BlathrWayne Lorentz

Showing blathrs with the tag “Restaurants.”

Robble robble

Sunday, October 9th, 2022 Alive 18,793 days

Remember back when McDonaldʼs mascot was a convicted felon? Everyone knew it, and nobody cared.

Societyʼs tolerance and forgiveness has since been replaced by internet outrage.

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The itsy-bitsy spiders

Monday, May 23rd, 2022 Alive 18,654 days

The bar ceiling at The Court of Two Sisters

My wife has a thing about restaurant ceilings. She tries not to look at them, because they might ruin her meal.

After learning this, I've developed a habit of always looking at restaurant ceilings, and her fears are not unreasonable — some of them are disgusting. Smoke-soaked corbels, brown-stained drop ceilings, mysterious holes that could be entries for any number of creepy-crawlies.

I think the ceiling above the bar at The Court of Two Sisters is among the worst. It's like the backdrop for some kind of over-the-top Disney pirate ride, but in real life, with real cobwebs, and real who-knows-what. It was very easy to imagine a spider dropping down and adding just a bit of crunch to someone's cocktail. Ick.

The restaurantʼs web site claims eating there is a “one-of-a-kind experience.” Well, it was certainly memorable.

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D'lish!

Saturday, February 19th, 2022 Alive 18,561 days

Food D'lite in Houstonʼs Harrisburg neighborhood

After a day at the tree museum, I like to stop at Food D'lite on the way home. Itʼs a combination hamburger stand and Chinese food joint.

Itʼs my understanding that in the early part of the last century, it was common for Chinese immigrants who opened restaurants to serve both Chinese and American cuisine, in order to expand their customer base and to ingratiate themselves with the locals. Iʼve also noticed it in a number of old movies from the 1940ʼs, so it seems to be a little slice of Americana that is fading away as restaurants now strive to pigeonhole themselves into a particular category, rather than attract the largest number of people they can.

As you can tell from the picture, Food D'lite is small, old, and garishly-painted. So, naturally my expectations were high the first time I went here.

I have never gotten a hamburger from this stand, but I am happy to report that the Chinese food is excellent. Itʼs very much in the style of the heavy, muddy East Coast Cantonese I grew up with, and very far from the fresh-crispy-sprouts-and-heat of the West Coast Szechuan Iʼve had to make do with for the last decade.

If the Metro Green Line ran just another 4.8 miles eastward, Iʼd probably have lunch here every other day.

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Nice unlabeled action button

Saturday, February 12th, 2022 Alive 18,554 days

An error on the self-service point-of-sale machine at Shake Shack

The self-service ordering gizmo at Shake Shack canʼt cope with my hot dog order. Which I find a bit ironic, considering that Shake Shack started out as a hot dog stand.

This is what I get for using a computer to replace a personʼs job. Thereʼs a perfectly good human being ten feet away who can take my order if I wait 90 seconds, and my bag will never be out of sync.

Remember when technology was going to make our lives better?

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Someoneʼs gotta do it

Wednesday, January 19th, 2022 Alive 18,530 days

Coffee from The Italian Job

When I think of fine coffees, I donʼt usually think of Michael Caine and Benny Hill. But I might from now on.

Thereʼs a coffee shop down the street called The Italian Job. Itʼs run by a couple of guys from Italy who decided that Houston could do with a bit of civilization, and decided to contribute by importing enormous chrome-plated espresso machines.

Itʼs located in one of the new skyscraper apartment buildings, and across the street from a park, so it has an audience built-in. But it looks more like a bar than a coffee shop, and based on the paraphernalia behind the counter, Iʼd say that booze is its bread and butter.

Still, you never see a bar without coffee, and if youʼre going to be the sober one in the bunch, the coffee proffered here is really quite good.

The space is tight, which is great for rubbing elbows on a night out on the town, but not so great for people trying to dodge COVID in the middle of the day, so I got mine to go.

It's a quality brew, made in the Italian tradition — meaning produced in no absolutely no hurry. This isnʼt Naples, so itʼs an indication of care, not contempt. And the extra time comes through in the flavor. This is not push-button global chain espresso.

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Worth it

Tuesday, November 16th, 2021 Alive 18,466 days

Ordering at what I believe to be the worst McDonaldʼs in Houston, if not America

Is this the most ghetto McDonaldʼs in America? Letʼs look at the facts:

  • The dining room exists, but is permanently closed to the public.
  • Orders are taken through a makeshift window built into the side door.
  • The makeshift order window is reinforced with steel diamond plate.
  • Even the bushes have 10-foot-tall iron fences surrounding them.
  • There are multiple signs encouraging customers to bring their firearms to the restaurant.

The things I do for a McRib.

Even the bushes get extra security
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Coffee cops

Saturday, August 14th, 2021 Alive 18,372 days

A sign advertising free coffee for police officers, firefighters, and hospital workers

Thereʼs a weird kind of hybrid bar -slash- epicurean bodega near my home called District Market that gives free coffee to cops and other essential workers. Thatʼs nice.

People make a lot of jokes about cops and doughnut shops thinking that itʼs nothing more than a lame stereotype, but few understand that thereʼs a historical reason for that association.

America used to be littered with all-night coffee shops. This was because people used to stay out later, as they didnʼt have much entertainment at home. People also used to work later because a lot of once-massive industries demanded it. And more people worked overnight shifts than they do now. Stopping at a coffee shop or a diner on the way home at 2am was a perfectly normal thing to do. People also used to work harder, so in some cities there were 24-hour cheap steak joints, but thatʼs a story for another time.

Because these coffee shops were open in the small hours, they were often the targets of criminals. A clever way to attract police officers to your late-night noshery in order to repel criminals was to offer the badged free coffee, and sometimes free doughnuts.

Whether District Market is giving away free coffee in lieu of paying for improved security doesnʼt really matter, because itʼs still a nice thing to do. And the whole notion of “free coffee” which used to be ubiquitous in American society has almost disappeared today.

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Kitchen, please

Monday, February 22nd, 2021 Alive 18,199 days

Thing nobody asks in a restaurant anymore:

“Smoking or non-smoking?”

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Itʼs not a neck warmer

Saturday, June 20th, 2020 Alive 17,952 days

An employee at The Palm serving customers with a COVID mask around her neck

After seeing how the staff at The Palm wear their masks, Iʼll never eat there again.

Thereʼs a reason that mask-wearing by staff is the law.

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You want fries with that?

Thursday, July 12th, 2018 Alive 17,243 days

A screenshot of an Apple News headline

You can tell it’s fake news because there’s no way a hundred Americans have ordered a salad at McDonald’s.

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Sunday, June 24th, 2018 Alive 17,225 days

A steak dinner

The one sure way to tell a great steakhouse from a crappy steakhouse is the presence of a great creamed spinach.

If there's no creamed spinach, it might as well be Applebees.

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