The cafe-style restaurant was quite narrow, with tables scattered randomly throughout the channel. Some customers had sat down and were happily chatting away with their friends, while others were sitting alone, with their headphones on and laptop out, evidently in their "don't-bother-me-I'm-trying-to-do-work" mode. CP24 was also being show on two monitors near the cashier. I approached the order desk slowly, contemplating their drink menu.
Not in too much of a coffee mood (especially since I would do Starbucks or homemade coffee any day anyways), I decided to go for the "Aroma Rise", which was described as "ice, orange juice, and vanilla" and depicted by one of the servers as an orange slush.
I relayed my order to the guy at cashier, who had a neutral expression on his face until I asked to pay with a means other than cash. After taking my order, he took out a huge jug of orange juice and set it on the counter in front of the window that connected to the kitchen. He then proceeded to take other customers' orders, before finally returning to fill a plastic cup with ice and orange juice; he then set it on the window ledge, where another man dumped the contents of cup into a Vitamix for blending. That mixture was later placed in front of me, cup sticky.
I stared at the drink for a while, pondering whether they had included ice cream in the my drink at all. Upon asking the man who took my order at cash, he informed me that there was no ice cream contained in Aroma Rise - the "vanilla" simply referred to vanilla syrup.
It took a few nanoseconds to process the horror that had just taken place: I had paid $4.57 for orange juice blended with ice, something that I could've easily made at home for under a dollar.
And not only that, but the cup had been handed to me sticky. Reaching underneath the already coffee-stained napkins at the beyond filthy condiment station while carrying four other bags to clean it off wasn't exactly my idea of grabbing a pick-me-up.
I even attempted to salvage the drink once getting back home. "Perhaps it might not be all that bad if I make some adjustments", I naively thought. Adding a spoonful of sugar and a splash of milk, I proceeded to thoroughly mix the drink until all the components were dissolved. I then lifted the drink to my lips, only to be faced with disgust again.
I poured the rest of the drink down the sink. Never have I tasted something so foul in my life. And the thought of having paid $4.57 for this monstrosity just fostered an even greater amount of frustration.
The Aroma cup itself proved to have a great design, though. To rid the revolting taste of "Aroma Rise", I created my own iced mocha, topped with coconut whipped cream and chocolate sauce. The lid was flat, unlike that of Starbucks, and the straw hole was large enough to fit in a wide straw.
I continued to create more slushie-like drinks throughout the week, filling the Aroma cup with my new concoction each time. The cup is now one of my favourites to use; I just can't digest how a cafe with such a great cup design could produce drinks so abhorrent.
I also did a bit of exploring throughout the week, for academic purposes of course.
Following one of the exams this week, I decided to drop by Green Grotto to make use of their 2-6 PM combo deal. A hot formosa dessert bowl was also ordered since it was chilly outside.
I understand how difficult it is to tend to both dine-in and takeout customers all by yourself, but it's a different story when the store is essentially empty. I'm not sure if the waitress was simply having an off day, or whether she was simply incompetent, but she failed to do some of the most basic things.
At exactly 5:58 PM, I waved her over to place an order. She decided to tend to the takeout customers first, only approaching my table three minutes past 6:00 PM. I told her that I wanted to order the Minced Pork on Rice combo for takeout, putting emphasis on that it should be made later and further clarifying that I had waved her over before 6:00 PM so the deal was still valid.
I then pointed to a Hot Formosa Bowl on the menu, to which she asked me, "This is a hot item. Is that what you want?". I nodded yes in response, resisting the urge to roll my eyes. I do believe that I would've pointed to the Formosa Bowls on the opposite page had I wanted a cold version. She took my order and then left me to start studying.
About 5 minutes later, a few more tables became occupied, and two more takeout customers walked in. The girl started to look a bit frantic.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her set down a bowl of rice and a plate of chicken in front of a guy who had came in after me. I gave her an already-softened glare to question the whereabouts of my Formosa bowl. She swung by to ask me, "You ordered a hot Formosa right?". I responded with a simple "Yes.", to which she curses softly and ran to the kitchen.
There was no "I'm sorry", nor a "It'll just a few more minutes.". She simply just asked me and left.
Reappearing some few minutes later, a lukewarm Formosa Bowl was set down in front of me, with the spoon already stuck in the bowl.
Now I'm not sure if this is just a Mississauga Green Grotto-thing, but their waitresses have a tendency to stick the straws and utensils into the food before bringing it over. I, being an extremely picky person when dining out, have issues with this. First of all, it ruins the appearance of the food item, and reduced the amount of freedom the customer has when it comes to food styling. I enjoy finding ways of placing my own utensils in such a way that photos of the item will come out nicely, and thus do not appreciate it when you stick my utensils in before asking me.
Being the germaphobe that I am, I also can't stand when other people's potentially germ-ridden fingers touch the straw that I am supposed to place my lips over to enjoy my overpriced beverage. Bubble Republic's straws are individually wrapped, eliminating the transfer of germs. But this honestly wouldn't even be a problem if the waitresses stopped being lazy and simply used napkins to hand out the required utensils.
I mean, that way I wouldn't have to bother you again to ask for a napkin right?
Halfway through the Formosa bowl, I decided that I wanted to have an actual meal instead of a snack. I called the girl over once again to ask for the Minced Pork on Rice to be made for dine-in instead of takeout, and to keep the rest of the items as is.
She brought over my rice a few minutes later, already packed into a takeout container. "They already made it for to-go.", she said, setting down a plastic spoon before running back to the cashier.
My thoughts echoed, "I'm going to assume that you, once again, forgot to tell them to make it later." At that point, I expected the Salt & Pepper chicken side dish to be soggy by the time I actually arrived back home. And it was, all due to this one waitress.
The trek back to the bus stop was colder and windier than anticipated. It also didn't help that the bus happened to be running an additional five minutes late. While waiting, I had wanted to take a sip of my takeout drink, only to realize that the girl had forgotten to pack a straw in the bag.
I had tipped her 10%, since I wasn't in a particularly bad mood, but she really needs to step up her game. Green Grotto customer service has always been variable, and I find that the newly-opened Mississauga location is lacking in comparison to its Markham-based relatives.
The girl's uniform did not have a name tag, so unfortunately, I will not be able to warm future customers about her. All I can say is to beware of a ditzy-looking girl with thin-rimmed glasses with a small stature.
And, as always, I try to refrain from ending posts with a negative segment. Instead, here are some more visuals from this week!