Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Where Not to Eat

I ate dinner last night at a Mexican food restaurant on Burnet road called El Mercado. I've been there before and it wasn't too bad and the place I really wanted to go is closed on Mondays, so we thought we'd give it a try.

After ordering and receiving my Diet Coke I asked for a glass of water. The waiter quickly came back to the table and, inexplicably, with a flourish, set down a dish of butter in front of me. And beamed at me, no doubt anticipating the huge tip that was coming.

"What the hell?" I said. "Maybe it's for tortillas," my date theorized. "But that's so old school. Do they really ever do that any more?"

Hm. Well, they both have two syllables and end in -ter. Wa-ter, but-ter. Okay. I'll give it to him.

(No tortillas were brought to us.)

Soon he was back, this time with a huge stack of napkins and a butter knife. Again with the beaming smile. Good waiter. My date asked him very plainly if he could bring me some water.

Then came the food. I had the Adobo Enchiladas which of course come with a side of rice and beans. The adobo was a little bright, like there might have been a ketchup component to it. But it wasn't too bad. And then I forked up a bite of beans with rice. It was awful. The beans were okay, but the rice had a very metallic undertone and reeked of rancid garlic. That would be my only bite of the rice.

When we were through and the waiter brought us the check, I told him that he should have the kitchen check the rice. "It's a little off," I said. He beamed at me again and left. My date reported, "He's bringing you a to-go container." Sure enough, seconds later he proudly placed a styrofoam container within my reach, with a couple of napkins on top. (Just in case I had used all seventeen of the ones he brought with the knife.) I laughed out loud. "No, thank you," I said. "I won't be taking this home." He looked at me, puzzled. "The rice tasted a little off. You might want to get the chef to check it." He smiled weakly, still puzzled. "It tasted bad. She didn't like it," chimed in my date. All of a sudden the waiter got it. "OH!" he exclaimed. "Is everything ok?" "Yes," I said. "Fine." "You need me to do anything?" he asked. "No, just tell the kitchen to check it. So you don't serve it to other people like that." "Just fine?" he asked. "Just fine," I said. He really didn't want to leave the table and kept hesitantly stepping backwards and then forwards. Finally he decided I really meant it and left us.

So yeah, I probably won't be giving them another visit.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Who wants to know

what happens when your pressure cooker explodes?

Q: What does happen when your pressure cooker explodes?

A: Well first there is an ear-splitting hiss which is followed by a thumpish depth-chargy sort of a pop.

Q: Wouldn't it be dangerous if, say, you were chopping something up with a very sharp knife when that happened?

A: Why, yes. In fact you could potentially cut your entire thumb off if you aren't careful.

Q: Does the smoke detector go off?

A: No, the huge cloud of steam that envelops your kitchen consists of mostly vaporized water.

Q: So, how much of the cooking liquid sprays itself onto every exposed surface in your kitchen?

A: All seven cups of it!