So Much for Healthy Choices


Black Beans & Saffron Rice Made At home

Fairly simple stuff… bring a cup of water to a boil, add a few threads of saffron (if you have them) salt, if you wish and/or a few pats of butter (1 tablespoon max)… stir in rice, put a lid on it, reduce to simmer, in 20 minutes you have great fragrant rice and the beans, even from a can are already heated in a different pot/pan and ready for dinner… But sometimes you got home late, don’t care to cook and want to order it from an “authentic” place. While I love to cook and try to patronize the local businesses from keeping multi mega chain stores and franchises from dominating my small town, its often a fight, not between us small guys and them, but the small guys and me who I am trying to patronize.

That brings us to this place in town I am at odds with and have given at least a dozen chances in the last 3-4 years. They are not consistent, sometimes the rotisserie chicken is dry, sometimes it its moist and tasty. Sometimes the staff are nice, sometimes they are not. Once I had no cash on me and I wanted to use a debit card to pay the $9.75 for the takeout order. She told me they don’t take credit or debit cards under $10 (which is illegal but that is a whole other issue). Rather than go to the ATM, I went to my car’s ashtray and dug up $3 in change, pennies, dimes, nickels and a couple of quarters to give her. Not so much to be spiteful, but because i didn’t want to drive to an ATM and come back only for my food to be cold. Another time, they got the order clearly wrong when I made it clear as to what I wanted (I can’t remember, I think I said NO mayo on the BLT and it had no tomato on it, but it did have mayo). She said you can come take it back, but I was already home and took a bite out of it (that is when I looked and saw it was the exact opposite of what I asked for). Another time, I wanted the chorizo sausage, peppers and onions. Once it came with only peppers, no onion, another time, no onion and a half a sausage cut lengthwise in half instead of a whole sausage.

So at this point you ask why I still order from there. And yes, it is stupidity, but also I don’t care to drive another 10-15 minutes out in traffic just to get something that would seem fairly simple. So, I was in the mood for rice and beans, but also wanted chicken. If I ordered all of these items separately it would be over $10. The price is not the problem but their combo plate comes with 1/2 chicken, rice and french fries. Many times I have asked them for “Spanish chips” which are thin sliced potato chips, fried, in place of french fries. Never a problem. Tonight I wanted to make a healthy choice and requested beans in place of french fries. The lady who took the call sounded much different, I am thinking she almost sounded Chinese, but she could have been hispanic… I don’t know, its not all important, but its just the fact that the “usual” person who answers the phone would have tried to accommodate me knowing I am a repeat customer. So, this person says “ok, beans instead of fries, $1.50 extra. I say no, I want the beans in place of the french fries, not an additional side, and she says “no substitutions, $1.50 extra ok” and I say “NO, its NOT ok, cancel the order. She responds “Ok, so just the rice and fries” and I say NO, cancel the order and she says “ok you don’t want the chicken” and I repeat “no cancel the entire order” She thanks me and says good night, not thinking twice that she just lost a $10 sale over .35cents. IN fact, I am willing to bet, french fries are way more expensive than beans, especially since they are stored in the freezer, they cost more in general and have to be deep fried in oil. Beans? Just heat and serve. In any case… this was not about $1.50, this was about me wanting to make a healthy choice and substitute a cheaper vegetable instead of a fried carb. Should healthy choices be punished? The fries they give you are like 2-3 orders of fast food .99cent fries, the beans didn’t have to be more than a handful or even 2, it still would have cost less than the fries.

So, I made my own from home. Not something I wanted to do, I wanted their saffron rice and “homemade” black beans… but I was not willing to pay an extra $1.50 for the beans just on principal. So, at home, I made the same meal for less than .60 cents. Again, this was not about money, I am often happy to pay a local business to make it for me as a matter of convenience, but let’s be reasonable. They weren’t so not only have I sworn them off all together, but I learned a way to make even better saffron rice and the beans did just fine. I tore up their menu, thought to write a letter, but you know, often these letters fall on deaf ears, especially if they make their money at lunch time from day laborers. So, let their fate be as it is… maybe they will be there another 10-20 years, maybe next year they will be out of business… I never wish for anyone’s failure, not even my competition (well, maybe I don’t wish for it and won’t get joy in it, but I certainly wouldn’t mind it… its God or Karma’s will, right?)… in any/either case… unless there is another blizzard or power outage and they are the only one’s open and serving food, you won’t see me there anymore.

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