Ah, fun times, and what a lovely stroll down Memory Lane that was! I still laugh delightedly when I think about gathering the courage to dance at the disco, only to have some oaf hurl a lemon at my head. Ha ha! But, I've gotten sidetracked by these amazing memories, and really there's no need: I felt like a buffoon mere hours ago, so please allow me to share it with you while it's fresh.
Because we spend all week making homemade meals and eating snacks that adhere to the Swank Diet, we like to go out for a change of pace on the weekends. HAHAHA, okay, I can't type that with a straight face. We always went out to eat on the weekends, it has nothing to do with Swank. Somehow, it just sounds better to say it's in response to slaving away in the kitchen all week than to say it's because we like to eat out. But there. I said it: we like to eat out. It's been only slightly challenging to find Swank-friendly options at local restaurants. Typically, I order fish and ask that it not be sauteed in butter or order pasta with tomato sauce and vegetables.
Today, we decided to try a place we've never been:
|I guess if I'd stood on the table in a sassy, hip-thrusting pose while my husband pointedly ignored me, we'd have fit in better?|
So we entered VAPIANO and promptly encountered the Mumbling Host. It's possible we couldn't hear him over the rather pretentious 80s music (you know, the kind the cool, artsy, troubled kids who wore lots of black listened to). He mumbled something about the pasta being cooked fresh and gestured over his shoulder to where, yes, there was some poor fellow trapped in a glass box making pasta and hanging it over metal arms to dry. He then would jam a serving size into a small brown paper bag and hustle it over to where the cooks were stationed. The environmental impact of this performance wasn't lost on me (couldn't they take the pasta over in reusable bowls?), but now our host was mumbling something and thrusting a credit card-like thingee into our hands as he vaguely pointed to a cluster of sullen-looking people standing behind a counter. Gripping our weird credit cards, we were cast adrift into the restaurant.
We stood aimlessly next to the host's station, hoping he'd see our burgeoning panic and step in with further guidance. Alas, he had other fish to fry. We edged closer to the sullen-looking people behind the counter. Over one of their heads was a sign that said "Pasta." Okay...this seemed a likely place to start the ordering process. I looked hopefully at the young man. He looked back at me impassively. Couldn't he tell we didn't know what the hell we were doing? I pleaded with him with my eyes. No dice.
Feeling more like a horse's ass with each passing second, I marshaled my courage and purposefully strode the two remaining steps to the counter, where the cook still regarded me with those soulless shark eyes.
"Hi!" I squeaked. "So, do we, like, order here?" I gave him my most winning smile.
"Yep," he said, thoroughly underwhelmed by my winning smile. (Must practice that.)
"Okay, it's our first time [DUH] and we're not, hahaha, totally sure how this works. Do we give you this?" I asked, propelling the credit card thingee (CCT) toward him.
"I'll take that when I'm done. What do you want?"
"Oh, boy, okay..." I said, frantically scouring the menu. "Um, pasta with tomato sauce and spinach," I concluded. He looked at me, the very picture of boredom. "Type of pasta?"
"Oh, right! Ummmm [more frantic menu-scouring], papardelle!"
I was exhausted from the stress. My husband ordered and we went off in search of drinks. There was a swanky bar off to one side, but I thought I had heard the Mumbling Host mention a soda fountain somewhere. We edged over to the bar, the CCT still gripped in our hands. There were several patrons hovering around the bar, so we lurked off to the side, looking around in ever-increasing dismay. It was a Day to Feel Like a Buffon, for sure.
Finally, a manager-sort hustled over, seeing we were clearly in distress, and asked if he could get us drinks. Hallelujah! We ordered drinks without too much trouble, except my husband had to scan his CCT over some infrared light at a precise angle or it wouldn't work. Oh, boy. This was quite a production. I began to feel the first inklings of irritation, where before I had felt merely bewildered and intimidated.
Drinks in hand, we set off to find a seat. No ordinary booths or tables at this restaurant, no, sir! There were stools and benches framing long wooden tables, at the center of which was a fresh plant -- basil or rosemary, from what I could tell. Okay, that was pretty cute.
|Our personal basil plant. Are you supposed to use it? Has it been washed? What would Oprah do? I avoided it.|
|The food looked better before I attacked it like a starving animal.|
|Mysterious objets d'art in the ladies' room. I examined that red thing at some length. I still have no idea what it is. A gourd? Corn cob?|
|Yep, that's a tree. In the middle of a table. Enough said.|
p.s. Remember those gummy bears? I spotted a casualty of the restaurant languishing outside the front door. In the absence of Wee Squeaky, this is my fun picture of the day.
|"Don't make me go back in there!"|