By all accounts it should have been a good evening.
The margaritas were strong and the salsa, spicy. The birthday girl’s quesadilla oozed Oaxaca, while fajitas sizzled and popped on the iron skillet.
And we couldn’t wait to leave.
Nothing compares to the taste of poor service.
The comedy of errors began as soon as we walked through the door, where the hostess explained that our party of nine would have to wait between 20 to 30 minutes. Fair enough. We parked at the bar and inhaled chips and tequila.
Twenty minutes passed – then 30. We bobbed our heads to the ‘90s cover band and looked longingly at two empty tables that could seat our small army. They were reserved.
Forty minutes into our wait, Birthday Girl called a vote: eat outside or prolong our fasts. We shuffled into the wake of a Louisiana typhoon and pushed two wet tables together.
Our server approached with peace offerings of chips and salsa. As she turned to leave, one member of our party asked for salt.
“Salt? I think we’re out,” the server said in thick Eastern European accent that dared us to question her again.
She returned with a salt refiller.
“It’s all we have,” she growled before taking our orders.
Assaulted by mosquitos and a blanket of humidity, we perked up as our plates emerged from the kitchen. But instead of the usual warnings accompanied by sizzling entrees, the server pushed hot plates into our hands.
Startled and slightly singed, silence took over the table as we satiated our hunger.
Two members of the party, however, could only watch everyone enjoy the food. The server delivered the wrong order of tortillas.
A request to the manager brought the server back with the correct tortillas and a visibly stormy attitude. We all cringed in our seats when she joked(?) that we should finish soon.
Taking the hint, we asked for the checks. The server collected our credit cards, and we waited. And waited. We joked about waiting and then waited some more.
Slightly concerned that the server had returned to the homeland with our cards, I flagged down one of her coworkers. After explaining our dilemma and giving a brief physical description, recognition lit our savior’s eyes.
“Oh, her,” he said. “I’m sorry. I’ll handle it.”
Uh oh. Within minutes she blustered out of the kitchen and threw the receipts at Salt Requestor, not even making an effort connect cards to owners.
We were eager to skip formalities, too.
Collecting our things, we ran out the door. The party was over.