Wednesday, September 10, 2008

May I Have Some More, Please?

I have a post about politics and disability tickling the tips of my fingers, but I'm going to hold off until Monday. Consider yourselves forwarned!

In the meantime, I'm going to remind you about the contest for a FREE BOOK. Be sure to check out the excerpt booklet or make some likely guesses and respond either in the comments below or via an email to me. Good luck! The drawing will be on Tuesday.

And staying on a happy note, this Saturday is my birthday, so, naturally, the entire week is a celebration. Ellie tells me happy birthday every day and asks if we're having cake. So I thought: why not? She and I are going to make a pilgrimage down to Jilly's Cupcake Bar later this week, just the two of us. Time alone with either child is a nice little luxury when there are two children in the family.

In addition to the all-important issue of cake, birthdays involve presents. And every single day this week the UPS man has brought me a package! Now, granted, these aren't all birthday presents. Today's package, for example, was the book I'm giving away next week. But I'm saving all of the packages in a stack in the foyer so that I can feel all excited and important, like a little kid.

Cake, presents . . . party hats! That one is more Ellie's birthday obsession than mine. The only reason I'd wear a party hat this year would be to cover up my ever-increasing grey.

Moving right along to dinner. Paul took me out tonight for a birthday dinner, sans children. At my request, we tried out a neat looking new little Mexican place right in downtown Kirkwood. Downtown Kirkwood has a lot of great restaurants, and we'll have more time to visit them since I don't think we'll be headed back to Amigos Cantina anytime soon.

I loved the decor, both outside and in. I also liked the menu. Although there were no cheese enchiladas anywhere on it (my favorite) on the other hand, there were no cheese enchiladas anywhere on it, if you know what I mean. And the salsa was good. The food was just fine, overall.

But the service! Our server was initially very attentive, coming back to see if we were ready to order yet 3 times in the first few minutes we were there, bringing me a fresh Diet Coke when my first was still full. As this was a rare chance for me to actually look at the menu rather than ordering something fast the first time I saw any member of the waitstaff and asking for a box and the check along with my food, I didn't want to feel so rushed. (Although I really did appreciate that Diet Coke later.)

Once we'd placed our orders, that was the last we saw of our server! Someone from the kitchen brought our food, which is fine, but the server never came back to check on us. No drink refills. No additional chips or salsa. No dessert! No check! We sat there alone for an hour! I hate to be a pest but after flagging him down with gestures failed entirely, I was about to go up to the bar and ask the bartender to send over the manager. I have never done that and the thought of doing so made me a little sick to my stomach. Just then, Paul managed to attract a busguy over to our table. He got us a server. (Not our server, but a very nice server who apologized and tracked down our server.) Our server then brought us the bill. And that was it. No profuse apologies, no throwing in the Diet Cokes for free, nothing. For the first time ever, we didn't leave a tip.

Oops, we've strayed right away from happy notes. Well, let's go all the way. What bad restaurant experiences have you had lately? Do tell!


steph said...

Hee. I used to be in the service industry- as a hostess to waitress, then bartender. I cut our servers a LOT of slack, which kind of annoys my husband when we're having a less-than-good restaurant/bar experience.
The worst one, though, was when we were in a diner in New Orleans (pre-Katrina). Our server came to the table, took our order and brought our drinks. Then she walked over to the register and cashed out for the night. And I watched her walk out the door. I assumed that she gave our table to another server- not usually allowed in the restaurants that I'd worked in, but it's happened.
But then we sat there for forty minutes. And another server came over and asked us what we ordered, again? And told us it was sitting on the line- and he'd get it remade and take care of us. So he did (and we tipped him).

The best part of that was when the floor manager wouldn't comp ANY of it. I was amazed. On principal I should have contested the charge with the credit card company, but it seemed like a lot of work for a lousy dinner.

Jessica said...

My family and I went to Hacienda not long ago and, while the food was fine, the service was HORRIBLE. On many different occasions, we had to remind the server of things, making our request more than once. Each time, he sort of chuckled to himself as if he thought it was funny that he couldn't *remember* we needed more to drink even though our empty glasses were quite obvious.

Service - across the board - is at an all time low in my opinion.

Kristi said...

We've had some really bad experiences. There was one place that I blogged about about a year that went out of business the next day (after plain not serving our party of 10). I wish they'd just said something and saved us all the trouble.

Last weekend at Olive Garden, we just had slow slow service. Out with my IL's. So, 4 adults and 2 kids. The server was fine--if there were no kids. He was slow about taking drink orders (though he brought a bottle of wine as soon as we were seated). He finally brought the adult drinks. And the kids milks came several minutes later (after Trystan had already demanded half of my water). And Trystan, Char and I made at least 2 trips to the bathroom along with many minutes of promenading up and down the entry way in between asking for boxes for our leftovers and then receiving the boxes. Sometime after that, he brought the check. Char found a (still wrapped and intact) mint on the floor, but none of the rest of us were offered any (maybe they were out or something...but those Andes' mints are one of my favorite parts of that restaurant!)

grace said...

Wow. That cupcake place looks amazing. The Jilly on the Beach or the Bee Sting...yum.

Tracey said...

I haven't been to Amigos, and with that ringing un-endorsement, I think I will likely not plan on it!

stljoie said...

We go to Chimichinga's which is in the city on way south Grand at about Bates. It's very popular and busy and the wait staff really works and pays attention. They do have cheese enchiladas, altho my favorite is chicken. They also have wonderful Marguaritas in various sizes. On south Grand at Gasconade, just north of Meremac, is a Vietnamese restaurent name Bahm Mi So #1. The wife cooks each and every order, including a variety of spring rolls, as ordered and the husband serves and busses. The food is absolutely wonderful and I so like spending my money with this couple who work so very hard to please. Food does not always come out together so the rule is to eat when served and remember the cooking does take some time. It is quite a treat. We like the tilapia spring rolls.

Sarahlynn said...

That sounds amazing. Thank you for the recommendations!

Chrystal said...

Yes, that recommendation does sound Mmmmmmmmm. How close is that to KC? Probably not very, huh? Just asking cause I might be flying that way soon.

Sarahlynn said...

Steph, I have enough friends who have been servers to be really forgiving, usually. But sometimes . . . wow.

Jessica, that's what makes me angry: when instead of an apology you get an "oh well, I lost this tip, no use making an effort now" reaction.

Kristi, I always find it obvious when I get a server who doesn't have kids and hasn't been around them too much. Bringing the kids food last, thoughtfully allowing long periods to linger over the menu, etc... it's definitely a different dining experience with tots in tow!

Grace, we didn't make it today, so I've got my fingers crossed for tomorrow. Here's hoping!

Tracey, maybe it was a fluke. I hope so!

Chrystal, it's all the way across the state. But if you don't mind a 5 hour drive . . . ;)

Kathy G said...

We've been to Amigos two times, and had great service both times. Maybe you just got a bad server.