Toasted Oak at Novi farmer's market
I was thrilled to see Toasted Oak offering lunch at the Novi farmer's market on Sunday. They were offering, among other things, a pulled pork BBQ sandwich for $5. What a deal right? However, there was a problem. When I took the first bite, it was just a shade under lukewarm. Serving food that is not up to temp at a crowded event is just a disaster waiting to happen. I immediately went to tell them, and their response puzzled me. They dithered quite a bit, but pulled out another pan full of pork from the warmer, which was hot enough. However, they basically slapped the new one on my plate and said, oh you can keep that other sandwich. I told them I was not going to eat it. Shouldn't they have taken away the other (cold) sandwich?
The pork itself was very good, with a nice complex but subtle spiciness, though just a bit greasy.
I probably did order one of the first sandwiches they served (it was an early lunch for me, around 11:30), but I'm pretty sure they should have tested the temp before serving anything. Didn't want to snark, but just wanted some opinions about what a mobile food service should do in that case. Also, just wanted to get it out there that while their food was good, their service needed a little work.
Why a more upscale restaurant would set up a stall at a farmers' market is a bit puzzling to me -- haven't we all seen the Top Chef episodes where the outdoor food service resulted in epic failures?!?! I guess they thought this might attract a new set of customers for them.
But as for the service, I'm not surprised they didn't take back the cold sandwich. Fast food restaurants (especially drive-thru service) have the same rule -- they cannot take back food they've already served. Has something to do with sanitation/hygiene for food service operations in which the customer normally disposes of their own trash and leftovers. So, yes, it's awkward and can be annoying, but I think this is the reason for it.
Seems like a lot of the same clientele at the farmer's market as would be at Toasted Oak. I think it may have been a "Taste Of Novi" type event that particular day, but I thought I had read Toasted Oak was out there serving breakfast and lunch during the duration of the market season. But you're right, upscale outdoor food events can devolve into disasters a la Top Chef. I guess I was more hoping they'd just 86 the pan, because who knows how long it sat out in the sun? But in fairness, if I had personally made that pan of pulled pork and left it out, I would probably have eaten it.