Saturday, April 29, 2006

Random Food Weirdness from Friday

I don't go out to lunch often on weekdays. Fast food isn't my favorite cuisine, and the quickest places around the wwrk place are fast food. I usually buy bagged salad and keep it in the fridge at wwrk. Add a can of tuna or leftover chicken or steak from home, and viola, lunch.

But on paydays I have to go out and distribute my check amongst the creditors. While I'm out, I like to slide by somewhere and get something different. I feel quite pretentious when I can sit in the drive thru bank line and call to pick up sushi. It makes me laugh.

Yesterday I didn't want sushi at noon, so I thought I'd just get a salad or something on the way back to wwrk. I went past Wendys, the line for the drive thru was almost into the street. Okay, no prob, on to Burgurgler King. Same deal. Hm. On to the food court at the maul. Not a parking space to be had. Then I started to be annoyed, so I drove past the McDonalds (oh desperation!) same damn lined up to the road waiting to talk into a box for shitty food. Daaaaaam. Okay, I thought, screw dis. I drove down to the brand spanky new super-hyper-mondo-yuppie-XXL grocery store, that has a deli, hot food buffet, cold food buffet, gourmet pizza, Chinese take out, custom sammiches, a coffee bar, florists, gourmet cheese, Emeril LaGasse cookwear, bikini waxes, nose piercing, organic fruit juice station, organic salad bar, and is staffed by psychics. Okay, so I made the part about the psychics up.....ANYWAY, my parking karma was finally working and I found a reasonably close spot (not a half mile or shuttle bus ride away) and made my way into the XXL store, and immediately walked into a sea of $500 baby strollers, toddlers wearing designer togs, impossibly chic soccer moms, and businessmen who are too important to have lunch without a cell phone jammed in their ears. Whooooo.......sensory overload! While dodging strollers and haute mamas chatting about their latest plastic surgeries, I beelined it to the salad bar, hoping that I could get something quick and get the hell out of there.

In this section of the XXL store, there are several registers set up to pay for your food. One cashier was open, and she seemed rather vexed I'd pick her to ring me out. I wasn't sure if I paid for salad at this island, or if it was the ten dim sum or less register. "Can I pay for this here?" I asked. "Huh?" said the brain surgeon. "This salad, can I pay for it here?" "Uh, yeah sure...." so she rang me up, peering at me from under her bangs like I had just trekked in from Botswana.

After navigating back thru the sea of humanity, I beat feet to the car. In PA, traffic is supposed to yield to pedestrians. I guess in that neck of the woods (or concrete jungle) a person not on a cell phone while walking does not count as a pedestrian. I almost got run over twice in the 30 yard trek to my car. TWICE. The last woman (on the phone of course) didn't stop at all, and I had to step it up a bit to get in front of her before she hit me. I pondered hurling my salad at her, but figured with the police would take awhile to get there, and I had stuff to do back at the office. I got out of my parking space and made my way out of the traffic maze to head back to wwrk. By this time I was pissed, mentally drained, and not even hungry. I ate lunch at my desk (again) and finished the afternoon (that really went on for several dozen hours) Obbie called to regale me with his morning from hell (not at liberty to go there, sorry, it's a goodie too) and it was finally time to head back to the homestead.

When I arrived at the ranch, Obbie was mowing the back yard (his half, I did the front eariler in the week) and we had a beer together and commiserated about the day. After the mower ran out of gas, he came inside and we made plans for dinner.

I had put some chicken out to thaw, but lost my momentum for cooking. "Lets go out for dinner" is a commonly heard phrase around the ranch. After pondering what to eat, we decided on Mexican. YAY I cheered as we got in the truck and headed to the local Mexican place. Guess what? THE LINE WAS OUT THE DOOR! Siiiiiigh.....

So we started driving West and decided on a new place. THE LINE WAS OUT THE DOOR. Next....Still heading West, we ended up in small town USA at the foot of the mountain. An Inn there had reopened last year, and was rumored to have decent food. The parking lot was full, but nobody was in line.

After being seated by a very harried waitress/busperson, a gentleman materialized for our drink orders. Obbie got a beer, and I had my usual, unsweetened tea with lemon. Ghost man was back in a short while with our drinks. Obbies beer looked like a urine specimen. No head, no bubbles. Just flat beer. The waitress came back to get our food orders, and Obbie explained that he'd like a bottled beer this time, for this one was flat and stale. Crab soup and Crab cakes are the speciality of the house, so thats what I had, and he ordered a steak. We made small talk with the people next to us (because we talk to everyone, like it or not) The soups came, and were very tasty. As soon as they left, the salads appeared and before we were halfway finished with them, the entrees arrived.

I don't know about you, but when I order a meal, it usually comes on one plate. (Side dishes at the diner, like cole slaw, cottage cheese or applesauce need their own dishes, but they're small, and not alarming.) They set before me, a giant white plate, and in the middle was this little crabcake, two small lemon slices and 8 pieces of fancy lettuce. My fries came on another plate......This just seemed really surreal to me. One crabcake, centered on this platter size plate with garnish, and the side dish unto itself. I wondered if the chef had one of those weird things where food can't touch other food on the plate? I felt kind of sorry for that crabcake, really. It seemed so lonely there. Obbie and I laughed about it later, saying the chef was classically trained, and hasn't figured out that haute cuisine isn't 'it' here in small townville where an MTO sub from Sheetz is usually just fine, or that chicken wings don't HAVE to be an appetizer. The did lose points because the fries were steak fries, which I don't much care for, too mealy, not enough crunch.

In all fairness, the food was good, and we'll go back again. The bar was really neat, so next time we'll head to the bar part, and have soup and appetizers.

I'll think just have to add 'eating out on Fridays' on my list of things not to do.

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