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Posts Tagged ‘dining out’

My track record with dining out at restaurants is not impressive.

I once tried to order a 99 cent Whopper at Wendy’s.  I had it in my mind–I saw the advertisement for 99 cent whoppers and had to have one–but apparently Wendy’s won’t let me have it my way.  I paid more than 99 cents for a burger that was NOT a whopper.

I ordered coconut shrimp and lobster at Outback–and ended up with an empty lobster tail.

I once paid $48 for a coke.  The drink–not the drug.

And there was a “fine dining” experience (you know, you go to a place where you can’t wear blue jeans and they require a tie) that involved bok choy, enoki mushrooms and consommé.  I still think they were making that shiitake up.

Today we were meeting my daughter at TGI Friday’s even though it is Sunday.  I’m sorry.  It throws me off balance as well.  It’s like going into Five Guys, and there are aren’t Five Guys behind the counter.  (I’m pretty sure one of them was a woman!)  But I digress.

She had given me a list of restaurant choices that she would be happy with and asked me to pick one.  I specifically picked Friday’s because they serve Kona Big Wave Golden Ale.

So when the waiter took our drink order, guess what I ordered?  Well he brought the other drinks out and said he had to get my Heaven in a glass from the bar.  Minutes later, he appears without my Golden Ale.  They are out of it.

I should have got up and left right then and there.  But I had already looked at the menu and saw a new Philly Steak Burger.  It comes with an egg roll on top!  I kid you not!  Someone asked themselves how you could make a burger even more unhealthy than it already is, and somebody came up with the idea of tacking on extra stuff outside the bun.  Brilliant!

SteakBurger

I want that!  So I ordered it.

THIS . . . is what I got.

MyBurger

Do you see an egg roll stapled to my bun?  Dude?  Where’s my egg roll?  Is this going to be like Outback all over again when the waiter argues that I already ate the lobster even though the tail shell was clearly empty!

He informs me they don’t have the egg rolls in stock.

I am so bummed I ended up drowning my sorrows in a half piece of Tennessee Whiskey Cake, because quite frankly, paying $8 for the full piece just seems like highway robbery.

After I got home, I was still stewing over not getting my Kona beer and then not getting the sandwich that was advertised.  It was then that I wondered if perhaps I paid for the sandwich with an egg roll but did not get the egg roll?  I also thought it might have been nice if the manager would have comped my dessert in lieu of payment for an egg roll that didn’t exist.

That’s when I discovered that CORY–our waiter, bless his little heart–had actually comped me my burger without telling me.  For the record, I did tip him well–I rounded up the 20% recommendation to make the number come out round, but that was based on the adjusted bill.  After all, it wasn’t his fault the bar was out of my beer and someone in purchasing forgot to order the egg rolls.

And now I feel worse.

I should have gone to Denny’s.

Oh wait,  That didn’t work out well for me either . . .

CoffeeCup

That’s my coffee . . .but that’s NOT my lipstick!

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Recently, I was eating at a Japanese Restaurant, when I came across this on the menu . . .

Leppuce2

Japanengrish?  It would appear that somehow in the translation, the T’s and P’s got reversed, so a Lettuce Wrap became a Leppuce Wrat. Or so we hope.  And pray.

There’s some peas in my leppuce that someone put there.  They know I don’t like peas but they do not care. I actually do like peas, but not in my lettuce, thank you very much.

Worse yet, I worry that there might be a dead wrat laying on my leppuce.

And as you know, I do not eat wrat.  It is not on my lunch bucket list.

I will not eat it here or there, I will not eat it anywhere.  Not on a boat.  Not with a goat.  (Who probably loves leppuce.)  Not in a car.  Not in a bar.  (There is not enough beer in Japan to convinve me to dine on wrats.)

And that’s a wrat, folks!

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So I was having lunch the other day with my son at Longhorn Steakhouse. Everything seemed to be normal.  I ordinarily don’t “do lunch” but I had the afternoon off due to a quirk in scheduling, and my son was home from college.  So we did what any two normal men would do when we were hungry.  We went out to eat.  (Ordering pizza could have been an answer as well–you can give yourself a point if you thought that was what I was going to say.  Either way, WE WERE NOT COOKING.)

But as I unwrapped my silverware from the napkin, I crossed over into the Twilight Zone.  (cue music)

My knife and fork had some kind of strange attraction for each other.  They were difficult to separate.  At first, I suspected they may have been glued together by dried food, and while that may be gross to consider, it would help explain why I could drag my fork around my plate using my knife.

The utensils appeared to be magnetized!

Not me, and not Longhorn Steak House.  But you get the idea.

Not me, and not Longhorn Steak House. But you get the idea.

It does not take much to amuse me, nor does it take much to send my mind wandering off to left field.  Better grab a Snickers . . . we may be here for awhile.

Why are my utensils magnetic?  Even the steak knife that arrived with my meal could perform these feats of magnetic prestidigitation.  I have eaten out quite a bit in my life, and I have never noticed this phenomenon before.

Is this restaurant located on top of some weird magnetic vortex in the earth?

Is there an alien ship buried beneath this restaurant?

Is there a convergence of the Force here?

I sense something, a presence I’ve not felt since… the last time I was in the presence of my old master.

Does anyone else see this?  Is it the silverware . . . or me?

What kind of black magic is this?!?!

My curiosity could not be controlled, and ultimately, I had to ask the waitress when she brought our check.  Her answer, though, was rather anti-climatic and extraordinarily mundane.  There was no vortex.  No alien spacecraft.  Darth Vader has not been here.  I believe he prefers Texas Roadhouse anyway, but don’t quote me on that.

Instead, the restaurant uses magnetized silverware and special garbage can lids that are magnetic to prevent their precious utensils from being accidentally thrown away.

A magnetic vortex or aliens would have been more fun!

A magnetic vortex or aliens would have been more fun!

Alas, I have violated the first rule of magicians . . . never reveal your secret!

But now you know!  (Don’t tell anyone!)

And if you already knew this . . .

DarthVader

 

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I was out to dinner tonight at an Italian Restaurant (or should I say ristorante?) when I noticed this little bit of information at the bottom of the menu:

MeatballPrice

One meatball for $2.09?  $2.09?  Seriously???

It’s not that I have a problem with the restaurant charging extra for additional meatballs, or even the (meat) ball park price they have set.  They are large meatballs, truth be told.  But it’s the oddly specific amount that doesn’t make sense.

Why not just $2.00?  Our state sales tax is 6%, so it’s not two dollars plus tax.

Is the profit margin of this establishment so narrow that they need to charge an additional nine cents to keep the lights on and the staff paid?

Or did someone literally sit down and calculate the cost of adding one meatball to a meal for an arbitrary profit margin that yielded a result of $2.09?

The world may never know.

And I ordered the veal anyway.

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While eating at Friendly’s Restaurant tonight, we noticed an advertisement for a new concoction called a Sour Patch Splash.

SourPatchSplash

My son looked at this and quipped . . .

“What are those things floating around?  It looks like a unicorn pooped in a glass.”

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Whine and Dine

My idea of dining out is sitting down at the neighborhood McDonald’s for a Big Mac—McReservations optional.  In my younger years I was convinced that gourmet food was something that came in a Styrofoam container.  Alas, I married and discovered (or was taught by force depending on how you look at it) that gourmet food is not served in Styrofoam (although the remnants may be taken home for pets, kids, etc. in such) and they have since stopped serving Big Macs in Styrofoam.  Apparently, the Styrofoam is not biodegradable (and the Big Mac is?)

Anyway, there are these occasions when my wife insists on exposing me to the finer things in life.  I am not talking about a hot dog slathered in mustard at a football game (which should be included in any discussion between galloping gourmands.)  No indeed, we are talking about a restaurant wherein you must wear a tie.  This, gentlemen should be your first warning that you will not receive beef in a bag—having to wear a tie to eat.  Business is barely a reasonable excuse for wearing a tie.  But enforcing some medieval dress code for satisfying ones basic nutritional needs is bordering upon lunacy.

But I wanted to eat, and later on I would want to sleep in my bed and not the sofa, so I grudgingly obliged.  I finished clipping my tie on and was about to strike a GQ pose, or maybe just pass some gas, when my wife demanded, “Aren’t you going to wear anything with that?”

Not only must I suffer the indignation of having to wear a tie, but I must wear a suit coat as well.  Eating alone at McDonald’s and sleeping on the couch were starting to sound more appealing.

So, I found myself in a posh restaurant, wearing a clip-on tie and the best polyester coat I own just to please my wife, and I was thinking: what is on this menu?

It could have been Hollandaise sauce or maybe Béarnaise.  It was hard to tell just by the color.  I know it’s not special sauce!  But it was not the stain that was confusing me.

The top of the menu listed a CONSOMMÉ of CHICKEN.  I think I know what chicken is, but I have nary a clue what part of the chicken a CONSOMMÉ comes from.  I was becoming afraid.  Very afraid.

The salad (I think) was PASTRAMI CURED SALMON NAPOLEON SALAD WITH WASABI CRÈME FRESH.  I did not jumble these words either—this is the order they were presented.  The only words I understood were ‘fresh with salad.’  Wasabi is not an American word.  Napoleon was French.  I was ordering something and I had no idea what I would be eating.  It could be snails for all I know.  Or, escargots.

The list of entrees included Beef Tournedos, A Duck Two Ways, and Cranberry Scallops.  I have no idea what the Tornado might be, but at least it has a recognizable meat associated with it.  So does the duck, but the only way I would eat duck is cooked, and since I didn’t want to find out what the other way was, I thought it best to pass on that.   Scallops are seafood and this dinner was not during my seafood period of life.

The entrees also come with a bird’s nest of root vegetables and a multi-grain pilaf.  Now I don’t remember much botany from school, but vegetables in general, are plants.  Plants have roots, which distinguishes them from orphans.  So root vegetables could be any conceivable plant.  It would be a veritable chef’s surprise of organic material.

Usually I look forward to dessert, but tonight the last course awaiting my palate was a heart cup filled with a chocolate mousse, pecan tuile (?) and a sorbet medley (was this something I was to eat or listen to while munching my chocolate covered mouse?)

Thank God the meal was served with a wine flight.  (Strap on your helmets and get ready to fly!)  The table was set with the usual accoutrements, including a lot of silverware that I would never use (and had no idea what to use it for if I had to) and four liquor/wine glasses awaiting the various wines and champagnes.   I figure the primary purpose of the flight is to liquor you up enough to know that you’re not crunching a chocolate covered mouse, various inedible plants and a beef hurricane.

We started off with a delicious Champagne.  Things went downhill after that.

The consommé arrived in a large shallow bowl.  I looked at my wife as if to say, you’ve got to be kidding.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” I said after the initial shock wore off.

There were three little piles of organic debris in my bowl—none of which resembled any part of any chicken I had ever seen.  They could have been chicken food at one time, I suppose.  The waitress seemed concerned by my lack of enthusiasm.

Consomme

Just Add Organic Debris!

“What is this?” I dared to ask.

“Bok choy, enoki mushrooms, asparagus tips and orzo.”

I now knew less than before I asked.  Obviously, chicken must mean garden fungus in some foreign language, and I don’t want to even speculate at this point what consommé might mean.

However, the bubbly was loosening my inhibitions.  I started to gently pick up something—I prayed it was the asparagus tips—with something that might have been my butter knife.  It was definitely not a spork, but that would have been helpful given the ambiguity of the situation.  I no sooner began crunching the green crap when the waitress returned with a pitcher.  She poured broth out of the pitcher on my wife’s vegetable piles and gave her a soupspoon.  With sprigs of asparagus sticking out between my lips, the waitress looked at me —it was a look of disdain.  No ambiguity there.  She dropped my spoon aside my bowl and poured the broth over what I hadn’t managed to eat yet.

I tried to explain.  “I’m very hungry.”

She snorted and left.  It’s a good thing for her that the tip was included in the meal, because otherwise she just blew a perfectly good quarter.  Would it have killed them to say BROTH instead of CONSOMMÉ???

Before the consommé was finished, the second wine was poured.  The glass was a little bigger, and this time it was a chardonnay.  It may have had a full body and fruity flavors, but I hardly noticed as I downed it in one gulp.

I was beginning to feel better and thinking to myself that this might not be all that bad.  The next glass was humongous and I figured if I could survive the salad without any further gourmet faux pas I was all set.

I tried to loosen my tie, but it fell in my consommé.  I looked around frantically for the wine steward—hoping I could get a refill on the chardonnay.  I think the staff was avoiding our table for some reason.

And when you think things couldn’t get any worse, the salad came, such as it was.  The salmon was a raw chunk of meat wrapped in a waffled potato chip and the salad greens looked more like dandelions and weeds from my backyard than it did like lettuce or other more-or-less edible leaves.

“Aren’t you going to eat your salad,” my wife asked.

I leaned over to her, and in a hushed voice, unmuted by alcohol, I explained, “I can’t eat anything I mow in my lawn.  It’s a tradition.”wineglass

There was a candle on the table so I was able to cook my salmon—until it caught on fire.  I doused it in my water glass.  No problem.

Thankfully, the third wine—a Marietta from California—came.  Unfortunately, the wine steward didn’t fill the glass to the rim.  I asked him if he would.  He rolled his eyes and walked away—quickly.

The ‘beef’ was beef and it was delectable.  The final wine was a naughty little port.  Or it might have been starboard.  At that point in the meal, I was in flight and even the chocolate mouse tasted great.

Next time, I wonder if I could just get the wine flight.

For more humor, check out the Daily Post Weekly Challenge:  The Best Medicine.

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To eat Grilled Rat?

A friend of mine–at least for the moment–is travelling in Southeast Asia.  He calls it a vacation.  Disney World is a vacation.  Laos–not so much.  And I’m pretty sure that while there are huge mice walking around Disney, there are none on the menus anywhere in the parks.

Here is his Facebook revelation:

FacebookRat

Eleven people LIKE that!  This scares me.  I might know these people.  I might have eaten with these people before.  Perhaps they even grilled my bacon cheeseburger on the same grill that grilled a rat.  Oh, the inhumanity!

I wrote a blog about my own Lunch Bucket List a while back in response to a list of 100 things you should eat before you die–and hopefully not RIGHT before you die.  Interestingly enough, while sea urchins, snake, and Spam™ made that list, grilled rat did not.  Neither did sautéed rat, deep-fried rat, fricasseed rat, or rat stew make the list.  Squirrel yes.  Rat–no.

Don’t rats carry the plague?  I guess you could get bird flu from chicken, but I’d face that remote possibility at KFC.  But Bubonic Plague?  I think I’ll pass.

It might taste like chicken . . .so then JUST EAT CHICKEN!  EAT MORE CHIKIN!

eatmorchikin

Seriously?  Would I even eat at a restaurant that listed RAT on the menu?  I think not.  First of all, you just couldn’t be sure that the HAMBURGER was really beef or not.

From FASAB--I don't know what Geef is, but I'm not eating that!

From FASAB–I don’t know what Geef is, but I’m not eating that!

And even if it was beef, it might have been grilling right alongside Remy the Rat.  I couldn’t take that chance!

Oh I would eat anything for lunch . . .

But I won’t eat that:

I just lost my #18 . . . Clean up in Aisle 5!

No, I won’t eat THAT!

Or that:

Does this really make you hungry?  Of course, with those spines, you could save on toothpicks!

Does this really make you hungry? Of course, with those spines, you could save on toothpicks!

And especially not THAT!

grilled rat

No–not even with a garnish or a lot of beer!

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