Food for Thought

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I returned to Black Market Bar + Grill and after perusing the menu searching for a more attractive option, it’s really just pointless when facing the Trashcan Burger.  As a reminder, this is advertised as “The Cult Classic!  any toppings we decide!!!  RULE: you can omit only one item.”

Here’s the open face view:


On the left we have a pile of crispy bacon, crispy cole slaw without mayonnaise, a couple pickles and red peppers. And what’s under that hunk of cheese covered pineapple slice and meat patty?


We have a slice of country ham, jalapenos, barbeque sauce (more than it appears) and essentially pico de gallo (jalapeƱos, diced tomatoes, less the raw onion as requested).


Otherwise, my time enjoying the obligatory beer (Abita Andygator) was spent at the bar “watching.”  This was the after work crowd, and it was much more active than my previous visit.  The waitress, Heather, was non-stop motion, as in she owned the place.  Removing dirty glasses from the bar while taking orders from people standing, confidently mixing any type of drink, tossing waste packaging into the trash with no look passes, checking on the status of drinks for those seated, wiping the bar when people left, moving clean pint glasses to the draft area, typing in orders, preparing a variety of mixed drinks so fast that the waiters had to study them to figure out which was which before taking them to their tables... all the things that bartenders do, but without a pause to stand still.  It was really, really busy.  When the dust settled and the exhibition football game on the TV lost my interest (quickly) I asked her for some details. 

She started bartending at a Mexican restaurant, which amounted mainly to serving margaritas and bottled beer, then went to another place whose name I forget already.  She has been at Black Market for almost 5 years, where she learned to mix all the drinks and develop an obvious sense of confidence.  I asked if they had to replace her with two bartenders when she was off.  She laughed, and added “sometimes three.”  At least two for the size of crowed, no doubt.  Quite a number of guests called her by name.  I guess for those who don’t seek a Trashcan burger, she’s developed a cult following of her own.

Otherwise, I was left wondering if in an alternative life or future potential I might become a barfly.  Years ago when traveling alone, I hated eating out by myself.  It was awkward, conspicuous and, obviously, lonely.  Therefore, in all those prime expense account years of epicurean potential, I’d have a jumbo fish dinner from Capt. D’s, to go.  A Wendy’s double, to go.  Taco Bell, to go.  Barbeque, to go.  Etc.  Stupid me.

I find now that I like going to bars for food, as long as they’re not super loud or smoking permitted.  Even at a restaurant, such as a Mexican restaurant, Outback, Carrabbas, or non-chain equivalents, I prefer to sit at the bar when alone.  Why?  Because there is activity to watch without being obviously alone at a table or booth which an entertaining smart phone or book can’t dispel.   More importantly, there’s the potential for conversation, be it with the bartender or another patron.   Or, if my hearing is tuned to my wife’s innate ability, I can listen in on conversations going on around me.   It’s all superficial, of course, but it’s a reminder of how I’ve changed over the years from being socially shy to having some measure of confidence engaging other people in conversation. 

Solitary confinement is known as one of the toughest psychological punishments.  Bars, or whatever venues are preferred, are in some ways the opposite.  So, my wonderful burger and beer turned out to be a reflection of my/our inner need for some type of relationship, regardless of depth.  Who would have guessed?

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