Tag Archives: diners

Pickles for Dinner

17 Nov

from January 10, 2008

I was out for dinner at the Vegas Diner. I try not to go there too much when I’m paying. Not because I’m cheap- it is a diner after all, not the automat. If I were cheap then I’d take my dates to Subway and get a pair of $5 footlongs. Used to be that you could only get a deal like that in Times Square back in the 1970’s. But I digress.

We were out. It was a long day, and by eight o’clock she had to eat. You know how women are. “I’m hungry I’m tired I’m on my period.” All the freakin’ time. Yeah well, I had a bag of Doritos for lunch and flatulence that would kill a mule but you don’t hear me complaining.

The Vegas Diner is a good diner with good food. The problem is that, a couple of times a month, my family goes out to eat together and we pretend to be a family in the sense that we’re related, not in the Manson Family sense. The bill is anywhere from $60 to $80 bucks and over time we’ve developed a favorite waiter (Mr. Abraham with the strange eye) whom we ask for all the time. He treats us like gold and bends over backwards (not so we could shtupp him the ass but) to serve us. Why? Because Mom gives him a $25 tip every week. That’s $25 dollars on a bill of $60. And if he isn’t there, we’ve got a backup waiter who gets the same thing. So we tend to get good service.

When I walk in, I get the same ass-kissing treatment I do with my family, so I have to tip stupidly well too. Thanks Mom. It has gotten to the point that there is a busboy during the day that we have to slip $2. A busboy. And what does he do? Brings us water and asks “how’s your Mom?”. Remember Jimmy the Gent in Goodfellas slipping the bartender $100 for keeping the ice cold? That’s me.

So I was there tonight and I was in the weird angle table just on the left as you walk in. I hate that table, but the hostesses don’t get tipped so they don’t care where I sit. I once saw Mr. Abraham throw a party of six out of their seats when we walked in. And that party? Borough President Marty Markowitz’s mother’s 101st birthday, so you know we tip well.

I am a people watcher. Which is not the same thing as a Peeping Tom but I’ll admit it- there is some overlap. Just across from us was a rather odd couple, for a few reasons. You know Adrian Grenier, from Entourage? Don’t feel bad, most people don’t either. Anyway, this guy looked like Adrian Grenier if he were missing a couple of key chromosomes and entered the Anthony Cumia look-alike contest. You really had to see him. I noticed him not because of his odd looks but because of the way he ate a pickle.

Some of you (one of you. OK, Marc) may know my family connection to the pickle industry. I won’t go into it here but decades ago I invented the still famous Hulk Hogan Pickle ad. Suffice it to say that I know a number three from a number five and can still tell you the age of a quart of brine at six paces. So I am sensitive to pickles.

The Adrian Grenier guy had a plate full of number five sour pickles and ate them with a fork and knife, George Costanza style. Seriously. He cut the pickle into slices, then ate them with a fork. Dainty.

I was appalled.

Pickles are finger food. Meaning, you eat them with your fingers. Trust me, there is nothing better than a woman fingering a pickle and slurping it into her mouth. What? That was sexual? Let me read that back.

I stand by that statement.

Anyway, just to show how it is done in these parts (meaning Not Bizarro World) I took a number three sour from my plate, lifted it up, and crunched into it with a snap that would do the Vlassic Stork proud. I showed him.

He kept up with the knife and fork routine.
But he knew.

That alone was enough to mark him with the Sign of the Beast, but as Billy Mays says “wait! There’s more!” He was washing down the pickles with a chocolate egg cream.

That’s just gross.

I couldn’t stand to see this anymore. I spent too many years in the biz to see pickles treated that way. Now I had to see his date. And here I had to look twice because it was just strange.

He was there with an Asian woman who, in general build and hairstyle, resembled my friend Kathy. Not so much in the face because she was smiling (don’t kill me) but for a second I flashed back to the picture Kathy had on her iphone, her myspace profile, her yearbook page, framed above the entrance to her house, of her and the real Adrian Grenier. It was so bizarre that I took out some paper and a pen and started taking notes. Right during dinner. (Believe it or not ladies I’m still free. Catch me while you can.)

Their food came and Adrian got a bacon cheeseburger deluxe and Kathy got a plate of chicken fingers. I guess HBO doesn’t pay too well. He then mixed some ketchup and what looked like flem in a plate and dipped his fries into it. It looked really gross but at least he stopped defiling the pickles.

I took notes as I ate my roast pork deluxe (which the trainee waitress gave me with the standard fries instead of the mashed potatoes I asked for. But she was new, spoke little English, and was cute so I let it slide) and calculated how too-big a tip I’d have to give my waiter AND his trainee.

Kathy and Adrian’s bill came and Adrian reached into his pocket and took out big roll of bills that turned out to be a single twenty surrounding a whole lot of ones. Where I come from there is an expression for this but I won’t indulge in needless slurs. Here, anyway.

About this time he pulled out his cell phone to show Kathy the wallpaper picture.
It was a squirrel.

Adrian peeled what might have been as many as three singles from his wad, left them on the table, and went to the counter to pay the bill. Kathy, after peeking behind her to see that Adrian couldn’t see, took a single from the tip and pocketed it.

I cannot make this up and I have the notes to prove it.

They left and we finished our diner.

Our Bill? $32.67.
The tip? $11.
Seeing Kathy and Adrian Grenier out together on a date? Priceless.

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