What’s Wrong With An Old-Fashioned Hamburger?

Anyone want to guess what this is?

Butter

If you guessed butter, you’d be partially correct. The official name for this is “pork fat butter with a hint of honey,” and you can get it at Husk, a trendy new farm-to-table restaurant in Nashville. I took my dinner group of senior citizens there recently, and I have to tell you that “pork fat butter with a hint of honey” is wasted on them. It’s wasted on me, too. Perhaps my palate is not discerning enough or perhaps it just tasted a whole lot like regular butter, but I’d prefer to spend my $40 fancy dinner budget at a restaurant with exotic cheesecakes instead of at a restaurant with snooty butter.

I’ve noticed an alarming trend with higher end, uber-hip, painfully trendy restaurants lately. The number of descriptives found on the menu directly correlates with the price of the dinner. “Hand-torn lettuce” will add an extra two dollars to that regular old chicken sandwich you just ordered, and “house-made ranch” will cost an extra dollar seventy-five no matter if it’s poured over the crappy old iceberg or over the “embered artichoke hearts,” of which you get one and that one will cost you three dollars. In addition, farm-to-table concepts offer wildly expensive menu items even though the restaurant saves money on shipping and refrigeration by growing half the menu in the back yard. Not only are the storage costs reduced because everything you need to prepare all side items is found in the garden, but you no longer need handlers and middlemen as the staff can just pick a few tomatoes for the grass-fed, organically-milked, humanely killed bison burger that was manually processed and skillfully yet tenderly patted into a “ground meat round” for your consumption.

Also, the fact that all these restaurants have now begun to refer to the head guy as “Chef” is a tad disconcerting. “Chef has requested no substitutions as the menu he created is of a specific design and intent. Removing the basil harms the integrity of Chef’s dish. Chef is certain you understand.”

Now I’m not one to throw ketchup on a steak, of course, but if Joe wants Heinz 57 on his fried catfish, Joe should be allowed to have Heinz 57 on his fried catfish, especially if he’s going to pay $34 of his hard-earned retirement money for that catfish. Wait, his “corporate-saved post-career lifestyle funds.” Also, I’m going to need all of you to start referring to me as “Executive Assistant.”

“Executive Assistant, would you like to go to dinner?” Yes, like that.

Isn't it gorgeous?  It was . . . . okay . . . . Totally had a fancy name, though.

Isn’t it gorgeous? It was . . . . okay . . . . Totally had a fancy name, though.

And speaking of Joe, bless his heart, I’ve got a story to tell. Joe has been coming to these dinners for the last four years. He signs up every month and will go anywhere we choose. He brings his budgeted $28 every time, so when we go somewhere fancy, I have to call and let him know to bring more money. This upsets him. When Joe gets upset, he goes on a rant, and I’ve learned that the only thing I can do is let that rant run its course. Two months ago Joe was upset with Kroger and for the entire three hours we were together, our conversation went something like this.

“Jimmie, where do you shop for groceries?”

“Well, several places actually. I like Trader Joe’s, Publix and Kroger. I probably do most of my shopping at Kroger, though. Why, Joe? Where do you shop?”

“Never at Kroger! I hate Kroger! I’d be so embarrassed if my friends ever saw me set foot in Kroger. Kroger is embarrassing. They are terrible. I don’t want to give them a dime. It’s awful. Do you agree it’s awful? Publix is so much better. I think one of my friends saw me going in to Kroger the other day and I can’t even talk to him, I’m so embarrassed. Jimmie, it’s just terrible.”

(Note the distinct lack of explanation for Kroger’s inadequacy as a grocery store.)

I was surprised. Just the month before Joe was telling us how Kroger had their ice cream on sale and how he bought so much that he wasn’t even going to splurge on dessert that night. He was going home after the dinner to eat a big bowl of ice cream, it was so good.

Another thing about Joe’s rants is just when you think he has wound down and found something else to occupy his attention, his food, for example, he’ll pick back up where he left off between bites.

“Jimmie, I just can’t believe how embarrassing Kroger is. I cannot be seen in there. My life’s value will decrease if I go in there. I’d be mortified.” And then he will resume eating. This discourse continues until he exits the van for the night and clambers into his own vehicle for his quarter of a mile journey home.

This past month, his rant was about shingles, how you must receive a shot to get rid of them but the shot doesn’t work. If any of you want to know about shingles shots, let me know. I’m well versed in that subject. I’m certain next month will be a series of gripes about our expensive dinners of late. I can feel that one coming.

Actually, this month I took the group to the Omni Hut. I’ve written about it before. It’s a great little place. There are no surprises with the menu – it’s been the same for 54 years. The staff has been there for 54 years also, as has the décor. The cost has probably gone up due to inflation but again, no one is caught off guard. Omni Hut is a Fifty Forward favorite and for once, I got a group photo. Well, I sort of got a group shot. You can see the top four inches of my head in the back, towards the middle. Aren’t we the cutest group?

Mood lighting at Omni Hut

Mood lighting at Omni Hut

Below is the list of places we’ve recently eaten and my opinion of whether or not you should try them yourself.

Omni Hut – Of course you should go there. As long as you like teriyaki and pineapple, it’s fabulous.

Husk – Do not bother. The concept is outstanding. The execution is not. I did try curds and whey there. It was far better than I expected but nothing I’d ever need to have again.

Urban Grub – Go, absolutely. Just don’t listen to Chef when he tells you that half-cooking the salmon is the best way to prepare it.

Ted’s Montana Grill – Add this to your yes list. Get the cranberry chicken. Whimper.

I’ve got our restaurants planned for the next month or so, but anyone got other suggestions? Most of us are totally game.

Now this was delicious.  Pavlova, one of Woney's favorites.

Now this was delicious. Pavlova, one of Woney’s favorites.

All my best advice . . .

Love,
Executive Assistant

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. crayolaj74
    Sep 18, 2014 @ 09:12:38

    I love Joe. He has to be sorta your favorite. That butter sounds gross!

    Reply

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