Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Everyone's A Critic

What a gig! I always thought being a food critic would be a great job. Tables at all the hip, new restaurants. Plus the old faves. Somebody else's budget. Lots of adoring friends. Big sunglasses and wigs. Heaven, right? Tonight I got to be one of those extra orderers. One of those people you read about that gets the appetizer and the soup and the salad and the entree and the dessert and wonder how they ate so much. My host, a talented chef and writer, tried to focus on the positive, wanted it to work out, wanted the experience to be good like the last time she hit the place. But it was hard. A self-described high-bar gal, the negativity crept in early. We all agreed on the stunning setting, the good vibe on a gorgeous night, the remodeled to perfection locale, the Martha Stewarty drinks. But then the appetizer showed up and it smelled like dog food. Apparently there's some secret food critic rule about sending something back. Don't do it. Don't cause a fuss. First, you don't want to be recognized if you write about it later and, if they take it off the bill, it's pretty hard to complain. We got the waitress, who just loved squeezing shoulders and saying "Sweetie" to leave it at the table, even after telling her about the unusual aroma. She said that's just how it smells. Maybe it's out fault. Ten minutes later a bus girl told us the same thing. Said, maybe you shouldn't get those anymore. Once the criticizing began, we had tasteless, bland, boiled, greasy, overcooked, nursing home-like, an asked-for twice drink, a twenty minutes late entree, and, finally, a free dessert that seemed leftover from a weekend wedding as we picked at it for half an hour before getting some attention as the place tried to close down, wondering if we jinxed the situation somehow, letting our fearless leader get the worst treatment. Whine, whine, whine. Being a critic is hard. I'm usually such a glass is half full character. Especially here. Blogger (bragger).com where everything is all perfect and shiny, spiced up just right. I won't leave out all of the fun we had tonight. All of the laughs. And how if you ever need a warm body to fill your table and give out free, oh-it's-not-that-bad opinions, I'm available.

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