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  • Michael Krakovskiy 4:37 pm on September 18, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: acceptable food, , , , Coca-Cola C2, , , , , kobe, Mexican Coke, myth-shrouded beverage, , , , Peter Luger, , , , , ,   

    The Taste of the Old New Coke 

    Let me start with one of my favorite quotes from The Matrix:

    Tank: Here you go, buddy; “Breakfast of Champions.”
    Mouse: If you close your eyes, it almost feels like you’re eating runny eggs.
    Apoc: Yeah, or a bowl of snot.
    Mouse: Do you know what it really reminds me of? Tasty Wheat. Did you ever eat Tasty Wheat?
    Switch: No, but technically, neither did you.
    Mouse: That’s exactly my point. Exactly. Because you have to wonder: how do the machines know what Tasty Wheat tasted like? Maybe they got it wrong. Maybe what I think Tasty Wheat tasted like actually tasted like oatmeal, or tuna fish. That makes you wonder about a lot of things. You take chicken, for example: maybe they couldn’t figure out what to make chicken taste like, which is why chicken tastes like everything.”

    There are certain things that you should really taste at least once, but are usually hard to get a hold of to taste, like let’s say top quality caviar, or kobe beef, Peter Luger’s steaks . Other things, like oysters, haggis, Gray Papaya and Nathans hot dogs, high quality sashimi and other notable foods, that might be hard to obtain everywhere, but are still more or less affordable. There are whole lists of “things to try at least once” out there.

    Then there’s a category of items that were eaten in the olden times, but are not considered acceptable food anymore: whale meat, horse meat and other intelligent and/or exotic animal meats. I’ve had whale steaks back in the day, whale meat was widely available in the Soviet Union, as well as horse sausage. Since I ate a lot of hot dogs , I am sure I had my share of cats, dogs and pigeons.

    And of course, there are commercial drinks with formulations that are not made anymore. The first Coca Cola (the one with cocaine), Starbucks Tazo Blended Drinks, Incredibly and Sharkleberry Fin Kool-aid (as well as many other discontinued flavors.)

    I was always especially interested in one soft drink that I never got a chance to taste: the “New Coke.” The myth-shrouded beverage seemed to be out of reach for me, until thanks to the twin wonders that are packrats and eBay, I got my own unopened can or genuine New Coke. That’s a reason for the new installment of Gastronomic Adventures, of course.

    I chilled the $10+shipping can of soda and photographed it in all its glory. Look, just look at it!

    I was expecting the can, that is at least 13 years old (in 1992 New Coke was renamed Coke II) to be completely devoid of carbonation. I was ready for a foul smell, discolored soda, etc. To my surprise, the carbonation was mostly normal and the coke smelled just fine.

    I kind of knew what to expect — in theory New Coke has the same formulation as Diet Coke, except with sugar instead of aspartame, and should taste similarly to Diet Coke With Splenda. I knew that New Coke was supposed to be sweeter than Coca Cola Classic.

    Of course, taste tests are a tricky thing. I am pretty sure I would have a lot of trouble telling Pepsi from Coke from Mexican Coke (the one in glass bottles and sweetened with cane sugar) from Diet Coke (if it’s with ice).

    In any case, decade old New Coke _did_ taste a bit like Diet Coke With Splenda. It was not as sweet as I expected, and had that weird little aftertaste that I always associated with the Splenda Coke. I think in Diet Coke it’s masked by the aspartame and in Classic by higher acidity.

    I seem to have not suffered any stomach upset or anything of that matter. Upsettingly I did not acquire any noticeable superpowers, except the ability to say that I’ve tasted the New Coke.

    P.S. Does anybody know how to obtain some surströmming online or in New York?

    P.P.S. I Know about hufu. I think it’s a hoax.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 10:23 am on September 19, 2002 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Dave Attel, , , , Howard Johnsonâ, , , ordering in fast food places, , Peter Luger, Peter Luger Steak House, , , Steakhouses, , , waitress   

    Die Kunst der Rant : Contrapunctus 1 

    Like everybody else, I am frequently annoyed by waiters, clerks and salespeople. Like all geeks I am a little deficient in the communication department, which makes it harder.

    After getting somewhat bad service from a waitress in Blue Note I even suggested to a friend of mine the following idea: a world where waiters are replaced by a computer interface. You study an interactive menu and your orders are transmitted directly to the chef.

    Her argument against that was that some waiters are real characters and are really entertaining. And that’s entirely true! Howard Johnson’s in Times Square has a really unique staff of old timers, probably the most polite waiters I met. Waiters at Peter Luger’s are gruff steak experts. Without them the atmosphere would not be the same. On Dave Attel’s Insomniac I’ve seen a late night cheese steak joint where you are expected to curse out the servers and they are expected to answer in kind. It’s not a family restaurant, of course.

    But on the other hand, I find ordering in fast food places somewhat tough. The dude in Coffee Connection (Dunkin’ Donuts rip-off) habitually adds milk to my coffee when I ask for cream. More than that, he lies when asked if that’s milk in the coffee. I carry special glucose detector sticks to check if the soda I get brought is really diet (because I am on a low carb diet). Sometimes it isn’t. Many ordering experiences go pretty much as described by J.S. Bach of the Rant, his coolness JWZ. (don’t be lazy, open the link. It’s short and hilarious).

    Now, that I can understand. I worked at glorious Nathatns Famous at Coney Island, and I have a really bad short term memory. When you do mind numbing tasks all day remembering even the simplest instructions is very hard. Well, of course the menu was a bit more complex than popcorn and soda and I had to keep track of many more different things, but still…

    All you need is a PDA. You get a menu beamed to it before you enter. You select your order. You beam the order to the waiter. When done, you beam the payment. Not a single word needs to be spoken. Ahh, future.

     
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