Thursday, January 03, 2008

Yats, Locavores, and Tea from Kenya

Yat's Expanding to Greenwood: Cory reports Yat's will be opening a new location -- their fourth -- in Greenwood at US 31 and County Line Road. Greenwood has seen a flurry of restaurant activity this year with openings from major chains (like Cheesecake Factory) and local favorites (like The Melting Pot). Early reports from some restaurant owners are that the numbers haven't been quite what they'd expected yet, but they expect to see more growth in the future. I suspect diners on the south side just aren't used to all the attention!


Locavore -- 2007 Oxford Word of the Year: "Locavore" (or "localvore" say the women in San Francisco who coined it) refers to folks who are working to eat locally grown produce, meat, and other products. Some say "local" can be within 100 miles. (Hey, for Indiana, it includes the whole state!) From Oxford University Press.

The Price of Tea...In Kenya: Yesterday, officials announced the world's largest tea auction selling black tea leaves to the open international market has been cancelled until further notice. Food world officials note that the market can absorb some delay, but not more than a few weeks. Kenya is one of the world's largest exporters of black tea.

Quiz Hint: Thought I'd throw out a hint to the quiz just in case anyone wants to change their answer. Contrary to popular belief, quinoa is *not* a grain. Care to take any guesses?

19 comments:

Bakerman said...

Quinoa is a seed. Grains are the seeds of grasses, and the Quinoa plant is not a grass.

SCUBAchef said...

You can watch David Lynch preparing quinoa as a "special feature" on his latest DVD. Riveting stuff.

John said...

Is it just me, or has Yats moved to the Tired column?

keith said...

I think it is just you. Is YAT's food great? No. Is it good, non-processed, wholesome and affordable? Yes. Joe is a friend to the community, his staff and his patrons. I think you would be hard pressed to find a better $5 lunch in this city. Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

I will never grow tired of Yats. I just wish I wouldn't get dirty looks every time I use my credit card (for which I pay an extra 25 cents to do).

SCUBAchef said...

Heh? Why do you spend an extra 25 cents when using Visa? Is this something new? Oh, and I had Yat's Gumbo last night. I may have had a couple better versions in my life (the Majestic's Filé Gumbo comes to mind), but I'd choose it over most versions I've tried in New Orleans, or anywhere else for that matter.

braingirl said...

All retailers are charged a fee when a customer uses a credit card. Yat's only started accepting credit cards this past year and they choose pass the .25 fee on to their customers, presumably as a deterrent. (They also raised their prices by $1 last year to $6.)

Donald said...

Wow... Yats is charging a fee to use a Visa card to pay? That's a clear violation of Visa's merchant terms and they could lose their ability to accept their cards. The exact wording from Visa:

"Visa merchants are not permitted to establish minimum transaction amounts, even on sale items. They also are not permitted to charge you a fee when you want to use your Visa card."

SCUBAchef said...

braingirl said:
"They also raised their prices by $1 last year to $6."

I think that's incorrect. The price went from $5 to $5.50. I know yesterday I payed $11 for two orders. Unless there is a difference in pricing at different locations. (I usually go to the Mass Ave store).

braingirl said...

Yes, you are correct -- I just checked their website. $5.50 for regular and $6.50 for half/half.

BTW, wouldn't it be nice if they could get their daily menus on the site?

(And, I'm with John, I do think they've moved a bit to the "tired" column -- at least, the last few times I've been, I wasn't nearly as happy with the "glop-on-a-plate" approach as I'd been in the past. And I just don't think they're as good as they were when they first opened. I'd love to see someone take the same concept and expand it to another cuisine.)

SCUBAchef said...

Maybe a Soup-Nazi-like soup/stew/chili place, call it "Stoup - There it is!" Then again, I guess that's kinda what the Bearcat is going for.

braingirl said...

One could so easily take the Yat's model and do it with Thai food (yellow, red, green curries), Vietnamese (spring rolls and bahn mi), or even updated, fresh Chinese/Japanese.

Soup/stew -- even *more* tired than Yat's.

SCUBAchef said...

Yeah, an Asian option would be great. Maybe a Dim Sum/dumpling-house or something like LuLu's (a small-plate place in Chicago). I'm hoping for something like that - a more accessible Japanese place - in the new "Baloney-Building" venture.

braingirl said...

From what i've heard, 45 Degrees isn't going to be what I think you're hoping for as "accessible". It's going to be fine-dining not casual, (again, from what I've seen) martinis and sushi. (Best margins are in liquor -- and that business is doing well on that end of Mass Ave.) I wouldn't have your hopes up for a low-end, casual Japanese restaurant there. (I think it's going to be what they wanted Blu Martini to be in the beginning -- and their sushi was pretty good in the early days when Mario was there.)

The $5.50 yat's model works because carbs are cheap. Make rice, bread, and a cost effective "sauce". A Yat's-model place that did, for example, Thai curries, would have to be just what Yat's is -- a walk up counter, funky room, and 6 things on the menu that change from day to day, very little protein, and everything served on a plate with four ounces of rice and four ounces of sauce.

John said...

Yeah, I must be just personally tired of it - but it seems that the one I used to frequent almost weekly (downtown) has slowly decreased in quality.

I visited the College Ave one with a friend a month and a half ago, and it was like eating different food.

Although Keith, I think you're using the terms "wholesome" pretty loosely. Is it better than White Castle? Well, yes, of course. But having had a friend who worked at Yats for nearly 3 years, I'm not sure I'd characterize as wholesome, healthy, or fresh in the strictest sense.

Yats is cheap for the reasons Braingirl mentioned, but it's also cheap because there's no kitchen except at College Ave. Ala McDee's on a small scale, it's cooked at College and then shipped in plastic bags to the satellite locations and reheated in its plastic in boiling water. Yum.

I think I'd rather spend $1.50 more and get an incredible sandwich at Goose.

Still, you can do a lot worse than Yats for bachelor chow.

Shelly said...

I say good for Yats on the charge. They have to pay when you use your credit card...if I pay cash why should I have to pay the credit card fee? That is what most places do...make you pay even if you pay cash!

Anonymous said...

I say boo! on the 25 cent charge, not only is it a violation of CC vendor rules- but it penalizes the customer for using plastic. They either need to drop the charge or not accept credit cards. Yat's cannot have it both ways, it's an unethical business practice by any standard.

Mary said...

I agree, BOO on the 25 cent charge. I haven't been to Yats in forever so I didn't know about the charge, but I just hate when places either charge you to use a credit card or have a minimum charge requirement. Both are clearly in violation of credit card company rules. I hope other people are reporting Yats to Visa & MC as I do with any establishment that has these ridiculous rules.

Anonymous said...

It's odd that some folks feel like the College Ave. Yats food is better - as far as I know it's all made the same place.