Saturday, February 05, 2005

What I learned at the Diner today

Owing to the rather nice weather here in Cambridge today, a balmy 40 degrees thank you, MBH decided that we should break with our routine of Dammits and visit the New England Mobile Book Fair. My contribution to the "Big Day of Funness" was breakfast at our local diner, The Deluxe Town Diner. The food is quite good and if you get there early enough, say before 8:30am on Saturdays, there is no wait. After a pretty good goat cheese, spinach, and bacon omelet for me and scrambled eggs, bacon, and sourdough toast for MBH; we sat and chatted about the most recent program that MBH is working on while finishing our drinks. It was a nice change of pace for us and we were enjoying our leisurely conversation and the relative quiet of the diner despite the fact that it was packed with couples and families and there were quite a few people waiting to be seated. Now you should know, that the Deluxe Town Diner is a true diner, not a restaurant claiming to be a diner but a real, honest to goodness diner complete with the diner car that has been on the same site since 1947 to prove it. We were just finishing up and getting ready to leave when in through the door strode a woman with a baby in her arms followed by her husband and three other small children ranging in ages between 3 - 5. She stood in the middle of the doorway, letting in the cold air and demanded to be seated immediately. The hostess/waitress at the door explained that it would be several minutes but she would come get them when a table was ready. The woman sighed heavily and said that she needed to be seated immediately and any table would be fine. The hostess very patiently explained that it was just not possible at the moment. The woman was about to "pitch a fit", when this nice couple and their friends said that the woman and her tribe could have their table. The hostess grabbed a few menus and said that while there was a high chair available for two of the children that there were no booster seats available at the moment. The woman stopped in the middle of the walkway, swung around about knocking over a waitress with her hands full of plates and sighed to her husband with THAT look. MBH and I left before we could witness any more of the woman's histrionic performance but I have to wonder what those poor children are learning about acceptable behavior in a restaurant. Now, before I get hate comments about not understanding about having a family or that dining out with children isn't easy, let me say this: I like children and as long as they are relatively well behaved (you should read this as not running amok through the restaurant like it is a playground, not throwing temper tantrums on the floor kicking and screaming and are generally polite to their parents, the wait staff and other diners) then bring on the kids. BUT what are these children learning about the fact that you don't always get what you want right when you want it? And more importantly, what are those kids learning about how you treat people, especially people like waiters/waitress/shopkeeps? I'm sure the rest of the patrons at the diner enjoyed their dining experience with Mr. and Mrs. Seat-me-now and their lovely family.

The New England Mobile Book Fair is not mobile but rather a large bookstore that carries everything new and old but directly from the distributors and offers very good discounts as a result. Best of all, it has a very large and extensive cookbook and computer book section, meaning both MBH and I can spend hours browsing through hundreds of books on our respective favorite subject just a few aisles apart but close enough to walk over and see what the other has found. Their motto is: "I only came for one book" and that was our intention....yea, right. Let's see here, sitting right next to me as I type this is a copy of Rose Levy Beranbaum's "The Bread Bible" (this is the doctoral thesis of bread making), "The Breath of Wok" (most beautiful pictures of Chinese food I've ever seen), and Anthony Bourdain's "Les Halles Cookbook" (French Bistro cooking at it's best). MBH picked up a copy of "Managing Security with Snort and IDS Tools" , a cookbook of sorts for Linux security and the "Python Cookbook", which he assures me has nothing do with cooking snakes. To borrow from that un-named credit card company’s overused catch phrase: Breakfast: $22.13 Respective cookbooks: $132.00 Enjoying the time spent browsing books together? Priceless....