Not So Nuts for Almond

(Photo: Guests embarrassed to be seen eating at this restaurant. Oh the inhumanity!)

One would think that I seek out bad restaurants intentionally as of late... with my current track record. However, I think it's just the nature of the industry: some nights you got it, some nights - well.... you don't.

I hit another not-so-terrific-restaurant-despite-other-raves. Again.


Let me first point out that I use quite a bit. I have racked up enough points early on in the game to be flagged as a VIP.... not that it means much. It only indicates that I'm a big dining out fan and use to make many of those reservations. I just go out a lot. Four to five times a week is not uncommon. In fact, that's simply my lifestyle. The only caveat is that I have a tendency to stick with restaurants where I know I won't be disappointed....

Until recently.

I changed it up a bit and went to three new restaurants this past week. ALL of them: blaaaaaah! How could I be so unlucky? I don't seek out bad food or request the worst possible service...

If anything, I am very courteous to everyone and the only expectation I have is to be served good food for the price I pay. NOT a big deal. In fact, EVERYONE should operate with this maxim when dining out....

So my latest venture to Almond (NYC) was anything but scrumptious or worth writing about. However, I have this blog and I'm supposed to say something.... Momma always said, "If you can't say something nice...." Well.... I can say that the decor was nicely done for the space that they had available. There. I said something nice.

Despite my reservation AND arriving on time - our party of 4 was routed to the bar, since our table "wouldn't be ready for another 10 minutes or so." I smiled, thanked her and ordered up a cocktail... which was FINE! The bartender was friendly (as most of them are, or at least SHOULD be) and he made a very good brown-sugar rimmed pomegranate martini. Oh! Wow! 2 nice things! (Momma, do I get extra credit?!)

Those 10 minutes for the table, came and went. My friend's husband went back to the hostess after we were sitting at the bar for over 30 minutes... WELL past the reservation time.

Kind of a bad ploy to push alcoholic drinks on your guest. But, it's not uncommon in NYC to do that. Many restaurants push customers to the bar to get them liquored up before a meal. But it is really odd that Almond is pushing their drinks and have a baby as their mascot on their advertisements and website. I'm not putting those two things together, but their branding would say otherwise.... Take a look at the baby eating bread on the website and you'll see this repeated in literature in the restaurant. I'm just sayin'.... disturbing. Hello Marketing? May want to change that item too, while you're at it.... Anyway.....

I should have lingered a while longer at the bar... maybe it might have made the food taste better....

We were finally seated and all of us ordered something different - but I really and truly felt like this "Warm Salad of Duck Confit & Frisee poached egg, butternut squash, sherry vinaigrette, ricotta salata" spoke to me. I wish it would have yelled loudly at me NOT TO ORDER it.

Salty, soggy and with an overcooked egg.... a delight, it was not.

The service was friendly, when it was available. We literally sat there for hours. Not that we didn't enjoy the atmosphere and being with our friends. We just would have liked our drinks refreshed and our meal ordered before sitting in the restaurant for hours on end. Even when we were ready for the check, the waitstaff was incognito... still. You'd think they'd want the money and the tips. That's what logic speaks, but here....Maybe not.

Hopefully, the waiter and bus boy were not in the kitchen cooking. But, come to think of it, it may have helped. Or, it could have explained a lot since the people in the kitchen obviously had no clue what they were doing or how good food should be prepared.

My teenage children cook a LOT better than this place. I should have asked them to whip up something with me in the kitchen that night... instead, I just learned that in order to enjoy Almond, one must drink heavily and/or just be nuts.

(-1 star)

Foodie for Thought...

Critical opinions of this blog are just that: opinions. I don't expect everyone or ANYone to agree with everything I write. That would be unrealistic and quite boring, to be honest.

I am genuinely happy that there are people who are paying attention to what I write about in the first place! Woo hoo! Another visitor to my little blogosphere! (Glad to have you stop by!!)

However, please note that I am merely a writer, who is having a great time scribing about some places that I've dined at recently. Most of the time, they are really very good experiences - other times, well, no so much.

All in all, I attempt to give a synopsis that is honest and true - whether it was a good or bad event at that particular dining spot.

You'll see that I focus on Manhattan and have been, admittedly, waaaay too often to the East Village to sample the culinary delights that seem to exude from this section of the city. That's probably why I don't write more - because I'm frequenting a lot of the restaurants in that area....

But enough! I have made it a point to sample new places more frequently so that I can stay current with my blogging. It's not easy to always write about going out to dinner when I do so 4 to 5 times a week, but I'll try to do better!

Anyway, I just wanted to point out that in spite of some of the recent, negative opinions about my writing, I still have the freedom to continue to describe my own thoughts and criticisms.... that is what BLOGGING is all about. Frank Bruni wrote about his foodie experiences all of the time and got paid for it! Lucky guy! Me? No, no payment here - but just a way of sharing Gotham's grub scene with anyone who cares to read. -I welcome your thoughts and your OWN opinions, too.... and I will respond - even to those of you who think you're being clever about your quips and being asocial by remaining anonymous.... NO PROBLEM!

I also have no problem voicing my evaluations of various locales.... nor do I have any issue with people saying that I'm wrong about my assessment.... We all have our own prerogatives.

My main point of having this blog is to have a sharing space --because I love to write almost as much as I enjoy food!

If you have any suggestions for me to visit on my restaurant race around the city, let me know. (It's not a race, I just said that because it is alliteration....!) I need to find some unexplored gems! Do you know where I can find any in Manhattan? Let me know - and follow me on Twitter: @NYCfoodieblog

Save Your Sacred Money and Avoid This Vegan Disaster!

I am a big fan of eating healthy, so when my good friend suggested that we go to Sacred Chow, I was all for it!

My friend, Rebecca, is not only a vegetarian, but she also has a strict kosher diet. A place like Sacred Chow is perfect for her -and she's been on many occasions.

However, the night I went with her, it was anything BUT a good night at this locale.

To start off, when we entered the establishment, we were seated at THE smallest table in the restaurant -in spite of other openings - AND a request for a better space, we were denied. We sat close to the door -and it wasn't a warm breeze coming in, either.

The coldness of the waitress superseded any of the environmental conditions outdoors, however. She continued to be miserable. We had to wait for water, napkins and any culinary basics. By the time we ordered, we had already been seated at the minuscule mini-shoebox for a table for well over 20 minutes.

The waitress was annoyed that I asked questions about some of the dishes and didn't even look at my friend, Rebecca while she ordered her typical fare. Again, Rebecca had been there before and LIKED going to Sacred Chow.

Until THIS evening.

We received our dishes ice cold and with NO seasoning what-so-EVER.

I've had vegan food - and it can be scrumptious. I don't even KNOW what this place attempted to call food - but edible, it was not.

Another friend of mine recently commented that "Sacred Chow is not fit for human consumption..." and I ignored her warning - thinking she was there on an "off" night. (Every restaurant has 'em!) But no.... no, she was spot-on. This was a terrible meal. Terrible space. HORRIFIC service.

I would NOT recommend Sacred Chow to ANYONE in the NY area - or to tourists looking for a vegan experience. I wouldn't even want your DOG to have any of the leftovers there - they might have gastrointestinal distress that is way beyond comprehension.

Bad meal. Bad bad bad. Sacred Chow is not worth the sacrifice. There's not a star in the universe that would twinkle for this nightmare.

Save yourself for real, good, vegan cuisine. Try Peacefood Cafe - I'll write about this gem in an coming blog soon....!

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