Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Taste of What's Good In Life

Many companies spend millions of dollars on glitzy ads with the intent to convince you that what they have is special, different, better than the rest. However what truly matters in the end is the personal magical touch when you, as the customer ,walk away feeling satisfied... or the kick in the gut that says you could have done better.

"I just saved a bunch of money on my cholesterol!" Not to turn this post into a negative bash of the places we hate, I will merely say that my wife and I are boycotting McDonalds & Carl's Junior... which unfortunately happen to be two of the boy's favorite places to eat. We do find Wendy's, Arctic Circle, and Paces Dairy Anne to be acceptable alternatives.

Now when I speak of all of these places, do not assume that we eat out all of the time. In fact we don't, which is why we expect to at least get our money's worth if we are going to pay two or three times the price of eating at home. And that is where that magical touch becomes so important when we do eat out.

Although the finest chefs in New York or Paris may want you to think that it is their culinary masterpieces that make the meal, that is not the case. It is not the spice in the soup that matters, but the loving care to the customer's experience. To my experience.

When my sister and her husband showed us the house that we eventually bought, they introduced us to a nearby restaurant called Costa Vida. It is an interesting blend of Mexican and American style spiced among California and Hawaiian decor. If you are in Layton Utah, swing buy and grab yourself a delicious salad.

It isn't the silhouettes of palm trees that make me recommend this particular Costa Vida. My wife and I purchased a salad and asked for the extra meat as we were going to split the salad to save money. Rather than the proper double portion, they heaped upon us a triple portion. When we reached the register, the woman said that they were having problems with the card reader and they could only accept cash or check at the time. I only had my debit card with me. The girl at the register said we could take the salad and return with the cash later. We went home, ate, and returned after dinner to pay for the meal.

They didn't know us and could easily have thought we wouldn't return, or held onto the salad until we did come back with the cash. Instead, they trusted in the goodwill of humanity. That deep down inside, people really are basically good. Their trust in us to return with the money made the food taste all the sweeter, and the evening brighter. We discarded our own cynicism toward human nature and felt an increased love and empathy for strangers. There are good people in the world and Costa Vida of Layton employs them.

Tonight, we went to a movie at the Kaysville Theatre and found the experience to be wonderful. Although the theater only has three screens, it makes up for it in its rustic charm, nestled between small shops of Kaysville's Main Street. For only ten dollars we had two tickets, two drinks, and a bag of popcorn. An incredibly affordable date that supports a theater that closes on Sundays and is run by members of our community.

After the film, we walked next door and discovered Just Desserts, a tiny dessert and sandwich shop nestled in the same historic neighborhood of downtown Kaysville. We enjoyed a delicious apple crisp with ice cream and gooey caramel while admiring the blankets and cuddle toys that the owner's wife made and sold in his tiny shop. The prices were incredibly affordable and once again it was run by members of our community who valued being closed on Sundays. As apples go with caramel, ice cream with apples, and caramel with ice cream, so should you go to Just Desserts on Main Street in Kaysville.

And hey, if you're going, call us! We'll come along too, to have another taste of what's good in life.