We visited New York City recently and our big-city son treated us to dinner at a place that served Peruvian cuisine. It’s really nice when you reach the stage in life where your kids pick up the tab.
The food was wonderful, so good I could not stop raving about it. Then the discussion got around to “The Best Meal Ever in a Restaurant.” That’s hard because we love all food and when it is done well, we can’t shut up about it. I do keep an ever-changing list in my head of the best five meals we have enjoyed.
Which brings up the other side of the topic, “The Worst Meal Ever in a Restaurant.” That’s easy. Nothing has ever topped (or bottomed) the meal we had in a restaurant in New Haven, Conn., many years ago.
Going out to dinner was a huge treat those days (still is) and we were celebrating a brand new job for my husband. The place looked lovely and was in an upscale section of town; we had heard it was terrific. We called for reservations and were told that there would not be a problem. That should have been our first clue.
To start things off, the waitress was so drunk, she took our drink order three times and then got fired. Her replacement wasn’t all that swift. He brought our luke-warm cocktails in half an hour; each sported an oily sheen. By the time he was ready to take our dinner orders, we were a little leery but decided to splurge and order lobsters. (How can you ruin a lobster? You boil it). Then some thug appeared at our table with a big bowl of something wet and musty green. “Would yez like some zucchini salad?” he inquired in a threatening tone. Meekly we said “That would be nice.” He over filled the ladle with slimey glop and reached in front of me, spilling the stuff on the napkin, the tablecloth and my lap, before landing it on my plate with a splat. I was speechless and therefore not quick enough to prevent him from doing the same thing to my husband.
Then dinner finally arrived; we had been waiting an hour and a half. Maybe it took so long because they were burning the lobsters. How do you burn a lobster?
The wilted salad had rust on it and the baked potatoes were raw. We ordered dessert: melted ice cream with soggy cookies. The coffee was tepid and had fake, undisolved creamer floating in clumps on the top of it.
We discussed the possibility that we were being filmed for Candid Camera.
The whole scene was getting to us and we started to laugh, and laugh, and laugh. Tears running down our cheeks, we paid the bill, left a more-than-generous 47-cent tip, and fled.
Out in the parking lot, it had just started to rain. We had a flat tire.
The job we were celebrating? My husband got fired three month later..