Eating and Drinking in the Spirit of Fun: Style Exercise #2 (Portfolio Revised)

Eating and Drinking in the Spirit of Fun

Walking into Jasper’s Restaurant for the first time is like taking a step back into the 30’s. To describe it in one word: class.  As you walk in, the rounded painted ceiling curves over your head like the Sistine Chapel. Dim lighting and the sound of R & B music give you the sense of an elegant yet lively restaurant. After being warmly welcomed by the host, we were given a lovely corner booth with a spectacular view of the D.C. city lights.  The whole restaurant surrounds a huge pentagon shaped bar. The imperfect granite covering the bar gave it a nice log-cabin feel.  Perfect place for a cold winter meal. It was packed to say the least. I watch as the bartender pick up two different bottles, swirled them around her hand, caught them, poured four shot glasses, and swiftly holstered them on her side.  The bar was lively, the music was right, and our server came just in time to take our cocktail order.  The beer and wine menu was standard at best, but the cocktails is where Jasper’s drink menu really shines. Take your choice from specialty drinks like the electric lemonade and blue lines cocktail, or if you came with a full wallet, grab a “top shelf” Georgia peach for a mixer of ten liquors that goes down smooth.

Astounded at the large menu, we asked our server what he recommended. He started us off with the local favorite; chino latino egg rolls.  The plating was stylish. Corn, beans, sour cream, homemade fresh salsa and avocado wrapped by a delicately battered crust.  Polishing off the rolls, our entree came twenty minutes and three cocktails later.  The spicy seafood explosion as they called it, was a lovely fresh trout stuffed with crabmeat, scallops, parsley, butter and finished off with a squeeze of lemon.  Simple, yet astonishingly delicious! We were full, but the alcohol, and the fact that we were food critics, had us wandering to the dessert menu. “No question”, our server told us, “the homemade rum carrot cake is our best dessert”. He was never so right. Layer after layer of moist rum soak cake alternated a sweet and dense cream cheese. Large pieces of carrot, protruded from the cake.  These large carrot pieces might throw you off but they complement the rum in an oddly surprising way.   Now we are full.  Our check came with a fair price and our friendly waiter wished a good evening.  If you want to wine and dine or just grab a quick bit, this 31-year-old family owned restaurant strikes a good balance between upscale and midscale.  Your guaranteed to get a 4 star level meal for only a 2.5 star price. This would leave anyone with a smile.

I was writing for the New York Times as a food critic.  My audience was wide.  I had to connect to both foodies and the average American. The piece had to be accessible to the layperson but interesting to a knowledgeable foodie. I also needed to make the food review appropriate for the restaurant. You cannot eat a Mexican cafe and them compare their food and service to the French Laundry.

Stylistic choices included lots and lots of description, mainly through the use of adjectives. A little bit of hyperbole is thrown around to enhance the description.  Motives are definitely focused on the reader.  Your words have to make them taste the food, hear the music, and have as much fun as you are. The more description, the better sense the customers get about the restaurant and then are better able to make a decision to eat there.

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