Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thoughts On Having Dinner Out

My husband has breakfast every Wednesday morning with a group of men from our church. They decided last week that they wanted to have a Christmas get-together and include wives. So tonight 20 of us had reservations at a new Italian restaurant here in town. It was a little nicer than the places my husband and I usually have dinner...meaning it didn't have a drive-through window. And they had candles on the tables. And they were lit. And they had cloth tablecloths and cloth napkins. I was sure glad I got all dressed up. I'm kidding ya'll - I'm not one to dress up but I did have on my best black jeans and a Christmas sweater. For me that IS dressed up!

We were a timely group and the last couple arrived at 6:10; not bad for that big a group. But you know us old-timers...we're the early crowd because we have to be in bed by 9:00. However, things started to go downhill pretty quickly. It was nearly 6:30 before they offered drinks. Since we're a church group they didn't get many takers but a couple of folks (most of them doctors who are practicing what they preach) had a glass of red wine. They were pampering their hearts I'm sure. :) They did take orders pretty quickly after the drinks though so I thought we were in good shape. I have to interject here that if you're having pasta a salad should be included and not priced separately. Otherwise, if you don't order a salad, you're just going to have a plate of pasta and nothing else. Does that seem right to you? I'm just sayin'. At my house if I have pasta I serve salad. They don't. Unless you order it separate and pay extra. Enough about that. The salads were good but the house salads were piled high and the Caesar salads were skimpy...what was that about? If you're thinking of the cost it would be the other way around, wouldn't it? Maybe they were just running low on the makin's for Caesar salads. Whatever.

We waited on our entrees and visited. And visited. And waited. And visited. And waited. Somewhere around 8:00 they brought out our entrees. Except for the two whose orders weren't correct and who didn't get their meals till the rest of us were finishing up. Somewhere after 8:30 we left there - full because the food was good and we, no maybe I mean I, ate lots of bread with pesto. One couple whose order was messed up (they brought her spaghetti bolognese when she ordered lasagna bolognese and heaven knows those two aren't the same thing, right?) and who didn't get her lasagna till I was done with my meal, also were charged incorrectly. The waiter assured them it was ok because the entree he put on there was the same price. Except the lady said it wasn't - they were overcharged by about $2.50. She said this to her husband after the waiter left but by then her husband was so disgusted he said he'd just pay the $2.50 if he could just go home! Another gentleman was charged for two glasses of wine but he only had one.

Ok, it's new. They had a full house. On a Tuesday night, who knew? They had plenty of waiters. But I'm thinking their kitchen is small. And there were 20 of us with 20 different orders (or maybe only a half dozen different entrees, really) to try to get out at the same time and that has to be hard. I sure wouldn't want to do it, which is why I'm not in the restaurant business. So being the forgiving person that I am I just think I'm glad I got a night out and don't sweat the small stuff.

And that would be the end of it except for this one tiny problem I can't get past. An Italian restaurant - how would you expect it to be decorated? A little Italian maybe? They had lovely pictures on the walls.....of lions, tigers, zebras and an ostrich. Lovely pictures, really. I didn't know those were Italian animals, did you?

**edited to note: If you have a restaurant, for heaven's sake take the tails off the shrimp when serving Shrimp Fettucini!


OsageBluffquilter said...

I bet you got a T-shirt too from PW? she wasn't handing them out today and Srah never saw Marlboro man lurking anywhere in the store!

I mailed your pkg today. the clerk at the PO was so nice. I was reusing a flat rate box, he told me he could repackage it, in a free box, send it regular postal and be 1/2 the cost. what a guy!

After that I gave away my $10 free coupon in Penneys to a shopper. She was so excited!

Hope we can met up when you come!

Lea and her Mustangs said...

Really, I didn't know they were Italian animals either. LOL. We went with a group to an Italian Restaurant recently and it was much the same. I was not impressed.

Lindah said...

Are we having fun yet?

Recently we were gifted with a certificate to a local Italian restaurant. I'm thinking maybe we will order it "to go." Besides, I don't have a Chrismtas sweater.

Love your posts.
Merry Christmas!

Marie said...

haha, you make me laugh Marlene. I am sure you would have had a lovelier Italian meal at someones home, but at least you got to be together and that can't be bad. Thanks so much for the lovely book which I received yesterday! That was so very thoughtful of you to send it to me and I so much appreciate it! Love and hugs, and wishes for a very Merry Christmas. xxoo

karenfae said...

some places sure do not have their act together. So many places do not serve the salad with the pasta and you have to order separate. I'm sure it is just to make more money. In this case though with the long wait for the food it would have been nice to have the salad and bread to hold you over to the main part of the meal.
In the case you had though I would not have tipped but I bet they had it figured in because of the large amount at the table.

Milah said...

I take it you didn't buy gift certificates! That happened to us old resturant under new management. It will be a long time before we go back....if they're still there.

Phyllis said...

Oh geez, this type of incident frustrates me beyond belief, and is exactly why I usually go to the same few restaurants when I do get the opportunity to go out!

When I treat myself to spending money on a meal, I want it to be good and no surprises. I mean, we all work hard for our money.

Well, all the frustrations aside, I hope your group had fun visiting with each other. (And I know what you mean about us older folks wanting to be home and in bed earlier than some people. By dark, I want to be in my home!)

Rose Mary said...

Oh Marlene--we rarely go out to eat at this sort of restaurant, but the incident you have described seems about typical for us, LOL! I guess it discourages us from 'pining' to go our more! I love the animal pictures you described~what are they thinking??

Carrie P. said...

Well, I guess you all won't be going back there again, lol.
You know we have to several Italian restaurants in our town and we always get poor service too and we have not been back in years. So I just do Italian at home, with a salad.
Have a Blessed Christmas!

Angie said...

oooh Marlene - sounds like one for Gordon Ramsay! If they can't cope with a party of 20 then they shouldn't have taken the booking.

Have a lovely and blessed Christmas won't you..........
love, Angie, xx
P.S. oH NO, guess what my word verification is for this? SUCKAM!

Tracy P. said...


I'll stick with Olive Garden.

Love Bears All Things said...

Usually when something like that happens, the manager comes out and apoligizes and offers compensation like the meal on the house or a gift card or free dessert. Doesn't sound like that happened. Could be they had people who didn't show up to work but still they should have made a gesture. My husband who has been in the quality control business for many years would have gone to talk to the manager. He says when this happens it is all about the way the manager operates.
I'm sorry this happened but hopefully the fellowship was good and you had a nice evening out despite the service.
Merry Christmas
Mama Bear

Grammy Staffy said...

What a story. You will remember that dinner for a long time.

I am sending you love and best wishes. Have a great Christmas.

Come over and visit my blog when you can. I have a Christmas greeting for you there.

Hugs, Lura