Delineating Dinner

I don’t know why I ever applied for this job. I don’t even really remember doing it. I must have clicked on the wrong link. But I couldn’t say no to the pay.

This sludge-whole of a restaurant is probably going to make me sick. I can picture it now… I’ll be lying on my bathroom floor in 8 hours, head hung over the rim of that porcelain, dewy bowl.

At least its’ my porcelain bowl. Bacteria free. Cleaned daily. I don’t want to think of this place’s toilet.

My table is sticky. The waitress urges its’ just the finishing varnish on the table; claims it’s from the hot weather. I think it’s from some kid’s sticky fingers. They undoubtedly picked their nose and wiped it all over the table. Oh how sick I will be this evening.

“A glass of your house red wine.” Syrupy in texture, overly oaky, made in their basement I’m sure. They require us to try this. Sometimes I wish I could just have something from a bottle that I know they can’t mess up.

According to their website they claim the decor is intimate. All it is, is dark in here. My knees are practically bumping into the centre of the table because of how small it is. I can hear the next table’s conversation: first date.

If I didn’t have to be secretive in this line of work I would stand up and give this place a piece of my mind. Most places actually. I am a food critic, yet they don’t respect what damage I could do to their business.

Maybe I should be a food inspector instead. Now that I can picture. People would be forced to heed my words. White gloves. Clipboard. Walking in like I own the place. The food would not touch my lips. I strut in, show my badge, and the girl leads me to the back. Bugs? Hair nets? Gloves? Three step washing process?

Where is my waitress!? If I’m stuck for another minute at this table to dream then…

“Yes, I’ll get the filet mignon with the wilted spinach and a baked potato.”

“Rare.” Why bother make it any other way?
“All dressed.” I’m pretty sure she checked out my size when I said that.

And the time begins. I bet it will take more than 30 minutes and will probably come cold. My steak will be dry and chewy, spinach just straight up boiled.

This places is 5 stars on popular trash like Urban Spoon. People don’t know anything. “Ooh, I’ve never had such a well-made steak.” “My husband took me here and it was to die for.” No. It wasn’t to die for. You lived and you wrote that useless review.

I know we’re supposed to be on the side of protecting the public but sometimes I just want to separate myself in to a group of people who know more than “mmhmm good”.

I really should be a food inspector. Powerfully persuasive my clipboard speaks for itself in the form of my check marks. Shut it down. No problem. The manager comes out to speak to me directly. His shaky vocals give away his fear.

Instead I just get this newly hatched waitress.

“Thank-you”. That came faster than I expected. Probably too quick. Someone else’s goofed-up order I’m sure. That or they must use pre-packaged meals. I might as well review Hungry-Man TV dinners. Microwaved ‘baked’ potatoes.

The steak cuts easily. I guess the chives on the potato look fresh. Mush-free spinach.

But looks can be deceiving. Get your hopes way down: overly salted steak and unwashed spinach here I come. Oh gosh. The toilet. I’m leading myself to impending doom.

No signs of microwaved potatoes as of yet. The steak is pink inside. It’s definitely seasoned generously.  The tall-tale signs of an un-rested steak aren’t happening; no big blood pool rushing into my spinach.

My boss never seems happy. He wants to hear a review that regular people can ‘align’ with. He says it as if he doesn’t think I’m regular. Am I just supposed to say the steak was well made and leave it at that? How I see it is this: if I thought it while I was eating there, then consumers should know about it too.

The spinach has a slight hint of mandarin juices. The potato roasted so that my toppings are cupped in as if being hugged. But description is boring, and judgment is key.

Hugs are uncomfortable. Where do you put your arms? And what if the person smells of moth balls or body odour. And the placement of the head? No, hugs are not a good thing at all. But my chives and cheese are staying in place so well; no sour cream avalanche.

So what’s wrong here? Someone definitely spit in my food.

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