Monday, May 15, 2006

Do you hate your parents?

Wherein mostly I just hate crowds but does anyone really enjoy this

If you take them out on Mother's Day or Father's Day, you just might. Read The grinch who stole Mother's Day:
"We had two hundred people call for Mother's Day reservations," Rick groans.
Us too.
"You booked up?"
A week ago.
"People are crazy," Rick says, "Do they honestly think they'll get a reservation now?"
It was tough saying no to all those people, I say, I had one woman start crying.
"Some of them got desperate," Rick admits.
After saying no a hundred times I felt like the Grinch Who Stole Mother's Day."
"If they loved their mother they'd've made reservations months ago," Rick says.
You're right, I sigh, taking my first sip of scotch.

I cannot think of a worse time to go to a restaurant than one of these fake holidays like Mother's Day, Father's Day, or Valentine's Day. Too many cranky customers, over-worked staff, and a mentality to just crank food out as fast as possible. You also get the multi-generational parties trying to seat 10-15 people; which is a pain during a normal restaurant rush, much less during the holiday horde. Frankly, if you are not going to some place that takes reservations, just stay home and do something quiet. Or, and we did this last year for our parents, go out for a nice dinner the night before. That leaves your Mother or Father a nice quiet day all to themselves. Or you can do something else that doesn't require standing in a restaurant lobby for an hour.

That's an hour if you're lucky. We hit the grocery for a couple items yesterday morning and there's a breakfast restaurant next door (J. Christophers, if you're in Atlanta). Nothing fancy--just eggs and pancakes--still, there had to be fifty people standing on the sidewalk. I guess the idea is to give the mom a break from cooking, but how queuing up like it's Russia during a potato shortage is any kind of a treat is beyond me.

It's been said in numerous forums, by people with much more knowledge about the restaurant industry than me, that the worst time to visit a restaurant is during brunch. Especially if the restaurant doesn't normally do brunch and is opening for a one-off event (like Mother's Day). Bourdain covers brunch in Kitchen Confidential; how it's the dregs of the staff and overpriced food. Or, even more succinctly, is this classic riff from Angry Chef:
I sometimes wonder if if I could accept this horror if it were just called lunch. Noooo it's brunch. As if a euphemistic name will change how much it is despised. Waiters hate it.Chef's hate it. Less care goes into the food and service than any other shift. Put your worst crew on it and hope they show up because BRUNCH will make employees quit. I guarantee there is more absenteeism on Sunday morning, than all other shifts combined. And with good reason. It sucks. And the sheep that flock to brunch out of tradition, decked out in their silly hats and Sunday finery are enough to make one sick on their own. Cute little old ladies wanting their poached eggs. Closeted, picket fenced husbands in their after church get-ups wanting an egg white omelet and a brandy milk punch. A fucking egg white omelet? What the fuck is that? I wish I could develop a whiteless egg just for brunch. A brandy milk punch? What kind of nancing alcoholic silliness is that? A mimosa. a MIMOSA?....what are we on the goddamned Orient Express? I feel so sophisticated when I drink those!

Seriously, stay home. If you insist on going out only go to brunch when that's what the restaurant specializes in, or take your parents out when the restaurant is at its best: Friday or Saturday night, and make reservations.


Blogger Allison said...

I've never gone to a restaurant on Mother's Day. It never even occurred to me. I would rather have a really good breakfast & dinner at home, planned and cooked by someone who is not me. It's why Mother's Day is so great: I don't have to go anywhere, and I can laze around between fabulous meals without feeling guilty or compelled to help while my husband cooks, cleans up and changes diapers. It's the most enjoyable parts of having a family, with none of the less-enjoyable parts. And I get presents.

5/16/2006 03:00:00 PM  

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