Tag Archives: Mayor Bloomberg

Mumbles Mumbai Meets Sleepy Bhopal

28 Jun

June 28, 2014

The 21 Club it is not.

But then again, it isn’t Gray’s Papaya.

Somewhere in the vast sea of cuisine that exists between American Hackleback Caviar at $60 per ounce and $1 hot dogs is the Indian restaurant called Toshan. That isn’t the real name, though it is close, but it is a real restaurant in Queens and I’ve been there about a dozen times. It is a favorite of Saarah’s so, despite my not being a fan of Indian food, we go there every so often. Their food is a fusion of Indian and Chinese, so I generally find something I like on the menu.

It is kind of a hole in the wall but, if you ignore the Department of Health’s B rating (Why? I don’t want to know.) it is a good place with generally decent service and good food.

Just not this time.

We walked in around 5 o’clock and only 2 of the 8 or 9 tables were occupied, which was great because we could get our favorite table. It is a small corner table but it is next to a small partition wall so it has a little bit of privacy, at least on one side. The other side is open to the rest of the place, but at least I’m sure that no Thugee cult members are going to attack from the right and rip my beating heart out of my chest. (Hey, I saw Temple of Doom. I know to watch out for Mola Ram. This is an Indian place, after all.) However, it was not to be.


For reasons you will soon see, we had to skip our favorite table (and safety from heart-stealing cultists) and take one that was, unfortunately, right in the center. (Although there were only 2 tables occupied by customers, the way this place is set up, any other table we took would put us right on top of the other customers. And while one of them was an attractive Desi with a short top, my girlfriend probably would not care for me asking the hot chick to pass the soy sauce.)

So why couldn’t we get our favorite table? It was either:
A- the table had not been cleaned since the last customers left
B- it had a broken leg and was out of service
C- a group of dogs was playing poker there, just like in the famous picture
D- a waiter was asleep there.

The correct answer is D, a waiter was asleep there, and I have photographic proof, taken over Saarah’s shoulder.

Yes, that is Saarah’s debut in this blog. Isn’t she beautiful?

Yes, that is Saarah’s debut in this blog. Isn’t she beautiful?

So there he was, stone cold asleep, not only right at our favorite table, but in fact in the very seat that Saarah prefers. And did I mention that this was Saarah’s birthday? Unless the waiter, whom I’ll call Sleepy Bhopal, was gently snoring Happy Birthday this was a serious damper.

Now I have to point out, the place has other regular waiters. One is a woman who is generally good and attentive. The other is an older man (or maybe just middle aged but with prematurely gray hair- it’s hard to tell and I wasn’t about to try to snap a picture of him since he was both awake and handling my food) who may or may not speak English. It is really hard to tell with his accent. On top of that, he speaks in a very low voice. The woman seems to be in charge as she runs the register, but if she’s free she’ll run the food too, so the service was by committee, delivering food based on who was free and where they were standing at the time. Sounds silly, but like I said, there were only 2 other tables.

So there we were, sitting at a table in the middle of the small room, almost but not quite on top of the other customers, and with no protection at all from Mola Ram if he decided to burst out of the kitchen, horns on head ablaze, determined to rip my beating heart out of my chest. Right after he dropped off a few plates at the next table, that is.

So we sat there and, after I took a few sneaky pics of Sleepy Bhopal, the mumbling gray-haired waiter, whom I’ll call Mumbles Mumbai, came over and took our order. In addition to our food, I got a Diet Coke and Saarah asked for a Diet Coke with extra lime, no ice. This place does not, for some reason, have lemons. They also keep the cans of soda in a cooler behind the counter, so go figure.

The soda came, two cans, two glasses loaded with ice, no lime.

So with a sigh, I called over Mumbles and again asked for some lime. He nodded his head and scurried away. Really, like a crab. Anyway, he was back a few minutes later with… not lime. He was back with our appetizers.

So I just sort of sighed and looked at him with a look of infinite sadness, a look that said “hey, I worked all day, it’s my girlfriend’s birthday, all I want is some lime for her soda, can you please help me out?” Really, you may not think it is possible for a single glance to convey all of that but it did, for it suddenly dawned on him, this look of beatific glory spread over his face, he knew, absolutely knew, and rushed back into the kitchen.

He came right back with two knives.

So I assumed that the knives were for our appetizers (which was lollipop chicken and did not require knives) and waited for the lime, which never did come.

Saarah said “he thought you said knives, not lime.”

And then Mola Ram burst out of the kitchen, horns on head ablaze, and ripped my beating heart out of my chest.


At least that’s what it felt like. So I called over the waitress and asked for (and received!) some lime. Literally a whole soup bowl full.

Meanwhile, things were stirring with the still-sleeping waiter.

While Mumbles Mumbai was off in the kitchen and the waitress (does she need a silly name too? Is Desi Debi starting to cross the line from silly to racist?) was nowhere to be seen, a family came in and, with no one to greet or seat them, just stood around. And since this place is so small, they just stood around right on top of us.

And now, an ethical question.

If you go into a restaurant, and the only person in sight is a sleeping waiter, do you wake him up? I’d let him sleep, not because it is polite or ethical, but because I don’t know if the guy is prone to night terrors and I’d be worried that if I tried to wake him he’d suddenly jolt awake and, with a crazed look in his eyes, try to rip my beating heart out of my chest.

Plus, no way would I want to touch him. Uh uh, nobody is going to sue me for sexual harassment.

But throwing all caution to the wind, the father of the family leaned over and woke up (I couldn’t see how) Sleepy and told him the wanted a take-out order. The waiter wiped the sleep out of his eyes and, with a clear and obvious attitude of “leave me the f- alone,” slowly got up, stretched, and took their order. The waitress then returned and took the order slip from him. For all the world, it looked like she was used to his public naps, like he slept in front of the customers all the time. For all I know, maybe this place is famous for its somnambulistic servers.

Saarah and I eventually finished our meals and wanted to take some leftovers home. (Not the lime, though, there was just so much of it.) We called over the waitress. By now we were largely ignoring Mumbles and only calling over the waitress. However, Sleepy intercepted the signal and came over. We told him we’d like to take our dishes home and Saarah told him we’d also like some extra sauce. There were two sauces on the table and she pointed to the one she wanted. Simple. Easy-peasy.  (Not lemon-squeezy for obvious reasons.)

But Sleepy was wearing his cranky pants this day. Despite having the sauce pointed out to us, he started arguing with us about which sauce we wanted.

“Sauce? What sauce? There’s the sauce for the lollipop chicken, there’s soy sauce, maybe you mean ketchup, there’s the spicy sauce…” etc etc etc yada yada yada and honestly, not only did he have an accent, he was also still half asleep and most of what he said came out in a slur. A nasty sounding slur. Sleepy woke up with an attitude.

Saarah got real angry and told him “THIS SAUCE” and lifted the jar right up in front of him. Sleepy walked away muttering pretty loudly under his breath and Saarah and I both started complaining about him, so loudly that the waitress came over and said something to Sleepy, and from then on only she took care of us, bringing our doggy bag and the check.

Saarah and I then loudly discussed that we were not leaving a tip. (Actually we did- 3 cents. The bill was $34.97 and I dropped $35 on the table, not bothering to stick around. ) The waitress was so sure we were leaving without paying that as soon as I looked as if I might be thinking about possibly maybe standing up and leaving that she rushed over to the table and looked for the money.

So what’s the moral of the story? Never trust Mike Bloomberg. As mayor, he made restaurants put up letter grades to signify the cleanliness of the place, but what about the signs we really need? Like this?

sleep rating

Christmas Goosed

26 Dec

December 26, 2013

Christmas is over and thank god, ’cause that was a nightmare. Friends, family? Bah! Humbug! Well, at least this year I was spared the horror of the Christmas lunch at work. (My new office had the decency to just trudge along in the usual manner.)

January 3, 2012

By the time you read this it will be well into January and you’ll be tired of Christmas stories but I hope you forgive just one more.

A few days before Christmas the Company I Am employed by, which must remain confidential for reasons I cannot reveal, threw a Christmas lunch for all of its employees. Of course, this being the era of political correctness, it wasn’t called a Christmas lunch.

As much as I hate PC, and as much as I think it is often taken to a ridiculous degree, in small doses it isn’t such a horrible thing. Seeing as how Christmas fell smack in the middle of Hanukkah this year, it would not have bothered me if this were called a Holiday Lunch. It would acknowledge both holidays. The problem is, PC is usually used not to include anyone, but to exclude everyone. Case in point: Here in NYC, Mayor Michael “I am your mother” Bloomberg decided that in order to avoid offending some people, the Staten Island ferry terminal cannot display a Christmas tree or any holiday decorations, despite it hosting some wonderful displays the past few years. So the upshot is, while in the past a very few cranks might have been offended by the sight of a Christmas tree, thanks to PC, now everyone is offended by the lack of holiday cheer. Rather than acknowledge all holidays, it acknowledged no holidays. So I guess political correctness really did work- everyone was equally pissed off.

This is not a fake, he actually did this at some press event. What a tool.

In that spirit, my company did not call it a Holiday lunch, they called it a Kickoff lunch. Kickoff to what? It was never explained. Logically, it could only be a kickoff to Christmas, although the invitation I was emailed showed a picture of a woman (in silhouette) doing what appeared to be the limbo, but it was hard to tell in silhouette.

At this point you might be wondering if there was to be any fun at the Kickoff lunch.

There was not.

That was clear from the invitation, in which we were told that the lunch would not be held in the building’s giant cafeteria but on whatever floor of the building in which you worked. While I have friends who work on the 5th floor, since I work on 13 there would be no mingling. Furthermore, each floor was divided into sections, with each section being assigned a time and place to pick up their lunch. It was a very regimented lunch.

You might also note that I wrote “pick up” lunch, not “eat” lunch. This is because the food was set up in a small meeting room and we were expected to get it and leave, eating the food at our desks. For the record, I took my food down to the cafeteria where I hoped to meet a good friend with whom I always have lunch. The problem was, she was designated to eat 45 minutes earlier than I was and I missed her, meaning I ate my Christmas- sorry, Kickoff lunch, alone. Bah. Humbug.

This day’s lunch was the worst lunch I ever had since I started at The Company, and that includes the very first lunch in which I ate outside in the park and almost got pooped on by a bird.

But the food? Surely the food was good? After all, The Company has a giant, catering-style cafeteria, and the resources to bring in food from anywhere. The food must have been fantastic, right? It was a great lunch, wasn’t it?

We had our choice of pre-wrapped sandwiches which would not have looked out-of-place at a 7-11 or one of the fancier gas stations. There was roast beef with an odd sauce whose name I cannot quite recall but was French-sounding and tasted like vinegar, a turkey sandwich with tomato-pesto sauce, and a roasted vegetable sandwich. I took the roast beef. As bad as those choices sound, I later found out that my friend was thrilled to see the veggie sandwich because she has a strict diet and cannot eat the other two sandwiches.

We had a choice of chips, or so they said. When I got there I saw there was only one kind of chip available. I guess the choice was chips or no chips. I took the chips. There was a choice of fruit. On the table were about two dozen bananas and a single apple. I passed. There was a cookie (no choice) which I spit out when I later ate it. It wasn’t even a cookie, it was a very thin cake covered in the sweetest icing you can imagine. If you took pure sugar and spread it in a half-inch layer over a piece of pound cake you would not even come close to this thing. It was sweet enough to kill a diabetic from thirty paces.

We were also given a bottle of water.

Getting the lunch was a torture in itself. In addition to being given a specific eating period we were also given a ticket. One ticket, one lunch. I guess they were worried about not having enough food if people started taking seconds. You’ve just read about the menu. Would you want seconds?

At our specified time my section was ordered- yes, that is the correct word- to get our lunch. I dropped my ticket in a bag sitting in the lap of a woman whose job it was to make sure I had a ticket. I tried to have some witty banter with her- “you must be the most important woman on this floor”- and was rewarded with a stony stare. I went inside. 

Our emailed invitation also included instructions on what we were to choose, but they went a little nuts in the actual room. For example, red arrows were laid out on the table leading from the sandwiches to the chips, which were less than two feet away, to the fruit, less than two feet away, to the cookies, right next to the fruit, to the bottles of water, unmissable near the exit door. And next to each section, printed directions/warnings to take just one of each category.

In retrospect, I’m very glad this was not a Christmas Lunch after all because there was zero Christmas spirit in me that day.

I guess the takeaway is big company + political correctness = no fun for anyone.

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