I stood by the ‘Please Wait to be Seated’ sign at the entry of the restaurant. It was a perfect afternoon to sit on an outdoor patio. The small restaurant seemed busy. Several of it’s few tables where already occupied.
Table for one?” the young server asked.
“Yes please,” I replied.
The table had a wonderful view. There were mother’s day greetings written in crayon on one of those brown paper tablecloths. The sun was warm on my shoulders.
I looked at the menu. Lots of simple, hearty fare, which would suit me just fine. It was almost two o’clock. I was good and hungry.
The server returned for my drink order. Water with a straw, please. Then I ordered the crackers and grapes for an appetizer. She disappeared back into the kitchen.
Through the patio door to the kitchen, I could hear the chef at work. She hollered “ORDER UP”, and the server emerged with my water, grapes and crackers.
Then she came back for my main course order. I requested the mac ‘n cheese and scrambled egg. For my side, I chose the cucumber.
After about 5 minutes the server returned with some questions from the chef. In particular, she wanted to know how to know when water is boiling (“how big should the bubbles be”) and if it “goes faster” with a lid on the pot.
I continued to wait in the sun, occasionally closing my eyes behind my sunglasses. My stomach growled. With crackers and grapes consumed, I called for the server and asked her if – though not on the menu – I might have some Kettle Chips. She said they didn’t have any. I said I thought there might be some on in the back of the pantry. She checked with the chef, who said no there’s none in the pantry. I suggested they might be on the second shelf from the bottom, sort of hidden near the back. There was some chatter and slamming doors from the kitchen. Eventually a bowl of sea-salt Kettle Chips was delivered to my table. Talk about service.
As I sat nibbling my chips, I heard raised voices in the kitchen. The chef seemed to be getting upset. Something about the server needing to help more. I peaked through the window and could see the server lying on the couch reading a comic while eating from the bag of Kettle Chips. Then I saw the chef trying to drag the server off the couch by the arm, amidst shouting protest. Then the chef stormed out, yelling she needed more help and wanted things to be perfect.
Ignoring the ‘Staff Only’ sign, I sneaked through the kitchen and found the chef in her bedroom. I gave her a hug, ensuring her that things were indeed perfect. In fact they could not be more perfect. A few deep breaths and re-hiding of the Kettle Chips later, order was restored. Frankly, we all get a little nuts around the Kettle Chips.
I went back to my table. Happy chatter and clanging resumed in the kitchen. There was another “ORDER UP” and out came the server with mac ‘n cheese and cucumbers. I asked the chef and server if they could join me for lunch. To my delight, they did. There were no scrambled eggs, but I didn’t mention that. Because it was perfect.