Surreal Dinner

hockey, family comments edit

Went to the Winter Hawks playoff game last night. It was good to see our hockey friends again (when you sit next to the same people all season long but don’t see them outside the arena, those are hockey friends). We had a good time sitting in the luxury box and drinking free beverages while watching the game. It always puts a different perspective on the game sitting in a seat where you see the ice as a whole rather than being right up front. I definitely like being up front better - you feel more involved. Watching from up top was sort of like watching the game on TV or playing the Playstation version. Not so great, but very relaxing.

Oh, and we lost in overtime, so I was right about jinxing the game by attending.

I forgot to mention the dinner Jenn and I went to on Sunday night!

Jenn’s dad’s birthday was Sunday (I think… at least, that’s why we were at dinner), so we all went out to eat.

Rather than choosing some place in town, Jenn’s dad chooses this place out in Mulino (that’s pronounced “muh-LIE-noe”). Mulino is… Mulino is somewhere on the outskirts of BFE. You get on the road, you drive until you get tired, then you’re in The Sticks. You drive through The Sticks for about 15 minutes, and eventually you’re in BFE. Once you see the cows, keep driving and eventually you’re in Mulino.

To keep myself busy on the trip, I brought my GBA SP. On that trip I decided that, as fun as the game is, if you’re just over a cold, then motion sickness will get the better of you. It got really hot in that car, really damn fast.

So the place we went was the restaurant at some golf course. Honestly, I was busy playing GBA so I don’t remember what the golf course was called or really how we got there. That, combined with the light motion sickness, rendered this and the entire rest of the evening pretty surreal.

I’m going to call the restaurant “Gramma’s,” because everything in the restaurant talked about how “Gramma likes this” or “Gramma does that.” I find that most any restaurant Jenn’s parents want to go to usually has some sort of “down-home” theme that goes along with the whole “Gramma’s” motif. We’ve been to another restaurant, “Grandma’s” (same thing, right?), which was okay but not nearly as interesting as this golf course joint.

As we walked inside, Jenn’s car alarm decided to spontaneously start up and refuse to be shut off. Seriously, for like two minutes Jenn fought that bitch to shut off and it just wouldn’t die.

Got in there and sat down. Looked around and decided that this was probably one of the more Twilight Zone places I’ve ever eaten.

Lurch was the greeter. You walk in, you pass Lurch. I’m not sure what the guy’s real name was, and it really doesn’t matter. He was probably seven feet tall, skinny, medium tan skin, brown hair. Bald on top, and what hair he did have was shaved a quarter inch long. Lurch was wearing a maroon polo shirt with a white sweater vest on top. Lurch’s arms looked like he had a sweater under that polo shirt. Sorta ape-like. Scary.

The inside of the joint was done up to make you feel “at home,” I guess, with everything being made out of wood and given sort of an antique look. Things like old saws and disembodied windows hung from every possible location. It was verging on incoherent; too many unrelated things floating around. The lights were not up high enough to really see well, but not low enough to really emit any mood.

Checking out the menu yielded some interesting meal choices. All of the items were something like “The Farm Hand’s Favorite” or “Gramma’s Special Meat Loaf.” On the back, there was a list of “Gramma’s Rules” like “Gramma doesn’t allow elbows on her tables” and “Gramma’s chairs were not meant to be rocking chairs.” This was topped off by “Gramma includes a mandatory 18% gratuity for parties of 8 or more” (which we were) and “Gramma requires all parties of 8 or more be placed on a single check.”

Gramma didn’t occur to me to be the most flexible of people. I started to wonder where the line between “Gramma” and “Hitler” was, and realized it was probably a pretty gray area.

Not being a big vegetable or meat loaf fan, I ended up ordering the chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes, minus the side of broccoli, and a Mountain Dew to drink.

The Mountain Dew showed up almost immediately, which is good because I was getting thirsty. Being in small cups and with plenty of ice, I finished my first cup full pretty quickly.

For a mandatory 18% gratuity, the service at Gramma’s sure didn’t pick me up for a refill very fucking quickly. Seriously, like 20 minutes. No wait staff to be found in the meantime.

Went to the bathroom before the food showed up and no sooner did I open the door than some guy’s bowels blew out in the toilet bowl. I felt personally affronted. I couldn’t pee and get out fast enough.

Eventually the food showed up. Jenn’s dad’s steak was cold, so he sent it back and they nuked it for him. Good enough. When my food arrived, I discovered that Gramma’s favorite spice is paprika. Everything was covered in paprika. The mashed potatoes. The country fried steak. The plate. Everything.

Started eating, and that’s when the high school fiddle player started up.

I’m not sure if he was tuning up for like 10 minutes or if I just didn’t recognize the song. Then he took a break. Jenn said that if he played “Turkey In The Straw,” she was leaving. I told her I was holding her to that.

The fiddle player came back from his break and busted out with “Turkey In The Straw.” I glared at Jenn, and she laughed but wouldn’t let us leave. He also played “Danny Boy” and some other folk tunes, then went around serenading tables individually. I was prepped to throw a fiver at him to get him to stop playing entirely, but he never came to our table. Lucky him.

We finished up dinner and I passed on the apple-strawberry-rhubarb cobbler. Rhubarb. Ick. Jenn boxed both mine and hers up and we took it home so Jenn could have it.

Getting ready to leave, Jenn’s car alarm started going off again. She ignored it while we got our coats on and left, and the whole time it was going off. Eventually we got it to stop, but she said it was because someone had done something to her car. I figured someone had broken in to steal my GBA since nothing else about the car was worth anything, but we couldn’t find any damage or theft evident, so maybe the car is just stupid.

And that was that. We got out of there and drove the million miles home. I think next time I’m going to insist that we go somewhere, uh, normal.