For years I've resisted the trend to self-expression, operating under the principle that what I have to say isn't very interesting or original. Recently I've observed that this principle has not stopped thousands (tens of thousands) of people from publishing their opinions! So what's one more person?!
I've also resisted gun ownership, even though by accident we own a gun (a gift from my husband's brother from decades before) and keep it, unloaded, in the house. I am certain I could use it to hit someone over the head, if necessary. Or possibly, as it's a rather long rifle, to get something down off a high shelf.
I was going to use this blog as a means of writing restaurant, book, movie and other (hikes? trips to the mall? dog walks?) reviews, and maybe that's for the best. Start small, keep things relatively simple and concrete. Yet my urge to be original and deep abides . . .
So here are two reviews of recent activities:
I've eaten here half a dozen times, maybe more. Have always loved it and had great experiences. Last night was not one of them.
The restaurant is located in a strip mall on the corner of Ina and Oracle, among a collection of posh establishments such as what used to be Wild Oats (I've given up remembering the names that have resulted from all the organic grocery mergers, but I think it's now a Whole Foods), several clothing stores, an upscale gelato place, and at least one shop selling pricey southwestern artwork. The restaurant isn't spacious but well designed, with a cozy seating arrangement of booth/tables lining the periphery. It's plush and comfortable with a steady buzz of conversation and movement...but we were seated on the patio. When I made the reservation, four days in advance, I was told that the only inside seating would be at 5 pm or 8:30. But even as I voiced a tentative "OK" to outside seating (being assured that it was closed-in and filled with heaters) I had my doubts.
When we arrived, and walked through the patio, we were greeted not by one or two but by four young women in miniskirts whose salient features were decorative: very long, bare legs, sliky flowing locks, unblemished skin, etc. It was odd and somewhat unsettling (why were there so many of them?) but the hostess and her assistant led us to a table. In fact, the assistant hostess led us to the Worst Table Ever. Perched in a hallway, like a nervous pigeon stranded on a busy sidewalk, it called out to me, "leave now! ask for another table!! quickly!!!" yet I did not heed it's desperate call. Perhaps I was simply overwhelmed by the four models guarding the restaurant's threshold; I knew that I was, in comparison, far too homely to request a decent, respectable table.
My husband took the best seat, his back against the brick wall with a view onto the rest of the patio. I ducked for cover, mumbling "this table sucks" then realizing that perhaps I should rethink my attitude. Instead, I looked at Tim and said, "this table sucks." He was nonplussed, as he is generally less eager to fully embrace impending doom. The trouble with this table was it sat between two doors, all by itself: one door led into the restaurant proper, the other was used for waitstaff to enter and exit the patio (although they also used the main door at times). But this is not where the trouble ended, as the table was right next to the main door, where all the somewhat grumpy, hungry and misplaced potential customers stood, waiting for seating. For the first 15 minutes of our meal, an entire family stood 3 feet from us, taking pictures of each other. There was another couple that stared directly at us, looking glum - not that I blame them, since they were essentially huddled in a nook trying to stay out of the way of all the young & beautiful (or is it the bold and beautiful and the young and restless?) staff who were racing about them. I kept waiting for someone to stumble over me or drop something onto my bread place while in transit.
The waiter was indifferent and in a hurry. Here is a tidbit of our dialogue.
"Would you like to start off with some cocktails or wine?
Me: I don't think so.
Him: "You don't think so, or you don't KNOW so?"
Me: Uh, no thanks.
Tim: "I'm fine with water."
Later in the evening, I think he actually TOSSED someone onto our table as he galloped by, eager to get to the next better-tipping customer.
The cheeseburger was a simple dish, so I ordered that, thinking it would be like a regular cheeseburger only much better since this is a nice restaurant and I'm paying a lot of money. It was obviously high quality beef, and was large, but the meat was rare when I asked for medium, it wasn't at all juicy and the "wild mushrooms" and "carmelized onions" that accompanied it were difficult to locate and even more difficult to taste. The fries were average in every way. I longed for In and Out Burger.
I eventually ordered a glass of pinot noir, acknowledging that alcohol would be necessary to make it through dinner without breaking down into sobs and thus making our lonely and obscure little table the center of far too much attention.
The waiter corrected my pronunciation of "Willamette" to "Wil-AM-ette." No, I'm not making this up. I was not overly generous with the tip.
Sigh, what's a homely country girl to do? I searched for the right fork to use with my entree but was distracted with fantasies of plunging its shiny tines into the waiter's foot.
Meanwhile, the outside door blew open regularly and different customers sprinted over to close it. The two teenagers in mini-skirts could have theoretically stood outside the door and made sure it was closed, but their bare legs were better used as greeting devices than actual work.
OK, now I'm just being petty and bitter. I'm just glad it's over. I think I'll retreat now, perhaps to some place or town that I can name successfully, like Tuc-son.
A review of our hike today on quilters trail...I go without expectations, but definitely armed with a fork.