Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eating Out Your Lovin’ Buns

Ahhh, love sweet love. What could be more romantic than a day dedicated to one sided gift giving and the exchange of poorly worded missives of lust? Well, we do it a little different in EOF town! Rather than jumping through the hoops of convention, we’ve broken St. Valentine’s down to its more hedonistic roots.

This usually entails a trip over to Whole Foods or some other specialty food retailer for a kaleidoscopic selection of tidbits and drinkables and confections. This year, we weren’t so keen on the last two ducks in the steam table and the rest just didn’t seem to fit our appetites. So I came up with the idea to have our entrees over at BB’s Lounge. Figuring it, being a lounge, would be fairly open and accessible, as opposed to every other place groaning under the weight of their horny patrons bellowing for more free bread.

And it turned out that I was fairly correct. The bar was lightly populated, there were a couple tables open and it didn’t feel “slammed”. Oh how fucking wrong I was! Their first fuckup, we sat at the bar for 10 minutes while the lone waitress/bartender seemed to simply be running around with no plates, making no drinks and addressing no patrons. Ah well, give it a minute, right? Again, bad idea. Someday I’ll be smart enough to start acting on my gut instinct in restaurants, but then again, how would I ever give a properly bad review? Got bad vibe from restaurant, ate somewhere else, feel smug. Hardly riveting.

To continue on the suck parade, the bartender finally comes to us and asks if we were there for dinner. We give the affirmative. She asks if we’d like to sit at the bar, but noticing two unoccupied tables, it seems stupid to loom over dinner at the bar when we could sit back and relax into our hedonism. We’re assured that they will clear the table and have us seated immediately. Patience has paid off, yes?

Nope! First off, it takes another 15 minutes for the baffled bottled redhead to bus a table. I feel the spidey sense tingle start to go off like an industrial vibrator in my medulla oblongata. Suddenly, two well dressed types appear from the back area and proceed to hover around “our” table. Steady….obviously the people working here are too stupid to discuss this with, so blowing up at them is useless. I’d use words far too large for them to understand like “unacceptable”. Aaaaand here it comes.

After 30 minutes, during which at no point did anyone even offer to take a drink order (we were sitting at the BAR!), the special needs bartender shamefacedly comes to us to explain that Giulia’s next door is sending their overflow into THIS establishment and that my promised table was out promised by some cuntburger that I couldn’t even have the satisfaction of spraying with spittle as I sputtered my indignation. And as a consolation, we’re offered…to wait another half hour for a fucking table! This lackluster human being and substandard employee didn’t even have the firing brain cells to point out that we were already in chairs at a table-like device and could just put our orders in. Resisting the urge to pneumatically propel a gobbet of oral digestive fluids into her uncomprehending eye, we chose the better part of valor and beat feet.

Rather than let the fact that I’ll never set foot in BB’s Lounge or it’s parent restaurant Giulia’s, short of going to gloat over their closed façade ruin the evening, we set back out in search of our entrée. Considering that even DiCiccio’s (pronounced Dee Sick Eee Oh’s) was overflowing with corpulent humanity, a brick and mortar eating establishment is out of the question at this point. As we ponder, I mention that we might as well opt for an ironic twist to the evening and go for pizza. Strangely, the idea sticks and we beeline right back to Whole Foods, praying that they haven’t shut off the oven for the night.

As we burst back in, rushing to the hot food section, I see that there is still a reassuring flicker of good honest fire coming from the brick oven. Sadly, they’re a little bit broken down, but their lovely pizza chef was more than willing to throw together a one-off pie for a desperate and disgruntled couple. After confusing her with contradicting descriptions of what we wanted, she was finally able to winnow down to what would be our actual order. Red sauce, fresh mozzarella, salami, pepperoni, basil and artichoke hearts, all on a nice thin somewhat soft, crackery crust.

Goals finally achieved, we bomb back to the pad for our celebration. We pop a bottle of Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine. It’s fairly tasty, but closer to domestic champagnes than our usual Moet. A bit sharper and a little too dry. But certainly a high brow accompaniment to our pizza dinner and our magical panoply of goodies. Embarrassingly, we enjoyed the pizza so much that we were far too full to get into the cheeses, olives and pickled okra that we had planned to snack on, or the ice cream treats that we had so coveted just an hour prior. But we did get to enjoy our his and hers desserts that we picked up in the bakery. She enjoyed a nice fruit tart that the baker had sweetly retopped with fresher fruit and I, a couple small chocolate cups with a smooth chocolate mousse and berries.

All in all, Valentines worked out nicely for the general domestic tranquility of the Eating Out Fresno household. Whole Foods did a good job of stepping up and I’ve got to compliment their staff on being extremely friendly and helpful. Conversely, our semi-brief experience at BB’s Lounge was one of the most unprofessional moments I’ve had in any business in Fresno, much less a restaurant. It’s especially shocking because we had previously had a very positive experience there. But 100% and 0% still average out to an F. It looks like we’ll be on the hunt for another decent Italian restaurant to patronize. Because seriously, fuck BB’s Lounge.