I have been to many different restaurants as I am sure many of you have. There have been really good ones and really bad ones. For the most part just regular ones that have food and service that are fine. I have never sent anything back to the kitchen because of some flaw on the plate. It is just not my nature to draw attention to my plight. But here I can tell you that there of course have been times that I should have spoken up. Like…
We had provided good service to a company and their way of showing appreciation was to invite us to their very nice Christmas, sit down dinner, party at a wonderful lodge type restaurant. Nice huh? The fare for dinner was lobster. Really nice huh? Our host being followed by suit encased minions with wives dressed to the nines, headed for the dining room. Feeling a bit out of place in our Levis and comfortable shoes, we brought up the rear. (The rear; a spot in life that in my opinion, has the best view of everything.) Stepping forward…
Our spot at the table was furthest from the waitress’ entrance station. Soon the speeches and back patting quit and the dinners began to arrive. Yum right? I watched in anticipation as the plates were laid on the table. Working down our way. You could smell the steamed asparagus with lemon and butter. The baked potatoes were piled high with sour cream and topped daintily with chopped chives for added color. The lobster tails, pink from the broiler, were skillfully split and the meat set on top of up turned shells. Getting hungry huh?
As the waitress set dinners down in of front the people sitting next to us bumpkins I noticed a look on her face of confusion. She looked at us with puzzlement. I thought we might have been in error and really were not invited to this shindig. The next thing I know there was a bit of murmuring between her and the head honcho. Seems there was a mistake on the count for dinner. Off by, you guessed it, two. We learned later that two of the suits had decided at the last minute to bring plus ones to the party. It was the middle of Nevada. Out in the boonies and all. Where no one really adhered to the rules of common courtesy.
Merriment was on high and the crowd was chomping and talking and we tried to become part by holding our water glasses in front of us as to not draw attention to the blank canvas that should have held two plates of lemon sprinkled steamed asparagus, sour cream topped baked potatoes with chopped chives greenery and of course the broiled red scrumptious lobster tails sitting next to a small dish of drawn butter.
There was a flurry of activity that we could see in the open kitchen area. Hands flying with questions on the tips of up turned fingers on the hands of the cooks. I caught the eye of the waitress who shrugged at me smiling a nervous smile and nodded knowingly my way. I just smiled back and took a small sip of my water. After all we had had a few free drinks at the open bar so we were already ahead of the game. Who were we to stand up and wave our arms wildly in the air yelping, “Hey? Here we are, the two who have no FOOD!” That is just not us. We have been out to dinner with those people and it is not a pretty sight.
Then the waitress slipped into the kitchen. Moments later, ta-da, she reappeared with two more plates of dinner. She smiled and apologized as she set the asparagus-potato-lobster combos in front of us. Yum, right? We dug right in. Not to look too piggish we both started with the asparagus. It was mouthwatering good. Tender but firm. The potato was fluffy and the skin had the right amount of crisp. Then the lobster. (You’re feeling it huh?) I speared the flesh of the crustacean. Fork full of fleshy white meat, dipped into the drawn melted butter followed by the much awaited trip to my mouth. (Licking your lips right?)
What should have been a delightful mouthful of heaven turned out to be a white mushy raw and nearly still frozen on the inside glob of yuck.
And there you are with this stuff in your mouth… Now, do you send it back, keep chewing, swallow, gag and spit it on your plate or in your napkin? Remember the dinner was free… What would you do?
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at firstname.lastname@example.org