Monday, August 20, 2007

Steak and Chic

So I had my friend Chicago Meg in town for the weekend. She's Chicago Meg because there's already Sister Meg and Aunt Meg and Restaurant Meg and Gallery Meg and Meg the Homeless Lady and honestly when I meet new people now and they say "Hi, I'm Meg!" I say, oh gee, thanks but no thanks, I'm out of identifiers. Chicago Meg likes fun, authentic things so when we were trying to come up with a place for dinner on Saturday, I remembered the old Cherokee Steak House over on 109 between Gallatin and Lebanon. I used to go there occasionally with my parents and back when I was a teenager I thought it was the lamest place on earth but now I think it's kind of fantastic. It's a steak house that's part of a marina; you can boat right up to it, get out, and then go in and eat ten pounds of red meat. It's BYOB (but no beer!) so it's always funny to see who's drinking what and who's wishing they had remembered that it's BYOB. And it's all normal people, you know, people who don't listen to iPods or have memberships to the gym or ever have the urge to talk about the subtext of, well, anything. Just normal steak-eaters.

Anyway, we drove up listening to the new Porter Wagoner record and that was fun and then when we got there, we waited an hour and a half outside, where it was 100+ degrees. We had stopped at the world's worst liquor store for wine and there really weren't many options, so we just picked up a bottle of Yellow Tail, along with some other options, fully expecting to be shamed by the choices we had made. Uhhh, not so much. We had the classiest wines in the joint by far. So that was funny. We sat outside and drank our rapidly-warming wine out of classy plastic cups and finally they called us just as we were actually and literally about to die.

The menu has to sort of be seen to be believed, though I have to love any menu that features the line "Order a platter of sirloins .... for 2, 3 or 4!" Or one regulation-sized DG, they should have also said. You order your steak and you also get to choose your potato option (I regret to say that French fries are still Freedom fries here, though German fries are also avaliable so I wonder exactly what the French had to do to get bumped while the Nazis got to stay on the menu). There were also fried mushrooms (contradictorily called "French-fried"; apparently Freedom doesn't apply to mushrooms.)

I selected a gigantic ribeye and a baked potato; Sister Meg chose a petite filet and Chicago Meg picked the bone-in ribeye, described as "the most flavorful steak on the menu." I think they were right; hers was the best.

We all were a little tipsy so we laughed way more than all the other people in the place but maybe they were laughing at us too because we seemed so amaaaazed at every little bit of silliness, like when the butter showed up in little packets marked "whipped spread." I ate like five of them though so I ain't complaining.

It was a great choice, the opposite of chic, so of course, the chicest thing imaginable, like Doris Duke banging around town in that beat-up station wagon. Dinner for three was seventy dollars and between us we had about fifteen pounds of meat. I'll be putting it on the list for all future Nashville visitors.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Nocturnal Omissions

It seems my list of things not to do to the host of a restaurant was a bit incomplete. So here are a few more tips to prevent me from paying the valet to slash your tires:

1. Incomplete parties. If you are a party of more than, say, one, I am not going to seat you until your compatriots arrive. Every empty chair represents money and you and your invisible party of eleven are costing us money. I know they're "on the way," everyone's on the way. To somewhere. I suggest in your case that the "somewhere" is the Cheesecake Factory.

2. I'm sorry you're in a wheelchair. I am! I totally sympathize with the fact that you drove drunk and had a car wreck and now your legs work like flippers! I swear I get it! But tell me that when you call so that I don't schedule you for the table on the platform. Because lemme tell ya: this is your problem, not mine. Pop a wheelie and get up those stairs already.

3. If we have an item on the menu that costs less than fifteen dollars, the chances of us having a computer screen at the front door that tells us everything from what time a table came in to the blood pressure of the alcoholic on table 41 are pretty slim. I am working off of a yellow legal pad. That's how fancy the system is. So give me a break when I can't tell you if your table will be available within the second. Also? I hate you. I just had your tires slashed.

4. If you are drunk, congratulations! But I wonder if you're as drunk as me?! Probably not. So! Here's the arrangement: I will seat you and be nice to you as long as you don't give me any grief. If you perhaps get the wild idea that you are in charge of me...or god forbid that you are superior to me in any way...oh dear, I hope you enjoy dealing with all the prank calls later this evening. Remember: I have your number from when you made the reservation. I hope you have Prince Albert in a can!

5. I apologize that we are serving a fish you have never heard of. If that makes you nervous, don't order it. If you have never heard of it and you do order it and you dislike it, it occurs to me that this is YOUR problem, not mine. SO I ain't paying for it. That's what I'm saying.

Other than that, you're all perfectly lovely, and we appreciate your business.

Executive Privilege

Well after three lovely months working from home at my new design job, I decided to start working out of an office again, at least a couple of days a week. We now have an intern so he needs some supervision and I admit that I do like getting out of the house a bit. I do NOT like giving up my 2 o'clock nap but then again, it's not every day I'll be doing it.

One exciting thing is that I really love the view from my office, where you can see the Tennessee State Capitol peeking out from behind that white ribbed monstrosity. It's a nice view of part of downtown and I can ride the scooter in to work, so that keeps me from having to pay for parking. I just park it on the sidewalk. And still: everyone wants to yap yap yap about the scooter. It's kind of wearing me out, actually.

I rode it to work all week, when it was over a hundred degrees four of the days. I don't know if that was a great decision as I didn't really get that wind-through-my-hair feeling that I usually do when I ride it; more like somebody had turned a hair dryer on and was holding it three inches from my face. I told someone I felt like an air-cured country ham riding it this week.

The new office also has the world's fanciest bathroom. It has mood lighting and the sound the bathroom makes is the exact same sound you hear in Blue Velvet when the camera starts to go into that severed ear. It's not really an "executive washroom" with a key or anything, though I'm going to start telling people that's what it is. That lady isn't normally standing in it.