Sunday, April 10, 2011

Upscale restaurants do nothing for me, either

Another perfectly good waste of money is to take me to a fancy restaurant. Maybe it is because I have the taste buds of a Phillistine. Who knows?

From time to time people try to do that to me to impress me and when it is all done and over with I generally am not impressed. I really don't give a damn how much the food costs and how you had to kiss the Maitre D's ass to get reservations. I could care less.

I remember one place I ate at and loved. I was dubious about it until I called for reservations.

When I called the place a woman answered and I asked is she had reservations.

"Just beastiality," she replied.

Needless to say, I was there for dinner in about fifteen minutes flat just to meet the woman that answered the phone. It's a slam-dunk a smart answer like that deserves my patronage. How could I resist? She proved to be a one woman riot as you can imagine. They also had a pretty good prime rib that night, too.

I really don't care if the executive chef taught for ten years at Johnson and Wales and is regarded as the biggest hotshot chef on the entire East coast. It really doesn't impress me.

Want to impress me?

Show me a diner that has a great meat loaf special or a little neighborhood place with a little local color. Show me a little ethnic place where I can try out a few things or check out something new for a change.

I once said something along these lines to a co-worker years ago and he put it somewhere in the bowels of his twisted little mind and kept it there. A couple of years later I did him a favor and he decide to repay me. He reached into the deep storage of his brain and decided to take me out to dinner.

"I know how to impress you, Pic," he told me.

Now this guy, Joey, was born and raised in the Italian section of Philly and knew it like the back of his hand. He was one of those little Americans of Italian ancestry that would run around and shadowbox for about a week after watching 'Rocky'.

Impress me, he did. He took me to a little spot in the old neighborhood that had little checkered tablecloths and candles stuck in Chianti bottles that dripped wax on the table.

The place was run by a guy that had obviously been born in Italy and spoke broken English. The shrimp scampi was delicious and there was a lot of it, and for pretty short money, too. I was impressed.

Another fellow employee a little further up the food chain looked at me one time and grinned, "There's this little place I know of that has a pretty good meat loaf special Thursdays," he said. It turned out to be a pretty good deal and a damned good little dinner. I was impressed.

When I was in the shipyard in Norfolk one of the shipyard employees, a young black guy I had nicknamed 'Irish' told me he was making a cigarette run down the the North Carolina border a few miles away. Did I want to go along and try out a North Carolina pork barbecue? I was game.

I told the waitress to bring my barbecue sandwich to me prepared the same way the locals ate them and she smiled and came back with a pretty interesting plate of North Carolina barbecue.

One meal I look back on fondly was in Kodiak.

I was working with a Filipino and when we geared down for the day I commented that I was famished. He told me he'd call his wife and see if I could come to dinner with him. He ran over to a phone booth (remember them?) and called. He looked at me almost ashamed and said I could come, but they were having Filipino food.

My face lit up and I said, "Far out!"

His wife was a chubby little bubbly Filipina who I knew because she worked downtown and was always teasing her customers. When she apologized for serving me Filipino food I surpressed a smirk and told her that, 'I like American food. You know, Bratwurst, pizza, chili, tacos, spaghetti. American food."

"But that's all..." and then she figured out the humor, started laughing and playfully threw a dish rag at me.

The food was delicious, and the meal itself was a wonderful mixture of bedlam and chaos as there were, in addition to the three of us, their four kids and somebody's grandmother. I spent a wonderful hour there eating a delicious meal listening to a smattering of excellent English, pretty good English, broken English and occasional outbursts in Tagalog. It was a joyful meal of boarding house reaches, talking with our mouths full, laughter, love and humor. I damned near snarfed twice when the grandmother caught me off guard. She was a character. She was trying to get me to meet her other daughter.

I was impressed as all git-go over that meal and for the next few years I accepted every invitation Johnny gave me through the next couple of years.

You can take your fancy restaurants to a taxidermist and stuff them. Money spent on taking me to one is wasted.

my other blog is:

No comments:

Post a Comment