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Restaurant Review: Copper Grill, Destin FL

May 26th, 2010 No comments

Copper Grill: is a restaurant I have wanted to try for several years.  When it opened in 2000, I heard many good things about the fabulous cuisine.  Due to the regions abundance of outstanding local restaurants,  I put off going for about a decade.

The Food: The food offers are your standard fair steak house with a couple local catches and a selection of Maine and African lobster.  Before going to the restaurant, the online menu differs from the in restaurant menu in terms of price and the weight of steaks; the online menu has 2 ounce heavier steaks for $4-$5 less.

The highs: During the appetizer course, the Jumbo Lump Crab Martini was the highlight of the evening.  It was light and perfectly balanced for the summer, in fact it was likely the best item we ordered all night.  For the main course, all the steaks were cooked to the proper temperature.

The Lows: The tuna steak appetizer fell flat; its surface was badly burnt and that depreciate an otherwise attractive dish.  The restaurant has an open kitchen in the center of the establishment, while I am normally a fan of a kitchen on display, this one was more dismay.  There was only one chef and as he completed a course he placed it under the  salamander.  Some of the main courses from our table of four sat there for 10 minutes before being served.  While this is not completely outrageous it does explain why my lobster tail was leathery. In a restaurant who’s logo is a lobster, a rubbery-tough to cut with a steak knife lobster tail should make own re-evaluate the quality control. My last bone to pick is presentation, if you ordered a steak without topping, it comes out simply in the middle of a cutting board.  Simply a small slab of meat, lost on a large board with no garnish or accompaniment.

Ambiance:  Dimly lit with modern American decor.  Large comfortable booths.  I found our server to be slightly over bearing with her gimmicks and pressuring members of our party to get drinks/desserts. 

Cost:  Appetizers averaged $14 and entrees $40-43 for average sized portions.

Overall: Copper Grill is an average want-to-be ‘upscale’ steak house whose high prices will ultimately put it out of business.    Personally, I see no reason to return with Destin’s abundance of locally owned upscale dining and Ruth Chris just right down HW 98.

Moving, . . . always a wonderful experience.

May 12th, 2009 No comments

I just finished moving from NOLA to Florida.   It was a mostly smooth move, but with a few very large hiccups along the way.

After match, I began looking into U-Hauls and moving companies.  I was surprised to see a one-way U-Hail being very comparable to professional movers.  And I thought to myself (albeit very misguided), why move yourself when someone can take the hassle out of it?  So, I get a few quotes and decide to go with United Van Lines, since they seemed reputable and quoted a reasonable price.

Well that is when everything began to go wrong.  After not hearing anything from United for a couple weeks, I gave them a call to ask a few questions, such as confirming the reservation and when they typically come out.  When I spoke with the receptionist, they could not find my reservation or confirmation #.  They told me the person who normally looks into these things was out to lunch.  After living in New Orleans for 10 years, I expect these things.  So I wait 4-5 hours, and after no follow-up I call back and straighten things out.  I also found some of my paperwork was missing from my packet and had to have it emailed to me.

Six days before my move, I call again to confirm.  I find out that a truck has not yet been confirmed for my move, but they told me they would have one by Monday and they would call me then.  So, I wait till Monday.

By Monday afternoon (T minus 3 days till move), I had not received a call, so once again I call to the office.  And find out things appear to be finally on track.

Wednesday morning, I decided to sleep in before the move scheduled the next day, only to be rudely awakened by several people wearing United shirts.  I was quite confused, knowing the day was Wednesday and I was moving on Thursday.  When I informed the movers this, they asked me what day of the week it was, the date, if I was sure, and if they could just move then.  At this point, I was a bit more awake and was delighted to see track marks decorating both the arms of two of the so-called ‘movers.’  At this point, I turned them away and waited a couple minutes so the van crew could phone in and I called the United office.  They had no idea what transpired and could no explain what transpired.  At this point, I was left with very little recourse, I fired them.

At this point, I booked a U-Haul with a trailer for my car (several hundred dollars cheaper than the estimate a few weeks ago!).  I then scrambled and called/emailed everyone I knew in town and was very lucky to receive help moving by a few great friends.  With a fully packed 17′ U-Haul and the company of my best friend, I hit the road to Florida.

Everything was going swimmingly till mile marker 168 in Florida, when the rear wheel of my trailer blew out.  No damage was done, but I was even luckier to have a friend making the trip with me to preserve my sanity while waiting 90 minutes for the repairman to come to replace 2 wheels (another wheel was about 1 mile from blowing out)

So other than absolute incompetence, drugged out movers coming a day early, and losing a tire at 70 mph the move went fantastically!

Swine Flu: Much ado about nothing

May 1st, 2009 No comments

Every year “The Flu” rages across the world.  Leaving in it’s wake a trial of thousands dead.  Most of the casualties being the elderly, newborns, and immune impaired (AIDs, chemo, diabetes patients).  This happens every year, and it rarely makes a human interest piece on the news.

So why is swine flu different?  Why is is causing thousands of American public schools to close their doors even without infected students, causing riots in Mexico, and worldwide travel restrictions?  The simple truth is the media love fear.  Fear gets them ratings.  The so called swine flu is N1H1, these refer to surface proteins on the flu capsid, is mainly a zoonose (native to animals, not humans)  and when zoonoses leap into humans it can be a big concern.  Since the human immune system has never seen these viruses before they are often devastating.  The next pandemic killer will likely be a zoonose of pox virus.

So why shouldn’t we worry about swine flu?  Simple, the vast majority of people who contract the virus have very mild flu symptoms.  Most of the people who have died from the virus were elderly or very young.  Preliminary studies indicate that it has a very low virulence value (it is not well adapted to humans and does not easily spread).  So this means that the virus will only spread in heavily populated areas, causing mild illness, and can likely be curtailed with nothing more than hand-washing and other sanity rituals.

Fear is an easy emotion to capitalize upon and make ratings!   Yes the public needs to be informed about epidemics, but schools should not be shut down.  Yes 328 people have been diagnosed with swine flu and 18 have died.  That is 5% and that is a terrifying number.  But here’s what the media doesn’t want you to know.  There have only been 328 confirmed cases.  There have likely been >3000 total cases!  Suddenly 0.5% mortality doesn’t seem so news worthy.  This more realistic estimation makes swine flu about as harmful as the regular common flu.  And as swine flu gets better at infecting people, it will likely be less virulent…. as a good respiratory virus succeeds the most if the host feels good and coughs while at work/school.

The solution is simple.  Wash your hands.  If you feel sick, have the common courtesy to stay home a day or two (sick days are NOT for going to the beach!).  If you feel a little sick, stay home and chances are you will feel great in 48 hours; there is no point in going to a doctor’s office and being exposed to everyone else’s germs.  If you feel really sick, see a doctor.

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