Friday, May 3, 2013

Three Forks and a Greasy Spoon

I celebrated my 32nd Wedding anniversary, last week, with my Wife and (youngest) Adult Son. We stretched it out over two successive April weekends.

Since we live very close to the Texas Capitol (Austin), the family took in a MotoGP race at Circuit of the Americas. The topping to a perfect day was an elegant dining out experience at the downtown's III Forks Restaurant

The following weekend, we tried to recreate the magic by trying out a local (European) eatery with One Star pricing (ala cheapskating). Of course, we expected to lose the white cloth napkins, a prim and proper waiter, and delectable edible delights. Instead, I (as well as the Misses) received gastrointestinal discomfort beyond Pepto Bismo...

What You See is what you Get!

The die has been cast; the painted scenery is completed. [although the paint isn't quite dry] Our One-Star-priced meal actually cost 5 Stars. Adding up the greasy [spoon] pan fried, oily saturated fish/pork/fries; plus SLOW service delivered by an unenthusiastic owner/operator/proprietor, the tally equals 5 stars...but not in a good way.

What did I/we expect? A ramshackle building, rainbow trout that hadn't seen the pond in what tasted like several months, and a 45 minute wait for french fries caused me to realize that what-ya-see-is-what-ya-get!

Contrast the greasy spoon eatery with III Forks. The restaurant was housed in one of downtown Austin's magnificent cowboy-rustic themed 1st floor office buildings. White table clothes and white-aproned wait staff(s) punctuated only by mahogany wooded chairs and banisters; fine porcelain china, Frank Sinatra vocals with the Count Basie Orchestra, and an Italian-suited general manager visiting tables and spreading patron-appreciating contagion.

III Forks menued selections were mouth-watering; the final check was eye-popping. [hey, what did I expect for a 4.5 star dining experience along with complimentary cocktails hand delivered by the general manager with a celebratory 'happy anniversary' well-wishing] 

Landing far off the mark was my Greasy Spoon restaurant dining experience. Futile as it may be to mercilessly critique the local European [family] eatery, the commonality was that the final check wasn't too far off from that of III Forks. [well, maybe not that far, but an outrageous billing for an indigestible and ill-served meal] 

Is Ignorance Bliss?

As we departed from the [European] greasy spoon, the parking lot began to fill with automobiles. The restaurant is rated as Best Restaurant Voted by XXXXXXX, Texas. Yeah, you heard right! Best in... The word on the street is that the patrons are repeat customers -- going back again and again. {let the record show that this 'local' greasy spoon European eatery is 18 miles from my residence}

I ask myself: Why do folks return -- again and again -- to a less than stellar eatery? Answer: Ignorance is Bliss. Are the locals less cultured and sophisticated than am I? NO! Am I better able to accurately access a dining establishment worthy of a hard-earned dollar or two? No!

Truth is -- what we don't know, we don't know. If one's palate hasn't been exposed to delectable cuisine, the resulting determination will be one of a desensitized nature. Culture, tasting, and experiential viewpoints demand an exposure within a recurring pattern of time.

We (and my family) were poisoned...we were prejudiced. One week (Sunday) we're dining @III Forks...Austin's premiere dining establishment. Next week following (Saturday) receiving over-priced, oily-saturated, 3rd level Inception dream time-warped plate-to-table service, and a cook/waitress/server with a Correctional Officer demeanor.

Plainly and clearly, III Forks is the wrong dining choice should one desire to eat thereafter at an eatery that trudges downward by 3 or 4 stars. Conversely, a one/half star [greasy spoon] eatery -- akin to the aforementioned -- an undesirable choice for patrons having enjoyed a 5 Star meal @III Forks beforehand.

My choices are simple. In order to 'see what I get', I need to adopt a mindset of 'ignorance is bliss.' OR, how about I discourage myself and refrain from patronizing one and two star eateries. Hmm...a 3rd Option: Save up by avoiding sub par eateries and dedicate my savings in order to enjoy return eating experiences at Austin's Finest... III Forks.

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