Saturday, July 10, 2010

No Ranch Dressing, Fries That Aren't Called 'Fries', And Lack Of Free Soda Refills: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

My dad Bob and I are complete opposites when it comes to food. He likes fancy restaurants. I like McDonald's. He makes stuff veal chops. I microwave bacon. He flavors his food with port reduction sauce. I use pepper.

So when my dad and his girlfriend Vera took me and my wife Ramona out to dinner tonight to celebrate our buying a house, I was a little concerned. Simply put, my dad and I are on opposite ends of the food spectrum. We don't see eye-to-eye on this. He's all "how can you eat that crap?" when he sees my chili cheese dog, and my eyes glaze over when he talks to me about shrimp vodka sauce.

So tonight, we went to La Frite, a French restaurant in Sherman Oaks, Calif., on L.A.'s semi-world famous Ventura Boulevard. And as far as "places my dad likes and I just roll my eyes at" go, it really wasn't that bad. Yes, they had foo-foo dishes that were more about presentation than taste, but they also had burgers, pizza, and the option to add grilled onions on my food.

Still, there were three things about the place that reminded me why I never go to restaurants like these:

1) No ranch dressing.

I'm an American in the 21st century. And as an American in the 21st century, I like ranch dressing for my fries. Ketchup is fine, and I still use the standard tomato condiment. But more and more, I dip my french fries in ranch. It's part of the "french fry dipping sauce" evolvement.

(Is "evolvement" a word? Not sure.)

One problem here:

"We don't have ranch dressing," the waitress said.

No ranch dressing. They got mushrooms stuffed with snails, but no ranch.

"Do you have mayo?" I replied.

"Well, yes," the waitress said. "But what I was going to recommend was a dijon tarragon sauce. It's amazing."

OK, three problems here.

a) No apologies for ranch dressing. I mean, at least feign remorse.

b) Don't brush off my request for mayo with...

c) Something I'm not even sure I can spell.

"Mayo," I said. "Bring me my mayo."

I hate having to ask twice.

Carl's Jr. would never have me ask twice.

Hell, they wouldn't ask once.

They'd have ranch.

2) They don't call french fries "french fries."

I hate fancy names for things I already know the name of. Don't call hamburgers "grilled sirloin." Don't call salad "garden medley." And don't call fries "pomme frites."

Pomme frites. Last I checked, I lived in America. And -- with all due respect to the many minorities living in this country (and I respect you all; I really do) -- we speak English here. And as such, I want my fries to be called fries. Not pomme frites or papas a la francesa or franse frietjes.

French fries. Call them french fries.

Because that's what they are.

French fries.

Calling them something different does not make them different.

Even with your dijon tarragon sauce.

And 3) No free refills on soda.

Now this just pisses me off. I've come to expect something in all of my dining experiences: Free refills on soda. I love soda. It's my vice, I'll be the first to admit. I don't like coffee, I hardly drink alcohol, and I hate sparkling water. I like soda with my meals. So when I go to a restaurant, I expect (as I should) to be given a tall glass of soda with my meal, and then many other tall glasses of soda (at no extra charge) whenever I ask.

But tonight, when I ordered a soda, they came back with this 10-ounce glass bottle of Diet Coke and a small glass of ice.

There were many things wrong with this:

a) 10-ounce glass bottles of soda. I mean, who created them? They're downright insulting. It announces two things to me, the customer: No free refills, and "we're going to charge you $2.95 for each of these dinky glasses because we're a fancy restaurant and we can."

I mean...

F******* YOU!!!!!

You know?

And b) What's with the small glasses? What am I, 4? Give me a big-boy glass, for crying out loud!! Hell, at barbecue glasses they give you jugs. Give me a jug. I want a jug. I'm used to soda jugs.

And french fries that are called french fries.

And ranch dressing to dip them in.

No ranch dressing.

And they call these restaurants "classy."

(shakes his head)


And now for this week's:


5,000 Happy Meals were distributed with colored condoms instead of a plastic toy from the movie The Last Airbender.

The condoms were intended for the Provincetown, Mass. school system, which recently established a policy making them available for students of all ages; they were delivered to McDonald's distribution center in Barnstable, Mass. in error.

"The packages were so bright and colorful that they were misled by small toys for Happy Meals, but unfortunately most of the workers who do not read English package, and thought 'Ribbed Latex' was a character in the movie," said Robin Anderson, vice president of public relations for the chain, as published by El Universal of Mexico.

"'Ribbed Latex' was a character in the movie."

You can't make this stuff up.


Martin said...

"Ribbed Latex." LOL

Julio said...

No ranch dressing? What kind of restaurant has no ranch dressing?

Julia said...


Stephanie said...

Calling french fries something else is just stupid.

Andrea said...

If they don't have soda refills, just drink water. it's free