The Writer's Cramp 8/16/21
Slow Fast Food
We walked into the latest restaurant in town. The Vintage Cafe advertised itself as the cure for ‘the fast food blues’. The dining room was full with wait staff scurrying about.
We were assigned a seat near the windows. The menu looked promising. Wonderful appetizers, entrees that sounded delish, and then desserts worthy of a bakery. Our little town had waited so long for this alternative to the usual fast food joints.
Hamburgers and French fries, tacos and burritos, pizza in all forms, all was getting so boring. We needed a real restaurant. Real slow food cooked by people that cared about food. Food cooked in a real kitchen.
So if you have a choice, you can have fast food that is not fast and not food. Or you can have slow food, which may take longer, but is better for you. You get to sit in a quiet place, maybe have some wine, get to talk to your partner, or your dining buddies, and take your time. They bring the food to you. With real plates and real silverware, crystal glasses, real napkins.
“What are we going to get?” I asked my husband.
He put down the menu. “I think we need the charcuterie plate. That would be a good start.”
“Wine? A nice red?” I love red wine. “We can consider this our anniversary dinner. Don’t worry about the prices. Hang the cost.”
He checked the wine list. “Sure, let’s get one from Australia. It’s not too expensive. A Syrah.”
We checked the entrees. Lots of good choices of local meats, even some vegan choices. Wonderful.
Ten minutes later, we had memorized the appetizer choices. I found a typo on one description. I took out a piece of paper so we could rewrite their appetizer list in alphabetical order, with the spelling error corrected.
The wait staff still fluttered about. We’d received tumblers of water and promises of bread. So we started to categorize the entrees.
“We should list the beef then lamb then pork. Fish should be another sheet.” George was getting testy.
“There is no merit for putting this on two sheets when we can get all that on just one. Why waste the paper?”
“Fay, you haven’t even mentioned the pasta dishes. So we will definitely need two sheets. Then there are the dinner salads. We haven’t even started with the sweets.”
A waitress, name of Bailey, breezed by eventually. She brought two little bread rolls and some pats of butter.
“Hi! Welcome to the Vintage Cafe! I’m Bailey! Can I take you order?”
“Well, hello. We were wondering when you’d come by. We’d like a bottle of the Australian Red Syrah. And then for an appetizer we’ll take the charcuterie plate. And then for our entrees we’ll have …”
Bailey interrupted. “So a bottle of Austrian white syringe and a charcoal plate. Got it.” Off she flew.
“Um. I don’t think she got the order right,” I said.
“You think?” George tore into a bread roll, used both pats of butter on it. “We’ll be lucky to get diet coke and French fries.”
After we finished redoing the entire menu, after we played a few games of Candy Crush on our phones, ordered some new shoes on Zappos, paid some bills, finally our appetizer order arrived.
This time Hailey delivered the food. “Hi! Welcome to the Vintage Cafe! I’m Hailey! Here’s your order! Can I get you anything else?” She deposited a bottle of Champagne, two plastic glasses and some truffle fries.
“We’d like to order our meals now. We’d like two of the lamb chop specials, medium rare with the baby potatoes and fresh green beans. Side salads with homemade vinaigrette.” George spoke slowly so this person could get the order correct.
“Alrighty, I have two chopped steaks with French fries, side of ranch.”
Off she flew.
“I don't believe this place is what we had in mind,” I whispered.
“We’ve waited this long, I’m not leaving now. I’ve invested two hours of my evening.”
The Champagne cork popped and we munched on the truffle fries. Then more bubbly and fries. The paper menus we created became paper airplanes.
Another waitress delivered our entrees.
“Hi! I’m Shayley! Welcome to the Vintage Cafe! Here’s your order! Can I get you something else?” She threw to the table two wrapped burgers and two boxes of fries. And a bottle of ranch dressing. She also scurried off before we could complain.
The Champagne took away the sting. We threw caution to the wind and had Lainey bring us another bottle. Then we made more paper airplanes. The squadron flew about the restaurant, landed in people’s meals. We caused quite a commotion.
The owner asked us to leave. We didn’t even have to pay him for our slow meal of fast food. The court costs will take care of that.