Thursday, March 10, 2011

Waiter! There's Raw Fish in My Soup!

Chuckles and I haven't been on a date in awhile. His drywall work has been slow since Christmas, so we haven't had a lot of cash to spare. Both our dating life and my hair have suffered on account of this.

I think it's important for married people to date. Each other of course. Otherwise it just gets messy.

Some of my work friends asked us to meet up with them last night at this sushi place called Shiki.

It's not a very fancy looking place, Jacksonville doesn't really have fancy places to eat. 'Dress Code' in J-ville means you don't bring a concealed weapon or wear gang colours. It doesn't mean 'Jacket & Tie Required'.

But some of the best places I've ever eaten at were holes in the wall, and we really wanted to have dinner out, so we accepted the invitation.

The evening started off badly right off the bat. Most of you know that I live in a rural-ish area right next to a Marine Corps base. It took forever to even get out onto the highway from my area. Traffic was really backed up. We were setting out at a bad time, but even so...

Got up to the turnoff to the highway, and found out there was a big accident that was blocking 3 ways of traffic. Rush hour traffic. I was driving, and I was so angry. Nothing worse for me than just standing still in a car.

I'd rather take the long way round and just keep driving. But we were trapped in at this point, there was no other way out. Always awesome to start off an evening out with intense road rage.

We get to the place, and walk in and it IS a little hole in the wall, but it's packed. All of my friends were at seperate tables. My friend E said that they started pushing tables together when they got there and the server/bartender guy freaked out and said we couldn't because the fire marshall wouldn't allow tables being pushed together. Tables must be 3 feet apart.


Well in that case, we just shoved ourselves around two tables instead of three, so that we were all closer together.

We finally settled in and took in the atmosphere. It was very busy, and the server looked very harried. I asked E what was up with that?

"He told us that the old woman that runs the place is cheap, and fired everyone else so it was just him working tonight."

Wow. This dude, lets call him Mumbles (because that's what he did when he talked) had to run around to every table, serve the drinks, take the orders, take payments...he was not a happy camper.

When Mumbles came back out to take the rest of our order sheets and saw us all sitting closer together, he was even less happy. Apparently the old woman would be angry with him for letting us seat 4 people to a table (even though they were 4 person tables, with one side shoved against the wall). We let him know that if she wanted our money, which we would be collectively spending a lot of, she couldn't be too angry. He looked at us like, 'Ok, it's your funeral.' Well, maybe he thought it was going to be his funeral.

I had a lot of fun talking with my friends. We talked. And talked. Talked some more....filling up the wait time with banter.

Hmm, more talking. Awkward silence. Some more talking.

Man, the food was taking a long time!!

Finally, some of my friends got their food. Some of us didn't.

More talking whilst watching them eat. Some more friends got their food. Three of us didn't, including Chuck and I.


A few of my friends were already finished eating. I thought I'd slip off to the bathroom, because that always seems to be the time food will finally arrive.

The bathroom was a single person, hole in the wall-style bathroom. As expected. I went in to check my hair and make-up before I took a pee, because that's what ladies do.

Hm. No mirror over the sink. I looked towards the toilet, and oh. There was the mirror. Right above the toilet. And I'm talkin' right above. You'd have to be bending over or straddling the toilet backwards to see into it. I shook my head, and turned to sit down. Forget the hair and make-up.

Oh. There was the real mirror. A full-length one even. On the wall opposite the toilet. Right in front of the toilet. Why check your hair and make-up before or after you pee when you can do it at the same time??

I was so surprised at how absurd this was, I sat there and laughed the whole time. You pee faster when you're laughing, don't ya know? The one-person-at-a-time bathroom wasn't THAT small. There was plenty of alternative wall space to place a full length mirror.

After I watched myself pee (which I have never done before, I guess there's a first time for everything) I went to wash my hands, still laughing. I dried them on paper towel and threw the paper towel in the...

Wait. Where's the wastebasket? Is it on the other side of the cabinet? No. Is it hiding on the other side of the toilet? No. I open the door to the cabinet that holds the sink, maybe it's under there? Nope.

I had noticed a pile of wadded up paper towels sitting on the edge of the sink. Now I know why they're there. I thought it was because people were lazy. But it was because there was no freaking trash bin.

It's funny, you never realize what a regular routine using the bathroom is, until your regular routine is interrupted.

Anyway, I added my paper towels to the pile and I went out to find the food still not there. The friends that were finished were talking about what they were going to do afterwards, and then said 'Not that we're going to leave before you get to eat!'. How sad that they even felt they needed to say that. I don't know if I've ever waited for food so long. If Chuckles and I had been by ourselves, I'm sure we would have left.

Our food finally came when most of the place was empty except the gang of us. It was pretty good, but not spectacular enough to make up for the wait, and for how much the bill was. I'm really glad to have gone out and chatted with friends (if any of you are reading this, THAT was fun :)). But jeez.

This wasn't the worst restaurant experience we've ever had, but it was close.What was your worst restaurant experience ever, Dear Reader?


Tricia said...

Chianti's on Whyte. The restaurant was great, but the guy I was with felt the need to diss my best friend, sister, and generally my whole family the entire night for their beliefs, styles, and more. Even after explaining to him that these were important people in my life, he didn't stop. He also told me about 5 or 6 times what I could/could not get based on the coupon he had gotten in his university agenda. Wow... that's one way to impress a lady. I tried SO hard to avoid the kiss at the end of the night, but no cigar. He kinda forced it on me. I couldn't wait to get out of there. By the time I got home I felt like I had to apologize for him (even though no one knew what he said but me).

Turling said...

Hard to believe, but we haven't really had one. Apparently, we don't get out enough.

Liz said...

Hi Kyna,

We've had two poor experieces recently, and strangely (or not) both were in restaurants at a large shopping mall nearby.
One restaurant is a regular for us, but in the city centre and the service is always fine. But at this mall they were just so slow, and it was only lunchtime on a Sunday ffs!
The other, well it started off bad and resulted in me having eggs benedict which was so hard you could've knocked someone out with the muffin. yeah, never going there again.

Kyna said...

Tricia: What a douche O_O

I never went to Chianti's, my brother Kevin went there all the time. I can totally see how a bad experience with the person you went with can make it a place you don't want to visit again though lol. I had a couple of places like that. ;)

Turling: Not one bad restaurant experience in your whole life? Not even a spider in your drink? Chuck and I went to a crappy restaurant once, that we knew was crappy but went anyway. I spied something weird in Chuck's glass of was a giant hairy-legged spider, literally frozen into one of the ice cubes. We told the person at the counter, they shrugged, and offered him another glass of water.

Not even something like that, Turling? :)

Liz: Slowness kills me. I'd rather the food be a little crappy than have it take forever in coming out. But slowness kills me anywhere...if someone takes a little too long in telling a story, I feel like beating them over the head with your hard breakfast muffin. I hope you kept it as a souvenier doorstop? :P

No one else with stories? *crickets*

Kal said...

When I was a teen me and three of my friends were waiting to be picked up but the messages got scrambled and the father thought the mother was going to pick us up and vice versa. So we waited all night at a 24 hour dive with a bottomless cup of coffee. The ketchup was runny and the fries were undercooked and I got so sick from all the coffee that I can't drink it to this day. The following week they were shut down for bad lettuce that gave everyone ecoli.

John Gray said...

thats the most eclectic and entertaining blog entry I have read in a long time!

Jess said...

OH, I've had several, but off the bat I can say getting locked in a bathroom 'stall' (one of those chi chi ones that is all dark wood and candles and the door shuts behind you and you are inclosed from floor to 12 foot ceiling), IN MOSCOW, on a monday night with very few people in the restaurant, and those that were spoke RUSSIAN. I banged for a half an hour on the 6 inch think stall door without trying to really freak out. My EX BOYFRIEND (grrrr) just let me stay in there the entire time... I guess he never wondered or was concerned that in a foreign city known for mafia that I had disappeared! Finally one of the service staff heard me and got some guy who took apart the lock and let me free. To this day I will not 'lock' a stall door unless you can crawl out from under it. I'd rather show my stuff.

The Idiot Gardener said...

I was once in a recommended restaurant, and things were going well. Suddenly there seemed to be a spat going on between a wiatress and a waiter. We watched as she obviously gave him the cold shoulder, while he tried to hiss some message to her. She served the starters and he brought the wine. As he poured my wine he snarled at her, "You slut".

I laughed, which made both of them stare at me. She turned and stormed away and I asked him what was going on. They were due to get married in a few weeks, and he'd popped in to see her at work on his day off, and caught her at it with one of the chefs.

He went off and she came back with something else. I asked if the chef was well hung, and she started to cry. Apparently she'd been seeing the chef for a while and was pregnant. She thought it was the chef as the waiter had taken precautions. The other people I was with were embarrassed but I kept on quizzing her.

Then another waitress came over and told her to go to the staffroom and stop crying. She then apologised to us and asked what had happened. My friend told her, which was a good move as she was the chef's wife.

Next you know we had the two waitresses, the waiter and the chef at our table, argiung the toss and for some reason involving us. I sat there drunkenly laughing, and eventually a friend of mind just stood up and yelled at the top of his voice "Get the fucking manager".

The whole place went silent, and an oldish man came hurrying over. Before he could speak I asked him, "Are you having sex wioth any of these people?" He said he wasn't. I figured it was worth checking.

My friend then turned to the manager and said very loudly, "Look, we have come to your establishment on the basis of a recommendation. Do you understand that? A fucking recommendation. That means another customer came here, like dit, and told us to come here. If we like it, we tell someone else, and so on. It's how great restaurants become great, do you understand that?"

The oldish man nodded. My friend continued. "We've come here tonight, especially because it was recommdend, and all we want is a quiet meal of a good quality, with efficient servcie. And what do we get, eh? What do we fucking get?"

The oldish man looked devasted and went to speak, but before he could my friend picked up his plate, held it out to the man, and said, "The venison steak, superbly seasoned, perfectly cooked, the sauce well balanced, even the peas are bursting with freshness. But the chips? The chips, my friend, are fucking cold!"

With that he handed the plate to the oldish man, sat back down and turned to me. he then asked, still very loudly, "Which one's up the stick, the fat one or the thin one?"

We didn't get a bill at the end of the evening.

Marguerite said...

Kyna, I absolutely agree on continuing date nights. Unfortunately we don't do that often enough in this house but last weekend went to a pub in the afternoon and ate too much and lazed about. It was grand. I can't think of any really atrocious restaurant stories but not too long ago we went out for a greasy spoon kind of meal. Hubby who loves greasy food ordered a hot hamburger sandwich loaded with gravy. Very very bad heart attack inducing food - his favourite. The waitress asked him if he'd like his sandwich with whole wheat bread and he was like 'um what's the point of that?' and she began to argue with him that if he was having so much gravy then he ought to compensate by eating good bread. How nice of her to watch out for his health like that!

Melissa said...

Great story - and love that last pic. We go to a place at the Lake of the Ozarks - Dick's Halfway Inn. They sell shots that you drop live guppies into, and NO, I have never done one. But friends have...urgh.

Slowness drives me crazy, too. I'd rather drive 20 minutes out of my way than sit in 10 minutes of traffic.

Worst restaurant experience: there have been several, but the most recent was at a pub that recently changed hands. About 8 girls out for a friend's birthday dinner. We get a round of drinks, and order dinner - 30 minutes later, no food. We can see the waitress is slammed, so we ask how long? she says about another 10-15 we order another round of drinks. 15 minutes later - no drinks. no food.

We ask the waitress, she says everything is on it's way. 10 minutes later, no drinks, no food.

We tell her to forget it, we are leaving. And she gives us the bill for the round of drinks we had, the round of drinks we didn't have AND the food that was never delivered. We ask her to remove all the items EXCEPT the drinks we actually got, but she can't do that...only a manager can, and he's on his break. I thought she was going to cry. We felt so bad for her, we went ahead and threw down enough money to cover our first round and a pretty good tip. Hope she kept all of it.

The place was out of business by the next week.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Oh my, I hate restaurant experiences like that. I honestly feel rather sorry for your waiter though. I wonder if he's quit yet? We've had a number of bad dining experiences in the past, but the most recent one was at a trendy local restaurant that supposedly had 'fabulous' food. The service was equivalently horrendous. We got through a bottle of wine (with our friends, not alone - honest!) before the waiter even took our food order (maybe that was part of his cunning plan). Then it was 45 minutes and another bottle until the cold soup arrived. Dinner was not only late, but the chicken was RAW. Can we spell Sam and Ella? Ewww. Not enough alcohol in the world to make up for that. To make up for the horrible dining experience, the chef sent out a large family sized plate of burned to a crisp...wait for it...brussel sprouts. First, who sends sprouts to make a customer happy? Second, what wine pairs well with burned brussel sprouts? The fact they were burned proved the chef didn't care a hoot about any of us, but honestly, that was the most entertaining part of the entire meal. Dessert was actually awful (how in the heck do you screw up dessert?), and the pound cake was only fit for mortaring and building walls with. It's the first restaurant in many years that I left saying I would NEVER return. Thank dog I didn't the visit the bathroom there, who knows what horrors may have awaited me! :P

John Gray said...

just checking for your next post!
where is it?

Rohrerbot said...

OMG!!!! I am laughing. First off, yes we have to find date nights as well. I have to get my tubby butt out and we zumba on Thursday nights. You know if money weren't an issue....:) And the two of us have completely different tastes....I love gardening while my other half reads comics. Number one. Hilarious if not nasty title....Crabby have to go there for the name alone. Bathroom experience sounds unique and not sure I'd want to experience in a public place. As for restaurant experiences, oh yeah, we've had our fill of them. I hate when the dishes all come out at different times.....that to me is bad service because eating out is a social thing. I love your writes and people observations. I know I've said that before but I think if we lived in the same town, we'd be friends. Arizona is full of characters and the gardening part keeps me sane:)