Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Whining and Dining

I’ve had two lunch experiences in the last week that were less than ideal. The problem wasn’t with my dining companions—interesting, educated, and creative individuals all. The problem was that both restaurants left a bit to be desired. (If you don’t want to read my whines, you might want to skip today’s post.)

Last Friday, the Lake Writers women went to our usual Westlake hang-out—a trendy place with great ambience and probably the most unusual unisex restroom in the county. This eatery is conveniently located near the Discovery Shop, where most of us browse (and often buy) after lunch. The food is usually very good—a couple of years ago they had a Turkey Siciliano that I loved.

Now, it seems, they’ve pared down their lunch menu to mostly sandwiches—except for the soup of the day and a few pasta choices. No more tasty entrees; no salads. Granted, their sandwiches are wonderful. And that’s my problem.

Since I started controlling my blood glucose level by low-carbing (my BS went from an average of 204 six weeks ago to 151 yesterday!), I’ve given up bread. And potatoes and pasta and rice. When I eat out, I play it safe and order a salad.

Except I can’t do that anymore at this place. This place no longer offers salads at lunch. Everything was carby. Friday's soup was rice. They did have a special chicken salad with sun-dried tomatoes that came with pita wedges, so I ordered that. I ate the meager handful of chicken salad and saved the pita wedges for my dogs. However, some of the ingredients must have been carb-laden. Laer that afternoon, my BGs soared.

I can’t figure why this place wouldn’t offer something that low-carbers—as well as those who must eat gluten free—could enjoy. Looks like I won’t be eating there anymore—unless they’ll let me brown bag.

Wednesday, the Roanoke Pen Women met at a coffee shop on Rt. 419—near the intersection with Colonial—where we’ve been meeting since last fall. The place has the same name as a coffeehouse in Rocky Mount, but the Rocky Mount one (right beside the courthouse) offers great food, better ambience, and fantastic service. This place doesn’t.

Peggy, our prez, always takes our orders in advance so the wait staff will have plenty of time to get them right. I, like most of the members, ordered a salad. In the private conference room, we discussed some club plans and then had a most enjoyable program by artist Vera Dickerson.

Then the waitress delivered our lunches. It took her a while to get the beverages right. We were ready to eat, but no salad dressing had been delivered. Since I was closest to the door, I went out to ask for it. I had to wait in line for a couple of minutes for the cashier/waitress to finish ringing up other customers. Then she said she’d bring it in. We waited a bit longer. Finally some of us got our dressing packets, but a few had to wait until she made another dressing run. One member never even got her salad and finally told the waitress to forget it.

The packet of ranch dressing barely covered three-fifths of my salad. I politely asked for more. The waitress told me there’d be a charge for that. Huh? I told her to forget it, even though my shredded carrots were awfully dry.

Finally—after innumerable delays—we were able to eat. Some of us were nearly finished when we were informed we had to vacate the conference room because another group had it reserved for noon. Some members left; four of us finished our coffee (this place only allows one cup, unlike the Westlake restaurant that kept the coffee coming) at a table in the main room. I saw only three people go into the conference room. Why couldn’t they just have met at a table?

So—at one restaurant where both food and service are good and innumerable refills of coffee are available, I can’t find anything to eat. At the other place, where diners get one cup of coffee (my cup was cracked), one packet of dressing, and the salad is on the dry side, I don’t want to eat there anymore.

OK, I'm done whining. Check, please.



Blogger CountryDew said...

I don't really want to eat there anymore, either.

I hope Peggy can find somewhere else for our group to meet.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...


5:27 PM  
Blogger Marion said...

You really need to let both places know your objections. They won't change unless they lose business, and in poor economic times, we are seeing many closures.

The place that had no salads (yeah, I was there too!) had the chicken bits on top of lettuce,like a small salad, but I agree they could have had a substitute for the pita bread.

I've been to the coffee shop you mentioned before, and found their set-up rather awkward. Charging for a 2nd packet of dressing? Get real!

Again, put your objections in writing and get them to the manager or owner. Before a big sign reading CLOSED goes up.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Roanoke RnR said...

Dew, you didn't even get to eat! I was telling Becky that my neighborhood watch group had reserved the room at the Daily Grind two weeks earlier. When we all arrived on a Sunday afternoon we found the place wasn't even open on Sundays! We wrote it off and won't be back. I hope the Pen Women do too...

7:44 AM  
Blogger Amy Tate said...

That's awful. I hope you didn't leave a tip.

6:32 PM  

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