Well, here is another example of how the person working at a bar can make all of the difference in the world. I decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the Mysterious Chinese Woman by going to one of the most authentic looking Mexican restuarants in my neighborhood. I mean this place does look like it could have been plucked out of a small beachtown in Mexico.
I have been here before and given it a pretty favorable write-up so I was hardly prepared for what I experienced today. Now, first of all, it was about 3:00 P.M. so it wasn't exactly the busy time of day. The outdoor deck was, however, almost full. The only tables available were in the sun and it was quite a hot day. We decided to sit inside where it was a bit cooler and there was only one party of two already seated. In other words, the place was just about empty.
As we were waiting for someone to take our order a group of four young women came in who wanted a table for six. They were curtly informed that couldn't be seated until their entire party arrived. Again, this in a place that was almost empty. They said they just wanted to sit and have a drink while they waited for their friends but were again told that wasn't permissible. So, they left.
Then the same guy asked us what we wanted and we said just a couple of margaritas. We were told that if all we wanted were drinks we would have to either sit at the bar all the way in the back or at a table outside. We said that we really didn't want to sit at the bar where it was dark or in the sun on the deck but couldn't we just sit at the table inside by the window looking out on the deck. We were told no, even though, again, there was only one other couple inside. Who knows, maybe if the fellow had been a bit nicer and we liked our drinks we would have stayed to order some food. But, who needs the aggravation. We got up and left.
I guess, to make a point, we decided to head to a French Bistro that we liked to "celebrate" the French's ultimate victory in the war. Cinco de Mayo actually celebrates a fairly impressive victory by Mexico over invading French forces during the war, but about a year later Mexico lost the war.
We decided to have a bottle of wine and an order of mussels, some of the best in town, and were able to enjoy them at a nice sidewalk table.
A Nice Repast
We could have sat there even if we didn't order the mussels though and the waiter was a very pleasant fellow. We talked a bit about Tony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential and former executive chef of Hales, a very good French bistro in Manhattan and now starring on No Reservations, a television show on the Travel Station. He had made a comment about eating mussels in restaurants in his book and I paraphrased it and told our waiter that I would eat mussels in Cafe Tabac anytime.
Here is what Tony said:
"I don't eat mussels in restaurants... More often than not, mussels are allowed to wallow in their own foul-smelling piss... I have had the misfortune to eat a single bad mussel... sent me crawling to the bathroom shitting like a mink, clutching my stomach and projectile vomiting."
But hey, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Ours were delicious, as usual, and the bread to sop up the juices was just what you would expect in a French bistro. Even the French fries served with both catsup and mayonnaise were good.
Raising Our Glasses To French Hospitality
I finished up with an espresso and a glass of Ricard, similar to Pernod, before we meandered on home.