Anachostic

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Tag Archives: dining

I Can’t Sleep – Web Crawl

This crawl started by seeing AK in a snapchat picture with a BK+Budweiser filter.  I wondered what that bullshit was all about and ended up reading a press release saying Burger King had a limited time burger for sale.

The burger was hyped as best as it could be, I suppose.  It was a double cheeseburger with more shit on it.  The part that caught my eye was “features two savory flame-grilled beef patties totaling more than ¼ lb.* of beef”  Wow, guys.  Two patties to make a quarter-pounder, huh?  I’m not going to say it’s more than a quarter pound, because otherwise they’d be bragging it was 1/3 pound.  Or maybe not, since stupid Americans don’t understand 1/3 is more than 1/4.

Anyway, that got me reminiscing about how I used to love double cheeseburgers at BK.  They were the absolute best value on the menu.  And then they shrunk the fuck out of them around the great recession, 2008 or so.  I wish I could prove it.

Maybe I can.  I went looking for nutritional information and ended up on a site that had these impressively accurate meter thingies about the BK double cheeseburger.

image

Does the taste good?  Of course the does!

And from this page, I got a number, a serving size.  171 grams, which is .377 pounds and must include the bun.  So, how do I find out how good things were back in the day?  Well, I use my favorite tool for exposing embarrassing facts, the Wayback Machine.

Looking at the nutritional info for the double cheeseburger on BK’s site from 1999, I get another number, 198, which is .436 pounds.  So, you do the math and see how much it’s lost over the years.  Tip, calculate it as a percentage to make it sound more impressive.  The Fake News Media does it all the time. (Seriously, I don’t care which side you’re on or what you believe.  If you see an article on anything that only uses percentages, be skeptical.  They’re selling it to you.)

But that’s not the end of the data.  After I got the serving size from the old archived BK website, I felt like an idiot for not just going to the current BK site instead of this “Durr, click Delicious or Disgusting button, pleez” website.  And when I went to BK’s current site, I got yet another number. As of May 2018, the size of a double cheeseburger is 148 grams, or .326 pounds.

To summarize, in 1999, BK’s double cheeseburger was .436 pounds, and in 2018 it is .326 pounds.  That’s a reduction of .110 pounds, which is a 25% reduction from the 1999 size. Oh no! Percentages!  I’ve destroyed my credibility by at least 108%.

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Ooo, You’re So Slow and Tasty

Provocative title aside, this is just a post bitching about upscaling at eating places.  You know, where the normal menu, which has existed forever, just isn’t good enough anymore, so the place has to try new, fancy shit and to hell with what we had before.  I’ve said before that I’m a fan of the standards, the basics.  When I go to a place to eat, I usually know what I’m getting, so all this new and better stuff doesn’t really appeal to me.  Yeah, I suck.  Deal with it.

I have read numerous times in articles about how McDonalds keeps trying to attract new customers by making new things.  There’s plenty wrong with this.  First off, as all American investor-driven companies, McDonalds is not allowed to just be.  They must forever be growing.  There is no satisfaction in being good.  You have to be better, quarter after quarter.  So, to that end, McD’s tries to grow their customer base by selling different things.  The problem is, these different things are more complex.  They take time.  They fuck up all the efficiencies that made the McD’s of olden times great.  You want a plain old quarter pounder?  Well, it’s going to be a bit because the party in front of you ordered Flapacheetos and McDonkles and we have to specially prepare each of those.

The exact same thing has happened the last couple of times I’ve been to Dunkin Donuts.  The party in front of me doesn’t want donuts or coffee.  They want, “An everything bagel, toasted, with butter, and bacon and cheese.  And then another one just like that, but a plain bagel.  And what do you want?  Ok, a croissant, no wait, another bagel.  What kind?  They’re all right there.  What’s that one?  Never mind, just make it plain.  And what do you want on it?  Bacon?  No.  No bacon.  Cheese?  Sausage?  You like sausage.  Yes, you do like it.  Just sausage and cheese.  And I’m going to have a coffee, with half and half and two sugars.  And what do you want to drink?  I don’t know if they have that…”  And 15 fucking minutes later, because they can’t take my order until they finish the order before me (FUUUUUUCCCK!), I order my two donuts.

Dunkin Donuts used to be a donut shop.  There used to be a time, and it wasn’t really all that long ago, you could get in and get out.  Now it’s a goddamn café.  It doesn’t need to be one.  In fact, McDonalds also has what they call McCafe.  That’s the trap.  McDonalds also used to be fast food.  There’s nothing fast about it anymore.  The same articles that talk about McDonalds adding new menu items to attract new business also say the restaurant owners hate it because it slows down their service times, which just backs everything up and irritates the customers, like me.

I say fairly often that I have pity for people growing up today because they have no idea that fast food used to be good and tasty and now it’s just processed bullshit.  And now the service has gone to shit right along with the food quality.  You know, Chipotle had something pretty good going for a while, until that whole poisoning thing happened.  That’s another company that is probably going to get desperate and start introducing new items.  You’ll know it when a new menu item has to be built off the conveyer line.  And that will be the next nail in the coffin because it will reduce the efficiency of their service.  Let’s see if they survive long enough to kick themselves in the teeth.

Simple, Unhealthy Pleasures, Made More Expensive

I read a recent announcement that a new burger place was going to be opening in my town.  You would think I would be excited about something like that because I like burgers.  But unfortunately, the burgers of my era don’t really exist anymore.  They have been improved, upcycled, and gentrified.  They are now Gourmet Burgers.  And I fucking hate them.

Remember a time when you would go and have a beer?  Well, I don’t personally, because I don’t drink.  But I remember the reputation of people who would go and have a beer and it was, well, hmmm…. blue-collar.  But then, craft beers came along and drinking beer was hip and trendy and super cool.  And they also got super expensive, and there were so many variants it seemed impossible to keep track of what you might like, if anything.  And drinking craft beers gave you a way to serious discuss the various ways you get yourself drunk, with organic hops and brew cycles and fermentation in only the highest quality drums and ABV or drunkerness-value.

Remember when cupcakes were a simple treat?  You’d buy a half-dozen from the grocery store and eat them at a party or over a week or something?  Then came along a concept of gourmet cupcakes, where you buy one super-expensive cupcake and savor the fuck out of it to get your money’s worth.  But no one just eats one cupcake, so in the end, you’re just spending a hell of a lot more money.  But you justify it because the cupcake is of a much higher quality.  And the cupcakes aren’t just something simple, it’s a mishmash of crazy ingredients and flavors just to prove to yourself and everyone else that you have such a refined palate.

Remember burgers?  A chunk of mashed beef on a bun?  Well, that’s just too simple for the hip, modern person.  A burger can be anything according to these assholes.  Sure, you can put ground beef on a sesame seed bun, but where’s the challenge in that?  What if you want chicken?  Or fish?  Or vegetables?  Or… What if you want a wheat bun?  What if you want lettuce as your bun?  Those are all burgers!  A bunch of vegetables wrapped in lettuce – look at my fucking BURGER!  Bullshit!  Sacrilege!

Oh, and toppings?  Well, let’s just go right off the rails on this.  I haven’t seen it yet, but I suppose you could potentially get a ground beef patty as a topping for your chicken burger.  Why not?  There’s no damn rules anymore!

You know the people that don’t go to Starbucks because they feel they’d be laughed out of the shop for ordering a coffee?  “Get out of here, peasant!  Go to Dunkin Donuts for your… coffee!”  Well, that’s pretty much how I feel going to these places and asking for a plain cheeseburger.  I’m offending them.  And in a way, they’re offending me, too.  I don’t see it as a place that has to elevate something simple to the point of eliminating the basics, I see it more like, we can’t do the basics well, so we’ll hide behind fancy buns and toppings and other ingredients to make up for that shortcoming.  And people eat that shit up, literally.

This problem is everywhere.  Remember when you could buy a candy bar?  Now you can’t buy one.  You have to buy two.  They call it King Size, or Sharing Size, or whatever.  Pretty soon, they’re going to start mixing different candy bars and saying it’s the new hip thing to do to when you get say, a Mounds and a Peppermint Patty together and eat them together like a fucking BURGER.

Remember when you just went and bought ice cream?  Cold Stone Creamery took care of that.  Remember when you bought a fountain drink?  Coca Cola Freestyle machines to the rescue.  Remember when you smoked cigarettes?  Vaping gives you 50,000 different flavors and buzz levels.  Remember casino slot machines with three reels?  They got SO complex they couldn’t even be mechanical anymore.  They had to be virtual reels on a touch screen.

I’m old.  There, I said it.

Misunderstood

I don’t know why I have this little hangup about posts where I feel if I don’t have at least a certain wordcount, it’s not really worth posting at all.  I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about how different social platforms are optimized for different message lengths, but blogging is supposed to be for the longest form of writing.  Well, not today.  Story time!

HH

I’m out at lunch at Hungry Howies, enjoying my usual small pizza with light sauce and pepperoni, when I notice a wasp out of the corner of my eye in the window.  I can immediately tell the wasp is agitated, but that is sort of a moot observation because wasps have no chill and are always agitated. 

Without trying to cause too much alarm and make myself a target, I visually confirm which side of the glass the wasp is on.  It’s my side, the worse of the two available sides.  I watch the wasp carefully, without making direct eye contact.  I want to know what his plans are, maybe to continue pushing against the glass or maybe to go elsewhere, like my face.

After a while of watching, less than a minute for sure, I decided the wasp must be killed so I may eat in peace.  So I get up from my booth and go up to the counter to get a killing implement.  A woman meets me at the counter and I ask, “Do you have a fly swatter?”  She says sure and disappears.  The woman took longer than I would expect, but eventually comes back with a paper cup and a lid.  I’m thinking to myself, “What the fuck.  You want me to trap this thing in a cup?”

She holds the cup and lid out to me and says, “That’s the best I could do.”  I make no move to take the items from her and I must’ve had the strangest expression on my face, because she pulled back and asked, “You said you wanted an ice water?”

No.  That isn’t what I wanted.

More Food Updates

In another weekend trip to Touristville, the GF and I ended up at our favorite steakhouse (but at a different location).  The last time I had to write about this, the dining experience was up and down.  This time, it was pretty much a plunge into despair.  I won’t bore anyone with tedious details,  I’ll just sort of hit the high points (which are the low points).

When we got there, 6 pm on a Saturday, we were informed that the wait was 90 minutes.  They actually said, “an hour and a half”, which actually makes it sound a lot worse.  At our last touristville experience, we were told there was a 45 minute wait and we were seated pretty quickly.  So, I agreed to wait.  Well, they kept their word and then some.  We didn’t get to the table until almost 8.

When you’re seated at a community table, it’s always a crap shoot as to who you’re going to be with.  In tonight’s group, we had a Hispanic family that included a vegetarian.  But it wasn’t a cool vegetarian, it was a “I’M VEGETARIAN!” vegetarian.  There was also a man so old he couldn’t do anything for himself.  I actually suspected he could, but his female partner ordered (and I use ordered in multiple meanings here) everything.  He tries to speak up for himself and his other half shouts over him.  So you know, a boisterous party.

The other side of the table had what seemed to be a mother and her two daughters and a dude.  At first it was a little hard to tell if the dude was the brother or the boyfriend of the older girl.  And “older” is really pushing it here; she looked like she was about 12 and the dude looked about 15.  But it was made clear that they were a couple in relatively short order.  At one point the girl wanted her mom to take a picture of them and as they snuggled up, the dude kind of raised the girls shirt or maybe tucked his hand under it.  In any regard, it was all a little weird and uncomfortable.

The chefs at this location were fucking spazzes.  I guess you have to be a little over the top to get the attention of tourists who’ve been at theme parks all day, but holy shit.  So much yelling and banging and fire.  And in spite of that, the chefs seemed to not be engaged with the table and would get distracted to chat with other employees walking around.  As far as quality, my extra side dish was overlooked and the food was very light on the soy sauce.  When I asked for extra soy sauce on my steak, the chef tried to talk me out of it.  And in the end, it was just a couple of drips, nothing to really taste.

And the last anecdote comes from the GF on her disastrous bathroom visit.  As it was told to me, there were three stalls.  One had a pile of shit-covered toilet paper on the floor.  The second held an employee, who had her apron off and laid out on the bathroom floor.  The third had an overflowing sanitary receptacle.  There are no good options here.

The whole 3+ hour ordeal made me miss my personal home steakhouse and turned me off from touristville locations.

The next day, I seized the opportunity to verify that Pollo Tropical had changed their operations chain-wide.  And I have confirmed it.  The location we went to had the same cheap white Styrofoam plates, plasticware, and single-size cups.  There were no onions or limes on the chicken and there was no table service or cleanup.

We also had a slight order problem that highlighted a flaw in their new operational procedure.  When you order a meal, you now wait for your order number to be called.  In our case, we picked up the order and when we got to the table, found a side was missing.  So the GF went to the cashier, who ignored her because she wasn’t in line.  After getting the cashier’s attention and explaining the situation, the cashier yelled to the order picker, who ignored her.  GF came back to the table furious.

I went up and stood where the orders were picked up.  The order picker kept her back to me.  And I kind of understood that.  There’s always a crowd of people waiting for food.  You could say her communication was unidirectional.  She called the order numbers and that’s it.  There was no consideration of a communication coming inbound to her.  And when she turned around and called a number, I caught her eye, but she still turned back around, requiring me to verbally interrupt her.  And then we got the problem resolved.

As I mentioned in my earlier post about Pollo, there’s been a significant decline in the customer service department.  The GF vowed that Pollo would become a drive-thru-only option, and I would agree.  There is nothing compelling about the dine-in experience.

So, that’s the report on dining this weekend.  If there’s news, it’s probably not good news.

My Cat Is Suffering Because Of Your Shitty Design

My poor cat, Rump, has been struggling for a while ever since I bought her a new feeder.  Her last feeder was pretty much wrecked and a new one was needed.  She’s a pretty big girl, so I always get the largest feeders available.

The previous feeder that I had was a Le Bistro model.  This seems to be made by both PetMate and Aspen Pet.  Over the years, it was redesigned and it was redesigned in a very shitty way.  See the difference between the old design on the left and the new one on the right.

Old  New

Do you see the major difference?  The bowl on the new model on the right is a goddamn waterer bowl.  The only difference between this and their waterer is the hopper.  The waterer hopper is sealed, but the feeder has a removable lid.

Obviously this was the company saying, “Why do we have two bases for these two products?  We can save a shitton of money here.  It’s the same thing.”  You assholes, it’s not the same thing, and I’ll tell you why.

The first problem is that the food doesn’t come out.  You see the slide on the old model?  You see how the opening of the chute is higher than the lip of the bowl?  That lets the food come out.  Food doesn’t act like water, in case you didn’t know.  On the new model, there is no appreciable slide and you will also notice the new model’s chute opening is half the width of the bowl and the hopper’s neck is more narrow.  That would all be sufficient for water, not so with food.

My poor cat gets noticeably anxious when she sees the hopper empty.  There can be food in the bowl, but she understands what the reserve supply looks like and when it is not there, she starts crying.  Now, she has to deal with the fact that the bowl is empty, because the food doesn’t fall, but there is a visible reserve.  That’s damn cruel.

The second problem with this design is that stupid lip.  Again, for water, yes, you need a lip that is uniformly high all around the bowl.  For food, my cat has to to jam her head down into (I want to stress, into) the bowl to get food.  And when the hopper doesn’t flow the food, she has to stick her head even further in back to get food.  I said, she’s a big girl and she has a big head.  It’s not a good situation.  The bowl needs to be lower in front, especially because the hopper supplies so little food.  One other shitty design aspect is that the old lip rolled to the outside and smoothly transitioned into the bowl wall on the inside.  The new design has a lip that overhangs the interior of the bowl wall.  Why would you ever have that on a pet bowl anyway?  Animals push food against the wall to get to it, they don’t want their face bumping into a protruding lip.

So I’m off in search of a new feeder, but everywhere I look, it’s the same crap as this.  Great job on cornering the market with your shitty new design.

A Happy Meal For These Days

Eating is generally a pleasurable experience.  Carrabbas says, “There is no love more sincere than the love of food.”  Dining out with friends (not as often with family) is a cheerful event, with conversation and company and also, food.  For McDonalds to try and bundle this whole thing up into a box and call it a Happy Meal is sort of pointless.  It’s a meal, it’s happy as it is.

But there are times, sometimes often, where your thoughts are not together, or you’re not feeling particularly social.  Maybe you have no one to be with.  A word comes to mind: melancholy.  When you look up the definition, “melancholy” sounds much more severe than I mean it to be.  So, although Melancholy Meal would be a pretty awesome name, I prefer to just keep it simple and call it SadMeal.

I have two SadMeal restaurants, one for work and one for home.  At work, I go to Long John Silvers.  Part of the reason this is my SadMeal location is that no one would ever go there with me, so I can be assured I’ll be there alone.  The whole “misery loves company” thing is completely bogus.  No one wants to be around a miserable person.

I want to take the opportunity to explain this LJS place I go to.  They are religious.  I mean, they are in-your-face, repent-now, religious.  Some part of me wonders if they chose LJS as a franchise because of the fishing metaphors from the bible.  Another part of me wonders if they are going way too far and that YUM! Brands should maybe have a talk with them.  We’re talking constant preaching radio on the sound system, tracts on the tables, a TV playing cartoon stories from the bible, and more.

So, some might think that if I’m sad and I go to a place that’s highly religious, I should feel comforted.  Isn’t that the point of religion?  To provide comfort?  But that’s not the point of SadMeal.  The point is to eat – alone, with my thoughts.  The religion is just an annoyance.

When I am home, SadMeal is my nearest Subway.  It’s not so much chosen as a place to get away from everyone, like it is at work.  I mean, I can stay at home and feel however I want.  Subway is chosen more of a default when I can’t decide on what I want to eat and nothing sounds like it would cheer me up.  If Subway marketed like Carrabbas, their tagline might be, “Sincerity is for idiots.  Eat this cheap, stale bread and indulge your misery.”  And that is what makes Subway my SadMeal.  It’s self-pity for not being able to choose a better meal.

Back in 15th-century England, you could be hospitalized for melancholy.  Not really hospitalized, but committed to an asylum.  Now, in 21st-century America, you can commit yourself to a meal.  Embrace your emotions and have a SadMeal tonight.

Christmas Night 2017: An Evening Of Poor Decisions

As my previous post mentioned, I, along with a couple of cohorts, put luminaries throughout the neighborhood.  Unfortunately, it rained overnight and about 80% of the bags were flat in the morning.  So collection of the luminaries began a day earlier than expected.

I don’t have a big neighborhood, but it feels a lot bigger when you have to make trips to and from your house over and over, carrying about 25 pounds of sand each time.  And, while I was grateful to have all the extra help putting out the lights, it’s probably pretty well known to event organizers that cleanup is a lonely task.

It took about 3 hours and according to my MS Band, which has come out of retirement today, it was over five miles of walking, stooping, standing, and carrying.  The Band does not have a monitor for self-pity, but even if it did, I wouldn’t want to see the results.  A maxed-out chart is uninteresting anyway.

My self-absorbed activity absorbed most of my day and resulted in me skipping substantial meals.  I snacked on shit and salad (got to be balanced), but after the luminaries collection was finished and the tea lights separated from two trash bags full of crumpled paper bags, I was ready to eat.

On Christmas day, your dining options are limited.  So, fault me for not planning ahead and having food of my own to eat at the house (just shit and salad).  Of the available options, I chose IHOP, because they have a sirloin tip dinner that isn’t half bad (It’s close to half-bad, but not all the way there).  The roads are pretty empty going there, which is positive.  But then I found out why the roads were empty.  Everyone was already parked at IHOP.

Sometimes, you can tell when a restaurant is fucked right when you walk in.  I got that.  Sometimes, you can tell why a place is fucked, too.  Mmmm, probably the party of 12, would be my guess.  I don’t know why this is not common knowledge that as the size of the dining party grows, the time and effort to service that party grows exponentially.  That’s for another blog post.

I did eventually get seated and got my food.  It was good, but it wasn’t enough.  I know, right?  You want more shitty food?  A little shitty food, actually, a normal portion of shitty food isn’t enough?  Yes, that is what I am saying.  But, me, being the courteous customer, keenly aware of the long line of people waiting for their opportunity to eat shitty food, I got out quickly.  But I was still hungry.  For what?

Convenience store hot dogs, that’s what!  I was mentally prepared to purchase and eat two roller dogs, so I made my way to a nearby Circle K.  Unfortunately, they had two hot dogs on the grill.  Also unfortunately, they were “jumbo” hot dogs, which isn’t something I’m into.  It has nothing to do with any intimidation or personal inadequacy, it’s a mathematical law – the meat-to-bun ratio.  This is also a post of its own, but in summary, the amount of meat has to be balanced with the amount of bread, just so, otherwise, it’s shit.

Despite the out-of-whack ratio I was facing, I made my move on the dogs, which were spinning slowly in front of me.  Did they think they could escape, confusing rotational motion for forward motion?  I was just about to take down my first dog when the counter lady said, “Oh, you don’t want them.  They’ve been there since about noon.”  But, but, these are the only spinning meat sticks you have.  I think I do want them.

She talked me out of one more poor decision for the evening.  Undeterred, I went to another Circle K down the road.  This store had an array of jumbo dogs, but they were all corralled behind a sign that said “still cooking”.  I sense a poor decision coming on…

And so it was made.  I left the dogs undisturbed and instead bought a cup of boiled peanuts. And a coke.  And pretzels.  And since this is probably my last night on earth, a Powerball ticket.  Once in my car, I make another excellent decision – eat the peanuts here and now.  If you’ve never had fresh boiled peanuts, just understand that these things are soaking in brine for hours and hours and hours (and hours and hours and hours more if no one’s buying them).  In that time, they absorb liquid.  And when you go to free the peanuts from the shells, that liquid is expelled in the most messy way possible.  It’s like popping zits of brine (oooo, a new band name for AK).

After realizing I had nothing to wipe my hands or vehicle interior with, I shuttled the peanuts back home where I ate them hastily.  My stomach protested loudly at every bad decision I had made in the last hour or so.  This led to finishing off some ice cream, straight out of the carton.  Why not?  Gonna die.  Or get some serious shits.  But know this about me:  I do not puke.

And all of that leads me to my final poor decision of the night and possibly my life – writing this post.

If You Can’t Feed The One You Love, Feed The One You’re With

This idea came to me the night I was in charge of running my local Blimpie.  The customer in there was complaining about women.  You know, you can’t live with ‘em and whatnot.  He’d gotten himself in a bind because he had a girlfriend or maybe a wife, and one of his other female friends slipped a phone number to him of her friend who probably wanted to get with him.  The fact the guy was unattractive is completely beside the point, but does bear noting.

This guy thinks he’s going to get in trouble from one of these three women involved.  I’m thinking to myself, “Feed ‘em!”  You’re here at Blimpie and I’m in charge, wait, the owner’s back, so I guess I’m second in charge now.  Get an extra sub for the woman, whichever woman you’re going to see next.  That will show you care.

I made a promise to my GF a long time ago that I would always make sure she would be fed.  There was a period of time where she was schooling full-time with no income.  I kept my promise.  I cashed in tens of thousands of credit card reward miles for Longhorn gift cards and with those, she ate and studied at the local restaurant.  It was such a frequent thing for her that the wait staff gave her a corner of her own so she could eat and do schoolwork unbothered.

Back to this guy and his woman issues.  Showing affection with food is something that works on every relationship level. It keeps the relationship healthy (even if the food itself isn’t healthy).  Obviously I feed the GF well, but I also have a close friend that I gift food to, and another co-worker that I treat specially as well.  And it’s become a two-way street with gifts of snacks and candy going back and forth between all of us.  In addition to that, there’s social interaction over work cake (and it’s curious to see who participates and when and who huddles together devouring the spoils).

Although I consider myself more of a financial provider in my relationships, I can totally understand how women, mothers especially, get so much satisfaction from feeding people.  With the holidays here, I’ve somewhat taken on some cooking duties.  I’m not complaining, it’s a great thing to be able to do.  My skills are limited, but I am becoming a specialist in mashed potatoes.  I will not apologize for choosing such a specialty.

The Roller Coaster Meal

Over the weekend, the GF and I were out in Touristville and I made the decision to eat at Kobe Steakhouse.  Kobe is a place we used to go frequently, and one I still manage to eat there every once in a while.  It’s at a location we hadn’t been to before, like I said, right in Touristville, near the premium outlets.  Don’t ask me why we chose to go to the outlets on Black Friday weekend.  Some things can’t be rationalized.

So, we make our way to the restaurant through traffic that moved like sludge through a sewer pipe.  I mean, it was shitty traffic.  When we got inside the restaurant, it was unsurprising that there were plenty of people waiting already.  The hostess says the wait is going to be 40-45 minutes.  We’re only mildly hungry right then, so this will be fine for us to build up some hunger.  We get the pager and sit down for an extended wait.

Five minutes into our wait, the pager goes off.  Hooray for being a rockstar!  Well, that’s not true.  They never asked who I was, so my frequent flyer status wouldn’t have anything to do with this.  Doesn’t matter, getting to eat now!  We get seated at a table with another family of four.  Each table seats ten, so there’s four empty seats between us.

I’ll take a moment to explain Kobe policy.  You don’t get considered for seating until your entire party is present.  It’s pretty obvious this family is dining with another family, so our table has a party of 8 and a party of 2.  But the party of 8 is only half-there.  There’s an actual business reason they won’t seat you like this, which is going to become obvious, very soon.

The server takes our drink orders.  He asks about the people not there yet, and it is determined to just bring waters for them.  The drinks are served and now orders are taken.  The missing people can’t place their orders as they are not there.  The GF and I are starting to think that we’re going to have a half-full table, which sucks for the chef.

The soup is served.  The empty places get a bowl of soup each.  The salad is served.  The empty seats now have a soup and salad sitting in front of each of them.  Soon, the chef will come out and these people haven’t even shown up to place their orders.  Is this considered abandonment yet?  The server consults with the family and they don’t know where their friends are, but they are sure to be here soon.  I commented to the GF that our 45 minute wait was still in effect, it was just being applied after getting seated.

Then, a holiday miracle.  The other family shows up.  There’s a flurry of greetings and everyone takes their seats.  There’s a small issue though.  There’s five people.  The party of eight, which was seated as a party of four is actually a party of nine.  See, this is why you wait for the whole goddamn party to show up before you seat anyone. 

Despite this, everyone crams the fuck in there and the server talks with each new person to get their drink and food order.  Karmically enough, the issue of being short one soup and salad is never resolved.  The chef finally comes out and tries to confirm everyone’s order.  There’s confusion because he has two tickets, because the second party arrived so late.  The chef is struggling with the orders and the number of people and I say to him, “You have 11 here.”  Whether that helped or not, I have no idea.

He begins with the sauces.  The table is designed for 10, and everything is planned for 10.  He has 10 sauce trays.  I try to help by saying I don’t want any sauce, so he pulls one tray back.  Now he has 9 trays and there’s 10 people that will want sauce.  This is simply not working out.

Despite this ridiculousness, things worked out really well for me and the GF.  The other parties turned down a lot of the food.  Extra rice, extra noodles, extra veggies – we were loaded up.  Maybe it was for the best because I’m not sure they prepped for 11 at a table.

However, even though we were fed heartily, even good food can’t make up for your meal running into 2 hours.  That’s just way too much.  So, it was hard for us to tell if we were happy with the meal or not.  The food was good, the experience was not as much.

The server brought my check, and fortunately, I had a $10 reward that was applied to my check.  I sent the bill off with my credit card and the server came back to talk to me.  The manager felt bad about us being crammed in on a table of 11 and took an extra $20 off the bill.  That was unexpected and quite pleasant.  So the bill was paid and we got the hell out of that shitshow.

The rise and fall of expectations and reality left us completely confused as to how we should be feeling, other than full and tired.