You were all so kind about my embarrassing Electrical Knowledge Deficit, I’m going to tell you about my embarrassing dining experience in Toronto.
I think I’ve mentioned my difficulties with decision-making in the past. I suffer from Options Paralysis Disorder (OPD). (I just made that up, but someday it’ll be classified as an official disorder.)
I can usually choose between two things, or maybe even three. But if you plunk me down in the centre of a large city at dinner time, with restaurants spread out in all directions as far as the eye can see, I will walk for MILES trying to decide what to eat.
And this is exactly what happened in Toronto on Sunday night. I walked and walked and walked and I could not decide where to eat dinner. After awhile I started to wonder if maybe you aren’t supposed to walk around after dark in downtown Toronto, because things were looking a bit seedy and people were looking at me funny. So I turned around and walked and walked and walked all the way back to where I started: my hotel. And in my hotel room I ate a Boston Creme donut from Tim Horton’s.
And then, because a crappy Boston Creme donut is not a satisfying dinner, I went downstairs to the hotel restaurant and ate a mediocre burger.
But wait! This wasn’t supposed to be a blog post about what I had for dinner on Sunday. This was supposed to be a blog post about what I had for dinner on Monday!
Okay. I was supposed to meet up with Deb, Lindsay and Kati on Monday evening, but they
unceremoniously ditched me at the last minute were unavoidably detained. This left me, once again, having to decide for myself what I was going to eat for dinner. And once again, I was plagued with OPD, and once again I walked and walked and walked. But it was cold and snowy and I had a headache and everything was all deja vu so I knew it was going to end with a crappy Boston Creme donut and a mediocre burger if I didn’t do something.
So I snapped into action. I decided to decide where to eat RIGHT NOW. And that’s what I did. I decided I would go to this appealing-looking restaurant near the hotel. So I marched right over there and walked right in.
This restaurant – Richtree – was designed for people who DON’T suffer from OPD. It was designed for decisive diners. First they gave me a credit-card thing and I looked at it like I’d just fallen off the turnip wagon. Fortunately they recognized that look, and pegged me for a Richtree virgin. They explained that you take your tray and go from station to station and choose food. Each time you choose some food, they do something to your card. You pay on your way out.
So there I was, walking from station to station, looking at everything and unable to choose. Did I want soup? salad? a sandwich? fruit? bread? a steak? seafood? beer? wine? coffee? sushi? truffles? antipasto? stirfry? avocado? cake? On my third trip through the place, with my tray still empty, I was about ready to give up and leave. But how? Would I just give them back the card and confess it was too hard?
I couldn’t do that. Far better that I choose one little thing, eat it, and then check out like a normal person. I chose fruit. The fruit man scanned my card, gave me a little bowl and told me to help myself. I scooped up some berries and grapefruit and melons and kiwis.
Somehow this small start was all I needed to kickstart my Richtree experience. I was ready for the big time now. I went to the salad bar and asked for a large plate. I filled it up with veggies and salads and an egg.
Next stop: bread. I ordered a bun, and the nice man sliced it up for me and gave me a dollop of butter.
And then over to the wine station for a glass of shiraz.
And then very very slowly I inched my way to my table, carefully balancing my tray so I wouldn’t spill my wine. (I am challenged when it comes to walking with liquid.)
I ate my salads and bread and drank my wine. I was feeling pretty good, having navigated the intricacies of dining at Richtree.
And then I decided to eat my egg. I cracked it with my butter knife, and it went SPLAT all over the rest of my salad. Splat! Raw egg! I was expecting hard-boiled egg. Some people might have reacted with indignation or outrage. They might have called over a staff person and demanded to know What is the Meaning of This??
Not me. I immediately assumed it was my fault I ended up with a raw egg. I instantly turned into Mr. Bean, squirming in my seat, glancing around furtively, trying to find some way to hide the evidence. I briefly considered EATING the raw egg, just to get rid of it. Then I considered hiding it under my napkin. Or stuffing it in my pockets. Or shoving the whole plate under the bench. Or abandoning the plate and moving to a different table.
Before I could decide, a young man materialized out of nowhere to take my plate away. He looked at the raw egg, paused, and looked at me. I wriggled in my seat and made Mr. Bean gestures. He took the plate and walked away.
So then I just sat there and drank my wine and tried not to be a dork. I even practiced looking like a sophisticated woman on a business trip. On my way to get a second glass of wine, I cruised by the salad station and tried to understand how the egg fiasco had happened.
And that’s when I saw it. The salad station and the omelet station shared a border. I had taken my egg from the omelet station basket! The egg fiasco didn’t happen because I had just fallen off the turnip wagon, it happened because Richtree’s had a station layout flaw! Ha! I felt vindicated. (But I felt guilty too, because I hadn’t paid for any omelet station eggs.)
(I eliminated the restaurant angst the next day by eating at Richtree’s again. I had exactly the same thing as the day before, only I had a hard-boiled egg and just one glass of wine. I’m a Richtree’s pro now.)