A chip off the olé otle
I received a $25 gift card to Chipotle Mexican Grill for a birthday gift. Now I don’t know Chipotle from a hole in the ground but, ostensibly, it still seemed like a reasonable gift. I knew it was a chain restaurant of some sort so I figured I’d get a meal of out the deal.
At the time we’d been in the big city for six months. I had never seen a Chipotle. Luckily, a check of the internet maps revealed there were nine to choose from within a 10-mile radius. We chose the closest and embarked on a big city adventure.
The adventure really took off in the parking lot. It was tinier than a postage stamp’s sphincter and, wisely, allowed cars to enter from both directions at the same time. So I was in a really good mood by the time we entered the eatery. (I will deliberately eschew the word “restaurant” for the remainder of this review.)
Although we waited for a space, a car pulled in and assumed it was theirs, not knowing that we had waited six hours. It was an honest mistake but the angry look on the dude’s face did make for awkward times a few minutes later when they stood six inches behind us in the line.
That brings me to the next feature of this diner: The Line. We walked into the place and the most prominent feature, the thing that really captured your attention was the humans in a queue. I looked at my wife. She looked at me. We shrugged and said the same thing. “Let’s get the hell out of here.”
All in all not a bad first experience.
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Something funny happened on the way to the quesadilla
Every Tuesday, my wife and I meet at a Mexican restaurant for the lunch special. We picked Tuesday because it’s the vegetarian day of the week: cheese suizas. The place is a few blocks from where I work so I hoof it and my baby drives across town.
This week Tuesday didn’t work out. So we decided to go on Wednesday. The lunch special (which is different each day of the week) is chicken quesadillas.
We’re regulars. They know us there. We’ve been doing the Tuesday thing for a year now.
We asked if we could get the lunch special without chicken. “Sure thing,” we were told.
As you might guess, there’s a twist. Or why else would this be a story worthy of the Abyss?
The food arrived and we quickly discern two things. First, the food is cold. The beans, the rice, and the quesadillas, too. All of it. We just shrug. We’re casual and we’re not going to pitch a fit. The second thing is that the portions are noticeably smaller than normal.
Again we just shrugged.
That was one sad little quesadilla, too. It was a tortilla with some cheese in it. That’s it. And no sour cream or guacamole. It was quite likely the most boring thing in the world.
Finally it was time for the bill. We noticed that we’ve been charged 50 cents extra per plate.
Now my eyebrow went up. Holy pollo loco, Batman! I’ve finally had all I can stands and I can’t stands no more. I start asking questions.
“Did the price of the lunch special go up?”
“No, the cook is a stickler for the rules and because you made a substitution we had to charge you for the children’s quesadilla plate.”
Ah. The mystery of the smaller portions is solved. Worse, the waiter flat out lied when he said “no problem” to our simple request. If he would have informed us of their overly rigid rules, we would have likely made different choices. But we weren’t given that option.
“So, let me get this straight. We ask for a lunch special with no chicken and you give us smaller portions and charge us more money?”
The waiter nodded. We like the dude, so I tried to be gentle.
“I’m offended by that.”
His nonverbal response was basically, “go suck a jalapeno.” Now I was getting fiesta. I mean feisty.
“Well, nothing personal, but this just might be a deal breaker. Maybe you’ve seen the last of us.”
He just laughed. Did he think I was joking?
In these hard times, eating lunch out once a week is a luxury, at least for us. You think they’d appreciate our business and would toss their regulars the tiniest little sliver of bone. Guess not. I emailed the owner and she didn’t bother to reply.
I guess they have seen the last of us. The damn mothercluckers.
Freedom fries again
Freedom fries have been attacked. Freedom fries will be defended.
Remember the good old days when politician hyperbole was limited to things like “freedom fries?” Well, maybe not. Maybe that golden era never existed. But that’s a far cry from things like a “Satan sandwich” and “Satan fries.” No, I’m not making that up. Google it. It’s there.
But this isn’t a post about that. This is a post about foods.
Last Monday the Cow Orker was hungry. She said she was going to the Mexican fast food drive thru restaurant up the street. She asked if I wanted anything.
“I’ll take some french fries, please.”
Everyone thought I was nuts. French fries at a Mexican restaurant? “We’ll see,” I said with a wizened look in my eye.
She came back with a huge container of piping hot fries. They had made them fresh just for me. They were delicious, gorgeous, plump, beautiful and served up in a large styrofoam container. And the whole order was only $1.80. I think a large order at McDonalds costs almost twice as much.
The Cow Orker was insanely jealous. “I’ll just sit here and eat my chips. The English contribution to world cuisine: the chip!” Mwuhahaha!
Today she decided to go back and get her own. She was positively beside herself with the wanting of the chips. She came back in the office talking about “disappointment.” For a moment, that made me jealous. What the hell is my personal companion doing flirting with someone else?
We gathered around the sad little bag she had returned with. She reached in and pulled out this tiny, greasy mess that looked more like a potato massacre than anything resembling what we had seen on Monday.
Limp. Lifeless. Greasy. Mushy. Lackluster. Wanting. Decidedly not served in a big stryofoam container but a little cup. Sad. Pathetic. Impotent. Spent. Waste. Different. Barely warm.
“What happened?” we asked.
She explained that she had ordered the exact same thing as before. It was $1.80, just like before. But the server had no idea what she was talking about when she explained that these fries were completely different. “No, no,” she was assured. “That’s how they always are.”
Except for that apparently make-believe land of 48 hours ago.
And that’s how I earned the title, Lord of the Fries.
The other night my wife took me out to a Mexican restaurant for my birthday dinner. The selection of the restaurant was based on a single criteria: the availability of margaritas in the “pitcher” size.
As we ate, at a neighboring table, a giant sombrero was carried out and placed on the head of a woman as the staff began to sing the happy birthday song. They also produced a plate of the ubiquitous crispy chips dusted with cinnamon sugar and topped with whipped cream. The Mexican restaurant version of birthday cake.
I looked at my wife and, under pain of divorce, made her swear she wouldn’t mention my birthday to the restaurant. There was no way in hell I was going to go through that. She was mischievous and had me going, but eventually she relented and agreed to my request.
Then, something interesting happened. The restaurant staff produced a shot glass, slammed it on the table, and the birthday girl snorted it down.
I looked over at my wife. “I wonder if that shot was free?”
Later in the dinner our waitress stopped by to check on us. “Can I ask you something,” I said. “Do you get a free shot if it is your birthday.”
She said yes.
“Well, then. Guess what? It’s my birthday. Bring it on. But not that damn sombrero – and no singing!”
For some reason, the waitress didn’t exactly trust me. It’s almost like she thought I was trying to scam a free shot. So I produced my ID, she smiled and walked away.
Yep, sure enough, next thing I know there was a giant sombrero on my head and two waitresses and a busboy were singing to me. Argh. But oh man, was that shot good!
It was tequila and Kahlua and carbonated water (I think). Delicious!
Pride may go before destruction and haughtiness before a fall, but for me, dignity apparently goes before a free shot.