All I Wanted Was Nigori
When Chris and I first started talking about our ideas for this site, we agreed that we would never give a bad review.  Our thinking was that if we wrote about every place that we did not like, we might sound like snobs and potentially detract from stories about the places we really enjoy. More importantly, the blog would inevitably turn into a million word rant about everything I hate about Wal-Mart and O’Charley’s.

Sorry about that… no more name dropping, I promise.

Last week we had two meals that fell far below the run of the mill letdown.  They did not just disappoint us in their quality and service but they soured my mood and made us part with money that they did not earn.  I will keep their names to myself but I would just like to make an example of places that make me wonder how certain people stay in business.

On Wednesday Chris sent me a text message expressing primal urges for sushi and sake for dinner.  This combination always puts her in a good mood and any married man knows that quality of life improves exponentially when the wife is happy.  Of course we will get you sushi and sake for dinner, my dear!

I spent the rest of the day giddy in anticipation of our impromptu date night.  We got home, had a cocktail and dressed for our night out.  Our energy for the evening was soaring… right up until we walked in the door of the restaurant.

The sushi chef was whiter than I am and younger than my car. Forgive me for the racial stereotype but ethnic food is best prepared and served by the ethnicities they represent.  For some reason this is never more true than when dining on Asian cuisine.  Too many white faces almost guarantee a disappointing meal and in this case a huge red flag swung over the sushi counter.  Chris’s craving was not to be deterred, however, and we sat at the bar in spite of this glaring oversight on behalf of the management.

Strike two was thrown before we even looked at the menu.  As soon as the waitress appeared we ordered a bottle of Nigori sake.  I do not actually eat sushi but unfiltered sake makes me happier than any other form of alcohol that is not spelled B-O-U-R-B-O-N.  Therefore, I was heartbroken to learn that they were sold out of the liquid ecstasy I had craved since lunchtime.  At this point I could have taken my ball and gone home but still we persisted.

After this, the strikes started really piling up like Dwight Gooden fastballs before he discovered cocaine.  The replacement sake Chris ordered was mediocre at best and served in a container half the size of what we are accustomed to.  The kid, I mean, “chef” had no idea how to make Chris’s sushi extra spicy but was happy to send out spices for her to do it herself.  Even though my food was served relatively promptly, Chris waited 45 minutes to get her food after we ordered it.  During the wait I had images of a couple of small Asian men casting a net from the banks of Lake Hartwell just a mile or two away but did my best to keep those thoughts to myself.  

Service aside, the food itself delivered a decidedly mediocre dining experience.  My meal was decent but Chris’s sushi lacked the skilled presentation she would expect from an actual sushi chef. We were more than ready to leave when Chris noticed a mistake on the bill.  Remember that half bottle of sake we were stuck with? They overcharged us for the incomplete bottle that was overpriced to begin with.  Our waitress was unable to remedy this on her own and we were stuck for another 15 minutes waiting for Napoleon Dynamite’s long lost brother to remedy the situation.  In the end the entire experience cost us about $60 and over two hours of our lives.  It cost them a couple of customers, though, so I guess we will just call it even.

Fast forward to lunchtime on Saturday… for some reason I had the idea to suggest a restaurant/bar for lunch that I only consider a food option in the most desperate (and hazy) situations.  The place is a decent watering hole and a permanent Anderson fixture and I seem to hear more people raving about the food lately, so I thought I would give it a try for a Saturday afternoon burger.  In hindsight, this was a terrible idea.

Apparently four tables and a handful of people at the bar were too much for the staff on duty.  It took about an hour and a half between walking in the door and receiving our food.  We should be commended for our patience, though, because we saw a handful of tables that never received service at all and wandered out the door wondering if the service just stunk or if they gained the power of invisibility. 

This Is What Burgers Look Like At Our House
When the food finally arrived it was a far cry from being classified “worth the wait”. I have never eaten a hockey puck before but I imagine it would taste like the burger I received.  Leave out a handful of the toppings I had asked for on my burger and baked potato and call this a total failure from the kitchen.  I was tempted to send it back but I did not feel like investing another 90 minutes of my life waiting for a burger.  

Did I mention that I had to go to the bar for refills of my beverage and find the silverware and napkins for ourselves? Would it have improved our experience if these things were brought to us like a normal food service establishment? Not likely, so I will not harp on such trivialities.

$20 later and I could not help but lump lunch in with our sushi experience on Wednesday.  Roughly $80 was wasted on two places that did not deserve it.  In fact, it was the worst $80 I have spent since I called that escort service for a prom date in high school.  I am kidding…or maybe not… either way, the point is that I do not like wasting $80 just to be treated like garbage. 

That $80 could have bought groceries that Chris would havemade magic out of.  We are pretty good at going to Publix and spending less than $20 on a meal that not only makes a great dinner but leaves enough for lunch the next day.  On her worst day, Chris’s cooking is about a million times better than anything we ate at either establishment.  Even more, I can get unfiltered Sake at Scrooge’s and do not have to wait until I am starving before Chris asks me what I would like to eat. 

So, to the first place – we wish you all the best in your future endeavors.  To the second – nothing personal but we will stick to the drink menu from now on. We will spend our food budget at the grocery store or places where people not just know how to cook but actually care about the people eating it. 

This is why this blog exists.  We work extremely hard for every penny we earn and do not want to part with that money without receiving quality products or services in return.   Unless you are a recent lottery winner, we assume you are of similar mind.  The places we write about are worth the investment every time we visit and we hope you try them out and enjoy them as much as we do. That said, I will quit complaining and go back to writing about places that deserve it.