Sometimes I joke –- but it's not really a joke –- that my dream restaurant is a fancy sit-down place with cafeteria-style self service.
Not that I have anything against waiters or waitresses. I only have issues with servers like the ones I encountered at a Tacoma restaurant recently.
I also have problems with restaurant owners who don't properly train their staff and manage to sit within earshot and do nothing while an episode like this transpired:
Even though I clearly and correctly pronounced the ethnic entree I wanted, the waitress didn't understand. English appeared to be her primary language, as well as mine. So I understood exactly what was going on when she asked me to point to the entree on the menu.
A few minutes later, another waitress brought a bowl of sliced onions, peppers and lemons to the table.
"Are these yours," she asked.
She looked like the deer caught in the headlights. I looked at her like the critic caught in the headlights.
"I don't know," I said. "What are they?"
She said: "I don't know. The cook just told me to bring them out to this table. That's all he said."
My dinner companion and I pondered the possible condiments as we waited for our entree.
Our entree arrived, carried by the first waitress, the one who needed the dish pointed out to her on the menu.
"I'd like to know what that stuff's for too," she said. "The cook doesn't tell us very much about stuff."
Figuring I should try this stuff with my dinner, I squirted lemon over the lamb and rice and nibbled on slivers of red onions and jalapenos between bites.
It wasn't bad. But it also wasn't up to me as the diner to figure out.