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Old 14-09-2008, 03:02 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Sheldon's query about Chinese restaurants in Seattle got me thinking about
this. Do you read restaurant reviews prior to eating in one? Even if it's
in your own town? There's a place in Memphis called 'Mortimer's'. I've
never been there (heh, I remember when there was a dress shop at that
location.) I was doing a search for someone and ran across this rant by a
former employee (no, it wasn't me!). Talk about waiter rants...

"I am a former employee of Mortimer's, and I would like to take this chance
to warn anyone who might think of dining there about the godawful unsanitary
conditions there. Some examples:

1. I once saw a waiter carrying a sandwich out to a table. Just before he
exited the kitchen, he dropped the top piece of bread on the floor. He
picked it up, dusted it off on his shirt, put it back on the sandwich, and
took it out to serve it.

2. I saw an employee knock over a five-gallon bucket of shrimp which spilled
all over the floor (the floor in the kitchen is filthy, by the way). The
dishwasher began scooping up the shrimp and throwing it in a garbage can.
The kitchen manager ran over and started cussing the dishwasher, saying that
the shrimp was way too expensive to just throw away, and that he (the
dishwasher) would either put the shrimp back in the bucket to serve to
customers or he would be fired.

3. Each table is given a complementary basket of rolls. There is a basket
next to the dish area in the kitchen. When servers bus a table, they are
required to salvage any rolls that have not been eaten off of and put them
in this basket to be recycled for the next table.

I don't know how a place this filthy and disgusting has managed to stay in
business. I can only assume that they pay bribes to the health department."

That's enough to put me off a place. But I probably wouldn't have read it
if I hadn't been looking something else up.

Jill


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Old 14-09-2008, 03:14 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Here is the crux of the biscuit (nods to Frank Zappa),

I'd hold r.f.c membership reccomendations far and way above the TV or
newspaper critics.

Andy
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Old 14-09-2008, 03:37 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Andy wrote on Sun, 14 Sep 2008 09:14:51 -0500:

I'd hold r.f.c membership reccomendations far and way above
the TV or newspaper critics.


My personal opinions tend to concur with the Zagat guides (and not the
idiosyncratic opinions of Tom Sietsma in Washington publications!)

--

James Silverton
Potomac, Maryland

Email, with obvious alterations: not.jim.silverton.at.verizon.not

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Old 14-09-2008, 03:45 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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jmcquown wrote:
Sheldon's query about Chinese restaurants in Seattle got me thinking
about this. Do you read restaurant reviews prior to eating in one?
Even if it's in your own town? There's a place in Memphis called
'Mortimer's'. I've never been there (heh, I remember when there was a
dress shop at that location.) I was doing a search for someone and ran
across this rant by a former employee (no, it wasn't me!). Talk about
waiter rants...

"I am a former employee of Mortimer's, and I would like to take this
chance to warn anyone who might think of dining there about the godawful
unsanitary conditions there. Some examples:

1. I once saw a waiter carrying a sandwich out to a table. Just before
he exited the kitchen, he dropped the top piece of bread on the floor.
He picked it up, dusted it off on his shirt, put it back on the
sandwich, and took it out to serve it.

2. I saw an employee knock over a five-gallon bucket of shrimp which
spilled all over the floor (the floor in the kitchen is filthy, by the
way). The dishwasher began scooping up the shrimp and throwing it in a
garbage can. The kitchen manager ran over and started cussing the
dishwasher, saying that the shrimp was way too expensive to just throw
away, and that he (the dishwasher) would either put the shrimp back in
the bucket to serve to customers or he would be fired.

3. Each table is given a complementary basket of rolls. There is a
basket next to the dish area in the kitchen. When servers bus a table,
they are required to salvage any rolls that have not been eaten off of
and put them in this basket to be recycled for the next table.

I don't know how a place this filthy and disgusting has managed to stay
in business. I can only assume that they pay bribes to the health
department."

That's enough to put me off a place. But I probably wouldn't have read
it if I hadn't been looking something else up.

Jill


I don't value the opinion of reviewers because many seem to have an
agenda or are just wanting to fill column space. I like to get the
opinions of "real" people such as friends or associates. In the case of
Asian communities I like getting tips from the locals on where they eat.
I also have a rule that the more a place is marketed telling us all of
its imagined virtues the better it is to avoid.

I also get lots of information from my buddy who has a commercial
refrigeration business who really gets to see the backend of
restaurants. He says many of the heavily marketed big box industrial
places are the worst followed by some of the "upscale" locals. He has
all sorts of stories of food items spilled on the floor and scooped back
up, unrefrigerated seafood and filthy conditions.

My niece worked at one of the bigbox places and she said that if the
whipped cream and fruit pies weren't sold they would wash off the fruit
and store it for the next day.
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Old 14-09-2008, 03:51 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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James Silverton said...

Andy wrote on Sun, 14 Sep 2008 09:14:51 -0500:

I'd hold r.f.c membership reccomendations far and way above
the TV or newspaper critics.


My personal opinions tend to concur with the Zagat guides (and not the
idiosyncratic opinions of Tom Sietsma in Washington publications!)



James,

I'm clueless about the Zagat (well respected) review.

I did have the $50 Four Seasons omelette once and ONLY once.

DAMN GREAT OMELETTE, THOUGH!!!

Best,

Andy



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Old 14-09-2008, 04:15 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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"jmcquown" wrote in message
...
I was doing a search for someone and ran across this rant by a former
employee (no, it wasn't me!). Talk about waiter rants...

"I am a former employee of Mortimer's, and I would like to take this
chance to warn anyone who might think of dining there about the godawful
unsanitary conditions there. Some examples:


That's enough to put me off a place. But I probably wouldn't have read it
if I hadn't been looking something else up.

Jill


What we don't know is if any of this is true. Disgruntled employees tend to
"get even" with management, often in childish ways. In industry, they call
OSHA and complain about safety violations. OSHA must respond and they
usually know when the complainer is serious and when they are being
spiteful. The restaurant review host should do some checking too.

The reviewer may have been fired over his drug use. Or he got caught
banging the owner's wife. Or he was drinking up the profits at the bar. We
just don't know.


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Old 14-09-2008, 04:17 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Andy wrote on Sun, 14 Sep 2008 09:51:22 -0500:

Andy wrote on Sun, 14 Sep 2008 09:14:51 -0500:

I'd hold r.f.c membership reccomendations far and way above
the TV or newspaper critics.


My personal opinions tend to concur with the Zagat guides
(and not the idiosyncratic opinions of Tom Sietsma in
Washington publications!)


James,


I'm clueless about the Zagat (well respected) review.


I did have the $50 Four Seasons omelette once and ONLY once.


DAMN GREAT OMELETTE, THOUGH!!!


Best,


There are a lot of Zagat reviews for many places and a difference is
that they rely on a popular vote not that of a single "gourmet". Mind
you, I like the European Michelin Guides that use teams of inspectors if
not the American ones whose information density is low. I don't need
pictures!

--

James Silverton
Potomac, Maryland

Email, with obvious alterations: not.jim.silverton.at.verizon.not

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Old 14-09-2008, 04:21 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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"jmcquown" wrote:

Sheldon's query about Chinese restaurants in Seattle got me thinking about
this. �Do you read restaurant reviews prior to eating in one? �Even if it's
in your own town? �There's a place in Memphis called 'Mortimer's'.. �I've
never been there (heh, I remember when there was a dress shop at that
location.) �I was doing a search for someone and ran across this rant by a
former employee (no, it wasn't me!). �Talk about waiter rants...

"I am a former employee of Mortimer's, and I would like to take this chance
to warn anyone who might think of dining there about the godawful unsanitary
conditions there. Some examples:

1. I once saw a waiter carrying a sandwich out to a table. Just before he
exited the kitchen, he dropped the top piece of bread on the floor. He
picked it up, dusted it off on his shirt, put it back on the sandwich, and
took it out to serve it.

2. I saw an employee knock over a five-gallon bucket of shrimp which spilled
all over the floor (the floor in the kitchen is filthy, by the way). The
dishwasher began scooping up the shrimp and throwing it in a garbage can.
The kitchen manager ran over and started cussing the dishwasher, saying that
the shrimp was way too expensive to just throw away, and that he (the
dishwasher) would either put the shrimp back in the bucket to serve to
customers or he would be fired.

3. Each table is given a complementary basket of rolls. There is a basket
next to the dish area in the kitchen. When servers bus a table, they are
required to salvage any rolls that have not been eaten off of and put them
in this basket to be recycled for the next table.

I don't know how a place this filthy and disgusting has managed to stay in
business. I can only assume that they pay bribes to the health department.."

That's enough to put me off a place. �But I probably wouldn't have read it
if I hadn't been looking something else up.

Jill


All restaurnts do that to various degrees.

But I don't see any connection between my request for a restaurant
recommendation and some crank's rant about unsanitary restaurant
conditons... anyone looking for sanitary shouldn't be eating at any
restaurant, not ever... those signs in the terlit that employees must
wash their hands offers me no comfort, in fact needing to remind has
just the opposite effect... I find those signs extremely
discomforting, they certainly dull my appetite. The mere thought that
those disgusting fetid terlits even exist in a food service
establishment makes me rather eat home. I've never seen anything even
approaching a clean public restroom yet and the worst examples are at
food establishments... what good is a sign, most kitchen workers are
totally illiterate.

I don't think terlits should be permitted within the same premises
where food is handled... instead provide a chain link fenced-in area
some 100 feet away from the building, containing port-a-pottys and a
fully open area so folks can be observed washing with soap and hot
water, and an attendant gives a good spritz of anticeptic spray before
they can leave... don't need any stinkin' signs, they prove nothing
that anyone washed... about half the people I see leaving rest rooms
don't wash, especially the employees, the best they do is barely wet
their finger tips with cold water and wipe them on their filthy work
whites that are more filth than white... I've actually seen wait staff
leave the terlit picking their nose.

I never asked for a cleanliness recommendation, I know full well that
*filthy* is the default for _all_ restaurants. That's why I
recommended the Pike Place Market, there are restaurnts there but
everything one could possibly think of to eat is available out in the
open and few foods are prepared out of sight. They found a dim sum
stand there, baked/steamed food is like autoclaved, and they bought
some fresh fruit (said giant nectarines were delicious) and assorted
pastries to snack while waiting to board the flight... after spending
a week on a cruise ship where sumptuious viands are served 24/7 they
really weren't starving. About the safest food one can eat out is
baked goods, especially pizza.... no germs are gonna survive 15
minutes in a 600F oven

I'm sure they did better at the Pike Place Market than at any
Chinatown joint might have been recommended by a stranger. Many large
cities have similar markets; Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, New York
of course. San Fransisco doesn't have such a market, their lousy
restuarants couldn't handle the competion... Frisco has the most over
rated tourist trap eateries on the planet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pike_Place_Market

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Old 14-09-2008, 04:21 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:
"jmcquown" wrote in message
...
I was doing a search for someone and ran across this rant by a
former employee (no, it wasn't me!). Talk about waiter rants...

"I am a former employee of Mortimer's, and I would like to take this
chance to warn anyone who might think of dining there about the
godawful unsanitary conditions there. Some examples:


That's enough to put me off a place. But I probably wouldn't have
read it if I hadn't been looking something else up.

Jill


What we don't know is if any of this is true. Disgruntled employees
tend to "get even" with management, often in childish ways. In
industry, they call OSHA and complain about safety violations. OSHA
must respond and they usually know when the complainer is serious and
when they are being spiteful. The restaurant review host should do
some checking too.
The reviewer may have been fired over his drug use. Or he got caught
banging the owner's wife. Or he was drinking up the profits at the
bar. We just don't know.



Excellent points, Ed! I'll take slow service or poor service or bad food
reviews by patrons into consideration.

Jill

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Old 14-09-2008, 04:22 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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In article ,
"jmcquown" wrote:

Sheldon's query about Chinese restaurants in Seattle got me thinking about
this. Do you read restaurant reviews prior to eating in one?


Austin.food is a good one for that in my area.
--
Peace! Om

"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed." --Mark Twain


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Old 14-09-2008, 04:56 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

The reviewer may have been fired over his drug use.


Half the people in the restaurant biz would be fired if they started
firing for drug use.

-sw
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Old 14-09-2008, 05:19 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
Sky Sky is offline
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

"jmcquown" wrote in message
...
I was doing a search for someone and ran across this rant by a former
employee (no, it wasn't me!). Talk about waiter rants...

"I am a former employee of Mortimer's, and I would like to take this
chance to warn anyone who might think of dining there about the godawful
unsanitary conditions there. Some examples:


That's enough to put me off a place. But I probably wouldn't have read it
if I hadn't been looking something else up.

Jill


What we don't know is if any of this is true. Disgruntled employees tend to
"get even" with management, often in childish ways. In industry, they call
OSHA and complain about safety violations. OSHA must respond and they
usually know when the complainer is serious and when they are being
spiteful. The restaurant review host should do some checking too.

The reviewer may have been fired over his drug use. Or he got caught
banging the owner's wife. Or he was drinking up the profits at the bar. We
just don't know.


If someone really wants to know the inside scoop about a particular
restaurant's conditions and kitchen sanitation (or lack thereof), check
out the health inspection reports. However in the USA, it depends on
the state, county, & city/township laws and regulations. In most cases,
restaurant inspection reports (and other establishments like grocery
stores) are a matter of public record, but sometimes it takes effort of
the part of the 'curious' in that a 'freedom of information' form may
need to be completed in order to get the report from the local health
department. In some communities, the health inspection reports are
posted in an obvious location for the patrons to see at will.

Sky

--
Ultra Ultimate Kitchen Rule - Use the Timer!
Ultimate Kitchen Rule -- Cook's Choice
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Old 14-09-2008, 05:52 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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My teenaged daughter's first job was with McDonald's. Her manager was
more than a little creepy so she sought employment elsewhere. She was
hired at KennelWood, a dog boarding and training facility, and gave two
weeks notice at McD's, which I had insisted on as being a responsible
employee.

When she told her manager she would be leaving he said, "So you'd rather
pick up dog shit than work here?" She told him, in her own inimitable
fashion, "Yup", and he fired her on the spot. So thanks ever so much,
"Mike" for teaching my daughter this important life lesson: Sheer
douchebaggery trumps responsibility every time.

The KennelWood job fell through (the manager who'd hired her was fired),
but she was hired at Taco Bell. Now, McDonalds, for all its flaws, was
and is meticulous about health, sanitation and safety. Taco Bell? Not
so much.

I loved their cuisine for its total junk foody goodness. That's all
been spoiled for me now. Word to the wise: Don't drink the iced tea.
NGAH!!!

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Old 14-09-2008, 07:21 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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On Sep 14, 7:02*am, "jmcquown" wrote:
Sheldon's query about Chinese restaurants in Seattle got me thinking about
this. *Do you read restaurant reviews prior to eating in one? *Even if it's
in your own town? *[snip]


Our town is the greater Los Angeles area, so reviews are mecessary to
cope with the huge number and the huge turnover in restaurants. We
have two or three good print sources and several on-line sites. We
find that the longer, more informative reviews can be useful while the
brief 'I liked it' of 'I hated it' are meaningless. Rants like your
example are best left ignored as completely unreliable.

What we find useful in reviews:

what's their aim--elegance, comfort, culinary adventure, star-
gazing (this is L.A.)
how well do they achieve their aim -- quality and consistency of
food
what's on the menu, ethnic specialty, wine list
price range
service (including, do they honor reservations or always make you
wait)
noise level

Some reviewers regularly hit all these points. Those that don't are
less likely to entice us to try a place out. -aem


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Old 14-09-2008, 07:49 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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"jmcquown" wrote in message
...
Sheldon's query about Chinese restaurants in Seattle got me thinking about
this. Do you read restaurant reviews prior to eating in one? Even if
it's in your own town?


Yep. For restaurants in the Houston area, I always found houston.eats to be
a good resource. Also, http://www.b4-u-eat.com/ is an *excellent* website,
with lots of reviews for tons of places. I'm still searching for similar
resources for places here in Baltimore.

Mary




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