I used to love…the Fiesta Salad* at Houlihan’s restaurant.
Back when I was single, I used to go to Houlihan’s once a week to get their Fiesta salad. Then they changed their menu and took it off. I showed up one week and asked where the salad was on the new menu.
Server: “Oh, we changed our menu and they must have discontinued that item.”
Me: “What? That’s the best salad you have. That’s the only thing I ever get. I rave about that salad. I brought my parents here when they were in town, just to try that salad. I bring my friends here, so I can eat that salad.”
Server: “It sounds like it was a good salad. Can I offer you some spinach dip?”
Clearly, the server did not understand the gravity of the situation. I decided I would write a letter to their corporate offices. In the meantime, I ordered a cheeseburger or some other completely lame and sucky choice.
I went home that evening, temper warm, and wrote my letter. I was kind. I used my best How to Win Friends and Influence People techniques by praising their restaurant, particularly that salad, and imploring them to please bring the salad back to the menu. And if not, could I please have the recipe. I mentioned that I hadn’t ordered any other menu item since I found that salad. That was my salad. We were homies. I had it’s back. When my dad said, “I’m not really a big fan of it because of the cilantro, I said, “ Dad. You don’t even know.” And I disowned him.
The next day, I received an email back. The woman said, “We appreciate your business. Our menu has changed and that item was discontinued. We will take your comments into consideration when we re-evaluate our menu next year. I’m sorry you’re such a rigid loser and can’t find something else on our menu to satisfy you. Thank you for your business.” Okay, maybe those weren’t her exact words, but what I learned was that my request was not even going to be considered for another year, at which point they were probably going to forget it.
I was devastated. I have always been one to latch on to something and never look around at the greener grass on the other side of the fence (except when it came to boyfriends in my twenties). When I find something I love, i.e. The Perfect Menu Item, what’s the point in trying anything else. At California Pizza Kitchen, I always, always get the grilled veggie salad. I love that salad so much that I’ve tweeted about my love for it. At Buffalo Wild Wings, I always get six traditional wings with honey BBQ sauce with a side of regular buffalo chips. There really is nothing else on the menu. At Denny’s, I always get the Build-Your-Own Slam: Two eggs, over-easy, oatmeal, hash browns, and rye toast. And my dad is similar. He took the same sandwich to work for years. Always satisfied. No need to change. He was committed to his sandwich. Like I am committed to my menu items.
I didn’t go to Houlihan’s for that entire year. I checked their menu online about a year and a half later – no Fiesta Salad. I didn’t check again and I’ve never been back. That was 12 years ago. I’m not bitter; I just didn’t really care for anything else on their menu at the prices they charged.
As I was writing this post this morning, I checked their menu: No Fiesta salad. However, they do have a Buffalo Bleu Salad and Chicken Asian Chop Chop. Whatever. Straight up crap is what that is.
Have you ever had one of your favorite menu items discontinued? Are you like me in that you eat the exact same thing whenever you visit particular restaurants?
*I think that’s what it was called.
This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday.
Sentence for next week: I wasn’t really myself when I…