A Mexican restaurant recently opened near my house. My wife and I had been there a couple of times, before concluding it passed the "we should bring friends here" test. After all, the food was good - the chicken tinga burrito was (in the perhaps incorrect and slightly unnerving phraseology of my mother-in-law) "to kill for", the price was right, and the seating, although a bit cramped and un-ergonomically friendly, was tolerable. So because of this, I will protect the restaurant's anonymity.
We ended up bringing three friends. Our first mistake was attempting a party of five (insert Scott Wolf joke here) in a restaurant with only two tables big enough to accommodate. Of course, these tables were occupied, and diners had just started to order at both - though loud laughing lady may have been on her 3rd margarita, jury is still out. No worries, the complimentary root beer barrels could keep everyone entertained for 15 minutes, right?
Forty-five minutes later, a table opened. The place was packed to the gills. Another five minutes before server arrived. He looked tired, stressed, sweaty?? We asked about doing separate checks. Bad idea, like explaining multi-variable calc. Another 10 minutes.
"What do you want to drink?!?"
So much for charm...I began dreaming what I could do with the extra money that I wouldn't be using on a tip. Was that a fake tattoo machine I saw in the entryway?
First friend orders a Diet Coke.
"Yes, but WHAT SEAT??"
Huh? All are confused now. Friends start to look around nervously. Crap. Surely my wife and I didn't recommend this...
Another 5 minutes to again go over seating arrangements and who's got which tab. Server disappears into kitchen. Reemerges with...
"CHIPS, CHIPS, CHIPS!!!"
The words were nearly sung to a tune. Awfully jubilant now. Maybe his shift was ending?
So boisterous that he forgot the drinks. Another 5 minutes. Finally we order.
Food as good as always, but our visit was already well over an hour. Conversation dwindled as ravenousness emerged. I think Pico de Gallo was among the casualties, can't be sure. Finished eating...getting late now. Asked server for the bill...disappears into the kitchen, comes out with another server...still sweaty...almost yelling.
"Here is Bill!"
Attempt at humor? No, not a joke unfortunately. Actually pulled out some poor guy named Bill, who had little-to-no idea what was going on. Everyone at table hoping they can laugh, but server dead serious now. I wanted to dig a hole under the table with my spoon and die...stupid mosaic tiling.
Smooth payment process perhaps? Were we due? Nope, another 15 minutes. My card of course got swiped twice. [Memo to self: use credit card next time in lieu of check card.]
Tip small, but forgot the tattoo machine. Worst day ever.
Will I return for the chicken tinga? Undoubtedly. Will friends or my now-mortified wife continue to join me? Debatable at best.