Valentine's Day is tomorrow. And
happily I have a reservation at the
best place in town. I wish I could
claim that I'd had my act together
and booked a table months ago.
However as usual, I'm a bit "off"
when it comes to my calendar.
Fortunately my friends squeezed
us in and trust me, I love them for
that. In the old days a home cooked
meal would have been rather special.
But now that cupid is daily cooking
up dinner, going out is a big deal.
Dining out on a major holiday can
be a bit heart breaking. Rarely does
one enjoy the meal of a lifetime on
Valentine's, New Years, or Easter.
Whether due to the crowds, stress,
or simply malaise - painting the
town red can disappoint. And if the
only table you could book is within
a questionable or exorbitant beanery,
better the lobster tail diablo you cook
rather some entree from hell's kitchen.
Not only will it break your heart, it's
almost certain to break your bank!
On the other hand, if you're fortunate
to dine at some place you love, you'll
feel the love. A great restaurant is not
only about the food. It's the feeling one
experiences while dining there. If one
is a frequent diner, you're surrounded
by old friends who know what you like
and how you like it. Whereas if you
opt to take your beloved on a blind date
to some new spot, it could end up in
disaster. My suggestion is love the one
you're with and share that love (and a
hug) at your fav neighborhood spot.
Back in Manhattan, I would have been
torturing poor "T" for months to get us
a decent Valentine's reservation. She
would spend hours dialing, charming,
begging, and battling to bag a table. At
most of the more popular eateries that
could take months only to book a table
at 6 p.m. (Siberia) on a Tuesday night.
Having done so, one was pretty much
assured of being treated like a tourist
from Omaha upon arrival. After all, in
the city that never sleeps nobody dines
that early - even if they're ninety!
First impressions count and sadly
many are snubbed while simply
trying to spend their cash. Little
irks me more than an arrogant
maitre d' or hostess. Isn't it called
the "hospitality industry"?! Over
the years we've been fortunate to
dine at some of the poshest spots
worldwide. Quite frankly I can't
recall ever being treated poorly.
That's because such restaurants
consider it their job to take good
care of their paying "guests".
Many local establishments display a
sign stating "We reserve the right to
refuse service to anyone." Something
seems wrong with that. If you run a
public business isn't it your job is to
serve said public? Maybe I'm sensitive
but given recent fervor about anti-gay
community civil rights ordinances it's
time I worried. If I ever (and trust me,
I will never) opt to hold Frank's hand
while nibbling a tuna sandwich - that
shouldn't be reason enough for you to
kick me out. Talk about offensive...
It seems that many Americans have
forgotten what hospitality means.
Our collective preference requires
that others conform to our standards
rather than adapting to the needs of
the individual. Some would prefer
that my freedom of choice be taken
off the menu. What could be more
inhospitable than that? While I adore
my country, I don't love politicians,
preachers, and power brokers using
the law to punish me just because of
who I love. CHECK PLEASE!
True love comes from somewhere
deep within each of us. Like it or
not, a bit of chemistry adds to the
mix. While rather capricious, one
can't help but think a greater power
has a hand in all of this. Otherwise
why would the simple process of
sharing one's life with another
make both so happy? Whether
single or coupled, straight or gay,
young or old, emotionally or
legally coupled - there's reason
to celebrate. FEEL THE LOVE!