Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Last week I went to a restaurant I’ve been going to for years. Some great entrees and it’s a block from Cedars-Sinai hospital so if I have any kind of attack during dinner I’m covered.
There are three or four dishes I always like and their soups are m-m-m good (which is the official standard for soup). I hadn’t been there in a few months but when I picked up the menu I was shocked. They had completely changed it. Now there were a million appetizers and only four main courses. And none of my favorites made the cut. What the fuck? I asked the waiter what soups they had and he said, “Not sure we still have soup. Let me check.” (They did, much to his surprise)
I guess this is a new trend. Skew towards tapas items, “small bites”, or whatever cute name they have for charging you $9.95 for a crab cake the size of your eye.
So today’s topic: Things that change for the worse, or, as I like to call it -- “the New Coke Phenomenon”.
For those unfamiliar, Coca Cola decided for some inexplicable reason to change its formula in 1985 and sales plummeted. People were so upset in the south that there was almost a second burning of Atlanta. Coke eventually went back to its original “classic” formula.
Side note: It should be noted that the original formula was not the first version of Coca-Cola. My grandmother used to say that Coke was the greatest drink ever when she was a kid. Somehow they ruined it. Uh, yeah... in that initial formula there was cocaine in it.
Meanwhile, the Necco candy company has now ruined Chocolate Necco Wafers. They’ve made them different flavors of chocolate and they’re awful. Who are they even kidding with “flavors”? It’s chalk. Chocolate Necco Wafers never tasted like chocolate. Sweetbreads don’t taste like sweet breads. And Rocky Mountain Oysters sure don’t taste like oysters. So what? Chocolate Necco Wafers tasted good. Now they don’t. Were Chocolate Necco Wafer sales down so alarmingly that the stockholders demanded a change or heads would’ve roll?
When you think of industries that have changed for the worse, you have to put airlines at the top of the everyone's list. At least when restaurants change their menu it’s with the hope of attracting new and more customers. But the airlines don’t give a shit. If they could get away with just strapping you to the wings and filling the cabin with more cargo they would.
XM radio used to be much better. The minute Sirius merged with them the cost cutting began. Less live talent, less musical variety, and more syndicated fare. There used to be a baseball-only talk channel. Now they just simulcast MLB-TV in the late afternoons and evenings. So this is a highlight they might now feature: “Whoa, will you look at that? Can you believe it?” And I’m paying good money for this?
Speaking of baseball, what was wrong with stadium organs? Going to a big league game used to be a night of Americana. Today it’s like stepping into TRON. Kudos to those few clubs that still have stadium organs. Is the ballpark experience really better with Snoop Dog?
And closer to home, Blogger “improved” their format and now it’s impossible for me to upload pictures if I’m in Firefox. And every time Facebook changes something I worry that all my private settings are being viewed and mocked by Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Parker, and the rest of the drunk nerds at Mark’s rented party house in Palo Alto.
Has anyone used “Advanced” Cascade on their dishes? “Advanced” means crusty film on your dishes. Nabisco Ginger Snaps are now awful. With all the things in the world that really do need changing, why start with Ginger Snaps? And Campbell’s Bean with Bacon soup used to be m-m-m-m good. Now the “new improved” version is eh-eh-eh ech!!!
These are just a few examples, the Chocolate Necco Wafers being the most disturbing. I bet you guys can name others.
By Ken Levine at 6:51 AM