Dish

Hold Those Calls
An irate East Bay reader left Dish voice mail saying he had walked out of four "so-called good restaurants" in recent weeks because of the toxic profusion of cellular telephones in diners' hands. He thinks that cellular telephones will be "the tobacco issue of the 2000s" for restaurants, and that restaurant reviewers should include in every piece a note on cellular phone policy.

If there is a policy. So far local restaurants do not seem to be grasping the nettle; in fact it's not yet clear they see the cellular phone as a problem. Postrio, for example, has no policy at all. Neither has the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, where manager Nick Peyton "did not see one cellular phone in the dining room the entire Mother's Day weekend."

Peyton would speak to a diner about his or her mobile phone "only if it annoyed other guests," he says. "But we've never had that happen, and so we don't have a policy."

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Dish hopes they won't need one, either, but the tide of hand-held chatterboxes does seem to be rising, elsewhere if not yet at the Ritz-Carlton.

Coffee Achievers
Starbucks, the Seattle coffee giant, is introducing a line of ice creams. Except it's not really theirs; it's produced by Dreyer's, based in Oakland. Starbucks merely lends its name, its corporate logo for the containers, and (presumably) the coffee beans for such inventive flavors as Italian Roast and Caffe Almond Fudge.

The ice cream is the latest in a series of marketing moves apparently intended to make it impossible to live in America without consuming Starbucks coffee in one form or another. There's already beer with Starbucks coffee in it; it's also the official coffee of United Airlines, and of Chapters bookstores.

Is it only a matter of time before Starbucks announces a joint venture with Chevron? A lot of people (Dish among them) wouldn't mind seeing a car that runs on espresso -- even if it's Starbucks.

Tea Power
Greater Pacific Foods claims a lot for its Botanica line of frozen tea infusions. They don't just taste good, and they're not good for you simply because they have no fat. They will make your life better.

Peach Serenity "returns you to center." Ginger Mango Vitality "provides a high-energy kick just when you need it." Lemon Ginseng Sensuality gives "a stimulating, sensory-enhancing lift." And Wildberry Longevity is a "truly restorative dessert for the soul."

What's your poison?
By Paul Reidinger

 
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