Sooo…. It turns out I was correct. It’s rare, but sometimes it happens. The day after posting NYC: Medicine Cabinets & Condiments, Where have you gone? my husband and I went to have brunch at a Cal-Mex restaurant we’ve been wanting to try in the neighborhood. The menu looked fabulous and we ordered right away.
I ordered brisket hash with two eggs and hash browns. He ordered Chilaquillas-one of his favorite Mexican dishes-and we were both pretty happy with our choices.
But. It’s eggs. I have to have salt on my eggs. And guess what? They had 6 different hot sauces on the table, but alas, no salt or pepper. Shocker.
So, I decided, it’s time to get some answers.
I asked a server (not ours, but he stopped by the table to see if we needed anything) for salt and pepper. I watched him go into the server station and reach down into some dark cabinet and bend and squirm to get access to the apparently never-asked-for condiments.
I looked at my husband in disbelief. Are they kidding me?? There are SIX different types of hot sauce on the table, but they have to DIG for salt and pepper??
I was sort of mad about it.
Our waitress came over a few minutes later to check on us and I decided, enough is enough.
Me: So, I have a weird question for you.
She looks perplexed as to what I could possibly be asking, but she leaned in, curious.
Me: Since moving to New York, we have noticed that most restaurants do not have salt and pepper on the tables. Yours does not either. What gives?
Her: Well, I’ve worked at about seven different restaurants (Ahhh, the life of a server!) and I can tell you, it’s mostly that the chefs feel like they have prepared the food as it should be and it’s sort of an insult to ask for salt.
DING! DING! DING!
Pretention wins. I was pretty sure that was it, but New York, you win at being uber snobby and annoying.
The waitress admitted that she also loves salt and puts it on her eggs as well. Clearly, she wanted to make sure we were still going to tip.
Here’s a question. If your coffee is so perfect, why do you provide cream? Why is butter whipped up for your heavenly bread? The same could be said for cilantro, basil, oregano, cumin, etc. These are all designed to enhance your meal. When did salt and pepper become the ugly stepchild of dining??
So, I guess I’m supposed to get over this. I will try. I’m pretty sure I will scan every table in every restaurant the minute I walk in, and feel a moment of disgust and roll my eyes. I will still force myself to eat incredible New York City meals, and they will condiment-shame me every time, but I will try to hold my head up high and ask for the salt, dammit.
But just in case you were looking for Christmas ideas for me: miniature, purse-sized salt and peppers shakers disguised as lipstick might be a good one.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/clindh/