restaurant

Brennan’s in New Orleans | In My Travels

by Jamie Sanford on February 6, 2017

To see all of my travel posts, click here. All images taken with the Sony NEX-6. (The previous link is an affiliate link, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link.)

I set up a surprise trip to New Orleans last month, to celebrate Will’s birthday (and also mine, to be honest). During multiple visits to New Orleans, we had heard about the famous breakfast at Brennan’s, but hadn’t managed to actually eat there. We stopped in while we were there to try and get reservations, and ended up having a proper birthday breakfast for Will on the morning that we left.

It did not disappoint in any way. Let’s take a look.

The famous pink exterior.

It was dark and rainy that day, but the holiday decor brightened everything up.

The interior is amazing and over the top, but perfectly so.

Look at these panels!

I’m not sure what the provenance of the bell necklaces are, but they were waiting for us at the table and put on us as soon as we were seated! I took these home, trimmed the ribbon, and made them into ornaments for my Christmas tree a few weeks later.

This is unfortunately blurry, but you can get the idea.

We both had eggs Benedict, but Will had the artisanal version. We had sides of bacon and grits.

I had told them it was Will’s birthday when we made the reservation, and so after breakfast they brought him this amazing dessert with a collar of cotton candy (with glitter!) and a candle. He also received a gift of a Brennan’s apron, which I can confirm he has been using.

After an incredible breakfast experience, we left, maximizing our last bits of this trip before heading back to the airport.

I cannot recommend enough that you have breakfast at Brennan’s when you visit New Orleans. It was delicious and special and completely worth our time.

Happy trails!

Hilton Hotels

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The Melting Pot | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on August 8, 2013

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

My husband and I plan 2 specific dates each year. We have dinner on the day between our birthdays, since they are so close together, and we go out for what I call our Meet-a-versary. July 28 marks the day we met in person, since our first meeting was online. We have been burned by too many restaurants, so in the past 2 years, we tend to make these dates at The Melting Pot. Our reasons for this are as follows:

  1. The food is enjoyable and consistent.
  2. The meal tends to take a while because of all of the cooking and such, which allows us to have a night out that is truly a night out.
  3. The environment is generally such that it’s great for a date, because of the high-walled booths and appropriately dim lighting.

So, as usual, I made our reservation. As our meet-a-versary fell on a Sunday, I made the reservation for Saturday night, at The Melting Pot in Westwood, NJ.  This is the only NJ location we have gone to – there’s one in Hoboken but I don’t want to mix my date night with parking problems.

So, we arrive for our dinner, and of course, I check in and tweet a photo.

This second tweet featured this picture –

This location has a screen in the lobby area that posts shoutouts to people celebrating their birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I indicated our meet-a-versary in the reservation, so this was cute to see while we were waiting to be seated.

Unfortunately, where we were seated was a room in the back where I’d never been before (didn’t even know there was a room back there, actually) and that was LOUD.  We were seated at an open table for 4(as opposed to a booth), with about 4-5 other tables in the room, all of which had groups of people out for dinner. I have no problem with this, but immediately knew that our quiet experience was over before it had begun.

We were there to celebrate us, and instead had to speak loudly to be heard, even while sitting next to one another. I found this even more strange given that the restaurant KNEW we were on a date night celebration, and had acknowledged it in the lobby.  The night progressed, and we had a server that appeared to be extremely nervous and twitchy, and would not stop touching his hair.  I don’t know if he was new or what, and he was nice, but he seemed to be uncomfortable in general. He also managed to splash the beer base of our cheese quite a bit, told us to cook seafood for 2 1/2 minutes (which I know isn’t right, I’m a Melting Pot regular), and then gave us chocolate that wasn’t really melted(though still delicious – it was dark chocolate, which is never really bad). The end of the night also didn’t include a box of chocolate-covered strawberries, which used to be a lovely treat at the end of our experience. Having received this before, I definitely noticed that they weren’t there.

The Melting Pot has also changed the way their menu is structured. Where we used to order a Big Night Out for 2 people, you now have to order individually, which is an obvious attempt to make more money. I will pay the money, so I’m not concerned with this at all – and maybe they are trying to cater to bigger groups and less dates by making it simpler to order just for yourself.

Either way, not the best night, which is disappointing when you are celebrating. Unfortunately, it gets a little more disappointing. I received this tweet on Monday:

I responded:

Given that The Melting Pot tweeted me to ask how my night was, you’d think they would respond with a tweet back or a direct message trying to find out what the issue was, or something. If they looked at my OpenTable reservations history, they can see that I’ve come there with both my husband, and other friends, quite a few times. I’m a customer they want to keep, and they have chosen to ignore my obvious displeasure.

I know it’s been said before, by many other people, but why bother having an online presence at all if you’re going to ignore negative feedback from customers? This is along the same lines as Comcast having a great team on Twitter but still absolutely abysmal customer service at every other touchpoint.

It’s been 6 days since I tweeted them back, and it’s a big let down to know that they don’t seem to care about my issue and experience. The pull of The Melting Pot IS the experience, because the food is not that complicated. You’d think they would be interested in addressing concerns from their customers. I am rethinking my decision to go there again – I don’t know if I will change locations or simply give up and try another restaurant for our special occasion meals. Maybe I will finally go to Babbo.

I would love to hear about anyone else’s experiences of complaints/issues being ignored on social media channels on which said companies are otherwise active.

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The Olde Pink House | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on June 27, 2013

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

I am excited to share my experience with The Olde Pink House in Savannah, Georgia today on the blog. It’s a bit of a different look at brand experience.

Reservation

Dad called me at work to let me know that he and Mom were able to coordinate their time with my work schedule while in Savannah, and would come see me to have dinner together. I immediately started searching online for somewhere delicious and southern, and went with googling “best restaurant in Savannah.”

Once I saw that picture of The Olde Pink House, I was interested.

Then I got a look at this menu and I was definitely in. I was particularly interested in the “goat cheese stuffed artichoke fritters” and I ended up NOT ordering them. This is just the huge appetizer list.

So, I went ahead and booked a reservation using Open Table, which I have an account with, so this was very simple.

My major complaint about the website is that it is not a separate entity from the attached hotel, the Planters Inn. In addition, the very large header is completely blocking the content, and my Dad was confused by this multiple times while we were talking about the menu. There is too much scrolling to get past this big header each time.

Dining Experience

These photos are all from Instagram, and some are quite dark. My iPhone could not handle the ambiance, but I will share them anyway.

Here’s Mom and Dad in front of The Olde Pink House.

We got there early and so went to the fantastic bar in the back of the restaurant. Lots of wood – and unfortunately a TV. Mom and I definitely would have preferred a TV-free, classy bar experience, but at least the drinks were amazing. I had a Pink Lady and Mom had a Cosmopolitan. Very delicious.

We got up to our table, on the top floor, in what I believe was a bedroom. Check out the lovely chandelier and the dental crown molding!

We had an amazing server named Megan, who was incredibly gracious and helpful. We even tried samples of 3 different wines before committing to a bottle – which worked out really well. The Kaiken Ultra 2010 Malbec was really great. After much lingering over the menu – we decided to share 3 appetizers. Scallops, Shrimp & Grits, and a cheese platter. Pictured above are the scallops and shrimp.

This is the cheese platter, which was outstanding. 3 kinds of cheese, a spread of balsamic reduction, fresh berries, and a piece of honeycomb. Absolutely fantastic. The 3 of us shared all of these appetizers, and they were sized perfectly for it. I would love to go back, and try to have a tapas experience, ordering nothing but appetizers.

For my entree, I chose the Caramelized Vidalia Onion & Sweet Potato Ravioli w/Savory Pecan Cream Sauce. Again, the picture is unfortunate, but this was very delicious. My only complaint was that the flavors were a bit muddled? The cream sauce with the crunch of the pecans was a triumph.

Dad had the fish of the day, with an apricot sauce that looked lovely. I don’t eat fish, so I did not try it. Mom had the Pecan Crusted Chicken Breast, Blackberry Bourbon Glaze, Sweet Potato with Pecan Vanilla Butter and Collards, which I did try, and was SPECTACULAR. I was sort of sad I hadn’t ordered it, but we didn’t want to order the same thing.

This is my praline basket, which has ice cream in it, with fruit and chocolate sauce. I actually don’t remember what Mom and Dad ordered, I was too busy enjoying the hell out of this, because it was stunningly good. The sweetness of the praline paired with the creamy ice cream was a delight.

Here’s a better picture of the praline basket. Thanks to Lucy W who posts on Yelp.

The actual experience in the restaurant was really spectacular. Our service was outstanding, the food was delicious, and I really look forward to going back. Given how full it was on a Wednesday night, I have a feeling that the proprietors are not that concerned about their website which could benefit from some updating.

No report card for this experience, but definitely a 9/10. I highly recommend a night out at The Olde Pink House if you will be in or around Savannah soon!

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