Friday, June 19, 2009

"Dazed" and "Confused" Go Out to Dinner

We'd been out for lunch, dinner, breakfst the next day and lunch with Rosalind and Charlie, but I still felt that Richie should have his very own birthday dinner out. He, of course, demurred, "It's just another day." I insisted, "Well go anywhere you like -- French, Italian, Mexican, Thai, Cajun ..." and he said, "Let me think about it."

Five minutes later, he blurted, "Steak! I want a steak." Equitably, I said, "Bull Pen or Union Cattle Company? (beat) Actually the Bull Pen'd be more approrpiate because you're both old..."

It should be noted that both the Bull Pen, Redondo, and Melvyn's, Palm Springs, are nearly interchangeable in menu and service style (circa 1980,) the Bull Pen being less formal. The main rooms are similar -- down to a back wall, curtained niche containing service items and a center-wall entrance, dark interiors and big booths.

The first mistake - We're discussing the menu over drinks; he's going for the tournedos with a butter, wine, lemon sauce; me for the medallions and the bordelaise sauce. Incidentally these are from their "Petit" menu with smaller portions of several of the favorites -- soup or salad, meat and mashed potatoes for $15.

She comes, I order and he says, "Same for me except soup instead of salad" (a very good navy bean.)

Our come our dinners - identical medallions. I say softly, "Uh, he ordered tournedos?" She checks her pad and says, "He said, 'the same except for the soup...'" "Richie!" I say and apologize profusely to her.

Act 2 Knowing that the ladies room is past the bar at the rear of a big nightclub-type room -- tiny tables, twinkling lights and a stage, I head for it.

Just past the bar, the corridor ends in a flapping curtain with daylight behind it! "Oh, cool! They've got a retractable skylight! I didn't know that ..." and take a peek. It's a parking lot. The bathrooms are to my right.

I went back to the table puzzled. I knew I was right. (Near-sighted people tend to memorize the location of the bathrooms in every place we've ever been.)

At the table, it hit me: I was thinking of MELVYN'S IN PALM SPRINGS! Naturally (after a martini and a glass of wine) I have to share this fascinating tidbit with the maitre'd. He graciously says he'll google it. Our waitress beings the check and I tell her, too, because I'm a roll here; isn't this hysterical? Ha, ha, ha!

In retrospect, I'm glad I have the 20% tip habit. It means we can go back there again. And that I won't make the same mistake. Richie? No guarantees...

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