Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Random Thoughts: Summer Desserts and a Bad Service Warning

T.S. Eliot started his poem "The Waste Land," with "April is the cruellest month..." I would like to differ and argue that the cruelest months are June through August. Why? Because it's peak season for peaches and berries, fruits that just beg to be put in pies!

Although we live less than two miles from myriad potential dessert suppliers such as that warehouse of temptation, also known as Southern Sweets, I like to make my own pies. Yes, I even make my own crusts. The problem with pies is that they heat up the kitchen because they have to bake for an hour or more. As I've mentioned before, I live in an older house, and our oven likes to bake whatever is in it as well as whoever is standing nearby.

So here's my strategy (I've done this twice with good results): start pie around lunchtime on Saturday. Take pie out to cool around 2:30. Go to Sherlock's wine tasting and give the kitchen time to cool off while drinking wine. It's a brilliant solution, if I do say so myself. I just need to remember not to attempt to make ice cream while the pie is in the oven. I did that last Saturday and wanted to jump in the ice cream maker.

I normally don't say anything about chain restaurants in the blog because they tend to be pretty generic with regard to food and experience, but I do want to pass along a "Bad Customer Service" warning. Perhaps I should turn it into something like the infamous Golden Shovel Award. I could call it the "Fork You!" award. We could even give them a bent fork from these guys (once again proving that you can find a web site for just about everything).

The first "Fork You!" award goes to Quizno's at Northside Crossing at the corner of Hwy 20 and Sigman Road in Conyers. It's one of the limited lunch options near where I work on Mondays and Tuesdays. I've been going there for about a year, but recently things have changed.

I should have realized that something was amiss earlier this year, when a friend and I went there for lunch, and it took us half an hour to order and receive our food. It wasn't particularly crowded; we were second in line behind a group of three. Granted, the cashier comped my meal because we'd had to wait so long, but the wait pretty much killed our lunch break.

Today's trip (July 29) was even worse. There appeared to be a trainee working without adequate training and minimal supervision, (e.g., she would ask what to do next, and the other two women working there would yell the ingredients or procedure at her). She was even left alone at the counter at one point. The store was out of tomatoes, large salad containers, and forks. Large salad containers and tomatoes, okay, but forks? We had both ordered salads and had gotten our meals to eat in. This was a problem. My friend asked how she was supposed to eat her salad without a fork, and the cashier, who had very long nails and was not in a Quizno's uniform, responded with something like, "How should I know?" She did apologize, but it seemed that they weren't really interested in making it a pleasant experience. We ended up getting our meals "to go" and rushing to eat back at the office.

I know that in a fast-paced industry, stores run out of items, and things don't always go perfectly, but after these two experiences, we will never return to that particular Quizno's. We'll also be sure to mention it to our colleagues, and I wrote an email, which immediately bounced back to me, to the franchise group.

I realize that this warning about an "OTP" fast-food place will likely not apply to most of you, but I like to think of myself as being non-prejudiced when it comes to restaurants. I've eaten at other Quizno's, and they've been fine.

Time for some peach pie... If you have any favorites summer desserts, I'd love to hear/read about them!

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