Why I Had to Hit Four Different Places for Lunch


All I wanted was a salad.

Stop 1: The Virginia Inn -- I'll take the blame here. I should have completed my homework. I knew the Inn kids were making some changes. I'd even heard expanding the kitchen, and a few renovations. I forgot that The Virgina Inn will be closed till spring. At least a couple grunts inside got a few good-natured chuckles as my saddened gaze through the window.

Stop 2: The Athenian -- This is my favorite place to go for lunch. And I hit it up at least three or four times a month. It's never been about the food (meh), or the service (spotty at best). The view of Elliot bay and the 100-year-old (right?) atmosphere make it for me. I love it on cold, rainy days like today. BUT, when I was greeted at the door, I was, for the first time in my history of visits, offered a seat at the bar of the virtually empty restaurant. "Can I sit upstairs (in one of the empty tables with views)?" I asked. "No," he said rather coldly. "We're closed upstairs." Turns out they're now closing the upstairs when it's not very busy. I told him I didn't feel like sitting at the bar, and he showed me the door.

Look, I can appreciate what you're trying to do. Maybe if you don't have so much ground to cover, customers will get better service. (Though, I've always thought the mini water glasses and slow service added to the experience.) But, play to your strengths here. Keep your good seating open, the one with the views of the sound, not the grill.

Stop 3: Sound View Cafe: Like I said, all I wanted was a salad. And by the time I got to Sound View, all this walking around had made my fat ass tired. So, how disappointed was I to discover that you have to serve yourself your salad, and bus your own table. I don't mind doing either, but I'd rather I be at home when I do it. You feel me?

To add insult to injury, the only protein in the salad came in the form of the most over-boiled egg I've ever had. AND, there was a small piece of paper in my salad. Oh, shit, it was probably a Kleenex.

Stop Four: I Love New York Deli -- I love this place for two reasons: corned beef and pastrami. Having been denied protein at the most unsatisfying lunch experience of my life, I stopped in for a few slivers of corned beef. It was, of course, wonderful. Almost made my mid-meal quest worth the trouble.

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