Thursday, September 04, 2008

Ze vintage art de ordering food...blah!

Ze small print: Bhery bhery long post. Read if you are very busy and want a really really bad performance appraisal and or pink slip. For better results, please read during your performance appraisal.

I hate to order food! Period. I admire people who can order a good meal. Period. My second bro M is one such people, though I rather be dead than be seen eating with him in a restaurant. Period. In case you are wondering why, it is not such a nice sight to see two grown up siblings throwing food and cutlery at each other in a restaurant no? Not a very polite thing to do to people who have come to the restaurant for a quite meal and quality time together duh!

That reminds me of the time we actually sat at a restaurant alone for 5 minutes. The occasion was bro’s usual Friday lunch out with pals and pals grumbling that they had not see me for a trillion years which in guy language means two and half days. So I went to this restaurant to join them for Friday lunch and found my brother who had come early from some meeting. The both of sat and looked at the menu and by the time the waiter came to take our order, I was lunging at my brother with a knife and he was defending himself with a plate, napkin and flower pot. To cut a very very very long story short, the arrival of his friends and quick assurance to the management that they will ensure that no blood will be spilt during the course of lunch were we allowed to eat, but with wary bouncers keeping a keen eye on the warring siblings. They need not have bothered cos very soon M ordered food and there was absolute silence at the table but for the delicate chink of cutlery and the brief but muffled exclamations of gastronomic ecstasy, from the rest of the folks.

Anyways we have digressed friends. Let me get to the main course. Among my colleagues, Foxy is a good orderer (if there is such a term, if there is not, I am copyrighting it hmmph!). For a guy whose head is stuck in some other realm, he sure knows how to order food! He is a vegetarian, but his "orders" are simply non vegetarian…I mean delicious! He has this uncanny knack of ferreting out (literally) non existing items on the menu, for our dining pleasure. The trick is in asking the waiter I guess. I have asked too...

Me: And what else do you have besides the items listed in the menu?
Waiter: Nothing else besides the items listed in the menu duh!

Now see Foxy in action

Foxy: This Paneer dish...can we have this dry and a little less spicy?
Waiter: Sure sir, I can give you Paneer Akbari, Paneer Lal Mirch, Shredded Paneer with Coriander, Paneer Chutneywallah...
Foxy: Great! Hmm I don't see much variety in Dal…
Waiter: We also have Khata Meeta Dal, Dal Kohlapuri, Kathiawadi Dal, Navratan dal

I swear none of it was listed in the menu!!! Sigh. No wonder he gets invited out to every team meal in the company and from other companies in the campus too!! I guess I am just not into ordering food or I would also be like Foxy, eating out every week, one week with own company teams and the other week with competitor company teams. And pssst I don’t think the competitors are even bothered that Foxy is from a cut throat rival company.

Team lead: And now Foxy will order lunch for us. He is too good I tell you.
Team Member: And where do you work Foxy?
Foxy: XYZ Corporation!
Team Member: That makes us rabid rivals!! I should be strangling you heh heh!
Foxy: The feeling is mutual heh heh
Team Member (wagging his finger): Now remember young man, I am partial to Spinach.

Ordering food is an art I think and if ordering food is an art, then my bro is Vincent Van Gogh and I am a toddler with crayons. My policy is to flip to the rice section, then the chicken, then the veg and my order is complete! People like my brother and Foxy on the other hand, actually read the menu with a lot of chin scratching (too lazy to shave I guess) and hmmm's thrown in like they are reading a highly complex project specification. Which is perhaps what it is! Dining out is perhaps a very complex procedure which ordinary folks like me do not understand. I guess there are people who can order and those who cannot. I am happy not ordering. In fact I will be happy if someone serves me my food and feeds me too. I am a simple and uncomplicated person.

But people like my bro and many of you here are not the same. You "celebrate" food. Last Sunday, I keenly watched my brother in action as he went about ordering the family lunch. First it was a starter. My instinct was to protest. Starters spoil my appetite. But this time I kept quiet. I decided to watch and learn and not block my learning process with protests. M ordered two starters. And while the waiter went to arrange that, he carefully scanned the menu from top to bottom, page by page. I am sure he noticed the thickness of the paper the menu was printed in and the fonts too. Perhaps he noticed the color of the font and the design too which perhaps helps him in his awesome "ordering" capabilities. Then he called the head waiter for a chat. The chat went like this.

Bro: What do you recommend?
Waiter: Veg or Non Veg sir?
Bro: Both.
Waiter: In that case....

This became a long discussion on the days special, how it could be modified, and what accompaniments it complimented. After the discussion, while the rest of the family was busy with the starters (which I suspect is ordered to keep us bad orderers busy), he scanned the menu again and ordered what turned out to be a totally novel but perfect meal. None of it was what the Head Waiter recommended. Then why on earth did he have the conversation!! I have no idea. Perhaps, waiters and good "orderers" talk between the lines.

Bro: What can you give us in vegetarian?
Waiter: Bhindi Sunhari.
Bro: What bhindi do you use?
Waiter: Pure Bangalore bhindi Sir.
Bro: Which farm?
Waiter: Kempegowda’s farm.
Bro: He has two wives no?
Waiter: Yeah! This was from the land his second wife Yellamma tends to.
Bro: Ah! In that case tell me my man, what else you have in Vegetarian!

I am sure he follows the same procedure for non vegetarian too.

Waiter: And for the non vegetarian let me recommend, Lamb Tikka Lababdaar.
Bro: Lamb? How old?
Waiter: One year!
Bro: Good! And was it fed on cornmeal or natural grass?
Waiter: Natural Hosur grass Sir!!
Bro: And what lineage were his mother and father.
Waiter: Mother is a stock from Dharmapuri and father from Trichy.
Bro: One last question. What time was it born!
Waiter: IST or EST Sir?
Bro: IST my man!
Waiter: That would be precisely 19:40 hrs Sir!
Bro: In that case, we will have two plates my man!

And thus he ordered the perfect meal out of nowhere which I cannot, even if the Lamb was the Nawab of Lababdaar!

I so envy all you good “orderers”. Are you all members of the secret cult of “Great Meal Orderers”? In which case can I please snoop in on your meetings? I swear I will behave myself in the premises and not do unmemberly things like try and swat my brother. I also swear to listen to everything you discuss with great respect. I will even take notes!! Howzzat!!

Something tells me the answer is “No!!” Sigh.

33 comments:

Tom said...

ROFL. Hilarious!! Loved the conversations b/w bro and the waiter.
P.S. Can I too take some "ordering" classes from him?? Don't care about the fees; anything to become a pro orderer!
P.P.S. What?? I can't?? You're too selfish lady!

--xh-- said...

ordering the right food is an art, an art in which i take great pains to success. the secret way of our clan is laid bare for you - First you read the menu, then you ask the waiter about 2 or 3 dishes which caught your fancy (am sure if it is not an Indian resturnet, there will be lot of alien terms) and then you play a game of inky-pinki-ponki in ur mind, and then order one or two items which have most fancy names, one which have some fancy ingredients, and then one item which u know, just in case if the other items turn out to be too good to taste...

the vendakka family puranam and goat family puranam was kidilam... and so where the rest of the post...

Calvin said...

lineage of the lamb's mom and dad!!! omg!!! that was fantastic..

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

May be Foxy, M and suchlike are knights of the order of the 'bitish' empire :p

Pri said...

Girl...you are a health hazard =))

Synapse said...

Have you noticed that the smallest and the dirtiest roadside places serve the tastiest food!

mathew said...

"Mother is a stock from Dharmapuri and father from Trichy.
" ;-P

You bro is a priceless example of our ilk...For me eating out should be a grand event..I enjoy trying out all the exotically named stuff however disappointing it is at times , i still love it!:-)

Back home in certain resturants in mysore we were given certified "frequent eater card" and was favoured clientile for many of em....

Reminds me of a post I had written sometime back based on years of experience dining out..

Ajith said...

"IST or EST "
" delicate chink of cutlery and the brief but muffled exclamations of gastronomic ecstasy"
"This was from the land his second wife Yellamma tends to."

LOL U r the best

Rukmani Ram said...

I'm unemployed. Ben and bear do I read this berry delicious post?

Kris Bass said...

Maybe its because I never have any money - I don't have a problem with ordering - just go for the cheapest dish!

Ms Cris said...

Wowww ROTFL and more!
My heart goes out to that second bro-waiter conversation (the non-veg one). I am just about standing up from my ROTFL stance. Thanks oh good Silverine, may you post a 100 thousand and more (not good with statistics, that good enough?)

Sriram said...

Reading this at 0731 hrs... damn it's made me hungry :D
And God bless the Paneer!

Iyer Education said...

i know what you need... the right role model... and who better than me... 5 easy steps for ordering

1. know what the hotel is famous for
2. go to the hotel
3. order "only" that
4. eat it
5. pay the bill (optional)
6. leave (or be forced to leave based on the choice above)

Jinguchakka said...

Do you type out in word with the spell checker on, and then take it's word for it (unintended pun)?

Bcoz, i caught this sentence: "But this time I kept quite."

Fingers find it hard to keep with the flow of the mind.

Raouf said...

FunTastic post!!! :D

I am not a bad 'orderer' myself. I take my time with the menu and by the time I am finished with it, I identify all the spelling/grammar mistakes in it. And I can recite all the Rs.50/-upward desserts in an icecream parlour even though I dropped in just for a lime juice.

But at times I get bullied by the waiters into ordering what they want me to. That's NOT good!!! :(

Hari said...

ROFL!! :D

About poor ol' foxy... Well, God has made up for his deficiencies with some great skills as an 'orderer'. Lucky him!

I order the cheapest items in the menu. Perennially-pauper! :-(

Philip said...

Shouldn't you be working on a Friday instead of having fun lunches? ;)

I don't particularly hate ordering. In fact I enjoy it immensely if it's in a fancy restaurant where they provide mouth-watering description of the items on the menu (it's another matter that the dish itself may be inedible). My ordering strategy is a hybrid of mathew's and iyer education's techniques (and I normally pay after eating).

chirpy-paaro said...

Hey... I have been reading your blog from long...Love your style of writing...
By the way I love ordering food.. I love trying new delicacies in restaurants... the only thing is most of the time they turn out to be horrible :))

~==[[[ Abhi ]]]==~ said...

I'm sure after this pot foxy will surely get a few proposals. From your old posts battering that poor guy to that wonderful post wher he confesses to you, i'm sure the female's among your readers will surely have had a fancy for getting along with him, now you've provided the icing on the cake. :)


Coming to the post, i Loved the conversations bw ur bro n the chef. I liked the comment given by Iyer Education, works quite well except the second last point :)

Vaudevillian said...

mwuhohuahahaha your bro's genius.

I'm soo trying this at local place.

Vikas SN said...

"Bro: Which farm?
Waiter: Kempegowda’s farm.
Bro: He has two wives no?
Waiter: Yeah! This was from the land his second wife Yellamma tends to.
Bro: Ah! In that case tell me my man, what else you have in Vegetarian!"

"Bro: And what lineage were his mother and father.
Waiter: Mother is a stock from Dharmapuri and father from Trichy."

Hehehe awesome conversations!!!

nostringsattached said...

the lamb one was funny...not being a food buff, even i am pretty bad in ordering..i always go for the tried and tested stuffs..to be safe..:)

silverine said...

A very HAPPY ONAM to everyone! :)

Tom: Get in the line of people waiting to join "Ordering classes" :p

XH: Thank you and thanks for the info. Went over my head :p

Calvin: :)

Karthik: Good one! :)

Pri: Thank you! :)

Synapse: hmm I don't think all roadside eateries are good. Though the good ones become popular!

Mathew: I think that is the trick..to stick your neck out and take risks!:) We bad orderers play safe! :p

Ajith: Thanks buddy!

rukmani ram: When you are employed ! :))

ms cris: Thank you dear!! :)

Sriram: Mee too. I love paneer!

jinguchakka: I don't use spell check.

Raouf: LOL!! I never get bullied by waiters. But they are the best people to advise on the days best! :)

Hari: I tend to exaggerate in my posts! Foxy is not that bad! :p

Philip: Well in IT cos, here in Blr, people go out for lunch for a break from Cafeteria food. In fact you wont place to sit on Friday afternoons in any of the restaurants.

Chirpy Paro: Thank you! :)

Abhi: Thanks buddy! Hope you have a great Onam! :)

Vaudevillain: Do that!! I guess one has to be patient! :)

Vikas: Thank you! :)

Nostringsattached: Same here! :)

kumar said...

awesome post am one of ur kind,cant order the right food,but pay though

sandeep said...

one of the guys in our gang used to be a good "orderer (© silerine)" and unless am paying for everybody, i'd just sit next to him and say 'make that two'. now that he is out of the country i've had to go thru some real tests. while i wish u all the best in ur quest to match ur brother/foxy, i believe its futile. good meal "orderers (© silerine)" are born with it :) after u realize that, u can try what i follow:

1. look for buffet :)
2. always have a few items which are always safe and most people like ... say sweet corn chicken soup, butter chicken, veg hyderabadi
3. if nothing looks familiar and buffet is not available, take a li'l time to read the whole thing (or pretend to do so) and order the 3rd or 4th item in the menu. if u order the 1st or 2nd people will think u've not read the whole menu and the items way below may be pretty bad
4. ask the waiter for opinion and find faults with what they say (like say ... that one is a li'l tto spicy or way too color or i didnt like it last time). their 2nd or 3rd suggestion may be ok
5. if u r ever confused, pick up what sounds good to the ear :)
6. always order a li'l more than what is needed. chances are that people may ultimately like one of the dishes
7. if atleast some of the dishes are decent, keep telling everybody that 'this is one of the best meals i had in a time' or pay somebody else to say that. rest of the people will ultimately believe u and start saying the same
8. if the dishes are too bad
u can say that 'last time when i ate here, this thing was good ... looks like they made it too much/less spicy this time or looks like they put too much ghee this time ... and escape as soon as u can :)

deviant said...

I order well.
I dont have long conversations with the waiters either.
I just tell them I am from a newspaper and I write the food column, and I would like to talk with the owner if possible after my meal. Then I order whatever the #$*& I want, and wait. The food is usually the best the restaurant can do.

Abraham Menacherry said...

lineage of lambs mom...:D totally hilarious. I think you got influenced by dog pedigree(read somewhere that you got 2 dogs, hence the hypothesis!)

I am sure i will never be a good "orderer" but I guess I can learn the art of snooping around. Please do teach once u've perfected it!

hammy said...

Ze large print... Mohderately lhong kaament.

Oh, I'm reminded of an old classmate of mine. He had the sharpest nose for food. I noticed this the most when we were on our college trip. No matter what city/ town we stopped at, no matter how desolate the area looked, he'd lead us to the best food around.

We had a small gang that would just follow his lead on matters regarding food. The others generally had a bad time finding decent food.

I guess you have to have the nose and stomach for something like this.
:D

*...a trillion years which in guy language means two and half days.*

That is soooo not true. A trillion years is five days. A BILLION is two and a half. Get the conversion factors straight, silvie.

*In fact I will be happy if someone serves me my food and feeds me too.*

Me too! But I draw the line at chewing. I chew my food myself. No compromise.

P.S. I am reminded of MAD magazine's spoof of Dr. No, where James Bond orders the 1864 wine that was stomped by Fat Harriet something...

fundoome said...

all time pauper.....i play safe and order just the plain and usual dishes. once my friend ordered something fancy which was just plain rice with spinach soup and the other time the fancy item was plain rice with spinach gravy in which there was some clanking noise.

Deepti said...

something awaits you on my blog!!!

silverine said...

Iyer Education: What was I thinking asking for tips when you are there, I can always approach you for Iyer Education. :P Sorry missed you out earlier while replying.

Kumar: Thank you! :)

Sandeep: I am furiously taking notes Sir!!! :p

deviant: They are on to this trick by now! :)

Abraham: I am snooping around alright lol...what I have noticed about good orderers is that they take risks and it never flops for them :(

Hammy: lol! I stand corrected on 'guy days' :))And your friend is an asset I tell you. Look after him well and learn from him and then teach me :p

fundoom: Well then your ordering days are ahead of you. from what I have learned till now, be bold! :)

Deepti: Something awaits you in the comment section of your blog :|

Praveen said...

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u've been conferred with an award:)

Arun Jose Francis said...

:-)

I am commenting in your blog after some time! Got borred of giving you compliments all the time!

But, I am going to comment this time around!

It was really really funny!!!