Now taking your order: The water sommelier
A restaurant in Los Angeles has a 45-page water menu, and offers a tasting flight for $12.
Nowhere is this trend taken to more ridiculous heights than at Ray's and Stark Bar in Los Angeles, which is run by a self-appointed water sommelier.
The restaurant has a water menu (see it here) featuring 20 different "varietals" from around the world. And if you can't decide, you an order a water flight of three 3-ounce servings for $12.
The website Jezebel tried the water flight so we don't have to. When Jezebel's writers arrived, however, they learned the flight was sold out, because people read about it in The Los Angeles Times and actually thought it was a great way to blow $12.
Undaunted, the servers cobbled together a $12 tasting for Jezebel's writers, and served small pours of Vichy Catalan, Perrier and a brand called Beverly Hills 90H20 personally made by the water sommelier. (He makes his own water by adding a "personal mixture of minerals" to the contents of a freshwater spring.)
The verdict? "The whole operation is painfully, awfully, humiliatingly Los Angeles," writes Laura Beck.
The term "water sommelier" was actually coined 11 years ago at the Ritz-Carlton Battery Park City in New York, writes Nation's Restaurant News. The idea has bubbled up to the point that one German institution now offers a water sommelier class for about $2,500.
Bret Thorn at Nation's Restaurant News summarizes the spectacle nicely:
How do you convince people to spend that kind of money on something they could get for free from any faucet? The same way you convince them to spend $300 for a bottle of fermented grape juice or $16 for a pint of fermented malt, hops, yeast and water -- you convince them that it's different from the water they could get for free or the wine or beer they could get for a fraction of what you'd like to charge them for it, and that it's not only different, but rare, luxurious and awesome.
Water has become a huge business, and Coca-Cola (KO) and PepsiCo (PEP) jumped into this long ago by acquiring bottled water brands.
Americans drink about 58 gallons of water a year, a 38% jump from 1998, The Associated Press reports. About 21 gallons of that amount is bottled water. Over the same period, American consumption of soda fell 17% to 44 gallons a year.
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"The whole operation is painfully, awfully, humiliatingly Los Angeles"
Pretty much sums how the rest of the country feels.
Yes consider its the real LA [not Lower Alabama] and anything goes.
Stories like this make me flinch.
For all it's faults, we are drinking the safest water in the history of the modern world..
As long as it's limited to CA we may be saved.
Otherwise we are doomed.
The best commentary ever on bottled water...
Awwwww MSN deleted the link :S Go to YouTube and search for Jim Galligan., Bottled Water. Then my post will actually make sense. Booooooooooo MSN
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