Dirk and I decided we’d give Tom a test run babysitting by using up a gift certificate to a local restaurant (name withheld to avoid charges of slander). On the way, we stopped in at the school to check in on Ian watching a basketball game with his buddies. Girls basketball? Honestly, he’ll do anything to hang out with the other amigos. Seeing that all was well, I convinced Dirk to cut the apron strings so we could get to dinner. I was starving and had visions of really good food cooked by someone else in my head. (The true climax occurs when another someone else comes and takes the dishes away ~ it’s really no wonder women adore dining out.)
We entered the local eatery with a $100 gift certificate figuring it should be quite sufficient for both of us to enjoy a decent meal. For a Friday night, the place was blessedly quiet, very few diners. This meant a lax dress code. A restaurant will be happy to take anyone with a gaping maw and clams in his wallet when it’s a dead night. So, Ugg’s and Earth Shoes be damned! We went full steam ahead to our table and settled in for a lovely dining experience by candle light.
And then we got the menu . . .
Suddenly, it didn’t look like $100 would by us a cup of Joe and a slice of pie. The cuts of steak alone ranged in prices from $40 to $60. And you paid extra for anything else. That is, if you wanted potatoes or vegetables available in a few culinary styles it would be an extra $6 to $10. I expect to pay extra for appetizers and soups, but yet another $5-$8 for sauces? Puh-leeez! I had to have at least two glasses of wine to recover from the sticker shock ~ I have no idea what that cost. The waitress did her Presentation of Beef where we were educated in cuts and special aging and just how wonderful their meat was. We were promised a culinary delight of grand proportions, Nirvana-like in flavor, straight from the halls of Valhalla, Beef of Bliss. We followed this bliss, as recommended by Joseph Campbell. Although, the presentation might have had more of an effect if the waitress delivered it as an aria with breast plate and horns, y’know, for ambience.
Noshing on our garlic toasted bread and white bean/tomato bruschetta, we waited for appetizers and then soups. In the meantime, the few people that were there left somewhat dazed with full abdominal cavities and empty coin-carrying cavities. Then along came a young couple who were seated in the corner (clearly childless and free from the burdens of daily living . . . you can tell because they came into the dining room from the B&B rooms upstairs holding hands and sitting real close to each other at the table. In fact, she was on his plate. Young love: it’s disgusting, really.) Enduring the saccharine activities going on in one corner of the dining room, we waited for our soups since the appetizer plates had been cleared. They never came. Instead we got our sizzling steak plates with T-bone and Filet Mignon, as presented earlier sans-aria, along with the plates of other things we ordered willy-nilly ~ asparagus, potatoes au gratin, smashed potatoes with horseradish (that’d be me) and sautéed mushrooms (that’d be me, too). Oh, and of course, the sauce which still wasn’t complementary no matter how many times you looked at the menu. We reminded the waitress we’d ordered soup. Oops! Well, did we still want them?
This was a pivotal moment; a moment that could have ensured a decent tip for the waitress. We were already up to ears in debt over the dinner at this point; we’d gone well beyond the $100 gift certificate by appetizers. (Damn those two glasses of wine!) What did we do? What we usually do, cast all caution and moderation to the wind. Yes, bring us our French Onion au Gratin and Lobster Bisque! We live in America, damn it! Land of the free and home of the over-indulged, we want our soup! She trotted back to the kitchen, yelling, “Jeff! We forgot two soups!” as she went through the swinging doors. We got soup. Desserts were on the house for their faux pas. I ended up not eating the soup. I wanted the free dessert. It was the only thing we didn’t have to pay for. (I was mildly concerned, upon entering the restroom, that I might need quarters for a toilet tissue dispenser. Luckily, that was free, too. I don’t know if was aged appropriately, like the beef though.)
After getting our doggie bags and the bill (a staggering $156, thank you) we left a meager tip and beat a hasty retreat to our clunky, shattered car. We enjoyed the after effects of over indulging ~ indigestion . . . all night . . . unrelenting . . .until dawn. I can imagine the coroner’s report: Two individuals, having dined at an uber-expensive steakhouse, succumbed to the ill effects of consuming large quantities of appropriately-aged beef, with various side dishes, sauces and soup at an extra cost in a comfortable setting. Cause of Death: Over Indulgence and a large bill. Desserts were on the house. If only they hadn’t insisted on the forgotten soup! They might have survived, might have walked away with a minor limp. It’s sad when people get like this, Joe. A damn shame, I tell you.
(Fedora plopped onto pate, trench coat secured with lapels snapped up, coroner exits stage right. Lights dim, a lone trumpet sounds ‘Taps.’)
You can thank the verbosity of this diatribe to one simple sad fact: the camera has finally met its maker (no, not Kodak), kicked the bucket, bought the farm, ceased to exist . . . in short (or not) it’s not working anymore, no way, no how. We’ve tried various resuscitative techniques (except mouth-to-lens ~ I take my CPR training for Brownies in a couple of weeks; I don’t feel qualified until then), but no luck. Services for the Kodak DC280 Zoom Digital Camera will be held through to the purchase of another similar camera (which won’t be any time soon). DC280 is survived by one 64mb memory chip and a battered blue camera case. He will be sorely missed.