Category Archives: food

Vegantopia

Vegantopia
~ Blodgett, Oregon

Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

I really wish I had taken detailed notes on the history of Vegantopia. I just assumed when I was ready to write this article I could pick the brains of the founder and creator of Vegantopia later. But we all know how that goes. I believe he purchased the land and built the house in the 80’s or 90’s. There may have been remnant creations or foundations earlier as he did tell tales of certain musicians contributing wood to the stage down below. The house itself was a one-two bedroom downstairs (if you count the terrarium he has a bedroom setup in) with its own bathroom and kitchen. Then the two door garage in an industrial sized warehouse converted barn that could host two large diesel trucks, but currently empty with a fashion walkway and a performance stage, and a food trailer which housed the kitchen of the ranch’s name “Vegantopia”.

Upstairs is a three bedroom house with kitchen, living room, dining room area, three rooms (we used one for our son’s room, the other an office, and the final a master bedroom), a bathroom with a claw-foot iron tub. Fireplace, deck, and two stairwells – one to the deck, the other from the garage. The side of the house hosted an awned storage bay with stacks of firewood for the winter. An organic garden, a gypsy wagon/vardo for a guesthouse with its own sink, bed/loft, table, chairs, and stove. Solar panels to power up the house and a disintegrating hut that was once a workshop. A creek running through the property with a foot bridge over it, an apple orchard, hiking trails, and a faerie ritual circle up in the woods. It was a magical place. I don’t remember if it was 8 or 16 acres of land.

Vegantopia was the name given to the place by its founder Markey Stuart. Markey created a tempeh kitchen where here he concocted his magical creations of a variety of tempeh that was sold to grocery stories ranging from Ashland, Oregon to Portland with most of the sales in Corvallis and Eugene.

There is little on the web about him or Vegantopia. You can find mention of his infamous Tempeh and soymilk he produced in issues of FA times, vol 32, issues 1 and 4.

They referred to Mark Stuart as a long tie Co-op owner and mastermind behind Vegantopia. He sold his local 6 soymilk made from organic soybeans that they described as impeccably pristine clean food as a basic wholesome soymilk packaged in reusable glass canning jars. We had the pleasure of being gifted it there while we co-habitated the land. We rented the top house and the vardo while Markey lived in the smaller unit down below.

The Vegantopia Tempeh was the most famous creation of the kitchen – fresh, tender, nutritious cakes made of soybeans, garbanzo beans, or quinoa fermented with extra high mycelia content from organic ingredients and packaged in cellophane instead of plastic. Eaten raw or cooked its a favorite of all local vegetarians and vegans.

As Mark Stuart was selling off his empire, we had plans to purchase the land and home from him, including the tempeh trailer but we were unable to come up with the funds by the time he was ready to move on (which was rather quickly) so it was sold to another amazing family that was a perfect fit for the land and home.

An amazing secret magical paradise. Vegantopia has woven its own web.

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

Lammas Celebration and tree planting ceremony over Cian’s umbilical cord, Oregon, USA. Planting of lavender, and underneath a baby persimmons tree. Thursday, August 1, 2013. (c) 2013: Photo by Leaf McGowan, Thomas Baurley. More information, copy of photo, to purchase, or to obtain permission to reprint visit http://www.technogypsie.com/photography/. To follow the adventures, go to http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/ or travel tales http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/. This blog, see http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=41999.

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Country Buffet

Country Buffet
~ chain across the United States ~

Old Country Buffet has approximately 168 locations throughout the United States under the names of Country Buffet or Home Town Buffet. The mascot for the restaurants is the “O.C. Bee”. The restaurant chain is part of Ovation Brands, Inc. based in Texas as a subsidiary of Food Management Partners, Inc. They offer a steak-buffet, grilled-to-order steaks, single-serve dishes, scratch-made soups, entrees and desserts, beverage bars, buffets, chops and grilled seafood, international foods, and others. They can be found as Old Country Buffet, Country Buffet, HomeTown Buffet and Ryan’s Buffet.

I’ve visited many of these restaurants around the United States and they do not have many differences and their course selections are quite contrary the same. I’m a big fan of buffets, and this is mediocre yet tasty. Good prices for kids but a little higher end for adults. The selection is magnificent but it is your run of the mill home cooked selections with some international specialties to spice things up. Desserts are probably the better selections. Quick, fast, and will fill up your appetite.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

Dinner with the family at Country Buffet – Tales of a Delivery Driver: Chronicle 278- Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken August 2, 2018. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=39039. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2018. Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. More info about Colorado Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=31051

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Il Vicino Wood Oven Pizza

Il Vicino Wood Oven Pizza
~ Colorado Springs, Colorado * https://ilvicino.com/ ~

I have made numerous deliveries for this establishment in Colorado Springs and Denver. Every customer that received their orders were excited and almost drooling with anticipation to dig in, so I gather the food is spectacular. It smells it. I like the smell it leaves in my car and that’s usually not the case after a delivery. The staff is super friendly, attentive, and quick. They take special care to make sure the food looks perfect. I look forward to dining here someday. Rick Post, Tom White, and Greg Atkin are the founding three who built this mini empire that boasts 8 restaurants that can be found in Colorado, New Mexico, and Kansas. They blended together concepts from famous San Francisco hotspots with traditional wood-fire ovens that was learned from visiting traditional pizzerias in Italy with the highest quality ingredients in a casual upscale atmosphere.

They opened their first location in the infamous Nob Hill district of Albuquerque in 1992 and from there it was a whirlwind of growth.

Rated: UNRATED of 5 stars. This establishment has not yet been visited and reviewed. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Red Gravy (Colorado Springs)

Red Gravy
~ 23 S Tejon St, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903 * http://redgravyco.com/ ~

I have yet to visit this wonderful artsy and comfortable restaurant for a dine-in, though have been through the doors many times for deliveries. Every customer i’ve delivered to are dedicated patrons, always enthusiastic about receiving the delivery. Obviously that tops the list for a visit some day when the finances are flowing as it is a littler higher end than my usual options of my own wallet’s accord. The staff is extremely friendly, prompt, and attentive. Dining ambiance appears relaxed and appetizing. Deemed an Italian kitchen, the menu selection for brunch, lunch, and dinner looks addictive – there is not an item on the menu i wouldn’t be interested in. I tried to find some history about the restaurant but the web site lacks an about us page.

Rated: unrated of 5 stars. This establishment has not yet been rated. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

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East Coast Deli and Restaurant (Colorado Springs)

East Coast Deli and Restaurant
~ 24 S Tejon St, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903 ~ http://eastcoastdeli.net/

Right in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs is this nice quaint eatery that gives the feel of a NYC delicatessan offering soups, salads, deli sandwiches, burgers, lunch, and breakfast. They pride themselves as a New York Style Delicatessen & Restaurant. The owners Chris and Laura are from Long Island, N.Y. and have owned restaurants in New York, Las Vegas, and now Colorado Springs. Products and ingredients are shipped directly from New York and bake their breads in shop daily. Their soups are made from scratch and they roast their own meats and are open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Rated: UNRATED of 5 stars. This establishment has not yet been reviewed. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

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Qdoba Mexican Eats

Qdoba Mexican Eats

A international fast food medium-range chain that can be found throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In 2003 it became a subsidiary of Jack-In-The-Box. In 2017 it was purchased by Apollo Global Management for 305 million dollars having over 700 restaurants in over 47 states, Canada, and Mexico. It began as Zuma Fresh Mexican Grill in 1995 being founded by Anthony Miller and partner Robert Hauser in Denver, Colorado. They focused on Mexican cuisine using healthier preparation methods, fresh vegetables, herbs, and vegetable oils instead of traditional animal fats. They changed their name to Qdoba in 1999 to avoid lawsuits from companies claiming infringement on the Zuma and Z-teca names.

The food is grand and delicious with the right amount of herbs and spices. I’ve enjoyed the bowls and burritos, chips, salsas, and drinks. It’s a satisfying experience.

Rated: 4 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

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Traditional English Breakfast

Full English Breakfast
~ Anglo-Saxon rooted European Countries like the United Kingdom, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall, Scotland, and England. ~

I was first introduced to the Full English Breakfast while travelling in Europe in 2005. It is also called a “Full Breakfast” in other parts of Europe. It is a common breakfast found in English-based cultured European countries like England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Northern Ireland, and the Isle of Man respectively. It typically includes bacon, sausage, eggs, beans, tomatoes, and coffee and/or tea. It has regional variants but is also called a “fry up”, “Full English”, “Full Irish”, “Full Scottish”, “Full Welsh”, “Full Cornish”, “Ulster Fry”, etc. depending on where in Anglo Europe you are dining. It is really popular and common in all of Ireland and the United Kingdom being found in pubs, restaurants, cafes, and other establishments usually offered at any time of the day as an “all day breakfast”. It became a National Dish dating back to the 13th century very commonly originating from the country houses of the gentry who in old Anglo-Saxon tradition of hospitality would provide such to their guests, friends, neighbors, and relatives. It especially became popular in the U.K. and Ireland during the Victorian Era and is a suggested breakfast as found in Isabella Beeton’s Book of Household Management published in 1861.

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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To Tip or Not To Tip: That is the question – Tipping

To Tip or Not To Tip – That is the Question of the Day

by Leaf McGowan / Technogypsie Productions

I’ve always been on the border about “tips”, “gratuity”, and “tipping”. I never in my younger years saw it as “required”, “mandatory”, or “expected”. Even when i was a bartender I never expected it nor thought I should get it. After all I was just doing my job and I was paid a fare wage for it. It was nice to get a tip when it happened (and it happened often), i just saw it as a “hey thanks for doing an exceptional job”. Its true I was brainwashed by regulars to recognize them as good tippers and pouring extra liquor or giving them extra attention because I knew they tipped. But I was fair to all. I always saw it as a practice to thank a worker for being extra nice, going out of their way, or high performance. I wouldn’t tip someone who did a poor job. But these days, you’re expected if not required to tip a service worker regardless of doing a good job. The percentages have raised from the normal 10% to 15% to 18% and 20% in some cases. Really? That’s not only obnoxious, but criminal. The criminality of tipping, no tipping, less than minimum wages, etc. didn’t sink in until I became a delivery driver and experienced first hand the angst and stress than a customer who doesn’t tip causes a worker … especially when it affects their livlihood, wear and tear on their vehicle, or when that tip teeters the ability to cover the gas it took to deliver said food.

When my ex-family member became rapid about no tippers as she works in the food industry, it was definitely a flag seeing how hostile she got on the topic. It was definitely a clash between us. I tried to explain to her my thoughts about it, how it was meant as a gift for exceptional service, and that it should never be expected. In fact, many countries find the act offensive and many foreigners don’t do it. She shouldn’t get hostile on a bunch of Germans at her table who don’t tip her. They might not know the American custom or requirement. But she would just get seething angry. It was that seething anger and dishonesty in her persona that made her my ex-family member in the long run.

But she’s no different than many in the service industry – if you don’t tip or are a poor tipper, you can easily become the scum at the bottom of a barrel and seen as a disgusting, unappreciative, vile individual. There are servers and delivery personnel who have been known to create databases recording your details so others can avoid you, or worse yet, target you for pranks, discrimination, or mean revenge. It really is a problem. Some pizza joints have been known to have comments and notes about customers who don’t tip. The common thought is that if you are a bad tipper for any reason other than bad service then you are stealing from the server and are consequently a thief so should be held up to public ridicule. So various staff have made facebook databases, web sites, and public forums “outing” the bad or no tippers, sometimes including their names, addresses, and/or phone numbers obtained from delivery apps, receipts, or credit card slips. Even if there are no physical databases active on the web, darkweb, or a businesses’ computer system … there certainly are mental notes and staff who will remember your face, name, or address and may avoid serving you or giving you proper service. Its always best to be safe and tip – be considerate of the individual who is serving you. There is the Uber Eats drivers forum on “No Tip for Food Delivery? Boycott them.”; Badtippers.com (currently down); the Lousy Tipper database; NFIB – Should you publically shame a bad tipper?; Shitty Tipper Database; Lousytippers.com (currently down); https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2012/aug/17/the-website-which-names-lousy-tippers; the Shitty shitty tipper database; Bad Tippers Suck; and Bitter Waittress.

Then there is the facts that suggest tipping was born out of racism. Should you not tip because it was originally a racist act? Certainly not – because you’re not hurting the industry that is the wrong-doer, you are hurting the server/driver/staff that is struggling on less than minimum wages their employer are giving them with expectation that your tips will make up the additional missing income. This is detrimental to those workers and really damages their livelihoods, especially in America and the tourism industry. Unfair? certainly. The only way this can change is to attack the industry and get companies to pay their employees proper fair wages.

So what exactly is a tip? or gratuity? Gratuity is another term for “tip” which is a certain amount of money that someone “gifts” to another for excellent service. It is additional funds above and beyond the fees or pricing for a item, service, and/or food. It has become a custom in many of the world’s countries. In some places its simply just the extra change to round up to the nearest dollar amount, other times it is a sizable sum often left on the table to thank the server and/or staff. The amounts that people give varies from country to country, and in some countries it is considered insulting. Other countries discourage it. Some countries require it. Originally it became 10%, and more recently has increased to 15-20% of the bill’s total. Some employees are prohibited from tipping if paying for food or services on government payments – government workers in some areas would break the law if they tipped. Unfortunately the practice has become an important part of the income for various service workers like servers, bartenders, delivery drivers, uber/lyft/taxi drivers – and failing to tip the can be a detrimental effect on their livelihood. This is very common in North America. Some restaurants will automatically add a service charge/tip on the bill especially when there is a large party at a restaurant.

In most places, it is illegal for government workers to not only give tips, but to receive them as it can be seen as bribery. For companies that promote tipping such as restaurants, the owners see the act of “tipping” as a incentive for greater work effort. Some abuse the custom by paying lower wages to their employees expecting the tips to make up for the difference. This is where the process has become criminal and abusive of the lower class in the United States. It is in this regard that tipping expected or not, is actually quite arbitrary and discriminatory, adversely affecting livelihoods and lives. It has been proven that amounts of tips can vary based on age, sex, race, hair color, breast size, color of skin, and appearance rather than quality of service.

The etymology for “tipping” and “gratuity” dates to the 1520’s from “graciousness” or the French “gratuite” in the 14th century. The Medieval Latin “gratuitas” or “free gift” or “money given for favor or services”. The practice appears to have begun around 1600 C.E. and was meant as a “small present of money”. It was first attested in 1706 according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. It was first practiced in Tudor England. By the 17th century it was expected that overnight guests in private homes should provide sums of money called “vails” to the host’s servants. This spread to customers tipping in London coffeehouses and commercial establishments. London in the 1890’s also had “crossing sweepers” who cleared the way in the roads for rich people to cross so that they wouldn’t diry their clothes, and they were tipped for this action.

Etymological differences in various languages can also translate the terminology to “drink money” such as “pourboire” in French, “trinkgeld” in German, “drikkepenge” in Danish, and “napiwek” in Polish coming from the custom of inviting a servant to drink a glass in honor of the guest and paying for it to show the guests generosity amongst one another.

Customs in varous Countries:

Africa/Nigeria: not common at upscale hotels and restaurants because the service charge is usually included in the bill although the employees don’t usually get any of it … this has been changing as establishments have begun to coerce customers to tip in the Western world manner even to the manner that there have been reports of security guards asking bank patrons for tips.

Asia: China – there is no tipping. Some hotels that serve foreign tourists will allow it, especially tour guides and drivers. Hong Kong – tipping is not expected at hotels or restaurants because a service charge of 10% is already added to the bill, but taxi drivers sometimes charge the difference between a fare and round sum as a courtesy fee so as not to make change for larger bills. Japan – tipping is very discouraged and seen as an insult (unless masked in an envelope). It also has created confusion. Indonesia – common in large touristy areas like Bali or Lombok where there are a lot of Western visitors. 10% is expected at full-service restaurants, and bar tipping is discretionary depending on the style of the bar. Pubs don’t expect tips, restaurants 10-15%, massage parlors 10-20%, taxi drivers 5%, bellboys $1 a bag. Malaysia – tipping is not expected, restaurants often add a 10% service charge, and if tips are left it is accepted and appreciated, but often is just rounding up. South Korea – not customary nor expected and can be seen as inappropriate behavior. Hotels and restaurants often add on a 10-15% service charge already embedded into the bill. Singapore – not practiced and rarely expected, though bars, restaurants, and some other establishments add in a 10% service charge compounded with the 7% goods and services tax – the staff rarely receive any of this. Taiwan – Not customary but all mid-high end restaurants and hotels have a mandatory 10% service charge which is not given to staff and made out as revenue to the business.

Europe: Tipping started in the United Kingdom and spread throughout, but not all parts of Europe accept it, some will be offended by it. Albania – It is expected everywhere and performance will vary based on requests for tips. Tips of 10% of the bill is customary in restaurants, and while porters, guides, and chauffeurs expect tips – duty-free alcohol is usually the best tip for porters and bellhops, but others may find it offensive (such as Muslims). Croatia – tips are sometimes expected in restaurants, but not mandatory and are often 3-5% of the bill. Clubs and cafe its common to round up the bill and its not common for taxi drivers or hairdressers. Denmark – “drikkepenge” or “drinking money” is not required since service charges must always be included in the bill according to law. Tipping for outstanding services is a matter of choice and never expected. Finland – not customary or expected. France – not required but what you see on the menu is what you are charged for. The French pay their staff a livable wage and do not depend on tips. Some cafe’s and restaurants will include a 15% service charge in the bill as french law for tax assessment requires. “service compris” is a flag that the tip has already been added to the bill but the staff may not get any of it. Tourist places are unofficially accustomed to getting tips. In smaller restaurants or rural areas, tips can be treated with disdain. Amounts of the tip are critical sometimes, such as at least a 5% for good service, and unless tips are given in cash, most of the time the staff won’t receive them if on credit card. Austria/Germany: Coat check staff usually tipped but tipping aka “trinkgeld” is not obligatory. In debates about minimum wage, some people disapprove of tipping and say that it shouldn’t substitue for living wages. It is however seen as good manners in Germany for good services. Germany prohibits to charge a service fee though without the customer’s consent. Tips range from 5-10% depending on the service. While Germans usually tip their waiters almost never the cashiers at big supermarkets. The more personal the service, more common to tip. There are often tipping boxes instead of tipping the person, and rounding up the bill is the most common practice as “stimmt” for keep the change. Tips are considered income in Germany but are tax free. Hungary – “borravalo” or “money for wine” is the tipping there and is commonplace based on type of service received, rounding up the price is most commonplace. Various situations will vary with tipping as either expected, optional, or unusual since almost all bills have service charges included. In Iceland, it is not customary and never expected except with tourist guides who encourage the practice. Ireland – tips are left by leaving small change (5-10%) at the table or rounding up the bill, and very uncommon for them to tip drivers or cleaning staff – it is the tradition thanks for high quality service or a kind gesture. In Italy – tips are only for special services or thanks for high quality service, but is very uncommon and not customary, though all restaurants have a service charge but are required to inform you of said added charges. Norway – service charges are added to the bill so tipping is less common and not expected. If done its by leaving small change 5-15% at the table or rounding up the bill. The Netherlands – it is not obligatory and is illegal and rare to charge service fees without customer’s consent. Sometimes restaurants, bars, taxis, and hotels will make it sound like tipping is required but it is not. Excellent service sometimes sees a 5-15% tip as in 1970 regulations were adopted that all indicated prices must include the service charge and so all prices saw a 15% raise back then so that employees were not dependent on tips. Romania – Tipping is close to bribing in some instances where it is used to achieve a favor such as reservations or getting better seats. tipping is overlooked often and rounding up can be seen as a rude gesture if including coins, otherwise one should use paper currency. Russia – its called “chayeviye” which means “for the tea” and tipping small amounts to service people was common before the Communist Revolution of 1917, then it became discouraged and considered an offensive capitalist tradition aimed at belittling or lower the status of the working class and this lasted until the 1990’s but once the Iron Curtain fell a influx of foreign tourists came it and it has seen a comeback. Slovenia – most locals do not tip other than to round to nearest Euro and the practice is uncommon. Tourist areas have accepted tips of 10-20%. Spain – while not mandatory it is common for excellent services. Tips in the food industry depend on the restaurant and if upscale, small bars and restaurants the small change is left on their plate after paying the bill. Taxi drivers, hairdressers, and hotel staff may expect tips in upscale environments. Sweden – tipping is not expected, but practiced for high quality service as kind gestures, but often is small change on the table or rounding up the bill mainly at restaurants and taxis. Hairdressers aren’t commonly tipped. Tips are taxed in Sweden but cash tips often are not declared. Turkey – “bahsis” or tipping is optional and not customary. 5-10% is appreciated in restaurants and usually by leaving the change. Drivers don’t expect tips although passengers often round up and small change to porters or bellboys. United Kingdom: England/Scotland – customary when served at a table in restaurants, but not cafes or pubs where payment made at the counter often between 10-15%, most commonly 10% rounded up. Golfers tip their caddies. Larger cities may have a service charge included in the bill or added separately commonly at 12.5%. Service charges are only compulsory if displayed before payment and dining, and if bad service, customer can refuse to pay any portion (or all) of said service charge.

North America:
Canada – similar to the United States, tipping is common, expected, and in some cases required. Quebec provides alternate minimum wage for all tipped employees, other provinces do so for bartenders. Servers tend to share their tips with other restaurant employees called “tipping out” or a “tip pool”. Ontario made a law in 2015 to ban employers from taking cuts of tips that are meant for servers and other staff as that became a bad problem until recently. Tips are seen as income and staff must report the income to the Canada Revenue Agency to pay their taxes on it. Caribbean – the practices vary from island to island, such as the Dominican Repulbic adds a 10% gratuity on bills in restaurants and its still customary to tip an extra 10%, St Barths it is expected tips to be 10-15% if gratuity isn’t already included in the bill, and most of the islands expect tips due to being used to it with tourists from the mainland. Mexico – In small restaurants most workers don’t expect tips as the custom is usually only takes place in medium or larger high end restaurants, and when it happens roughly 10-15% not less nor more as a voluntary offering for the good services received on total bill before tax is added (VAT – value added tax). Sometimes VAT is already included in menu pricing. Standard tip in Mexico is 11.5% of the pre-tax bill or 10%. Sometimes tips are added to the bill without the customer’s consent even though its against the law especially bars, night clubs, and restaurants. If this service charge is added it is violation of Article 10 of the Mexican Federal Law of the Consumer and Mexican authorities recommend that patrons require the management to refund or deduct this from the bill. United states – Tipping is a strong social custom and while by definition voluntary at the discretion of the customer, has become mandatory in some instances and/or required, very commonly expected. If being served at a table, a tip of 15-20% of the customer’s check is customary when good service provided, in buffets where they only bring beverages to the table, 10% is customary. Higher tips are often commonly given for excellent service, and lower ones for mediocre service. Tips may be refused if rude or bad service is given and the manager is usually notified. Tipping is common for hairdressers, golf courses, casinos, hotels, spas, salons, bartenders, baristas, food delivery, drivers, taxis, weddings, special events, and concierge services. Fair Labor Standards Act defines tippable employees as those who receive tips of more than $30/month and federal law permits employers to include tips as part of a employee’s hourly wage or minimum wage. Federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13/hour as authorities believe they will make up the difference in tips. The federal minimum wage is still only $7.25/hour. 18 of the 50 states still pay tipped workers the 2.13/hour. 25 states as well as the District of Columbia have their own slightly higher tipped minimums, while the remaining states guarantee state based minimum wage for all workers. Some states have increased this such as Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Guam require that employees be paid full minimum wage of the state they are working in. Tip pools are used as well but the employer is not allowed to take any, nor any employees who do not customarily receive tips such as the dishwashers, cooks, chefs, and janitors. The average tip in America today is 15-16% with tipping commonly expected regardless of how good service was provided. A few restaurants and businesses in Amrica have adopted a no-tipping model to fight back, but many of these returned to tipping due to loss of employees to competitors. Service charges are often added when there is a large party dining and to catering, banquet, or delivery jobs. This is not to be confused with tips or gratuity in the U.S. which is optional and discretionary to the customer. Some bars have started to include service charges as well – but including these require disclosure to the customer. Until the early 20th century, Americans saw tipping as inconsistent with the values of an democratic egalitarian society, earlier business owners thought of tips as customers attempting to bribe employees to do something that wasn’t customary such as getting larger portions of food, better sittings, reservations, and/or more alcohol in their drinks. After Prohibition in 1919 alot of revenue was lost from no longer selling alcoholic beverages, so financial pressure caused food establishment owners to welcome tips and gradually evolve to expecting them. Tipping never evolved from a server’s low wages because back in the day before tipping was institutionalized, servers were fairly well paid. As tipping evolved to become expected and mandatory servers were paid less. Six states (mainly in the south) however passed laws making tipping illegal though enforcement was difficult, the earliest of which was passed in 1909 within the state of Washington. The last of these laws were repealed in 1926 in Mississippi. These states felt that “the original workers that were not paid anything by their employers were newly freed slaves” and “this whole concept of not paying them anything and letting them live on tips carried over from slavery” (according to Wikipedia article). Tips are considered income and the entire tip amount is considered earned wages except for months wehere tip totals were under $20. The employee must pay 100% of payroll tax on tip income and tips are excluded from worker’s compensation premiums in most states. This sometimes discourages no-tip policies because employers would pay 7.65% additional payroll taxes and up to 9% workers compensation premiums on higher wages in lieu of tips. Tax evasion on tips is very common and a big concern of the IRS. While tips are allowable expenses for federal employees during travel, U.S. law prohibts employees from receiving tips. Tip pooling is also illegal if pooling employees are paid at least the federal minimum wage and don’t customarily receive tips, but was repealed in 2018 so workers have more rights to sue their employers for stolen tips.

South America: Bolivia – Most restaurants have service charges included in the bill, but tips of 5% or more are sometimes given to be polite to the worker. Paraguay – Tipping is not a common part of the culture, there are often service charges included in the bill.

Oceania: Australia – Tipping is not part of Australian customs, so it is not expected or required. Minimum wages in Australia has an annual review adapted for standards of living. Many still round up the amount owed to indicate they were happy with the service as “keep the change”. There is no tradition of tipping someone who is just providing a service like a bellboy, hairstylist, or guide. Casinos in Australia prohibit tipping of gaming staff so its not considered bribery. New Zealand – like Australia, does not possess the tradition though it has become less uncommon in recent years especially with fine establishments and influx of tourism, or American tipping culture. It is expected that employers pay their staff fairly and that minimum wage is raised regularly based on costs of living. The only real tipping is for far and above normal service.

The varying degrees of gratuity around the world causes much problems internationally, as American tourists may continue to tip when travelling to countries where it is not custom, thereby setting precedent that evolves into expectation of Americans travelling abroad. Likewise, tourists from countries that find tipping rude or non-customary, may not tip when in the U.S. and infuriating staff that expect and/or depend upon it. Some Americans have been known to become aggressive, rude, and vindictive when they don’t get tipped and they may not realize the non-tipper is a foreigner who comes from a culture that doesn’t tip. The key is to know the culture you are travelling in. There is a high level of discrimination embedded into tipping culture, and many think the custom should be banned. According to Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics blog “Should Tipping be Banned?” they point out from Michael Lynn’s research that “attractive waitresses get better tips then less attractive ones. Men’s appearances, not so important.” “blondes get better tips than brunettes, slender women get better tips then heavier woen, larger breasted women get better tips than smaller breasted ones.” Hooters, an American chain has monopolized on looks for their waitresses and get away with discriminating upon those who don’t fit the look, and therefore the tip. Many will flaunt wealth by distributing big tips, and others do it to demean the worker to make them feel beneath them. After the abolishment of slavery, restaurants and rail operators embraced tipping as a way of getting free labor – hiring newly freed slaves to work for tips alone.


The newest industry being affected by tipping is delivery drivers who get paid $3.25 or lower for a delivery, don’t get paid to wait around for orders, sometimes are given some fees for mileage, but not wear and tear, nor reimbursement for the highly increasing cost of gas. So not only is a drivers time affected when someone doesn’t tip, but their vehicle, cost of gas, and expenses. As a delivery driver, I have gone on deliveries where what i received from a non-tipper and the company didn’t even cover the gas to get to their place and back. Remember that when considering if you should tip or not.

References:


  • Oatman, Maddie 2016 “The Racist, Twisted History of Tipping: Gratuities were once an excuse to shortchange black people. In fact, they still are.” Mother Jones News. website visited at https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/04/restaurants-tipping-racist-origins-saru-jayaraman-forked/ on 7/17/18.

  • Wikipedia 2013 “Tipping”. Website referenced at https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipping on 7/17/18.

  • Video: The Racist History of Tipping : https://www.facebook.com/196848580832824/videos/217512792099736/

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The Bench (Colorado Springs, CO)

The Bench
~ 424 S. Nevada Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado * 375-0930 ~

A medium sized sports bar with a pub atmosphere in downtown Colorado Springs. It was created by the Odyssey Gastropub owners Jenny Schnakenberg and Tyler Sherman offering sports bar fare.

This restaurant has not been reviewed or visited yet.

Rated: Unrated of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions ~

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La Caretta Mexican Restaurant (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

La Caretta Mexican Restaurant
~ 35 Iowa Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909 ~

This popular Mexican and Cuban fare restaurant seems to be well liked and visited. As a delivery professional I’ve done several pickups there and it appears to be well liked. I have yet to try the place for myself, but on the list for restaurants to review. On occasion they have live traditional bands and entertainment.

Rated: Unrated of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Denny’s

Denny’s
~ Worldwide Franchise ~

Oh the memories growing up with “Denny’s”. It was a common hangout during my high school and college years. Late night, sitting for hours, catching up with friends. Even after college, it was a great location for after dancing/clubbing meet ups and place to sober up before heading home. This iconic table service diner-style restaurant chain is certainly an image of the American heartland and definition of American type food. It is called “Denny’s” or “Denny’s Diner” and consists of over 1,600 restaurants across the United States, including Guam, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Curacao, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Venezuela, Honduras, Japan, New Zealand, Qatar, the Phillipines, and the United Arab Emirates. It is famous for being open 24 hours, 7 days a week, year round except where required by law to be closed. They are open on holidays and late nights. They place themselves close to interstates, freeways, bars, and service areas.

A humble history spurring from a donut shop, Denny’s was birthed by Harold Butler and Richard Jezak as “Danny’s Donuts” in Lakewood California in 1953. In 1956, Jezak left the business leaving it to Butler who changed the image and concept from a donut shop to a coffee shop renamed “Danny’s coffee shops” operating 24 hours a day. By 1959 they changed their name to “Denny’s Coffee Shops” as another chain went by the name of “Coffee Dan’s” in Los Angeles. By 1961 they simplified their name to “Denny’s”. They became a franchise in 1963 and most of the locations today are franchise owned. In 1977 they introduced their very popular Grand Slam breakfast. By 1981 there were over 1,000 restaurants throughout the United States. They also absorbed many of the Sambo restaurants. By 1994 they became the largest corporate sponsor of “Save the Children” charity. Operating non-stop, 24 hours, many locations were built without locks and some are said to have lost their keys. With headquarters in La Mirada, California until 1989, they relocated to Irvine, California, then Spartanburg, South Carolina becoming acquired by Trans World Corporation in 1987.

They became notorious for the “free birthday meals” to anyone on their birthdates, but this only survived from 1990-1993 but was cut off due to over-use and abuse. They offer a free Birthday Build-Your-Own-Slam on a customer’s proven and tracked birth date. By 1994 they changed their theme, outlook, and decoration with a lighter color scheme. They were reviewed by the October 2004 Dateline NBC news story called “Dirty Dining” criticizing Denny’s cleanliness, safety, and operations pulling the health inspection records of over 100 of its establishments for a 15 month span totaling all of the critical violations that could lead to adverse effects of a customer’s health compared to Applebee’s, Bob Evans, Chili’s, IHOP, Outback, Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesday, TGI Friday’s, and Waffle House. They had the fewest violations averaging less than one violation per restaurant which they proudly boast is due to their successful model of their “principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.”

However in 1934, they were damaged by their involvement in a series of discrimination lawsuits over food servers denying or providing inferior service to racial minorities from African Americans to Native Americans. That year, six black U.S. Secret Service agents visited a Denny’s in Annapolis, Maryland and were forced to wait an hour for service while their white companions were seated immediately. The 1994 class action lawsuit filed by black customers who were refused service, forced to wait longer, or pay more than white customers led to a $54.4 million settlement. In 1995 a African American customer in a Sacramento California location was told that he and his friends had to pay up front at the counter before ordering their meals, because, according to the waittress, said some black guys had been in earlier who made a scene and walked out without paying their bill, so the manager now wanted all blacks to pay up front. In 1997, six Asian American students from Syracuse University were discriminated upon late at night at a Denny’s having to wait more than a 1/2 hour as white patrons were served before them. After they complained to management, they were forced to leave by security, then afterwards a group of white men came out of Denny’s and attacked them, some beaten unconscious. Denny’s addressed this with racial sensitivity training programs for their employees and worked hard to improve public relations featuring African-Americans in their commercials. They made headway and was awarded in 2001 by Fortune Magazine to be the “Best Company for Minorities”. By 2006/2007 they topped Black Enterprise’s “Best 40 Companies for Diversity.” However in 2017, a Vancouver Denny’s made an Indigenous woman pay for her meal before it was served. The restaurant called the police on her after she left claiming she had a sharp-metal object in her pocket.

June of 2017, eight Denny’s in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, Colorado were immediately shut down because the franchise owner failed to pay close to $200,000 in back taxes as well as $30,000 in sales tax from the previous year. Many of these employees also filed that their accounts were not paid, received bounced checks and paychecks not arriving on time. The IRS came in and closed the locations, seizing property, and no advance notice given to its employees for the closures, leaving many without work or preparation for the losses. The franchise owner fled the state of Colorado.

Rated: 4 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Little Nepal (Colorado Springs)

Little Nepal Indian Restaurant
~ 1747 S 8th St, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80905 | Phone: (719) 477-6997 | lnepal.com ~

One of Colorado Springs finest Indian restaurants who are notorious for their amazing buffets. Located off 8th street, traditional style and decor – friendly service worth the wait. Tibetan, Nepalese, and India cuisine. Delicious and spicy. Wide assortment of offerings. A must visit for any Indian food connoisseur …

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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On the Border

On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina
~ https://www.ontheborder.com/ ~

A massie chain of Tex-Mex cuisine that can be found throughout the world with numerous locations in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea. They began in October 1982 in Dallas, Texas. I’ve dined there many times and is one of the more popular chains to me that I enjoy. Great food, good service, and a social environment.

Rated: 3.75 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Old Chicago

Old Chicago Pizza and Tap Room
~ https://oldchicago.com/ ~

A national chain run by CraftWorks Restaurants and Breweries, Old Chicago has a presence of over 60 restaurants in the United States covering 22 states. They have even franchized another 36 additional locations separate from CraftWorks. They focus on the pub-like experience of a tap room with craft beer as a specialty for the last 40 years since 1976 as a bar, restaurant, and brewery with an Old Chicago style and decorum served with pizza. The pizza parlour theme with classic pinball games and arcade, was brewed by friends in Boulder, Colorado enhancing the chain with additional old school charm and style. It’s not just about the beer and pizza though. Its a place for dates, family night, kids, meetings, friend gatherings, and social occasions. The dishes are quoted to be phenomenal, although I have yet had the chance to review the restaurant. The multi-brand outfit CraftWorks has dual offices in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Broomfield, Colorado.

Rated: ___ of 5 stars. Not yet rated. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Fazoli’s

Fazoli’s
~ U.S. Chain – visited Austin Bluffs Plaza | Cheyenne Mountain Shopping Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado | https://www.fazolis.com/ ~

A national American Italian fast-food chain with drive-thru and sit in dining, the first restaurant was opened in 1988 in Lexington, Kentucky. They offer fast, fresh, Italian influenced food. Currently they have over 213 locations across America. Popular with their spaghetti and meatballs, Fettuccine alfredo, lasagna, ravioli, pizza, submarinos sandwiches, salads, and bread sticks – they offer a good selection of food. I’ve tried many of the dishes and am impressed. One of my favorite fast food chains as they are much more healthier option than the burger shacks.

Rated: 3.5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Saigon Grill (Colorado Springs)


~ 337 N Circle Dr, Colorado Springs 80909, Colorado | saigongrillfortcollins.com | (719) 635-0720 ~

A unique family-owned roadside Vietnamese restaurant in eastern Colorado Springs offering Vietnamese food, wine, beer, and cuisine. I have yet to try the restaurant, but have done deliveries for them – they seem to be very popular and well liked. They are always friendly and hospitable with a cute playful kid managing the operation. They are said to have modern interpretations of classic dishes using the highest quality and fresh ingredients.

Rated: ___ of 5 stars. un-rated. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Hacienda Villereal (Colorado Springs)

Hacienda Villereal
~ Colorado Springs, Colorado 80916 | Haciendavillarreal.com ~

A popular Mexican restaurant in Colorado Springs, I have yet to try the establishment but seems to be fantastically reviewed by its patrons. They call their cuisine “Mountain Mex” in like comparison to Tex-Mex, New Mex Mex, etc. They take Mexican food and give it a Rocky Mountain twist. A festive restaurant, colorful and exciting, embedded into a small strip mall. They have unique food and drinks, over 40 tequilas to choose from. Definitely on my lists of places to visit.

Rated: ___ of 5 stars. un-rated. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Tuk Tuk Thai (Denver)

Tuk Tuk Thai
~ 8000 E Quincy Ave, Denver, Colorado | tuktukrocks.wordpress.com | (303) 988-5885 ~

I have yet to review this restaurant, but it appears to be very popular in Denver. I have done deliveries for the establishment. As a fan of Thai food – it is high on my list of places to try. Tuk Tuk offers a mix of Thai and contemporary fare including sushi.

Rated: ___ of 5 stars. (currently unrated) ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Tacos Rapidos (Denver)


~ 2800 W. Evans Ave. / +1 303-935-0453 |
Denver, Colorado ~

I have yet to try this drive-thru Denver phenomena, but it appears very popular in the city. They now have two locations. I’ve done deliveries for them. They offer early morning, all day, and late-night Mexican food 24/7 for the Denver crowd. Very popular with late night after clubbing crowds, the restaurant seems to be taking off. They have walk-in and drive-thru services, a large menu, and low prices. In 2011, Westword readers voted it the best 24/7 Restaurant.

Rated: ___ of 5 stars. (currently un-rated) ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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McDonalds

McDonald’s Fast Food Chain
~ https://www.mcdonalds.com/ ~

As a child, my parents and school system were captivated victims of the advertising brainwashing of this corporate fast food giant. I myself have fallen into their lure many years of my life, and still victim of the addictive taste of their food. Just like most parents, a quick simple failing nutritious meal for their kids, I was taken to McDonalds at an early age. I remember a school trip to a farm making the industry look wholesome and local, taken into a set-up building where they showed us kids how to flip burgers, gave us special hats, and made us want to grow up to be a burger flipper for them. As a kid, McDonalds excited me. I have had the same issue having exposed my son to them – and its a hard habit to break, an addictive drug is their food, that captivates billions of people around the world. The Expose “Super Size Me” shows the dangers of the restaurant chain and how brainwashed the world has become.

But is it truly dangerous? it definitely has its delicious appeal. It wasn’t always a corporate giant. They of course like all businesses chase after money. They wanted success and they got it. The restaurant was started in 1940 by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald with its founding in San Bernardino, California. Not a surprise right? California. That home farm experience I attended in school was in upstate New York in the 70’s. They were already en route to world dominance by that point.

With humble beginnings, McDonald’s started out as a hamburger stand. It turned into a franchise in the 50’s when Ray Kroc in 1955 talked them into starting a franchise, opening the fist one in Phoenix, Arizona. The owners were suspicious at first and were originally reluctant to the expanding ideas. Kroc purchased the chain from the brothers, and moved its headquarters to Oak Brook, Illinois, and then global headquarters to Chicago by 2018. Since the campaign to turn to franchise, extreme advertising and promotions, world dominance across the Great Pond happened relatively quickly. Today McDonald’s is the world’s largest restaurant chain by revenue, boasting over 69 million customers daily in over 100 countries.

McDonalds sells a variety of sandwiches from hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, fish sandwiches, french fries, soda, milk shakes, wraps, desserts, cafe items, coffee frappacinos, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Since the 1980’s they have been attacked for their world dominance, menu, food quality, and unhealthiness of their food. Since then, they have made annual changes to their menu to address the concerns promoting a healthier option line. They are also the second largest private employer in the world next to Walmart.

Rated: 2.5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Quiznos

Quiznos Sandwich Shop
~ WORLDWIDE ~

A step up from Subway, Quiznos is a fancy sub-shop chain that you can find throughout North America. It is the second largest submarine shop chain in North America, just behind Subway. It is a franchise that is based in Denver, Colorado and specializes in toasted submarine sandwiches. It was founded by Jimmy Lambatos in 1981 and now has over 5,000 restaurants throughout North America. Today it has over 1,500 domestic locations and approximately 600 international sites. (2018)

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Piccino Wood Oven Pizza (Littleton)

Piccino Wood Oven Pizza
~ 5350 S Santa Fe Dr, Littleton: Denver, Colorado 80120 ~ piccinopizza.com ~ (303) 794-2100 ~

This restaurant has not yet been reviewed. I have done a few deliveries for the establishment, and customers seem dedicated, enthusiastic, and happy with the service. Piccino’s is a wood over pizzeria as well as a contemporary chain for order-at-the-counter pizza and pasta shop with some tap beers and wine available.

Review: ___ stars out of 5. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Baker Street Pub and Grill


~ 8101 E Belleview Ave, Denver, Colorado 80237 ~ (303) 577-2790 ~
~ places.singleplatform.com ~

This restaurant has not been reviewed. I have done a few deliveries for the establishment and it seems popular, busy, and smells delicious. Located in a shopping plaza near Denver Tech Center, this Pub is a British-themed chain offering pub grub and draft brews, live music, and has a beautiful patio.

Rated: ___ of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Five Guys

Five Guys
~ Worldwide ~

On the way to Burning Man, passing through Fort Collins, Colorado – my travel mate introduced me to this fine Burger Joint. Freshly cooked and prepared, there is a bit of a wait, so not your atypical fast food chain – but higher quality and creation. They are a fast growing chain, casual diner style with that 60’s-80’s decor. Free peanuts to snack on while you wait. Originally was called “Five Guys Burgers and Fries” it has been shortened to “Five Guys”. They focus on hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries. Their headquarters is located in Lorton, Virginia and opened their first location in 1986 (Virginia). Today they have over a thousand locations within the United States and Canada. (2018)

I’ve had the pleasure of dining in and take out, as well as delivering for them. The burgers and fries are great. I have yet to try the hot dogs.

Rated: 4 stars out of 5. (Overall Worldwide) ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Subway Sandwiches

Subway Sandwiches
(Worldwide)
~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subway_(restaurant) ~

Subway Sandwiches is a world-wide chain restaurant offering deli sandwich selections and specialties. They can be found all over the globe. The review here only covers my experiences with several dozen I’ve frequented around the world. Subway has always been a quick healthy stop off for breakfast, lunch, or dinner when I’m on the run and busy with work. They hands-down beats the other fast-food competitors. I’m a little disappointed that they discontinued the seafood salad sandwich but understand where they are coming from. Otherwise, my favorites is the cranberry turkey subs and the meatball sandwiches as second and third place. Never had a sandwich here I didn’t like.

An American fast food franchise, Subway serves sub sandwiches, salads, cookies, soups, and other culinary delights. The company is one of the fastest growing franchises in the world with over 45,000 stores located in over 100 countries (2018). They are based in Milford, Connecticut with regional offices in Amsterdam, Brisbane, Beirut, Singapore, and Miami.

Overall Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Fractured Prune Donuts (Denver)

Fractured Prune Donuts
~ 9696 E Arapahoe Rd, Greenwood Village, CO 80112 (Denver, Colorado) ~ (303) 759-0635 ~ https://fracturedprune.com/ ~

A great little hole-in-the-wall donut shop located in a Greenwood Village strip mall off Arapahoe. I discovered it whilst doing food deliveries for a company I contract with. After making several deliveries of the unique pastries, I decided I had to try them for myself. I went back the evening of March 31st, 2018 and ordered a half a dozen. They were hot, delicious, and tantalizing. This counter-serve pit stop for hand-made, freshly created donuts where you decide the toppings you want. They also have coffee, juice, and drinks available. You can watch the process from a window into their donut machine, and watch the donut specialist make the donuts for you. Delicious and well worth the price as well as experience.

Rated: 5 stars out of 5. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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IHOP Southgate (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

IHOP – Southgate
~ 2290 Southgate Rd, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906 ~ (719) 635-0777 ~

Out of the Colorado Springs locations, this International House of Pancakes is one of the best. Who doesn’t enjoy IHOP? Its a pancake house worth the wait that you’ll often be greeted with upon entering as IHOP has that reputation. Wide variety of pancakes and all-day breakfast selections, fresh fruit, and delicous fried goods. 24 hours of availability, it will satiate your appetite. Delivery is also fast and efficient. Friendly staff and good food.

Rating: 4 out of 5 ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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La Baguette (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

La Baguette – Old Colorado City
~ 2417 W Colorado Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80904 ~ labaguette-co.com ~

A great little taste of France right in the heart of Old Colorado City. La Baguette bakery has fine sandwiches, soups, and baked goods – fresh, aromatic, and divine. Place gets a bit busy which slows down dining time, but worth the wait. Its a local charm. Always enjoyed my dining there – food is grand, service is friendly, and experience perfect.

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Pho Brothers (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Pho Brothers
~ 1107 S Nevada Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903 – (719) 445-0760 ~

Just off Nevada Avenue, Pho Brothers is a small Vietnamese restaurant located within a mini strip mall. When you walk through their doors you escape the grime of the neighborhood, into a bustling fun ambiance with large screen entertainment. The staff is friendly and helpful. The food is divine. If you’re a fan of Pho, this is the place to go in Colorado Springs. I got the seafood pho and a thai tea bubble drink. It was delicious.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5 ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Trader Joes

The Trader Joe’s Chain
~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions as a 5 stars out of 5 ~

Manifested and created by the German grocery store chain Aldi – Trader Joe’s is the Americanized version of Aldi Markt or Aldi North. They tapped the American kitch and spirit of what middle class America wants with an affordable price that catches the budget. But it is different and quite unique, as it is driven by American culture, philosophy, and business practices.

I was first introduced to the shop when living in California the wee stages of Y2K. (year 2000 for the Generation X crowd) Back then, there wasn’t many stores around America. When I moved to Colorado in 2005, i was saddened there were none. It was at that time my favorite grocery store and I really appreciated the food quality, the pricing, and their business model. I can’t say I fully feel the same way today now that Trader Joe’s is in pretty much every state with locations everywhere. By 2015 they became a major grocery store competitor. By the beginning of 2018 they have over 480 stores in America expanding 43 states as well as the District of Columbia. With the growth comes sub-standard practices. They have become a bit more generic and similar to practices that regular grocery chains use. Their prices have increased substantially. Food quality is not so great and they over-use plastic and packaging contributing to the great trash problem on the planet.

Although birthed as its manifestation today being a branch of Aldi Markt (Aldi North) from Germany it was originally founded by Joseph “Joe” Coulombe in 1958 as the Pronto Market convenience store which mimicked 7-11 style and operation located in Los Angeles. He weaved the idea of the Trader Joe’s South Seas motif after vacationing in the Caribbean borrowing its Tiki kitch style as it was very popular motif in the 50’s and 60’s. It wasn’t until 1967 when it was called “Trader Joe’s” and appeared as such with one store on the Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena, California. He leased out space with local butchers to provide fresh meat, operated a sandwich shop within, offered fresh cut cheese and squeezed orange juice.

Trader Joes really didn’t become the genius idea it is today until being owned in 1979 by German entrepreneur Theo Albrecht who purchased the store from Joe as a personal investment for his family. By 1987 Joe was succeeded by John Shields as CEO who expanded the market into Arizona in 1993 and the Pacific Northwest by 1995. By 1996 they opened stores in the Boston area opening the East Coast market. By 2001 Dan Bane took over being CEO expanding to 156 stores within 15 American states. Theo died in 2010 passing the Trader Joe’s business on to his family becoming even more so the Americanized Aldi Markt.

The Good
Trader Joe’s has unique items, still good pricing, and matches the populous generation’s budgets. It is still one of the best stores in America. In 2016 Trader Joes made a goal to have all the eggs they sell in Western STates to come from cage-free suppliers by 2020, and all eggs nationally to be cage-free by 2025.

The Bad
With its growth has come sub-standard quality and practices, pushing out local markets and chains. While this is normal for any major growth of a company, their practices are beyond secretive. Reports have claimed at the majority of Trader Joe’s products are made on equipment that doesn’t separate out production for those of philosophical or health-concerned needs. The equipment is exposed to dairy, nuts, meat, and non-kosher foods. In 2017 they claimed to have invented the “puff dog” – a roll of spiced sausage meat wrapped in a puff pastry, but British and Commonwealth Media challenged their claim by stating this was already a traditional British savoury snack.

The Ugly
Trader Joes uses too much packaging causing it to be a plague on the environment. This has caused Trader Joes to rank low on Greenpeace’s sustainable seafood report card stating they have excessive packaging with even produce sealed in plastic and utilizing a business mode that forces consumers to buy large enough quantities to encourage waste. They have been known for their lack of transparency about their sources of their products.

Stores reviewed:

Products reviewed:

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