Slick, sleek & slimy

I have fond mem­o­ries, though my cho­les­terol lev­el does not, of eat­ing at D’Best Sand­wich Shop in Boca Raton. It’s been a few years, but as I  recent­ly munched on a Mia­mi Cuban-style cheeses­teak1 my mind start­ed wan­der­ing and I got to won­der­ing if D’Best still exist­ed. As I went look­ing for their web­site, I recalled a few of their region­al twists on the cheeses­teak, like the New York style, a New Jer­sey style… not to men­tion their incred­i­ble non-steak explo­sion of an entire Thanks­giv­ing meal direct­ly onto a bun (D’Pilgrim).

D’Best still exists, alright… but I was tru­ly unpre­pared for what I found.

You see, back when I’d vis­it, D’Best-the-subshop was a place you’d leave coat­ed with a thin lay­er of grill grease. Had to wait in line? You’re wash­ing your hair tonight. The place was by no means messy, but it had a cer­tain unfin­ished qual­i­ty to it… def­i­nite­ly the kind of place where the food mat­ters more than the brand­ing. I’d describe it as feel­ing some­how hon­est… com­plete­ly lack­ing in pre­tense. Kind of blue col­lar? Yeah, I guess.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Slick, sleek & slimy”

  1. For the curi­ous: a sin­gle slab of steak topped with swiss cheese, mayo and pota­to sticks — a rather unhealthy twist on the ubiq­ui­tous pan con bis­tec, and also not a cheeses­teak.

The Premium McWrap packaging is very nicely designed

McDonald's Premium McWrap 1I’m clear­ly no stranger to mar­ket­ing, but my career hasn’t yet brought me in touch with prod­uct pack­ag­ing. I like pack­ag­ing, and I’ve actu­al­ly bought things over the years because they were nice­ly pack­aged — stuff like can­dy, Altoids Sours, some ran­dom bike part… and yes, I’ve even bought myself a few low-balance gift cards2 to keep in my this is so awe­some file.

I recent­ly found myself impressed with the card­board pack­ag­ing around the McDonald’s Pre­mi­um McWrap — I should prob­a­bly go ask for a clean one while they’re still avail­able. I guess I didn’t notice when they added this item to the menu, because I ordered my first one by mis­take. My annoy­ance at pay­ing about dou­ble what I expect­ed turned to intrigue about as soon as I peeked into my drive-through bag.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “The Pre­mi­um McWrap pack­ag­ing is very nice­ly designed”

  1. Still pissed that my par­ents wouldn’t buy me Bub­ble Tape.
  2. Con­fuse your local cashier today — ask for a $1 gift card!

No Ovaltine please — we’re cool

As a kid, I didn’t know any­thing about Oval­tine aside from their com­mer­cials, so I hadn’t seen it as a spon­sor of clas­sic radio and tele­vi­sion, as a joke on Sein­feld, or as a big fat liar in A Christ­mas Sto­ry. I can’t remem­ber any of my friends hav­ing any­thing to say about it, either.

I was total­ly unbi­ased.

But from the company’s mar­ket­ing alone, I could tell that rich choco­late Oval­tine was uncool. I had nev­er drunk any — and decades lat­er, I still haven’t — but if I ever had, I cer­tain­ly wouldn’t have told any­one about it.

I’m not exact­ly sure why the stuff made my lame-sense tin­gle as a kid. Maybe because Oval­tine was named after a shape (and shapes are for lit­tle kids), or that its mar­ket­ing proud­ly pro­claimed that it was full of vit­a­mins (like every­thing par­ents love, and kids don’t), but what I sus­pect it was… was a lit­tle more basic than that.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “No Oval­tine please — we’re cool”

There was bread in the air

It was dark and the car was point­ed east — some express­way was behind it and some more was ahead, with the exact pro­por­tions rapid­ly chang­ing. Its win­dows were down and its sun­roof was too. Around here, la madre nat­u­raleza usu­al­ly cra­dles us close to her sticky and often gross bosom, but she had tak­en the night off.

In Mia­mi, mid-60s is fair­ly cool for any time of year. I take what I can get.

I couldn’t hear what was play­ing because the engine and the wind were too loud, and I was deter­mined not to be that guy. I prob­a­bly had some­thing on my mind too, but who can remem­ber? For a stretch of road per­haps a half-mile long, how­ev­er, the air and my thoughts were sud­den­ly full of the unmis­tak­able scent of freshly-baked… sour­dough. I think it was sour­dough.

This was pleas­ing to me. Then it went away. I kept dri­ving.

Deliciously clever dessert marketing

dessert

I went to a restau­rant recent­ly, one that could be placed com­fort­ably in the same genre as Cheese­cake Fac­to­ry. Nice atmos­phere, food’s great. But what stood out most to me was the way they mar­ket­ed desserts.

What would you think the top rea­son is that peo­ple don’t order dessert? I’d guess that the first or sec­ond (the oth­er being health/weight con­cerns) is that their entrée leaves them too full to eat more. How do you sell a dessert to some­one who’s too stuffed to eat one? Get them to order it before they’re stuffed.

Our serv­er ini­tial­ly men­tioned, then remind­ed us on almost every appear­ance she made at our table, that all of their desserts are deli­cious, made-to-order and take up to 30 min­utes to pre­pare, so my din­ing com­pan­ion and I should get our dessert order in ear­ly if we don’t want to wait.

This might not give a non-critical thinker pause, but — you know — I tend to notice when someone’s reach­ing for my wal­let. I also under­stand that restau­rants tend to run at pret­ty slim prof­it mar­gins, and how impor­tant attach rates of desserts, drinks and appe­tiz­ers are to their busi­ness.

They real­ly want you to have that slice of cheese­cake, even if they’re prob­a­bly going to be box­ing it up to-go. Clever, huh?

New Orleans, in food

To say that my sis­ter and I enjoyed the food dur­ing our trip to New Orleans would be an under­state­ment. Antic­i­pat­ing a blog post like this (and for pos­ter­i­ty), I took pho­tos of near­ly every­thing we ate, and checked in at each restau­rant using Foursquare.

Foursquare nor­mal­ly annoys me, but in this case, was very help­ful in log­ging all the places we went, on which days we went, and so on.

(Unless oth­er­wise not­ed, my meal is in the fore­ground.)



Tues­day, March 9




Dinner: Parasol’s Restaurant & Bar

Me: Hot Sausage Po Boy. Despite being a life­long dis­lik­er of pick­les, I decid­ed to try my sand­wich with them any­way, hav­ing order­ing it “dressed.” While I’m not sure they added much, it was not bad with pick­les. Mine was also a lit­tle light on meat, at least com­pared to Allison’s.

Alli­son: Roast Beef Po Boy.


Wednes­day, March 10




Lunch: Gumbo Shop

Me: Red Beans & Rice with Smoked Sausage Gum­bo. Gum­bo was yum­bo.

Alli­son: Chick­en Andouille Gum­bo.





Dinner: Port of Call

Both: Burg­ers (mine with cheese, hers with mush­rooms) with baked pota­to. While I was a lit­tle sur­prised at the lack of fries as an option, I didn’t mind at all. The baked pota­to was amaz­ing. Also, I wasn’t going to break out the flash, but yeah, the light­ing was a lit­tle on the low side.


Thurs­day, March 11




Brunch: Slim Goodies Diner

Me: Robert John­son Burg­er

Alli­son: Havana Omelet. Came with tor­tillas!





Snack: Creole Creamery

Me: Black & Gold Crunch Ice Cream

Alli­son: Oat­meal Cook­ie Ice Cream


Dinner: Verti Marte

Ver­ti Marte, a con­ve­nience store with sand­wich counter in the back, had no seat­ing, so we ate this meal in the car. Sor­ry, no pho­to; we were hun­gry.

Me: Muf­falet­ta, some­thing I had nev­er tried. My reac­tion was along the lines of: “I’m pret­ty sure I’d list half of the ingre­di­ents on my do-not-like list, but boy are they good togeth­er!” Quite pos­si­bly my food high­light of the trip.

Alli­son: BBQ Po Boy


Fri­day, March 12




Lunch: Willie Mae’s Scotch House

Me: Chick­en Fried Pork Chop. Mine was good, but I was jeal­ous of her chick­en.

Alli­son: Fried chick­en. Quite pos­si­bly the best I’ve ever tried.





Dinner: Slice

Alli­son: (From left) Bacon, Basil, and Gar­lic; Pineap­ple; Fresh




Me: (From left) Jalapeño and Andouille Sausage; Greek; Fresh




New Orleans: A++++ Would nom again~~~