Last night, Dr Desert Flower wanted to go to a nice seafood restaurant in Dana Point called Cannon's. We'd been there before, and the food is ok, the service not bad, and the views of the harbor are beautiful. I made a reservation for 7pm on Opentable. We arrived 5 minutes ahead of time, and were seated window-side by 7pm. So far, so good.
The waiter took more than 5 minutes to come over to ask us how we were "hungry" I replied. We ordered drinks, soups, salads, and main courses, tout suite. "Do you want them to come out All at once?" the waiter inquired. "As they're ready" I told him. DDF ordered (menu here) a Napa Sauvignon Blanc, Cannon's salad, and the Mahi. I ordered the lobster bisque, Oscar Filet (filet mignon with king crab), and a Mendoza Malbec. We looked out over the harbor, and chatted about the day's and week's events, at work, locally, on the radio, and about things happening in the world globally.
My lobster bisque arrived solo, and I'd not eaten in about 10 hours, so I told DDF "if it is too hot, I'l let it sit until your salad arrives". "Go ahead, don't wait". I sipped it from my spoon, and it was barely above human body temperature, about 15 degrees cooler than I'd expected, but it tasted fine, so I sipped it, slowly, and we continued to converse. Maybe it was from some other table's order, who changed their mind to have chowder instead, and they sent it back to the kitchen, who didn't rewarm it, and it was re-routed to me. I don't know. Soup was done, salad no where in site. Bus boy takes empty soup bowl away. Another 5 minutes pass. Salad arrives, it's fine, DDF begins eating it. We still have no wine.
Enter another couple who are then seated at the table adjacent to my right elbow. Window seats are at a premium, so the restaurant has chosen to squeeze as many tables as close together at the windows that look over the harbor some 100+ feet below. The couple is in their 50s, dressed nicely, and are rather "loud talkers" Salad is done, wine arrives, with apologies from the waiter for the delay. The wine tastes fine. The restaurant is 1/2 empty, with loads of additional capacity, it is not tourist season, so I am baffled as to why things are taking so long. Another 10 minutes or so pass before the main courses arrive.
My filet comes with scalloped potatoes and grilled seasonal vegetables. I've ordered it "medium" since I do not know where it was sourced, and when I am not familiar with my ranch source, I make sure any microbes have been heated to 165F and killed. The filet is fine. The vegetables - red & green peppers, red onion, and okra, have been scorched and blackened by the inattentive chef (he's not over-worked, the place has more empty tables than full ones). The potatoes have not been cooked - they're hard, raw, sliced, with a yellowish flavorless sauce poured over them. Not a hint of cheese, butter, cream, or anything that provided any substantive flavor can be detected. I do not believe the potatoes ever saw an oven before making it to my plate. DDF states that her mashed potatoes are quite tasty and offers me some, which I decline. I know she loves mashed potatoes, and... well....
The couple at my right elbow, have this loud conversation:
man: "so tell me, how that whole thing with IHOP worked out?"
woman in sparkly sweater: "oh I was so angry! When their sign says they are open to 10pm, it doesn't matter that we got there at 9:46. Those two women, the hostess and the waitress were both so rude to us, saying 'you know it is already 9:46, we close at 10, can you eat quickly?' So I called the IHOP corporate offices, and they kept thanking me for calling and telling them about what a horrible experience I had. They said that everyone at that IHOP location were going to get re-trained, and that the two people who were rude to our business party were going to get written personnel file reprimands and verbal warnings. My friend So-and-so (inaudible) told me 'they're just entry level positions' and I told her that it didn't matter, you can't treat customers like that, and the IHOP corporate customer service agreed."
man: "it just shows you how all of society is degrading, no one wants to work any more or is willing to earn their wages. This whole country is going down the drain"
I .... wanted... to say and do very unpleasant things to this couple, and unload on them, but I refrained, and just stared at my uncooked, hard, tasteless potatoes and blackened scorched vegetables, and the space on my plate where my filet used to be. I knew that anything I said to them would not have changed their minds, and it would have ruined DDF's evening. No desert, just a check, and we got out of there almost 2 hours after arriving for $120 (a dollar a minute?) - which would have not bothered me if both DDF's and my food would have been served promptly, warmly, unburnt, and more than just 1/2 of it flavorful.
1 year ago