Sunday, December 05, 2004

The Life and Times of Big Ell

After a very busy day, Mrs. Big Ell and I decided to get a bite and a drink. For some stupid reason I decided to go to a local Taichung bar/restaurant called FM. We made this decision because it was close and open. A few weeks back I went to FM for lunch. I had a great lunch with good conversation, food and service. My friend is a regular and works at FM part-time. I now realize that eating with a regular in an empty restaurant is the key to getting decent service at FM.

I went back with a couple friends ten days ago and had a decent meal. We got the shitty seats by the door but the hostess told us she would move us when better seats became available. We were never moved even when other seats became available. Maybe she didn't understand us; I have seen the "deer looking into the headlights" look a million times in Taiwan. The waiter screwed up one of the orders but the food was good so my friend didn't complain. Normally, I would have crossed this place off the list but I am used to terrible service in Taiwan so I went back.

Mrs. Big Ell and I walked in and sat down to order. I asked for an ashtray. The waiter kindly informed Mrs. Big Ell that I was in the 'no smoke,' section. I said "no problem," then remembered that I was sitting at the very same table only ten days before and was allowed to smoke. So apparently in the last ten days FM made this table non-smoking. So we asked if we could sit at the next table and were told that it too was a non-smoking table. The interesting thing is that my friend had just finished his dinner with a smoke at the very same table. I know knew that this fucking imbecile really didn't want me to smoke.

We ordered our dinner, beef lasagna for me and shepherd's pie for Mrs. Big Ell. We sat and waited for our meals in eager anticipation. Mrs. Big Ell was given her side salad and dug in. We were almost finished when they informed me that they didn't have any lasagna. It took this moron 25-30 minutes to realize that they were out of stock and to relay this seemingly critical information to his customer. I ordered a beef sandwich instead. We waited again for our food. The two tables near us were served. Then I remembered seeing the one guy order directly from the kitchen. Fuck I felt stupid, I know that the key to fast service in Taiwan is ordering directly from the kitchen. Fuck the middle man and you'll rarely be disappointed. After some time I was served my beef sandwich; which was good. The only thing that separates this place from another piece of shit restaurant/bar called the Londoner is the food. By the way FM and the Londoner are the two most popular places in town. Mrs. Big Ell asked the waiter "Where is my shepherd's pie?" The waiter had no idea what she was talking about. After a few minutes he realized he had served it to someone else and walked away. Not one sorry or one duibuqi from this piece of shit waiter. This idiot walks back a few minutes and leaves a menu. Again not one sorry or one fucking duibuqi from this fucker.

What is the moral of this story? There isn't any. I will continue to receive shitty service in Taiwan and have resigned myself to that fact. I will avoid FM for the next year or so. I will just choose places that have offer other intangibles. Such as strange or hilarious anecdotes (PJ's), direct access to the kitchen (Fingaz) or a nice guy owner (Le Terrace). Maybe I will only eat Indian at Kebabish where the service is decent but the food phenomenal. Your probably asking why I don't just eat Chinese. That is for another post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Thunda from Down Unda reveals that it is not all "shrimp and barbie's (or BBQ's)"

With great admiration for the candid description of Big Ell's dining experience I was reminded of my most recent brush with death-by-food.

It was a typical Wednesday night in Bris-Vegas, working late, hungry as a bastard, too lazy to shop and too late to care all I could think about was my growling gut which, I had decided I must put some form of food into before it began to eat-itself.

Eating itself would have indeed been preferable to getting slowly poisoned by not food poisoning but by chemical poisoning, that's right, that rare gem of poisoning that treads the fine line between shitting your guts out and being mortis like rigour. Please imagine 2 days of body pain like you've been hit constantly with a cricket bat all over (the only thing that you should do with a cricket bat as the sport is completely non-sensical, pompous, imperialist and homo-erotic and not meant to be played by anyone other than the Brits)

I got this fine dining experience at an Indian take-away, all I can figure is that they mixed the chemical cleaners in with the food or with the pots and pans, leaving enough residue of the shit to completely steam-roll me for 2 days.

Now it's fair enough if they were experimenting with something they have never used before (cleaning chemicals when in the past probably a garden hose and a broom would do) but someone needs to tell them that WASHING UP involves ACTUAL not just INTENDED removal of the said chemicals from the surfaces onto which they are applied. Chemicals made for killing bacteria don't mix with our organs terribly well, shit, I like my bacteria and who gave them permission to kill them all!

Fortunately my organs were well trained due to years of abuse and managed to expel the shit and save my meagre life only to rise again and share this utterly banal story with the world.