Thursday, May 2, 2013

New Place, Same Experience

I went to a new place, Texas Cheese Steaks, for lunch today (corner of Saturn and Gemini)since I just happened to be driving by. Analysis: The menu on the wall was poorly located so you have to stand in the middle of the restaurant to see the choices and everything in the back was fully visible and very cluttered looking. To be fair, there wasn't really a better place in the layout of the restaurant to put the menus, and the text was nice and large. I ordered an “Old Smokey” which was a cheese steak with sharp cheddar and “double dare” horseradish sauce. When I ordered it I got the combo (with the sweet potato fries) and she asked if I wanted any sauce and I said no just ketchup. I went to get my pop and an extra cup fell out of the dispenser on the floor and the guy quickly grabbed it from me claiming it happened all the time but when I informed him I was just going to throw it out he took it with him and said he would use it in the back... seemed a little shady but whatever, I am sure there are a lot of uses and why waste a good cup. I went to get my drink from the machine, cherry coke looked good but big surprise it was running clear out of the fountain. I dumped it out and got Mr. Pibb instead. I head back to the office, open the sandwich, and !WTF! - No horseradish. It now occurs to me that this must be what the lady meant when she asked if I wanted any sauce. I mean why the hell would I order something with three ingredients (steak, cheese, horseradish sauce) and not want the damn sauce?! So the sandwich was dry but acceptably good anyways (great flavor on the steak), then I went on to the fries. The fries were semi-soggy and lukewarm but tasty enough, until I got most of the way through them and all the sudden my whole mouth filled with a terrible taste of what I can only guess was some kind of cleaning product that must have soaked into one of the fries, it was really disgusting. I ran to the bathroom and got a big gulp of water and spit it out but it didn’t help very much, I can't get the taste off my tongue. Up until that point I was still willing to go back (I really want to try whatever this double dare horseradish sauce is) but after eating that tainted fry I don’t know if I can muster the courage. It seems like they just opened very recently so maybe I will try again someday and give them the benefit of the doubt but maybe I'll just get the sandwich and not the combo...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Expectations as Porous as the Containers

It has been a year since my last post but in light of certain events I have decided to provide an update (I am also typing this out in a Dvorak layout as part of the "typing liberation" revolution I have declared).

Anyways, things have mainly continued in a predictable death spiral as portion sizes have steadily decreased and prices have increased. On top of that we also now pay for the cafeteria to be environmentally friendly with the new 15 cent surcharge on the bags and boxes. Any food that is even remotely liquid or sauce based will seep through the bottom like a primordial ooze depositing its lipids on its journey to your table or priceless paperwork. After getting biscuits and gravy recently (one biscuit split in half with approximately 8oz of pepper gravy for the surprisingly reasonable price of $1.19 + tax) one unfortunate co-worker, whose identity I will protect, found that the ooze soaked through 5 sheets of paper. The new cups also fail to impress as they sweat more profusely than fat guy at a Chinese buffet, you have to squeeze them just right or they slide out of your hand like a half frozen brat.

So earlier this week I went to get a loaded baked potato, everyone knows that you have to choose between the BBQ or Broccoli and Cheese slurry but not both. Assuming (incorrectly) that the cafeteria lady was aware of the protocol I ordered "everything" and to my horror she slopped the cheese all over the BBQ before I could react. I didn't say anything and allowed her to continue with her work though I had serious concerns about the mixture... she plopped some sour cream on there with chives, bacon nibblets, and cheese all stuck to it forming this flavorful mass. She then looked at me straight in the eyes and practically shouted "Good day sir!". As she said this the flimsy box was rapidly closed and thrust toward my hand and as if in slow motion the whole mass rolled off the potato onto the cutting board. We both slowly peered downwards and she opened the container back up, grabbed her knife and scrapped the gooey mess back on top, smiled, and gave me back my tater. Despite the rip off price of about $6.50 everything went better than expected.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Steve's Letter RE: California Burger

On Thursday July 22nd Steve decided to take the power into his own hands and fight the negligent cafeteria system of which we have become so accustomed too. In heroic fashion, his opinions were sent directly to cafeteria management and this should be a fine example for us all to follow. Without further ado, here is the letter he sent:

"Today I ordered one of the specials from the building 11 grill: the California Burger. Both the grill and the website describe the burger in this way, “Grilled Angus burger with jack cheese, avocado, fresh spinach and tomato with chipotle mayonnaise on a rustic roll.”

I ordered the California Burger, but upon verifying my order, found an angus burger with only jack cheese and avocado, missing the chipotle mayo, fresh spinach, and tomato. I asked the grill cook about the chipotle mayo and she pointed at the burger condiment bar and grunted. I checked the burger condiment bar, but only regular mayo. I went back to the grill and after a couple minutes was able to catch the attention of one of the very nice mangers who graciously helped me out (THANK YOU!). She searched all over the kitchen for the chipotle mayo, kindly apologizing for the wait while zipping around the kitchen. After finding it and putting it on the burger she handed the box to me, but it was still missing tomato and spinach. I spotted the tomato at the burger condiment bar earlier, so I just asked her about the spinach. She pointed at the salad bar and told me I could get spinach there. Luckily there was 5 leaves of spinach left, so I was able to complete my burger.

Long story short, if you are going to advertise something as a special please fulfill the entire order as advertised. Even if the chipotle mayo had been included in the first place and I only had to go to the salad bar for the rest, having to go elsewhere to complete the advertised order feels like a really half-assed attempt at fulfilling the promises made to the customer and is really poor customer service.

Thank you to the manager who was very nice, very personable, and ready to go out of her way for a customer, as she did for me today."

Monday, April 26, 2010

First Experience at the new Cafeteria

My eyes were wide and bright like a young school boy walking into a Disney World's front gates for the very first time, expectations soaring. As the doors opened to the newly remodeled building 3 cafeteria life did not seem like it could get much better, but my naive mind was blind to the horrors that awaited me. Entering the cafeteria I was blasted by a fridgid front of sub 68 degree air, "chilly" I thought to myself. Chilly is exactly the reception I recieved in every sense of the word.

As I entered my familiar stomping grounds I noticed that it was no longer familar at all, I became dizzy and disoriented at the the magnitude of change that confronted me. Yellow and Orange surrounded me, the workers clad in strange looking smocks. I decided to walk around slowly, so as not to lose my orientation, and examine all of the amazing new food options that I had been expecting. At first I was pleastly surprised to see that a new Panini station had been installed, alas, there was no Roast Beef and Cheddar (with horseradish cream sauce, and topped with thinly slized onions and mushrooms of course). I was deeply disappointed as this is clearly the best Panini available, almost negating the purpose of installing a Panini station all together.

Onword I moved to the new Deli, my heart sank as I saw that the temporary $5 subs had run their course and are no more. All subs are now the standard $7 rip-off price, it is likely only a matter of time now until Building 11 follows suit, I dread the coming of this day. Outside of the price changes I didn't see anything different and therefore I decided to move on.

The Grill was the only station that looked the same, a small nook in the side of the wall that once you passed your order through it would enter a time vortex where apparently burgers cooked 4x slower and it took fries the same amount of extra time to ... er.. fry. The Grill is like the bermuda triangle of the cafeteria, whatever input it accepts, it twists and mangles it and spits it back out (a long time later) and such a way that you could not even fathom. Having gained no confidence in the Grill, I once again resumed my journey.

Ah, here it was, the Action Station as they call it. I was feeling an "Action" sort of mood so surely this would be the station for me. Gah! It was selling Noodle Soup! Just like I had read in disbelief on the online menu, what kind of action is Noodle Soup related to? But no, I was mistaken, my associate pointed out that I had misread it and in reality I was looking at the "Noodle Shop". It looked promising, you pick a selection of vegetables, broth, noodles, and meat and it is all sauted up in a wok for you. So I got in line, about 5 minutes from where I was until I got my food. As I got closer and closer my hopes were crushed further and further. Each customer was being served vegtables in portions that would not satisfy the most depraved of rabbits.

"Sir, what vegetables would you like?"
"All of them please, but no Tofu" (Is Tofu a vegetable?? they seemed to think so)

Next, the small circus figure (or orange and yellow dressed worker) began to meticulously place vegatables into my dish. A table spoon of lettuce, 3 green pepper slices (~1-2 inches long and a quarter inch thick), 2 red pepper slices, 3 mushrooms (quarter sized), 5 1 inch long scotch-tape shaped bamboo shoot slices, about a dozen 1 inch long shreds of carrots, and then 8-10 quarter inch sections of green onion. I watched in quiet amusement as the "meal" was being prepared, I didn't realize we were restricted to severe war-time rationing. Next I chose between fish and coconut broth, this was an easy choice "Coconut please". Well the broth was really almost as thin as water, it is supposed to be creamy and succulent, but in this case it was like water with orange food coloring in it. I recieved 4 bountiful ladle's full of broth, completly submerging my vegetables in the Wok. Next I got my rice noodles and chicken (the only two adequate parts of the meal).

After a brief warming on the hot plate, my slurry was dumped into a styrofoam box that I could take back with me, it was so light that the slightest breeze caused it to nearly fly right out of my hand. I decided I had better suppliment my main course with a salad, so that I could get more than 80 calories. The ingredients for the salad were all fresh looking and actually quite acceptable, what was not acceptable was the horrible layout of the salad bar. Apparently it was designed for people about 4.5 feet tall with arms that can reach 6 feet in front of them. At almost 6'4", I had to bend all the way over and stand on 1 foot to reach to the back row of the ingredients (I needed the shredded cheddar) and I almost lost my balance and had a terrible accident.

I had noticed that instead of going through this ridiculous charade, people were just going inside the V-shaped salad bar (where the employees are only supposed to go to restock the ingredients) to get the impossible to reach items. Of course there is no sneeze guard or tray rest so it was equally hazardous in there, I might write up a RATS for this. My salad, in half the size box of my coconut noodle meddly, weighed twice as much. I decided to go check out as I could not explore the cafeteria any further on this visit, and surprise surprise (no surprise at all) my meal was well over $9.

Dejected, I stormed towards the door with coconut juice sloshing out of the box all over the floor, walls, doors and other patrons. Thats all I can bear to recall of this horrific memory... next time I hope to report a better experience.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Black Pepper Mayonaise

So yesterday I went to the cafeteria bldg 3 and I was immediately disappointed when there was a sign on the International Meals section that said there was no international meal today but to return the next day. There was no explanation as to why, so I was force to just accept the sign's declaration. As usual, the regular chef's feature's options were not satisfying, so I had to choose between the Deli and the insanely slow grill. I selected the deli, and decided I would try one of their new specialty sandwiches, the Parmigano Peppercorn Roast Beef Ciabata. It boasted succulent roast beef, lettuce, romano tomatoes, caramelized onions and of course the deluxe black pepper mayonnaise all on a premium ciabata bun. This sounded great to me (hold the tomatoes) so I went for it. Well my hopes quickly turned to a nightmare when she split my ciabata bun and began spreading regular run-of-the-mill mayonaise all over my ciabata bun. Internally I was full of angst and decided whether to unleash my rage verbally or just observe and deliberate my options further. Well, I should not be surprised, but after spreading the mayonaise she grabbed a standard peppershaker and sprinkled about 5 shakes all over the maynoise she had just spread. Hence, the black pepper mayonnaise, which ironically is just what they had advertised though it was a complete deception to what the average customer would expect. I just shook my head in disbelief, I could not complain because I got exactly what was written on the walls, it was very pathetic. So remember my friends, do not be tricked by the cafeteria, if they offer black pepper mayonnaise that is what you will get, mayonnaise sprinkled with table pepper.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chicken Caesar Wrap

I was glad to see the Bucks made a post Saturday as I suddenly had the urge to also update the blog with an experience I had back on Tuesday October 7th. You see, Christopher Rasnick was getting a Chicken Caesar wrap at the Deli and I was right behind him trying to decide what to get myself. Nothing was particularly striking my fancy so I was intrigued by his selection of the Chicken Caesar Wrap, it did look pretty good and since I hadn't tried it I thought I would give it a go. Well, all I did was simply tell the Deli lady that all I wanted was the exact same thing she just made for Rasnick. So of course the first question she asks is, "What kind of tortilla do you want on the wrap?".
Clearly I was mis-understood, so I repeated myself "Exactly whatever kind the last guy had"
She replies "Well he had a wheat wrap and normally we give a flour wrap"

I answer "Ok well then I will also have a wheat wrap"

As the lady is pulling the wheat wrap out of the bag it gets about a 1 inch tear in the tortilla (its about a 12" tortilla in diameter) and she looked at it and pondered it for a few seconds. Quick as lighting she made up her mind and crumpled the whole thing up and threw it right in the trash, though I would have gladly accepted the slightly flawed tortilla. Anyway she then goes back into the bag to retrieve another wheat tortilla, and big surprise, it is the last one in the bag. Initially I am thinking that its my lucky day, but alas, this tortilla is far more damaged than the previous one, likely due to it being on the bottom of the bag for its whole life. I think I saw the lady smirk with a glint of joy for a moment as she crumpled that one up also and threw it in the trash. Then she just looked at me and said "Guess your gettin' flour"

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Where is my CHICKEN!?

I'm pissed.

Why do I pay the same price for the Fried Chicken Tenders with fries now that I get HALF, thats right HALF, the chicken that we used to get???

This was the ultimate comfort grill meal and it's been cut down to nothing.

This is a sad time for NASA folk everywhere.