I’m at a McCormick and Schmick’s restaurant with a date. As we peruse the cocktail menu I see a drink that almost gives me an orgasm – a dirty Grey Goose martini with olives stuffed with blue cheese and bacon.
“I’m so getting that,” I tell my date.
“Vodka, cheese and bacon,” she says. “Three of your favorite things.”
“I wonder how many calories are in it?”
When the waiter comes to the table we order our cocktails. Boy, I can’t wait. But two minutes later the waiter comes back with a nervous look on his face. “I’m sorry, sir,” he says. “We don’t have the olives with blue cheese and bacon.”
“I knew it was too good to be true,” I say humorously.
“We can give you olives just stuffed with blue cheese.”
“That’s fine. No problem.”
“I’m sorry,” the waiter says again.
“If that’s the worst thing that happens to me then I’m ahead of the curve. Don’t worry about it.”
“You poor thing,” my date says after the waiter walks away.
“It’s not a big deal,” I say. “But you know what? When I was a waiter some customers would absolutely lose their shit over this.”
“You’ve got to be kidding.”
“Oh yeah. I had people yell at me when we ran out of stuff. They’d either insult me or ask to see the manager.”
“Glad I was never a waitress.”
“Some customers are just assholes. Unable to tolerate disappointment.”
“Well, you handled that nicely.”
The waiter returns with our drinks. Despite not having bacon in it, my martini is excellent. After a few minutes perusing the menu we order the large oyster sampler, an iceberg wedge, bouillabaisse for the lady and sea bass over udon noodles with miso sauce for me. Yummy.
After we slurp down our oysters my martini is gone so I order another. Hey, my date’s driving. My second drink arrives with the iceberg wedge. They’ve spilt it in the back for us. Classy.
“Would you like some cucumber on your salad?” the waiter asks, holding a condiment tray.
“Yes, please,” my date says.
“Crumbled blue cheese?”
“Load it on,” I say.
“Hey!” I say teasingly. “There’s the bacon for my drink!” The waiter smiles awkwardly.
“Sure, I say “I’ll have some.” The waiter sprinkles the pork fat goodness on my salad.
“A little more please,” I say, waving him on. And when the waiter departs my date remove the olives from my drink and stuffs the extra bacon into the blue cheese. Hubba hubba.
“All fixed,” she says with a brilliant smile.
I’ve never had bacon in a drink before and, to be honest, it’s a bit weird. The grease from the bacon has created an oil slick on the surface of the vodka. Weird, but tasty.
“Good?” my date asks.
“Everything that I imagined.”
After we finish our salads the entrees come out. They’re excellent.
“So were your customers really that tough?” my date asks after daintily eating a mussel.
“Eighty percent of them we’re really nice. But the other twenty percent could be real tools.”
“I once had a lady order a tuna steak rare and it came out medium rare. I immediately offered to replace it but she had a psychotic break yelling, ‘You have ruined my entire weekend!’”
“Luckily her husband intervened. He knew she was nuts.”
Meal finished, we order a vanilla baked apple en croute with crème fraiche and coffee. After we polish it off the waiter brings the check to the table.
“Let me get this,” my date says, reaching for her purse. I knew I liked this girl.
“Let’s play a little game instead,” I say grabbing the check holder and placing up to my head like Carnac the Magnificent. “The person who comes closest to guessing the bill gets to pay.”
“I say it’s a hundred and ten,” my date says.
“I say it’s one-thirty.” And when I open the check the bill is $128.98. I win.
“You are good,” my date says.
“My dear, you have no idea.”
I pay the bill with my Amex card and tip twenty-eight dollars in cash. The waiter earned it – even without the bacon.
If you’re ever Vegas you can visit double down saloon and get a bacon martini. It’s a jar of vodka that has pieces of bacon soaking in it. When you order the martini they just pour it into a shaker from the jar and chill it with ice.
Now I want to try a dirty martini with bacon. Oh, Bacon, there is anything you can not make better?
I agree that bacon makes most things better, but I too have not yet gotten used to it in my cocktails.
I still miss Jonny Carson, loved Carnac.
That sounded like a really nice date. I miss dating – I’m married with two babies lol
yummy, yummy bacon!
That’s a clever way to resolve a debate over who gets to pay – I think I’ll try it sometime!
Dirty martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives are one of my favorite things in the world – I knew I liked you! 🙂
great story. i like how you mentioned that you were using an amex card… did they pay you to do that? 🙂 as always, love the writing. as for your date… she sounds like a keeper!
Gotta say – if I ate that much food, I’d be in a coma, or more likely a morgue.
But wow, it sounds incredible!
Total hoot-thought this stuff only happened to me! I bartended and waited my way through my undergrad; and my ex-husbands Masters, DVM, and PHd. Love your books-love the blog-keep it real nd keep it coming!!
I work at a McCormick and Schmick’s, and those stupid olives are going to drive me to obesity. I’ve never seen my particular restaurant run out of the stuffed olives, so I’m not quite ready to apologize for my occasional olive grazing. They are amazing though! Glad to hear you enjoy
Totally not on topic so feel free to delete, Waiter, but I wanted to tell you that your site opened a whole bunch of weird stuff on me. I think it may have another virus attached. My computer went bonkers, opened the Java platform, tried to play a video file from an unknown site, and attempted to install a change to my startup menu. Hopefully my security settings shut it all down.
“Despite not having bacon in it, my martini is excellent.”
I am adopting this as my family motto forthwith.
Very cool story, enjoyed it as usual!
I am definitely trying that Carnac move on my mom-in-law.
Bacon…the candy of meats.
Personally, I’m hoping your date was Anita. I’m starting to like her from your earlier stories. She sounds like she’d be good for you, but what do I know? I’m just a midwest accountant with an attitude.
“Luckily her husband intervened. He knew she was nuts.”
I am always grateful for spouses or friends who intervene to help keep teh crazy from exploding into little bits everywhere.
Your date is classy, and you’re a classy diner — not above twitting the help a bit, but they’re big kids and a good tip solve everything.
Not sure where the interest in bacon-everything comes from. A candy store in my city proudly declares itself the inventor of chocolate-covered bacon. And I’ve tried it — but the flavor combo just doesn’t work for me.
But apparently some of the younger generation — to me, everybody under 35 — are crazy about bacon with everything. Google “cajun turtle burger,” I dare you.
Okay, I don’t eat pork, so the bacon in the martini kinda grossed me out. But I love that you didn’t get upset when it wasn’t there for you at first. I had times while waiting tables or bartending where customers became complete tools for not having something. And even now, I wonder why so many servers apologize to me when something isn’t just so, even after I’ve told them it’s alright, I can live without whatever thing. You had your health scare. My husband has cancer. The way I see things, there’s a whole lot of other crap for me to get upset over than something like no bacon for my martini olives. If you keep the attitude because it’s being decent, and not just because you were a server and had to deal with many said tools before – you’ll have a better, less stressful life. PS – Have loved your blog for a few years now, but rarely comment. Going to order the second book. Good on you!
RE: Vincent Eagan post above:
It’s funny, the same thing happened to me just now. When I went to the waiterrant.net website my anti-virus software gave me a warning.
re dinerjohn & Waiter, I came here yesterday & was infected with malware (my protections were not up to date). I had to wipe & restore to a previous date. If you google this site and ‘infected’ or something similar, you’ll find whatever the issue is/wa on some tech board.s
This girl sounds like a keeper =D I hope it works out!
My friend made his own bacon vodka, you should try that sometime – it’s awesome!
Just get 5-6 strips of cooked bacon, stick it in a mason jar with a litre of premium vodka, leave it to steep for a good while, then filter it out into a fresh bottle.
It is indeed weird, but nice!
yes infected with malware!
Thats not a drink, thats an alcoholic protein shake for chrissakes. That or some kind of booze-soup.
This even beat the baconnaise.
Love the blog! Wish I had discovered it sooner.
The person who comes closest to guessing the bill gets to pay.”
Since there were only two of you, the correct word would have been “closer,” not “closest.”
Had there been three or more in your party, “closest” would have been the best choice.
Reading this made me hungry! There’s a dive bar in NYC that makes their own bacon vodka, but they use raw bacon and cheap vodka, super gross. Hate the grease floating on top of the drink thing, but LOVE the bleu cheese stuffed olives (the cheeze that oozes out kind gives the already dirty martini an additional murkiness that’s delightful).
An infected waiter? oh my.
Glad you remember, and are still a good tipper.
I’m confused about one thing – if they had olives with cheese, and they had bacon, how were they not clever enough to prep a few olives on the fly for your drink? And how did you not give the waiter just a *teensy* bit of sh*t for having missed the opportunity to delight you thusly? The whole “we’re out of those olives” is embarrassing once you see they have bacon. At minimum he should have comp’d you (at least one of) your drinks, or knocked the bartender over the head with a tray of bacon.
You’re so right, Matthew, but so, so wrong.
Had there been three or more in your party, “closest” would have been the best choice.
No, it would have been the better choice. (We’re only comparing “closer’ and “closest,” right?)
I don’t know about you, but I liked the post, grammatical flubs and all!
Hi Eagle Eye—If we are talking about two words (and two words only: closer vs. closest) then you are correct, better would be the better word to use.
I like the post, too!
That sounds like both a heck of a date, and a heck of a meal. Congratulations, Steve.
Ernest Hemingway~ Theres nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility is being superior to your former self.
smooth move, with the check. you guaranteed the waiter got the tip he deserved. As you well know, a lot of customers won’t complain, but will take out their frustrations with the tip. The olive thing wasn’t the waiter’s fault. Not saying the lady you were escorting would have stiffed him, just that with your having walked a mile in his moccassins, you KNEW.
Was once in Truk at an upscale restaurant (OK, the only “upscale” restaurant in Truk) which was in a hotel sited in an old copra (coconut) plantation. Was told that grated coconut was not available for use as a condiment on my curry. I turned my head to look out the window where I could see several hundred coconuts laying on the ground.
Service was not their strong point. Hopefully, it has improved.
I was at Applebee’s once and I ordered my mashed potatoes “loaded”. Time was, Applebee’s would give you mashed potatoes with bacon and cheddar and sour cream for no extra charge. But I decided to splurge and pay $1.99.
My potatoes arrived with cheese and sour cream. “Where’s the bacon?” I asked the waiter.
“Oh, we don’t have bacon.”
“Oh, I don’t have $1.99”.
I mean, I get that restaurants run out of things. Some times it’s overlookable and other times, not so much. Once, a mexican restaurant DH and I went to ran out of sour cream. I asked DH: Would McDonalds dare run out of ketchup? If not, then why would a Mexican restaurant run out of sour cream? I think that they should warn you about something like that before you order. “Sir, I just have to warn you that anything you order tonight won’t come with sour cream.” I’d be all: “Honey, I saw a Smiths Food King down the street and I brought my big purse with me. We’ll be back in five minutes.”
I’m just saying that it’s good he at least gave you your options before bringing you the drink without the bacon.
DH used to go to another restaurant where we would pay extra for loaded potatoes before we wised up and realized that the salad bar we paid for had both bacon and cheese.
DH will spring one when I tell him that there is a martini out there with blue cheese and bacon.
You’re crazy Wooly, and what kind of name is Wooly anyway? Waiter is clearly against Candadiums and still thinks Australia the way to go – it’s a bias he’s had from day one, owing in some part to his past. Bud talked about this a long time ago – he was a waiter in prison or something.
Hey, isn’t bacon an official food group by now? I thought Obama was on top of this?
You should write an entry about all the things that bacon should never touch. Of course, it would probably be a very short blog entry!
First, nice story. Cracked me up, learned a lesson. You’re nice to that waiter. Thumbs up. We all should btw.
Two, bacon in vodka?? Weird… But since you said it tastes… good? I guess it is then. I wouldv’e preferred bacon AND vodka though. lol!
Third, that’s a real insane lady in your story. She’s nuts and I bet she’s divorced now. If not, she’ll be. So dramatic.
Just found you, and I am highly entertained!! As a waitress for 11 years, oh the stories I have to tell! I’ll be back for more.
Love love a good dirty martini!
Just started reading your blog. Excellent. I have some good restaurant stories peppered in my blog as well.
I purchased your book at B&N the other day. Growing up in a Greek environment, I had knowledge of the rstaruant world. While I was going to as Healthcare professional schol in NYC I worked as waiter at a restaurant on LI.
I was given a couple who came every Friday evening. Some of the other waiting staff had told me that I would get stuck with with the usual 50 cent tip. I went to the Owner who was also the hostess about the tip situation. She told me to add 15% to the check. When it was time to do this I went to the owner to make it was ok to do so. She said no. Well they left 50 cents. Since this was happening every Friday evening with this couple who ordered the same meal, I decided to do the staff a favor. I went out to the parking lot and approached them. “Excuse me, was there anything wrong with the service tonight?” They said no. “Well if the service was good,, it is usually shown through the tip the customer leaves.” Their answer was “Where we come from we don’t usually tip.” Where is that? They were from the Washington State. “Here we depend upon the tips the customers leave. Next time we will add 15% to your check.” A few days later the owner said she received a phone call from that customer complaining about my confrontation. She stood up for me. WE never saw that couple again. The staff were surprised and pleased that I did that.
Another story which I am not proud of:
On the upper Westside there was La Caramba Mexican Restaurant. When we received the check, we figured the 20% tip and paid the chack in cash. Then I got confused, wondering where this extra money on the table came from. I pocketed it and we left. All of the sudden the waitress came out chasing after us. She did what I did. Then I realized what I did. I apologized profusely and gave her the tip. I am so glad that she did that.
Another time in Sugar Loaf Inn in Sugar Loaf, NY, my front desk assistant and I went there for lunch. Paid the check and left a tip. On our way back on the Quickway (Route 17) I started thinking about our lunch, the check and the tip. I realized that I did not leave an adequate tip, not even 10%. Just before the tollbooths to the NY Thurway, we turned around went back. Apologized to the young man about my mistake and told that I worked as waiter and know what the job entails. I miscalucated. told him that I was almost at the NY Thruway and realized that I almost stiffed him. I did not want him to feel bad that he did not give good service. He didand told him so.
I have less than 3 weeks left at my current job (and counting), where I’ve served and bartended for 5 years. This anecdote reminded me of a few encounters… one lady freaked out and called corporate, saying we “ruined her daughter’s birthday,” because we did not have a lighter to light the candle on the FREE birthday dessert… yes, she complained after already getting something free, CLASSY. Another lady who comes in regularly asks for her vegetables to be cut into long strips instead of normal slices. Not that our Hispanic cooks or expo know the difference, and the lady subsequently freaks out and refuses eat the vegetables until they’re replaced with ones cut into long strips. Meanwhile her daughter and husband sink lower into the booth.
So remember if your server seems frazzled… they’re dealing with absolute NUT JOBS at their other tables.
Waiters somehow think that people should have so much concern and respect for them, while never giving the customer the same break. Some folk look forward to their night out at a restaurant, perhaps a weekly, monthly, or even, yes, yearly occassion, with great anticipation.
Like you have no idea what is going on in their world, they have no concept of how difficult it is to run a profitable restaurant and how, in order to do so, inventory must be kept close enough to the bone that occasssionaly items are out of stock. And people who rarely eat at restaurants look forward to that ONE THING they really like with undue anticipation.
So give them a break like you want to be given a breaken.
I was at McCormicks and Schmick’s this past weekend and had that same martini; WITH the bacon. It’s been four days and I am jonesing for one. I figure, ‘how hard can it be to make at home’…so I google…your blog is the first to show up. I just read your book, too! Irony. Anyway, I’m off to find a good knock off.