A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!
Friend Susan and I were ravenous and looking forward to trying the Firefly tonight. So we were glad when we walked in and saw at least six empty tables. The couple before us, also without reservations, was seated right away, so things looked promising.
But I should have paid attention to the hostess's failure to make eye contact with us. After she'd seated the other two, we'd expected a greeting. None was forthcoming.
"Just two of us," we say. Two 50ish women in unexceptional business casual attire, a little tired but excited about the prospect of good food in an attractive place we'd never tried before.
Still not looking at us, the hostess consults her chart and another woman, a little older, who I guess must be the manager.
"It'll be at least 20 minutes. Maybe longer." Perhaps I have an over-active imagination, but I can almost hear her thinking "especially for you."
We look at the empty tables, at the hostess who is still studiously not looking at us, and say "Thanks, we'll walk across the bridge." There is no reply from the young woman, busily studying her table chart although no one else is waiting behind us.
Next, we try La Reve, also very attractive but obviously full. The hostess greets us warmly and says, apologetically, "I'm afraid there's about a 15 minute wait." Again we say thanks, but we're starving, and she smiles and hopes we'll try again another time. We will.
Fortunately, there's room at the Pizzaria Piccola. We eat happily, enjoying the baby who is proud of his new walking skills at the table next to ours.
It's 7:45 when we leave. Driving past Firefly, we notice the same six tables that were empty when we stopped there less than an hour earlier, at least one of them a 2-top.
I don't think we'll try there again.
Just a footnote to address one of the favorite hospitality business myths. It may be true that some women don't leave good tips. But neither do some men. And you never know which women have waited tables themselves and lean toward generosity. But in any event, your chances are better with an occupied table than one that's not.