Thursday, February 12, 2009

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Restaurants Making Me Sound Like A Tool

Maybe I haven't posted since last week, but YOU haven't either, so think about THAT! Now...let's talk about how restaurants feel the need to make us sound like complete assholes.

I want to know exactly when it was that restaurants decided to be "wacky." When did the first person say, "You know what this hamburger place needs? Deep Sea Diving equipment on the walls." When did somebody first think that putting crazy crap on the walls of a place would make me want to eat there. I'm not saying it hasn't worked, I'm a sucker for Applebee's, Ruby Tuesday's, Friendly's, and Chili's (at least before they reduced their fry portions, which was literally the smallest change they could have made that generated such a huge reaction out of me), but I have to assume that the "wacky" aspect of restaurants came from somewhere, and it feels American. I have a hard time believing that some German place said, "Zou know vut zis place needs? Snow shoes and tennis rackets on zee walls!" Then again, Germany and "flair" haven't worked out so well in the past. Probably not a lotta "Stars and moon" themed birthday parties-- "What if we just have moons, honey?"

So let's assume this is an American thing. A "we have so much stuff, we're putting our stuff on walls where we eat just for the fuck of it" type thing. Nobody's gonna fire a nuke at us when we have spare guns, nets, and fishing spears strung up on the walls of Red Robin. HOWEVER, America took it too far. The crazy shit on the walls evolved into crazy stuff on the menu-- not cuisine, but names of dishes. Red Robin is a good place to start. I feel slightly foolish ordering the Honky Tonk BBQ Pork Sandwich. Unless I'm getting kick-backs from them, I don't feel the need to say that I want the WHISKEY RIVER BBQ Burger-- I'll just take the BBQ Burger. That's tame, though, compared to some places where you have to say things like, "I'd like two Al Pacinos, one Chick-quille O'Neil, and a Sly Stallone please (also, I'm either ordering for several people or am ridiculously fat in this scenario)." Sandwiches probably started this trend, with delis giving their eats clever names after people they know or geographic locations. Historically, I don't think ancient peoples had this. "Gimme two King Ramses II's, one What Sphinx In Here, aaand three Incest In the Mornings...thanks."

I blame America, and things have gotten out of control. Fine, I'll order a "Robin Williams" in SF if you have some sandwich that's "totally off the wall and enough meat to put hair on your chest." I'll order a "Jerry Seinfeld" in NY if I want to know, "What's the deeeeeal with turkey bacon!? Is it turkey? Is it bacon? Is it just a way for Jews to wink at God and say, 'Gotcha!?' Who cares! This sandwich is delicious!!" BUT I WILL NOT sit there, looking a waiter/waitress in the eye, and say something that we are both aware makes me sound like a complete tool. Case and point, here is the worst menu I have ever seen in my entire life: CAFE GRATITUDE IN SF...if you read the menu and don't want to stab someone's eyes out, then you aren't literate. I understand it's a healthy lifestyle type place, but wouldn't you then want to make it MORE accessible to the average person? For those of you not perusing the menu, well, first of all, that's really lazy and you probably have the time to do so, and second of all, take this one example off the kid's menu:

I Am A Hero: Noodles and Sauce (Spiral-sliced vegetable “noodles” in marinara sauce with Brazil nut parmesan).

Who would order that? No children are ordering that for themselves. Moreover, do you order it as, "I Am A Hero" or "He/She Is A Hero" when ordering for a child? The menu only gets worse as you run into "I Am Dazzling" which apparently means you're gonna have wicked bad garlic breath, or "I Am Eating At Cafe Gratitude" which means, "I'm really effing rich, because these mediocre, condescending, barely food dishes are expensive." What you really mean to say is, "I Am Vegan" or "I Am Lactose Intolerant" or "Gluten-Intolerant" or "A Really Good Friend of One of the Aforementioned People."

As My Friend Formerly With A Pool said,

"I wouldn't say a single one of those things. I would say "give me the noodles with sauce" or just "give me directions to another restaurant, because you have awful names and also noodles in sauce sounds like something you might get in jail"

So please stop making us sound like idiots. Nobody says, "Hey, let's go to Bobby's for lunch! They make you say, "I'd like to order the I'm Easily Amused and Borderline Retarded Burger!" Just make good food and if you really feel the need, tack something up to your walls that doesn't belong there. It'll be so wacky we'll practically throw our money at you.*

I Like Restaurants That's Walls Reflect My Inner Emotions...Full of Ski Poles,

Photo comedy magic performed by Nitro

*Note: I actually DO pay waiters by balling up and throwing my money at them. It's really really condescending and demeaning and it not only makes me feel better about myself, but it makes them feel worse about themselves, possibly leading to them killing themselves-- and with the current economy, if I get laid off, those open jobs will be warm and cozy cribs for me to sleep in. Literally.


IrishGal said...

Maybe those aren't the names of menu items but poorly-placed daily affirmations.

"What Sphinx in Here." Well played.

How did you forget one of the epitomes of crap-on-the-wall establishments: TGI Friday's?

Dave said...

. . . or Houlihan's. Do they even exist anymore? At one point I know they changed their menu . . . meaning they cut half of it and then raised the prices on the rest by 50% so I stopped going.