Warning . . . Don’t read these #custserv food stories on an empty stomach


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#919-923 in the Purple Goldfish Project were taken from a blogpost by Brooke Viggiano on the Houston Press:

five lagniappe food extras

Brooke covers 5 of her favorite freebies around Houston:

5. La Griglia’s Bread Basket [#919]
I’ve been to La Griglia over on West Gray a few times. The menu is pretty decent and the atmosphere can be quite pleasant. I enjoy sitting outside on a nice, crisp night, glass of wine in hand as the white lights sparkle down the palm-tree-lined street and the fountain drips harmoniously in the background. I enjoy it even more as soon as the server brings over the bread basket.

It’s filled with all kinds of goodies; different kinds of bread, garlic twists, and…wait what’s that? Is that…pizza? Yep, that’s definitely pizza. Why? How? Where am I? I have to remind myself to stop questioning and start eating, because I’m not talking about some lame bread baked with tomato sauce here – it’s a straight-up slice of cheesy, saucy pizza cut into tiny little heavenly strips. I can’t lie, it’s not the best pizza in the world, but just the fact that it’s pizza…sitting there, peering out from the other breads in the basket…calling out at me to eat it…for free. That alone warrants it a spot on my top 5.

4. El Tiempo Cantina’s Chips & Salsas [#920]
There are plenty of awesome chips and salsas around town, but there is just something about El Tiempo’s take on the classic that really gets me. It could definitely be the three frozen margaritas (which I’ve confirmed are stronger than their non-frozen counterparts) that I never fail to down while waiting for a table at the always-packed Montrose location, but that’s beside the point.
Crisp, hot and slightly salty, El Tiempo’s freshly baked chips are accompanied by not one, but two salsas. The red roasted-tomato salsa is sweet with just a hint of heat, the perfect way to ease into the meal. The green dip is creamy without being too thick, a cool and mild touch to the warm, salty chip. Both salsas are good in their own right, but combine the two and I’ve reached salsa nirvana. Be careful not to fill up on margaritas and chips alone because the portions here are HUGE. Try to order fajitas for two, and you’ll be faced with a mountain of shrimp, chicken or beef and veggies, served with fresh tortillas, all the fixings, beans and a delicious veggie spiked rice (which for some reason also has bow-tie pasta in it – the Italian in me really digs that).

3. Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits [#921]
I didn’t want to include any massive chain restaurants in this list, but I have a weakness for Red Lobster’s biscuits. A serious, serious weakness. One that even forced me to partake in the restaurant’s Endless Shrimp promotion a few weeks ago. After much deliberation, I just couldn’t leave these delicious, fluffy, cheesy biscuits behind.
Luckily, the miracles of modern technology have allowed for the recipe to be immortalized on the interweb, so these little guys can be made without having to actually step foot in a Red Lobster. Despite that, being the old-school bitch that I am, I still prefer them from the chain itself, piping-hot and fresh from the oven, served alongside some mediocre seafood and a Shirley Temple.

2. Branch Water Tavern’s Biscuits, Butter, & Red Pepper Jelly [#922]
As you know, I love me a good biscuit, and BWT makes a damn good one. Again, I have a serious weakness; I eat one and immediately need more of its buttery, flaky deliciousness. The biscuits here are truly good enough to eat by themselves, but they come served with creamy, fluffy whipped butter and a killer red pepper jelly. Sweet and spicy, these delightful spreads bring the biscuit to a whole new level.

1. Benjy’s “Bread Basket” [#923]
This is really less of a bread basket and more of what I can only call a goody box. The restaurant serves up three pre-meal treats. THREE! I start off with the candied nuts, sweet and crunchy, with a light sugary punch and slightly salty undertone. Then, I take a bite of a thin, incredibly crisp sesame wafer, blander but a nice change of pace from the sweet nuts.
After another round of both, it’s time to fight till the death for my favorite of the three offerings: their insanely delicious cheddar cheese and parmesan shortbread cracker things. Seriously, try to fight me for these, you’ll lose. They are perfectly buttery and soft, with a sharp bite from the cheddar and a nutty hint from the parmesan. I could eat an entire basket of these if I were given the option. (Thankfully, for the sake of my health and well-being, that hasn’t happened.)

purple goldfish project logoI shared a comment on the post that highlighted my 9 favorite food lagniappes from the Purple Goldfish Project:

1. Five Guys Burger & Fries (National) – free peanuts and bonus fries [#94]

five guys purple goldfish

2. Izzy’s Ice Cream (St. Paul) – with each scoop, you get a free mini scoop called an Izzy [#582]

izzy's scoop

3. Toy Boat (SFO) – buy a pint of ice cream to go and they throw in a couple of cones [#144]

toy boat cafe4.

Besito (Long Island) – they hand out churros and Guatemalan ‘worry dolls’ at the end of the meal [#238]

besito-mexican-restaurant5. Lolita (Boston) – the extra at this Tequila joint is cotton candy.

Sweet! [#701]

lolita cocina and tequila bar boston

6. Pot Belly Sandwiches (Chicago) – each drink comes with a straw that has a mini chocolate chip cookie on it [#479]

three for Thursday

7. Caribou Coffee (National) – a chocolate espresso bean on top of every coffee [#2]

caribou coffee purple goldfish

8. Alligator Lounge (Brooklyn) – free pizza with every beer. Not a slice, a wood oven cheese pie [#205]

alligator lounge bogo

9. Stripsteak (Vegas) – sinful french fries cooked in duck fat with 3 types of dipping [#660]

stripsteak las vegas

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra for good measure) – My comment made the ‘Comment of the Day’ on Houston Press. That honor got me a virtual White Russian. I’m the dude and the Godfather:

eating our words comment of the day

Lagniappe defined: A marketing lagniappe, i.e. purple goldfish, is any time a business goes above and beyond to provide a ‘little something extra’. It’s that unexpected surprise that’s thrown in for good measure.

How do you stand out in the sea of sameness? How do you win repeat customers and influence word of mouth? Are you GivingLittle Unexpected Extras?

What’s Your GLUE?

Download the FREE eBook here

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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