Yesterday’s Chicago Tribune included a highly unusual food column. It was an ode, of sorts, to the tofu-and-organic-veggie set of restaurants in the Greater Chicago area. But its distinguishing characteristic wasn’t the subject matter. It was its author’s honesty about something we at the Center for Consumer Freedom value highly: taste.
I love you, lousy hippie restaurants of Greater Chicago. I do.
You give me the warm and fuzzies. Seriously — that is no joke, and this is no breakup, either. But that love is complicated and deep and unshakable, and I wouldn’t be honest with you if I said I entirely understood that love…
You have plied me with more tasteless bowls of rice and questionable substitutes for red meat than any colon should endure. I’ll just say it: Your food has been bad, spotty. Service has been indifferent — "flaky" is not too strong. Life is too short to wait 35 minutes for a veggie-tofu stir fry.
Hey, he said it – not us! (Although life may be too short to wait any number of minutes for a tofu stir fry.)
And yet Borrelli insists that “this is no breakup.” Why not?
After recounting the ups and downs of his Chicago hippie restaurant experiences, Borrelli zeroes in the reason he doesn’t mind a buffalo burger “so overdone it might have been nuked in a school cafeteria” or even a lap full of vegetarian chilli:
I am reminded of something [Woodstock veteran and restaurant owner Pradham] Balter said: "The only ingredient we ask our chefs to include is their consciousness."
That doesn’t necessarily translate to deliciousness, but it does mean love is there, even when the rice is pasty and the tofu cold… Right on. I love you, lousy hippie restaurants.
But with due respect to Borrelli and his hippie friends, we’ll stick with the kind of love that does translate into deliciousness. There’s plenty out there.