Thursday, December 06, 2007

In The Land of $12 Hamburgers and $15 Martinis

The other night at the Daily Sound holiday party, I was visiting with fellow columnist Leslie Westbrook whose column appears every Monday in the Sound.

Eventually the conversation turned to the favorite topic of every writer, food and drink, (mostly drink) and she mentioned that she had recently paid a visit to the newly opened Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in La Cumbre Plaza where the going rate for a Martini is $15.

Now, as much as I love my liquor, I’ve never had a Martini in my entire life. I can assure you that at $15 bucks a pop I won’t be trying one out anytime soon.

Fifteen bucks for a Martini! Can’t you buy a whole bottle of gin for that price?

Unless an establishment offers lap dances to go with those drinks there’s no way they should be charging fifteen bucks for a cocktail.

So what justifies charging $15 for a Martini when just about every place else in town charges about half that? If anyone out there has the answer this inquiring mind would like to know.

If you’re sports fan like myself, you’ve probably seen what is my favorite commercial that is currently running on TV.

It’s the one for Miller beer where the good-natured teddy bear of a beer delivery guy goes around removing cases of Miller High Life from establishments that have jacked up the prices for basic items on the menu.

In one of these spots, after learning that a restaurant charges $11.50 for a hamburger, he elbows his way past the maitre d’ (“pardon moi”) on his way to the kitchen cooler to remove the Miller High Life. On his way back out, while pushing a dolly loaded down with repossessed beer, he mutters, “eleven fifty for a hamburger, y’all must be crazy!”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I wonder if he’ll be visiting Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse anytime soon?

On his way over there perhaps he should pay a visit to the new Stateside restaurant over in La Arcada Court where they charge $12 for a hamburger.

And while I’m asking can anyone tell me why a bottle of Bud with your dinner will cost you $4.79 at Ruby’s diner over in Paseo Nuevo?

My informal survey tells me that $3.50 for a domestic beer is pretty much the going rate in town.

Of course the cheapest beer in town can be had downstairs at the UCen on the campus of UCSB for a mere $2.50, and, it’s a 16-ounce beer to boot.

What happened to the good old days when you had to drive at least a mile off campus to purchase the alcoholic beverage of your choice?

Back when I was in college students could buy their pot in the dorm but had to go off campus to buy their liquor.

Now you can buy a beer on campus but you’ll have to go into town to get your medical marijuana.

* * *

The story of interim copy desk chief Cliff Redding's firing has gotten coverage over at the Maynard Institute's Blog.

The posting, by Richard Prince, even has a photo of Cliff.

The Maynard Institute, is an organization dedicated to promoting diversity in journalism.

And, for the record, Cliff was not the only black working at the News-Press. Director of Community Relations Graham Brown, is still there.

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