At the recent skeet n eat event there was some loose talk that an LTH militia ought to be formed, possibly under the the Supreme Command of G(is for General)wiv. The militia would use its newfound shooting skills to impose discipline upon those who violate the the public trust by serving bland, soulless, or otherwise crappy, food. The idea went nowhere -- concerns about the legality of armed violence and the difficulty of finding uniforms that would be both fashionable and flattering carried the day. However -- had the militia been formed, I believe that I have found the man who would have made an ideal debut target.
My wife and I found ourselves at O'Hare about 11/2 weeks ago with some time to kill (We were going on vacation and missed our flight because I am an idiot who thinks -- sure, I can have lunch at Spring World (stir fried tripe, bok choy $3.95, excellent) at 12:30, drop a colleague off at work, return home, and take the train from the southside to the airport in time for a 4:55 pm flight. I was wrong. We couldn't get on the next flight either.) We were both a little hungry and realized the "name brand" sandwich which United had promised us the opportunity to buy probably was not going to satisfy (assuming we even got on a plane that evening). We wandered the terminal. My wife proposed McDonald's. I resisted. she called me an elitist. Then we saw Wolfgang Puck's Airport Xpress (or whatever).
Now, I didn't think I had any illusions about Mr. Puck. I know that he is a full of crap shill and that his restaurants are probably overpriced tourist traps. But the popular culture does see him as one who has taught us to eat "fancy" food and we did eat at one his restaurants in Las Vegas a long time ago and we thought it was pretty good then and they must use OK ingredients in their pizza and how bad can it be. So we went in, we ordered a pizza, and we found out how bad. Bad. Really bad. We got the pepperoni (the smoked salmon is for breakfast only -- in retrospect thank goodness). Thick doughy undercooked crust. At least a quart of rubber oily cheesefood. Bright orange leathery pepperoni with a sharp chemical tang. It was as if they broke into Pizza Hut headquarters, stole their secret formula and figured out a way to make it worse. My wife took one bite, scowled and threw her piece down. I ate the almost the whole damn thing (as penance more than anything else). I am not prone to heartburn but within fifteen minutes my esophagus was on fire. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. Mass produced crap is mass produced crap even if it bears the name of a chef with a funny accent who was trained in Paris, who writes a column about what "good" food is, and runs some expensive restaurants formerly frequented by silly celebrities. What is so offensive is the underlying assumption that we -- the poor mopes stuck in the airport -- won't know the difference. We see the name. We pay a little extra hoping to get something wholesome even tasty and we get crap -- the same crap we would get if we ate at one of the megacorp chains. I'm sure he doesn't care, but Wolfgang Puck should be ashamed. And thankful that we couldn't get the militia together.
We finally got on a flight -- apparently because some other folks missed theirs. If they had a long wait, I hope they had the good sense to eat at McDonald's or the even better sense not to eat at all. Sometimes its better to just go hungry.