Thursday, February 24, 2011

My name is Max.....

Because my mind has been warped with cultural references, when someone mentions the name "Max" I don't think of Mad Max, which is what I just thought of now, but instead think of the character named Max, from The Great Race.  

The Character of Max, was played by Peter Falk and while we never learn his last name or his full name, his calling card is one-liners and an ingenious mind. He is a mechanic for the overly flamboyant Professor Fate.

Under last year, the above personality is what I thought of when it came to that name.  The past year, I have caught up on my Doctor Who and learned of Max Capricorn, who is a billionaire who owns a space company.  He has a personlity that is very full of himself mentioning many times that you have to believe what he says "because my name is Max". 

While in Las Vegas, my family stopped in for a snack in the Forum and found ourselves in Max Brenner, which is a chocolate restaurant with many cartoons of "Max" with statements like, "the best chocolate from a bald man" or something like that.  What being bald has to do with chocolate is anyone's guess.  I immedietly thought about it and wondered to myself, I may not be a huge name or know of everyone in the dessert world, but why does Max Brenner NOT ring a bell?  Oh yeah, he doesn't exist.  The person, is actually two people who combined their names to create a character for their chocolate ideas, which I have to say, coming from a lifelong chocoholic, are only 50% good.

The table of people I was with contained not only me and my vast eating experience of chocolate but also my wife, who until just last year, hated the flavor of chocolate.  She is newly enjoying and experiencing it so I figured we were both good testers.  We ordered the Sharing (tasting for two) and also the Dessert pizza.  Let's start with the tastings, first:  There were some hard cookies, a tasty eggroll that had peanuts and chocolate sauce inside, chocolate 'bark' which was okay, little chocolate covered puffed rice pieces, an apple pie and white chocolate layer cake and some chocolate sauce.  Everything on that plate was good and as a whole, I would give it all a 3 out of 5.  For a character that seems like a super advanced chocolate chef, there was nothing really fancy or unique on the plate.

WE also had the fondue pot as well as a small cooker with some banana, strawberry chunks and some marshmallows.  The chocolate fondue was served over a small cup of water, which was then over a candle tea light heater.  It was the equivelent of serving a double boiler to the table, so the chocolate didn't burn or caramelize.  Unfortunately for Max, that was the only thing that was smartly done.  It was a small bit of brilliance that you don't find in any other places that serve chocolate fondue, but not enough to gain extra stars, maybe style points though.  The small fire had flames shoot up and occasionally shot sparks out at us, which was not very safe.  For what little was offered in food, it was a 2 out of 5 stars.  For the double boiler technique and serving, I give a million style points.

We also ordered this dessert pizza.  Back at Old Country Buffet, there used to be a dessert pizza on the menu and we used to make it for fun.  It started with snickerdoodle/sugar cookie dough in a small half inch half line pan, and then when the cookie crust was cooked, it had some strawberry sauce on top of that, dollops of white icing and some chocolate chips and blueberries.  It was awesomely delicious and evil at the same time.  The pizza here at Max Brenner's was just one half of a pizza with a flavorless dough crust, with a small layer of chocolate sauce, banana slices, mini marshmallows and some peanut butter flavored sauce on top.  It was all very simple and the dough, as I stated, was completely flavorless and slightly undercooked.  Uh, I would give a 2 out of 5 stars on this one.

I think our dining experience would have better if we had better service.  We told the host that we had a group of 6 and she asked me us to check out the store and someone would come and get us.  Well, 15 minutes later, no one came so we went back to the hostess and she asked "didn't someone get you yet?"  Um, no.  They finally sat us upstairs as a young man came by, took the orders of just two out of the six of us and disappeared for 10 minutes.  He came back with the two drinks and then when we wanted to order the other drinks he asked "you guys didn't order yet?"  Um, no!  This kid was either on drugs or his first day in a section of tables that he couldn't control.  I think it took him 25-30 minutes just to get drinks to everyone. I can imagine if we were getting something super fancy but how long does it take to get that Diet Coke or that ice tea?  What was he doing most of the time?  We saw him standing around and chatting with the female fellow employees instead of working.  I say, fire that guy, change the food so it is inventive instead of just okay and you have yourself a place that people will want to go and not just decide to stop in now and then.

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