the latte that wasn’t
Our metropolis has one of the largest underground cities on the continent and is filled with, among other things, innumerable tiny restaurants from sushi joints and burger heavens to artisanal bread bars and vegan fast food. We had forgotten just how many people keep this industry alive and well until we got caught in the swell of office workers pouring out of their hives at full noon. The thought of standing too long in line for sub-par snacks didn’t appeal to Miss Z so we came up for air and headed towards a little hipster café. Situated on the main floor of a building in the old fur district on a side street blocked by construction vehicles, we walked right by it. No sign on the window, just a couple of numbers because we were supposed to know where it was.
Sitting in the back at a communal table seemed a better alternative than at a windy table for two awfully close to the front door, or so we thought. Relatively decent prices and a interesting enough menu were over-complicated by a server who, after asking us if we were familiar with the café, just had to explain what the sizes of the portions were on the “pizza” and “salad”. Uh oh. Sounds of a jack hammer started to vibrate through the wall – weren’t they unionized? 15 minutes. Full on rush hour of lunchtime. The hardhats doing the renovations next door had thankfully stopped for their mandatory break. We wondered what they had in their thermoses… 20 minutes. Good thing we didn’t have to get back to a real job where someone was actually counting the minutes we were away from our desks. 22 minutes. The girls jammed in to the right who had arrived ten minutes after us were served. Their complete meal. No sign of anyone at the open kitchen prepping our food. 25 minutes. Waiting is not our forte and we started to twitch. Just as the urge to walk out kicked in, our two lunches arrived on a single wooden cutting board with one duck and feta slice cozied up close enough to kiss Miss Z’s all-veg order. Nice. Definitely not politically correct.
It wasn’t famous as far as meals go and we said as much to the server when she asked if everything was great. No, it wasn’t. The portions of duck were microscopic and looked as though they had been stripped of the carcass of someone’s dinner from the night before. The crust literally had to be sawn through which is probably why it was served with a steak knife on the side. The salad which had definitely been batch made quite a few hours, say 24 or more, previously was predominantly beets with all of 2 walnuts, no pears, one green that looked like lawn clippings and a blob of goat cheese that had the texture of sour cream. Good thing the kombucha was bottled because the barista didn’t seem to know the difference between a bowl of latte and the double-strength cappuccino that arrived at our table.
Did we want something else? Nope. Perhaps a slice with a different meat on it? Definitely not. In the end, being ravenous and afraid to be struck by lightning for wasting food, we did eat the whole thing. The salad just sat there until we could doggie bag it. Not in any rush to get us our bill, they comped us the $5 for the duck “pizza” – wow – and hoped we would come back again for breakfast or supper when the crust was thinner. Mmmm, no, we don’t think so….
“What do you do for lunch?” – brownbag or five-star, sandwich or soup, miss it completely, go with a group, left-overs or made from scratch – We would love to see your vision…
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6 thoughts on “Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Lunch”
this made me chuckle! sometimes our dining options are foiled at every bite! when we crave a quiet table, a jackhammer would definitely ruin the experience. poor service and poor food would make me grateful for having a partner/partners in suffering!
with little internet, i can barely write the timeout posts each week, but it would be fun to share some lunch stories. hopefully i’l be back soon! z
I suspect alot of it (these little trendy cafes opening up) stems from the mcdonalds generation suddenly discovering real food and yet not having the palates or finesse to get it all together. I’m no snob, having found some incredible taste sensations under pretty gritty conditions, i just resent having low quality food passed off as something special. In this case, artisanal = sloppy and rustic = a tasteless mess! Send me your adventures anytime!
yes, you are right!
a few weeks ago i was really tired, and i wanted a quiet lunch… i probably stepped into a dozen restaurants before finding one that didnt have the television blaring at high volume!
Seems to be a trend – even in the quiter ones people are using “outdoor” voices to have their conversations – I’m convinced it’s because they always have headphones or earbuds stuck on their heads and are suffering from hearing loss….
ha! that might be true! z