Now, I travel quite a lot for business. And I stay in a fair range of hotels and therefore eat out quite a bit. I also enjoy my food, so appreciate a nice meal. I expect good service, but also expect a different level of service in different levels of eateries. For example, ‘good service’ in a McDonalds would not be the same ‘good service’ I would expect at the Ritz.
The same applies to food. ‘Good food’ doesn’t have to be haute cuisine. A simple meal, cooked well does me just fine. (By the way, the BEST cooked breakfast by far, ever, is to be had at Rhins of Galloways guest house in Stranraer. So good, I have to name check them for it. Plus service that is awesome.)
Anyway, this preamble is to set the scene, to explain the importance of the New Thing.
Imagine the scene, I am away on business, in a basic corporate hotel, and I have had to get up at 4:30am to get to the client on time to deliver a day’s workshop – day one of three. So I am tired. Really tired. I do not want to go out of the hotel, so I order food in the hotel restaurant. Big mistake. I should have believed the Trip Advisor reviews. But surely, SURELY, it can’t be that bad. Crispy breaded mushrooms and a garlic mayo dip? I mean, I can do that myself from a packet from the freezer section. Nuh-huh. Chewy mushrooms in a soggy wrapping with no dip. Main course – tart that managed to be both over- and under-cooked at the same time.
It was so bad I used it as a case study in the workshop the next day. I mentioned it to my boss, who said he knew but forgot to tell me in the rush.
If I hadn’t have been so tired, I would have sent it back and gone out. But I was, so I couldn’t.
The next day, however, I was so not eating there. On recommendation, I went to a pub 15 minutes away. Scampi and chips (fries) with a side salad, please. Again, nothing fancy, but hopefully done well this time.
It was just perfect.
And it came with a little pot of homemade tartar sauce.
Ewwww. I mean, I remember that stuff from when I was a kid. Foul. Astringent. How can anyone eat that stuff? Nope, not going to try THAT, thank you very much.
Wait a minute. Back up. It’s the year of trying New Things, remember?
Yes, but, but…
But nothing. I don’t think you’ve ever actually tried this stuff. Certainly not in a very long time.
Yes, but, but, it might ruin this meal. And you know what last night’s was like. Whimper.
Just dunk a chip in it, and get it over with.
OK. Promise I don’t have to eat any more?
Well, maybe TWO chips – one to go ‘Bleaugh!’ and one to actually TRY it!
So I did. Just two chips. And, no, I didn’t like it. But it wasn’t as revolting as I thought I remembered. That may have been because it was home made, and the rest of the food was excellent so they obviously knew their stuff. But I did at least try it. And, no, I don’t have to try it again, I’ll stick with tomato ketchup, thank you very much.
(Ooh, I have just looked up pictures of tartar sauce for this post and, naturally, recipes have shown up, too. It contains capers and pickled gherkins. No wonder I don’t like it! I’m even more proud I tried it, and also rather glad I didn’t know beforehand…)