Matthew's Foray into Blogging

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Carrot Cake Is a Vegetable, Right?

A family member celebrated a birthday this last weekend. For this occasion, we had lunch at Grotto. I went into it with the lowest expectations. Alison Cook panned it. Tilman Fertitta, the showman whom I hesitate to call a restaurateur and who owns the aquarium restaurant and the miserable landry’s chain, lays claim to Grotto. Besides trying to make a profit from crappy restaurants, Fertitta started out peddling porn mags. I am reluctant to patronize any restaurant associated with Fertitta. Nonetheless, the servers and buspersons were polite, they kept the water glasses topped off, they did not try to push expensive items to run up the bill, and the salad I had was impeccably fresh! Unlike the salads that I have eaten at a number of restaurants, there were no greens that were past their prime. I thought our wait staff was deserving of a generous tip.

The member of our party who was paying has a reputation as being an ungenerous tipper. Not only do servers earn a wage below the legal minimum, which is supposed to be augmented by tips, but also they share a percentage of tips with the bus persons. Many of these people so employed are immigrants, just trying to get by in this country, and hoping to send some back to their relatives south of the border. The servers frequently hope just to make ends meet. So, when the individual who was picking up the tab tipped a mere ten percent, I was dismayed. Never mind that the restaurateur is reaping a profit off his marked-up offerings. The servers are doing all they can to scrape by on minimum wage. If you stiff anyone on the tip, you’re not hurting the smut-peddling Fertitta. I formerly was a lousy tipper. However, I have been making an effort to remedy this. I was the last of our party to depart the table. As I was rising, I placed some cash on the table to bring the tip to twenty percent.

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For the birthday cake, the guest of honor had requested one of two cakes. I had not previously made a carrot cake, so I selected that one of the two suggested desserts to prepare. Not only do carrot cakes – which are more akin to quick breads and muffins – require assembly of the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients, but also there is the added step of finely grating six or seven carrots. I was pleased with my first-ever carrot cake, with a delectable cream cheese frosting. Since it has carrot in it, it does qualify as a vegetable serving, doesn’t it?

4 Comments:

  • Good for you and your generous tipping! I waited tables at Birraporetti's off and on when I went home during college. Overall, I made good money, but in addition to the cheap bastards who tip a mere 10%, there are the thieves who order four course meals with wine and sneak out without paying the tab when the waiter is in the kitchen.

    Waiters have to pay for those out of their own pockets and STILL have to come up with what they owe the bus boy and the bartender for that ticket. So, the generous tippers only help offset the total losses that inevitably occur.

    By Blogger Ashley, at 9:43 AM, November 24, 2006  

  • Oh snap!

    By Blogger Thomas, at 11:50 AM, November 25, 2006  

  • Carrot cake was invented at the end of World War II by an enterprising farmer in California named George C. Page, who had to figure out what to do with his excess dehydrated carrots, which were no longer necessary for the war effort, and which were taking up space in thousands of five gallon drums in his warehouse.

    He tried baking them, stewing them, etc., and only threw them into a cake mix as a last-second act of frustration which fortunately turned out quite well for the rest of us.

    Everyone's carrot cake recipe stems from his, as he sold the recipe to locals who asked for it and it took off from there.

    By Blogger Steve, at 4:35 AM, November 27, 2006  

  • Ashley, perhaps your problem with the public lies in your attitude. Tipping 10% isn't cheap (far less does it make us 'bastards'). As a waiting person you have to ask what you bring to my eating experience. Perhaps you might also ask yourself why i ought to pay YOU 10% of the price of an expensive bottle of wine, 10% of the tax on the bill etc, etc.

    Generally the waiting staff aren't responsible for the food which we eat, yet generally we pay are prepared to tip more for a good meal than a bad one.

    Stop believing that you are owed something for just doing your job.

    If you do't like the wages, then don't scream at the punters, just get out of an industry for which you are monumentally unsuited.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:01 AM, May 11, 2008  

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