Howardism Musings from my Awakening Dementia
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The evening wasn't completely abysmal. I was able to introduce Peat to Negronis and he returned the favor with steamed B&Bs.

Why Do We Eat... Out?

Before I pose my question, I need to relate an experience. I apologize in advance for the long-winded story with excruciating detail, but hey, we all have to bitch, eh?

So… I'm on a business trip with my old friend, Peat, and we're staying within the very posh district of Santana Row, and after a hard day at work, we are ready for an enjoyable dinner. With so many fancy restaurants around, how can you go wrong? How indeed…

I dialed up the website and saw Thea. It sounded quite good, and became our destination. However, when we sit down, we are assaulted by the noise. Sure, the lighting is low, and the art is interesting, but it sounds like we are in a junior-high school cafeteria. Does not bode well.

I order the sampler, since it is marked as vegetarian. I often order mezza, but I was amused when it says that extra pita is $2. They must think highly of it to charge for bread.

The dinner arrives on a overly long, trendy plate with 4 ice-cream-scoop-formed entrees. Looks small, but I'm sure the taste will make up for the portion. Hrm. The hummous is tasteless and dry. How can hummous be dry? Usually, everyone puts too much olive oil and garlic. But I guess they've decided to compensate by not putting any. No garlic … no exotic spices. Hell, not even any detectable cumin.

Next ice cream scoop is tahini that looks like runny yogurt. Well, that's enough dairy to kill me, so I skip it for the next scoop. It is a red play-do color that looks like roasted peppers and something. One bite told me the something was cheese. Skip.

The last scoop was the baba ghannouj . This was at least interesting. Not good, mind you, but since I'm starving, I polish it off, and say 1 out of 4 ain't too bad… is it?

The waitress stopped by to see how wonderful the food was, and mentioned. "Oh, it is just goat cheese, so that must be okay with you, right?" Ah … sure. I was going to tell her that I didn't care what kind of animal tit produced the dinner, but then I thought better. I mean, I'm humorous, not belligerent.

After our feeble attempt to talk over the noise, and filling up on their $2 bread, we left in a funk. Sure, I know I just had unfulfilled expectations and all that. But we decided we needed to go somewhere better to make up for it. A dark, swanky bar or something to cheer us up.

Sounded like a party was swinging at Citrus in the Valencia Hotel. Then a sign and a smell hit us: Manicures and Martinis. First of all, I'm not pretty enough to get my nails buffed with these women, but the smell was terrible. So, we went across the courtyard to the restaurant part.

We had just sat down when the overly-strong-and-not-pleasant-fish smell of a patron's dinner hit us. We just burst into laughter… and tears. As we put on our jackets and headed for the door, we consoled ourselves with the fact that this evening would at least make a good blog entry.

Why do We Eat … Out?

My question is: Why do we eat out? Besides the convenience factor, we go out to dinner with a certain hope and expectation. Perhaps this sort of hope is simply absurd, and we should relish in whatever experiences occur. But I'm not there yet.

While I'm not a bad cook, I have had frozen bricks††What I cleverly call those little boxes of food you get out of the freezer. Ain't I a wit? that taste better than what I've dished out at a restaurant. Often the more stars, the nastier the food. I'll admit, since I'm vegan, I'm pretty high-maintenance. Won't cop out and have fast food along with eschewing dead animal carcasses, and oh boy, who wants to go out with me?

I try to counter-act this annoying aspect of my personality by regaling my company with insightful discussions and sardonic humor. I appreciated the philosophical comments associated with this restaurant review‡It is sad that they've removed this article . Of course, I had to send it over to my sister for her comments.

I blogged about Cremant, a fancy French restaurant here that Kimberly & I dined at. I was so excited for that evening - I don't get out all that much and especially alone w/Kimberly. It was not good. The wine was good and the soup was good. The rest was not good. It cost us $70 each. And it isn't just the fact that you've shelled out your hard-earned money for mediocre, partially inedible food, but it's difficult to have a great time and get wrapped up in your friend and your evening when each bite distracts you from that.

You know, dinner and movie is an escape from your life. An escape into a new present, and you want this present moment to wrap you and life you and not drop you back down on the hard cement of reality. Not just yet…

Since my family and I seldom go out for dinner, we often go to the same haunts that are consistently good. It doesn't take long before we've chatted up the owner, and the visiting the restaurant becomes like visiting a friend.

In fact, this evening, my family took me out to Queen of Sheba , where we've been going before we were married. My daughter loves the food she had weekly in utereo. Alem, the owner, pulled up a chair and chatted with us before we had to lift our filled tummies off the chair and return home. You see, my friends are not pretentious, and that makes for a wonderful evening. Oh, and did I mention, the food was great?

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