Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bad Omens

Mozzarella sticks

The other night my pal C.C. and I went to a pub for a beer after seeing "The Ides of March." It was a depressing movie and we needed to recover a bit. I ordered a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and C.C. got a Coors Light.

Our waitress was pretty rude. She brought our two beers and sat them down right in the middle of the table.

"Which is which?" C.C. asked.

"The Coors Light," said the waitress, with an undisguised sneer in her voice, "is the lighter one."

I looked at her over my glasses. I don't normally look at people over my glasses because I'm not really looking at that point, since I absolutely cannot see more than a few inches unaided, but I felt in this case she needed to experience the Mean Lady Glare.

I mean, come on. If you're selling the damn beer, don't try to make your customers feel bad for ordering it. Is that too much to ask?

We picked up the food menu and began flipping. C.C. dropped hers about 15 seconds later.

"Mozzarella sticks," she said, and I understood the shorthand. She wasn't going to eat anything there.

Mozzarella sticks are where C.C. draws her line. She says that restaurants that serve mozzarella sticks are just pushing food that comes frozen in a box. Seeing that one item on the menu is a signal that they don't really care about food.

I get it.

I draw the line at the whiff of old grease. I have a nose like a bloodhound and if I walk in a place and catch the smell of stale oil, I walk right back out. I have learned the hard way to not eat there, lest I risk disappointment and/or food poisoning.

Where do you draw your line? What tips you off?

Photo by Jumbledpile. Used under a Creative Commons license.

15 comments:

nichole said...

I'll generally try anywhere once, but yeah, outright rudeness and freezer-bag food don't bring be back.

Worst for me is, I think, when a place that's been talked up or enshrined by "local favorites" polls just doesn't live up to the hype. Apron thread stuck between 2 rolls in the "best sushi in town," noisy as hell in the "most intimate..."

elvie said...

With you at old grease and secondly dirty floors.

Scribezilla said...

At Thousand Oaks' newest restaurant, I knew we were in trouble when the waitress asked my husband if he wanted ketchup on his ahi tuna burger. And it went downhill from there.

SUEB0B said...

Elvie - I walked out of a place (a place I had been to in the past and had liked) on Sunday because the floors were dirty.

Scribezilla - do tell. I'm dying to know - so I can avoid.

gandhi rules said...

I can't think of anything right off hand as I just can't get over that you and I drink the same beer. I miss you. xo

SUEB0B said...

@Robina - I don't drink much beer, but when I asked the same waitress for the wine list, she said, "Uh, we have some...I think chardonnay, some pinot and another one."

Momo Fali said...

But, mozzarella sticks are SO GOOD!

SUEB0B said...

Momo - but they're DEEP FRIED CHEESE! How much worse for you can something get? I mean, I love deep fried food and I like cheese...but not together.

nichole said...

Suebob, come to Wisconsin, where deep fried cheese curds are worth it!

Cindy said...

I draw the line at side items. If the only veggy option is to choose from the sides, I don't want to be there. Plus, you have to be even more careful with sides because people in Oklahoma put bacon or ham into everything.

Anonymous said...

Dirty bathrooms are a big red flag for me.

SUEB0B said...

Nichole - do they still squeak if they are deep-fried?

Cindy - sometimes I have to just get a bunch of sides at BBQ places. As long as they're good, I don't mind, but nasty frozen corn on the cob won't get it.

Anon - did you read Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential"? He talks about that - says if the bathrooms, which you CAN see, are filthy, what is the kitchen, which you can't see, like?

SUEB0B said...

Nichole - do they still squeak if they are deep-fried?

Cindy - sometimes I have to just get a bunch of sides at BBQ places. As long as they're good, I don't mind, but nasty frozen corn on the cob won't get it.

Anon - did you read Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential"? He talks about that - says if the bathrooms, which you CAN see, are filthy, what is the kitchen, which you can't see, like?

nichole said...

Some curds do still squeak when fried - though we've only found this once, at a golf course in the middle of nowhere (our report here). It was kind of a miracle.

SUEB0B said...

@nichole - Thanks for the reporting. Important journalistic endeavors!