Monday, September 17, 2007

I don't want to ever see another Palm

Restaurant that is.
As I mentioned weeks ago, there were many (too many) good-byes to be had before leaving Virginia. I wasn't able to write about them before leaving, but will try to chronicle my farewells now that I have a couple of minutes - of course as I type that I am ensuring that someone will wake up and need my attention!

Monday, August 20th saw the farewell dinner of the Fabulous, Fearless Foursome. Daniella, Trish and I have known each other since college (and before for Trish and Daniella) and we all met Kary once Daniella and I moved down to Northern VA from NJ back in 1996. Back then, none of us were married. We all had significant others who were less than present, so we had lots of time for each other. Once a week, like clockwork, we would gather at one person's home for dinner. The host actually made dinner, and of course we all liked to try and outdo each other with our meals - nothing like a little friendly competition, right:-)!

Then, as we began to meet our future spouses, we saw each other a little less frequently, but still probably a couple of times a month. Whittle that down year by year, and we were fortunate to be able to all get together at Christmas to exchange ornaments. I'm simplifying the process, but just to show my point that life starts getting complicated.

Despite the fact that we rarely got together in person, our affection for each other never has waned. We celebrated each others' highs, and cried and prayed for each other in the low times. Physical distance did not affect the bond we shared.

So, despite the fact that none of us wanted to say good-bye, we knew we needed to make this last night together a special one. We decided to get wacky, go all out and have dinner at The Palm. We had eaten there at least one other time and had a wonderful meal, from the food to the service to the atmosphere. Seemed like the perfect place to revisit for this "Last Supper" if you will. Of course I was just moving, not getting ready to die for all of humankind, but you get the picture.

The evening started out a little shaky when we went about 10 minutes or so without seeing anyone to take our drink orders or bring us a menu. Then things picked up a bit when our waitress advised Daniella not to order the red wine she asked for - it wasn't that great, and she'd be better off with the one that was $5 LESS expensive!! How many waitress tell you to order the less expensive wine? We were feeling good! But that good feeling was soon to leave the building.

All of us ordered the filet mignon (I told you we were living it up that night). Trish, Kary and I ordered ours medium, and Daniella ordered hers medium-well. Our food arrived, and we all dug in. As I was cutting my steak, I noticed that it didn't look quite medium. I asked the other gals to take a look - sure enough, it was rare. Trish took a look at hers and found the same rareness that graced my plate. We then spent about 5 minutes trying to find our waitress only to flag down another waiter and ask if we could get these steaks cooked correctly. He happily took them back to the kitchen for us, and about 10 minutes later the hostess brings our steaks back to us. Keep in mind that our waitress is still nowhere to be found. I cut into the steak, and now it is STILL RARE! So was Trish's. I'm not really sure what exactly they did back in the kitchen with these steaks for 10 minutes, but it certainly wasn't cooking them!

Still looking for our waitress, and now getting irritated, we finally flag down the poor little hostess who had brought our steaks out from the kitchen. She went looking for our waitress and finally came back and asked if she could help us. We told her our problem with the steaks hadn't been resolved, and she removed them from the table with the promise of new steaks. Meanwhile, Daniella mentions to us that her steak is actually well-done, and Kary says hers is more medium-rare, but neither wanted to complain seeing as how long it was taking to get our food!

Trish and I nibbled on the side dishes while Kary and Daniella finished their steaks. Still nothing from the kitchen for us. We are all getting irritated at this point. No one has come to the table to see how we are doing, give us a status update, schmooze us, nothing. Finally, I get up from the table and go find the maitre' d. I tell him that we've been waiting for 20 minutes for our second round of steaks, our friends are done with their meals, and frankly, we're not hungry anymore. He tells me that there is a manager in the kitchen waiting on our steaks, and let's just get them to the table before deciding that we're not hungry anymore.

Another 5 minutes goes by, and finally 3 people show up at our table; the hostess, the maitre'd and our waitress (finally!). They come bearing our steaks and 3 more plates of side dishes. Huh? I just told the man that we're not even hungry for our steaks, and he brings more food? Ah, the lost art of listening. Our waitress proceeds to tell us that our steaks were taken off the check (duh!!~they'd better be). She then asks if we'd like some coffee - Trish ordered coffee and I ordered a cappuccino. My coffee drink comes out within minutes, but Trish's black coffee...nowhere to be found. When our waitress shows up with our dessert, Trish asks for her coffee and the waitress says it will come out with my cappuccino - um...

Finally, the night drew to an end, and the waitress dropped our check off. Kary was stunned that she even gave us a check. Fortunately they had taken the steaks off, but that was it. Kary grabbed all of our credit cards and went storming up to find a manager. She found him and told him that we were going to pay for this meal but that we would NEVER come back again - the whole evening was abysmal. What was supposed to be a wonderful evening of reminiscing ended up being totally consumed by kvetching about the miserable service and food we had just undergone. The manager snatched the bill from Kary and told her in a snotty tone that it would be taken care of. Kary insisted that we were going to pay, but he just turned and walked away.

So that's why I never want to see another Palm. I reminded my friends that God works in mysterious ways, and by having this less than perfect experience, we spent the night focusing on that instead of being sad at my leaving.

More good-bye stories to come...

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