Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Victor E. Sasson
37 followers -
Retired newspaperman in northern New Jersey turns to blogging
Retired newspaperman in northern New Jersey turns to blogging

37 followers
About
Communities and Collections
Posts

Post has attachment
Victor E. Sasson commented on a post on Blogger.
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Victor E. Sasson commented on a post on Blogger.
Before we left Rosa Mexicano on New Year's Eve, I stopped to speak to a manager about the poor service we received (see below), and left him my cell phone number. He called tonight and offered us a complimentary meal to make up for what happened. Stay tuned.
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Victor E. Sasson commented on a post on Blogger.
I posted this 3-star out of 5 stars review on Google and Yelp!:

We love Rosa Mexicano, which opened in Hackensack in 2008, a year after we moved to the small city. The fine-dining restaurant has one of the most beautiful dining rooms in Bergen County, and the chef and staff wooed the community with cooking demonstrations followed by free meals. Over the years, I've had lunch with a friend there, dropped in for happy hour discounts on beer and food, and celebrated the new year, as we did last night. For the first time, the service was awful.

Four of us ate early (our reservation was for 4:30 in the afternoon, and we got there a few minutes early). Only a few tables in the two-level dining room were filled, but they seated a couple in front of us, saying they wanted to clean a booth for us. A second couple, who didn't have a reservation, also was going to be seated ahead of us, but the booth was ready; unfortunately, it wasn't a booth on the second level.

The server, a woman, asked first whether we wanted the guacamole prepared at the tableside, a signature dish that now costs $15.50, even though it is made with only one avocado (although we love the guac, the price is ridiculously high and almost exploitative considering only one avocado is used, and you really realize how little that is when four share the dish).

We said we did, and then ordered an appetizer of sweet-potato empanadas (agreeing to add a fourth to the order of 3 listed on the menu).

You get chips and salsa when you order, but since everything is made from scratch here, what I really wanted were the small, hot corn tortillas made in the dining room. After the heavy molcajete with the guacamole was set down on our table, I asked for a side of tortillas.

No server should give only 4 tortillas to a table of four, but that's what happened, and they were finished in a minute. Getting more took longer than the guacamole lasted, and I had to hiss at our server, "Miss!," who was standing a few feet away to get her attention and a serving of 8 tortillas. My son got more tortillas with his order of Pollo Y Carne Asada, but when they ran out, we couldn't get anyone's attention for more -- this in a dining room that was far, very far from full.

After we finished the guacamole, a food runner walked up and surprise us with our entrees -- we never got the 4 empanadas we ordered and I made sure later they weren't on the bill -- and two small bowls of rice and refried beans to share.

I cannot fault the food. Everything we ordered from the New Year's menu was delicious, from the Salmon Poblano for my mother-in-law to the Alambre de Mariscos with two enormous ocean scallops and wild-caught shrimp for my wife to my Pescado a la Veracruzana, a gorgeous piece of wild-caught cod with a spicy red sauce and asparagus; to my son's asada.

There was one problem, grit in the kale and corn served with the salmon; when my mother-in-law mentioned it, I tried the kale and I also found sand in it.

We were stuffed, but the poor service resulted in my figuring only a 15% tip, not the 20% I usually give in fine-dining restaurants, on the total before tax of $144.25, including two Negra Modelo beers and a ginger ale. The suggested tips listed on the bill were 18% and 20%.

I mentioned my problems to the manager at the podium and he took my phone number and promised to call.
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Victor E. Sasson commented on a post on Blogger.
Remember Graham Kerr, the chef who called himself the "Galloping Gourmet," and whose TV show opened with him holding a glass of wine AND jumping over a chair?

He was a big advocate of butter. In the August/September issue of AARP The Magazine, the 84-year-old cookbook author recalled working at a famous hotel when he was 23 and serving farmhouse vegetable soup with "cream poured all over it."

But when his wife had a stroke at age 52 in 1987, he changed his ways and started eating much lighter and "minding our cholesterol."

The changes he made then became a habit after she died in 2015.

"Just reduce the bad fats.... We benefit more from plant foods than from anything else. And some fatty fish is not a bad idea."

As for that vegetable soup, instead of using cream, "I make a velvet sauce with evaporated skim milk. It has the same effect of richness without the saturated fat. And I'll serve the soup with a salad as a meal, instead of something heavier."
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Victor E. Sasson commented on a post on Blogger.
I got a nasty email from Michael Allen, an IMPA member who said: "And good riddance" in reaction to my post on losing my membership in the International Motor Press Association.

I don't think I've ever met him, but he works for Popular Mechanics, the kind of publication/website that runs articles on the best 30 cars of all time; like who gives a shit?

I found this on the site: "Senior automotive editor Mike Allen answers your most pressing car questions and rants about the latest issues in the car world." The word "rants" should worry you. It worries me.

Do you think a hidebound publication like Popular Mechanics or a Neanderthal like Allen is worried about the environment or climate change? I doubt it. They are why we are chokling in air pollution.

Nor does IMPA worry about the environment or premature deaths from vehicle emissions. I'm glad I am no longer associated with the such an irresponsible group.
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Victor E. Sasson commented on a post on Blogger.
I sent this email to Bill Howard, president of the International Motor Press Association:

"Bill, I urge you as president of IMPA and other members of the board of directors to adopt a policy statement on the automobile's role in climate change, and acknowledge that vehicle emissions cause 58,000 premature deaths every year. I also believe the board should urge manufacturers to meet the CAFE standards of 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks by 2025, as 13 large automakers agreed to do in 2011. Finally, the board should ask public relations employees of the automakers (to which you give priceless exposure) to leave high-performance cars (with 400 horsepower or more) and enormous gas-guzzling SUVs home when selecting vehicles for the two major driving events IMPA stages every year, and to bring as many hybrids and all-electric vehicles as possible."

Sincerely,
Victor Sasson
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Victor E. Sasson commented on a post on Blogger.
Rick Newman, a senior editor at Yahoo Finance and an IMPA member, said:

"Hey Victor. I don't know you, and I missed the original brouhaha at IMPA, if there was one. But as an IMPA member and a journalist who has covered this industry for nearly 20 years, I'll offer a couple thoughts.

"You're on the right track (ha) but you missed a much bigger target. Free water and granola bars at Monticello doesn't amount to a bribe. Come on. And the members do pay for the event. $100 may not cover all the costs, but it's more than a nominal amount, especially for the freelancers. I've been on the board at IMPA and there's a legit issue about pricing events so you can attract freelancers who don't have an expense account.

"There are a few unusual industries where it's almost cost-prohibitive to pay the actual cost of consumer goods you want to test and review. Autos is the most obvious because cars are the most expensive consumer product most people will ever buy. It can also be tough to pay the cost of computers, video gaming equipment, smartphones and stuff like that if you review it regularly and have to pay for it. I helped draft an ethics policy at Yahoo Finance that created ground rules for us to be able to have access to these types of things we want to review, but we can't afford to pay for ourselves. There are reasonable limits.

"There are two real abuses in this business, however: The media trips automakers pay for so journalists can learn about some new model at a plush resort (both 'long leads' and 'short leads') and the cars they loan to journalists who in some cases use them as their principal form of transportation. THIS is outright bribery, among many in our business. You don't need to spend three days at a resort to learn about a new model. And no journalist should rely on a company he or she covers to provide a basic part is his or her subsistence. The best news outlets prohibit or limit such freebies, but I bet we'd be surprised to learn that many don't. If you really want to ruffle feathers, go on the next long-lead for BMW or Porsche and ask how many of the 'journalists' there are paying their own way."
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Victor E. Sasson commented on a post on Blogger.
My objection to all the free stuff auto writers take, especially the trips, is that few if any of them acknowledge the gifts in their pieces, whether in print or online. That is a huge disservice to readers, viewers and so forth -- the height of dishonesty -- so consumers are being sold a bill of goods by these fan boys and girls, and are unable to judge the merits of the car, pickup or SUV, because the pieces are tainted. Board members at IMPA are guilty of this, too. A notable example is Scotty Reiss, president emeritus of IMPA and founder of A Girls Guide To Cars. She and other editors and writers know that if they are the least but critical of the vehicle they have been loaned for free, they would soon be cut off. So, no one expects writers to pay for use of the cars -- many of them make peanuts and couldn't afford that -- but at least they can tell the readers where they are coming from and how the vehicles were supplied for free as part of automakers' promotion efforts.
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Victor E. Sasson commented on a post on Blogger.
Here is the reaction of one IMPA member:

"You know Consumer Reports, for all their vaunted 'we can’t be bought,' goes on all the same manufacturer-paid jaunts, right? They take all the same bribes as everyone else.

"Are you insinuating that you yourself wrote bad reviews because you didn’t buy the cars you drove?

I personally have always wondered about the lavish events automakers sponsor… It took me a good long time to realize why all the “preview” articles are positive (including those from Consumer Reports) even though the same people trash the same cars in the regular reviews."
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Victor E. Sasson commented on a post on Blogger.
Now, 11 of 12 House seats from New Jersey are held by Democrats, which The Times says hasn't happened since Woodrow Wilson was president.
Add a comment...
Wait while more posts are being loaded