Monday, January 23, 2006

Where Old Posts Go to Die (Or The Anatomy of a Post)

I carry an artsy little Moleskine notebook in my purse with me, so I can casually capture all the random blog post ideas that come to me at awkward times, like during lunch with my grandmother. It's a fairly long running list, with a lot of good ideas, if I do say so myself. After I write a post, I draw a nice, neat, satisfying line through that idea. I feel efficient.

Except that interspersed between all the clean, straight lines, there lie a handful of other post ideas. The ones that never get written, never get crossed off. They mock me - my lack of follow-through is funny to them. And so demoralizing to me.

This is one of those posts, long relegated to the Old Post Graveyard. Or, rather, this is a shell of one of those posts.

A few months ago, after finishing Alan Richman's Fork It Over, I went through a brief period of fascination with Trader Vic's. You see, Richman writes a chapter about visiting the legendary restaurant chain as a child. A chapter that is eerily similar to one written by Jeffrey Steingarten in The Man Who Ate Everything.

Lazy editing. That was my first thought - and I still contend that it was absolutely correct. After all, the books were likely to have the same audience. The content should differ at least a little.

Fortunately, both were well-written interesting chapters, and they piqued my interest in the history of the famous Polynesian-themed restaurant. I checked out Trader Vic's online and read a little about the place. I was disappointed to learn that none of the restaurants still exist in the Baltimore-DC area, but now I know that if I ever visit Atlanta...I've got somewhere cheesy to eat.

Then I had a thought: and this is where the post idea was born. A few years ago, a Bahama Breeze opened about five minutes from my house. Bahama Breeze is a Caribbean-themed chain, owned by the same company that owns Red Lobster and the Olive Garden, two places my food snobbery gene will not allow me to enter. But I go to Bahama Breeze sometimes, and the food is really pretty decent. The concept is interesting. The service isn't terrible. The bartenders make a tasty mojito.

In short, it's way better than most chain restaurants.

So here was my idea: maybe Bahama Breeze is the new Trader Vic's. Maybe it's appeal, despite it's chaininess, lies in the island theme. Perhaps there's something about the Americanized version of tropical food that elevates a restaurant concept.

As the idea percolated in my brain, I started doing a little research, reading online about the restaurants and even going to Bahama Breeze for dinner one night. We had good service, a couple of solid mojitos, and a very decent dinner, including this goat cheese and roasted red pepper appetizer:

goat cheese appetizer
Originally uploaded by Kit Pollard.

Maybe part of the charm of Bahama Breeze involves the low expectations usually associated with a chain restaurant because Cooper and I couldn't get over how much we enjoyed the appetizer. The presentation was cool - the menu didn't advertise that the goat cheese/roasty vegetable combo would actually be served in a red pepper, but it was a pleasant surprise that added aesthetically and in terms of flavor. The on-the-side pico de gallo was garlicky and fresh and a perfect match for the tangy, smooth goat cheese. Really, quite nice.

So we had a nice dinner. That was a few weeks ago. And since then...nothing. That's as far as my post idea went. So is Bahama Breeze the new Trader Vic's?

Maybe. I don't know. I'm sure there's a big post idea in there somewhere. One that's well-researched and thoughtful, with lots of interesting points. But for now, I just don't have it in me.

All I want, is to consider this idea crossed off the list.

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