Monday, October 5, 2009

Dining with the Hoity Toity Rich

Here in the urban jungle, we live just a very short walk from a house turned fine Italian bistro called Cafe di Scala. We had seen it several times from the sidewalk but never desired to go inside, at least until the Mrs. had her birthday and then it was her birthday wish. So one rainy weekday evening, we walked down to the cafe and were quickly seated next to the fireplace in what was once a living room.

I immediately felt a little out of place in my denim jeans and polo shirt. Almost all the men diners in the place were either in a sports jacket or at least a stiffly starched long sleeved buttoned up dress shirt. The lady diners were all wearing their version of the little black dress, had been dipped in perfume and makeup and wore more jewelry around their necks than I make in a year. They were all leaned back in their chairs, sipping glasses of wine and staring at us.

But the waiter didn't inform us of any dress code and graciously told us the specials of the day. They even quickly brought a high chair for Little Abbey and gave her a straw for her water in a fine crystal glass. We ordered, sipped our water and listened. Mostly the talk was of this fundraiser that they had attended, what problem their Lexus had given them yesterday at the spa, etc. But what really stuck out to me was the lady across the aisle that came in with her husband/boytoy about halfway through our meal.

The lady sat down and when the waiter asked them for their drink order, she asked what they had, evidently ignoring the substantial wine/beer/other drink list staring at her from a foot away in the middle of the table. After ten minutes of him listing everything in the menu, she snottily said that she hadn't heard him list any Italian wines. The waiter said that they indeed has three Italian wines to choose from and renamed them. The lady then asked if he had beer. Once again he said the entire beer list. The lady ordered a Heineken. That puzzled me. Her boytoy ordered a Budweiser which in his $2000 pin striped suit seemed a little beneath him. Of course when beer costs $9 a bottle, perhaps not.

So the beers were soon delivered with what I consider your regulation sized beer glass. The lady once again snottily asked if they had any smaller glasses. The waiter apologized but said he didn't know and would have to go look. The woman immediately told him, again in a very loud snotty tone, that he needn't bother looking for a small glass and that she could make do drinking her Heineken in this monstrosity of a glass. Actually those weren't her words exactly but she did say that she would make do with the glass he had given her. Don't make the mistake that I am judging her too quickly just on her choice of drink and how she decided to drink it. She continued to harass the waiter over everything from appetizers to the entree she ordered which happened to be the same one as I. Had I been in her shoes, I would have serious concerns at just how much saliva was going to end up in the pasta served to me.

Why anyone would want to start a restaurant to cater to those type of people, I will never understand. The food was good but again for two, our tab came to $54 and I thought that excessive for what we received. The service was excellent, the atmosphere unique but the clientele were all hoity toity rich folks who drive $50,000 (and much higher) vehicles and wore six figures in jewelry. If they would just kick those folks out or knock a $20 bill off the meal, they would have a hit.


TC said...

Ugh. Yeah, places like that aren't for me.

Murf said...

There is a restaurant just like that, Ed. It's called Olive Garden.

geri said...

hope the food was extraordinary.

R. Sherman said...

You need to bring the Mrs. to St. Louis and The Hill neighborhood. There, you'll find outstanding Italian restaurants where you'll be treated like a king whether you're wearing khakis or a suit.

BTW, I've found that the people who act like that "lady" are usually those who came into some windfall later in life and were not born into wealth. The former tend to lord it over "the little people," even though they themselves once were a member of that group, simply because they think that's how "high class folks" act. Of course, those born to money who've earned it the hard way, tend to remember that in their past someone had to work for a living. Thus, they treat working people with respect.

Sorry for the long comment.


(P.S. Check your e-mail.)

Beau said...

I'm surprised it didn't cost more; some people seem to think the dining experience is actually a "being waited on" experience. Glad it was nice and Happy Birthday to the Mrs.!

Anonymous said...

If all such places had a policy of dignity at all times. And dignity is quite different from a pole up ones.... Then idiots like that would have a much more comfy time, as would everyone else.
I also find in such cases that the restaurant is at fault for putting up with such manners for it destroys the atmosphere for the other diners.

Bye Vince

sage said...

Okay, the comment gimzo ate my first attempt to post here... I can't believe anyone would pay $9 for a Bud, even at a high price place. And the lady was down right rude.

Ed said...

TC - I will generally put up with the people for the culinary adventure. Plus it makes for good blogging material.

Murf - Perhaps if you make the good service I had at Cafe di Scala as terrible as possible. You obviously don't remember the endless bowl of pasta tale that I wrote on here a couple years ago.

Geri - I wouldn't say extraordinary but it was better than chain places like Olive Garden.

R. Sherman - I think your assessment is right on the money.

Beau - Right on. For me, dining out is all about the food.

Vince - In her defense, she wasn't loud with her snottiness. It was just the close proximity to us, the only other people in that room.

Sage - Exactly! That is why I drank water.

Murf said...

I still can't believe you are complaining about the price when you are there for your wife's birthday. I hope she didn't read this.

PhilippinesPhil said...

$54 doesn't sound like all that much unless you ordered three kids meals or something. Of course my last fine dining experience was at a nice Italian restaurant in Mount Holly, NJ about 8 years ago. I'm sure the cost of living is a bit lower in Iowa. So, they actually HAVE hoity toity people thereabouts? I can hardly imagine such a thing. NOT in IOWA! grin....