Tuesday, May 3, 2011

VOID: Object In Food: Fuck Me!

     Oh, It’s that time of year again, my friends, lifers and compatriots. Bug season is quickly approaching. Those little fuckers have the power to screw your lunch or dinner service up in no time!
    Ladybugs, stinkbugs, fruit flies, drainbugs…the list goes on, and I’m sure grows more nasty in our larger cities. As much as we wash and scrub and inspect our greens, it's inevitable that one of these little critters is bound to sneak themselves onto our tables every so often in the coming weeks.
    Living and working in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area my whole life, I have come to accept and love each season for what they all have to offer. The beginning of each New Year always seems to be the turning of a usually very cold, and recently, very sloppy and snowy winter. And spring never seems to come as fast as anyone wants it to, then *WHAM!* summer hits us like a wall. Last year the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area held record breaking highs of consecutive 90 degree plus temperatures for more than 30 days!  Yes, fuck it was hot….and humid, as we loath. So along with the increasing temperatures this time of year, on some day between spring and the summer, what loves to finally hitch a ride on that head of lettuce up route 95-North from the Floridian farms? FUCKING BUGS!!!
    My salad guy, as stubborn and apparently deaf as he can sometime seem, holds the cleanliness of what he serves very highly. Unfortunately, there are a few sneaky little buggers that  end up on plates after all of the crazy efforts taken to avoid such confrontations. The alternative? Order machine chopped pre-packaged and vacuum-sealed shit that had been treated with chemicals and stored for months. We serve awesome food, so that is not an option. 
    Every morning I watch Nilo cranking the hell out of that huge orange salad spinner repeatedly after he hand cleans and chops the heads of romaine lettuce, which is used for most of the different salads offered on the menu. But eventually and without fail small flies and bugs, which must be invisible to the Latino eye, will end up in a very pleasant and unexpected customer’s mouth at least once or twice in the coming weeks. Gahhh! If only I could send Danilo, mi ensaladero, to the table to explain to them that his arm still hurts from cranking the hell out of his spinner and rinsing the romaine so much earlier in the day and there’s only one way a bug landed in their salad bowl. The customer obviously put it there trying to get a free meal. Right? I could only wish.
    And I have never, after six years of serving bug salads, perfected “oh my there’s a bug in your salad?” reaction. It’s a fucking bug! People don’t eat bugs! Jungle-dwelling rodents eat bugs. And birds, which are disgusting creatures and carry and transport disgusting diseases. Oh and Andrew Zimmern loves those crunchy morsels, but I’m sure even he wouldn’t consider an insect in his side Greek salad a little bonus.
     “Ok, yup that’s a bug all right! Must have just landed after a long flight…? Hehe?” (No, nothing) “Can I bring you a bug less salad?” “!&(*%$#$%* NO!” “Sorry about your surprise visitor.” Gulp
    *Disclaimer: My restaurant does not have a bug problem just to clear the air. I would, and we have, let any diner in to the kitchen at any time for any reason because we know how clean and comfortable it is. We are so clean in fact that our city's health inspector, after newly relocating to our district hailed that we are the cleanest restaurant in town and brought his whole family in for dinner the night after his first inspection. Fuck all you other whatevers! haha just kidding... i wish success for all.      
     The other day a great, regular and pleasant older customer of mine informed me after he finished his salad that he had almost swallowed a large shard of broken plastic! He said shard, but this thing would have put him in the hospital with a shredded throat! I figured that the clear and clean piece of plastic may have broken off of some kitchen prep or storage containers, Rondo, Cambro or what have you, but we didn’t find anything broken. I finally decided it must have arrived to the restaurant in the heavy, waxed cardboard box along with the lettuce-the plastic having lodged in there from the processing plant somehow.
     So inspired by the crazy plastic scare event, earlier last week my wife, baby boy and I went out for a quick lunch while running errands on my day off. Everything was fine, our meal was fine. Our server was a bit busy to have checked on us by the time I was done eating and ready to give my wife her turn to eat without having to keep our little guy’s attention occupied, which I completely forgive. (And I think I wanted another beer.) But c’mon people, it’s lunch time! The guy’s busy, give him a F’in break! Anyways I was feeling a little comedic and thought it would be really funny to fuck with our server a little, who was really nice and personable all along. (I must admit that I borrowed this from a diner from my restaurant.)
     So when I finally spied our guy sprinting our direction, I jumped up out of our booth and tailed him over to his service station with my plate in hand and stood there, not long, until he noticed me. He stuttered, surprised, “I-Is everything okay, sir?” “Well man, everything was awesome until I found a fuckin' band aid-in my salad!” His face turned vampire movie white and I think I heard him gently shit his pants too. Ick! He starts sweating bullets!
 (dramatic pause)
    “Dude, I’m just messing with you. Can I get a box and another beer when you have a minute?” 
     Ok, so I really didn't do that but I thought it can be a funny prank to the right person. I must admit though that this kind of shit is pulled by wiseguys in our restaurant all the time. It keeps the scary, there's-a-bug-in-table 10’s-salad situations easier to laugh at minutes after the table is cleared.
    Let’s just hope it’s not a long summer. Slainte` !

Please share your Object In Food Stories....hope they aren't too bad! 


  1. I just posted about somebody getting a big spider in their salad. (shudder) Even worse, a few months ago one of the prep cooks was portioning out lettuce (which comes to us chopped in a bag, but reasonably fresh at least) and found ... a dead fucking mouse. Thank god Luisa was paying attention.

  2. Too many years ago, I was pregnant with my first child and I found a narsty bug in my salad. I pointed it out to the waiter, and he said "That's nothing - you oughta see what we find in the meat!"

  3. To this day I cant stomach iceberg lettuce the taste instantly reminds me of the crunch and crawling sensation on my tongue after I bit into a live beetle. I washed the leaves and all I don't know how the hell he managed to cling on there

  4. As a former server I would never do that to another - I can see why he would want to punch you. I would never need to get my entertainment off of another just because they weren't attentive enough and [as you seemed to be] I was bored. Sorry.

    In almost a decade I never had anyone find anything in their food that wasn't supposed to be there. Thank goodness!

  5. Skippy Mom! I'm sorry that you're sense of humor has left you! By the way that was just a an ad-libbed "story" for the sake of my post and I updated it for your sake. I don't intend to upset anyone. And I find it hard to believe that in 10 YEARS! of restaurant work that you NEVER experienced anyone complaining about a single hair in their food, a bug in their salad, a piece of wire from the dishwashers' brillo pad that snuck from the saute-pan handle hinge to the plate?! I should be working in fast food or for Daniel Boulud I guess.

  6. And thanks for the other comments...nasty stuff out there! No one is perfect and we can't always win! Here's to no more surprises: Slainte`

  7. I deal with this crap all the time! People find the strangest things in their food. Some of understanding but most are total jerks. Oh well. Life goes on!

  8. @The Restaurant Manager We don't see a lot of surprises in food, but it always happens when least expected and to the worst people of course! What can we do? Inspect every item coming through the back door?