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‘Restaurant Share’ — Service without power

June 5, 2011
By ANITA HANABURGH , The Leader Herald

We all eat out often and things happen when we eat out. Because one of two meals is eaten outside the home every day, it stands to reason some interesting stuff would go on during dining time.

I frequently receive emails that tell about my reader's dining experiences. While some of the stories are about their pet peeves, numerous are not. Some are fascinating, some are cute and some are just plain peculiar. (And some I don't think I believe.) These experiences got me thinking about the many interesting things that occurred while I have enjoyed my most favorite activity eating out.

As I chatted with my husband, we got laughing at the funny and not so funny events that have happened while dining or working at a restaurant. Some experiences were interesting in a simple way a neighboring table that celebrated four birthdays by singing for a different person at each course. Some experiences were interesting in a weird way: After taking our order, a waitress had a fight in the dining room with her husband, the owner of the business. She left, pulled out of the driveway and never returned.

As we reminisced, I thought of many interesting stories to share with my readers. I thought of the interesting stories that my readers have shared with me. I have called these stories "Restaurant Share."

Every now and then, I run a column so we can share our compelling eating episodes or just tell stories of simple interest at Today it is my turn.

Power out

While eating out the other night at a restaurant in Saratoga Springs, the power flickered then faded then died. While this event may not have been remarkable, it turned the tide of an otherwise dull dinner into quite a jolly party.

The entertainment began with the "manager dance." Peeking coyly around the corner, the manager fluttered his hand to get the attention of the wait staff. He then boogied through the dining room to check on the safety of the audience. He exited with a flourish of purpose and a concerned sweep of the brow.

His departure was followed by the token appearance of one, two, then three nosy chefs, nodding gently to the crowd as they surveyed and surmised the amount of candlelight cooking needed.

Next was the tandem waiter act of Lars and Logan. (No lie). Anxious to please, they informed us the show would go on and asked if we would like to order. We could order almost anything as long as it could be make on the gas range.

I could not read the menu. "How about a candle?" I asked the doting duo. Enter act three the fire lady. A tray full of flaming votives circled the dim room. Magically three appeared in the center of our table - adding a glow to my card and my companions. We responded to the light. First the females responded: "I'll take the scallops" and "I'll take the scallops" and then the males:"I'll take the sea bass" and "I'll take the sea bass." There is a reason we are friends.

As the waiter act played to each table, we noticed that much of the audience began to retreat the large dining room. We guessed it was maybe a concern for home, or the rising humidity in the no longer air conditioned room.

Soon, we were at a private performance.

All service was directed towards us and the troupe performed beautifully. The Caesar salads were massive, using up the kitchen mise en place. Dinner was timely - the food hot and beautifully presented. While we enjoyed the show, our duo gave us their work history and career plans. The busboy filled us with water and his life goals. The bartender waved often and pretended to look busy. The hostess informed us of the details of the current blackout in Saratoga. The manager fussed and the sweaty chef (only one this time) checked often to see if he could go home yet.

The finale began with decaf coffee- deep, dark, delicious and re-filled four times. We shared a coconut crme brulee.

The encore arrived - a surprise. It was a layered chocolate mousse cake with a candle for my friend Cindy's birthday. We were well entertained.

The encore also brought up the house lights. It was now time to say adieu to our new friends. We knew them all by name. With great enthusiasm, they all followed us to the door. Oh, they loved us so. But as we walked to the parking lot we could see them all running to their cars in the employee parking lot. Oh no, they loved to see us go.

Restaurant watch: Please remember an interesting tidbit at your favorite restaurant and share at



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