Feb 112012
 

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Alternately titled: Come Back Thursday (If You Want To See Keith)

Any day that includes lunch at Zenith is bound to be a great day. And this was Laura’s first time, so that made it even better. It’s fun watching someone take in Zenith for the first day; there is so much to look at (in addition to fill your stomach with)!

We met Kara there yesterday at 11, after I perfomed the mother of all parallel park jobs and Laura was all, “OMG all of those years reading your blog never could have prepared me for the sheer amount of adoration I have for you right now. You should be on a DMV billboard, you are that amazing. Look at how I’m trembling from all of your glory right now!”

Typically when Kara and I meet for lunch, we both have our sons in tow. But yesterday, Chooch was in school and Harland was at home with his dad, so we were able to have a conversation that didn’t consist of “OMG sit the fuck down!” and “Chew, chew, chew!” (although someone should have considered saying that to me, the way I masticated my tofishy sandwich like I had a gun to the head and a Choke Pear to my asshole). Kara was worried we wouldn’t remember how to interact or have anything to talk about, but obviously we prevailed.

(Thank you, Revolutionary War porn)

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So happy to scope the tea list! Laura is secretly 70 and British. But seriously, Zenith has phenomenal tea. I usually get some kind that has sarsaparilla in it, but I couldn’t remember its name and then thank god Kara pointed out that there was an Earl Grey Lavender, because true friends remember which of their friends like to toss some lavender in their mouths every now and again. So that is what I ordered and it was full of floral, just how I take it.

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My teapot came with a warning. Our waitress, who I believe was the owner and not happy about having customers as soon as the door was unlocked, set everyone’s tea pot down before them and to me she said, “Be careful, with yours. The lid doesn’t want to stay on.”

Kara said she thought to herself, “Of all the people at the table to give the dangerous tea pot to.” It was one of the many moments I have throughout any typical day where I whisper wistfully to myself, “I wish Henry was here to do this for me.” But I prevailed! I spilled a little on the table right away, but everything hit the cup after that point. Every day, I conquer new (tiny) battles. That’s what growing up is all about, or so I hear.

20120210-153820.jpgTofishy in black and white.

Even though I’m not a real vegetarian anymore (sushi won the war, so I guess I’m a pescetarian now), I still enjoy vegetarian food. I still don’t eat meat or chicken though, although the one thing that tempts me more than anything is bacon. And I live in a world where everything has bacon in it, even donuts and milkshakes – DO YOU KNOW HOW DEVASTATING THIS IS. There is a big event being planned around bacon, so that’s all I’ll say on this subject for now. Anyway, Zenith has some wonderful vegetarian and vegan fare, and it’s so delicious that even my meat-eating friends enjoy it. I thought Kara and her stroganoff were going to conceive at one point.

Laura ordered a burrito that was the size of an American forearm* and it almost gave me order remorse. But my tofishy sandwich was amazing enough that I was OK with admiring Laura’s motherwhomping burrito from afar. The vegan tartar sauce was so tangy-good that it had me substituting my tongue for my napkin.

*(As opposed to a Caribbean forearm.)

Usually I get a salad with my lunch, but something was telling me not to. To save room for cake? Because I’m allergic? I brought it up as we all sipped on our teas, and Kara was all, “What is wrong with you? I can’t be friends with someone who doesn’t like a good Zenith salad.” So I looked up my old Zenith blog posts and found the answer:

“It was like the vegetation version of clown cars. As soon as he set the bowls down in front of us, leaves of lettuce the size of elephant ears began unfolding and springing forth. It was the most difficult, not to mention aggressive, salad my fork tines have ever speared.”

It had nothing to do with taste, apparently, but the level of difficulty surrounding it. It’s hard enough for me to eat a basic grilled cheese without a Gallagher-approved safety tarp, let alone a salad that belongs in Little Shop of Horrors.

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You would think this was around the point I brought up my dire yearning for Revolutionary War porn, but it was not. (Although Kara has a friend in the adult film industry who said he could probably make my dreams come true OH MY MUSKET-FUCKING GOD! But um, that’s a story for another post.)

The unfortunate part of the meal was that our favorite waiter Keith was not there that day. Even though our waitress intimidated us and flashed some weird gypsy death rays at a couple who had the nerve to poke their heads into the kitchen in the universal sign for “We have been sitting out for here for an unacceptable amount of time and would now like you to bring us our menus and meet every last one of our yuppie needs,” I still mustered up the resolve to ask her if Keith still worked there. She seemed moderately taken aback and said that Keith now only works on Thursdays.

“Come back on a Thursday if you want to see Keith,” she proceeded to tell me almost every time she walked past the table, which wasn’t very often, because she hated the other couple out in the dining room. So I hated them too, only because I wanted to order cake and didn’t want her to get mad about it.

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Since I asked about Keith, I made Kara inquire about our cake options. I didn’t want to press my luck with the lady. Kara and I both ordered a slice of lemon vanilla bundt cake and it was the word “moist” in a wedge, on my plate, slathered with icing sweet enough to make a death row inmate smile. I was so full from my sandwich, but I kept shoveling it in. This is what I’m trained at. Right before I die, I hope to have the opportunity to impart my wisdom on Chooch: NEVER LEAVE A DESSERT UNFINISHED.

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A few minutes after I took this picture of Laura, I looked at it and asked, “Wow, why do you look so full of duress in this picture?” and then I remembered it was right at the moment she was lamenting the time she left a takeout box containing a t-bone on the roof of her car a year ago. Then the lady brought us our checks and said, “Come back on Thursday if you want to see Keith.”

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It’s tradition to flounce around the antique-side of Zenith once we’ve rolled ourselves away from the table. Laura immediately found a sword and started waving it around. She’s such a loose cannon! And then Kara found on a small table the most hottest picture of Jesus these eyes have ever seen. I grabbed it from her and imprinted with it immediately. Our waitress happened to be passing by and said, “Isn’t that creepy? My daughter had it hanging on the wall, but I put it down there because it was freaking me out.”

I asked her how much she wanted for it, and she said, “$10…but only because it’s kind of old!” she tacked on as if she thought I was going to exclaim, “$10! Astronomical! Why, you’re out of your mind!” and then she took it from me and tucked it back behind something else on the table and walked back to the kitchen.

“You’re coming home with Mama,” I whispered, snatching it back off the table and holding protectively against my Virgin Mother bosom.

20120210-154021.jpgThis picture is so visually pleasing to me. It reminded me of the time in 2005 when I needed a new notebook for college and I found myself unable to choose between two notebooks of this same shade of purple and a lime green. CVS was about to close and I had Henry hulking around behind me, hissing, “JUST PICK ONE!” It turned out they were buy one get one free so I got to have both! [Yes, things were so tight back then that Henry only gave me financial clearance to purchase one (1) notebook for school. Now that I work at The Law Firm, I sometimes walk down that aisle and think cockily, “I could buy like, FIVE of you if I really wanted.”]

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I finally flagged down the lady again and told her that I intended to purchase Hot Jesus and she was like, “OK, can I go to the bathroom first?” Like I was leaving without it! When she came back to get my credit card, she brought up Keith again and I called after her, “He was the best waiter I ever had!” This gave her pause at the cash register.

“Well….maybe under certain circumstances,” she said, which led me to believe that perhaps their relationship was rocky. I would have been satisfied leaving with that information only, but she just kept telling me things about him (not bad things though; they apparently have a mom-son type of relationship so she was candid) and by the time I left, I knew everything short of his social security number and how he takes his eggs in the morning.

And I also really like that lady now. I feel like we bonded over Hot Jesus, Keith and Hating Yuppies.

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“Come back on Thursday if you want to see Keith!” the lady called out one last time as we exited the door.

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Oh Christ, have you ever seen a hotter Jesus?

  One Response to “Zenith: A Place I Do Not Visit Often Enough”

  1. Have you ever considered writing a book? It’s a dream of mine to able to some day (will never happen though) BUT if you wrote a book that would be one I would definitely read. I’m serious, your writing pulls me in and keeps me interested. Kind of like the way Ryan Gosling’s abs pull in every other woman in the world but myself.

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