Apr 212008
 

Kara was in town over the weekend and invited me to lunch at Zenith. It was really her friend Valerie’s idea, whom I was excited to finally get to meet after knowing her on LiveJournal for a few years. However, Kara made the mistake of telling me that her fiancé Chris commented that Valerie and I have really different personalities and he wondered how well we would get along. This of course turned into the Telephone Game and by the time I told Henry what Chris had said, it went something like, "Chris said Valerie is a crazy asshole and she’s secretly hated me for twenty years and is going to be waiting for me in an alley with barbed wire, a chainsaw and a turkey baster and OHMYGOD!"

Turns out, Valerie was really nice and I didn’t hate her and she didn’t seem to hate me either. People usually like me for the first three months, so we’ll check back with her over the summer.

Zenith is half vegetarian restaurant with an amazing tea menu and half antique shop with a mother lode of religious icons and musty racks of polyester muumuus; I saw at least eight dresses that I desperately want to purchase for the animal mask photo shoot, Kara found a new wedding dress, and Valerie found a very Blanche Deveroux bathing suit. It’s a good thing she didn’t buy it, because she totally wouldn’t have looked right in it unless she built a lanai off the back of her house and furnished it with white wicker, which she should actually do and then invite me over every weekend so I can lay out and read some Danielle Steele. Maybe also she can brew up some mint tea and serve me some of that shit.

And even though Zenith has quite possibly the best collection of wall-mounted owl tsotchkes to ogle while taking a piss, my favorite part was our server, Keith. (I’m pretty sure he was Kara and Valerie’s favorite part, too, but I could be wrong. No, wait, I’m always right.) Even in his sleepy state, he was personable and helpful and super cute; he would make lazy laps around the empty restaurant, butting into our conversation now and then. When I asked to take his picture, he initially declined, maybe in fear that I would Photoshop it and he’d find himself on some raunchy, nude waitstaff website — I have that shady, no-good look to me, I guess.  I eventually talked him into it and for someone who, minutes earlier, was so opposed to the prospect of being photographed, he began busting out an arsonal of GQ poses with no hesitation.

This picture does no justice to his awesomeness! I keep wanting to call him Ben, though. He really looks like a Ben to me.

Keith brought us out our side salads, the largest salads I’ve ever seen stuffed into really small bowls; 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.

After feeling like I had just slashed my way through a jungle in ‘Nam, Keith delivered my black bean burger which was capped with another lettuce leaf the size of a yarmulke. "Oh good, more lettuce," I said before casting it to the side.

Meanwhile, Valerie and Kara talked about cheese and condom-wrapped plunger sticks, but I was too busy trying to keep my mind from detonating over all the photographical ideas that place was feeding me. I want to go back there every day until I exhaust every vision I have, or drink every tea on their menu, whichever comes first.

Valerie's feet in the bathroom!

(More photos here.)

  11 Responses to “Zenith”

  1. This place really does deserve to be visited over and over and over again.

  2. That place is made of awesome! I so want to go there. Too bad its so far away :(

  3. You know, he kind of does look like he should be a Ben.
    I do that sometimes, I decide somehow that people are misnamed and have the hardest time calling them the right thing. My cousin’s baby, for example, is named Sam. I keep calling him Teddy. Which, as you know is my cat’s name, but he looks like he should be Teddy.

    If you ever want to go get tea there, I’ll come- I love tea. It looks like a cool place. I love the colors that come out in your pictures, btw.

  4. i’m glad you guys had a good time…
    keith does look pretty cool.

    i <3 this photOGS.

    • It’s not often that I get a waiter who’s memorable, in a positive way at least. You would have loved him, I bet.

      I’ll take you there someday and photograph you sitting on the couch under the myriad of Jesus statues.

    • oh- YES PLEASE!!!

      i love having my picture taken,
      as long as i look cute. and with jesus’?!?!?
      OH MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. “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.”

    *cracking up!* That is when it becomes acceptable to eat salad with your hands.

    So did you get a muumuu?

Choose Your Words Carefully