Tuesday, October 23, 2007

re: To Age Gracefully

And the response to Ms.Wild Ginger's letter:

Dear Ms. Ginger,
First and foremost, we would like to apologize for the embarrassing situation that occurred in the restaurant last night. Because of our surrounding area which includes many nightclubs and high profile eateries, we are often the target of "stings" by police enforcement and they have sent many patrons into our restaurant that match your physical description. We have to err on the side of caution as it can lead to the closing of the restaurant. We are a neighborhood restaurant and while we certainly did not mean to insult you, these patrons that are undercover also use state issued ID cards rather than driver's licenses while also looking very young and fresh faced!
I have spoken with the Manager and he assured me that he was not trying to issue any hostility towards you and he did know that you have been in before as it is recorded in our Open Table reservation system. If he offended you in any other way except refusing to serve you, I need to know that so we can further discuss it with him. However a judgment call was made in favor of keeping our business alive so we can continue to serve the neighborhood and loyal customers like yourself. Again, we apologize and would like to see you again soon. If you do decide to return, please have dinner for two on us. If you wish to have your name deleted from our system, please advise. While it is not our wish for you to do so, your decision will be respected and granted. If you would like to speak to me directly, please do not hesitate to call me. I am here everyday until 3:00 save Thursday and Sunday.

I appreciate you taking the time to write to us,

What's the point of recording clients in open table if not to better serve them? Did they add a comment- looks underage? I mean Cmon....

To Age Gracefully...

As an unfathomable follow-up to the below post, I give you Ginger's grievance letter to the management at Crispo. I know that some of us do look young, but twice in one month is unreal...and this time, even with all the proper documentation, the management refused to serve.

Good Morning,
My name is Wild Ginger I am a 25 year old female who has lived in the Meatpacking District, XXX West 14th Street Apartment X -to be exact, for the last three years. I have frequented your restaurant quite often in both large groups or for dinner with a single companion.

Last night I was involved in one of the most utter embarrassing and blatantly disrespectful incidents I have ever experienced from any restaurant staff. I had met my friend T(also 25 years old) at your restaurant and asked the host for a table for two in your garden. The host sat us without the wine menu, so when the waitress asked for our beverage order we had said we were interested in a bottle of Montepulciano. Since there are three offered at your restaurant, she brought the menu and after we selected one, she kindly asked to see our IDs. Tand I do have young faces so we happily obliged. Five minutes after being carded by the waitress and her leaving the tableside , the older male host (who we later learned was also the manager) came back over and asked to see our IDs again. Noticing other patrons were starting to watch the commotion at our table, I unsmilingly handed over our IDs. He took our State issued New York and New Jersey (T) IDs for five minutes, came back and said 'he did not believe they were real and he could not serve us, but if we liked we could stay for dinner.' T being flabbergasted said she could provide a wallet full of backup but he refused. I, being mortified, already knew that the meal was over before it had begun. We promptly stood up and asked him to speak to a manager to which he replied that he was.

There is no explanation I can possibly think of in this world as to why the man was so incredibly rude and disrespectful to us. We are two attractive, young looking, and stylish girls. Additionally, given how often we have frequented your restaurant, I am surprised at this point that he does not recognize us-which one would think any respectful restaurant appropriately does to its returning clientele.

Since I was also in Crispo on Saturday October 13 at around 8:15pm (yes I used to frequent Crispo that often) I am asking you to look up my receipts. Check your database as well, as reservations with other parties I have brought to your business are also made in my name. I am sure that my frequent patronage although has gone unnoticed by the incompetent Crispo staff is documented somewhere. Please provide me with a contact for the supervisor of the male manager who was on duty last night, as well as any possible (though improbable) explanation for the horrible incident that occurred last night. Also be sure delete me from your database of patrons. Please also be advised that this email will be followed up accordingly.

Wild Ginger
And to be followed up accordingly we mean posted publically on 3 course discourse.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


With the ridiculously busy schedules everyone has, it's impossible to get Doogs, Ging, ADuh and myself for dinner together. Doogs is busy holding ovaries and studying bacteria in med school, A Duh is slaving a way in the name of beauty for her PR firm, and Ging is running around meat packing with a bunch of Frenchies. (I think I might have just given away the psuedoynyms of these 3 characters..ha). In any case, when we spontaneously planned a dinner for last Saturday night and everyone was able to make it, it was a wonderful surprise...and to make matters better, Ging was going to a party up town and didn't mind going the distance for the restaurant so uptown (above 14th street) was our oyster.

Originally, we tried to get into Rosa Mexicana but their next availability for 4 was 10pm and we said forget it. I did some research and read about this restaurant Fiorini that had just opened at the end of August. It sounded great--traditional Italian fare with a bit of modernism. It was opened by Donatella Arpaia’s (of famed Donatella and Burke, and the short lived Dona) father Lello (whose last restaurant was Bellini). The few reviews I found online said "Get here fast..before it's impossible to get in" so I thought that it would be a great opportunity.

When I arrived the last of the 4 to the restaurant, I could see through the window three young women amongst a sea of old people in proper jackets with a sprinkling of well established gay men in their 40s wearing pasley wall-papered shirts. As Ging put it best, "I wondered if my watch was wrong and it was really 5:30- was this the early bird special?" I soon learned that was the least of the awkwardness.

I sat down to the table and in usual ritual- Doogs handed me the wine list..I deferred to Ging as I'm not that familiar with Italian wine. Scanning through the menu, I found a slew of entrees I desired and narrowed it down to the tuna steak and the roasted swordfish with tomato olive and caper sauce. The table chose 2 appetizers to split - the asparagus with breads crumbs lemon and butter and the grilled calamari with mixed greens. When the server came over, it was like all chaos broke loose. He took Doogs's order and then as Ging ordered the 2nd app he mentioned they didnt have any calamari left. We scrambled to find a 2nd app while Aduh asked for a suggestion which the server was answering with dishes that contained speck and other delicacies Aduh would def not touch. She ended up with classic spaghetti and meatballs. I opted for the swordfish...we tried to order the clams as our 2nd app instead but it seemed unclear if the waiter got that. We thought- "Well at least we ordered our wine.."

The sommelier came out with our wine and the first words to exit his mouth were, "Are you all 21?" ADuh and Ging joked they were 17 & 18 but I guess that wasn't the time to joke. He poured our wine and I tasted..swiching the glass in circular motions on the table before the red contents entered my mouth. Would a 19 yr old really have the know how to properly taste a glass of wine? (well I guess..I think I knew how when I was 19). Anyways as much as that brought attention to our table in the small restaurant, the embarassment wasn't over yet. The sommelier returned to ask for one of our IDs! How inappropriate!! Everyone at the table was 24 and 25 years old and we were at a nice restaurant. I don't ever remember being actually carded at a restaurant that was supposed to have class. If they wondered--they asked and took your word for it. The elderly woman next to us started saying loudly, "Are those girls getting carded?!" Regardless to say, the steward had already poured our wine..what would he have done if we were under age? Take back our glasses? He returned with Doogs ID to say, "You girls are going to age gracefully..blah blah blah." Yes, we know that already- thanks for sharing and making our dinner extremely awkward by shining the fact that were 50 years younger than everyone else in the restaurant.

Then our appetizer came..and yes, I say that singularly. Our waiter did not 'catch' the clams although we said it twice and a plate of asparagus came out for the table.
A server put two pieces of asparagus on each of our plates, while saying "Well..it's not going to be much" with a snicker. The experience was just getting better and better. One thing I do have to say- although I would NEVER go back if you're under 35 or look young for your age for fear of majorly awkward meal, is that the food was really great. Everything was super fresh and tasty with subtle details that made the difference. The asparagus was beefy with the perfect ratio of lemon to butter lightly on the stalk. My swordfish was delicious with probably the best tomatoe olive caper sauce I've ever had- as it was just the right salt factor in a sauce that can be completely over saltified easily. Doogs loved her spinach gnocci as did Ging really enjoy her chicken with sausage in wine sauce. Even ADuh' spaghetti and meatballs was elegantly put together.

In addition to the staff and our fellow diners making us feel uncomfortable, there was the "we can't talk about our usual subject matter" awkwardness- yes, that means no hot lunch talk and other materials from urban dictionary. Usually 1 out of 5 words that comes out of Ging's mouth is about sex or something otherwise inappropriate. Everytime she uttered the words, "Sex, dick, masterbate" she had to whisper, which I must say was pretty hillarious. "He has a girlfriend but he told me he wanted to have (whisper) sex with me." And that's probably the cleanest of the statements.

When the dessert menus came, we couldn't even think of staying another instant in the restaurant. We wanted to run for our lives so we opted for some dessert wine at my place (ala Daddy K). As soon as we left the doors behind us, we felt a sigh of relief--we were so happy to be out of that awkwardness and onto the streets (where obviously anything goes).

As we were walked into my apartment, Ging started telling a story starting with the phrase "If I had a dick..." Ahh, it's good to be a mature 24 year old at home with her friends...