Tag Archives: food

So My Wife & I Went Back to Marchand’s, and They Made It Right

It was awesome.

The back story is here. Basically, we had an inordinately dissatisfying experience on what was supposed to have been a special occasion, and when the folks at Marchand’s got wind of it, they asked if we would consider giving them another shot.

We went back last Thursday, and enjoyed a truly exceptional evening. The service was superlative (thanks Dean!), the food was delicious (I had the frog legs and the rabbit, Becky had the prawns and the filet) and since our previous visit had been our Valentine’s Day dinner, they made us a special Valentine-themed dessert sampler.

Obviously the crew at Marchand’s went out of their way for us. I don’t expect special treatment when we go back. But we will be back; I think that was the whole point, and I appreciate their commitment to customer satisfaction.

PLUS, we found out that Chef Mark Heimann is now experimenting with a locally sourced farm-to-table menu, which we wholeheartedly support.

PLUS PLUS, our server Dean has a great, funky collectibles arcade in the Grand Central district of St. Pete called Central Oddities; you should stop by.

My Wife and I Were Treated Shabbily at Marchand’s in St. Pete, and Got Terrible Food to Boot

LATEST UPDATE: We went back. Here’s what happened.

UPDATE: Vinoy Senior Manager of Operations Jonathan Sullivan reached out to us on Friday with a sincere apology for our experience at Marchand’s–which I honestly appreciate–and a request that Rebecca and I afford the restaurant another opportunity to show us the kind of service and food of which they’re capable. We are considering the offer.

OK, yeah, I tend to bitch about things, in a vague this-is-what’s-wrong-with-the-world sort of way.

I generally don’t call people or places out specifically, however, unless they provide a singular and stunning example of, well, of what’s wrong with the world.

Last night, my wife and I celebrated Valentine’s Day early, because she’ll be working late tonight at the restaurant. We hemmed and hawed about where to go for dinner–you know, go someplace we like but have been to a million times or go someplace new and take a chance on it not being spectacular–before deciding to patronize¬†Marchand’s, at the world-famous Vinoy Hotel, for the first time. Good reviews, good Zagat rating, etc.

We don’t splurge on a whole lot, but one of the things we’re willing to shell out for every couple of months or so is a great upscale dining experience. Rebecca works in the restaurant industry and is training to be chef, and we’re both passionate about good food (I am also passionate about bad food, and also any food); exceptional food is art, and it’s worth it to us to treat ourselves to some killer kitchen crew’s artistry every once in a while. But when you’re dropping that kind of cash, you also want the entire experience–I’m not saying we expect to be pampered, but we expect to have a good time.

We didn’t have a good time at Marchand’s. Our server couldn’t have been more conspicuously disinterested in interacting with a guy wet from the rain and a girl with purple hair and tattoos from shoulder to elbow. And the lengths of time between ordering and appetizers, and between appetizers and entrees, were completely ridiculous. Some fine dining experiences are longer than your average restaurant visit; we know this, we’re not new. That’s usually a multi-course meal, though–a whole evening’s worth of eating. NINETY MINUTES from order to entree, FOR A TWO-TOP, ON A WEDNESDAY, is beyond poor service. It’s “never mind, we’re leaving” service. Especially when your server seems to be actively avoiding your table.

What’s more, my entree was disappointing, and Rebecca’s–one of Executive Chef Mark Heimann‘s signature dishes, the cornmeal dusted trout–was downright terrible.

I respect Chef Heimann’s talents, and I doubt very seriously he was in the kitchen last night to see somebody butcher a dish with his name on it. And that’s not even really the biggest disappointment of the night. The biggest disappointment of the night was the fact that, in 2013, when all kinds of people are willing to pay good money to have a special dining experience, we got treated like shit. It shouldn’t ¬†happen to anyone, on any night, but it happened to ruin what was supposed to be a special night for us.

Debriefing: New Orleans

Rebecca’s birthday was just after Christmas, and she had never been to New Orleans. So, in Awesome Husband Fashion, I whisked her away to the Big Easy for a quick two-and-a-half day post-New Year’s trip, when things were slow at the restaurant where she works.

I’ve been to NOLA several times over the years to see and play shows, but I’d never really had a lot of time to wander around, see the sights, eat the food, etc. Eat is mainly what we did; my wife is beginning her new career in food, and this was basically a whirlwind tasting tour of the Quarter, CBD and the Warehouse District.

Here are 11 observations regarding the trip: Continue reading

Happy National Taco Day! Also, It’s National Taco Day.

For some reason, we have a National Taco Day. Which is kind of like Mexico having a National Apple Pie Day, but whatever. Cross-cultural pollination!

Americans love Mexican food. Why not? It’s cheap and flavorful and you can eat a lot of it with your hands. AMERICA: WE EAT WITH OUR HANDS.

Most Tampa Bay residents will probably recommend Taco Bus for today’s feastivities; me, I prefer Taco Son or, if you’re in the mood for something a little more upscale/hip/fusion-y/seafood-based, Red Mesa Cantina.