Wednesday, November 26, 2014

In Search of Fettuccine Bolognese

Fettuccine Bolognese? You know, like spaghetti bolognese only with flat cut pasta strips and not round pasta. I find the texture and strangely enough the flavour a little different and more to my taste. It sounds simple enough to make, so why do I have so much trouble ordering it?

Our first contender is Alessio's, the Italian food stand at the Ponsonby International Foodcourt. The last several times we've eaten Italian there I've ordered Fettuccine Bolognese with extra parmesan cheese. The woman that used to take the orders had no problems, but she seems to have been replaced, twice. The last 4 times I have had problems. The first replacement order taker managed to record the order wrong, simply as "Bolognese" and spaghetti bolognese arrived. I'm not sure why but I accepted this. Normally I'd check my order before accepting it but this time I didn't notice until both Tessa and I were already eating so I didn't say anything. Next time, when spaghetti bolognese arrived I sent it back.

The third time, I read what the order taker had written on her pad and politely pointed out to her that she hadn't written "fettuccine" anywhere. She corrected it with poor grace. Once again spaghetti arrived and once again I sent it back. This time it was the chef's mistake.

Finally a few days back I attempted to order my favourite from them and there seemed to be a new order taker at the counter. It took a long time to explain to her that I wanted Fettuccine Bolognese, just like spaghetti but made with fettuccine ... she seemed unsure what fettuccine was ... once I'd convinced her to write it down I then asked for the extra parmesan cheese. She wanted to know what parmesan cheese was and which menu number it was.

At this point I realised that whoever this woman is, she isn't an Italian food stall order taker so I walked off and had a different cuisine, Chinese from Golden Express. While I was there I remarked to Tessa that I didn't think I'd return to Alessio's and why. The Chinese lady who fronts Golden Express was listening to my explanation and even she laughed when I got to the bit about an Italian restaurant not knowing what parmesan cheese was.

Tonight we went a little bit upmarket. Precisely to Niko's Pizza, Greek and Italian food place in Takapuna. I still wanted my fettuccine bolognese so when I saw that they had both a fettuccine dish and spaghetti bolognese on the menu I asked the waitress if I could order it, she took the order and all seemed well ... until the food arrived that was ... when it arrived it was fettuccine all right but in some kind of creamy chicken sauce. Tessa sent it back for me. Next we had the owner bringing the dish back saying that it was their fettuccine dish to which Tessa explained that this wasn't what I'd ordered.

Eventually he got it and wandered back in. Tessa's meal arrived; mine arrived a good 10 minutes after Tessa's. To be fair it was a damned good fettuccine bolognese.

We've eaten at Niko's a few times before, but getting the wrong meal delivered to the table, having the owner argue about it and then our dishes being served at different times makes me positively disinclined to return.

OK I've ordered something that isn't on the menu. I'd accept three possible outcomes as fair:
  1. Refusal (Either through policy or an inability) to make the dish,
  2. Offering to make the dish at a different price,
  3. Making the dish at the same price as the spaghetti.
What I won't accept is having my order taken and then not getting what I ordered delivered. If you take the order, deliver what you've agreed to supply. It's really that simple. OK, mistakes do happen, if you take the wrong dish to the table, apologise, don't argue the point.


Unwilling to spend any more time or money at Niko's, we drove back to town and went to Circus Circus for dessert and coffee. Unusually for them Circus Circus made a mistake with the order. When this was pointed out to them they immediately apologised and fixed the problem. Right answer Circus Circus.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Suddenly it's difficult again

I've done 80 days, 80 long smoke-free days, yet at lunchtime today I was thinking how much I'd like to have a smoke, I went Passion Food at the Newmarket Plaza food court and instead of my usual crispy pork had Mapo Tofu on rice for lunch and when leaving the food court walked past the local branch of The Tofu Shop (For those who don't know it, this is actually a grocery chain specialising in East Asian foods) I'd bought cigarettes there before giving up and I seriously considered buying a packet.  I was even working out what to do with the other 19 in the packet.

Sure I try and present a largely positive picture especially when encouraging those whom I support on quit-line, but I also try and warn them that we are on the hardest journey of our lives.

This should be getting easier, and for a long time it was but suddenly it's hard and this is the point I don't get.

Since coming off the Champix I've still felt gassy and often nauseous. For the last week or so I've had a passable imitation of a smoker's cough -- I wish I knew where that came from. Tessa says it sounds a lot less worrying than the cough I actually had when smoking, so at least there's that.

I'm still exercising after work. Tonight it was walking and at the 1 hour mark I was in Cornwall Park near the big roundabout. it took me over ½ an hour to walk the slightly over 2km home ... I was really dawdling by that point.