Tuesday, October 6, 2009

You don't win friends with salad

After many years wasting lunch hours on mean order-in meals from local malls and over-greased noodles from the sole, sit-down restaurant within walking distance of my office, respite was delivered in the form of Jones the Grocer.
Let me be plain: despite the friendly demeanor of the staff, the swank deli and grocery is overpriced, over hyped and over harried.
The last time I ordered a take-away sandwich, the staff took twenty minutes to pick the sandwich, cut the sandwich, put the sandwich in the box and charge me Dh32 for it. There was only one other person in line.
During another unfortunate lunch venture, I took my box lunch back to the office to find they had given me a beef and guyere on mustard instead of the mozzarella and tomato baguette. I hate mustard. I ate it anyway.
Oh, and don't be fooled by the artisan breads and fine quality ingredients. As my investigation of the chevre and sun-dried tomato has proven: Jones side-loads the sandwich.
Ignore this sandwich. on Twitpic
That's right. From the outside it appears to be generous and plentiful. It promises a messy expanse of creamy cheese and tart tomato. But take a peek inside. It's all rocket.
I spent Dh32 for a slice of bread and arugula.
And then I did it again.
And again.
Why? Why do I do this?
Because it's this, or the Lebanese bakery where I once found a hair in my Lebneh. Because it's this or the Chinese food restaurant where I'm sure I detected the faint hint of ketchup on the sweet and sour balls.
Afghanistan restaurant is always a cheap and plentiful option, just as long as you don't mind waiting for your roast chicken while staring at the floor to avoid the gaze of a very angry looking Pashto man who seems deeply unimpressed by your sartorial choice of a knee-length skirt. And I just can't face another meal in the "family section" of the tasty curry joint where the cab drivers take their lunch, cowering behind the laminated room dividers in the back of the windowless upper floor.
Oh, for the first year, I tried it all. They were all tiles in the beautiful cultural mosaic of my expatriate experience.
Now, I say: save it for the tourists. I want a baguette. And I'll pay three times its worth to get it from somebody who will look me in the eye.


alexander... said...


I went there a couple of weeks ago. I noticed a member of staff wearing Victoria Beckham jeans.

They must pay well as well as charge well...

Mita said...

There are a few of those here (in Dubai) too!

Loveday said...

Agree that their service is pretty shocking. Hoping that they'll iron out some of the kinks - they don't seem to have quite yet mastered the art of cooking an egg.

Was so exited by the prospect of coffee and decent breakfast within walking distance as opposed to an hour drive to Dubai... Oh well, the cheese room is still joyous.

Grumpy Goat said...

But take a peek inside. It's all rocket.

There's a pun here concerning portion control, profit control and rocket science.

(Goat; Door; Slam!)

Phillipa said...

In their country of origin, Australia, where I live,they are overpriced and really sell no better quality than other providores. They take themselves a little too seriously for my liking. I don't know Dubai, but if you can choose Jones or another establishment on the same street, most people here would choose the other. Too expensive for what you get.

the real nick said...

I pity you. All these travails, simply because it is just not done in the highpowered and glamorous world of UAE journalism to make a sandwich at home and take it work..

J.Gerson said...

Brownbagging it is simply not done Nick, not done.

the real nick said...

You don't have to brownbag. When in the UAE, do as the Malwari does and carry a tupperware tiffin in a Paris Gallery bag. That'll do?

Mark said...

that's definitely one thing about the UAE. Nobody knows how to make a good sandwich.

Abu Dhabi restaurants said...

Oh for someone who understands, and can create, a NYC deli style pastrami on rye