My wife likes breakfast on Sunday mornings after church. It is the one thing she requests, whether it is home-made or dine in, she loves a good Crab Cakes Benedict breakfast. The way that the Hollandaise sauce and the poached egg just sensually plays with the crab meat, it is almost an easy way for me to get out of trouble.
Arrive late for a date…
“Let’s get breakfast.”
Say something mean…
“Let’s get breakfast.”
Make any mistake in the world and my instant get out of jail free card was “Let’s get breakfast,” well until now, you see, my wife hates when the dish isn’t cooked right and more than one chef has had their dish sent back for reasons that normal people wouldn’t understand, but any foodie would appreciate.
Hollandaise sauce separating cause it is old … back to the kitchen.
Hard boiling a poached egg… back to the kitchen.
UNDERCOOKING THE CRAB CAKE… get sick in the bathroom and then sending the dish back to the kitchen.
Why is it so hard for them to make a decent hollandaise sauce? It should be a requirement of any cook to be able to make a sauce, poach an egg and cook fish to a safe temperature.
But my wife hasn’t been lucky.
She WANTS to love a certain place in Lubbock, she’s had outstanding food at many locations other than this one. But it says something when she walks in, the manager catching her eye, walks over to her to say ,”I am sorry Joanna, we are out of Crab Cakes Benedict.”
Now I love my wife, and I knew she would pout because this one dish is the express to flavor town and she was getting denied.
So she made another order, I made mine and we giggled together, knowing that some chef in the back sighed because the “Mistress of Crab Cakes,” was denied.
But then we waited for our order, at first not noticing tables sat after us were getting their food first.
Then the moment came that changed the relationship with the restaurant forever. I drank my “Diet Coke.” I will admit , to my doctor’s and mother in law’s chagrin, that I have drunk WAY too much Diet Coke in my life and I know when it is too flat, too carbonated, or in this case, just not Diet Coke.
So the waiter came over at my request to ask what I needed and I told him that my Diet Coke wasn’t Diet Coke.
“Oh, we were out of Diet Coke and I gave you Coke Zero instead. Same difference,” he then walked away as my jaw dropped. My wife’s face started to get red. I had seen this before and I defused it. “I’ll drink water hon, I probably shouldn’t drink it anyways.” But then the table of eights food at the table who sat 10 minutes after ours hit their table and it all hit the fan.
“They got their food… ,”Joanna said as her face approached the color purple.
What I had noticed that until this day I had not mentioned to her, was the plate delivered next to us, in the seating of eight, was one plate of Crab Cakes Benedict. I did not mention this to her because she was already angry, and I still had to be with her the rest of the day. We still had the Lubbock Arts Festival and other planned surprises. I couldn’t let her notice it, but she did notice we didn’t have food.
What was even worse was the kid at the table of eight got “Joanna’s Waffle” that she had ordered 20 minutes ago.
I tried to laugh it off.
“Nothing you can do about it Joanna, just spend time with me and we’ll talk.”
But then her food hit the table. Not mine, not ours, just hers.
I continued to laugh, which probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but she was so frustrated that with me laughing, I had to keep her distracted or the day would be ruined.
As she finished eating I waited.
Ever since the waiter made the “same difference,” comment, he strangely not made an appearance back at the table.
But the manager did appear bringing my food, 2 eggs scrambled, hash browns and crisp bacon. He tried to apologize and all I did was laugh in his face. What could he do? He had lied about what he had available in the kitchen, his wait staff lied about what they served me and they did not want my patronage.
So I finished my food, got up and tried to take the ticket but Joanna was quicker.
“This one is on me,” she said as the color returned to her face.
She left a shiny penny on the table and shooed me to get the car.
That penny would be the last penny that she would ever tip to any employee at that restaurant place. She paid the bill and gave the manager her last two cents:
“Dear The Egg & I,
I used to be a loyal customer. I have been to many locations enjoying many of your delicious dishes. But today will the last time I ever come to your Lubbock site. It’s not me, it’s you.
So today as we spend $30 across the street from your location it reminds me of the scene from Pretty Woman, “Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now.”
Your former customers,
Sean + Joanna Donahue