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Posts Tagged ‘restaurant’

You might be a redneck in Pennsylvania if . . . .

You go to the bathroom and see . . .

Gunshow

Gun Show Advertisement

Fishing

Beer Advertisement

Your beer advertisement also has a handy fishing season schedule, since those two things (drinkin’ and fishin’) go together like peanut butter and jelly.  And last (but certainly NOT LEAST!) your:

Dispenser

Condom Dispenser

You got your guns, beer and sex.  It’s like a farmersonly commercial.  What more could you need?

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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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As circumstances in my life have evolved, I have had the opportunity to dine alone several times recently.  If you have never experienced this wonderful situation, I highly recommend you give it a try.

There are several advantages to dining alone.

You almost always get a table.  Party of one–come on down!  Often, it is in a remote corner of the establishment where you will feel comfortable with your dining experience knowing no one else can see you.  This is often called Loser’s Corner in the restaurant business.  But for those of us that like privacy when we eat, you can’t beat the ambiance.  We are winners!

They should have put a TV on this wall!

They should have put a TV on this wall!

Sometimes, though, you might have to sit outside.  perhaps in the alley.

Table4One

And if things are really tight, you might end up here.  On the bright side, if you need extra napkins, the roll is right there.

ToiletDining

Another advantage is that the meal goes faster.  It takes the chef less time to prepare one meal.  He has fewer burgers to flip so the food arrives quickly.  Also, there is no annoying dinner conversation to slow one down.  It’s hard to talk and chew at the same time, and quite frankly, if you do that, then that’s probably another reason why you are dining alone right now anyway.  You can still carry on those remarkably entertaining conversations in your head, without spewing croutons across the table.

You don’t have to worry about that awkward moment when the waitress asks if this will be separate checks, or if she doesn’t ask, sets the bill down between you and your dinner date leaving the two of you to glance between the check, each other, and pretty much any other point in the restaurant which would be less uncomfortable.

The bill is lower since you’re only paying for one.  The tip is lower as well.  Have I convinced you this is the way to go, yet?

But it’s not all fun and games.  It can still be awkward if you order the lobster.  Especially if you are at Burger King–have it your way apparently does not include surf and turf.  And if you order the most expensive meal, will you get lucky tonight?  Your hand starts to tremble in anticipation.  You drop your lobster in the butter.  There’s a lot of pressure there if you order the lobster.  If your wrist is sore, or you have a headache, you might want to stick with the salad.

But if you are prepared and dine modestly, the evening can be delightful.  Prepare some jokes in your head to entertain yourself.  Other patrons in the restaurant will be envious of you laughing to yourself and making them wish they were dining with you.  At the cool table!  Don’t be rude and ignore yourself while texting on the phone.  After all, if you had someone to text, you wouldn’t be sitting there alone anyway.

And if your restaurant has televisions, you have the choice of seats around the table to have the view of whatever TV you want!

Lone Appétit!

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So I went to Outback Steakhouse tonight.  Now I have been known in the past to try and order a whopper at Wendy’s–they do not appreciate that let me tell you!–but it’s a Steakhouse.  How could I go wrong here?  Order an Onion Blossom instead of a Bloomin’ Onion?

No.  I took fail to a whole new level tonight.

I was perusing the menu, and  I saw Coconut Shrimp and Steak.  This looks good.  I’m not a big shrimp fan, nor a coconut fan, but for some reason, when you put the two together, I can go co-co-co-coconuts for that.  Throw in that orange marmalade goop and you don’t even know you’re eating shrimp!  (Although the pina colada stuff at Red Lobster puts the orange crap to shame, but I digress.)

Can you go wrong with this?

Can you go wrong with this?

But they also have some lobster specials, and while shrimp is meh, lobster is the real deal.  Add a steak, and you can definitely deal me in.  Add some coconut shrimp and orange goop, well, I may just have died and gone to Heaven.

Do you not see three items here:  steak, coconut shrimp and a lobster tail hiding in the back?

Do you not see three items here: steak, coconut shrimp and a lobster tail hiding in the back? (Pay no attention to that green crap.)

My meal arrives and looks as advertised.  I quickly put away the two shrimp, which by the way, were humongous.  They must be like super jumbo shrimp.  But slathering them in orange goop, I get them out of the way, since that is my least favorite part of this triple play combo.

Up next.  Steak.  Say what you want about the folks from Down Under, but they do a great steak on the barbie.

I have saved the best for last.  The lobster tail.  The pièce de résistance.

Fish may be Friends not food, but Bruce is having Lobster tonight!

Fish may be friends not food, but Bruce is having Lobster tonight!

It looks so good.  My mouth is watering in anticipation, although it might be due to the spice on the steak or the fact that my waitress hasn’t brought me a refill.  I turn it over and . . .

Dude!  Somebody stole yo' lobster!

Dude! Somebody stole yo’ lobster!

OMG!  The bastards gave me an empty shell!  They are trying to rip me off!  I frantically try to find our waitress, and quite frankly, don’t they all start to look the same when you need one?  I finally get her attention without having to stand up on the table and swing from the lamp, which would have totally embarrassed my sons to death.  Little did they know that they should have already headed for the door.

So I point to the empty carcass and complain, “I didn’t get my lobster tail!”

To which she replies, “Sir, you already ate it.”

Oh, no!  Don’t you be that waitress.  I did not already eat this tail and then try to game you out of another one.   After all, it’s not like this is going to come out of your pocket.  The damned chef is the one back there eating my lobster on his break.

“No I didn’t.”

“Yes you did.  It’s coconut lobster.  You ate it already.  I saw you.”

I stared into her eyes.  They were telling me that not only did she see me eat the coconut “shrimp” but she saw me down them so fast that I still have orange goop on my lips.  I think I had just shoved one in my mouth next to my tonsils when she stopped by to ask how everything tasted.  Apparently she didn’t understand me complimenting the shrimp that was stuck in my throat.  It was not a pleasant stare.  She was looking at me with disdain.

“You mean . . .”

“It’s steak and coconut lobster.  There isn’t any shrimp.”

Well put a star on my forehead and call me a Christmas Tree.  I did not see that coming.

My triple play ultimate combo was really a double play, with a fake tail that the waitress claims they put on the plate for “effect.”  Like a placebo effect.  It just makes you feel like you’ve had lobster.  I’ve heard of the Butterfly Effect but I have never heard of the Lobster Effect.

And worse yet, I have already eaten my damned lobster!  First instead of last!  You can’t do it in that order!  And I thought it was shrimp!  (In all honesty, it was really good shrimp, which now in hindsight makes sense since it was lobster and not shrimp after all.)

I should have read the menu, instead of just looking at the pretty pictures.

My sons may never eat with me again.

Next time, I’ll stick to Red Lobster.  At least there is lobster in the name.

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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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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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Times they are a-changing and the economy is tough all around.  It’s not unusual to pay $2 to $4.00 just for a bottle of water at a ball park or amusement park.

But $48 for a coke?

How did this happen?

My family and I were recently on vacation at Disney World, which pretty much by definition elevated the cost of most ordinary things right there.  We dined at the Garden Grill Restaurant in EPCOT at The Land pavilion.  We have dined there many times before on their rotating restaurant and have always enjoyed a good experience.GardenGrill

But on this particular occasion, my youngest son ordered a coke but did not eat the meal, which is served family style.  The waiter asked about this, and cleared his clean plates dutifully.

When it came time to settle the bill, our waiter announced that he “had” to charge my son the full meal price.

Naturally, I questioned him about this, pointing out that he knew he hadn’t eaten and cleared the unused plates and utensils himself.

He was very sorry, though he didn’t sound sorry, but told us that it was the restaurant’s policy.  He would have to check with the manager.  My daughter’s friend, who was on a separate check, paid $48 for her meal, drink, tax and tip, so it was not an inconsequential amount of money we were talking about here.

Now here is where it gets really interesting.  We have been coming to Disney about every other year since 1994.  We are members of the Disney Vacation Club.  I would hazard to say that we ate at the Garden Grill restaurant all but one or two of those times, as it is was one of our favorites.

My youngest son is our pickiest eater.  This is not just an issue of what type of food is served as it also is where the food is served.  He ONLY eats steak–prime rib–at Outback.  He won’t eat steak at LongHorn or Texas Roadhouse.  He will not eat it here or there, he will not eat it anywhere but Outback.  He will eat spaghetti at Olive Garden with tomato sauce.  He has NEVER ordered anything else at Olive Garden.  He will not eat spaghetti anywhere else.  If we eat at Friday’s or Chili’s or any of the other myriad establishments, we generally just order him a drink (sometimes a dessert since his criteria for sweets is much lower) and we drive through McDonald’s or Arby’s on the way home for his meal.

By the way, he has never eaten a meal at the Garden Grill.  Oh, and by the way, we have never paid for a meal for him at the Garden Grill.

Until this fateful day.

With a Disney smile on her face, and Mickey Mouse scooting behind her running to get away from any crossfire trying to get to the next table for photographs, the manager informed us that the restaurant had a policy that each diner is charged, regardless of whether they ate or not.  She tried to offer him things off the children’s menu to appease us (he NEVER eats Mac and Cheese ANYWHERE.)  He wasn’t really hungry anyway because he knew we were coming to the Garden Grill and he knew he didn’t want to eat there.  He already ate something earlier.  He played games on his phone the whole time.

Vintage 2013
$48 a bottle

I couldn’t believe they were going to charge me $48 for a coke–which he only drank about two-thirds of anyway.  There was still $16 worth of coke in that glass and there are kids dying of thirst in a desert somewhere!

Now in all honesty, I understand why this restaurant might have such a policy.  I’m sure there are parent’s with young kids that want to get their pictures taken with Mickey Mouse and Goofy, but the little ones wouldn’t eat enough to make even the price of a children’s dinner worthwhile.  So mom and dad think they’ll sneak little Johnny a few bites and save a few bucks.

But my son is 15 years old and we weren’t sneaking him bites.  And this is Disney!  Is the bottom line that tight that we can’t let a kid ride a rotating restaurant and get his picture taken with Chip or Dale or both for that matter, without forcing him to eat, or forcing his parent’s to pay for a meal he never had any intention of digesting?

The manager then noted that had we told them that ahead of time when the reservation was made, then he would have not been charged.  How were we supposed to know this?

Another Disney smile and an apology.

So I guess we got a glass of coke and an apology for $48.

I wasn’t aware the price of apologies had gone up.

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