Monday, October 22, 2007


On Friday night Matt & I were eagerly anticipating a nice dinner out with our friends Tony & Sarah. They just bought a house in South Minneapolis and we were going to swing by their pad before heading down to this new place called Buster's. Everyone was raving about their beer list. I'm not a huge beer person, but I do like checking out new bars.
They asked that we show up at their house at 7 and then we'd head over to the restaurant. My Dine-y sense started tingling. Right at 7 on a Friday? Really? I decided to let it go. This was a joint, in their neighborhood, we should be fine.
Of course we weren't. Not only was every table taken, but also - there's no hostess! We stood in the doorway, waiting like patient Midwesterners, when a group finally got up to leave. We were moving towards it - and the people leaving were gestering - when all of a sudden a pack of beer sloshing hoodliams swooped in from their original perch at the bar and poached our table! Then, I thought we could at least sit at the bar, other people had already positioned themselves there. The people departing apologized and the waitress looked at us helplessly, "You've just got to be really agressive."
Hey, I have no problem with agressive, but this was freaking anarchy! We'd stumbled into a scene from Lord of the Fries. Tony & Sarah were both starving, having had really stressful weeks, the pressure was too much for them. We decided to head elsewhere. Sarah voted for the Muddy Pig.
Now, I love the Muddy Pig, but again, this seemed like a risk. And a far risk at that. Still, we hopped in our cars and drove over the river. Nope. You could barely even walk in there. I reasoned that the Happy Gnome is pretty half assed - maybe they would have room? No, their wait was an hour. (And to anyone who agreed to wait over an hour for that over-thought pretentious, not quite well conceived menu, I have to tell you. You are a Moron. Go out, right this moment, and order up one of these "country" breakfast burritos and call it a day. Dear God.)
I decided the driving around was maddness and picked up the phone. I found a place that I knew would have open boothes and knew I probably wouldn't have to have them hold one. They had food and a liquor license. Our needs at this point in the night were pretty minimal. We went to the Downtowner Woodfire grill. The soothing lighting and complimentary colors were a breath of fresh air! There were easily four tables within sight that could accomdate us! We sighed - we would eat and have a drink. Things would be fine.
And, I guess that's true. It was fine... but the over all experience wasn't much better than a walk of regret up to the take out counter at Taco Bell. First, the host tried to seat us at a table right next to the door and facing an odd and uncomfortable looking angle. I asked that we instead get a booth in the bar. It was much better. What I didn't realize is that we were also sitting right next to the moody interlude in an episode of Miami Vice. Suddenly, there was this really loud, mournful, phony jazz sax solo being played by a guy four feet to my left. Oh, come ON! You've gotta be kidding me! Now, I can't hear anybody and you're giving me a headache. No, douche! She is so NOT like the wind! GAWD.
I got a passable wine and studied the menu with intensity. Tony knew right away that he wanted the Thai pizza. The rest of us took a while.
You know, it didn't used to be this way. I remember a few years ago when we would frequent the Downtowner for fun nights out and the occassional birthday. I would always order either the bacon, baby spinach salad with Maytag blue cheese, or the spicy Chipotle penne pasta. Neither of those items are on the menu anymore and the last time we tried to eat there, Matt got food poisoning off the mussles. I wanted chicken, but the damn chicken kabobs - with veggie and basmati rice - is $17! For a skewer of chicken! None of the pizzas sounded good and Tony was starting to look peaked.
Finally, Matt & I agreed to split the bacon cheeseburger. Sara got the kabob and Tony got his Thai pizza. We sipped our wine and tried to talk above the opening strains of Careless Whisper.
The food did arrive in a timely manner and when my glare at the waiter reminded him that I had asked for a glass of wine a while ago, he did offer to put it on the house for me. I thanked him and felt a little bad about the glaring. I'm sure we weren't his favorite table of the night, but he had absolutely no bad attitude. He was just fine.
The food was not. I really want to know what they did to the bacon on my burger because I actually had to pick it off. I never turn down bacon! But it was under done and had this distirbing plastic flavor. Tony stared mournfully at his pizza. "It's not exactly what I was thinking. There's... there's too much pineapple on here."
Pineapple? Thai? Wouldn't that be Hawaiian.
Sarah's kabob was fine, but she's a diminuative little thing and she finished the whole plate. There is no way - from quality to quantity - that her dish was worth the nearly $20 she shelled out for it.
We all kind of pouted into our plates. Well, at least we didn't starve. I winced as we signed the check and left. Next time, I'm taking control of this cigarette boat and we are heading for open waters! WOOO HOOOOO!!!


At 7:16 PM , Blogger Jason DeRusha said...

Lord of the Fries: great line.


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