With a name like LoRusso (Michael Anthony Joseph, no less) & being from NY, I know my Italian food.
I don’t believe that I need to list all my qualifications. I may not be able to cook well, but I can eat & taste with the very best of ‘em!
I know my stuff.
Plus, check out my belly!
I don’t believe I ever ate in an Italian restaurant more than twice before I reached the age of 18. All Italian restaurants combined.
(Note. Although they have some of the very best Italian food anywhere, I don’t count the hundreds of excellent pizzerias as true “restaurants”.)
And while I don’t have the greatest respect in the world for chain Italian restaurants, there are a number of very good ones.
No, not Olive Garden nor Buca di Beppo. But I’ll give a thumbs up for Maggiano’s Little Italy & Romano’s Macaroni Grill.
So I was a li’l intrigued when “everyone” in San Antonio was raving about Carrabba’s Italian Grill.
“Oh, they have this open kitchen where you can see all the chefs prepare the food!”
When it comes to food, you can keep most of that stuff a secret…I’m keenly interested in results.
Same as in business.
So Laurie, Heather & I headed out one Saturday evening to the new Carrabba’s on I-10.
I’ll usually try the eggplant parmigiana as the rating standard for an Italian restaurant.
The place was packed so we hadda go to the bar to wait. I was able to maneuver a seat for Laurie & Heather as I scoped the place out.
In looking over their menu, they featured this special drink (I think it cost $15 over 20 years ago) that specifically mentioned the 4 name brand liquors that they used in making it: Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlua coffee liqueur, Absolut vodka & one other one that I can’t recall.
I thought to myself, “Wow, that must taste great!” & even mentioned it to Laurie.
Then, lo & behold, a waitress steps up to the bar & orders a few drinks, including this masterpiece.
I was interested in watching the bartender handle it.
Couldn’t help but notice that he reached for a bottle of Stock coffee liqueur (a generic version of the more-expensive Kahlua)…then Carolans Irish Cream (not Bailey’s)…a cheap vodka instead of Absolut & another inexpensive liquor instead of the top-shelf stuff!
I really felt like approaching him & calling him out on it, but I figured it wasn’t my business (though I would’ve been doing it for the good of society) & it would’ve soured the whole experience for my ladies.
We were finally called for our table & you could be sure I didn’t order “one of those”.
“Boy, this eggplant had better be something special!”, I thought to myself.
In fact, the eggplant was undercooked & it wasn’t “casserole style” (this one came out as a single large slice of eggplant, with an equally-large tomato slice, along with the requisite cheese & sauce…cute presentation, but lacking in taste).
One’s taste in food, just like music & art (& writing/literature, for that matter), is very subjective, although I often consider opinions before I’ve had the opportunity to experience it for myself.
Gonna hafta give them a big 👎🏼 that particular evening! That deceitful maneuver at the bar truly soured everything from the very beginning!
And for all the Carrabba’s defense attorneys in our listening audience, NO!!!…they didn’t run out of the right liquors that evening as I noticed all 4 of them sitting on the shelves above.
And restaurant names often don’t mean a damned thing!
I’d put up “Joe’s of Avenue U”…in good ol’ Brooklyn…against any Italian food joint, anywhere in the country, and it’ll come out on top, 99% of the time!
Not everyone drives a red car. (I did for a long time, but…)
As always, thank you so very much for listening!