I remember back when I was a part of a team that was opening a new restaurant in town.  This particular establishment was one of many in a chain and I’ll never forget the amount of emphasis that was put on consistency.  Sure there was training on how to operate the computer system, completing sidework, memorizing table numbers and so on, but there was nothing more focused on in the training series than the importance of consistency.  People needed to walk in to our restaurant and order the same dinner someone was ordering in an establishment across the country.  Likewise, if you were visiting another state you could dine in comfort knowing your favorite item would be on the menu, prepared in exactly the same manner as your neighborhood place.

I understood this perspective, of course but it never truly hit home for me until now.  I am in love with the Fall season and when it is upon us my food cravings are in overdrive.  Cravings for complex chutneys that can somehow be savory, tart and sweet all at the same time, cravings for pumpkin laced with cinnamon, nutmeg and clove – you get my drift.  When I got a call from an old friend wanting to go to lunch, I had just the thing in mind.  Paradise Bakery and Cafe features a sandwich that I experienced for the first time last Fall and fell in love with.  I only had it a couple of times and I was in serious crave mode, so off we went.

Looks tasty, eh? The Turkey Cranberry is a wonderful sandwich comprised of roasted turkey slices, fresh cranberry sauce, lettuce, tomato and mayo all piled high on their homemade molasses bread.  Y.U.M.  I normally don’t edit my menu selections but I am a bit of a sauce snob and not a fan of a glob of mayo on my sandwich, especially one that is already dripping in delicious, tangy cranberry sauce.  So I forego the mayo and as usual, you edit a menu item and bam, it throws the cooks for a loop.  My sandwich comes out sans mayo, as requested, but also sans tomato and lettuce.  “No big deal,” I think to myself.  The lunch crowd is fierce in this place so I didn’t make a fuss.  Besides, the main components were there.  That’s when something odd looking caught my eye and I noticed there was a huge scoop of stuffing (read: aka “dressing” depending on who you are) smashed in between the two pieces of beautiful bread! 

Consistency people, consistency!  This was way out of left field.  There is nothing on their menu that even has stuffing on it, so I was really wondering what was up with that.  Like the guy had some left over Stove Top from his lunch that day and decided to jazz up my sandwich.  I simply scooted the mushy pile of stuffing off and ate what was left of the sandwich but I have to tell you, it is totally ruined for me now.  What was a perfect combination of Fall flavors in one location turned out to be a disaster in another.  I suppose that GM who trained me knew his stuff after all.