Sunday, October 17, 2004

A Tale Of Two Restaurants

Last weekend Favorite Husband and I were able to sneak out for a date (although we had to come back to nurse the baby in between a visit to the temple and dinner). We went to a new restaurant in town called Hamilton's. This restaurant is the brainchild of the local restaurateur behind the successful and very tasty Cafe Sabor. Hamilton's turned out to be the kind of classy place you'd take your prom date or anybody, really, that you want to impress. Tasteful decor gave a lodge atmosphere without actually making everything out of logs and festooning the walls with the heads of dead deer (a popular decor style out here). I liked it so much that I took my friend there the following Monday for lunch, where the waitress I'd had on my date recognized me and greeted me. While there we spotted a former mayor of Logan, which I guess is a local celebrity. The food at Hamilton's was excellent.

Last night we took the family out to dinner and it was my turn to choose the restaurant. I'd seen many ads for Chili's and their Citrus Fire Shrimp And Chicken, and it looked so tasty that I wanted to try it. So we went to Chili's, and that's what I ordered. Our table was actually vibrating (they said it was the shake machine making it vibrate) . When my food arrived it was not quite as attractive as it looked on TV. The food was tasty enough, but it just didn't have that "clarity" that fresh-made food has, and some jalapeno peppers were not mixed in well with the food, so I would get three bites of bland and one of extra-hot. The service was poor and slow. We were all given only forks to eat with, and had to ask for knives and spoons. And as I looked at the decor, I realized that all the chili-fest signs on the wall were fake. I bet there are identically painted and distressed signs in every Chili's restaurant from Los Angeles to Boston. For some reason that had not really occurred to me before.

What a study in contrasts! I think I've about had it with chain restaurants. Guess which restaurant I'll be going back to.