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Oh, just shut the hell up!

I write this culinary review (more a "tidbit" or "recount," really) to vent a sense of boundless frustration at the people who were sitting adjacent to us last night at a charming eatery between here and Two Harbors. Though not to be considered "an open-letter to the old bats who’d clearly rather be eating at Perkins," my wholly insignificant grouse is against – and at – them, and no one else.

Additionally, though enthusiastic about the location and its atmosphere, I've chosen to withhold the establisment's name... but I think you're all clever enough to figure it out.

Also... it's lengthy. 830 words, give or take.

On the evening of May 24, 2006, I once again had the distinct pleasure of dining at some pretty swish digs just up the North Shore. As it was the previous time, the seating was perfect, the wait-staff could not have done their jobs better, and the food was gorgeously prepared and fantastic eating, as well. In short, my experience was, as evidenced by eyes moving across these words, worth writing about.

However, sitting near enough was a couple who’s behavior I could only qualify as "boorish." And "rude." And "obnoxious." And (let me consult my thesaurus), "uncouth." Now, I’ll grant that they may not been aware that the volume of they're conversation carried quite well to all other occupied tables. Having said that, I was still shocked and aghast when one of them would slyly comment on the food and drink coming to our table – some of my favorites: "I hope that's not the kind of salad they think they're going to bring me."; “I can't imagine someone eating something like that."; "I wonder if that girl knows that the orange on the side of the glass [of Blue Moon] is for decoration or what her problem is."

Then, the poor server was hit with questions and declarations that were making me embarrassed and outraged by proxy and proximity. "Does the cook [sic] use MSG?"; "Can you tell the cook [sic] that he shouldn't use so much salt?"; "I can’t understand what type of place this is that they don’t have a chicken sandwich?"; "If you're going to put so much garlic in the bread, you shouldn't even bother bringing it out."; "Well then what do you expect me to order, then?"; and a handful of other gems.

With the nonsense of the "There's-nothing-that-I-can-eat-on-the-menu" matter substantially settled, the two diners took time to really air their respective grievances about their experience, so far, in the safety of no one (except for everyone) being able hearing them. These consisted of: "I don't know what type of person would be able to enjoy theirself [sic] here?" (to answer that: me); "It would be nice if they had real food on the menu. You know, food that people want to eat."; "For that much money, we shouldn't have to pay for our wine."; and a few other shiny nuggets from the streambed.

It was also added that if those two were to have visited next week, they would have been able to take her Jaguar. Hoo. Ray.

So, with their sense terror totally piqued by the sheer, and oft remarked, oddness of my salad (which was excellent, by the way), their apprehension was forced to the light as their food was served. Instead of even a small measure of placative graciousness, I hear, "Well, where's our salads? They got ones, where’s ours?" Ubi bene, indeed.

Unable to imagine what the server must be thinking, I readied for what opinions were to be held about the meal prepared for them. I was not let down: "It's like eating a bowl of salt."; "We could at Perkins for a month for what we're wasting here."; "Oh, there's so much garlic in here I think they're trying to kill me."; "I can’t eat what I don't recognize and I only recognize salt and garlic;" "I like Perkins chicken sandwiches and at least they're edible."; and, my favorite, "I can't believe I’m missing American Idol for this."

Coup de grace?

Bien sur.

"Well, this is two nights we’ve thrown our money away. Tonight here and last night at the casino. At least we had a good time at the casino."

Finally, at the end, with one in the restroom and the other left behind, the server brought out a small plate of complimentary snacks… or cookies… or whatever you'd prefer to refer to them as. The server added, "These are compliments of the chef." When the other one returned and was filled about with the mysterious cookie plate before her, her response was, "'Compliments of the chef.' What a joke. I hope you’re not going to leave a tip?"

Then, with some due flourish, they left.

One of the women at another adjacent table leaned over to me and asked, "Did that just happen? Were they for real?" Yes. Yes they were.

I am writing about this because the absurdity is all too much to hang on to without thinking it might have been a weird dream.

I am writing about this because my dining experience was completely satisfactory. In fact, it kind of kicked ass. Beginning to end.

I am writing this because I want it well and goodly established that the two loons who took it to the streets one night shall not go without rebuke.

Finally, I am writing so my gratitude and appreciation toward the entire staff is known to those who know me and don't know me, as well. (By the way, to those who don't know me, my name is Jon… hello)


I (think I) know the place you speak of (the newer place?) and oy! they sounded just a wee bit sour. They are in the catagory that give humans a bad rep. Pukins sound up their ally

I really enjoy the food and service at this place. I was not to thrilled about the seating layout (if it is the same place), kind of felt upscale cafateriaish. But, that is a minor complaint neither here nor there as they say.

My blood pressure just went up. Im sure we all say we would have done something but by god I think I would have told them to shut up.

How did you not just lean over and yell "Shut the fuck up already!"?
I think I would have injured something if I had to put up with that all night.

I have no idea which eatery you are speaking of but I have a sensible question: Do they really use that much garlic?

Because if they do, I will have no choice but to eat my way north until I find the place.

I have the feeling you were eating at the Scenic. And if you are used to (and even like) Perkins, you are not going to appreciate Scott's art at the Scenic.

Bad Cat (1): It was made a little better when it seemed that the servers were working hard to move them along. Besides, it felt like by piping up the old loons would've had mee tossed.

Dzargul: No. The garlic used was not unresonable and the fresh butter and chive suited it perfectly. Though, I enjoy garlic, so it probably did have a lot.

Bad Cat (2): A little passed the Scenic. Though that would've been an equally enervating experience.

It reminds me of taking residents out for meals.

I take this one guy who's 95 and he always wants a Fitgers' beer, no matter where we go. It's impossible to make him understand that they don't have Fitgers' Beer anymore and he gets rather upset when I give him Leinenkugel's instead...

However, his behavior is excusable - he's 95 with dementia. These folks should have been shish-ka-bobbed right out the door.

On a side note, if anyone has drank Fitgers' beer and can tell me a suitable current beer that tastes nearly the same, I'll buy them a bottle of that beer!

Ken Kesey once said: "In any given situation, there is going to be more of them than there are of us."

Inconsiderate and rud people exist everywhere. Why am I not surprised every time I or any of the fine examples of humanity I am aquainted with have experiences such as the two that I've heard about today?

While it is commonplace and socially acceptible to 'give the baby his bottle,' there is that tendency to take the offending idiot to task with a good verbal lashing. I personally don't think that happens enough.

I'm not trying to be classist, but the most recent examples seem to be perpetrated by the more well-heeled in our community. There is a tendency among them to expect a modacom of difference to their percieved 'status' from the lowly rest of us. A sharp rebuffing of their behavior would be like a smack on a dog's nose with a rolled-up newspaper.

I do it, from time to time, when I feel I have been sufficiently offended, so I can neither condemn nor condone such behavior. sometimes, you just have to let people know that they are in fact very far away from the center of the universe and they need to behave themselves.

I have a passive aggressive counter attack idea- fight em with a syrupy, sticky sweet mess of happy thoughts. For example: when they bitch about the garlic, you RAVE about it- loud and proud. Engage other nearby tables "don't you just love the salads here? Freakin awesome!" Throw gushing compliments at the staff- give em high fives everytime they refill your water glass. Go on and on about how this is the best meal of your life. This is no time for northern reticence!

Should the offending party wish to engage you in a debate, show them sympathy. "There, there. Are you going to be alright?" Followed by 'friendly' advice: "When I first started eating new foods, I was a little scared too." Let them walk out wondering if you're for real.

At first, I had thought about saying something to them... especially when the lady editorialized on the whole "orange-in-beer" incident. But, and I'm a little ashamed with the tack I took, I had to let it go. I had to see what was going to happen next. I honestly thought that maybe some switch in their heads would flip and they'd realize, "Oh my! Everyone else knows how unsophisticated we are! Maybe we ought to pipe down!" This moment plainly never came.

The other table that was also subject to some of the same nonsense *also* ordered a round of Blue Moon... I like to thing it had to do with the related kerfuffle. Many of their selections weirded the batty loons out, as well.

I just had a feeling that confronting people like that, in an enviroment like that, would have been like playing "Whack-a-Mole."

If behaving like that - outwardly - is as acceptable as it clearly was in their case, the only thing to do was to let the staff know that we were all in it together... and tip generously.

So, I would urge all of you to go out (or stay in), find things you've never eaten before (or have, but find new ways to prepare them - generous use of fresh ginger, perhaps), share them with people you care about, and, above all, be polite about it.

Who's hungry?

I just came from watching X-Men 3 at the theatre. There were 3 or 4 pre-teen boys sitting behind me and they talked all the way through the previews, which I don't really mind, but I was steeling myself for the movie itself. When the movie started, they continued commenting on everything that was going on, like I was in their living room. I shushed them once, which worked for about 1 minute before they began again. Then I turned around, looked right at them and said, in a moderate voice, "Are you going to deliver a running commentary throughout the movie?" That did it.

Frankly, I think some people just don't know how to behave in public.

Certainly, everyone has a different palate, but to be extremely vain (and noisy) about it is a bit pretentious. Wait, was my previous sentence redundant?

My question is: did it indeed seem to be an act of vanity, or just pure distaste? My guess is the former.

A month or so ago Bridget and I stopped at the new Indian place downtown for some sup after a long day at Jay Cook. We where the only ones in there for about half an hour then this elderly party of three came in. Pretty sure from the Hoilday Inn across the way. 2 ladies and a gentleman. On one hand it was moderatley anoying. They had no idea as to what the food was, or was like, and especially the ladies in the party questioned _every_ little detail, being barely shy of rude in tone of voice. They, obviously thought, and said so, that Indian food meant Native American food (which wuld be a cool restaurant). There is a part of me that wants to be snarky about this, but I have to realize that just becasue something seems obvious to me doesnt make it so for everyone. And, in the end they where trying something new. Out of the three the fellow seemed the most open to the experience , even verbally expressing happiness with his food to the waiter. The ladies, I think, still didn't know what to think by the time we left and where pretty timid about the affair. Hopefully it was a positive expeience and they returned to try something new.

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