This is something I noticed at the most awesome Houston restaurant I went to last week: chocolate cake. Big deal, right? Chocolate cake is the desert that everyone wants who is a desert denier regularly. So, it figures to be on the menu at fine restaurants. Or not. Too many are too smart by half and offer up exotic concoctions that have an artistic flair but no one wants. They want chocolate. They want chocolate cake.
I don’t drink coffee, mainly because it smells so good I know it would be immediately added to my addiction list and it’s already too long, but James Lileks does and so does the guy he’s referring to (and the secret observer, careful companies, people are watching your crappy service and they’ll talk about it):
As for the coffee shop story – a guy wanted his espresso with ice, the “barista” wouldn’t do it, so the guy asked for ice on the side – and was given a dressing-down by the barista for insulting the integrity of the craft and the virtue of the crema, or whatever. The comments are amusing; while some people hammer the blogger for his crude reaction, others side with the barista for sticking up for the espresso, for saving it from the indignity this barbarian wished to inflict upon it. Criminey. The man paid for his coffee. If he wanted to add ground-up goat-glands and drizzle donkey spittle on the top once money had changed hands, that’s his right. I love coffee; I love good coffee. I love coffee so hot and strong it would exfoliate a yak, but I don’t regard it as some holy ichor. This is the blood of Juan Valdez, shed for you. Here is the biscotti, consecrated by a snob with a artful piercing who carefully vets the notes on the community bulletin board to make sure everyone’s using recycled paper. Coffee was simpler once. Worse, but simpler.
This is something else I don’t understand: A dude who is getting paid $8/hour to trot to the expresso machine and push a button to make something frothy getting all high and mighty with a guy who just wants his bleeping coffee, thank you, and to get to work. The hauteur is annoying. It’s the same snobbery the ladies and gents (who look like ladies) wear at the make-up counter in the department stores at the mall. When one of the 50 year old women cops a ‘tude, I want to yell, “YOU WORK AT THE MALL”. Good grief! It’s make-up. It’s coffee. It’s dessert. It’s not curing cancer and ending world poverty. Get some freaking perspective.
Back to dessert. Turns out, I did not buy the chocolate cake at Mark’s American Cuisine. I’m sure it was perfection. Everything was perfect that I shoveled into my mouth. I decided that since I don’t get out much and have a palate bludgeoned into fast-food submission by Wendy’s that I’d follow the waiter’s advice. In fact, pretty much all night I asked his recommendation and took them. It was a good decision. The dessert was essentially some raspberries and blackberries made magical. I ate magic berries. It was incredible. He brought a glass of wine to go with the dessert and I’m telling you, the whole experience was like sitting on a cloud with Zeus and having ambrosia dropped from heaven. Sigh.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to go with the expert opinion. Sometimes, you just want your expresso your way. It’s a free country. Last I checked, if you want your expresso iced, you damn well can have your expresso iced.