Today we present another episode of “Great Moments in Dining:”
St. Pauli Girl and I recently spent a weekend away where we had the chance to enjoy dinner at a cozy wine bar/restaurant. We sat down in a good mood, as we were fortunate to get a table without a reservation on a Friday night. But then, it was only 6:00 p.m.
Within minutes of being seated our waiter arrived, much like the rolling cloud of smoke preceding the forest fires that engulfed Bastrop, Texas, earlier this year. I’ll call our waiter Marlboro Man, not because he looked like the fabled cowboy but because he smelled like he smoked three cartons a day. Anyway, things started off smoothly, as he quickly fetched our wine and came back for our food order.
Perusing the menu, we couldn’t find anything new or unusual that we wanted to try. Our best bet looked like “Fish of the Day.” So we asked Marlboro Man what it was.
“I don’t know. I’ll go find out,” he said, then darted back to the kitchen. St. Pauli Girl arched an eyebrow at me. Sloppy management or poorly trained server or both?
Yes, I agreed, but at least he admitted he didn’t know and set out to get the correct answer.
He came back, leaned on a chair on the opposite side of the table, and said. “It’s wahoo.”
We nodded our heads and waited for the description of how it was being served.
Apparently, they were just going to throw a wahoo on a plate. Finally, St. Pauli Girl and I both said in unison, “Is there a sauce or something with it?”
“Yes,” Marlboro Man said matter-of-factly.
Great! We smiled and waited. Again, nothing.
The long silence finally threw Marlboro Man into action. “It’s some kind of lime reduction thingy.”
To spare all of us more pain, I responded, “I’ll have the ribeye.”
Dinner was served and Marlboro Man was quite attentive, constantly checking our water glasses. I guess to avoid interrupting our conversation, he resorted to raising his eyebrows and making an “ok” sign with his fingers as he walked past our table. I began responding with a “thumbs-up” sign.
After a decent meal, we decided to not force Marlboro Man to recite the dessert list because he probably would have said, “Yeah, we got this chocolatey thing. And pie and um … some dessert.”
We asked for the check and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, he came back and set the check on the table.
“Have a nice night,” he said. Then he walked away, leaving a trail of fresh smoke in his wake.
I inhaled deeply. “Ah yes,” I said. “Just coming off a Friday night mid-shift break.” I sniffed the air and closed my eyes. “Camel non-filtered, vintage 2010.”
When he brought the credit card slip back, he thanked us again and gave us another “okay” sign for good measure.
For the tip, I drew a picture of a “thumbs-up.”