Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Restaurant Review: The Used Food Intranet Café

When I mentioned to Tom Lisk's friend Jacques Wool that I was working on a review of L. Green Siena's booklet "The Used Food Restaurant," Jacques said, "You simply must pay a visit to the Used Food Intranet Café! It is the used food eatery in the Southeast!" Bowled over by Jacques' enthusiasm, I immediately ran the sixteen blocks to the place he'd recommended so highly. I'm happy to report that Jacques did not steer me wrong. The Used Food Intranet Café is a marvel. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the biggest fan of the whole "used food" concept, but the The Used Food Intranet Café knows how to prepare and serve previously-enjoyed comestibles so you wouldn't even know the difference. And the intranet access! Incredible. Because it's intranet, and not internet, access, you don't have to worry about being distracted with some irrelevant, timewasting website. Instead, you explore the world of The Used Food Intranet Café! Puzzles, quizzes, games, job applications, message boards, and more--it's as though the outside world didn't exist, which for me is the main draw of a dining establishment. Let me describe the setting. Picture yourself walking (or running) down a sidewalk in the hot sun, on a stiflingly boring afternoon. Up ahead, to your right, is a strip mall. In the window of one of the shops is a generic Open sign. Above the door of the white building is painted the name of the restaurant in block letters. Enticed, almost seduced, by this exterior you stagger into the canteen. Rows of blunt tables with laptops greet your eye. On plastic trays rest paper plates covered with indistinguishable pureed victuals. No customers. You choose a table, choose a laptop, and eat gratefully what has been put before you. My meal was hardly tasty, but I learned from the nutrition guide on the laptop (and remember, these laptops have been glued to the tables with Elmer's glue!), the food mounds are injected with vitamins and minerals. After a few sizzling quizzes, I grew thirsty. Luckily, a stainless steel sink with a spray nozzle waited invitingly, as though it had been placed there just for my refreshment. I returned to my table, had a few more bites to eat, registered with the Used Food Maniacs club, and ran my credit through the self-waitron near the door. Overall, the kind of civilized dining experience that is so rare today. I give the Used Food Intranet Café four pureed Parsley Sprigs!

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