I’m off work today because I had time to use up and I’m bored and restless so let’s do a free-form memory dump. OK? OK.
Firs I want to talk about the Christmas dinner I had with some work friends! Debby and Marlene retired last year, so Megan and I occasionally meet up with them for dinner because keeping in touch is so important. There are quite a few people I have lost touch with over the years from past jobs. I HATED my job at MSA so bad, but I miss Collin, Bob, and Bill very much. I am still moderately in touch with Bill at least, mostly through his wife Natasha whom I had also become friends with. They used to come to all of my parties and were/are just such great people (and Bill is an amazing baker who, FUN FACT, baked the smash cake for Chooch’s first birthday to match the monster invitations that Henry and I had made!) but then they moved to Arkansas (whomp whomp). But!! Now they livein Harrisburg, which isn’t too terribly far away so perhaps we’ll make a road trip out that way and make them go to Vegetable Hunter with us.
ANYWAY. It was my turn to come up with a venue for our Christmas dinner. I gave three options and they one we all decided on was Zarra’s in Oakland. None of us had ever been there and all I knew was that it’s in the location of the old Electric Banana club.
I made reservations because you can never be too sure but you guys, we were the only people there. Like, the entire effing night. Just our table!! Well, there were two old guys at the table by the door when we arrived, but still.
This place reminded me like a cross between The Zenith and the Bayernhof? I personally loved it but…I’m not so sure about Debby and Marlene, lol. It did feel a bit like it was a front for…something? And our waitress was a young college girl who was TOO CHATTY and talked to us for a solid ten minutes about how she’s a camp counselor, going into great detail, and we were really just trying to order our food.
Also, our salads came after our meals because “he” whoever “he” was, had to go and buy tomatoes?
Also x2, we had to request a bread basket because we were fucking starving and why wasn’t it already provided to us?
Also x3, the waitress went through a painstaking process of telling us “how to eat the bread” (which we had to wait for as well because “he” was slicing it) with the oil she provided (le duh) and then said, “It’s like sex in your mouth” which was not something that went over well with some, lol.
Also x4, Michael Buble was BLASTING on the sound system which was located right behind Debby and we egged her on about turning it down herself, so she tried to but turned the wrong knob and ended up shutting the whole thing off, but then it randomly turned back on and our waitress ended up turning it down for us and said that she thinks “Johnny is going deaf,” the same Johnny that she also said might be in the mob, the same Johnny who evidently was one of the old men sitting at the front table when we walked in.
We heard a lot about Johnny that night.
I actually hate this picture of me so much, but what can you do?!!? Megan took some cute selfies of all of us after dinner that were so much better than this one which was taken before we had even ordered. I should have waited until we were at least one bottle in before asking for a photo op!
Weirdness of the restaurant aside, I thought the food was delicious. Megan and I both got JUDY’S FAMOUS RICOTTA NOODLES. I got mine with eggplant and practically licked the plate clean.
Our waitress (I want to say her name was Chloe, and she reminded me SO MUCH of Blake’s wife Haley but with blond hair; it was actually quite uncanny to me – it was the way she talked and her facial expressions, so similar) flat out quit coming back to our table halfway through, replaced by a man. At this point in the dinner, I hadn’t learned yet that the owner was the old man we saw earlier, so I blurted out, “ARE YOU JOHNNY??” and he said, “No, I’m Donny, his son.”
Nice guy! He did a good job putting up with our chaos.
After we ate and exchanged treat bags, we roamed around taking pictures of all the stuff, and each other, and each other with all the stuff. I mean, there was no one there to stop us…
The DUMBWAITER that the waitress referred to several times, with Electric Banana relics in it! It wasn’t until several days later that I found out that JUDY AND JOHNNY ZARRA were actually the proprietors of Electric Banana as well! IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW.
Anyway, it was a really nice evening with some amazing ladies. I’m already pressuring Henry to go back with me because it was SO WEIRD there plus the food was good.
Oh yeah, I failed to properly wrap up my Tennessee blog recaps because I forgot to tell you that after we left Dollywood that Sunday night, we went down the street to Rocky Top Mountain Coaster, which if you recall, we tried to do the night before and you couldn’t even get into the parking lot, that’s how crowded it was.
When we went Sunday night? There was one other couple ahead of us.
I’m not going to waste too many words on this but I just want to say for the record that mountain coasters are overhyped, not for me, and actually kind of confusing? First of all, I had some young mountain boy mumbling the instructions to me and actually felt scared and ill-prepared.
There were so many lift hills. It felt like every time you built up any speed and momentum, there was a sign that would tell you to brake for the lift hill, so I would do that but then a recording kept coming up saying NOT TO DO THAT and I was having a major crisis over this. BRAKE OR NO BRAKE?!!?
Anyway, when we were all done and met up in the…station, I dunno, Chooch said that those announcements were specifically directed toward me because I wasn’t doing it right (I dunno how he would know when he was in front of me, but cook on little bitch-chef) and I got REALLY DEFENSIVE and borderline flipped over so Henry had to try to diffuse the situation by saying it wasn’t true and that it was a recording that was meant to play on repeat but Chooch claims that it was a real person one of those times that had to make the announcement because of me.
I didn’t realize this was Girl Buddy at first until after the picture was taken and then she climbed down the wall head-first like Dracula and met me in the driveway for a peanut because she saw that I was on my way to the backyard with my trick-or-treat pumpkin pail of peanuts. I am entirely too attached to this squirrel.
Well, I think that’s all for today. I was also going to tell you about how Chooch and I were on the radio last week but I’m not motivated enough so maybe later this week.
See ya wouldn’t wanna be ya.