24. August 2012 20:59
A fearsome apparition was placed on the table before me and for the first time in YEARS I feared defeat by a lunch entrée. This “battle” is akin to playing chicken. You win but you still lose. By all the pork that’s holy, I wish I would have lost. I felt like lethargic crap all day.
The waiter started it. He said he had never seen someone finish more than half of it. What was I supposed to do? The Big O’ Crispy Pork Tenderloin is the Jacksonville of sandwiches. It spread over my plate like Jack-o-ville spreads over north Florida. Wide, thin, and cooked extra crispy, Jacksonville sprawls over 800 square miles to contain a population the size of San Francisco. Likewise, my “tenderloin” wasn’t tender in the least but super-wide, super thin and cooked irreparably tender-free. All the flavor of this sandwich could have fit inside 2 cubic inches of pork belly. But instead, my palate got a long, boring suburban commute across a desolate, parched landscape in pursuit of a scarce garnish. Definitely the triumph of quantity over quality.
I will return to HHAGG. I don’t want to rip on it too badly. Some people like pork this way. Some also like chicken-fried ice cream. Their palate was probably abused as children. It’s not their fault. Their parents were, and many still are, high-caloric idiots. But there are other items I will try including the Man vs. Food favorites. The service was impeccable. Despite his warning that “plates come out as they’re ready” the server took my sarcastic reply in stride like a complete gentleman. I was almost misty-eyed. All should know and share my opinion on the philosophy of “we let your food get cold in front of you instead of timing the kitchen properly.” To HHAGG’s credit, they didn’t let it get too cold. Nor would it have mattered. The time it took me to chew mouthful after dry mouthful of irredeemably fried pork meant that my sandwich was cold inside of the first few bites. Heat flees as a function of surface area and this sandwich was a surface like no other. And yet, temperature changes were neither detraction nor improvement. And like the sight of a palm tree in the desert, I longed for the rare pickle sprinkled coyly through the flatness of my pork. I relished every one. Get it? I relished the pickles?
HHAGG, unlike some other recent meals, announces early and loudly that “we are a non-heat lamp restaurant.” This is their way of telling you about the philosophy of the kitchen being timing-free. I appreciate the twist on words to make this sound better but naturally, with the presence of heat lamps, one is discouraged from timing dishes AT ALL since they can just sit and mutate until the other things are ready. But it’s not cheap. HHAGG, being a chain, sought to save heat lamps * 7 locations * untold kilowatthours etc., etc.. Fine. But stop it with creative excuses. Heat-lamp free? Please. All they’re doing is passing down rudeness to their customer. I’m still never going to start eating until everyone in my party can too and I will always lift my ass slightly off the seat when the females leave the table or return and damn those chair-booths. Neither I nor you should let any amount of modern restaurant philosophy ever encroach upon good manners. That’s what booze is for.