Festival of Fantasy and Horror

Indulgence Cafe's Halloween Tree

Indulgence Cafe’s Halloween Tree

There is something very special about spending an evening chatting to young, vibrant and talented people about genres of books and movies that are very close to your own heart.
I had the total luxury of having such an evening on Wednesday night at Indulgence Cafe with three of Gauteng’s writers, authors and bloggers.
With thunder and lightening as the perfect eerie backdrop to an evening spent discussing the joys of horror and fantasy from writing writing it to books and movies, Joan De La Haye, Monique-Cherie Synman and Dave De Burgh held center stage and captivated the sadly small but very avid audience with their engaging personalities and views on writing today. No writer, no movie and no book was sacred as we worked our way through the different genres and their meanings.
Surrounded by The Little Shop of Halloween Horrors that haunts Indulgence Cafe’s walls and rafters at the moment the subjects of ghouls and zombies was definitely not out of place.

From left Joan, Dave and Monique

From left Joan, Dave and Monique

Dave who runs the most amazing fantasy and sci-fi section of Exclusive Books at the Colonade in Pretoria is incredibly knowledgeable on the topic and I find myself left wanting to spend a whole bunch more time engaging him on the books we both seem to enjoy so much. He is a fount of amazing info which he appeared to just pull out from under his pumpkin hat with no problem at all. Dave is already a published author and blogger and has signed a deal for a 3 part fantasy series which I really looking forward to reading. It was quite funny that a man so eloquent struggled just a bit to give me a synopsis of his up coming book, maybe he just wanted to keep it under wraps for now! We look forward to hosting him and his lovely other half at again when his book hits the shelves (maybe we will manage a sneak preview before anywhere else gets a look in)

Dave and Leanna

Dave and Leanna

Monique who though Afrikaans speaking, writes and blogs in English, is also a very fascinating young lady in her very elegant but awesome hat, with her first book out now. I got myself a copy and have added it to the extensive shelf of books in my house that screams out to be read really soon. Monique is not one to hang back in a crowd I am happy to see and has some definite views on books particularly erotica, however I do wonder if she doth protest a little too much. I am happy to report that she is not above watching the odd B grade movie and can sadly report that we have both seen and enjoyed The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes………..watch it at your own peril, I will admit to being 25 years younger when I watched it

Monique-Cherie Snyman

Monique-Cherie Snyman

Joan De La Haye, dynamite in a small package and high heels is no stranger to Indulgence Cafe. Apart from coming here previously to chat about her horror novel, Shadows, she has also celebrated her birthday at Indulgence Cafe and spent many an AuthorTalk here in support of other South African and one or two international authors. Joan is charming and funny and her Creulla De Ville wig hides a brain of remarkable scary talent. It is no surprise that one of Joan’s favourite authors is Stephen King although we do have Clive Barker in common as well, an author who manages to have equal footing in both the fantasy and horror genres.

The Killer High Heels

The Killer High Heels

Thank you to Marcia of Skoobs, Theater of Books for setting up a very enticing table of books, I was hard pressed to not haul out the credit card but did succumb to to a vintage collection of tales by HP Lovecraft which I believe was evening appropriate and look forward to one day reading.

From left Monique, Joan, Mandi and Dave

From left Monique, Joan, Mandi and Dave

To say it was a delightful evening is an understatement, it was an absolute blast. There was lots of fact exchanged, lots of fiction discussed, copious amounts of happy laughter and some serious wine quaffing took place. This is an evening I would repeat in a heart beat and quite frankly I think we can now refer to this as the First Annual Horror and Fantasy Festival at Indulgence Cafe.

For the YouTube snippet of the fun http://t.co/VlnLRMwQLa

Delivering on a Promise (part one)

Indulgence Burger

Indulgence Burger

On Monday evenings, before we started opening for dinner, I would often get a yen for Chinese take-aways and dvds. So every so often on my way home from work I would I drive past my favourite Chinese only to get a rude reminder to self that they are closed on Mondays. One would think I would have learned that lesson early on but it did take a while for me to catch on and remember. One Monday a month or so ago I was driving home thinking Chinese for dinner and a few episodes of Hannibal, the series would be awesome. As usual the take-away was, to my “surprise” closed so I thought to myself, there’s a Steers next to the video shop, pop in there and see what they have to offer.
The place has just had a little face lift and I think it is under new management so it is looking like a fairly good option for a light meal in a hurry. Like most take-away places the menu is on the wall above the counter. This menu has just changed and the most gorgeous pictures of burgers and steak rolls peer deliciously down at you beckoning like wanton women of the night for you to take them home.
The Hero Steak Roll looks like a knight in shining armour with this beautiful frilly green lettuce, abundant pieces of steak and cheese slices hanging tastefully over the side of the roll, your mouth gets to watering at the very sight. It isn’t the vegetable chow mein I really wanted, it being Meat Free Monday and all but it does look fabulous,so, what the hell I will take one and give me a second one with no cheese on for my mum please.
At this point I even joke with the lady behind the counter, “is it going to look like that” I say, pointing to the picture over head, she giggled which in retrospect might actually have been a snigger.
With Hannibal tucked safely under my wing I pick up my order and head off home to drape myself over the couch in front of the TV and eat my illicit take-away meal and whilst watching Hannibal eat someone’s brains for dinner.
It is incumbent on me at this point to describe the gelatinous, glutenous mess that was my Hero Steak Roll unwrapped. This very soft small hot dog roll, that could never be considered a hero in any princess’ eyes was wrapped in a sheet of wax paper. It would appear that gone are the bags that the rolls used to come in.
What I unwrapped was a soggy mess, with a sample of shredded iceberg lettuce, copious amounts of sauce, a noticeably, missing slice of cheese (mum never got one either), the pieces of meat that was supposed to pass for steak that I have ever seen. When I attempted to try my luck at eating it because maybe it tasted better than it looked and picked it up, this poor little soggy hot dog roll flopped open from either side and pulled a tongue at me, as if to say eat me if you dare. I dared and the tough little pieces of meat inside I wouldn’t have fed to my dog.
Any resemblance between this Hero Steak Roll sitting forlornly on my table and the picture on the wall is purely coincidental and to me is a broken promise.
I know, that in my business I try my absolute best to deliver on my promise to you. The food that I deliver to your home, your venue or your table will be the best that I can do and if it isn’t I will do my best to make it up to you. My customers know that I will bend over backwards to ensure that they get what they are expecting and if I can beat that expectation then I am happy to do that too. If I haven’t delivered on that promise my customers take me to task which they are well within their rights to do. My mother commented just recently to me that she wouldn’t do my job for the world.
Keeping the public happy is not an easy job, yet we strive to do it anyway. Which brings me to the crux of this post, why is it that pretty much most, I don’t say all, independent restaurants, coffee shops and bistros will deliver again and again on their promise to the public and get lambasted for the slightest error when franchises can get away with murder?
Why is it that the public will go back to, and I am going to continue to pick on Steers here, on a daily basis when every day they are disappointed in what they are being fed? Why would you not stop buying from them, strike them off your list of places to eat if you are going to be continually disappointed. Fast food is not cheap, my Hero cost around R40, I don’t remember the exact price, it wasn’t cheap but it was fast. Is the quality of the food we get from fast food vendors inversely satisfying to the speed with which we get it?
Why is it that franchises continue to go from strength to strength serving you absolute slop? Is it because we the public are a sucker for a pretty face and by face I mean that gorgeous picture that sucks us in? Do we have such short memories that we forget how lousy that last burger was and go back again? Have we forgotten what good food is or do we just not have the money, in this economy to eat somewhere that will deliver on the promise of a great steak roll at a decent price or finally does it come down to time, will we accept lousy food because it is readily available and it is fast and we can eat it on the run? Why is that picture not considered false advertising? Why is no one doing anything about it? Why is no one complaining? Where is the Advertising Standards Authority on this?
How long are we going to just accept that soggy excuse for a Hero roll because trust me it ain’t no Prince Charming?

Before you think that I never went to them first with this, I tried to call the branch and got no satisfaction as the staff there are just doing their job, which I understand completely. I tweeted Steers, I initiated an entire discussion on Twitter about my experience. They never responded and I have yet to hear from them. Why they bother to have a twitter account is beyond me if even a token response is too much to ask.

I am not out to “get” Steers, in the same way that I hope none of the public would be out to get us. What I am trying to say in my very long winded fashion is that it is time that the public started being given what they are promised or something pretty damn close to it. You are paying for it, whether it is fast food or the best restaurant in town, if you order something from a picture, then that picture is a promise to you.
Broken promises leave you feeling like the sucker at the church alter when your other half doesn’t show up.
I don’t know the answers to the above questions. What I do know is that I will continue to do my level best to deliver on my promise to my customers and it will be a very long time before I eat from a Steers again.