I do apologize to my readers that I took a bit of a hiatus in my blog posts. I have recently had the opportunity to meet many talented food bloggers at a few foodie socials and it has really inspired me to rethink my blog. I think I have recently got caught up in focusing on restaurant reviews as the be-all end-all. But every day it seems there are more and more people out there doing what I am doing (not to mention the professionals) and doing a very good job at that. I would like to say that my reviews are the best and most worthy, but I don’t necessarily think that is true. And some of my more recent posts have fallen into what seems to be more and more of a food blogger cliché of throwing a bunch of pictures up and merely describing what in my subjective opinion as to what’s good and what’s bad. (Not to mention it took me a few hours to complete my recent post on Bazaar, and that was kind of overwhelming.)
This approach is simply not good enough. This blog is my voice and I need to say something more. So in the future, you will see less stories with pictures and descriptions of every item I ordered at a restaurant, but more focused, hopefully more poignant foodie/restaurant stories that leave you thinking. I plan on focusing more on individual dishes, on restaurant and food controversies, and whatever else inspires. Topic suggestions always welcome.
As for generic restaurant reviews, I of course will keep doing those, but the more routine ones will go on the review sites. That said, Chowhound continues to irritate me when they somewhat arbitrarily remove some of my posts, causing me to really censor myself. I am not happy with what Yelp is doing to the restaurants, a form of blackmail where in some cases restaurants have to pay a fee to force bad reviews down the list. The review site I am really liking now is FoodDigger. This is a great little start up that is literally hungry to please. Check them out, they have some interesting unique features and are going to be a major player very soon. My posts are located here
Ok so after that diatribe, back to Tender Greens, the point of this story. Background: My office has been ordering from them every Friday for about 8 months. We always loved their fresh salads, soups, sandwiches, and baked goods. They seemed to have a real eye for quality and for detail. Well, for the last 4 weeks it all came crashing down. Operational issues: Missing items, charging for missing items, unauthorized substitutions. But the food quality has been the real issue. The tuna is “off.” The special little touches in the salads like herbs, unique ingredients, etc seem to be disappearing. The amount of protein (fish, chicken, etc) as a percent of total salad has been noticeably decreasing week after week. These $12 salads have been turning into all lettuce.
Today was the worst day on record. So I sent an email through the site’s contact form, essentially telling them our office is boycotting them unless they fix the situation. Honestly, my impression was that they were hiring incompetent help and that they were cutting quality to save costs. That was going to be the whole focus of this blog post: blah blah economy how restaurants are coping, etc. But as I am writing this, the owner actually called, within ten minutes of my email. We were wrong in our perceptions. Same guy has been doing takeout for two years, and he has been slacking off. As for the tuna, they recently changed to a supplier in HI and he admitted it was not to his standard and they even sent back some. So the owner was genuinely concerned and really listened. He gave a firm commitment to fixing everything. Next week, he is comping our entire office and I am going to call him with feedback after lunch. I told him we were not trying to get money – we just wanted our weekly salads back. This owner really got it. So far, I was impressed. I will update next week with the results.
UPDATED: True to his word, the owner bought my entire office lunch this past friday. THey did “micromanage” the order to ensure success, but it worked. Everythign was back the way it used to be. Probably the proteins in the dishes were a little more generous then we could expect in the future, but the flavor was still great. He promised consistency in the future, and we will hold him to it. My office will miss some of the bakery items that are not on the new menu, but all in all, we have our salads back and we are delighted.