Once upon a time, on a day when I brought Mario home to our house after school, the boys played and played and played some more, and when Mario’s dad came to pick him up, he said, “Hey, we’re going to Crazy’s for dinner tonight, y’all want to come?” [Crazy’s is not really the name of the restaurant. I have changed the name to protect the… crazy.]
Monkey, of course, immediately began begging to go too, so we all went to Crazy’s together and it was there that Mario corrupted my son.
But first, let me back up a minute. We don’t eat out all that often, partly because of cost and partly because we like to cook and also partly because it requires leaving the house, and you KNOW how I hate that. Our food-cooked-by-others preferences tend to run towards take-out (see also: Mexican food, hole-in-the-wall; Chinese food), and while we do take-out once a week, the sit-down-in-a-restaurant thing is much rarer.
So we all went to Crazy’s, which was the first time I’d been there in years.
The reason I hadn’t been to Crazy’s in so long is because—and I know I didn’t get into this at the time, because it wasn’t really what the post was about—the last time I’d been there was the day Chickadee didn’t advance at Science Fair, two years ago. I wrote about her disappointment and my attempts to soothe her, but what I didn’t write about was that she picked Crazy’s as the restaurant she wanted for her consolation dinner, and we waited for a table, and then we sat down and she cried and cried and OUR WAITRESS NEVER CAME. We didn’t even have menus, or silverware, for about fifteen minutes. Then I was able to flag someone down, and she flung menus in our direction, but after ANOTHER fifteen minutes it became clear that no one was ever going to wait on us.
I had two hungry children—one of whom was still snuffling—and the situation was dire. Finally I went to the hostess’ station and explained we were being ignored, and said I really just wanted to order some food to go, could we do that? Oh, she was so sorry, and of course, no problem, what can we get you? I ordered food for the kids, and we sat at the bar to wait for it (the restaurant was really crowded, and they gave our table to some poor sucker the moment we got up). We waited YET ANOTHER fifteen minutes, and then someone brought our food out behind the bar, and it took another ten minutes for me to get the bartender to notice and give it to us.
That was the last time I’d been to Crazy’s. Let’s just say… I am not crazy about Crazy’s.
But here it was, two years later, and surely that was all just a fluke, right? It had to be. So we all went to Crazy’s together and Mario convinced Monkey that Crazy’s has the best boneless buffalo wings on the planet, he HAD to get them. I forget what we grownups ate, but the boys got their wings and begged for more and then they had more and I expected one or both of them to explode—12-year-old boy shrapnel would litter the place!—but they didn’t.
It was a nice meal. The kids had fun, the food was fine, the service was decent. Huh. Maybe I’d been wrong about Crazy’s!
Thus began a targeted Mario-and-Monkey campaign to eat at Crazy’s, well, pretty much all the time. Most of the time we say no, because we’re terrible meanies, but sometimes we say yes.
Like, we went another time with Mario’s family, and that time was similarly fun, and so I began to think the Science Fair debacle was really just a case of poor timing.
But the third visit this year was not to be the charm. We went again, just Otto, Monkey and me, maybe a few months ago. Monkey had begged and begged, and Chickie was off somewhere else, so off we went. The restaurant was not particularly busy, but it took the waitress a looooong time to get to us. We ordered, and then we waited. And waited.
The weirdness began with the notable absence of Otto’s salad. His entree came with a salad and a baked potato, but the salad never appeared, and then the waitress showed up with a plate that had meat but no potato. And she didn’t have any of the rest of our food. And I will give you three guesses (except the first two don’t count!) on how well a hungry 12-year-old who has been waiting forever for his food responds to a single plate of food WHICH IS NOT HIS showing up at the table. Otto tried pointing out that he’d never received his salad, and also his potato was missing, while Monkey HUFFED LOUDLY about how his stomach was digesting itself and he was DYING. DYING!
The waitress scurried off while I tried to talk Monkey off the ledge. Next she came back with my dinner salad, which was covered in croutons. Because I had explained that I couldn’t have any bread, so please hold the croutons on the salad, and that’s for health reasons so please don’t forget. So: CROUTONS! Tons of ’em! Monkey was, by this time, pretending to pass out from starvation, so we gave the waitress the salad back, reminded her (again!) about Otto’s potato and salad, and off she went.
A short while later, she returned with a steaming plate of boneless wings for Monkey. He cheered and dove right in, then turned purple and drank an entire glass of water. Monkey had ordered mild, and these wings were XXXSUPERTRIPLEHOT. Nice. The waitress had disappeared, so we had to flag her down, send Monkey’s food back, and eventually she brought my salad (sans croutons, though I assume by then she’d spat in it), mild wings for Monkey, and a baked potato for Otto. The potato, by the way, came absolutely naked. No butter, no sour cream, NOTHING. Nom nom.
I’m pretty sure Otto never got his salad, too.
It was… not our favorite meal. Otto spoke with the manager before we left, and he was very apologetic and maybe adjusted the bill and assured us it was just an off night.
Earlier this week, Chickie was off at a friend’s house, and Monkey begged to go back to Crazy’s. “Please?” he asked. “We haven’t been there in FOREVER! I want WIIIIIINGS!” Otto and I looked at him and looked at each other and joked about how it couldn’t possibly be as bad as the Naked Potato Day, right?
We went. The restaurant was half empty. We sat. We waited. The waitress took our drink order, then disappeared. When she finally came back, it was with a sense of foreboding that we placed our orders. And then… well, we waited. And waited.
Monkey died a couple of times. It was all very tragic. With the deepest of sympathy, I may have whispered to him, “I’m sorry you’re dead. This is why we don’t like coming here, you know.”
Otto and I had both ordered dinner salads, which it seems like it shouldn’t take that long to make, but what do we know. Maybe they were out killing the chickens. Monkey may have asked if anywhere ELSE has the best boneless wings ever, maybe someplace where they actually bring you your food? We told him we’d look into it.
Finally, someone (not our waitress) brought out three plates, all but dropped them in our laps, and vanished.
Monkey began eating, happily. Otto and I both lifted silverware to our salads, then put it down.
“Is yours…?” Otto asked.
“Yeah,” I answered. “Gross.”
Both off our salads came topped with a freshly grilled chicken breast. Or, in this case, half-grilled chicken breast which was COMPLETELY PINK AND BLOODY on the inside. They slice up the meat before putting it on the salad, so there’s no way the chef didn’t see that he was topping our salads with raw meat. NONE.
It took another 10 minutes to flag down our waitress, during which Monkey ate and we sat there watching him. When the waitress finally came, Otto pointed out our delightfully inedible entrees, and she said, “We’re just SO BUSY tonight—” and Otto actually interrupted her to say, “No, you’re NOT,” gesturing at all the empty tables.
Otto is pretty much unflappable. I admit to getting a perverted kick out of seeing him lose his temper, however calmly that manifests on the rare occasions when it happens.
The waitress then ARGUED that no, they had a party in the back! She was slammed! And she would get us new salads but we were going to have to WAIT. Otto told her that we would be happy to pay for Monkey’s food, but we were all done, as we’d lost our appetites. She flounced off.
[Note to waitstaff everywhere, and I’m allowed to say this because I used to waitress: Lead with “I’m sorry.” We know it’s probably not your own personal fault, but in general arguing with a customer who waited 45 minutes for uncooked food is in poor form.]
Monkey enjoyed his wings with a side of survivor’s guilt. (“I’m sorry! Do you want some?”) When he finished the waitress came over to tell us the manager said it was on the house. That’s nice, I guess, though maybe the manager would’ve impressed us more if he’d come to tell us himself, but maybe he remembered us from the Naked Baked Potato incident and was afraid. Who knows.
On our way out, Monkey grabbed a mint from the bowl at the hostess station. I asked Otto if he wanted one, and he said sure, so I grabbed one for each of us. We three walked out to the car while unwrapping said mints.
“Mmmmmm,” I said, as we pulled away. “Minty! And SO FILLING!”
“Not really,” said Otto.
“I’m sorry,” said Monkey, morosely, from the back seat.
“It’s not your fault, buddy,” I told him. “But… I don’t think we’re going there again.”
I tell you what, though. If you need a little assistance in working up some enthusiasm for cooking at home, again, I think a visit to Crazy’s may just do the trick.