Take Noodles & Company for instance.
I was pretty excited when we moved to Valpo that there was one here because it meant I could get fresh Thai food after a fashion. The only flaw is the portions are just right....leaving NO LEFTOVERS! BOO!
We have eaten there pretty often and really like it. But we were paying for it. Do you know you do not have to pay for their food?
My Mothers and More group set up a 'tasting' at our local Noodles & Company. I wasn't sure what that would look like. This is what it looked like.
The rest of our group stood us up (yer loss: we ate up all yer food!), so we had dinner with my friend Nicole from Mothers and More and her daughter Lauren.
She had our reserved (!) table ready and drinks were also free. She brought full servings of eight different menu items (plus YUMMY potstickers as an appetizer while we waited for them no shows.) All of this was FREE.
WHY would a restaurant offer a free tasting AKA MEAL to just anyone? Ashley explained it was their way of giving back to the community and spreading the word about the different cuisines they offer: Thai, Mediterranean and Asian. She told us the stories behind the store, the beginning, current plans and each of the dishes she chose for us. Ashley was amazing. She was really enjoying herself or she should be a politician because I believed her 100%.
(Ashley if you ever read this, I am sorry about my bebe breaking your plate. And that Her Cuteness kept distracting you as she leaned over backwards in her chair to ogle the wondrous food bringing Goddess you are.)
I made a game out of how many dishes she brought vs. what I had already tasted. It was about 50/50. We had potstickers, Asian Chop Salad, Japanese noodles( I usually stick to the Bangkok curry), Penne Rosa with succulent and habit forming parmesan crusted chicken added...ooh! Then the whole grain(GREAT!) Tuscan Linguini which had lots of onion which I am not a fan of ever. Then we moved along to take out. Oh yeah.
When our kidlets begin the inevitable melt down of a meal exceeding
NOTE: Noodles, Your only flaw is being skimpy with the mac and cheese sauce. We have ordered it several times and even in the tasting servings...too much naked noodle hanging out when they should be clad in cheesy goodness. Please. Fix. This. I won't have this sort of obscene oversight. The only obscenity I want is in the amount of cheese sauce. Please?
We got those PLUS a full sized chicken Caesar sandwich. PLUS two HUGE COOKIES and a rice krispy treat even I had to eat in two sittings. It was big enough I even felt I could afford to share it with my two year old girlie. So three desserts for moi, and Nicole got the same take home bag I did. RI-DIC-U-LOUS.
Noodles & Company, you are a fantastic institution. And Ashley is your Queen.
Oh yeah, I will see you again with my church small group for another tasting. Very. Soon. I'll even pay for my food this time. And I will eat all of it, sadly, and will not have the majestic leftovers I enjoyed today.
So go ahead, if you are lucky enough to live near the heavenly haven of Noodles & Company. Call 'em up and ask about scheduling a tasting. And tip WELL. Cuz you won't be spending any other money there that night!