Wow, do you people have strong feelings about planting mint. SHEESH. Maybe I REALLY REALLY LIKE mint. Maybe the mint is in containers in the planter. Maybe it is hilarious to me that I am all “Hooray! I made an herb garden finally!” and you all commence freaking out because ZOMG! MIIIIINT!
Yesterday I planted jalapeÃ±os and two kinds of tomatoes. Would you like to yell at me about that, too? Because I am pretty sure that the tomatoes said to bury 80% of the plant for best results, see, and I may have only managed to get them down into the soil up to about 76%. I’m sorry.
Yesterday was also BOTH Mother’s Day and Otto’s and my first anniversary, and I need to tell you all about both of those things at some point, but today is going to be slightly abbreviated.
In keeping with my fine tradition of getting sick for any and all major life happenings, I seem to have come down with a big nasty cold, and so any sap about yesterday is going to have to wait until I have less snot. You know, so that it’s less messy. (You’re welcome!)
What I have to tell you about, though, was my VERY FIRST Mother’s Day brunch!
There’s a little restaurant one town over that Otto and I have come to love. It’s tucked into a strip mall area and doesn’t appear to be much, from the outside, but inside the owner remembers you and the food is AMAZING. It’s not exactly cheap, but it is completely worth it, and so we’ve been there a few times for special occasions (without the kids). A few weeks ago we went there for brunch and they had this eclectic buffet spread that was just everything you could possibly want. We had a nice meal and then thought HEY! We should totally come here with the kids for Mother’s Day.
I tasked Otto with the reservation and he got us in for 1:30. That’s a little late for brunch, sure, but they were already fairly booked up and that would mean no rushing around after church, so, fine.
We arrived at about 1:20, and there were people waiting around outside. Huh. Every time we’ve been there, the restaurant’s been about half full. Well, it’s a holiday, after all. We went in to tell them we were there, and the place was PACKED. I mean we were barely able to get in the door. Wow. We let them know we were there and said we’d wait outside, and once back out there we got to listen to a lot of people standing around and complaining about how they should’ve been seated by now, blah blah blah.
Otto and I were not particularly perturbed. For one thing, we were early, and for another, I can’t get too worked up this sort of thing. We love this restaurant, and the fact that they’re packed only increases the chances that it will continue to thrive, right? We sat and waiting and tried to keep the kids entertained.
We waited. And waited. And people came and went. And eventually enough time had gone by that I suggested to Otto that he go back in, just to check, because maybe they forgot we were there…? He went inside and after a while came out to get us, and we were seated.
We waited for a waitress to come by and take our drink order, but everyone was scurrying around and none seemed forthcoming. Eventually the owner came and asked what we needed, and then we were free to hit the buffet.
Let me tell you about the first time we went to the buffet at this place. There was an omelet station, a belgian waffle station, a hunk o’ roast beast station (I don’t know, but they appeared to have an entire side of… SOMETHING… there), and a gigantic table laden with both breakfast-y things and this place’s signature fare. Oh, and a dessert table. That time, Otto and I ate incredibly well—I had some sort of eggs benedict variation, he had some spicy chicken things, I think—remarking on how we’d just never had anything that wasn’t fabulous whenever we’d come there.
This time, we happened to be seated right next to the waffle station, which was good, because the kids wanted waffles and it looked to be a precarious trek to anywhere else in the restaurant. We waited for the waffle girl to finish the orders she was making, then the kids ordered, and I had them go sit back down to wait while Otto and i went to get ourselves some food.
The meat station was… empty. The big table was full of… empty chafing dishes. The gigantic dish of cheese grits (normally fabulous at this place, mind you) was nearly untouched, and later when I got some I found out why—the sterno was out and they were cold and congealed. The dessert station was covered with plates of crumbs. And as Otto and I realized we could choose from a couple of things that were left (some salad, a little bit of chicken, some shrimp that still had the legs on), we were met with another issue: They were out of plates.
We stood around with several other families, wondering what to do, sure that more food and PLATES would be forthcoming, and yet everyone darted around, busy and unstopping, while NOTHING WAS BROUGHT OUT.
Eventually a busboy brought out a stack of about four plates. Otto went to get some food at the big table. I decided to take my chances with the omelet guy.
I watched him whip up a complicated scramble and roll it in a warmed tortilla, then pour a cheese sauce over the top. Hmmm. He asked me what I wanted and I asked him what he’d just made. “Breakfast burrito!” he bellowed, clearly perturbed that I was so stupid.
“Oh, um, well, that looked good. Could I get one of those?” He nodded and instead of reaching into the bins of veggies and such in FRONT of him, turned around and pulled out a plate from BEHIND him. Which had a burrito on it (already made). He then grabbed one of his two frying pans and poured in some cream and tossed in some cheese hunks. While it began to sizzle, he asked the next person in line what he wanted, and as they discussed it, the chef swirled around the contents of the frying pan and poured the mixture over the burrito plate and handed it to me. I looked down to see the burrito now swimming in cream, and dotted with half-melted hunks of cheese. “Thanks…?” I said.
I went back to the table. The kids were still waiting on their waffles. Otto was apparently still busy picking the half-cup of viable food out of the carnage that was the main buffet table. Our drinks had arrived—orange juice for Chickadee and Otto, no problems there. My glass of tea was only about half-full, which was just plain weird. Monkey’s milk had arrived in one of those tall glass coffee mugs, which was fine, but half the rim of the cup was covered with a dusting of coffee grounds.
The waffle lady rotated the waffle irons and I pointed her out to the kids, then while they watched her I quickly wiped down Monkey’s glass and fished a few floating grounds out of the milk.
Otto returned, and a minute later the waffles were done. They were delivered with a single cup of syrup, which we split between the two of them before anyone could complain, because we strongly suspected that they were either out of syrup or the little blue ramekins it comes in.
My burrito was actually not bad, if you were willing to overlook the fact that it was cold, covered in congealed cheese bits, and filled with what appeared to be the “ends” of several other scrambles. On the first bite I said to Otto, “Oh, hey! There’s lobster in here!” but by the third bite, there wasn’t, so I just don’t know. I don’t want to think about it too much, frankly.
Otto said his food was good. The kids enjoyed their waffles. We tried to do a second round and again rain into no plates, no food. Chickadee got some eggs. Monkey and Otto managed to hover around the dessert table long enough to snap up some tiny slivers of a chocolate pie of some sort. By the time Chickadee was done with her eggs (and I had pushed some cold grits around my plate a few times), there was a plate of what might’ve been bread pudding out at the dessert table. We took some to share and it didn’t take long to conclude that—having run out of their traditional dessert offerings—they had sliced up some bread and thrown it in the oven with some canned fruit and nuts. Ooooookay.
I wasn’t and am not more than mildly annoyed by the whole thing; this is the first time this restaurant attempted a Mother’s Day brunch and mostly I felt really badly for them. They were completely overwhelmed. And a lot of people there were truly angry, which is a shame.
Me, I prefer to view it as one of those “Hey, everyone’s got stuff to deal with” sorts of things, and I’m just hoping that this doesn’t impact their business negatively.
Besides, clearly what happened was that the mint I put in my herb box grew roots to the next town over and infiltrated the restaurant, strangling all of their cooks and dishwashers. I dunno, maybe I should call and apologize…?