‘Perfect!,’ They Say While Disappearing After 3 Seconds At Your Table…
I decided to do something I don’t normally do, and that was go to to a tourist restaurant in a touristy area.
My intentions were three-fold: go somewhere different in the city in which I lived, do a little research to see if a particular place was PubClub.com worthy, and to get some cheap (and hopefully good) tacos and margaritas on a Taco Tuesday night.
Well okay, there was a fourth reason, as well. A couple days earlier when I was walking through the area, a couple of really cute blonde hostesses coaxed me into trying out the place.
Unable to coax anybody to go with me, I set out on a Tuesday evening to San Diego’s Old Town. My destination was Fred’s Mexican Cafe. The hostesses said the place has all-day Happy Hour on Tuesday, as well as Taco Tuesday specials (only the latter turned out to be the case tho perhaps I misunderstood them as I was paying more attention to their looks than their words).
Now normally, I steer clear of places where the strollers outnumber the single people but Old Town is a really cool area – it kind of makes you feel like you’re in Mexico when in fact for me it’s only a 15-minute trolley ride to get there – and as I said, I wanted to start to explore some place in San Diego rather than the Gaslamp Quarter where I live.
I took a seat in the bar area and was immediately approached by one of those overly-perky waitresses that are so common to chains and restaurants in tourist areas.
You know the type, where they bounce up to you, put down a menu and disappear before you can say “er, I’ll have a margarita…” Your voice fades as she disappears into the distance. (Actually, this happens with male servers in these places, too.)
Then they come back for exactly three seconds to ask if you need anything and if you say “well, I don’t know yet,” they reply “oh, you need more time. Perfect!”
The last word is said with a higher-pitched tone and they are gone in a flash again.
This is repeated five times over the next three minutes. It’s like speed dating – you only have about 10 seconds to make your point.
The hostesses had told me that Fred’s “has the best margaritas in Old Town” and I certainly hope that’s not the case because Fred’s margaritas were below average on the PubClub scale. They tasted watered down, as if they were protecting the tourists from the tequila.
If this is is indeed the best margarita in Old Town, then it doesn’t speak well for the margaritas in Old Town.
Still, a schooner was only 6 bucks and the tacos were really good. Especially the pulled pork ones that are just $2 on Tuesdays. They contained what tasted like pine nuts and when I mentioned this to the perky waitress in one of her frequent, albeit brief, visits to my table, she said, “oh, that’s hominy!”
Then she disappeared again, my voice trailing off as I replied “oh, well they are really good…”
The whole scene reminded me of that Jennifer Anniston movie, Office Space. You know the one, where she plays a waitress in a themed chain restaurant surrounded by a bunch of perky servers.
At least my Fred’s waitress did not have any “flair” on her outfit.
And she did not do that really irritating thing that makes me avoid chain themed restaurants at all costs. She did not run down a bunch of menu items with the speed of an auctioneer and then say, “so, can I write you up for a few of those!?”
I want to make it clear that I am not criticizing the Fred’s waitress, or any server in these establishments. They do what they are taught to do and after all, tourism places are really glorified fast food restaurants – they want to get the people in and out as fast as possible.
The girl at Fred’s was cute and friendly; I just wish I had more than three seconds at a time to talk with her.
Overall, I left food satisfied but still in search of the best margarita in Old Town.