It was early Saturday evening. We had spent the entire day running around doing errands and then suddenly realized neither of us had enough energy left to cook dinner . . .
But we were STARVING!
So, we headed to a restaurant that had recently opened in our neighborhood. It would be our first visit but we’d heard great things about it. Now, trust me, we do know better than to go to a brand new restaurant – spur of the moment – on a Saturday night – without a reservation!!! We know that’s crazy but what can I say? We were delirious from hunger.
We arrived and the parking lot was packed. The hostess said it would be more than an hour before a table was available. We agreed to wait and scouted out a quiet corner in which to perch – away from the throngs of diners entering, exiting, and waiting, too.
Our stomachs growled, but Sir Beads and I smiled at each other optimistically . . .
“One hour – not too bad! We’re probably down to 55 minutes already!”
Just as we were contemplating whether or not to have a glass of wine to pass the time, someone tapped me on the shoulder from behind.
“Are you just two?” He asked. “I can seat you immediately at the pizza bar!”
Huh? We wondered. What’s he talking about? This was a restaurant with a large varied menu but we had no idea there was pizza, much less a “pizza bar”. As I said before, though, we were weak from hunger so the thought of immediate
seating food sounded pretty inviting. We nodded “ok” to the gentleman – but as he whisked us through the length and breadth of the dining room, we passed a series of comfortable-looking booths and I felt a pang of regret for agreeing so quickly.
“Please don’t let this be a no-room-for-elbows, sit-on-a-tiny-stool near a swinging kitchen door type of deal.”, I muttered under my breath.
We were brought to a small counter with just 4 stools – 2 of which were already occupied. The seats were actually comfortable but it was the ambiance that surprised us. We were overlooking the food prep area and behind that we could see the main kitchen with its gaggle of bustling chefs.
A waiter appeared with menus, took our order, and left us alone to make sense of the scene. We were amazed at how interesting (entertaining, even!) it was to watch the flurry of activity before us – as meals were prepared for that huge Saturday night crowd of fellow diners!
Oddly enough, located off to one side, there WAS a huge brick pizza oven, where an energetic young man prepared appetizer-size pizzas with great care.
Even more intriguing was a young woman, directly in front of us, who was putting finishing touches on entrees, creating specialty salads and appetizers, and garnishing mouthwatering desserts. She had little cupboards and small refrigerator cases all around her. There were bins with fresh vegetables, and grated cheeses and oh my goodness – dozens of little containers with all sorts of yummy things. She worked with great attention to detail – almost love – as she placed each ingredient on the dishes she made. Then, in the blink of an eye, her creation was gone – a waiter would turn up and carry it off into the crowd behind us and, without missing a beat, she would be on to her next masterpiece.
Our food arrived and it was fantastic but we were even more impressed with our bird’s eye view of the inner workings of this busy restaurant. It was fascinating to see that no matter how hectic the evening became – the focus was on preparing and presenting food with great care – it was almost art!
Moral of the story?
Well, I can say this much . . .
At the end of the evening, I was awfully glad I’d ignored my “second thoughts” and continued to follow that host – even though I wasn’t sure what I’d find at the “pizza bar”.
Sometimes a fun-filled adventure is where you least expect it!