Have you ever read or spoken a word so many times that eventually you question the spelling/pronunciation?
Apparently this is an actual psychological phenomenon called semantic satiation, where repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaning. The word is then perceived as a meaningless sound.
The consensus regarding the neurological explanation for this phenomenon is that verbal repetition repeatedly stimulates a particular pattern in the cortex which corresponds to the meaning of the specific word. This repeated stimulation then causes reactive inhibition, which elicits a smaller neurological response after each repetition.
How is this in any way related to food?
Well, it’s not, I just didn’t have a clever title for the post and ended up thinking of the word “common” until it didn’t look like english anymore.
I am not a stranger to The Common.
I work in the area and coworkers frequently gather after work for drinks and tapas, or go for lunch when they feel uninspired by other restaurants.
It’s generally a safe bet, and boasts a mellow environment, faux-vintage decor, laid-back service and a quaint little drink menu filled with exotic brews and odd cocktails.
You would think that I’d love a place like this.
A week ago, I would’ve agreed with you.
Some coworkers and I went for a quick lunch, and most of us decided to try the lunch special.
This was a mistake.
The special that day was a “tempura battered hot dog with homemade dijon mustard, sauerkraut, goat cheese and apple relish”.
Sounds interesting right?
That’s what we were thinking too…right until the food arrived.
The first surprise was the fact that there wasn’t a hot dog to be seen. Instead, the ‘dog’ portion of the sandwich was comprised of two tempura battered breakfast sausages.
But breakfast sausages are delicious, you say.
Normally, yes, but breakfast sausages are meant to be cooked in a pan or griddle where the grease is left to drain off. Here, the tempura batter formed a little cocoon where all of that wonderful pork fat congealed.
Sadly, it just went downhill from there.
The sauerkraut seemed watered down and was neither sauer nor kraut.
The mustard was also tasteless and watery and did not help to cut through the grease of the sausage.
Keeping with the motif of “stupid and bland”, the goat cheese was also unnoticeable and only added a faint, slightly stinky musk.
And the “apple relish”.
Jesus titty-fucking Christ.
It’s almost like someone wanted to make an apple pie, then chickened out last minute and decided to salvage the apples to make HOT DOGS.
What the fuck.
They were in roughly half inch chunks, cooked to a consistency between crisp and mushy, and tasted overwhelmingly like cinnamon.
This made the entire “hot dog” (and I’m using the term loosely here) taste like a bland, porky, raw apple pie.
Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the worst thing I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant.
Now I said earlier that I frequent this restaurant, and to be honest, I expected much better.
Although the portions are small, The Common tends to be creative in ingredient usage, cooking methods and plating, which makes me wonder what went wrong here.
The only explanation that I can imagine would be that the chef never actually tasted his own food.
In fact, I’ve convinced myself of this, as there’s no way they would let this exit the kitchen doors if they knew how disgusting it was.
I’ve never done this for a restaurant before, but based on an otherwise positive track record, I’m going to give The Common the benefit of the doubt and just chalk things up to a bad day.
I’ll save the good, the bad and the ugly for the next time I’m there, and hopefully they won’t serve me an apple and pork abortion.