Orange Cubes and Death
One of the reasons I like to eat out, and I do like to eat out, is the near guarantee I won’t encounter something orange and squishy and cut into cubes masquerading as cheese. We put up with this square blandness at the homes of acquaintances. We accept it on trays at office gatherings. But when it comes to a restaurant where our expectations are justifiably higher, we expect something more…actually something much more. And when the restaurant bills itself as having a particular focus on fine wine, I think it’s fair for the diner to assume that the "cheese plate" on the menu probably isn’t a reference to square, orange, cubed squishiness.
So imagine my surprise when upon ordering the cheese plate at a popular LA wine bar on Saturday, said plate arrived not just with a pile of orange, square squishy cubes, but with similarly crafted and piled cubes of brownish "gouda" and and white "swiss".
Ever sent back a wine? I have. Everyone should at some point. It’s not only the right thing to do when the wine is bad or corked, but it’s the kind of empowering experience that reminds you that YOU are the client in a restaurant. I’ve done this a number of times. I no longer get that empowering thrill out of the act, but rather do so because I live constantly with a little fact rolling around my head: Life is short and I’m going to die eventually.
This very same thought was rolling around my mind when I saw the plate of cubes disguised as cheese arrive at my table.
Now, I thought I was being as nice as possible: "Excuse me sir, would you mind taking this back. I had other expectations for the ‘cheese plate’. "
Waiter: "Excuse me?"
Tom: "The cheese plate. I expected something a little more. I’d rather not have this."
Waiter: "You ordered the cheese plate."
Waiter: "This is is"
Tom: Yes, I can see that."
Waiter: "I don’t understand".
Tom: "It’s not the kind of cheese I was expecting."
Waiter: This is what comes with the ‘Cheese plate’"
Tom: "Yes, I can see that. I don’t want this cheese."
Waiter: "But you did order the cheese plate didn’t you, Sir?"
Tom: "(audible sigh) Yes, but I was hoping for cheese, not squishing, cubed, grocery store blandness"
Waiter: Sir, there is cheddar here (pointing to the orange stuff), Gouda (pointing to the brown stuff), and Swiss (pointing to the white things on the plate).
Tom: (picks up a cube of orange and eats it)…"I’m sure it says ‘cheddar’ on the 10 lb bag these orange cubes come in. Still, I’m going to die one day and I don’t want any possible risk that these cubes might come to my mind for any reason during the run up to that event. But I will risk another glass of this Albarino.
Waiter: "So I should take the cheese plate away?"
Tom: (Stares at the waiter).
If for no other reason that life is short, you should not eat orange cubes masquerading as cheese if you can possibly avoid it.