Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Some observations--by Tim

Some observations about dining out…

In Stanley, there is a strip of outdoor restaurants facing the bay.  We were walking along looking over the menu of one particular restaurant being enlightened by the hostess of all the differentiating merits of her restaurant from the ones farther down the strip.  The menu looked good, boasting tacos and BBQ ribs, but I noticed that they didn’t have a table for six that I could see.  I often wonder if small families get the same hard sell we do or do they just see our big family as pay dirt.  Well, in her eagerness to close the sale, the hostess said it would be no problem to prepare a table for us so we had a deal.

As we walked towards a table for four, the waitress grabbed a small round table for two.  I’m pretty flexible, but I wasn’t excited about the notion of butting a small round table against a square table so the six of us could gather around a lower-case “i” formation.   However, my worry was for not.  The waitress took the small round table over to a couple that was sitting at a square table for four.  She muttered something in Cantonese to them and the couple held up their drinks while the waitress swapped out the tables.  We ended up with two square tables for our party of six and the couple enjoying their drinks carried on with their conversation completely unoffended.  Proprietors often shuffle patrons in a human game of Tetris to maximize capacity, even pairing strangers at larger tables.  It’s all good.

Another oddity I’ve noticed is the practice of carrying miniature dogs in purse-size carriers and setting them at the table in a restaurant.  Maybe this sort of thing is common in other places, but I don’t recall seeing anything like it in the Midwest.  But plain as day, these women would hold their dog in their lap while they eat.  I can tell you that if I were seated next to someone with a dog in their lap and the dog made a move for my Pad Thai, his little doggie friends would be talking about his Last Supper for some time to come.   But, the new refined cosmopolitan in me wouldn’t do something so brutish and uncivilized.  Probably.

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