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Friday May 16, 2003
Here is yet another reason why I'm not allowed out by myself very often:
The other night I had agreed to trade dinner for some remarks to a group in from Illinois at one of those restaurants we have here in Your Nation's Capital which aspire to a Manhattan-esque trendiness. This restaurant, on its webpage, proclaims itself, "America's First Certified Organic Restaurant."
When I called the restaurant to find out who provided this certification, I was told it comes from a group called "Oregon Tilth."
Oregon Tilth's webpage proclaims, "Since 1974, Tilth has brought together individuals working
to support and promote biologically sound and socially equitable agriculture." [emphasis THEIR'S].
Oh, yeah. This was gonna be great.
I called Oregon Tilth to find out if they certified restaurants ("Sure!"); And, if there might be a list of such restaurants ("It's on our webpage!"). As I was looking at the webpage I wondered if I might be pointed to the list. After being put on hold I was told that, indeed, they have only certified one restaurant.
That restaurant is only about five blocks from my office, so I wandered over at the appointed hour of six o'clock. When I say I am only about a week away from the MD of S&P pinning my home address to my lapel before I leave the house every morning, I am only half kidding.
The time I was to supposed to have met them was seven o'clock.
Back at the office, the group's leader called say they were running late and probably wouldn't be at the restaurant until sometime after 7:15, which meant this was going to get perilously close to my bedtime before it was over. I decided to drive so I could leave for home from there.
Once upon a time, valet parking was complimentary. At this restaurant the compliment costs five bucks. I gave the guy my keys and told the woman at the hostess desk that I wanted to pay for parking while I was waiting for my group.
She looked at me like I had grown a hand out of my forehead and told me, as if I were someone who was about to order a hotdog with mayo, I could pay when I was ready to leave. I said I wanted to leave when I was ready to leave and preferred to pay now.
It went downhill from there.
While this transaction was being conducted, a couple walked in and said they had a reservation and could they please sit in non-smoking.
The hostess said, with an air of pomposity that working in the only certified organic restaurant in America might well engender, that this was a non-smoking restaurant because "smoking and organic cooking don't go together."
Which led to hearty laughter all around until I said - aloud - "Tobacco is an organic product,"
causing them to look at me to see if I was kidding, which I was not, leading to a hearty silence all around.
The hostess suggested I have a drink while I was waiting. I asked for a glass of Merlot, but was told they had a "Shiraz blend." I have a palette which is as sensitive as a blacksmith's anvil, so I said that would be fine.
The woman brought the bottle to show it off. It was from France.
I asked if she had any wine from a different county. Like America. She rolled her eyes and looked at me like I had grown a whole ARM out of my forehead.
This was more-or-less the conversation which followed as I got up and left the untouched glass of wine on the bar to wait outside for my group:
Hostess: "I'm French."
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to Oregon Tilth; a Mullfoto of the Mullmeister hard at work; and a very nice Catchy Caption of the Day.
Me: "Apology accepted. Now, do you have any other wines?"
Hostess (even more haughtily): "This is the only red wine we have for sale by the glass."
Me: "I just want to make the point that your definition of political correctness appears to be as follows: It is fine for you to heap scorn upon an important agricultural product of North Carolina, but you are offended by my refusing to consume an agricultural product of France.
"Say, you ARE French!"
Copyright © 2003 Richard A. Galen
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