Advertisements
Tag Archives: Saarah

Get Lost, Anthony Bourdain

9 Jul

July 9, 2010

Have you ever had Moroccan food? Neither have I. But a Moroccan restaurant opened around here and despite the fact that my taste in foreign food starts at pizza and ends at egg rolls I figured let’s give it a shot. I had no idea what Moroccan food was and my general knowledge of the country was, let’s say, limited.

OK, it was Saarah’s idea. It’s always a woman, isn’t it? Guys do things like holding their purses at New York and Company for hours on end while they try on various jeans that all look exactly the same, or carrying heavy pieces of furniture up and down stairs at random, or eating sheisty Moroccan food when a woman asks.

So we went to the restaurant and checked the menu. It didn’t look too objectionable and we went in. We checked it out on Yelp too and saw some reviews. It had five stars after only five reviews but that’s not bad since it just opened the week before. However, I should have seen the red flags. It was only later that I noticed that many of these reviews were by people who had just joined the previous week and reviewed just a single restaurant, this one. Some were duplicated word for word on Facebook. The same exact reviews but under different names. But there were people in the place and it looked clean so we went in.

The front of the place looked like every other place in Bay Ridge. Some tables, a counter, and a long steamer table. But in the back they made a room that looked almost, but not quite, totally unlike what someone like me who knows nothing about Morocco might think a place in Morocco looks like. I’m sure that sentence makes sense. Anyway, it had tables, sofas and cushions, drapes, ugly wallpaper, and a freezer full of cans of Coke. Just like Morocco!

SERVICE: POOR
We were served by a nice waitress who did so much wrong. Brought wrong drinks, did not give condiments after repeated requests, and brought our two main courses almost ten minutes apart. Saarah ate while I waited. (Of course.) Eventually we got tired of waiting for things and started going right to the counter to get what we wanted. I almost caused a riot when I asked the guy basting some sort of meat-like item for sauce. The guy said something to waitress, the waitress said something back to him, the manager got involved and it was all in Moroccan so I can only assume they were talking about me. “Look at this American! Probably wants decadent American ketchup!” Well I got it, but after that the waitress almost nagged us to death. “How is everything? Is everything OK? It is alright? Is it? IS IT???”

Saarah asked for water, expecting us to be poured two glasses of water. Instead she was brought a bottle of water. That wouldn’t have been much of a problem if it was Poland Spring or any name brand, but it was store brand water from BJ’s Club. (Pure bottled semi-clear Hackensack water, I think). She gave it back and asked for a soda. Instead, the waitress brought over a pitcher of water and poured it into the single glass that was sitting on the table when we arrived.

We did not understand why there was only one glass on a table with four settings, nor why only one of us got water. Rightly suspicious of the single odd glass (was it left behind by a previous customer? Was it the restaurant’s only glass?) Saarah asked for a can of soda. After two requests she actually got it.

FOOD: MEDIOCRE
The Chicken Kabob plate, despite being described as “marinated in Moroccan herbs and spices,” was bland. The “Moroccan herbs and spices” seemed to be simple black pepper. Hey! I’m a Moroccan cook too!

The Chicken Tagine is described like this on the menu: “Served with green and red peppers, carrots, potatoes, garlic, and olives.”

a section of their actual menu

What was served had no potatoes, no green peppers, no red peppers, no garlic, five tiny cubes of carrots (we counted!), and tons of olives. The chicken was tasteless.

Also, this place boasts “authentic” Moroccan food. I was not aware that French Fries came from Morocco.

We complained to the owner before we left. (I assume he was the owner since he was wearing a fancy sash, like Miss America.) Why were there no peppers or potatoes? What happened to the garlic? He said we had to ask for them. Saarah showed him the menu and pointed out that it said “served with.” He stuck to his answer that it had to be asked for.

We also had to ask the waitress to bring a salad despite, once again, the fact that the menu said “served with.” She seemed surprised that Saarah wanted it.

On the plus side the Chicken Tagine is served in a nice plate. If dishes are your thing you may be happy with the meal. We were not.

BOTTOM LINE: Poor and confused service, bland food, missing food, and a staff that does not understand their own menu. Do not even ask what I tipped. Or didn’t.

.

Advertisements

The Misadventures of an Unromantic Man

13 Jun

June 13, 2017

It was all because of New York City, really.

We’ve got alternate side parking here. That means that once a week you can’t park on one side of the street while nothing happens and they don’t clean the street and on another day you can’t park on the other side of the street while nothing happens and they don’t clean the street. They call these rules “Street Cleaning Regulations” but all they really do is regulate the police to ticket you if you don’t move your car. Then something happens.

Around here, the no-parking regulations are No Parking Thursday from 8:30 to 10:00 and on the other side of the street No Parking Friday from 8:30 to 10:00. Those are AM hours so in order to find a spot to park my car for that hour and a half I need to start looking around 4:15 AM the week before. Hey, this is Brooklyn (“Home of the New Towering Condominium Being Built in Your Neighborhood, All the Time”) so parking is tight. And when I say “tight” I mean “1,478 people fighting for 1 spot” tight. And that’s on light days.

So on this particular Thursday I got up early and, bleary-eyed and foggy of mind, I got into the elevator. I was doing pretty well, considering that I might have had as much as 45 minutes of sleep. Not only did both my sneakers match, and not only were they on my feet, but they were on the correct feet. I haven’t always accomplished that so I was off to a rollicking start. I was looking at my phone, which was off, when I entered the elevator. That was intentional. I was too thick with sleep to manage to turn on my phone but I wanted an excuse to not talk to anyone, or even make eye contact. Hey, I’m a seasoned New Yorker, I know the deal.

On the elevator I go, and yup, there was already someone in there. Did she live in the building? I don’t know. I do not care to know my neighbors. After all, they are, by and large, people. And my motto at times like that (and this) is “People? Who needs them?” Anyway, this woman I was ignoring was about as old as Carol Channing (96 years old as of this writing and, yes, alive) and very honesty looked very much like her.

Kind of like Hans Moleman in drag, no?

I will now recreate the sterling conversation we had.

ME: (nothing at all)
HER: Good morning!!!!!!
ME: (indistinct mumble resembling “grum numble”)
HER: Or maybe it’s “good day.” Do you think this will be a good day?
ME: Wha?

But there was more, too much more. This semi-mummified woman was wearing a spangley black velvet outfit, like if Swarovski designed a gym outfit for people who want to be as far from the gym as possible.  There were little glittery crystals all over it, and in her hair she wore something that I did not get much of a look at because I was still trying to concentrate on my blank cellphone screen.

There I am, trying to ignore the burning question of whether or not it will be a good day when she touched me.

Yeah, I don’t care to be touched. This goes back to an experience I had with an uncle, an old Hercules movie, and basement door that locked from the wrong side. I… I’d rather not talk about it….

Well she touched me lightly on the arm. Stroked me lightly on the arm, actually. Sensually. Flirtatiously. In a way I was stroked on the arm by a construction worker when I was 21. That’s very true, it really happened, and I… I’d rather not talk about it…

To say I was taken aback is to be very literal about it. I reflexively took a step back and thudded into the back wall of the elevator.

HER: Ha ha (stroke stroke on the arm)

Now bear in mind that I got on at the fourth floor and the trip down to the first only takes less than a minute. But it felt a whole lot longer than that.

I can’t exactly call myself a ladies man. I can’t inexactly call myself that either. But this was the second time that week that an, um, odd woman had taken interest in me. Just the other day I was walking Saarah back to her place when we passed a girl in the doorway of the house right next door. I’d seen her around once or twice before. She’s hard to miss. Imagine an elf from The Lord of The Rings. Add random green streaks and highlights to her hair, as if she had seaweed tangled in her unwashed tresses. Now get her hooked on drugs and strung out on crack. Dress her in messy and stained clothes. That’s her.

Would you believe I have a four-year graphic arts degree?

As Saarah and I passed her, she leaned over close and said hello to me. Not to us, just to me. So I said what has become my trademark: indistinct mumble resembling “grum numble”

I… I’d rather not talk about it.

 

.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: