Time for a rant!
What is it about me and getting bad salads?
How is it possible in this culinary capital that one can simply not find decent salads.
Further, why is it that restaurants will not own up to their inept efforts?
Do they not need to keep their clients?
This week at a very well known and popular Bordeaux Italian eatery, this Desperate Anglo Housewife, in keeping with her spring purge, ordered a salad. It was called " Fresh Pasta Salad " and was described as assorted lettuces, fresh pasta, mozzarella, tuna, tomato, pesto..."
The restaurant in question has the Italian food lovers lining up for hours to sit down to their fabulous pizzas, mixed antipasti plates etc.With their fame and success perhaps they have lost touch with the reality of customer service and a perfected menu?
I have been going there for years and years and have never had a reason to complain. Their pizzas are frankly fabulous and their desserts, wonderful. They have a great wine cellar.
My friends and I did note a certain drop in the table set up...where have the pepper and salt mills gone? Why are there plastic Cerebos salt and pepper packs straight of the grocer shelf on the table...not a good look!! Cheap!
Back to my lunch...my companions' steaming pizzas arrived and then came my salad.
Served on a flat plate was a couple of very boring chopped iceberg lettuce leaves, a handful of overcooked white pasta, a sprinkle of crumbled tuna ( say, a tablespoon at tops) and as for the mozzarella another tablespoon of mozzarella "micro-crumbs" no slices at all. Let's not forget the 2 half cherry tomatos. No pesto, no seasoning, no colour. Game over!!
A bottle of vinegar and one of olive oil were unceremoniously plonked in front of me. I nearly asked for a bowl,whisk and apron!
I had a couple of mouthfuls of what only could be described as overpriced, tasteless disappointment. I very politely asked the waitress to take it away stating that it really was not what I had expected and held no interest whatsoever. I foolishly apologised about 20 times!
She kindly asked me if I would like something else. I declined..actually, I was really embarrased as I have always loved eating there.
When we went to pay I was rather surprised to see my "salad" still on the bill. I said to the chap at the checkout, very quietly, that actually I had sent it back as "it wasn't up to your usual standards"...and then came the " client is king" in reverse..
"Oh but it is my favourite salad," he said. I smiled at him and said " Yes, But I am the client." "We serve 400 people a day and noone has ever complained" he retorted, clearly having no intention of any gesture of goodwill towards a client of many years.
Well guess that will be 399 clients now!
And back to France where the client is NEVER king and yet another restaurant to strike off my list.
Time for some comfort food.
Always a total pushover for roasted chicken I also love cooking Coquelet...wee baby chooks. They are quick to roast and succulent to boot.
Bay Leaf and Lemon Roasted Coquelet
1 cup good quality ground pork
6 - 7 dried apricots
fresh bay leaves
3 lemons - one zested.
half a cup fresh bread crumbs
dry white martini
Put ground pork, pistachios, apricots, lemon zest, salt and pepper, bread crumbs in a food processor and zap until uniform. Stuff your birds. Cut one lemon in half and use this as a "plug" for the stuffing....sounds grotesque but will infuse beautifully.
Massage each bird with olive oil, salt and pepper and squeeze over juice of third lemon.
Tuck fresh bay leaves under wings or legs.
Place in roasting dish and pour in dry white martini to about 2 cm height. This will stop birds from drying out and will add to perfumes.
Roast at 180° until golden and juices run clear.
Serve with mountains of garlic-roasted potatos and fresh mesclun salad.