Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tips for Dining Out

The waitress pleasantly asked us if we wanted cheese on our garlic bread. We thought about it, and both of us said yes.
When the bill came, that extra cheese came to almost $2 per person. With no warning. (OK, maybe I should have asked: Does it cost extra?)
My dining companion had asked for a glass of beer. The waitress brought him, unasked, the largest and most expensive glass – costing more ($6) than my wine ($5).
When the meal ended, my dining companion happened to mention that there was no shrimp in his shrimp dish, although it was otherwise quite good.
I nicely said to the waitress, did the chef run out of shrimp?
She went to talk to him. What would he do, give us a cup full of shrimp? I asked jokingly.
The waitress returned and said, huffily, that the chef had no evidence that there had been no shrimp in the dish, now that it had been eaten. In other words, my dining companion may have lied. I wondered: Would any American chef have replied like that?
I gave the waitress a meager tip. Perhaps I shouldn’t have tipped at all.
My dining companion, who suffers from low self-esteem, later said that perhaps the shrimp had been ground up into his dish, which is why he hadn’t seen any.
Anyway, if you happen to be in Toronto, bypass the Boston Pizza restaurant on Carlson Court, near the airport. The food is okay, but the thievery isn’t.


You don’t see many angry young men here. Maybe it’s the Toronto culture. Friendly, calm, relaxed, cheerful. Strangers start up conversations with you.
I had thought that there was no poverty, but there are a few homeless people here, people lying on the sidewalks, panhandlers. Still, it’s not so bad as in U.S. cities.
And it isn’t a homogenous population by any means. Very mixed. Rich and poor—but mostly middle class, I guess. Small houses, small cars.
Seeing a foreign country is startling. An Esso station. A clothing store named FCUK. Newspapers that play up any stories with the whiff of a Canadian connection. A 10% premium if you pay the subway ticket taker in dollars. What exactly does that mean?
I took a bus-boat today, seeing Toronto by land and sea. Pretty informative, as well as fun.
Why did I find a hotel through Expedia? Nice but fairly expensive ($70 a night). I should have googled motel6 and found a cheap motel in the downtown area. I’m way out near the goddamn airport – in my search to find a somewhat inexpensive hotel.
Lot of concerts beginning in the fall. Museums, varied restaurants, lots to do. A good place to retire? After all, who the hell would set off a dirty bomb in Toronto?