January 20, 2017

January 20, 2017

I took a few pictures this morning, trying to find something that matches my mood. This seemingly abandoned community center best fits the bill.

***

Cindy and I went out for dinner last night. We went to one of Cindy’s favorite places; and I also like it. Last night’s visit was unlike any other that we’ve had there. The restaurant is part of a chain and I shall not name it here because I’m sure that last night was an aberration. We shall return there.

I should state here that I am not a vegan or a vegetarian. If you find tales of eating meat offensive, please stop reading now. This is the space where, on a worse day, I would make a bad joke using the phrase “make no bones about it.” I’ll spare you.

Usually when we dine at this restaurant I order a chicken dish or a salad of some kind. Last night I was wanting something a bit more substantial so I ordered a steak. It was a ribeye to be exact. Ribeyes are known for their flavor and tenderness due to the marbling.

When our meals arrived, the lad who was serving us asked me to cut into the steak to see if it had been prepared properly. I skewered the meat with my fork and set about cutting the meat. I cut, and I cut, and I cut some more. I sawed on that steak and could not get the blade to penetrate beyond one eighth of a centimeter in depth. I tried to make a joke about it, but I was breathless from the exertion. I checked the knife blade to make sure it had some sort of edge. It did. I would have had more luck cutting that steak with a hammer and cold chisel, or perhaps a table saw.

Finally I move the knife to a different spot on the carcass and tried again. After some work I found success when I dislodged a small portion from the main bit. He asked if it was done enough (cooked medium in my case). “Fine,” said I the people pleaser, never looking at it but forking it into my mouth and started chewing. He smiled and left the table while I continued to chew. And I chewed and chewed and chewed some more, never reducing the size of the bite, just changing it’s somewhat malleable shape. Finally at Cindy’s urging I discretely spat the piece of steak into my napkin.

While I seldom send food back to the kitchen, I felt that I had to since the food was inedible. I cast my eyes about looking for our server. He was nowhere to be seen. But, ah, the shift manager was making the rounds of the tables, smiling and chatting with the customers. I caught her eye and beckoned her over.

“How is everything tonight?” she inquired. She probably knew that I had a complaint since I had requested her attendance at our table, but she continued to smile.

I explained my problem with the steak. She asked how I had wanted it prepared. I know that she expected me to say that I had ordered it well done. Phaw! I haven’t knowingly had a well done steak since leaving the confines of my mother’s kitchen and realizing the true worth of taste buds. For the uninitiated, a well done steak has no flavorful juices, and becomes harder to cut. No, I had ordered it medium.

The manager offered to substitute a different cut of meat or another ribeye. I chose another ribeye. What could go wrong?

They whisked away the offending steak, and in a few minutes the new steak arrived at our table. The manager, who had personally delivered the new steak asked me to cut into it. With some effort I cut into the meat and exclaimed, “Much better.” I was still a people pleaser.

As she left the table, still smiling, I forked a piece of steak into my mouth and commenced chewing. I chewed and I chewed and I chewed, and somewhat irritated I less discretely spat the meat onto the edge of the plate. I tried a second piece, and a third with no better result. I had wanted to make a joke about horse meat, but upon reflection believed it was really a horse’s saddle.

Cindy asked to try a piece of the steak in order to judge if my teeth were somehow blunted, but she had the same chewing experience. Rather than have me send another steak back to the kitchen, she asked me to get it in a to-go box and take it home. She promises me that she can get it tender enough to be edible. We’ll see.

We asked our server to bring us a to-go box. As we waited for him to return, the manager passed our table, smiled at me, and gave me a thumbs-up. I smiled back. Even in defeat I am a people pleaser.

As I said earlier, we will return to this restaurant, scene of many good meals. We have both vowed, however, to never order their ribeye steak again.

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