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Posts Tagged ‘dining out’

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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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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Food Disservice

Is it just me or is the food service industry going to Hades in a breadbasket of stale bread faster than the food actually arrives?

Twice this week I have had less than pleasant experiences.  Granted, most trips to a restaurant these days are not very pleasant, but for the most part they are tolerable.

I won’t mention any names with the first establishment, only to say that the experience was utterly riDQulous.

We arrived for lunch about 12:15 and ordered right away.  I’m due back at the office at 1 PM.  The food arrived at 12:55.  So much for fast service.  But it gets better than that.

I wanted to order a Diet Pepsi.  Indeed, that is what I ordered.  The girl took my order and handed me a cup.  They have a soft drink machine in the –well, what would you call it?–lobby area.  I kind of like that.  I don’t mind self-serve if there are free refills involved.  I wish gas stations would try that.

Alas, I could not get a diet Pepsi.  I couldn’t get anything diet.  If I were diabetic, I would be stuck drinking water or driving my blood sugar level higher than it needed to be.  My wife ordered a water bottle.  She was told they were out of those, so she reluctantly ordered a diet Pepsi as well.  (She’s a coke person.  I know!  She looks so normal.)  But she couldn’t get a diet Pepsi either.  But she could have gotten water!  (Technically, she did ask for a water bottle.  The girl told her all they had was tap water, which grosses her out.)  I guess that’s what comes out of the machine.  Since she already paid for a soft drink I think she chose root beer from the extensive list of options below:

When the meal finally came, my wife had fries with her order.  She had specifically ordered a side salad instead of fries.  The girl who brought the food out–not the same one that took the order–told her that they were out of lettuce.  Apparently the girl at the register hadn’t gotten that memo yet.  I felt bad for my wife, but it was kind of funny in that way that things that happen to other people are kind of funny.

Then I unwrapped my burger to discover that it was rather flat and very much unlike the photograph above the counter.  It had no lettuce on it.  Where’s the green?  It’s not in my wallet as it now costs over thirty dollars for my family to eat fast food.  It wasn’t fast.  It isn’t cheap.  I just hope it is food.  Since I didn’t have time to eat the lettuce anyway, and I didn’t really want the Sierra Mist I was kind of forced to pour for myself, I wasn’t so late getting back to work.

My daughter tried to order a chocolate truffle blizzard.  Guess what?  They were out of the truffles!

No truffles.  No lettuce.  No water bottles.  No diet soft drink.  How long will it be until there’s no business?

Then tonight, we went to one of those establishments named after a weekday that is not Ruby Tuesdays.  I ordered one of their pre-planned meal deals–you know how it works.  You pick an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert for supposedly a good price.  My family ordered their own fare.  When the bill came for sixty-one dollars, I tried to use a Discount Card that we had purchased from a high school athlete–proceeds to benefit the local team.  With the card, I should get $5.00 off the purchase of $25.00 or more (EXCLUDING ALCOHOL)–that’s how they wrote it, in all caps.  Since we didn’t buy any alcohol and my bill was over $25, I figured that would help defray the original cost of the card.

Au contraire.  And this wasn’t even a French restaurant.  I was told I couldn’t use my card.

You may be wondering why.  So was I.

Apparently, since I ordered the meal deal special, I couldn’t use the card.  The computer would only accept one discount.

Damned computers.  They are taking over the world!

Seriously?!

She wouldn’t let me talk to the computer.  When I complained, she “apologized” that it was a “corporate thing,” and not the local establishment.   And this corporation thinks that the customer is always wrong.

She went on to say that I should have presented the card to her BEFORE ordering so that this could have been avoided.  I disagree.  She wouldn’t have given me the discount whether I had produced the card earlier or magically made it appear from behind her ear.  I could have pulled it out my ____ as I entered the door and they wouldn’t honor it.

But now she was blaming me.  It’s my fault I can’t use the discount card.  Silly, freaking me.

She further added that it is written in the menu that the meal deal is not valid with any other offer.  I had not seen that, and while I desperately wanted her to bring me a menu and point it out, I could tell from the stern look on my wife’s face, and the horrified way that my children were all slumping under the table in embarrassment, that I had better let it go.

But I did try to explain that even without my $12.99 meal special, I had spent more than $25 on the other meals.  Say what you want about me, but I fight the good fight to the bitter end!

But she didn’t want to hear me anymore than the computer did.  She didn’t want to hear me anymore–period.  I guess the manager didn’t want to hear me either because she wouldn’t go get him/her.  She reiterated that it was a corporate issue and there was nothing her manager could do about it.

Could they not ring it up separately?  Could they have given me a $5.00 coupon or gift card for my next visit?

Perhaps the manager can’t do anything about it.  But I can.

I don’t think I will eat there anymore.

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