Monday, May 11, 2009

Eating Out

Eating out when you are on holiday is always a pleasure.
After all somebody else does the cooking and washing up afterwards. And you get to try different dishes. Food you wouldn't normally try at home, or food special to that region.

My vacations almost always take me to the sea. And that means seafood.

When vacationing in Maine, I eat lobster. In Fort Lauderdale it was shrimp and fish.

I had the absolute best experience eating at the Cheesecake Factory. I'd heard about it's excellent reputation, but I'd never been, so one afternoon, after disembarking from the Water Taxi, I set out to find this legendary restaurant.

The Cheesecake Factory was very busy. I'd also heard that there are times you have to line up and wait for a table. I'm not good at that. When I'm hungry I want to eat! I can't wait. My head gets dizzy and I get crabby.

I was in luck. No waiting, but the restaurant was busy. I chose a table outside in the shade. Nice ambiance. The clientele were obviously business people or contented shoppers enjoying a break and a delicious meal.

I ordered the guacamole and shrimp, a glass of white wine, and their key lime cheesecake for dessert. I was not disappointed. The food was divine! Service impeccable. I look forward to going back there one day.

Now for the not-so-good eateries.

I was walking down the Beach Strip a day or so into my vacation, popping in and out of beach boutiques. I'd tried on t-shirts, summer dresses, flip-flops, sunglasses, and funny hats. Feeling hungry, I perused the eating places.

Hmm. Menus were pretty much the same and I walked from one eatery to another. Some were crowded, some not so. Then I saw a woman eating curly fries with her meal. Curly fries! Ohhhh, I love those. And haven't had them in years.

Quickly I walked in and sat down at the nearest empty table. The waitress came to take my order. She poured me a glass of water, which I promptly began sipping.

Then I looked around. Eeewww, she hadn't bothered to clean the table, where I was sitting. Crumbs from the last customers were visable not only on the surface of the table, but on the chair beside me as well.

Eeewww - was I sitting on crumbs?

I was beginning to feel uncomfortable. Looking around I noticed that this place was not as clean as I'd assumed.

Sipping my water, I waited for my meal.
It didn't come.

I was beginning to feel strange vibes. (or I was creating them, who knows!)

Feeling uneasy, I looked around again. Was it my imagination, or were the people sloppily dressed, not-so-nicely mannered, loud?
O.K. I said to myself. I'll give them 3 more minutes to bring my order.
I think I actually waited another 3o seconds.

Then I walked away. Down the sidewalk (all these eateries are outside on the sidewalk, making walking away much easier than if you had to walk past the maitre'di or seating person), I went at a rather quick pace until I found a shop where I could purchase just a sandwich to curb my hunger.

I think I made a wise decision. I wonder what the waitress thought when she brought out my order? Or maybe it had gotten lost?

To be continued......


Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

What a lovely day of vacation, Wendy. How perfect to go where you wanted and ate when and where you wanted--though somewhat questionable places ;-) without worrying about pleasing someone else. I am so glad you got up and left when you started feeling uneasy about the place. Impossible to enjoy even a snack when you have that "vibe". I don't know about you, but the older I get, the more I listen to those feelings.

white_lilly said...

You have slipped into the vacation mode wonderfully. What a treat to go out and taste such wonderful food and not have to do the dishes.


amelia said...

You have done what I wished I could do and that's just walk out when I was either dissatisfied or kept waiting for a long time!!!
I complain but never leave and that's my own fault!!

Good for you!

Mark said...

It was a good decision to walk away, yuk!

Love the Cheesecake Factory, I have a vendor who sends me a Cheesecake Factory gift card every year for the holidays. The nearest one is about an hour and a half south from where I live. The place is always packed, last time there was a two hour wait. The food and service both times were fantastic!

Grammy said...

Yummy sea food! I love shrimp. It was just not meant for you to eat there that day. Amy is bbq-ing today so I am having a delayed mothers day dinner tonight. yea!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Wendy, I'm SO glad you got to get away for awhile. The job of a caregiver is ROUGH at best. The caregiver (you) needed a good break. AND--it sounds like you got one.

I understand why you love the beach so much. I do too. It's SO refreshing and relaxing. Glad you got some good food down thee. It's always hard to 'try' a new restaurant... Some are GREAT and others, not so much!!!!

Glad your grandson and family are in a new home. It's gorgeous!!!

Sounds like you had a wonderful trip and feel energized again.

God Bless You, Wendy.

Beverly said...

on a vacation with one of my son's and his family, we searched forever, and finally found a restaurant with no wait. ah, at last we could eat. However, NO ONE came to wait on us. Staff walking all around us and no service, we finally got up and made a grand exit. I don't think they even noticed as we left....

Wendy said...

Hi Jen, yeah, it's fun to walk around and choose something just at the drop of a hat. I don't worry about walking out of a restaurant or anything else if I don't feel comfortable.

Hi White Lily, yeah you got that one right. A holiday from the dishes and cooking is always welcome!

Hi Amelia, do it once and the second time it becomes easier. You have to remember who you are pleasing. Yourself or some unknown people who won't remember the next day anyway?

Hi Mark, oh, I'm so glad somebody else knows the Cheesecake Factory. It really is a great place to eat, isnt' it?

Hi Grammy - enjoy your mother's day special dinner. Shrimp is yummy, isn't it?

Hi Betsy, thanks for your kind words. I'm glad you came home happy and energized too! I think the ocean does that to us.

Hi Bev, that's the sad part. Nobody noticed. Why have a restaurant when the customers are ignored? I really hate that. Hope you found somewhere else to eat.

femail doc said...

Guacomole, shrimp, key lime cheesecake? If that's not a plateful of heaven, what is?

Ruth said...

Food is very much a part of a vacation. I try to sample as much local fare as possible. I am picky about restaurants though.

Rose said...

I agree, Wendy, food always tastes so much better when eating out, knowing I didn't have to cook it or have to clean up afterwards:)

I think you were wise walking out of that restaurant; who knows what the food would have been like!

Abba's Girl said...

Glad you had a wonderful experience at the Cheesecake Factory, I drive by one frequently and think 1 day I will eat there...think it was wise of you to leave the other restaurant...