Monday, February 13, 2006

Just two coffees is fine, please

Late noon on Sunday, my friend N and I decided to go hiking in the Half Moon Bay area. Half Moon Bay has a delightful collection of beaches and hiking trails. After a surprisingly traffic-filled drive, we arrived at the beach. It looked sooo inviting (I simply love being anywhere near a beach. Maybe its got to with my Chennai genes - not sure) that we decided to do our "hiking" on the shore, near the water itself.

After about an hour of walking down the beach, both N and I were beginning to feel chilly. I really think they should have some law making it illegal for a beach to be cold when the sun is shining. It would make life (and dressing) a lot simpler.

Anyways, we decided that hot coffee would be a most welcome diversion. Now where to find a coffee place? This being the USA, when we climbed back up from the beach, sure enough, there was a restaurant. In our casual jeans and shirts, we both trooped into the restaurant. For 5.00p in the evening, the restaurant was already filled with people having dinner (!?!). The restaurant had a stunning view of the ocean and the hostess asked us if we had a reservation. That should have been a clue. However we ignored it and said that we did not have one.

In any case we were shown to a table and were handed the menus. The ambience was lovely and there was lovely piano music. N later said that he had noticed that a live person was sitting at the piano, playing it (I hadn't and was wondering why the rest of the people applauded whenever a tune finished).

So we checked and found that there was no mention of coffee anywhere on the menu. I doubtfully told N that it looked like a proper restaurant and that we probably wouldn't be able to order just coffee. Even as N was confidently saying that if we just wanted coffee (and it made sense - come on, it was freakin' five O' clock in the evening - it was just too early for supper), we should not have qualms about ordering just coffee, the waitress arrived with the bread basket. Well, well! Then she asked us if we wanted something to drink. N and I gave relieved smiles and said, "Just coffee". She gave us a weird look and off she went.

A short time later, the waitress returned with the coffee. After setting it on the table, she stood all poised and ready to take our orders. Then N bravely ventured, "Actually, that will be all. We just wanted coffee." The waitress gave us a frosty stare and said, "There is a $15.00 per person minimum charge." Then seeing at our dismayed looks, she softened up a little and said that she would give us some more time to choose something to eat.

As soon as she turned, N and I looked at each other, stunned. Then burst into laughter. It was just past five in the evening and we had the prospect of choosing supper before us. We both carefully studied the menu. N is vegetarian and this was a seafood place. Needless to say, other than salads, there were absolutely no veggie options available. However, this time round, I did spot the fine print on the menu which had the $15 (actually $14.95) per person clause.

We both SO did not feel hungry. But finally, N chose a Caesar salad and I chose a spinach salad. N also asked for a side of the tropical fruit salsa which came with one of the entree specials of the day. And thus, there N and I sat, delicately sipping our coffees, while munching on our respective salads (fyi, this combo does not taste as bad as it sounds). In between breaking into laughter at our own funny plight, we did get to see a wonderful view of the the sun setting into the sea - actually it set into the clouds but whatever, it was close enough!

Lesson of the day? Do not enter expensive looking restaurants if you are planning to order coffee only. Unless you want supper also thrown in.

p.s. If you thought the moral is an obvious one, oh well, what can I say!


Archana Bahuguna said...

That was funny :-) A similar thing had happened with me once when I and my sister went to a place thinking its a normal "eating" place only finding it to be a bar (it really did not look like one) ... we realised only after we ordered some kababs and said "that was it" when the waiter started giving us weird looks ... but anyways we went on with it with a "Who cares?" look!

Thanu said...

That was funny... 15 dollar worth of salad per person..

But the view was worth it...

Rahul Obla said...

'Half Moon Bay Area' - ah, reminds me of a novel that I recently read. The whole story takes place in that place. Now, I am breaking my head to remember the name of the novel !!....aargh!.

Floridora said...

Ah youth! You will learn that in a general way, dinner time is the reciprocal of age. Now, I am 80 and I find no humor in a 5PM dinner hour. As a matter of fact, dinner is served here in the "home" at 4:30PM and I am waiting behind the velvet cord at 4:15. This allows for graham crackers and milk at 10.

So happy to have you back!

Saranya Kishore said...

Hey Arch!
Good one as usual. :)

btw, I have my dinner at 6:30. I cant wait till 8, I will starve to death :)
Hiking in Half Moon Bay sounds awesome!

Shilpa said...

Funny story.

The veggis always have a tuf time...esp if its a seafood place !!

Archana said...

Archana - to think that the waiter must have been so thrilled thinking that there were have two girls coming in to have a drink - lol!

Thanu - I know! The view was totally cool!

Rahul - let me know when you remember :-)!

Floridora - wow, dinner at 4.30p!!! Okay, I think now I understand why there were other diners in the restaurant before 5.00p itself :-)! Thank you!

Saranya, problem is, if I eat too early I wind up feeling hungry again before bed :-D! But I generally have dinner at around 7.00-7.30p. Hmm, all I did was 'walking' - but even walking by the beach is super fun :-)!

Shilpa - ah, you should know. I will never forget the "awesome" mozarella salad you and K had at Fredricksburg - lol!

Shilpa said...

Hahaha how can I forget that salad ?

hey do u remember we had another leafy salad in some Pizza place in Adyar ?
They put cabbage instead of lettuce.
And we were tired of chewing.

Ginkgo said...

poor u....u shud have said..all I have is $20 in ur pocket..and they wud have cursed u to the core..but let u off :P

spark said...

funny. i guess, each one of us must have a similar experience. but it'd be good to do it again ;-)

Archana said...

Shilpa, yeah, it was Pizza Corner. I remember they also put raw radish in that salad - yikes!!!

Gingko - aha, how come that idea never struck us!! Heeheh, shd try it the next time around :-)!

Spark - mebbe will try it again with Gingko's idea :-P!