I accompanied my sister to a ‘get to know your neighbors over wine and appetizers’ function that was sponsored by her apartment complex. When people asked what I do, I replied with my current, ‘I’m retired’ line. However, after the second person, it occurred to me that up here that’s a reality for a lot of people my age and it kind of lost its novelty.
My sister took me out for lunch yesterday at a sushi bar across the street. Evidently, it’s the only sushi place in a two mile radius so they can get away with super crappy service; something that she brought to my attention the minute we stepped in the door and were ignored for a good five minutes. “This is typical of this place; they have the worst service of all the restaurants around here.”
“I assume the food makes up for it, then?”
“Actually, the food’s not that amazing, either.”
When we ordered, the waitress told us that the sushi would be at least a 25 minute wait. To stifle our hunger pains, my sister asked for an order of edamame. When 20 minutes passed without a sign of our drinks or appetizer, she commented, “this is usually the time when I flag down the waitress and tell her to cancel the edamame. Then, when the bill comes, we’ll have to argue for them to take it off.”
I find it amusing that a sushi fix for my sister is worth putting up with all of that.
Speaking of food, one of the tell-tale signs of a good ethnic restaurant is that the place should be filled with the corresponding clientele; e.g. a good Japanese restaurant will be filled with Japanese patrons. After listening to Dave insist that it was worth the quest and then allowing him to lead me on a wild goose chase around half of China Town looking for the House of Nanking restaurant, we finally found the place. We walked inside and, with the exception of the staff, Dave was the only Asian person in the entire restaurant. In my head, I immediately thought that was a bad omen. We were rushed to a table and after looking at the menu for about 30 seconds, a surly Chinese woman (SCW) came over to take our order.
“You been here before?”
Dave: “yes, but it was many ye-“
SCW: “ok, what you want?”
Dave: “can we get a minute to look at the menu?”
SCW: “just tell me what you like, I pick for you.” To me, “what you like? Chicken? Shrimp?”
Me: “uh, chicken sounds fine.”
SCW, to Dave: “ok, what you like, seafood? Squid?”
Dave, pointing to the menu: “what about this shrimp dish”
SCW: “ok, you want shrimp? I pick for you. You like.”
And with that, she grabbed our superfluous menus and headed to the back. About 10 minutes passed and our food showed up. To the woman’s credit, everything was great, but I would have no idea how to order it again if I ever end up back there.