La Dolce Far Niente

My brain is semi-fried.  I spent just too much time over this morning and afternoon working on the concrete realities of trying to build a real-world business to be anything else.  I had a post in mind when my morning started, by the way.  I had it in mind, but it drowned quietly under the flooding waters of marketing plans and partnership agreements and renovation priorities…

*sigh*

Remember that rule of mine?  The one about writing it, right freaking then?  Yeah, I forgot too…

Still, there is enough shit bugging me to get out of the mental cage in which I keep my blog ideas to completely ignore my keyboard today.

1)  Thanks for the, umm, shitty service — Look, I’m a taproom guy.  Can I brew beer?  Yeah, sure I can.  But that isn’t where I shine.  No, where I am an expert is in the taproom itself…and in how we service and please our customers.  Very little, to be honest, pisses me off quite so much as fundamental errors in that service.  So I’m sitting at lunch today — plugging away at those renovation needs I mentioned — with a mostly-full beer and half-eaten poke bowl at my elbow, when my waitress stopped by to ask if I was ready for my check…

Are you kidding me?!  

There are few bar/restaurant sins worse to me than that particular one.  Your job is to get me to spend more money, not push me out the door!  This wasn’t fucking Appleby’s, mind you, it was a one of the better and more popular places in my new town.  It was a place that built its reputation as a good place to hang out, not as a place to offer cheap meals at the price of turning over tables as fast as possible.

She was young, however — and cute *cough, cough* — so rather than just give her a bad tip, I told her just how bad that check question truly was…and how it made me want to leave, rather than buy the additional beer or two I normally would.  I doubt if the words penetrated, but it was worth a try.  The title of this little subsection isn’t ironic, by the way: Had she not pissed me off, I don’t think I would have started thinking about writing a post today…

I still gave her a good tip.

2)  I’m A European Trapped in an American Body — okay, so the subsection above got me to thinking a bit.  It got me to thinking about the things that we Americans do very, very wrong.  Restaurants and bars are pretty near the head of that damned list, by the way.  Oh, I know we Americans are always in a hurry; we Americans always want to eat and run; we always want everything to be efficient and fast…

Fuck that.

I want slow.  I want inefficient.  I want to own that damned table until I decide it is time to leave.  Whether it is a single demitasse of espresso or 57 pints of beer, just bring me what I want and don’t get that damned check anywhere near me until I make that stupid little scribbling motion in the air that all tourists do when they don’t speak the local language!

The French and Italians know their shit when it comes to eating and drinking out, by the way, while the Germans and Czechs* ain’t far behind.  Even the freaking Brits outshine us in this area!  C’mon, America, get your shit together!

*I learned the reality of an old-school, locals-only beer hall in Czechia the hard way, by the way.  Yeah, remember to flip that damned coaster over to the back side when you’re done drinking for the night!  Ahem.

Look, let’s boil it down to brass tacks — if you want a great meal, you don’t go to an American restaurant.  If I had one meal left on this Earth, I would go French.  And, no, I am not talking about some fancy Parisian place with white tablecloths and sauces coming out the ass.  I want a good, village place.  I want a place where the food is grown within sight of the restaurant.  A place where grandpa and grandma cook recipes from their grandparents.  A place where you sit in the sun and drink wine and spend 3 or 4 hours eating a real five-course meal, shared with the folks who prepared it, and who grew it, and who love every second of the life they live.

It is only by the barest hair’s width I say the French won, by the way.  Put me at a table on the Amalfi coast, or in Sicily, or Tuscany and I am just as happy. Hell, I might be a bit happier because I don’t there is anything on this Earth than can compare with a meal within the bosom of a real Italian family…

La dolce far niente* is not just the coolest saying in the world, it is the coolest philosophy in human history!

*”The sweetness of doing nothing.”  I told you it was fucking cool!

{Edit Notes — Holy shit, did I need to proofread this damned thing before I posted it! Ahem…}

{Musical Note — oh, hell yeah…}

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