Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ying Chow

Ying Chow, we need to talk.
Put down that lazy Susan and listen.

We've been drifting apart for years. We coasted on the good times, and we had some good times, didn't we? 

Remember when I could just turn up on your doorstep at midnight and you would let me in without question? 
I won't deny it, even when I was with others, thousands of kilometres away, I was thinking of you. They fed me, but I tasted you. 
You used to be The One. 
But ... well ... this is where it gets difficult. I'm just going to come out and say it:
You've changed. And not in a good way.

It took that bullshit you pulled last Friday night to make me realise how bad you really are.

I know you didn't notice when we stopped being together as regularly as we used to. I know because every time I came crawling back, you treated me like nothing. 
"Just twenty more minutes" my arse
I used to listen to that lie all night, and I'd just be so happy when you let me in, that I forgave you. 
Well, no more.  
A man can only put up with so much

I thought booking a table would change all that, help us move past this rough patch together. But what did I get on Friday night? The same old cock'n'bull: "Just twenty more minutes"
And when you finally did seat us, you couldn't even give a shit whether we ordered or not!

No I will NOT keep my voice down!

AND, when we finally did order, do you know what we got?

Don't bother me, puny customer. I work at Ying Chow. I don't need your business.

You used to be so attentive. You used to remember what everyone ordered without having to write it down. You used to care. 
Now, well, now, it's like you're showing off what a cad you can be and still get customers. 
Well let me tell you something Ying So Called Excellent Restaurant Award So Called Chow: your food used to be the talk of the town. You had "It", The X Factor, The Mystical Taste, Flavorama, but now, now you are the culinary equivalent of the fading rockstar. I like your old stuff better than your new stuff.
Trouble is, you don't have any new stuff, and here's what your old stuff has turned into.

(Bear in mind, I know people who have come back from overseas and demanded to be fed at least two of the following dishes. That's how good they used to be.)

Shallot Panckes

These used to be the rousing overture to a sensational evening.
Everyone agreed that they were like toasted pockets of onion.

BBC and Greens
 The Broad Beans and Bean Curd and Chilli used to solve every problem. They were grey, undercooked and depressing.
The greens had to be asked for. They were not offered.

Red Vinegar Ribs 

This used to come out as a sizzling mountain of ribs.
Now they're just dry. Dry and sad.

 Aniseed Tea Duck

This actually wasn't too bad. But if you could get this right, then what was the story with the rest of the food?

E-Shand Eggplant
Too little, too late.
The eggplant came at the end of the meal, right before you asked us to move tables. The least popular table in Ying Chow is the one by the door where people waiting for their table stand over you and glower. That's where  we were asked to move to. 
Then, the second that most of the eggplant was eaten you offered us a table outside! In the cold!
Perhaps we wouldn't have taken so long over our meal if you hadn't 








We declined your polite offer to freeze our arses off while we worked out whether to do a runner or not ...
 ... and ordered another drink!

I'm gonna sip and sip and sip and sip and sip and sip!
And then I'm gonna play with the ice cubes!

Goodbye, forever, Ying Chow.
So long, and thanks for teaching us all the meaning of really bad service.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How long has this been going on?

I only realised this about one week ago:

Did you know these two men ...
... are different people?

Apparently everyone else knew this but me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Business idea - investors wanted

I am going to start up a tech company which redesigns and rebrands existing technology for old people. Remote controls, USB sticks, microwaves, all with big buttons and minimal functionality for people who are either nervous about technology or routinely puzzled by it.

My company will be called 'FANDANGLED'.

I called it first.

I'm going to need money and staff to redesign cheap techie stuff so that your Gran will be able to use it and and confidently say "I've got one of those new Fandangled microwaves!"

Now hiring.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Talbot Hotel


Attendant: Dougie, Trits, Mele, Sam

This place was one of those eating establishments that we ‘just had to do because it’s on Gouger’. The Talbot is, for all intents and purposes, a feral bogan bar. Having been dropped off by Franzway, I took some time to survey the scene:

Bogan to BarWench: (slurs) You want some help putting up the poster?
Bar Wench: No, and I don’t feel like talking SHIT with you, either.
Bogan looks mollified and shuts up.

I took a wander through the hotel, to check out the place: huge pokies room, a keno room, a bar room full of booths but was plainly empty, a front room with bogans, a few large plates of cheap cheese and the always vile kabana, but no kitchen. That’s right: no kitchen and no dining tables.

The Talbot makes its money from gambling, no doubt about it. With only two bar maids in sight, it’s not exactly overstaffed. It’s a skeleton of a business that caters to those drinking and betting their pensions.
‘So, do you serve any food here?’ I asked the bar maid.
‘Yeah, take a look at this.’
First alarm bell: the menu was on the back of a wine list, never a good sign.
Second alarm bell: the entire menu was Chinese food. Dougie, who had been hoping for an old school, disgusting schnittie parmie (or whatever) was in for a great disappointment.
Clanger number three: the suspicious prices: $18.80 for satay chicken, or pork with fried rice?

'People! This menu is not legit,’ I declared when the others arrived. ‘It appears we have already eaten here.’

In Triton's words: "This be wiggedy whack."

The Tartufo, seen previously on the menu of another recent chinese restaurant, was also available at the Talbot. What the hell? An over-processed, factory-made icecream dessert has been discovered ten years after Italians stopped having it at their weddings by one Chinese chef.

Dougie and Triton were game enough to ask at the bar about the food.
The bar maid caved under questioning. ‘Yeah, it comes from next door,’
I knew it! I knew my research skills would be useful someday!

The clamouring hoards howl for food,settle for beer.

So, people, we decided that we were not going to eat last Friday’s night’s food at twice the price and half the sophistication (boganed up for the Talbot clientele?) and went elsewhere. Since Ying Chow is next, we didn’t want to line up for two hours with no booking. We are going to hit up The Ying in the coming weeks, and if y’all want to come along you will have to let us know so we can make a booking and spend half an hour waiting for a table to be available.

The fermented yeast palate-cleanser was inspiring ....
.... us to find some decent food!

An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32