of a bad situation. Yes, they will alienate some customers with this policy and that's a risk they have chosen. In the calculus of business, better to take this risk of alienating a few customers than take the risk of having tables reserved for potential no-shows.

Dec 20, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

Creative way to deal with no-call/no-shows

Agreed.

The restaurant is bending over backwards just to keep the customer happy -- when it is the responsibility of the customer to honour the reservation that they make in the first place.

Here's a novel idea: if unsure whether one can make a reservation, just do not make a reservation at all. Risk not getting a table on that particular night: it's not the end of the world.

Restaurants are well within their prerogative to charge credit card for no-shows/last-minute cancellations. It is not an unfair policy. Hotels do it; function rooms do it; rental car companies do it.

If I have no intention of not honouring my reservation, why would I be personally offended at being asked my credit card to hold the reservation? It is a minor inconvenience for sure, but I'd rather pay the price of a minor inconvenience than risk other people's livelihoods.

Dec 20, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

TIPS

Is this 15% on the total bill or the pre-tax subtotal?

Dec 11, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

Do you use coupons at restaurants?

Ditto.

If it were an small, independent restaurant trying to make a living , I wouldn't avail of any of their offers. I would gladly pay full price whenever I go.

These days, small businesses have to offer these incentives, just to compete with the "big boys" with the deep pockets.

Dec 11, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

Settling the bill before everyone's finished eating

I think it's another manifestation of the general decline in manners and social graces. How many people still wait for fellow family members to finish their meals before wandering off to do other things at home?

Personally, I find it extremely rude. But what can I do? I can't teach these people manners. On the same note, I find it extremely rude when people bring books/magazines at the dinner table. It has always been my fantasy to get the book or magazine and smack them on the head with it.

"ME FIRST," "I want to have it MY way," I'm done and I just want to get it taken care of" -- this whole ME first irks me, especially when it comes to food and the sharing of food.

I don't think you could have said something to your dining companions, though. They probably do not think they've done anything that's rude. Is it still rude when they don't think it's rude?

Settling the bill before everybody else is finished is acceptable if one has to leave or if one is footing the entire bill. He or she settles it before anybody has gotten a chance to object.

Dec 09, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

Sent back entree, meager comp

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. That is one of the reasons why I would go to Rome.

There is no reason to expect the same level of customer service in all parts of the world. I wouldn't want "customer service" intruding on the whole experience.

Dec 07, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

Do you use coupons at restaurants?

Not unique.

I respect everybody's right to save money by using e-book coupons, but I personally find it offensive that the same people would use a coupon each and every time they visit. If they like the restaurant enough to pay repeat visits, could they not pay full price for the experience?

Dec 07, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

Servers who ask if you need change...

Power or control -- yes.

The question is, why take the question, "Would you like to have your change back?" and its ilk, PERSONALLY?

In a restaurant setting, servers and customers are functional/situational/legal/etc entities -- not PERSONAL entities. There really is no reason to take any question asked by the server so personally. The server does not know the customer, nor does the customer know the server.

Asking a question whether you want change back -- and answering such question in the affirmative or negative -- does not imply a personal judgment against the server and/or the customer.

Dec 06, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

Is this cooking?

I'm with him on this one. I don't think he is being a food snob when he says he doesn't want to serve the soup to his guests. =)

It is, after all, simply a matter of different personal standards, of "cooking" and of "hospitality." Some people just feel more "hospitable" when they take great effort in "cooking" up a meal, while others don't see them in direct proportion to each other.

Gander. Goose.

Dec 04, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

Is this cooking?

Perhaps, for the OP's husband, it is a point of pride -- that is, it isn't really "cooking" when one cannot take considerable credit (and/or blame) for the final product.

After all, there is no great craft/skill/technique involved in opening up 4 cans of premade soup.

Dec 04, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

stopping payment with credit card company

If we look at it as somebody has to be right or wrong, then I think we'd be hard-pressed to decide one way or the other.

As many posters have pointed out, there was miscommunication on both sides. The OP didn't exactly specify how much food they wanted, and of course, on the restaurant's side, they want to serve as much food as they can. Who's to say enough is enough?

OP's party did decide to put a stop after the 2nd or 3rd boat, but as jfood says, if the order was already in the midst of being prepared, then it is pretty hard to put a stop to it.

The restaurant is grasping at straws when they try to justify their actions by saying that the OP did make a reservation for 20 people. On the other hand, they did offer the OP a discount on the bill.

If it were me, I would just let it go. I did get a proportionate amount of food for the price.

Dec 03, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

Son Cubano rejects expired gift certificate [Moved from Manhattan board]

The amount of money isn't trivial, but is this not a case again the government passing laws to protect ourselves from ourselves?

If I buy a gift certificate and do not use it within a reasonable amount of time, should it not be my loss and my own loss only? It is my right and responsibility to use it, after all.

What is next for these gift certificates? Should we legislate that companies who issue these gift certificates be required to call up each and every one of their customers to use them before they expire?

It should, of course, be illegal and criminal for corporations to trick and deceive consumers. They should be punished if and when they use deceitful practices to get consumers to buy gift certificates. E.g., telling them the gift certificates don't expire when they do expire.

But truth be told, in this case and most cases of unredeemed gift certificates, corporations are simply relying on consumers' inertia: sometimes laziness, sometimes forgetfulness. Whether they can or should be able to do that is another discussion for another day.

Dec 03, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

Son Cubano rejects expired gift certificate [Moved from Manhattan board]

(1) Whether or not $100 is worth two years ago is worth the same as $100 now; (2) whether the restaurant has adjusted its pricing to reflect inflation;

These are beside the point.

The gift certificate had an expiration date, and from the OP's post, I take it that the expiration date was clearly printed on the certificate itself.

Now, it would be a completely different case if the gifter purchased the gift certificate after 8/2005!

There should be a reasonable amount of time when gift certificates can expire on the assumption that the purchaser will use the gift certificate within this time -- if legislation is needed, then so be it -- but I think 2 years beyond the expiration date is pushing it.

You don't go into the supermarket to buy bread and then return 2 weeks later because the bread has gone bad. There's a reasonable expectation that you would be using that bread within a few days of purchase.

Dec 03, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

Son Cubano rejects expired gift certificate [Moved from Manhattan board]

Thank you for that elaboration.

I thought the OP was talking about a gift certificate that expired a week, a month or even three months ago. This was a gift certificate that was 2 years past the expiration date!

Whatever happened to living with the consequences of one's actions (or inaction, for that matter)? The pendulum has swung so much: the consumer is always right, it seems. No matter what.

Writing your state representative about this seems a disproportionate response to such a trivial matter. There was no gross injustice here, as the restaurant did not deceive anybody: the gift certificate had a clear expiration date.

It's the gifter's loss, not the OP's. The gifter spent $100 for a gift that he or she thought the OP could use. Given the length of time the OP took to getting around to using it, I can't imagine it was that much prized as a gift.

I probably am going to get a lot of flak from this, but come on, just suck it up.

Dec 03, 2007
jayes in Not About Food

Pot Roast - no idea what to do

I always see chuck as the cut to use for pot roast. So, for my first pot roast, I got a boneless chuck. I've also tried a round roast for a slowcooker pot roast. I'm thinking of using brisket the next time.

My question is: does brisket, when cooked, have rough and large shred/grain? The chuck and the round did: the meat broke apart in larger shreds. (The chuck definitely had more flavour than the round.)

Which leads me to wonder, seeing the post above. When I go to a Chinese restaurant and order a "beef brisket" soup or a "braised beef brisket," the texture of the "brisket" is not quite the same as I think a brisket does. So perhaps what they've been calling "brisket" isn't really brisket at all and is really a "shank."

Thoughts?

Oct 22, 2007
jayes in Home Cooking

paella: wetness/dryness

Thanks for the link, paulj. I never knew there was a difference.

RE the cooking: Yesterday's "paella" was cooked in a roaster, fairly shallow (I would guesstimate 3-4 inches), uncovered.

Oct 17, 2007
jayes in Home Cooking

paella: wetness/dryness

Thanks!

Here's what I did.

Sear chicken thighs. Take out.
Add olive oil.
Saute onions, chorizo.
Saute rice.
Add tomatoes (usually canned tomatoes).
Add seasonings.
Add liquid.
Add chicken thighs.

When I add the liquid, liquid doesn't evaporate completely. Rice gets cooked, but the result is wetter than I would like.

Add shellfish/shrimp/etc.

(1) Does putting it in the oven help with the evaporation of liquid?
(2) What is the proper proportion for liquid to rice? Is it still 2 to 1?

Oct 17, 2007
jayes in Home Cooking

paella: wetness/dryness

We've made paella a couple of times in the past two months and the flavour turns out excellent.

For me, though, there's a little problem with the "wetness" of the paella: that is, there seems to be a lot of "sauce" in the finished product and the individual grains of rice are not really "dry." The texture is goopy.

What's your ideal paella and how do I get all the liquid to disappear to have a drier product?

Thanks in advance.

Oct 17, 2007
jayes in Home Cooking

shrimp shells

I have shrimp shells in the freezer that I've been saving. Aside from shrimp bisque, what else can I make with them?

Oct 13, 2007
jayes in Home Cooking