J. Alexander’s, Houston, TX
December 19, 2007
As with so many of my restaurant excursions, I did not intend to end up at J. Alexander’s for lunch yesterday. It happened only because the other occupants of the car had suddenly decided that Thai food was too “different” and the accessibility and familar food of a chain restaurant beckoned to them from Westheimer (seriously, sometimes I really struggle with my very nice but very sheltered and timid coworkers). And so it was that we wound up directly across the street from the restaurant I never wanted to leave the day before (Bistro Le Cep) and, sadly, in an entirely different culinary universe from the one that Bistro Le Cep inhabits.
If it’s not already been well-established, then let me get this out of the way right now: I strongly dislike chain restaurants. Thank God I live in a city like Houston where they can be deftly avoided in favor of locally-owned and operated establishments. I’d be utterly screwed if I lived in Dallas.
There are a few chain restaurants that I will go to, knowing full well that they serve microwaved Sysco products cooked by a person a few rungs up the evolutionary ladder from an orangutan. On those occasions, I’m doing what is fondly referred to as “giving up” because I’m exhausted or preoccupied with other matters and I’ll eat whatever is put in front of me. However, I don’t often make a conscious choice to eat at chain restaurants. Yesterday’s meal was a perfect example of why I maintain this practice. Continue reading