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Observations: Saturday, January 29th

Apple and I went out for dinner on Saturday night. I have to say, we had a great time, despite the restaurant we selected not quite being up to our expectations. As usual, though, the simple observations of life once again proved interesting enough to write about in and of themselves.

The restaurant—a Japanese sushi / teppanyaki grill type place—was about 40 minutes away, so we took the newly-opened north/south corridor that nobody has found yet. The traffic was great, as usual—it’s the only road in the county of which that can be said, even during season. The only problem was the Ford Lightning pickup ahead of us, which was hauling two refrigerators in its bed. The cargo wasn’t tied down whatsoever and it was too long for the truck’s liftgate to close. I hate following anyone carrying cargo, but when it’s not secured, it stops being annoying and starts becoming dangerous. I kept my distance.

The truck changed lanes, other vehicles merged in front of us, life continued unabated. But it wasn’t long before the van in front of us slowed down abruptly, and we soon discovered why: One of the Lightning’s refrigerators had fallen off the back of the truck and was now smashed in the middle of the road. Up ahead, the truck had pulled over, and the driver was probably cussing up a storm having just realized he’d destroyed half of his cargo because he’s a total and complete retard. Bully for him.

When we finally got to the restaurant, we saw it was a really nice looking place. I mean really classy inside. It was one of those dimly-lit places that gives an air of sophistication. The first thing you see when you walk in is the “waterfall window,” which basically is two panes of glass between which is an endless cascade of water. This window separaters the foyer from the sushi bar and dining area. Overall it was a nice effect.

We felt like sushi, so we were seated in the smaller “traditional” dining area, rather than at a teppanyaki table. There was nobody else in the dining area, and maybe two people at the sushi bar. Nearby, a pianist and an old dude with a bass were playing some jazzy favorites—well, something jazzy, anyway—at volumes which threatened to destroy one’s eardrums, which, correct me if I’m wrong, is not how smooth jazz is supposed to be played.

We were waited on by a guy who would normally work as a busboy, and probably should not be doing anything more advanced given his demeanor and “tableside manner.” He was barely intelligible, said very little and took eons to actually show up, despite not having anybody else to wait on in the entire section. Maybe he was busing tables in the background somewhere.

We wanted to start with miso soup, a Japanese favorite. Weirdly, the busboy—uh, I mean waiter—explained that they only serve miso soup at lunch time. Whatever. Instead, he offered a clear soup, another typical alternative. So we went for it. Personally, I wish I hadn’t. Apple remarked that it smelled like detergent, while I likened the taste to that of a soiled sock. I’ve never had clear soup that bad in my life. Ironically, we weren’t charged for it, possibly by mistake, but I sure didn’t say anything.

As we chatted over our “traditional Japanese spring rolls,” which were really just plain old spring rolls of the “grocer’s freezer” variety, the jazz musicians in the background quickly attempted to seat themselves firmly in the foreground. At one point while I was talking to Apple, there were two moments where the music peaked to such levels that I almost reflexively shouted “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” but managed to contain myself. The old bald dude with the bass in his hands started singing some kind of lyrics, “IputaSPELLonyouuuuuu!” in the most irritating and tuneless voice I’d ever heard. By the end of that song I was wanting to shout out to him, “Take a break! Please!”

The sushi was pretty good, but certainly nothing special. I can think of at least two places closer to home where I could get much better sushi, and a third place downtown whose sushi is in a totally different league. I will say this, though—their Volcano roll was an apt replacement for the roll of the same name that I used to order from Apple’s former workplace, before they discontinued it. Not quite as good, but suitable. The rest of the rolls were okay but not great.

We skipped dessert and headed out. Arriving back at the foyer, we noticed a humongous group of people had come in and they were completely blocking the way to the door. None of them seemed interested in moving, either, neither for us nor for the older lady who was in front of us and also trying to make her way out. We shuffed toward the group and they slowly parted with great resistance. It was like trying to walk through Jell-o.

As we globbed our way toward the sweet, sweet exit, one of the guys waiting in the group started to back up to make room for us, and he totally stepped on this woman who was standing right behind him. The result was a comical series of “Whoop… whoop… WHOOP!… WHOOOOP!” from the woman as she windmilled her arms, staggered backwards a good six feet, trying to find something to lean on, and when she found nothing, she spun around and grabbed the first thing she saw—a small Christmas tree which was still (for reasons unknown) set up near the corner. Bangles and baubles clattered and rattled off the tree as this lady nearly brought the whole thing down, but at the last possible second she overcame the pull of gravity and managed to save both herself and the tree from winding up in a heap on the hardwood floor.

“Christmas is over, anyway,” grumbled somebody from the crowd.

While the man and woman—who apparently didn’t know each other—almost got into a shouting match, Apple and I quickly slipped out the door and headed back to our car, giggling it up. What a night. Some points of the experience reminded me of our run-in with the old Red Fire Grill, an establishment we ate at on our first anniversary that was easily the worst restaurant I’ve ever been to in my life. I actually detailed that whole sordid tale in an Oddball Update the day after it happened, but the text of that encounter remains in my private files.

The ride home was uneventful, at least, and we spent the rest of the night parked in front of the RPTV watching Six Feet Under. What a great show that is. Overall it was a pleasant evening, full of the kind of little nuances that are so much fun to write about. And suffice it to say, that’s a 40-minute trip we won’t soon be making again—not to that restaurant, anyhow.