Going away for a weekend typically means our two priorities are sleeping in and dining out.
A few observations from our restaurant meals.
There is an underground culture of servers I will affectionately refer to as “Tray People.” These are apron wearing servers working at delis and restaurants where customers order their sandwich and pickle from a counter and are handed a number. This number is your ticket to food. If you lose it, you starve and the tray people move onto the next number.
Tray people emerge from swinging kitchen doors like robots. Their mission is to deliver a bowl of French onion soup to whoever holds the coveted number 72. If 72 is not hoisted high in the metal holder at the edge of the table, the tray person retreats back into the kitchen, just long enough for the door to reopen and his tray replenished with a chicken salad. French onion soup guy goes home hungry, chicken salad guy places his 73 where tray person can see it, no glances or meaningful exchanges are encouraged and lunch is served.
We had dinner at a seafood restaurant that had been recommended to us. It had all of the Long John Silver elements from my childhood I was hoping I would never need to revisit. Netting above the tables, bathrooms named “Gulls and Buoys” and mostly plastic cutlery, paper napkins.
I asked the server how the mahi mahi was.
Gull: It’s our best item. I’ve never had one sent back.
It bodes well for any restaurant when the best item award is based solely on how many times it’s returned uneaten or exchanged for haddock.
Fritters were offered as an amuse bouche. They were corn and blueberry with powdered sugar on top.
I can’t be the only one who found a basket of sugared Tim bits a strange start to my meal.
I excused myself to visit the little Gull’s room where a net got caught in my hair. I noticed one of the tray people taking a break, head down (so there was no chance at getting help untangling) hands in the sink, clearly consumed with quantitative thoughts.
I pulled a 72 out of my back pocket and the two of us shared a hot bowl of French onion soup.