tirsdag, maj 08, 2007

You Been Served

At Boulevard in San Francisco, our waiter was an oddity. He sounded as if he was from Louisiana, had a totally bald head and meticulously clean-shaven face, and something of a chickeny thinness. He had a habit of winking, half in jest, half seemingly because a light was in his eye. It was a wink that had a flinch. And he'd jut out his jaw, and he'd lean forth to take an order and his head would do a little upward hitch almost the way a pet's might when seeking to be petted.

And he was an awesome waiter. Very good. And perhaps that's one of the elements of a great dining experience. It isn't just the company (which was grand) or the food (which was letter-worthy), it may be the good quirks of a great server.

The triple chocolate truffle cake from Boulevard. Mmmmm.

I'll contrast that with the guy working at Pizza Luce on Selby the other day. It makes me sad for a place when the wait staff really isn't with it.

So I'd brought a bag of coins to the bank, thrown 'em through the change machine, and out popped a receipt for $19. Pizza money, I says to myself. I headed for Luce.

The guy working the bar took my order. He had a Jeff Spicoli aura. (Spicoli was Sean Penn's character in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.)

Things were good in general. I worked on the free wi-fi while waiting for food. Then it arrived, but I was not given any napkins or flatware. So I looked over at the servers. Three of them. They were talking animatedly, oblivious to the five tables or so in the room.

I wandered over. I stood in their circle. They kept on talking. To one another. Huh?

Finally the woman with the tattoos said, while stretching, "I need to go put peanut butter on my jelly...I mean jelly on my peanut butter sandwich."

She turned into the kitchen. Spicoli walked after her. He did this duck walk with his ass sticking out. "I'll peanut butter your jelly," he said. He added a countrified, "Hyuck, hyuck."

At this point the tall guy with the tattooed arms--the guy who seemed to be the sentient member of the bunch--noticed me. His eyes widened. "Ah, oh, what can I do for you?" he asked.

"Napkins would be good."

"Cool." He handed me napkins.

I returned to my table but realized that I would indeed need fork and knife. So I waited a couple three minutes. The PBJ girl was in the kitchen eating. One assumes it was a PBJ. The table she'd brought some waters to earlier looked around helplessly. Eventually, the tall guy with the tattoos took care of them.

I waited maybe three minutes. At that point, Spicoli returned to the bar. I walked up there and asked for silverware. The tall guy observed this. Spicoli handed me flatware wrapped in a napkin and said, slowly, stoner-like, "My faux pas."

When he walked away, the tall guy said to him, "You are the worst bartender ever."

He might be.

I will end with a fonder memory. Oh, that cake...
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