We first noticed something wrong back in the Spring.
“How come my almond chocolate chip tastes like none of those things?” asked a puzzled Food Gal® as we drove back to ELV’s palatial abode.
“Ditto,” we countered. “I asked for extra extra malt in my vanilla shake (as we’ve been doing for 20+ years) and you can barely discern a touch of the stuff.”
“Maybe they were having an off night?” she replied. So were slurped our last bits of cone and malt and left it at that.
A couple of weeks later we returned. Once again, our ice cream was but a tepid semblance of what we had grown to love (this time it was some fruit concoction that displayed none of the stuff, and actual malt ice cream that had to have been made by someone who never tasted the finished product — or wouldn’t know what malt was supposed to taste like if they did).
As we lounged about the seductive love tub at the ELV manse that fateful evening, the Food Gal® queried “Perhaps they changed their recipes or we just got a couple of weak batches?”
“I dunno,” ELV mumbled to himself. “The teenagers are a very, very bad omen.”
We said that because, once again, the place was being staffed by youngsters, and once again, there wasn’t a Tiedemann (the family that founded the little stand in 1973) in sight.
And there my fellow foodies, is the problem.
Over the years (since 1994 specifically), we had gotten used to Greg Tiedemann (pictured above with Desyreé Alberganti) personally waiting on us (and everyone else) every single time we had a hankerin’ for some superior custard. He was always there, every single morning making the custard, and each and every night serving it to us.
Our disappointment and conjecture quickly turned into a theory: √Tiedemann x ∏ + (No Greg ÷ no love) x (3a – y) = zero flavor at Luv-It-Custard.
This theorem was confirmed on our third disappointing trip here….which quickly led to some quick work at the old ELV blackboard….
…which led to….
ELV’s Immutable Tiedemann-Takaya Postulate…
…which goes as follows:
When the owner ain’t there, kiss quality goodbye.
Before we explore the roots and proof behind this established truism, we had to uncover one salient mystery: Where had Greg Tiedemann gone? And why was he no longer at the window every time we got a craving for a malt or a Western Special Sundae?
Turns out, the answer was as simple as 2-1=0.
Yep, he got divorced, and lost the business (the business founded by his grandparents and at the same location for 40 years) to his now ex-wife.
From the look (and taste) of things, all she’s doing is keeping the window open, her costs down, and picking up the cash.
In other words, she’s honoring that time-honored American tradition of cashing in on the labors of others and exploiting a brand for all its worth.
Which is exactly what the Tiedemann’s never did, and what Takaya Zenbayashi at Zen Japanese Curry wouldn’t think of doing.
Because they have pride and passion behind what they do.
And when all you’re in a business for is the money, you never bother making something really good, because all you want it to be is good enough.
If you know what you’re looking for, you can see it (and taste) this devolution when it happens at any eatery….even one as simple as a simple custard stand.
The first thing you notice is the help. It goes from being fully-formed adults to barely-formed adolescents. Real, adult supervision also seems to be lacking. There’s an aimlessness to the body language you observe running the joint. Go to any store in any shopping mall and you’ll see what we mean.
Almost immediately, presentation suffers and eventually, taste. Sure, the owners teach the nimrods the recipes, and they might even supervise them until they get things right. But eventually, like all Americans, those owners want their money for nothing and their chicks for free, and soon enough the inmates are running the asylum.
We recently asked Nectaly Mendoza (owner, operator, head bartender and chief bottle washer at Herbs & Rye) what the secret has been to his success. “You can’t be in it just for the money,” was how he put it. “You’ve got to really care about what you’re doing and hire people who give a shit.”
Mendoza knows most people don’t. Teenagers really don’t. They just want the job. They need the bread. Quality control is up to someone else. Think about that the next time you’re thinking about going to Luv-It-Custard.
Then walk across the street to Art of Flavors…where Desyreé really does.
Like we said: The Tiedemann-Takaya Postulate is immutable.
ART OF FLAVORS GELATO
1616 Las Vegas Blvd. South #130
Las Vegas, NV 89104