Monday, January 9, 2012

# 170 - A Horrible Lunch

I am catching up on writing some blogs today because we've had severe weather in Houston. I mean S-E-V-E-R-E. Last night, the thunder and lightening stayed continuous and on top of us. It was rather frightening. We didn't catch a break. Today, the rains continue and there is widespread flooding throughout the Greater Houston area. Several highways/freeways are completely shut down because sections going both ways are completely under water --- big rigs can't even get through.

Since we've endured a year of harsh drought, the rain is welcomed, but this downpour is causing lots of problems. My backyard looks like a lake. My chickens are hiding out on my backporch, yet they look like soppy wet pathetic chickens. There was a tornado warning South of us, so I'm keeping an eye out for more reports. Stefie and I are ready to dive into the bathroom potty windows, plumbing reinforcements, and a toilet for the "real" emergencies.

Okay --- onto my regular topic for the blog of the moment ---

This weekend, Deputy Dave and I went to lunch with my sissy and her family. Robin and Warren are a fun couple to spend time with. And then, there is my little niece, Shaye. I love spending as many moments with her as possible.

They met us in Houston (Clear Lake) for lunch after the three of them had left church and after Deputy Dave had spent the morning fishing with his brother. We figured we'd try a new place, a place none of us had tried, so we stopped at "Thai Spice" off of Bay Area Blvd.

The only thing good I can say about this restaurant is that I liked the company at our table. Other than that, the food was mediocre, at best; the service was below poor and it was a disastrous, downhill dining experience that ended with all of us being forced to laugh because it kept getting worse and worse.

It's a good thing that my family is the kind that laughs in the face of stress instead of becoming monstrous, especially when the waitress appears to be some kind of kung-fu mini-bad-ass who cuts you off to say, "Ah...let me tell you...I will decide whose turn it is to order next."

Are we on camera?

First of all, they only had one young woman taking orders, bringing out all food, clearing the tables and servicing the tables in between your arrival and departure. Deputy Dave sat three times with his tea glass empty and unable to get her attention. Since we were there for over an hour, that was a lot of sitting time with an empty glass for a thirsty guy. They did not bring out the trio of sauces that are standard for every meal until our plates were nearly empty. Gee, thanks.

The shrimp spring rolls had shrimp shrimp cut in half. If a restaurant is going to such lengths to scrimp and save, to mince the food, and to avoid drink refills, then I wonder about other iffy areas where they might be cutting more corners. Might they be scraping leftover rice from the old customer's plate back into the wok?

We each ordered a meal and we each decided to share a section of each other's plates so we could sample each dish. sister got the real stinker plate. It's too bad that she could only give us a "sample" off of her plate and that she was stuck with the rest of it. Deputy Dave didn't even want to eat his sample off her plate, it was that bad.

Then, he looked at his own plate and it literally looked liked canned dog food. No joke.

And, as Deputy Dave sat for the next ten minutes with an empty tea glass and a waitress who never even looked our direction, finally, my sister stood up and walked to the back of the restaurant toward the tea pitcher to take care of it herself. She's a school counselor, but she worked at Red Lobster for six years as she was going through college; therefore, she has little tolerance for bad service. She had to bust her butt while working at Red Lobster for all those years and she cannot tolerate lazy table attendance.

Deputy Dave had ordered a Thai dish made with sirloin, but it was actually a plate of seasoned ground beef with peas mixed in. That was the canned dog food dish. It did not look appetizing. I felt confident, even with my lack of culinary skills, that I could have prepared something even better than what he'd been served!

Shaye was exhausted. Church had worn her out and she'd not slept good the night before. All she wanted to do was go home, but she did her best to put a smile on her beautiful face and be happy while pooped out!

As usual, I could not get Shaye to look at the camera.

Finally, Shaye's daddy told her that there was a little creature in my lens. Good one Warren!

She couldn't resist the urge to check it out, so she decided to take a peek and look for the creature. I think the "little creature" he had been referring to was actually her own reflection. But, it made us all laugh.

So, this restaurant did not get a good review from us four adult food critics. And my sister had wanted to treat Deputy Dave and I to lunch, even though we were already arguing like standard sisters about that issue. I was refusing to let her pay for our meal. She wasn't listening. Both of us are unbelievably stubborn, our poor husbands had to sit and listen to our bickering about who would pay. The two of them have already learned to stay out of sisterly line of fire.

To top off the bad service, the restaurant even screwed up in their effort to take payment for the meal. My bossy younger sister hijacked the bill and when she sent off her credit card for payment, the confused young man, who ONLY had to deal with checking people out, came back and admitted to not knowing how to run the credit card through the machine. My sister simply began laughing hysterically. He offered to do it "later."

Uh, no thanks. Again, my sister worked in a restaurant for years...she knows what happens.

How could a restaurant get any worse than their own workers not knowing how to process payment for service? The card was working just was their inability to know how to work the credit card machine. We sat there and watched this same guy go up to other people's tables and tell them the same thing. Is this crazy or what?

I felt triumphant - YES - we'd be able to pay for lunch! Then, I looked up to see my sister walking out the front door of the restaurant WITH THE BILL so she could walk next door to the gas station to use the debit machine. Imagine my huge smile and our bigger laughs as she came back with shoulders hanging low because they did not have a debit machine! HA HA!

No, really Robin, let us pay for this crappy lunch! It's worth it just to have these moments of hysteria. Really, a "run" to the gas station next door? My sissy knows how to bring a smile to my face.

Deputy Dave digs money out of his wallet and this big sister, The Lana, ended up winning the argument because the restaurant didn't know what it was doing, from start to finish. I usually try to find something nice to say about a restaurant, but they made it very difficult. It was awful. However, it did appear clean!

Deputy Dave is already feeling the stomach churn after eating
questionable food. We were so hungry --- How did this go so wrong?

Out of us four adults, we give this restaurant eight thumbs down.

Maybe it's easier for us to give the eight thumbs down to this Thai restaurant because we're surrounded by so many more Thai choices in the big city. Maybe, but I don't think so. Even if this were the only Thai restaurant in the area, we'd be steering clear of it from now on.

And, my sister will keep checking her bank receipt this week because the guy with her credit card had continually run the card through the machine, over and over, while saying it wasn't working. Since we ended up paying cash for the meal, I sure hope they don't end up actually charging her card for the meal...and this was all part of our enlightening experience of this brilliant restaurant management at Thai Spice.

Avoid doing the same, if you can.


IanH said...

I've never had it that bad, even in some pretty crumby places. Rather than a tip, I hope you prayed for them:-}

LindaG said...

First, it makes me glad I don't like Thai food.
Second, that's why we don't like new restaurants.

That said, we have found some nice restaurants we've taken chances on.

As for the credit card thing. Here, the credit union puts a hold the amount when a card is run. I certainly hope that did not happen to your sister. She could be out a bunch of money for a week or more.

That place is unbelievable. I hate to say it, but I hope they go out of business soon and save anyone else from what happened to you.

Hope you all have a great week otherwise! :-)

Mike said...

I say Warren was referring to you as the little creature in the camera. ;)

We went to a new restaurant awhile back. It was pretty dead when we arrived. Actually, I think we were the only ones there. We received drinks in minimal time and decided on what to try. I tried to order 3 items only to be told they were out.

Told 'em to bring the bill for the drinks and we left. Pitiful, how some establishments can't handle it.

I've noticed a lot of Asian restaurants having poor customer service in my life. I rarely go to them, anymore. Hell, I rarely go to any restaurant, anymore. Either my tastes are deteriorating or the quality of food is dissipating. Who's to say?

Lana at said...

IanH --- I think they needed some serious prayers to stay in business. It appeared to be a family trying to run the business but they were miserable, uptight and unable to do their jobs. If they want to turn it around, it would take a lot of work, especially since first impressions are already setting in hard.

Linda --- we love all kinds of Asian food, but not everyone can cook it very well. We don't know how to cook it, so we have to go find it. Unfortunately, this place was just awful! And other people in the restaurant were also getting terrible service and Deputy Dave had been watching the young man go up to each table to tell them that the credit card machine wasn't working right and he'd run it through later that day. He was writing people's credit card number and info down...not a comfortable situation. But, Robin is very aware of her account, so I know she'll be checking it a couple times per day for a while. It was a laughable experience.

Mike --- hahaha -- knee slap!!! Yes, Shaye will probably agree about me being the creature behind the lens. Your experience of them being "out" of everything is so frustrating. We try to not go out to eat very often. The past two weeks we've gone out more than we'd like because of doing stuff for the house to be put on the market. We feel drained all of the time. And the Asian restaurants have to be high standards because they cook with so many seafood products...can be SUPER SCARY. Deputy Dave and I do like a wide variety of foods, but nothing hits the spot like old-fashioned home-cooked foods. We are making lasagna tonight - smells so great and we don't have a little pip-squeak being bossy while taking our order. We were nice cause she appeared so stressed. Anyway, I'm looking forward to my lasagna.

And correction in my story...Deputy Dave had scallions, not peas in his dog food. And Warren hid the bill as Robin ran next door, literally, on her feet, to the gas station.


A Primitive Homestead said...

For some years I made a living waiting tables. It was important my customers got good service & were happy. Much like your sister I have gotten up & refilled drinks when the waitress never offered or came back. sounds like you & sissy have loads of fun. Blessings!
Lara said...

Lara --- I think the Mama side of me has a darn hard time sitting still when the service is bad. There have been so many times that I also have been forced to get up and get my own refill, my own to-go box, my own silverware, etc., and it is sometimes ridiculous. But, it makes you REALLY appreciate the good service, especially the ones who seem to read your mind before you even ask for anything...they must be the Mama's as well.